Vijay Singh, implicated in a Sports Illustrated story this week about using a product that contains a substance banned by the PGA Tour, has issued a statement on Wednesday admitting that he's used the deer antler spray in question. He said that he was not aware it contained a substance that falls on the tour's banned list.
Singh's statement: "While I have used deer antler spray, at no time was I aware that it may contain a substance that is banned under the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Policy. In fact, when I first received the product, I reviewed the list of ingredients and did not see any prohibited substances. I am absolutely shocked that deer antler spray may contain a banned substance and am angry that I have put myself in this position. I have been in contact with the PGA Tour and am cooperating fully with their review of this matter. I will not be commenting further at this time."
Singh, who turns 50 on Feb. 22, has 34 wins on the PGA Tour, including three majors: the Masters in 2000, and PGA Championships in 1998 and 2004. His 22 tour victories since he turned 40 are the most ever.
MEDINAH, Ill. -- In stunning fashion, Europe retained the Ryder Cup Sunday, winning 8.5 singles points to give Jose Maria Olazabal a most improbable victory, 14 1/2 to 13 1/2.
Europe trailed, 10-6, at the start of the day, but felt like momentum was on its side after winning the last two matches on Saturday. The 4-point deficit matches the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history, equalling the feat pulled off by the US in 1999 at The Country Club in Brookline.
Davis Love selected Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, and Brandt Snedeker among his four captain's picks, and all three lost singles matches Sunday. The losses by Stricker and Furyk were especially tough to take, with Furyk losing the final two holes against Sergio Garcia, turning a 1-up lead to an 18th-hole loss. Furyk bogeyed Nos. 17 and 18, handing Garcia and the Europeans a key swing point.
Phil Mickelson also lost a match that he led with two holes to play, but credit Justin Rose, who holed long putts on the 16th, 17th, and 18th to complete the comeback.
Tiger Woods, playing in the final match, missed a 4-footer for par, then conceded the par putt to Francesco Molinari, which halved the match and gave Europe the outright victory. Based on how the day went for the Americans, it was an appropriate ending.
This is how I think today will play out, not necessarily how I'd want it to. Personally, I'd like to see a tense, dramatic, amazing Sunday, willed with wild momentum swings and the result hanging in the balance. We can dream, right?
Match 1: Bubba Watson vs. Luke Donald. Great opening match, with the pressure squarely on Donald to get him, and his team, off to a quick start and continue the momentum they built late on Saturday. He'll be up to the task. Donald, 2 and 1.
Match 2: Webb Simpson vs. Ian Poulter. No surprise that European captain Jose Maria Olazabal is sending Poulter out early. But can he continue his hot play? Simpson is steady, but the Ryder Cup rookie falls short. Poulter, 3 and 2.
Match 3: Keegan Bradley vs. Rory McIlroy. As if Bradley needed anything else to get him fired up, he's drawn the top-ranked player in the world. A win would cap a perfect, unbeaten week for the US star, and he'll get it in an early swing match. Bradley, 1 up.
Match 4: Phil Mickelson vs. Justin Rose. Expect Mickelson to be rested and hungry to show he can win without his sidekick, Bradley. He's had his best Ryder Cup this week, and will rally late to earn a halve. Match halved.
Match 5: Brandt Snedeker vs. Paul Lawrie. Interesting matchup, with no history between these two and each having a lackluster week so far. Lawrie hasn't won yet, and he won't get one here, Snedeker riding a hot putter to a big win. Snedeker 5 and 4.
Match 6: Dustin Johnson vs. Nicolas Colsaerts. Battle of the bombers, one of the few matches that would have been on the list of requests if the singles pairings could be rigged. Colsaerts hasn't done much since his eight-birdie, one-eagle debut. Johnson, 3 and 2.
Match 7: Zach Johnson vs. Graeme McDowell. Johnson has been solid as Jason Dufner's teammate, and gets a good draw in McDowell, who has struggled at Medinah. He'll lose for the first time in singles in another swing match. Johnson, 2 and 1.
Match 8: Jim Furyk vs. Sergio Garcia. Rematch of a singles match in 1999 at The Country Club, won by Furyk. Garcia likely hasn't stewed about that loss for 13 years, or maybe he has. He'll feel better after putting together a solid win. Garcia, 4 and 3.
Match 9: Jason Dufner vs. Peter Hanson. Mismatch, based on form this week. Dufner should be a good singles player, not getting too high or low. Just once I'd like to see him cut loose with some emotion. Maybe we'll see it here. Dufner, 2 and 1.
Match 10: Matt Kuchar vs. Lee Westwood. It must be a blow to the ego to have Westwood stuck in the back end of the lineup on a day in which they need early momentum. Perhaps that will snap him out of the funk he's in. Or not. Kuchar, 4 and 3.
Match 11: Steve Stricker vs. Martin Kaymer. Someone has to win this. But don't expect a lot of NBC coverage of this one. Both players have struggled, which is why they're in Match 11. Kaymer, 1 up.
Match 12: Tiger Woods vs. Francesco Molinari. US captain Davis Love said he put Woods at the end because he's used to playing at 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. on Sunday. Huh? Tiger's been really good at times, really bad at other times. No change today. Woods, 3 and 2.
Singles score: US 7.5, Europeans 4.5
Final score: US 17.5, Europeans 10.5
MEDINAH, Ill. -- For the second straight session, the US Ryder Cup team has won three of four matches, stretching its lead to 8-4 after Saturday morning foursomes. It's a position the US hasn't been in since 1975.
Once again, Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson led the way, rolling to a 7 and 6 win over Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. The victory margin ties the biggest in a team match in Ryder Cup history: Hale Irwin and Tom Kite (1979) and Paul Azinger and Mark O'Meara (1991) also won 7 and 6.
Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson won for the second time, beating Nicolas Colsaerts and Sergio Garcia, 2 and 1. Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker exacted some revenge from Friday morning, knocking off Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, 1 up.
The only European victory came in the first match. Ian Poulter and Justin Rose beat Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, 1 up. The US never trailed in any of the last three matches, establishing a dominance that's been part of the last two sessions.
Captain Davis Love has decided to sit Bradley and Mickelson, citing a need to rest prior to Sunday singles. With an 8-4 lead perhaps he can get away with benching his best team, but they've made quick work of their three matches so far, needing only 44 of a possible 54 holes.
Also curiously, Love will send out Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker as a four-ball team. They've lost their last four matches when paired together, and are 0-2 so far this week. Woods and Stricker will be in the third match, up against Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald.
Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar, winners Friday afternoon, have been reunited, and have drawn Paul Lawrie and Nicolas Colsaerts. Good pairing for the Americans; Colsaerts made everything he looked at on Friday, with eight birdies and an eagle. He didn't look nearly as unbeatable this morning.
Watson and Simpson will be paired for the third time this week, up against Rose and Francesco Molinari. The Americans made 10 birdies in 14 holes in this format on Friday. Anything remotely close to that should get the job done.
Dufner and Johnson will also stay together, against McIlroy and Poulter, also looking to go 3-0 for the week.
Most of the eyes will be on Woods and Stricker, seeing if they can finally win a match. If they do, the US can do no worse than a 2-point lead. Already up 4 points, they're threatening to make singles a foregone conclusion.
Expect Europe to apply some pressure, but this US team doesn't look like they'll play poorly. It'll take Europe's best to cut into this lead.
7:50 a.m.: Back for more fun and great golf at the Ryder Cup, which saw the US take a 5-3 lead on Friday after an afternoon in which it won three of four matches.
The lead could have been larger: the Euros won the 18th hole in Friday morning's match between Graeme McDowell/Rory McIlroy against Jim Furyk/Brandt Snedeker, and held on to win an afternoon match when a putt by Tiger Woods for a halve slid by. If the US wins the 18th hole in both of those, we'd be looking at a lead of 6.5 to 1.5.
Alas ... if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, what a wonderful world this would be.
We'll get a rematch in this morning's fourth and final foursomes match, with Furyk-Snedeker taking on McIlroy-McDowell. There are some really intriguing matches among the four this morning, starting with the first. Ian Poulter and Justin Rose face Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, who made 10 birdies in 14 holes yesterday. But that was when each was playing their own ball. This morning is alternate shot, a format that Rose and Poulter earned a point in on Friday morning when they beat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, 2 and 1.
The second match has Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, a pairing that stole the show on Friday, up against Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. Can Bradley and Mickelson, who could do no wrong the first day, continue their spectacular play? Westwood looked shaky yesterday, and seemed to tire at the end. I'm a little surprised Jose Maria Olazabal has him back out there, although the four he has sitting out (Paul Lawrie, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer, and Francesco Molinari) didn't play well yesterday, either.
The unsung hero from Friday, at least from Europe's perspective, was Nicolas Colsaerts, who beat Woods and Stricker by himself, getting no help from Westwood in a 1-up win. Colsaerts, the longest hitter in these matches, took full advantage of Medinah's setup of no rough, bombing tee shots and holing almost every putt he looked at. He'll be paired with Sergio Garcia, and go up against a US team of Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner that might lack for excitement, but not execution. This is the match that most interests me today. Can Colsaerts back up what he did yesterday? Can Garcia, who sat out in the afternoon and has one of Europe's best Ryder Cup records, find his form?
The rematch likely favors McDowell and McIlroy, who gave up a three-hole lead to Furyk and Snedeker yesterday morning before winning No. 18. But fatigue -- the Northern Irish pair also played in the afternoon -- could be a factor.
Davis Love's decision to sit Woods is certainly newsworthy because he's never missed a Ryder Cup session until now. That might not be the right move -- Woods had seven birdies in the afternoon match, but simply ran into a buzzsaw in Colsaerts -- but I'd suggest splitting up he and Stricker this afternoon. Woods can pair with anybody; sending him back out with Stricker seems forced now, and it hasn't been successful. They've lost four straight matches together, counting the Presidents Cup.
If the golf is as good today as it was yesterday, we're in for a treat. Enjoy.
MEDINAH, Ill. -- With one match to go -- Ian Poulter and Justin Rose have a 2-up lead on Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker with three holes to play -- the US has a slim edge in morning foursomes, winning two of the first three matches.
Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell lost a late three-hole lead, but won No. 18 with a par to beat Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker, 1-up. Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson closed their match by winning the last four holes, becoming the first team to beat Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, 4 and 3. Donald (6-0-0) and Garcia (8-0-1) had never lost a foursomes match in the Ryder Cup before, and were 4-0 together as a team until running into Bradley and Mickelson.
"It was one of the most memorable days of my life so far," said Bradley, making his Ryder Cup debut. He holed the winning putt, knocking in a 28-footer on the 15th.
Another US rookie, Jason Dufner, also earned captain Davis Love a point, teaming with Zach Johnson to beat Francesco Molinari and Lee Westwood, 3 and 2.
Love and European captain Jose Maria Olazabal have just released their afternoon pairings, when the format switches to four-balls, or better-ball.
Match 1: Bubba Watson-Webb Simpson (US) vs. Paul Lawrie-Peter Hanson (Europe).
Match 2: Bradley-Mickelson (US) vs. McIlroy-McDowell (Europe).
Match 3: Dustin Johnson-Matt Kuchar (US) vs. Rose-Martin Kaymer (Europe).
Match 4: Woods-Stricker (US) vs. Westwood-Nicolas Colsaerts (Europe).
Curious decision by Love to sit Dufner and Zach Johnson, especially since Dufner is capable of making a ton of birdies, which is what you want in four-balls, and played well this morning. Love hinted that he would use all 12 of his players the first day; actually, all 24 players will see action.
Also sitting in the afternoon for the US are Furyk and Snedeker. Taking the afternoon off for Europe are Donald and Garcia (another surprise), Poulter, and Molinari.
I'll give the edge to the US in the first afternoon match, which pits four players who didn't play in the morning. Watson and Simpson should generate some birdies, and they're likely to get the crowds into it.
Match 2 should be the one to watch. Bradley didn't show a whole lot of nerves this morning, and seems to be gaining confidence. He loves the Ryder Cup setting, and was constantly playing up the crowd for more chants, more songs, more high-fives. McIlroy and McDowell survived the morning after building a big lead. Both putted the lights out. This match could be epic.
Dustin Johnson and Kuchar will be in for a dogfight against Rose, who played well this morning, and Kaymer, who might be a weak link for Europe. Look for Woods and Stricker to bounce back in the afternoon; the better-ball format suits Woods better.
If Woods and Stricker go 0-2 today, does Love sit them tomorrow? Could be something to watch.
Enjoy the golf this afternoon.
MEDINAH, Ill. -- On paper, Europe gets the nod in the first two foursomes matches Friday morning, with the final two too close to call. It's obvious, then, that the US will need to come out ready to play, because Jose Maria Olazabal has paired players who are accustomed to winning Ryder Cup matches, and their success early could have a trickle-down effect.
Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell batting lead-off for the Euros, followed by Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald? Heavy hitters right there. Donald and Garcia have never lost when paired in the Ryder Cup (4-0), and nobody -- not even Brandt Snedeker -- is hotter than McIlroy over the past six or seven weeks.
Interesting, then, that Snedeker will team with Jim Furyk against McIlroy and McDowell. Snedeker said his confidence is at an all-time high, so he might be the right guy to face McIlroy. Furyk is a shaky pick, in my opinion, and I'm surprised he's getting sent out first. Perhaps Snedeker can carry him a little bit.
The second match is the one I'll be following, and not just because Keegan Bradley is in it. Paired with Phil Mickelson, who's been playing much better, they'll go up against Garcia and Donald, arguably Europe's best pairing. Can the intensity and passion Bradley and Mickelson bring be enough to do something that's never been done before?
Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson might not score highly on the Q scale, but I like their games. I think they'll play well together and can beat Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari. I'm curious to see anything even remotely resembling emotion from Dufner.
Pairing Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods together was a guarantee; the only unknown was when they'd get sent out. Overall, they have a good record as partners (6-3), but the last time they played a foursomes match in the Ryder Cup, they lost to Donald and Westwood, 6 and 5.
Before a ball is struck, this Ryder Cup has been hyped as one of the best ever. Friday morning's matches, on paper, look like we'll get the competition off on the right foot.
The announcement was made in New York at NASDAQ headquarters. The newest four join Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson, and Tiger Woods. Those eight automatically qualified via a two-year points system.
Love's four picks aren't a surprise. It was widely assumed that Stricker and Johnson were solid locks, with Snedeker's recent play likely giving him the nod. Furyk, while not owning a stellar Ryder Cup record, has been on seven teams, and also seven Presidents Cup teams, where he went 5-0 last year in Australia.
Among those who were not picked: Hunter Mahan, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season who beat Rory McIlroy in the final of the Match Play Championship; Rickie Fowler, who played well two years ago as a Ryder Cup rookie; and Nick Watney, recent winner of the Barclays.
Love's four picks have combined for 10 previous Ryder Cups: seven for Furyk, two for Stricker, one for Johnson. Snedeker will be a Ryder Cup rookie, giving the US four first-timers, joining Bradley, Dufner, and Simpson.
The matches will be held Sept. 28-30 at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago.
NORTON --- Luke Donald, ranked No. 2 in the world's golf rankings, apologized after his round Sunday at the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston for remarks he posted Saturday on his Twitter account that were critical of the course's revamped 18th hole and its designer, Gil Hanse.
After he bogeyed the 530-yard par 5 18th, Donald expressed his frustration when he tweeted: "Nothing quite like hitting my best shot of the day into the last and walking off with a bogie, what a terribly re-designed green #sourtaste"
Later, Donald mistakenly tweeted his cell phone number and a remark that was personally critical of Hanse. He meant them to be delivered as a private direct message, but instead he caused a minor controversy when it went out to Donald's 300,000 Twitter followers.
Both wound up being quickly deleted.
"I made a mistake," Donald said after he shot a 70 Sunday to remain 15 shots off Louis Oosthuizen's lead (19-under). "Unfortunately, I made an error. I sent a message out on Twitter that was not meant to go out on Twitter and I take full responsibility. I realized it immediately, tried to delete it and tried to move on. Unfortunately it got caught up there, and such is life. I didn't mean to put it out there and I apologize to anyone I offended, especially Gil Hanse."
Donald, however, remained steadfast in his critical opinion of the 18th hole.
"I'm still not that keen on it," he said. "I think the Tour has done a great job in terms of making this course a lot better. I just think some of the design in that hole is a little severe. Obviously I was pretty heated, and certainly by the time that message went out, I had calmed down a lot, but it certainly wasn't meant to be public."
Donald was forced to shut off his cell phone after he was inundated with so many calls. ``Probably a new number is in store for me -- that's what I deserve,'' he said.
Donald also expected to be a little more cautious in his use of social media, such as Twitter, in the future.
"Well, it's certainly a powerful tool, and you've got to be very aware of it," Donald said. "There's a certain addiction to Twitter. It's that constant update that everyone enjoys. But probably wise if I took a little bit of a hiatus maybe."
in other noteworthy items from the third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship:
* Louis Oosthuizen shot a blistering 8-under 63 to go to 19-under, good for a three-shot lead over second-round leader Rory McIlroy (16-under). Oosthuizen set tournament records for his outward nine-hole score of 29, for the seven consecutive birdies he made on holes 4 through 10, and for the lowest 54-hole score (19-under 194).
"Obviously probably the start anyone would dream of on that front nine,'' said Oosthuizen. "I made everything, so you get those days where you just look at the putt and you hole it. That was my first nine holes.''
* Oosthuizen wasn't first in the clubhouse with the low round of the day. That distinction belonged to Keegan Bradley, who shot an 8-under 63 as well. He was thrilled to make the cut after shooting a 2-over 73 Saturday in the second round, representing a 10-shot swing between second and third rounds.
Bradley, who started off his round with an eagle on the par 5 second hole, was 9-under for the round after he birdied 16. He went to the 17th tee one shot off the course record set by Vijay Singh in 2006 and later matched by Mike Weir in 2008. He wound up making bogey and dumping his approach into a greenside bunker on the 17th.
He salvaged par on the 18th after his 204-yard approach shot ricocheted off a rock in the hazard and went dead right out of bounds into the woods along the right side of the fairway. He dropped and stuffed his fourth shot to within 4 feet of the pin.
"I spoke to my mom and my mom told me my grandmother wanted me to shoot a 63 today,'' Bradley said. "So I was out there thinking I had a good chance to do that for her. This is her first tournament she's ever come to, so I needed to get up-and-down to make that putt to shoot 63.''
NORTON -- After the 530-yard par 5 18th at TPC Boston yielded 150 eagles and 1,667 birdies in the first nine years of the Deutsche Bank Championship, tournament organizers decided to try and make the finishing hole a little more interesting -- if not challenging -- in the 10th anniversary of the PGA event.
The green was elevated and reduced by one-third of its original size and a small greenside bunker was added, just for good measure.
It's resulted in a little change in scores, however, as the 18th continued to play as TPC Boston's easiest hole, yieldding six eagles, 31 birdies and 44 pars in Saturday's second round.
Through 36 holes, the 18th has yielded 10 eagles, 74 birdies and 87 pars for a stroke average of 4.656, making it the second easiest hole of the tournament behind No. 4, which has yielded 4 eagles, 81 birdies and 89 pars.
Rory McIlroy eagled No. 18 when he smashed a 4-iron 215 yards to within 11 feet to help him go from 9-under to 11-under. McIroy birded No. 1 to go to 12-under before rebounding from a pair of bogeys on Nos. 2 and 3 with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5 to finish at 12-under, which was good for a one-shot lead over Louis Oosthuizen after 36 holes.
"With that new front left side of the green, it allows you to feed the ball in a little bit,'' McIlroy said. "It's actually a more appealing second shot, I think, which is nice, especially to that front pin.''
Others who made eagle at 18 included Ryan Moore, D.A. Points, Dustin Johnson, Sean O'Hair, and Mark Wilson.
But O'Hair's proved to be the most clutch, because it enabled him to make the cut at 2-over 144 (70-74).
Ranked 74th in the points, and needing to finish in the top 70 to advance to the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Ind., O'Hair hit a 207-yard approach within 3 feet 4 inches of the pin for eagle to complete his second round with an inward 34 for a 3-over 74.
"When the golf course gets like this, it's gettable,'' said Tiger Woods, "because all three par-5s are reachable, the greens are receptive enough that you can attack.''
And none has been more susceptible to attack than the 18th at TPC Boston.
NORTON -- It might take some time before Seung-Yul Noh becomes a household name among fans of the PGA Tour. It might take even longer for some American fans to make the distinction between Noh, a 21-year-old PGA Tour rookie from Seoul, South Korea, and his 28-year-old compatriot, Kevin Na, also from Seoul, South Korea.
Na, who turned professional in 2001, already has one PGA Tour victory under his belt in the 2011 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open. He is single and resides in Las Vegas.
Noh, meanwhile, turned professional in 2007 and joined the PGA Tour after tying for third at the 2011 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament. His best finish was a fourth in the 2012 AT&T National, won by Noh's boyhood idol, Tiger Woods. He, too, is single, travels the Tour with his older sister, who was by his side at TPC Boston, and resides with his uncle in San Diego.
Noh gained more notoriety, though, when he shot an impressive first-round 9-under 62 in the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Norton. Noh took a one-stroke lead over Chris Kirk at 8-under (32-31) and a two-shot lead over his Woods (32-32), who finished the first round in a three-way tie for third at 7-under with Jeff Overton (34-30) and Ryan Moore (30-34).
Asked if he gained many followers when he finished his round with birdies on Nos. 17 (40-foot putt) and 18 (5-1/2-footer), Nah replied, in halting English, "Today?''
"Not much,'' he said.
Did people at least know who you were?
"Some people say, Kevin Na, like 'Go Kevin!' '' Noh said, breaking up the room with laughter during his postgame press conference. "I don't know.''
It was all part of the ongoing adjustment to life in America on the PGA Tour for Noh.
"I play two years on the European Tour,'' Noh said. "That's too hard, like long travel every time, different country, different food, different course, everything. So [PGA Tour] better than Europe. Here, in America, a lot of Korean people, players and then a lot of Korean restaurants, everything.
"So I like [it] -- more easier, America.''
Asked if there were any player who had been particularly helpful to him in his rookie season, Noh gave the nod to Y.E. Yang.
"I play a lot of times with him for every tournament, and then every night dinner together,'' Noh said. "That's why I think Y.E. is best.''
But did Yang always pick up the tab?
Noh smiled, chuckled, and shook his head.
No translation was needed.
NORTON -- Bruins forward Shawn Thornton, one of the more avid golfers on the hockey club, spent Friday on the course at TPC Boston following Keegan Bradley and his playing partners Hunter Mahan and Matt Kuchar in the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship.
He served as the PGA Tour's official tweeter for that group and posted his observations on Twitter for @PGATOUR.
Here's a sampling of his tweet updates:
1:04 p.m. -- Happy to be out here at TPC Boston inside the ropes with Keegan. Amazed how fast these guys walk. Where's the fire, boys? ^ST
1:25 p.m. -- It's also crazy to hear the sound off their clubs. It's so different than anyone I play with. It's like a shotgun. ^ST
1:52 p.m. -- Observation: PLAYERS Champion Matt Kuchar is much taller than you think he is. ^ST
2:14 p.m. -- There are a ton of @NHLBruins fans out here. I'm getting "Go B's" every 10 seconds! ^ST
3:22 p.m. -- Awesome birdie by Keegan at 9. Cool to see him battle back to +1 after some hiccups. ^ST
3:39 p.m. -- Keegan is on a roll now. He just made his third straight birdie to get back to even. A hat trick joke would be too cheesy. ^ST
4:06 p.m. -- Incredible birdie by Keegan [at No. 12]. Pushed his tee shot right and had a blind second over a hill. I easily could have made 9 from there. ^ST
Contracts were signed Wednesday, just in time for this year’s Deutsche Bank Championship, and finally making the deal official. Deutsche Bank, the only title sponsor in tournament history, will remain in that role through at least 2016, after the bank reached an agreement on a four-year extension with the PGA Tour.
All signs pointed to the new deal, with Deutsche Bank Americas CEO Seth Waugh saying a month ago that a handshake agreement was in place. The announcement comes during tournament week, with play scheduled to start at TPC Boston on Friday. EMC will also remain the local presenting sponsor during the contract extension.
“We are delighted to announce the continuation of our title sponsorship through 2016,” Waugh said. “We are extremely proud of the success and positive impact the Deutsche Bank Championship has had over these first 10 years.”
The tournament has always been held over Labor Day weekend, and since 2007 has been the second of four events in the tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs.
“With today’s announcement, the Deutsche Bank Championship will continue its positive influence throughout the region and maintain its important role in the FedEx Cup playoffs,” Tim Finchem, commissioner of the PGA Tour, said. “We sincerely thank and congratulate Deutsche Bank for this new four-year commitment.”
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Sergio Garcia, who announced on Friday that he will be skipping next week's Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston, will take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Barclays as he looks for his second straight win on the PGA Tour.
Garcia, who won last week's Wyndham Championship, shot a third-round 69 at Bethpage Black and at 10 under par leads Nick Watney (71) by two. Kevin Stadler had the low round of the day, a 65 that pushed him to 7 under and into third.
Because he's already played four weeks in a row -- and is now on pace to qualify for the Tour Championship -- Garcia said he needed a week off before the stretch run of the final two playoff events, followed by the Ryder Cup.
Of course, the game-within-the-game tomorrow will be who plays their way into the top 100 on the FedEx Cup points list and qualifies for the Deutsche Bank Championship. Currently, five players who arrived here outside the top 100 are projected to jump inside the number: Bob Estes (No. 103 to start the week), David Hearn (108), Jonas Blixt (101), Tommy Gainey (102), and Graham DeLaet (106) have positioned themselves through three rounds to qualify for Boston.
One round awaits. For Garcia, Watney, and everybody else jockeying for playoff position.
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Rory McIlroy has put on another dominant display of golf, winning the 94th PGA Championship by a tournament record eight shots at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course.
McIlroy shot a bogey-free 66, tied for the low round of the week, and finished 72 holes at 12 under par. David Lynn, an Englishman playing in just his second major championship, shot 68 and finished second. A four-player tie for third included Hopkinton High graduate Keegan Bradley, who closed his defense of last year's PGA win with a final-round 68. Justin Rose (66), Ian Poulter (69), and Carl Pettersson (72) were tied with Bradley.
The eight-shot margin of victory breaks the PGA record of seven, which had been held by Jack Nicklaus, who rolled to his fifth and final PGA in 1980 at Oak Hill Country Club.
4 p.m.: The final threesome has made the turn, and Rory McIlroy is still in front. He holds a two-shot lead at the 94th PGA Championship.
McIlroy isn't backing up any; he's played a bogey-free round so far with birdies on Nos. 2, 3, and 7, the easiest three holes on the front nine. Ian Poulter is 7 under on the day and is alone in second at 8 under through 11 holes. Carl Pettersson is another shot back, in third at 6 under.
Pettersson might feel like he should be 8 under, since he was given a two-stroke penalty after it was determined he moved a loose impediment while inside a hazard line on No. 1. He was informed of the rules committee's decision as he left the fourth tee -- turning his score on No. 1 from a par to a double bogey -- then promptly birdied the next three holes.
Defending champion Keegan Bradley has joined the mix, getting to 4 under for the final round and the tournament, which has him tied for fourth. Bradley is part of a six-player group that includes, among others, Tiger Woods and Adam Scott.
2:15 p.m.: Final-round play is underway and Ian Poulter is the story so far. Poulter has played five holes and birdied them all, moving from 1 under to 6 under in about an hour, and suddenly within two of Rory McIlroy's lead in the 94th PGA Championship.
Poulter made pars on every hole this morning in the conclusion of his weather-delayed third round, but has yet to make one in his final round. McIlroy, who started with a three-shot lead on Carl Pettersson, birdied No. 2 and is 8 under.
Peter Hanson, Adam Scott, and Bo Van Pelt are tied for third with Pettersson, at 4 under. Tiger Woods also birdied the second hole and is tied for seventh at 3 under.
10:30 a.m.: Third-round play at the 94th PGA Championship has been completed, and Rory McIlroy will take a three-shot lead into the final round at the Ocean Course, looking to win his second major championship.
McIlroy and Vijay Singh were tied for the lead at 6 under par when play was suspended on Saturday because of bad weather. Under much calmer conditions this morning -- slight breeze, sun out, course still soft from the rain -- Singh failed to take advantage, shooting a back-nine 40 to fall to 2 under and into a tie for sixth. Tiger Woods is also in the group at 2 under, but he recovered over the final 11 holes of his third round, playing them in 2 under to get within striking distance.
Final-round play will be in threesomes off both the first and 10th tees, starting at 11:44 a.m. The final group of McIlroy, Carl Pettersson, and Bo Van Pelt will go off at 1:45 p.m.
How was McIlroy going to spend the break?
"I'm going to go back to bed. I didn't get enough sleep last night, so I'll go back and take a nap, get up, get showered, and sort of treat it like I'm just coming for the last round," he said. "It'll be nice to get back into bed for an hour or so."
McIlroy shot a third-round 67, same as his first-round score, but it was a round that could have been even lower. Once play resumed this morning, he missed three putts inside five feet that could have given him some separation. He made a bogey on No. 13 (no shame there, it's the hardest hole of the tournament), but answered with birdies at the 15th and 16th.
The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland will attempt to become the first player this year to turn a 54-hole lead at a major into a victory. Peter Hanson (Masters), Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell (US Open), and Adam Scott (British Open) failed to hold on, which should give those chasing McDowell reason for optimism. He also also failed to hold a four-shot lead in the final round at the 2011 Masters, but rectified that by blowing the field away at last year's US Open, winning by eight.
It's McIlroy's tournament to lose. But the Ocean Course requires precision and patience, and its closing holes should provide plenty of drama. Enjoy the final round.
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Due to inclement weather, third-round play at the 94th PGA Championship has been suspended for the day. The horn blew at 4:50 p.m., and it took about an hour for heavy rain and thunder to reach the golf course. An announcement was made at 6:30 p.m. that play had been called.
Third-round play will resume on Sunday at 7:45 a.m. Tournament officials will then re-pair the field for the final round, and send groups of three off both the first and 10th tees, starting at 11:45 a.m. The final group is scheduled to tee off No. 1 at 1:45 p.m.
Vijay Singh is still tied for the lead, but Tiger Woods (3 over through seven holes) and Carl Pettersson (even through eight) have relinquished their share. Singh is tied at 6 under with Rory McIlroy, who had quite a dramatic day in the nine holes that he played. He one-putted his first five holes, had a drive on No. 3 get lodged in a tree, and
built a two-shot lead after five birdies over his first eight holes. But a bogey at the ninth hole, followed minutes later by Singh's birdie at No. 7, has left the two players tied.
Adam Scott, who is attempting to do what McIlroy pulled off last year -- follow a blown major with a victoroy in the next one -- is alone in third at 5 under, one shot back. Scott shot a 4-under 32 on the front nine.
Woods was out of sorts all day, so perhaps the weather delay will end up helping him. He needed only 48 putts through two rounds, but his putter has let him down in the third round, and he's been wayward with his shots, hitting two spectators on the par-4 fourth hole (and giving each a signed golf glove).
1:15 p.m.: The wind is down, and so are scores so far in the third round of the 94th PGA Championship at the Ocean Course. The final twosome of Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh is scheduled to tee off at 3 p.m.
Birdies are available, one day after 38-mile-per-hour wind gusts drove most of the field into a state of submission. The 78.10 stroke average for the second round was a tournament record by far, topping the 76.8 from the 1958 PGA.
Don't expect a similar bloodbath today, unless the conditions quickly change. There is a chance of rain in the area this afternoon, forecasted to start about the same time that Woods and Singh are scheduled to reach the first tee.
Low scores might be out there, though. Jason Dufner shot a 4-under-par 68. Justin Rose (13 holes), Steve Stricker (nine) and David Lynn (eight) are also 4 under on the day. The course is still soft -- there was more rain last night -- so with the wind down, players can be aggressive.
Saturday has plenty of possibilities. Woods is trying to do something he hasn't accomplished yet in 2012: shoot under par on the weekend at a major. He's 0-for-6 so far, his Saturday 75 at the US Open dropping him out of a tie for the lead.
Singh would become the olfest major champion in history if he's able to win, and it would be his third PGA victory (1998, 2004). Stricker and Ian Poulter are looking for their first major, while Rory McIlroy is after his second.
Should be a fun day, as long as the weather cooperates.
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, and Carl Pettersson share the second-round lead at the 94th PGA Championship on a windswept day that saw scores soaring.
Singh had the day's best score, a 2-under-par 69. Woods had 71, while Pettersson, the first-round leader, shot 74. All three players are at 4 under, one shot ahead of Ian Poulter (71), and two ahead of Rory McIlroy (75) and Jamie Donaldson (73).
3 p.m.: The rain has held off, but the wind refuses to let up, with the second-round scoring average continuing to climb at the 94th PGA Championship.
Gary Woodland has made four pars and a birdie to get to 6 under, and has a one-shot lead on Keegan Bradley, Ryo Ishikawa, and Tiger Woods, who just holed a lengthy birdie putt on No. 4. Woods and Ishikawa are 2 under for their rounds, while Bradley is 1 under.
The leader in the clubhouse is Vijay Singh, who shot a 69 on a day when the scoring average is more than 77. Singh, who will be 50 next February, has won the PGA twice, in 1994 and 2004. He's at 4 under, and trails Woodland by two. But with the weather expected to continue being windy, Singh could be in the lead at the end of the day.
Two players who were near the lead have gotten off to bad second-round starts. Carl Pettersson, who led after a 66, has bogeyed two of his first three holes and is at 4 under. John Daly, tied for sixth after opening with 68, bogeyed his first three holes to drop back to 1 under.
11:15 a.m.: The wind that's been missing from the past few major championships -- yesterday at the PGA, and pretty much throughout the British Open -- has finally made an appearance, making scoring conditions much tougher than yesterday.
It's blowing harder this morning than at any point yesterday, and after more rain overnight (half an inch), the Ocean Course will look, feel, and play like the hardest golf course in America, which Golf Digest has called it.
Of the 78 players on the course now, only six have under-par rounds, led by Bo Van Pelt, who is 3 under through 10 holes to get to 2 under. Vijay Singh shot a 3-under 33 on the front nine at the Ocean Course, but just bogeyed the 10th.
The change in the weather means that scores will be higher, giving the Ocean Course the nastiness it seemed to be lacking yesterday, when soft conditions and no breeze gave players the green light to take dead aim. Seventeen broke 70.
Carl Pettersson still leads, because he has an afternoon tee time. Gary Woodland and Rory McIlroy, two of the four players who trailed Pettersson by one shot after the first round, also play in the afternoon. The other two have given shots back: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano is 2 over on the day through 14 holes, and Alex Noren is 4 over through eight.
Phil Mickelson, who shot 73 yesterday, is 1 under on the day to get back to even.
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Others have gotten it lower at times, but Carl Pettersson is in the house with a 6-under-par 66, good for a one-shot lead at the 94th PGA Championship.
Pettersson, who uses a long putter and has never won a major, had a bogey-free first round, and is one shot in front of Gary Woodland and Rory McIlroy, both in with 67.
Joost Luiten, a 26-year-old from the Netherlands, reached 8 under through 14 holes, but bogeyed his last four and shot 68. Among that group is John Daly, Geoff Ogilvy, and Keegan Bradley, the Hopkinton High graduate and last year's PGA winner.
Tiger Woods, paired with Bradley, is another shot back after a 3-under 69.
Players in the morning wave had fairly calm conditions at the Ocean Course, with the wind only starting to pick up in the last few hours. Shorter hitters like David Toms (72) want to see the wind kick up, so it can help dry out a wet golf course and allow tee shots to roll more in the fairway. A wet course plays longer; Toms said he was only getting about two yards of fairway roll with the driver.
11:15 a.m.: The morning wave for the 94th PGA Championship is on the golf course on a sunny, hot day along the South Carolina coast. Most importantly, it's not too windy, and combined with the softness of the Ocean Course because of the rain this week, scoring conditions might be as good right now as they'll be all week.
Many are taking advantage, with 29 of the 78 players out there now under par. Ken Duke and Carl Pettersson share the lead at 4 under, with Gary Woodland, Rory McIlroy, Cameron Tringale, and Joost Luiten a shot back. Duke has played 12 holes, while Pettersson is through eight.
The marquee morning pairing has defending champion Keegan Bradley with Tiger Woods and Martin Kaymer. They've just made the turn from No. 18 to No. 1, with Bradley and Woods at 1 under, and Kaymer 4 over. Bradley started his round birdie-eagle to quickly tie for the lead, but back-to-back bogeys at the 13th and 14th dropped him back. After a birdie at the 15th, Bradley bogeyed No. 18.
Woods just birdied the 18th, and a hot putter (10 putts) has made up for him hitting only four greens in regulation so far.
Deutsche Bank Championship director Eric Baldwin will join Boston.com readers at 1 p.m. on Wednesday to talk about his tournament as well as this week's third major of the golf season, the British Open.
Tickets for the Deutsche Bank Championship, which will be held Aug. 29 to Sept. 3 at the TPC Boston in Norton, are on sale at the tournament web site or by phone at 877-849-4322.
MARBLEHEAD -- Mike Calef and Mark Souliotis have completed 18 holes in their 36-hole championship match at the 104th Massachusetts Amateur, with Calef taking a 1 up lead into the lunch break at Tedesco Country Club.
In a battle between players who had never reached the final match before, much less won it, Calef took the lead -- his first of the day -- when he won the 17th hole with a par. On a slightly overcast day in front of a decent-sized gallery that includes Tedesco member Mike Eruzione, nine of the 18 holes have been won: three with birdies, and one with an eagle.
Counting putts that have been conceded, Souliotis shot the equivalent of 3-over-par 73 on the first 18, while Calef had a 2-over 72.
It was Souliotis who grabbed the early lead, taking the first two holes -- No. 1 with a par when Calef three-putted, No. 2 with a 3-foot birdie. After Nos. 3 and 4 were halved with pars, Calef squared the match by winning the fifth with a par and the sixth with a birdie.
Souliotis took the lead again, despite making a bogey on the downhill, 238-yard seventh, a very challenging par-3. Both players missed the green, but after chipping on, Calef three-putted to make a double bogey.
It remained a one-hole lead for Souliotis until the 10th, when Calef drained a 15-foot eagle putt to again square the match. Souliotis re-took the lead on the next hole, when he drained a 10-footer for birdie.
The two remaining holes won were by Calef, on the 13th and 17th, both time with pars.
It was a slow initial 18 holes (4 1/2 hours), but tightly contested. Expect the players back on the course shortly.
MARBLEHEAD -- Four players remain at the 104th Massachusetts Amateur, with semifinal matches at Tedesco Country Club about to commence.
The first semifinal will see Ben Spitz, the 2006 Massachusetts Amateur champion who plays out of George Wright Golf Course, against Mark Souliotis of Haverhill Country Club. The second semifinal has Mike Calef (Brockton Country Club) against Jack Whelan (Myopia Hunt). Other than Spitz, none of the other three semifinalists has ever advanced this far in the Massachusetts Amateur.
Spitz moved on with a 1 up victory over Colin Brennan this morning in the quarterfinals, a match he never trailed. The first eight holes were halved with pars, with Spitz winning No. 9 with a birdie. He lost the 10th, but then won the next two holes -- both with pars -- to take a two-hole lead after the 12th. Brennan cut the lead in half by winning the 16th, but two closing pars gave Spitz the victory.
Souliotis had never won a match before at the Massachusetts Amateur before this week. Now he's won three, after coming from behind to beat Mark Purrington of Allendale Country Club, 2 and 1. Purrington was three holes up through five holes, still three up through eight, and was two holes ahead after the 10th. That's when Souliotis made his move, winning the next four holes to go from two down to two up through 14. He won the 11th hole with a par, then birdied the next three holes to assume control.
Calef beat Josh Salah of Bass Rocks, 2 and 1. He never trailed, going two holes up through four, won the sixth to go 3 up, then birdied the 10th to take a four-hole lead. Salah cut into the lead, winning the 12th, 13th, 15th, and 16th to trail by one hole. But Calef ended the match by winning the 17th hole when Salah made a double bogey.
In a match pitting college standouts, Whelan beat Ricky Stimets, 1 up. The Saint Lawrence student birdied the first three holes, and was 1 up at the turn. He won the 12th to take a two-hole lead, but Stimets, a North Alabama senior-to-be who made nine birdies in his match on Wednesday afternoon, birdied the 16th to trail by one. Both players bogeyed No. 17, and both made par on the 18th, ending the match in Whelan's favor.
This afternoon's semifinal matches will determine which two players move on to Friday's 36-hole championship.