GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Sergio Garcia spent the weather delay playing cards in the locker room.
Now he'll have to wait until Monday at 9 a.m. to see what kind of luck he has on the golf course when the final round of the Wyndham Championship resumes.
Garcia, who owns sole possession of the lead at 15 under, has just hit his second shot on the par-5 fifth. He owns a one-stroke lead over his playing partner Bud Cauley and the two men in the penultimate group, Jason Dufner and Tim Clark.
"There's nothing you can do," Garcia said philosophically. "Definitely the weather is one thing we can't control, so yeah, just kind of be patient and we'll see."
Clark had actually been tied for the lead with Garcia before missing the fairway at the par-5 fifth, laying up and then coming up short of the green with his third. He chipped on and missed a 15-footer for par but said the weather didn't contribute to the bogey.
"One of those things," Clark said. "It really didn't have much to do with the rain but when we're in the sixth fairway that's when they had to call it. Water was running down the fairways and pooling on the greens. I wouldn't say that rain affected anyone in a negative way while we were still playing."
Clark, who has two ties for sixth in the Wyndham Championship, one of which came at Sedgefield, said he likes when the course plays firm and fast. Playing lift, clean and place on Sunday helped the man who ranks 188th in driving distance, though.
"I think it would have really hurt me had it been playing it
down because then you're dealing with mud on the ball and all sort
of wet lies," Clark said. "So, that kind of negates the fact that
"It's going to obviously be sopping wet tomorrow. The ball will be running nowhere. It changes the course a little bit for me. The greens will be a little bit softer. I may be coming in some with longer clubs tomorrow. The greens will be holding. A little bit easier."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Tim Clark didn't prepare for the Wyndham Championship like most of the rest of the field. He headed to the Bahamas for a few days to recharge his batteries after tying for 11th at the PGA.
"It was a brutal week," Clark said. "Felt like I needed a little bit of relaxation."
And why not? Clark knew he was playing well after shooting a final-round 69 at the Ocean Course. Not to mention, he has two ties for sixth in his last three appearances at the Wyndham Championship, including one at Sedgefield Country Club.
And Clark knew there were low scores out there Thursday after seeing his former college roommate Carl Pettersson, the 2008 Wyndham Championship winner, shot a 62 in the morning. The South African almost caught him in the afternoon, too, shooting a 63 to tie with David Mathis, one stroke off the lead.
"Obviously very pleased with that," Clark said. "Didn't really know what to expect coming up but having seen Carl shoot what he did in the morning I knew it was out there if I played a great round so it was nice to sort of keep pace."
Clark finished his round off with an exclamation point, rolling in a bomb of a 33-footer for his fifth birdie on the final hole. He also made an 8-foot eagle putt at the fifth hole.
"I didn't want to come up short, a tricky putt but I used great imagination on the greens all day," Clark said. "I was able to read the putt. Obviously hit it a little bit firm. Probably would have missed the green if it didn't hit the hole."
Clark appears to be peaking at the right time. After returning from elbow surgery five months ago, he posted his best finish of the season in a tie for fourth at the Travelers Championship. He has finished 15th or better in his last two starts -- moving 124th to 109th in the FedExCup at the PGA last week.
"I needed to play well there and had to get myself in a good position going forward," Clark said. "So I felt like I was under the gun the last few weeks. I seem to play better like that.
“This is a huge week. You have a good opportunity to move way up in the standings and get yourself started. You have to play well. I really want to move up now and then carry that momentum to the Playoffs."
And Clark knows what he needs to do to have a chance to make the Wyndham Championship his second PGA TOUR title.
"I got to keep pace with Carl," Clark said. "He likes this course, he's won here and when he goes low, he really goes low. If I'm able to hang in there, it's going to be a lot of fun."
Prior to the 2012 Wyndham Championship, Tim Clark meets with the media and talks about recovering from his injury.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Tim Clark gave himself some breathing room in the FedExCup at the PGA Championship on Sunday.
The 65 points he earned when he tied for 11th at Kiawah Island moved Clark from 124th to 109th in the standings with one event remaining in the Regular Season. He's hoping to make a similar move this week at the Wyndham Championship.
Clark attended college at N.C. State, which is about 90 minutes away from Greensboro. He hasn't played the Wyndham Championship since 2008, the year the tournament moved to Sedgefield and his former Wolfpack teammate, Carl Pettersson, won and Clark tied for sixth.
"I've been looking forward to this tournament for a long time
now," Clark said with a smile. "Obviously being the last event
before the Playoffs, a great opportunity to move up in the
FedExCup. So I've certainly be looking for forward it.
"It's a course I like. With the green changes it's going to be a big improvement in the golf course too, play a little bit tougher, firmer greens. Nice to be back here in North Carolina. Don't get to play too often here. It's good to be back."
Clark had season-ending surgery on his right elbow after playing just four events last year. He's played 15 events this year, though, and has three top-20 finishes in his last five starts, including a tie for fourth at the Travelers Championship. The 69 he shot at the Ocean Course on Sunday in major championship pressure was pretty darn good, as well.
"I do feel like I'm back to where I wanted to be," Clark said.
"I knew it would be a long year. At the start of the year I wasn't
really ready for tournament golf yet but I wanted to get out and
start playing. I figured that would be the best way for me to get
back sooner rather than staying at home and just trying to practice
and figure it out that way.
“So, it's been an encouraging year. I don't really know what I expected. I thought it would be a lot easier at the start to get back to playing the way I wanted to. That took a good five, six weeks.
"At that point I was thinking about taking forever but luckily the last few months it's really turned around and I feel like I'm now in a position to be in The Playoffs and if I can start playing really well now, I could go quite deep in them."
The last time the RBC Canadian Open was played at Hamilton G&CC, in 2006, it ranked as the third-most difficult course on the PGA TOUR.
What a difference six years, and soft conditions, can make.
Tim Clark was the latest to tie the course record, shooting a 62 Friday to enter the weekend near the top of the leaderboard.
“Obviously being soft you’re able to go at a lot of flags and make a lot of birdies,” Clark said.
Earlier this week, Scott Piercy tied the course record with a 62 in the opening round.
For Clark, it matches his career low on the PGA TOUR. It’s also a sign of things heading in the right direction after his last two years were derailed by wrist surgery in 2010.
In his first six starts this season, Clark missed the cut four times and was disqualified from another event.
“The only way to get better was to come out here and play tournament golf,” Clark said. “I could feel I was getting better every round I played.”
It’s showed. Clark tied for 19th at Colonial and last month finished in a tie for fourth at the Travelers Championship.
“I don’t think I came back too soon,” Clark added. “I think it’s what I needed to do.”
Check out the top five shots of the week from the 2012 PLAYERS Championship featuring highlights from Tim Clark, Brian Gay, Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose, and Jhonattan Vegas.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The early reports are in from the opening round of the Masters and as expected Augusta National is playing “soft.”
That’s not to be confused with easy, however.
“The greens are soft but the pins are in some tough positions,” said Brendan Steele, who was in the first group off at 7:50 a.m. ET.
Steele struggled in the first round of his first Masters, shooting a 4-over 76 that included a stretch of four straight birdies on the back nine. He went out in even par but closed in 40.
“It’s really easy for the round to get away from you,” said Steele, who turned 29 Thursday. “I don’t even really know what happened.”
Steele added that mud could be an issue and noted two mud balls he had, including on the par-5 13th, where after a good drive he decided to lay up because mud was on his ball. He went on to make bogey.
Tim Clark, meanwhile, is playing in his first Masters since 2010 after undergoing season-ending wrist surgery last year.
Likewise, Clark, who shot 73, thought Augusta National was playing soft and would favor the long hitters.
“I almost spun one in the water on 15, which I wasn’t expecting,” Clark said. “It’s going to play tough for the guys who lay up.”
As for Clark’s wrist, he said he feels good in what is just his fourth start of the season.
Clark, who missed the cut in his first two and was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard at Bay Hill two weeks ago, said he’s finally able to practice full time.
“Today was the first time I hit some decent shots and made some good putts,” Clark said. “Coming here is going to bring out the best in you.”
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- The way Tim Clark saw it, he had passed the test.
Sure, he shot 82 on Friday and finished at the bottom of the leaderboard at the Northern Trust Open. But Clark played – teeing it up for the first time since a nagging elbow injury forced him to withdraw from THE PLAYERS Championship last May. In his title defense, no less.
And that, in itself, was a small victory for Clark, who had surgery in August to repair the tendon he tore in his right elbow in Hawaii last year.
"I wasn't proud of my score," he acknowledged Friday. "It got a bit frustrating at times. But I had to realize, listen, it's been eight months since I've played. That was to be expected."
Clark knew he had to come out and would likely "get beat up a little bit," he said. His next tournament will be the Transitions Championship and he knows now the areas he needs to shore up.
"It's tough," Clark said. "Obviously, you come to poa annua greens, and it's a different beast. I just couldn't get it in the hole. And there were other things, the touch, the feel shots from 70 to 80 yards. But in terms of driving the ball and full iron shots, it was as good as it was before.
"I didn't know what exactly to expect. The fact that I could get through 18 holes without having any pain is quite nice."
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
There are only two weeks left for players outside the top 64 in the Official World Golf Ranking to qualify for the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship Feb 22-26 in Marana, Ariz. In other words, Vijay Singh and Padraig Harrington, among others, have some work to do.
Singh and Harrington are 69th and 90th, respectively, and in need of strong performances in one or more likely both of the next two weeks. Singh is in the field for this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, while Harrington has the week off.
Last year, Singh also failed to qualify.
Other notables on the outside looking in include Sean O’Hair (68th), Sony Open in Hawaii winner Johnson Wagner (70th) and last year’s Wells Fargo Championship winner Lucas Glover, who is 77th in the world and has yet to play this year after withdrawing from the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions with a knee injury.
The player currently on the bubble at No. 64 is the Netherlands’ Joost Luiten. However with Phil Mickelson having already said that he plans to take that week off, the field would then extend to the 65th player in the world -- currently Rory Sabbatini.
Also among those outside the top 64: Kyle Stanley. The hard-luck loser of the Farmers Insurance Open is 87th in the world. Had he won at Torrey Pines, he would have moved up to 64th.
Others in more dire circumstances include Branden Grace, a two-time winner on the European Tour this year who has only climbed to 93rd; Camilo Villegas (99th); Anthony Kim (102nd); and Stewart Cink (138th).
Only once in Cink’s career has he failed to qualify for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Champisonhip, a tournament he’s been dominant in with six trips to at least the quarterfinals. On four of those occasions Cink reached at least the semifinals, including from 2008 to 2010 when he finished second, third and tied for fifth.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Tim Clark is recovering from surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right elbow.
The surgery was performed by Dr. Thomas Graham on Tuesday, Aug. 9 at the Cleveland Clinic. The former PLAYERS champion said in a telephone interview on Friday that he hopes to be hitting balls in about three months and he expects to be ready for the 2012 season.
"The main thing is getting the strength back," Clark said. "I could reinjure it if I tried to start playing too soon."
Clark first felt the pain in his elbow the morning after he tied for second at the Sony Open in Hawaii, playing 36 holes on Sunday. He had taken the red-eye home and when he woke up the next morning "it was just killing me."
Clark had hoped that rest and therapy would cure what was originally thought to be a case of tennis elbow. But an MRI six weeks ago revealed that the tear was worse than it had been in January, so Clark opted for the surgery.
"The toughest part was obviously the majors, missing playing the majors and some of the big events," Clark said. "That's why I played the Masters and PLAYERS, even though I probably shouldn't have."
Clark ended up missing the cut at the Masters, shooting consecutives 73s, and he had to withdraw from THE PLAYERS after shooting 74. In all, Clark played in just four events this year.
Clark, who currently is ninth in the International Team standings, will also miss competing in The Presidents Cup for the fourth time. But he told Captain Greg Norman he'd be glad to help in any way he could, and the Aussie took Clark up on his offer -- naming him as one of his assistant captains.
"Obviously, it's always a goal of mine to play my way onto the team," Clark said. "It is such a fun event and something I certainly have enjoyed a lot. When I realized we would have to do surgery, it was a huge disappointment. But I wanted to help, so I told them if they needed me in any way shape or form, I would be available.
"Greg and (assistant captain) Frank (Nobilo) spoke about it. I was extremely honored that Greg would think of me in that light. Playing for him at Harding Park (in 2009) was great. He's a great captain and hopefully I can bring something a little different to the table."
By the time he gets to Royal Melbourne in November, Clark hopes to be doing strengthening exercises and maybe even chipping and putting. He's been going to the gym doing other exercises to increase his flexibility and expects to be in a soft cast late next week.