Is this Robert Garrigus’ week?
He’s certainly playing like it. Through the first three rounds, Garrigus is fifth in fairways, leads the field by 30 yards off the tee with a 324-yard average, is tied for first in greens in regulation and averaging 13 feet closer to the pin than the field average.
With numbers like those, and a couple of 64s, it’s a wonder he doesn’t lead by more than one.
This is the second time Garrigus has led going into the final round. The last time he did? The 2010 FedEx St. Jude Classic, where he led by three on the final hole only to make triple bogey and eventually lose in a playoff.
Garrigus won 5 months later for his only career victory, after which he talked about how he wouldn’t have been able to without the disappointment of what happened in Memphis.
He’s certainly played well this year with eight top 25s, including a couple of runner-up finishes and early this month he tied for fourth at the AT&T National.
Garrigus has company, though. Nine players are within six shots of him., and we’ve seen plenty of big comebacks this season.
The pairings have been unveiled for this week’s PGA TOUR Matchups Game on Facebook. You can check out the Matchups for the RBC Canadian Open below, or on the PGA TOUR’s Facebook page.
Participants have until 6 a.m. ET Thursday to make their picks. Log on to the PGA TOUR Facebook page and click the Matchups link to make your picks for this week, or to sign up.
|Ernie Els vs. Vijay Singh||Two of the game's best over-40 players. Or best players, period.|
|Jim Furyk vs. Sean O'Hair||Furyk won here in 2006; O'Hair is defending champion|
|Matt Kuchar vs. Hunter Mahan||Mahan started the season on fire; lately, Kuchar's been hot|
|Brandt Snedeker vs. Scott Stallings||It's Vanderbilt (Nashville) vs. Tennessee Tech (Cookeville)|
|Robert Garrigus vs. Charlie Wi||FedExCup surprises in '12 -- both are on the top 30 bubble|
Three players have finished their first rounds of the John Deere Classic with 65s, leaving them one shot off Ricky Barnes' lead.
Garrigus, who ranks 30th in the FedExCup standings, made three birdies on the front nine and finished strong with a birdie and an eagle at Nos. 16 and 17, respectively. He is coming off a tie for fourth at the AT&T National and has two runner-up finishes this year, as well.
Piercy, who won his first PGA TOUR event last year in Reno, has been solid this season with four top-20 finishes in his last eight starts. He posted four rounds in the 60s last week at The Greenbrier Classic.
Choi has won eight times on TOUR, most recently at THE PLAYERS last year. He tied for fifth at the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions but hasn't finished in the top 10 since that event.
Following his second-round 67, Robert Garrigus reflects on his play in the 2012 AT&T National with John Maginnes from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
BETHESDA, Md. -- Robert Garrigus is in contention at 5 under halfway through the AT&T National. But he’s more concerned about the health of his caddie, Brent Henley.
Henley was coming out of the caddie trailer on Thursday when he ducked under an overhang and came up too soon, cutting his head on a metal edge of the trailer. He went to nearby Suburban Hospital and received 40 stitches from Dr. Dean Jabs, who happens to be a big golf fan according to Henley and came in on his day off.
“I was thinking about him all day,” said Garrigus, who got veteran caddie Paul Fusco to fill in for the opening round.
Despite the injury, Henley was back on the bag Friday. Garrigus rewarded him with a 4-under 67 to enter the weekend with a share of the lead at Congressional.
“It hurt like crazy Thursday night,” said Henley, who couldn’t fall asleep until 3 a.m. “It swelled up this morning and that scared me."
Henley said he wouldn’t have been as worried if it wasn’t so hot during Friday’s second round when the heat index hit 104 degrees.
“He was out here this morning at 7 ready to go,” said Garrigus, who had Fusco on standby just in case. “That's pretty gutsy.”
So was Garrigus’ play on another difficult day of scoring. He had seven birdies on an afternoon when Congressional again played over par.
Still, Garrigus was worried more about Henley.
“Robert always worries more about everyone else than he does about Robert,” said Henley, whose head was heavily bandaged Friday.
Friday he had reason to given the conditions.
“Caddies already are carrying around 50 pounds,” said Henley, who was back in his hotel room Friday afternoon icing down his head. “It’s dangerous. I thought he might take [Paul] again. I don’t think Robert wanted me to caddie, but I told him I was fine. The doctor did a heck of a job.”
Henley wasn’t the only caddie battling injury this week.
Mike Hartford, who caddies for Pat Perez, pricked his index finger on a rose thorn over the weekend.
He thought he would be fine -- until 2 hours later when he had a high fever and was throwing up.
Hartford struggled through a redeye flight from San Diego to be at Congressional by Monday morning before receiving antibiotics.
Perez is one shot back of Garrigus after a second straight 69 on Friday.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Bubba Watson came up just short in his bid to win the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, but that’s about the only way to get “Bubba Watson” and “short” in the same breath.
Watson is leading the PGA TOUR in driving distance through the first 10 weeks of the season, and there’s not a close second. Watson is averaging 316.1 yards per drive, nearly nine yards ahead of Robert Garrigus (check out the full list here ).
At Doral, Watson and his all-pink G20 were, well, monstrous at TPC Blue Monster, with 37 drives of 300 yards or longer and a field-leading average of 318.4 yards. For the season, more than 62 percent of Watson’s drives have sailed more than 300 yards.
Should the Florida panhandle native hold on to his top spot, it would be the first time he’s led the stat since a three-year run as the TOUR’s longest driver from 2006-08. He was second in 2009 and 2010 to Robert Garrigus, and second to J.B. Holmes last season.
BELLYING UP: Thomas Bjorn used a belly putter for the first time in his career at WGC-Cadillac, an Odyssey White Hot XG No. 1 Protype Blade. He opened with two 68s before a 75-71 weekend left him in a tie for 24th.
Darren Clarke also had a belly in competition for the first time, a TaylorMade Ghost Spider.
TWEAKS: Phil Mickelson had new shafts, Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana a’hina 70x, in his Callaway Razr Fit driver and Big Bertha Diablo 3-wood. … Noted hybrid fan Y.E. Yang had a TaylorMade RBZ 3-wood in the bag at Doral, a 13-degree model to try to stay under the strong winds. … After switching to TaylorMade’s Tour Preferred MC irons in the offseason, Dustin Johnson returned to Tour Preferred MB irons – his 2011 sticks – at WGC-Cadillac.
HOOP IT UP: Think you’ve got the NCAA Tournament figured out? Golfweek has a contest awarding golf gear like a Rickie Fowler-signed hat to the best bracket. Check it out here .
WINNERS’ BAGS: Justin Rose at the
Driver: TaylorMade R11, 8 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade RBZ, 15 degrees
Hybrid: TaylorMade Rescue 11, 19 degrees
Irons: TaylorMade MB 4-PW
Wedges: TaylorMade ATV, 52, 56 degrees; Cleveland 588, 60 degrees
Putter: TaylorMade Ghost Tour Corza
Ball: TaylorMade Penta TP5
George McNeill at the Puerto Rico Open:
Driver: Cleveland Launcher Ultralite TL 310, 9.5 degrees
Fairway woods: Titleist 906F2 3-wood, 15 degrees; 5-wood, 18 degrees
Irons: Cleveland 588 Forged MB, 3-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 Forged, 54, 60 degrees
Putter: Nike Method 001
Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
The world of putting on the PGA TOUR became an itty-bitty less interesting this season.
That’s because Robert Garrigus has shelved his itty-bitty putter.
Garrigus is one of the longest hitters on TOUR but also gained notoriety in recent years for his 28.5-inch putter, which looked pretty funny in the hands of a 5-foot-11 pro. Seemingly more suited for a junior’s bag, Garrigus’ putter instead helped lift him to a win at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in 2010 and a 74th-place FedExCup finish in 2011.
Alas, the long putter revolution has picked up another believer as Garrigus had a belly putter in play last week at the Humana Challenge, where he finished T2.
Garrigus used a 46-inch Scotty Cameron Big Sur – 17.5 inches taller than his old putter.
“I would have never in a million years been like, ‘oh, I think I need to go to a belly putter,’” Garrigus said after the final round at La Quinta, Calif.
His coach, Jim Ahern, encouraged him to simply try it out.
“I putted with a few different styles, the belly, I tried the chest, and the chest ended up being perfect,” Garrigus said. “It was 46 inches, which is three inches shorter -- kind of fitting, because my other putter was about seven inches shorter than everybody else's. But I started rolling it, I started getting confident with it, and about five or six days before I came out (to Humana), I found the perfect grip for my putting stroke, and it took all the tension out of it. Man, I tell you what, I haven't rolled it this good in quite a long time.
“It's so easy to take it back and take it through. I hit so many good putts this week, it was the straight putts I always had problems with, I always pulled them, now those are starting right on line and it's just awesome. I'm just very, very excited about the year.”
TYPICAL PHIL: Phil Mickelson came to the Humana Challenge not wanting to make any changes in his bagfrom last year. If you know Phil, you knew that vow would have limited shelf life.
“The first day, of course, I hit two (drives) out of bounds and I kind of bagged that idea,” Mickelson said.
After that opening-round 74, he replaced his Callaway FT Tour driver for a RAZR Fit that he had worked with over the offseason. Sure enough, his next three rounds in the desert were 69-66-69.
As for the putter, last year’s belly experiment appeared to be just that. He used a conventional-length Odyssey blade that brought back old vibes.
“I think that as I looked back at these last couple months, the way I putted best over the years, it was when I was an amateur and early in my career where I putted very free with a blade,” Mickelson said. ”So I went back to the putter I used growing up as a kid. Odyssey, identical specs, I’m rolling it much like I did when I was younger, and it feels really good.
TRANSACTIONS: As expected, Rickie Fowler made it official with Cobra Puma Golf. He already wore Puma’s clothes, now he’ll play Cobra clubs including the orange-accented AMP driver. … After eight years with Yonex, Colin Montgomerie is returning to Callaway, the company with which he won five consecutive European Tour money titles. … Ross Fisher signed with Nike Golf.
NEW STUFF: Mark Wilson, not cut from the Mickelson mold of club tinkering, tweeted after winning the Humana Challenge, “I went out of my comfort zone this year, putting new Ping i20 Driver and i20 irons into play cuz they felt so good. Apparently, a good call”. Indeed. For the rest of us, those clubs will be available in late February. … Camilo Villegas put a TaylorMade Ghost Manta belly putter into play at Humana, shooting an opening-round 63 and finishing T19. He finished T39 for the event in Strokes-Gained Putting; he was 141st for the 2011 season. … Luke Donald is taking new Mizuno MP59 irons and MP-R12 wedges to Abu Dhabi.
WINNER’S BAG: Wilson at the Humana
Driver: Ping i20 8.5 degree (Grafalloy Tour X shaft)
3-wood: Cleveland HiBore XLS, 13 degrees
Hybrids: Ping i15, 17 and 20 degrees
Irons: Ping i20 4-PW
Wedges: Ping Tour, 52, 60 degrees
Putter: Ping Karsten Anser
Ball: Titleist ProV1x
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Robert Garrigus, who started the Humana Challenge with two double bogeys in his first three holes, has just broken out of a three-way tie for the lead with a 10-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole.
Garrigus is now 21 under and one stroke ahead of Mark Wilson and John Mallinger.
Garrigus was actually 6 over after his first eight holes in Thursday’s first round, which he played on the Palmer Course at PGA West. He has played his next 56 holes in 27 under, including a career-low 61 in the third round.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Robert Garrigus knew he had a shot at history as he stood on the eighth tee of the Nicklaus Course at PGA West on Sunday morning.
"A hundred percent," he said firmly.
With two holes remaining in his third round at the Humana Challenge, Garrigus was 11 under and flirting with a 59 -- the number only five previous PGA TOUR players had ever shot. The eighth happens to be a 509-yard par 5 and "I was thinking eagle the whole way," he said.
"We took out driver, I hammered it down the right side and it just kicked right instead of left," Garrigus recalled. "I wasn't nervous, I was just pumped up.
"And then hit a great shot in there, over the side slope with a 5-iron from 206, and just, I knew that if I birdied the last two holes I was going to shoot 59. So I hammered that thing to make sure it got there and just misread it a bit.
“But made a couple really good par putts coming down there on my 18th hole. So very pleased with the way today went."
As it was, the 61 Garrigus shot nipped his career-best by two strokes. Even better, it moved him to 18 under and into a tie with Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and John Mallinger, three strokes off the pace being set by Mark Wilson.
"It could have been something crazy," Garrigus said, lamenting a couple of putts he missed in shooting 29 on his first nine on Saturday before the horn blew. "But it was crazy -- 61's pretty dang good in a PGA TOUR event."
Garrigus said he's been working out this year -- "It's kind of a new me," he noted -- and the man who used to use a 28-inch putter is getting used to the long one he now employs. He was pleased with the way he handled the unexpected overnight wind delay, too, after playing his first 13 holes in 9 under.
"In the past I've always not dealt well with the breaks and coming back out and trying to keep the momentum going," Garrigus said. "But I got right back out at it and holed that 25-, 30-footer up the hill (for birdie), hit it right in the center of the hole. That was a lot of fun."
Garrigus, who birdied two of the five holes he played on Sunday morning, will be playing in the final group of the day with Wilson and Johnson. He's not overly concerned about the two-hour break between the completion of the third round and the start of the fourth, either.
"I'm a new guy, I'm going to go in and eat and work out and stretch again and I'll be ready," Garrigus said. "I'll be focused for the next round and this one didn't exist."