Jeff Overton hits his tee shot to within 10 feet on the short par 4 and makes the eagle putt.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
In a wide-ranging pre-tournament interview Tuesday at the Frys.com Open more notable for his comments on Tiger Woods, Rocco Mediate also had some perspective on the long putter.
Some 20 years before today’s PGA TOUR long putter craze, there was a young Mediate, not with the yips exactly but just not putting as well as he wanted to.
“I remember Jim Ferree, who was one of my first teachers actually. I was at Long Cove in Hilton Head in 1990 … he goes, you gotta try this thing. I said all right, and I tried it. And I came out in '91 with it, and I know (Bruce) Lietzke used it then, but then I won and I had like six straight Top 10s or five straight Top 10s [actually, four in five weeks] and I won Doral.
“And I was the antichrist then in the putting world. And now look at it now. Yeah, I was the antichrist. People, I mean trust me, I had a lot of interesting comments about the putter, as you probably remember. So now, look at it now.”
Now, Mediate is going for what he calls a “triple crown” of putting mastery. He has won with a conventional-length putter (including last year’s Frys.com Open) and a long putter, and now he’s going to try to win with a belly putter. “Unprecedented,” he said.
BYRD’S DRIVER: Jonathan Byrd’s TaylorMade SuperFast 2.0 driver was a casualty of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup – it broke at the BMW Championship. He experimented to find a new one, and ended up putting an R11 in play at the JT Shriners.
NEW STUFF: Cleveland Golf debuted its 588 forged clubs in Las Vegas, with Jeff Overton becoming the first Cleveland staffer to use the 588 MB model. Seventeen new 588 forged wedges were in play (Woody Austin had four) and three new fairway wood “Mashies” were also used.
CALI CAMERONS: Scotty Cameron is releasing a refined look to its California putter line, featuring improved “visual flow.”
“My main objective for the new California designs was to take the visual flow to a new level,” Cameron said.
More than 30 refinements were made, including deeper milling in the putter’s face. That yields a softer sound at impact, said to be preferred by many good putters.
The model line is slightly changed, with the Monterey 1.5 model replacing the Coronado. The others – Del Mar, Fastback, Monterey and Sonoma – are mainstays in the California line.
BECK’S AID: Chip Beck, the second man to shoot 59 in a PGA TOUR event, has developed a grip training aid with his wife, Karen. Called “Grip Guides,” it features a heat-activated surface that gives feedback to whether or not you’re gripping the club correctly.
ROUGH TRIP: In case you missed it last week, Lee Janzen’s clubs took a beating on the way to Las Vegas. Wished we could have seen the two-time U.S. Open champion’s face when an airline representative suggested that he could get a rental set.
Davis Love III said Wednesday at the John Deere Classic that his duties as 2012 Ryder Cup Captain won't lead to a dip in his performance on the course.
"There's nothing to take you away from playing golf tournaments and working on your golf game," Love said. "I'm not going to back off on my golf. I signed a deal with Bridgestone that said I was going to play 20 tournaments, and I always play 23 or 24 or 25. And you know, I'm here to play this week, and you know, next year I'm going to be here to play again."
Love has played in six Ryder Cups -- his last in 2004. He said he's not focused on who he will pick for the 2012 Ryder Cup team, but actually on qualifying for the team himself. He's also hoping to qualify for Fred Couples' Presidents Cup team this year, although he admitted that he will have to win a few events to do so.
"Sure (as a captain) you gotta watch guys play," Love said. "The best way to do that is go play with them, you know. And I've had a great time playing with, you know, Bo Van Pelts, and Mark Wilsons and Jeff Overtons and Rickie Fowlers, guys that I haven't gotten most captains wouldn't have gotten a chance to play for two or three years with."
Love said he's often asked about Tiger Woods' health or how he will handle Rory McIlroy, questions he called irrelevant at this time.
"We're trying to prepare for the tournament," he said. "You can't predict now who's going to make the team on either side."
By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM
With just seven weeks remaining before the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup get under way, Nick Watney became the season's sixth points leader. Watney, who won last week’s AT&T National to move atop the FedExCup standings, needs to watch just one player this week to see if his lead will be safe. Only Mark Wilson, who led for 12 weeks earlier this year, can catch Watney at the John Deere Classic. It would take nothing short of a victory for Wilson to jump from No. 5 to No. 1 just like Watney did last week. In eight starts at the John Deere Classic, however, Wison has made just four cuts and has a best finish of T39.
WHAT ABOUT STRICKER? Two-time reigning John Deere Classic champion, and 2011 Memorial champion, Steve Stricker checks in this week at No. 12 in the standings. A third consecutive victory at TPC Deere Run would move him to No. 2, just ahead of PLAYERS champion K.J. Choi, but still 125 points behind Watney. David Toms could also move to No. 2 with a win or solo second, but cannot catch Watney this week.
WHO’S UP, WHO’S DOWN: Some familiar faces were moving up and down the ranks at the AT&T National. Adam Scott moved from 60th to 45th and Jeff Overton from 78th to 54th after both tied for third at Aronimink. Six 2010 PGA TOUR winners were moving the opposite direction, however, as Ernie Els, Anthony Kim, Heath Slocum, Camilo Villegas, Stuart Appleby and Ian Poulter each dropped between seven and nine spots.
Making the biggest move was Chris Stroud, who tied for sixth at the AT&T National. With that finish, Stroud moved inside the all-important top 125 in the FedExCup standings, jumping from 132nd to 103rd, with just seven weeks remaining before the Playoffs. Ben Curtis is the new bubble boy, after missing the cut last week and falling to No. 125 in the standings.
MORE ON LAST WEEK’S WINNER: For the first time in his career, Watney finds himself atop the FedExCup standings. The former Fresno State Bulldog has twice been No. 2 in the standings, but only reached the pinnacle after winning last week’s AT&T National. In 14 starts this year, the 30-year-old has made 12 cuts with eight top 10s and his pair of victories. Last week’s victory was the first of Watney’s four to come after the month of April.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
The final pairing at the AT&T National on Sunday had a distinct Presidents Cup flavor.
Two players who are expected to play prominent roles on opposite sides in the biennial competition at Royal Melbourne in November -- America's Nick Watney and K.J. Choi of South Korea -- did battle down the stretch at Aronomink COuntry Club.
Watney ended up winning for the second time this season, beating Choi by two strokes in a spirited duel. Watney moved from fifth to third in the U.S. Team standings while Choi maintained his hold on No. 3 on the International side.
The Presidents Cup, where he will play for Fred Couples, will be the first international team competition for Watney, who now has four PGA TOUR victories. For his efforts on Sunday, the lanky Californian was also rewarded with the lead in the FedExCup standings.
Choi, who set the Aronomink course record in the second round only to see Watney eclipse it a day later, was bidding for the ninth win of his TOUR career. He beat another U.S. Team hopeful, eighth-ranked David Toms, in a playoff at TPC Sawgrass in May to win THE PLAYERS Championship.
The third member of the final draw at Aronomink, Rickie Fowler, couldn't keep pace with his two playing partners on Sunday. The exciting youngster from Oklahoma State ended up in a tie for 13th but still managed to move two spots to No. 21 as he tries to make his first U.S. Presidents Cup Team.
Two of the biggest movers on Sunday were Charles Howell III and fellow American Jeff Overton, who tied for third with Australian Adam Scott. Howell moved from 35th to 29th in the standings while Overton jumped four spots to No. 20.
Scott ranks a solid fourth in the International Team standings. He's an International mainstay after being a member of the last four times, and he'll be looking forward to competing for his childhood hero, Norman, for the second time, and the first before a home crowd.
Another Aussie veteran, Robert Allenby, inched his way closer to being one of the 10 automatic qualifiers when he tied for sixth at Aronomink. Allenby, who has played in five previous Presidents Cups, now ranks 11th.
Once the 10 automatic qualifiers are finalized at the end of the BMW Championship, which is the third event in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, each captain will complete his team with two picks. Those picks will be made on Monday, Sept. 26.
The Presidents Cup will be played Nov. 14-20 at Royal Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia. Australian Jason Day and American Matt Kuchar lead their respective standings.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- The eighth and 10th holes at Aronimink resembled a traffic jam at times on Sunday with players getting backed up there. Among them was Jeff Overton, who played with Bryce Molder and Charlie Wi.
As a result, the group was put on the clock on No. 12.
“It kind of messes with your round a little bit,” Overton said of the backup. “Then we all kind of struggled after the wait on 9 and 10 and 11.”
Well, Overton birdied Nos. 11 and 12 for his fourth and fifth birdies of the day as he got within one of the lead, but he gave them back with back-to-back bogeys on 14 and 15. He finished with a 67.
”It was unfortunate, but it happens, and that's the nature of the game,” Overton said of being put on the clock. “You've got to be tougher than that, and I just wasn't able to stay in rhythm.”
Still, Overton was relatively pleased with his performance as he tied for third. He also ranked second in the field in putting.
“I can't remember [the last time I putted this well],” Overton said. “It seems like I missed everything I looked at from outside 5 to 15 feet over the course of the last year, and today and all week it seemed like I played really well, so it was a lot of fun.”
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- There’s a player looking for his first career win this week who’s within a shot of the lead at the moment. It’s just not the player who began the day tied for the lead.
Jeff Overton has five birdies over his first 12 holes, including on each of his last two, and is 11 under and within one of leader Nick Watney.
Overton is rolling it well here in the final round with just 16 putts over those dozen holes -- and that’s after h itting 75 percent of his greens in regulation. It’s helped that Overton, who can get wild off the tee, is driving it straight, too, with 70 percent of his fairways hit.
K.J. Choi, meanwhile, is alone in third at the moment at 9 under.
Rickie Fowler? His slide continues with a bogey on No. 10, where he had to pitch back to the fairway after a wayward tee shot and then missed a 7-footer for par. That drops Fowler to 4 over on the day and all the way back to 5 under for the week.