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    Golf Latest Headlines

    Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn leads LPGA Q-school

    Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012 | 07:22:04 PM

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn shot a 6-under 66 on Thursday to take a three-stroke lead after the second round of the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament.

    The 18-year-old Jutanugarn had a 10-under total at LPGA International in the five-round event.

    "Eight birdies," Jutanugarn said. "I don't know how come. I'm serious."

    Lacey Agnew was second after a 67.

    Two-time tour winner Christina Kim was third at 5 under after a 67. She is playing the qualifying tournament for the first time in her career.

    "When I was younger, after I got my card on what is now the Symetra Tour, I had vowed that I would never have to go to Q- school," Kim said. "And I would now say that no one should ever be that arrogant.

    "But now that I'm here, it has a very unique atmosphere. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity that everyone should do at least once. Not at least, just once. Because it's different."

    The final top 20 will earn full tour status.

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    Re: Golf Latest Headlines

    Meen Whee Kim leads PGA Tour Q-school

    Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012 | 07:35:06 PM

    LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) -- Meen Whee Kim shot a 9-under 63 on Thursday on PGA West's Stadium Course to take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the PGA Tour qualifying tournament.

    Kim had a 13-under 131 total in the six-round event. The top 25 and ties will receive 2013 PGA Tour cards and the next 50 and ties will earn Web.com Tour cards.

    Two-time tour winner Vaughn Taylor was second after a 64 on the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course.

    Richard H. Lee and Steve LeBrun were 11 under. Lee had a 67 in the Stadium Course, and LeBrun had a 69 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course.

    Sweden's Robert Karlsson, an 11-time winner on the European Tour, was tied for fifth at 10 under after a 68 on the Stadium Course.

    Two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton dropped into a tie for 23rd at 7 under after a 70 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course.

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    Re: Golf Latest Headlines

    Haas, Colsaerts share Nedbank lead

    Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012 | 06:18:24 PM


    Warren Little/Getty Images
    Bill Haas is tied for the lead after the first round.
    SUN CITY, South Africa (AP) -- Bill Haas bogeyed two of the last three holes Thursday in the Nedbank Golf Challenge to slip back into a share of the first-round lead with Nicolas Colsaerts.
    Two shots ahead after the 15th hole, the American dropped strokes on 16 and 18 to match Colsaerts at 2-under 70 in the 12-player event at Gary Player Country Club.

    Making his first appearance in the $5 million tournament, Haas salvaged boyey with a 10-foot putt on the 18th after fighting his way out of the stubborn Kikuyu grass rough.
    "Happy to make that last putt, a 6 on the last would have really stung," Haas said. "Happy with 2 under, but it would have been nice to shoot a couple more. Because it's playing tough out there."
    Two-time defending champion Lee Westwood was a stroke back along with Paul Lawrie and South African star Louis Oosthuizen. Charl Schwartzel, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer, Francesco Molinari and Carl Pettersson shot 72, Justin Rose had a 73, and Garth Mulroy was last at 75.
    Haas's father, Jay, was tied for second at 71 in the seniors' Champions Challenge. Bernhard Langer topped the eight-man field at 68. Mark Calcavecchia also had a 71.
    The last time the Haas duo was at Sun City was in 2003, when Bill came to watch his father play but ended up ignoring most of the golf to go on safari, see lions and crocodiles and to do some water skiing.
    "I only watched like two holes of golf, so a lot of the holes I've seen for the first time," Bill Haas said. "At one point (on Thursday) I was on seven green and my dad was on 13 green, so I could see him. It is neat to feel like his peer this week."




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    Re: Golf Latest Headlines

    Watney takes two-shot lead at Sherwood

    Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012 | 06:05:04 PM

    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
    Nick Watney's first-round 67 was good enough for the lead.

    THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) -- Nick Watney is playing well in any kind of weather.
    Watney made birdie for the first time ever on the 14th hole at Sherwood during a strong back nine that carried him to a 5-under 67 and a two-shot lead Thursday in the World Challenge. Watney won a month ago in stifling conditions in Malaysia. This day was cool and overcast, with fog rolling off the foothills. No matter. He did well enough to surge past Jim Furyk, Keegan Bradley and Graeme McDowell.
    Tiger Woods, the tournament host and defending champion, had a number of good par saves and scratched out a 70.
    The World Challenge doesn't count as an official win, though it awards world ranking points.










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    Re: Golf Latest Headlines

    Haas, Colsaerts share Nedbank lead

    By GERALD IMRAY ,AP Sports Writer | Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012 | 05:45:07 PM

    SUN CITY, South Africa (AP) -- Bill Haas bogeyed two of the last three holes Thursday in the Nedbank Golf Challenge to slip back into a share of the first-round lead with Nicolas Colsaerts.
    Two shots ahead after the 15th hole, the American dropped strokes on 16 and 18 to match Colsaerts at 2-under 70 in the 12-player event at Gary Player Country Club.
    Two-time defending champion Lee Westwood was a stroke back along with Paul Lawrie and South African star Louis Oosthuizen.






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    Re: Golf Latest Headlines

    Westwood eyes third straight title at Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City

    By GERALD IMRAY,AP Sports Writer | Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 | 11:45:03 AM

    SUN CITY, South Africa (AP) -- Charl Schwartzel still isn't sure how he did it. The intercostal muscle he tore at the U.S. Open wiped out most of his season in 2012.
    Schwartzel has been playing pain-free for only the last month and a half after the injury contributed to problems with his swing. But signs are there that he's nearly back to his best and maybe ready to challenge two-time defending champion Lee Westwood at the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City this week.
    Schwartzel says on Wednesday his game is "definitely on the way up." A tie for third at the World Tour Championship in Dubai last weekend helped his confidence.
    Westwood won a second straight Nedbank title last year with a third-round 62 and has been solid at the Gary Player Country Club.




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    Re: Golf Latest Headlines

    Anchored putting stroke to be banned in 2016

    By DOUG FERGUSON,AP Golf Writer | Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 | 08:45:02 AM


    THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) -- Golf's governing bodies, worried that players will turn to long putters as an advantage instead of a last resort, proposed a new rule Wednesday that would ban the putting stroke used by three of the last five major champions.



    John Raoux / AP
    Keegan Bradley's anchored putting stroke would be banned in 2016 under the proposed rule change.


    The Royal & Ancient Golf Club and the U.S. Golf Association said the rule would not outlaw belly putter or broom-handle putters, only the way they are currently used. The proposed rule would make it illegal for golfers to anchor the club while making a stroke and not take effect until 2016.
    "More players are using it, and instructors are saying this is a more efficient way to putt because you don't have to control the whole stroke," USGA executive director Mike Davis said. "The game has been around for 600 years. Fundamentally, we don't think this is the right way to go."



    Orville Moody won the 1989 U.S. Senior Open using a long putter that he held against his chest, allowing for a pendulum motion. Paul Azinger won the 2000 Sony Open with a putter that he pressed into his belly. Long putters began getting serious attention last year when Keegan Bradley became the first player to win a major with a belly putter at the PGA Championship. This year, Webb Simpson won the U.S. Open and Ernie Els won the British Open using belly putters.


    Davis and R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said the catalyst for the new rule was not who was winning tournaments, but the number of players switching to long putters.


    Their research showed no more than 4 percent of golfers used the clubs for several years. It went to 6 percent in 2006, and then to 11 percent in 2011, with some PGA Tour events having as much as 20 percent of the players using the long clubs. There was no empirical data to suggest a long putter made golf easier. Carl Pettersson (No. 21) and Bradley (No. 27) were the only players among the top 30 in putting this year on the PGA Tour who used long putters.

    "We don't think putting in an anchored way is easy. You have to learn how to do it," Dawson said. "But it takes one of the potential frailties out of the stroke ... We have to retain the skill and challenge inherent in golf."
    The R&A and USGA will take comments for three months on the proposed rule before it is approved. Because the Rules of Golf are updated every four years, any ban on the anchored stroke would not take effect for another four years.
    The decision figures to be divisive.
    Tim Clark of South Africa and Pettersson have used broom putters their entire careers, and they have suggested a new rule would affect their livelihoods. Els once mocked Vijay Singh for using a long putter, but then Els switched to a belly putter last year when his putting suffered.
    "As long as it's legal, I'll cheat like the rest of them," he said.
    Tiger Woods is among those who have been outspoken about anchored putters, saying it takes away from the nerves in the hands in trying to make putts.
    "I just believe that the art of putting is swinging the club and controlling nerves," Woods said Tuesday. "And having it as a fixed point, as I was saying all year, is something that's not in the traditions of the game. We swing all other 13 clubs. I think the putter should be the same.
    "I don't know if there's any statistical data on it ... about whether or not anchoring the putter does help on a certain range of putts, especially the guys who have gotten the twitches a little bit," he said. "But one of the things that I was concerned about going forward is the kids who get started in the game and starting to putt with an anchoring system. There have been some guys who have had success out here, and obviously everyone always copies what we do out here. And that's something that I think for the greater good of the game needs to be adjusted."
    That's ultimately what got the attention of golf's governing bodies.
    Adding to the attention was Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old from China who used a belly putter this month when he won the Asia Pacific Amateur, which earned him a spot in the Masters. He will be the youngest player ever at Augusta National. Guan started using the belly putter about six months before his big win.
    Davis said there has been a dramatic increase in anchored putting styles in the last 18 months to two years at all levels of the game - tour players, elite amateurs, all the way down to the junior level. Previously, he said such putting was used by players who either "lost their way with conventional putting" or went to a broom putter because it was difficult for them to bend over for long periods of time in practice.
    For years, there was a stigma attached to those who used long putters. They were considered poor putters who needed help. Davis said certified instructors began to realize that anchored putting would take some of skill out of putting, and it could lead to the majority of golfers using long putters.
    "Throughout the 600-year history of golf, the essence of playing the game has been to grip the club with the hands and swing it freely at the ball," Davis said. "The player's challenge is to control the movement of the entire club in striking the ball, and anchoring the club alters the nature of that challenge."
    The proposal is for Rule 14-1(b) which reads, "In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either `directly' or by use of an `anchor point."'
    To anchor the club directly is defined by players intentionally holding the club or the hand gripping the club in contact with any part of the body.
    Putting styles such as the "claw" or "cross handed" are still allowed. Matt Kuchar uses a belly-length putter that he rests against his arm. That would be permitted. Belly putters are allowed, as long as they don't touch the stomach, such as the style Angel Cabrera used when he won the 2009 Masters. Broom putters, such as used by Clark, Pettersson and Adam Scott, can be used provided it is held away from the chest.
    Golf research has shown that golf participation is dwindling, mainly in the United States and Europe through cost and time it takes to play. Davis does not believe outlawing the anchored putting stroke will further decrease the number of golfers.
    "We really feel strongly that it's a false premise," he said. "The game has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years. For 570 years, people figured out how to play without anchoring. Now they can't do without it?
    "It's not, `How can we make it harder?' or `How can we make it easier?' By doing this, we feel this clarifies the game," he said. "This is about the future of the game."






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    Re: Golf Latest Headlines

    Bradley and Simpson say they wouldn't fight belly putter ban

    Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 | 11:28:36 PM

    THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) -- Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley, two of the major faces in the debate over belly putters, said Tuesday they would not fight a change in the rules if golf's governing bodies decide to outlaw putters anchored to the body.
    That doesn't mean they're in favor of a ban.

    Andy Lyons / Getty Images
    Keegan Bradley, shown here at the 2012 Ryder Cup, is one of several pros who have had success using a long putter.


    "I'm obviously not happy with the ruling, but I respect the USGA, and especially Mike Davis," Bradley said. "They make the rules, and I'll adjust appropriately. But I'm going to accept the challenge and hopefully do well when they do ban it."
    Davis, the USGA executive director, and Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson have scheduled a press conference Wednesday morning to announce their conclusions on the future of long putters. All indications point toward a ban on anchoring the club.


    At issue is not the putter itself, but whether it can be anchored to the body, such as the stomach (belly putters) or the chest (long putters).

    The long putters have been in vogue for the better part of 25 years, though a recent surge in use got the attention of golf's two governing bodies. Bradley became the first major champion with a belly putter when he won the PGA Championship last year. Simpson won the U.S. Open using a belly putter, and Ernie Els won the British Open with a belly putter, rallying to beat Adam Scott, who uses a long putter he anchors to the top of his chest.

    Guan Tianling, the 14-year-old from China, used a belly putter to win the Asia-Pacific Amateur earlier this month to earn a spot in the Masters.
    Dawson spoke in July about looking at the anchored putters as a rules issue instead of an equipment issue. If that's the case and it is banned, it would not take effect until 2016 because the Rules of Golf are only updated every four years.
    While a change would affect players like the recent major champions, Carl Pettersson and Tim Clark, several others are opposed to putters stuck into the body. They argue it takes away nervous hands and allows for a smoother stroke.
    Tiger Woods is opposed to long putters, and he stated his argument clearly on Tuesday.
    "I just believe that the art of putting is swinging the club and controlling nerves, and having it as a fixed point - as I was saying all year - is something that's not in the traditions of the game," Woods said. "We swing all other 13 clubs. I think the putter should be the same. It should be a swinging motion throughout the entire bag."
    Woods said his biggest concern was not so much the major champions, but junior players.
    "There have been some guys who had had success out there, and obviously everyone always copies what we out here, and that's something that I think for the greater good of the game needs to be adjusted," he said.
    Simpson first switched to a belly putter in 2004 to help with consistency. He found one in a pro shop, gave it a try and noticed immediate improvement. But for all the attention on belly putters, he said it was the accuracy with his driver that helped him win the U.S. Open at Olympic Club this year.
    "My argument the whole time is to change something that drastic, it needs to be based off facts and not what certain people think the tradition of the game looks like," Simpson said. "But look, I'm not going to be one of those guys that says this is a terrible decision. I'm just saying to make a change this big, show me the facts. And hey, they're the governing body, so we'll see what happens."
    Simpson already has been practicing with a conventional putter, preparing for such a ban. He said if there is a ban, he would use the conventional putter at home, and then in pro-am rounds and make the switch when he's comfortable with it.
    "I'm just going to take it one step at a time until my comfort level gets better and better," Simpson said. "If I feel ready by Hyundai (the start of the 2013 season), I'll be putting with a short putter. And if I don't feel ready for two years, I'll wait."
    Bradley said he would be in no rush to make the change if there is a ban.
    Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter were among those who lined up against anchored putters earlier this month in Australia. McDowell said the rule should have been changed years ago, and that using an anchored putter "takes one extraneous movement out of the putting stroke," which he feels is an advantage under pressure.
    Poulter, as usual, was more blunt.
    "Ban it. End of story," Poulter said.
    Steve Stricker, regarded as one of the best putters in golf, has picked up a belly putter to see what the rage was all about. And it concerned him.
    "It was pretty scary how fast I picked it up, to tell you the truth," Stricker said. "I went and anchored it just right below my sternum. It was a little different feel for me, but I got pretty consistent pretty quick with it. So I can see that there was an advantage, even though I can't see myself ever doing it."

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    Re: Golf Latest Headlines

    Woods looking to jump-start 2013 this week

    Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 | 08:15:04 PM

    THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) -- A little more than three months ago, Tiger Woods was on his way back to the top of golf with only time in his way.

    Stanley Chou / Getty Images
    Tiger Woods has three victories in 2012.

    He already had won three times on the PGA Tour, moving past Jack Nicklaus in career victories. He still had not won a major, though there were indications he was closing in. He had a share of the 36-hole lead at the U.S. Open before throwing away his chances with a sloppy weekend. He was in the second-to-last group going into the final round of the British Open and tied for third. And when he showed up at the PGA Championship on Saturday morning, he again was tied for the lead halfway through the final major.
    Rory McIlroy? He had reached No. 1 on three occasions, never longer than three weeks at a time. He only had one win, and that was in March at the Honda Classic.
    That now seems so long ago.

    The rest of the weekend at Kiawah Island belonged to McIlroy.
    So did the rest of the year. And maybe the future.

    McIlroy finished off a long, wild and exhilarating season last week when he birdied the last five holes to win the European Tour's final event in Dubai and head home with all the spoils.
    He won five times this year, the most of anyone around the world. He captured the money titles on the European Tour and PGA Tour. He won the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average on the PGA Tour. He won the PGA of America player of the year and is a lock to win every other honor that measures the best in golf.
    The questions going into 2013 should sound familiar.
    It's not whether he will in a major, but how many? I's not about who's No. 1, but how much more can he separated himself from everyone else?
    That's what used to be asked about Woods. Now those questions are directed toward McIlroy.
    "I think he'll be around for a long time," Luke Donald said.
    Suddenly, a lot more than just time is standing in the way of Woods getting back to the top. There's this 23-year-old from Northern Ireland who looks as if he's just getting warmed up.
    Is he the next Tiger? Not yet. Maybe not ever. McIlroy had a banner year by winning five times around the world, including a major. That used to be a normal season for Woods. McIlroy missed five cuts this year. It took Woods 13 years on the PGA Tour before he missed his fifth cut.
    McIlroy has all the tools of greatness, and a refreshing outlook. One of the understated qualities about Woods is that for the richest guy in golf, he worked as if he didn't have two nickels to rub together. McIlroy is coming off an amazing season and only wants to get better.
    "I had a few goals starting off this year," he said in Dubai. "Obviously, I wanted to win a major. I think I wanted to win four times around the world - five. The Race to Dubai - I won. I guess getting to world No. 1, which I achieved earlier in the year. But I guess every goal that I set for myself at the start of 2012, I've achieved this year. So it doesn't really get much better than that."
    What's next?
    "I guess the same," McIlroy said. "To be focused on the majors, try to win more of those. I've won one in `11, one in `12. It would be nice to keep that run going next year."
    If he were to win a major next year, McIlroy would join Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer as the only players since 1960 to win a major championship in three successive years.
    "I feel like I can improve in different areas of the game still," McIlroy said. "I guess that's the challenge and the fun of practice is trying to get better all the time."
    Sound familiar?
    Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was learning to win without his best stuff, another trait that defines Woods' greatness. McIlroy at least was savvy enough not to say that he won with his "C" game. Woods stopped grading himself after catching grief for saying that in Dallas in 1997.
    It's tempting to compare McIlroy with Woods because of their talent, and because Woods is the standard for this generation, and perhaps many more to come.
    That would make 2013 a chance for McIlroy to pull away from his peers, as Woods once did.
    The 1999 season was similar to this year when it came to a potential rivalry. Going into the final major of that season, Woods was No. 2 in the world behind David Duval. Woods had won three times that year, second in tour victories to Duval. Woods wound up winning the PGA Championship at Medinah, and then he closed out the season by winning four straight tournaments - Firestone, Disney, the Tour Championship and a World Golf Championship in Spain.
    Duval was a forgotten figure by the end of the season.
    Woods found another gear - closer to warp speed - in 2000 by winning 10 times around the world, including three straight majors. There hasn't been another season like that since then, and there might not be. But imagine how McIlroy will be looked upon if he were to win multiple majors next year. If he wins both money titles again. If he builds such a gap at No. 1 in the world ranking that players can only hope he decides to change his swing.
    Perhaps the more intriguing aspect is how Woods responds.
    Woods can measure progress this year not only by three wins, but by playing his biggest schedule since 2009. The World Challenge, which he has won five times as the tournament host, is his 24th week of competition (including the Ryder Cup and the exhibition in Turkey).
    And as much as Woods likes McIlroy as a person - who doesn't? - and talks about the importance of at least being in the conversation when it comes to the best in golf, he has never faced a challenge like this. Vijay Singh had a better season than McIlroy in 2004 when the Fijian won nine times, but he was in his early 40s then.
    "I think anything other guys do motivates Tiger," Steve Stricker said. "He's so competitive, and he's been in that position over the years where he's been No. 1 in the world, and him not being there has surely got to be motivation for him."



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    Re: Golf Latest Headlines

    Woods not interested in European membership

    By DOUG FERGUSON,AP Golf Writer | Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 | 07:08:44 PM

    THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) -- Tiger Woods is more driven to catch Jack Nicklaus than to try to emulate Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy.

    Vincent Thian / AP
    Tiger Woods will not join the European Tour in 2013.

    Woods made it clear Tuesday that he had no interest in taking up membership on the European Tour. He had floated the possibility last month in Turkey that he would look into dual membership with Europe counting the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup toward the minimum requirement of 13 events.
    "I'll make it real simple - I'm not going to play the European Tour next year," Woods said.
    Woods is starting next season at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. Throw in the four majors and four World Golf Championships, and he would need only three more events to become a European Tour member.

    "It's a bit much for me still," Woods said, adding that his focus is squarely on the record 18 majors won by Nicklaus.

    Donald last year became the first player to win the money title on the PGA Tour and European Tour in the same season. McIlroy matched that feat this year, even though three of his five wins were regular PGA Tour events.

    On the strength of majors and WGC events, which are every bit part of the European Tour schedule as the PGA Tour schedule, Woods could have won both money title at least four times in the last decade if he had been a European Tour member and added a couple of events. Europe used to require only 11 events to be a member.
    "Certainly, I've had opportunities over the years, especially when it was at 11 events," Woods said. "I was very close a couple times and could have taken membership up and played it. But still ... I enjoy playing around the world, and I still always will. But I am going to play this tour."
    When asked why he never bothered becoming a dual member, Woods said, "It wasn't important to me."
    "I think I could have won it a few times," he said of the money titles. "I don't know what that number was. But it just wasn't important to me. My main concern was winning major championships, and I've won 14 of them, and I'm very proud of that."
    Asked whether adding a few European events would have detracted from his preparation for the majors, Woods nodded.
    He remains stuck on 14 majors, winning his last one in 2008 in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Woods has failed to win the last 14 majors he has played, the longest drought of his career. Next year's rotation of majors include Merion for the U.S. Open, a course he has never seen, and Oak Hill for the PGA Championship, the only time Woods has played all four rounds at a PGA without breaking par.
    Woods said winning a major makes it a great year, which in his mind means that four players had a great year - Bubba Watson (Masters), Webb Simpson (U.S. Open), Ernie Els (British Open) and McIlroy (PGA Championship).
    "That's something I haven't done since `08, so it's something I can do next year," he said. "I've won golf tournaments; I've had some really nice years, some really good years in there. But as I said, winning a major championship just takes it to a whole new level."
    That doesn't make his year a total loss.
    Woods played his most complete season since 2009, and the World Challenge that starts Thursday at Sherwood Country Club will be his 24th week of competition, which includes the Ryder Cup and an exhibition in Turkey.
    The only stumble was at Doral, where he withdrew in the middle of the final round when his Achilles tendon flared up on him. He won in his next start, at Bay Hill, and then added wins at the Memorial and AT&T National.
    "I've very excited because last year at this point in time I was still not quite where I wanted to be physically," he said. "I ended up having a little bit of a problem at Doral at the beginning of the year, but did the prudent thing in not playing at the end. This year has been fantastic in that regard. I've felt good. I've played a full schedule for the first time in a very long time, and just very pleased with what I've done overall with my game."


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    Last Post: 19-03-2010, 14:45:27

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