In the third round of the 2012 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Jimmy Walker holes a 57-foot putt from just off the green on the par-5 13th hole for an eagle.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
FARMINGDALE N.Y. -- Jimmy Walker knew when he teed off Thursday afternoon that Bethpage State Park's Black Course was probably as generous as it was going to be this week during The Barclays.
All he had to do was look at the 64 next to Padraig Harrington's name.
So Walker went out and took advantage, too -- firing a bogey-free 66 that left him in a tie with Pat Perez, Gary Christian and Sergio Garcia. Interestingly, he and Garcia dueled Monday at the Wyndham Championship with the Spaniard earning the win, four strokes ahead of Walker, who tied for fourth.
"The greens had started to firm up a little bit in the afternoon yesterday for the pro-am, and I said, well, if you can hit some fairways the greens are decently receptive, and I think there are some good scores out there," Walker said. "And the guys this morning showed it, I think."
Walker's round Thursday was 10 shots better than his best score on the Black Course in the 2002 U.S. Open. He shot 77-76 and missed the cut but said he was excited for another opportunity.
"It's a great golf course," Walker said. "It's really hard."
Walker got the day off to a positive start with an 18-footer for birdie at the first hole, then got up-and-down from behind the green at the par-5 fourth for his second. He birdied the other par 5 on the front with a 16-footer to make the turn in 33 and then added putts of 30 and 10 feet on the back nine.
Walker was equally pleased, though, by the par saves at the 17th and 18th holes to preserve the bogey-free round. Those were among eight one-putts on the back nine when he used the flat stick just 10 times. He had a total of 24 putts in the round.
"I putted really good," Walker said. "I don't think I hit a ton of greens on the back. I hit a couple really good shots, gave myself some looks, but just was fighting to get up and down, and I left myself in some good spots for up and downs, fat sides of the green, with the only exception 17."
Walker was actually surprised when someone told him he'd only had 10 putts on the back nine. He chalked it up to how focused he was, though.
"It's that whole mentality one shot at a time, don't look at the past, just keep plugging along, keep looking forward to your next shot," Walker said. "I really wasn't thinking about anything that had happened throughout the day, so just kept grinding away."
Following a second-round 62, Jimmy Walker reflects on his play in the 2012 Wyndham Championship with Mark Immelman from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- When the FedExCup Playoffs are over in September, Jimmy Walker will likely have surgery for the torn meniscus in his left knee.
For now, though, that cortisone shot Walker had in June has kept the swelling down and the pain at bay. And he's certainly making the most of things -- firing a 62 on Friday that propelled him to the top of the leaderboard at the Wyndham Championship.
Walker went out Friday with the mindset of hitting fairways and greens at Sedgefield -- and that's exactly what he did. The Texan hit nine fairways and 15 greens for the second straight day. The difference was that the putts started falling with 26 Friday to 30 in the first round.
"I hit a lot of 5-woods off tees," Walker said. "Kind of boring.
I'm playing with J.B. (Holmes) and he's bombing the driver
everywhere. I'm just kind of bunting the 5-wood around and hitting
good approach shots, that kind of stuff. It was pretty boring
"Not a lot of drivers, not a lot of 3-woods. Lot of 5-woods and some irons. Just kind of placement, placement around the golf course, relying on hitting good approach shots and making a couple putts."
Walker has yet to make a bogey at Sedgefield -- the only player in the field who can claim that distinction. He made birdies in bunches on Friday, too, twice getting two in a row and finishing with three straight, two-putting the 15th from 42 feet and adding birdie putts of 7 and 6 feet on the next two holes.
Needless to say, Walker doesn't plan any changes over the weekend.
"There's different golf courses where you can just send it all over the place and go chase it but around here you want to stay in the fairway, especially with the rough as deep as it is," he said.
Walker said he tore the meniscus at the HP Byron Nelson Championship earlier this year. The pain continued for the better part of a month, so intense at times that he couldn't bend down to read putts the way he normally did.
The doctors told Walker he'll only miss 10 days to two weeks once he has the procedure and he'll be ready for some Fall Series events. In the meantime, the cortisone shot has done the trick and he's ready to see if he can pick up his first PGA TOUR win this weekend.
"I got that fixed and started feeling pretty good about everything again,” Walker said. “All the stuff I had been working on is starting to payoff."
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Only nine 54-hole leaders have won this season on the PGA TOUR, and we’ve seen comebacks from as many as eight shots in the final round.
So what makes it so difficult to close out a win the final 18 holes?
Jimmy Walker, who has never had the lead going into the final round but has ben in the top 5 a handful of times in his career, including at last week’s AT&T National, tried to answer that question at this week’s Greenbrier Classic.
Walker, along with Brendon de Jonge, are the only players in the field to have finished in the top 10 here the last couple of years.
“It takes a lot of mental ability just to stay in it for that long,” Walker said. “You're not going to hit it great every day, but I think the weeks you play really well are the weeks you're not really thinking about anything, when you're just going through the motions and you can just go out and play pure golf.”
That was easier said than done for Walker last week, for example, when fans weren’t allowed at Congressional for the third round because of dangerous course conditions for spectators after an overnight storm had uprooted several large trees around the property.
Walker was tied for second going into the third round there but shot 75-76 on the weekend. He wasn’t making excuses, but the lack of a gallery wasn’t beneficial, either.
“I got to play in the final group, which didn't feel like the final group,” Walker said. “I don't think we really enjoyed the day as much. There was no adrenaline at all. It just felt like you were just kind of kind of out going through the motions. I wish we could have not played that day and either done 36 the next day or finished on Monday. I had kind of had a mindset going in already that, hey, I'll be in the last two groups or last, you know, something like that. It's going to be fun, going to be a lot of people out. And then it was just all the sudden there's not going to be anybody out. That's my fault for not readjusting.”
As far as closing out a win, something Walker hasn’t been able to do in 153 career starts on TOUR, he thinks it comes down to not thinking.
”I can think back to the times that I have won [on other tours],” Walker said. “I don't remember having any swing thoughts when I played. I can remember being able to playing golf, see the shots, hit them, making putts. I think when you're in that frame of mind, you're not really out there grinding on anything.”
Note: All times Eastern
Tuesday, July 3
11:30 a.m. -- Scott Stallings
Noon -- Jimmy Walker
12:30 p.m. -- Billy Hurley III
1 p.m. -- Tiger Woods
2 p.m. -- Tom Watson
Wednesday, July 4
After pro-am -- Phil Mickelson
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Jimmy Walker is bidding to become the ninth first-time winner at the Northern Trust Open, and the first since Len Mattiace won at Riviera in 2002.
The Texan has momentum, too, after tying for ninth last week at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for the second straight year. He ended up sharing fourth at last year's Northern Trust Open so his success -- Walker started the third round at 4 under after shooting 66 Friday -- here is hardly unprecedented.
In fact, according to Walker's wife, Erin, Riviera is Walker's favorite course. Here is what she wrote in her blog at www.tourwifetravels.com
"As I have said before, the West Coast Swing is always a highlight of our year and especially our week at Riviera. I may have said this last year, but whenever anyone asks Jimmy what his favorite course to play his answer is always Riviera. He claims that if he could only play one course, every day for the rest of his life, this course would be it. (And yes, he has played Augusta before!)"
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Jimmy Walker came to the Northern Trust Open last year with momentum after tying for ninth at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He went on to shoot three rounds in the 60s at Riviera and finish in a tie for fourth.
Walker is in an even better position at the midway point of this year's tournament -- ironically, on the heels of another tie for ninth on the Monterey Peninsula. He fired the morning's low round of 66 at Riviera and is tied for second at 4 under, two strokes behind Phil Mickelson.
"I really like Riv," Walker said. "It's got a lot of history, and it's a great golf course. I like a lot of stuff about it."
He's not particularly pleased with his driver, though. Walker has only hit 13 of 28 fairways during the first two rounds, although he has managed to find all but 13 greens in regulation.
"You guys noticed that, huh?" Walker said when reminded of his wayward tee shots. "I did, too, and I started to drive it a little better coming down the stretch. I hit a few more, gave myself some good looks, but ... you can manage the rough out here.
‘For the most part the pins are kind of tough, especially when it starts going downwind, you definitely want to be in the fairway, so that's what I'm going to work on a little bit."
The 33-year-old Walker is still looking for his first PGA TOUR victory. But the former Nationwide Tour Player of the Year is coming off a season where he posted career-bests in top-10 finishes and on both the FedExCup standings and money list.
Walker already has two top-10s and has played in every event outside of the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions -- one of 29 players in the field this week who can say the same.
"I feel great," Walker said. "I did a lot of conditioning in the off season, and this is my sixth tournament in a row, so I feel like all that is kind of paying off. We've got an RV that we're traveling in, and it helps make you feel like you're at home more, and that helps let you stay out a little longer."
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Jimmy Walker birdied his final hole on Friday for a round of 66 that once again has the Texan contending at the Northern Trust Open.
Walker, who tied for fourth a year ago at Riviera on the strength of a closing 68, tapped in from 23 inches for the final birdie to move to 4 under for the tournament. He shot a sizzling 31 on the front nine, which was his second of the day.
When he finished, Walker was the leader in the clubhouse -- two strokes off the pace being set by Carl Pettersson and Phil Mickelson. He opened with consecutive birdies, then made his only bogey of the day when he three-putted No. 12 before really getting untracked on the front nine.