Golfers put aside 'reprehensible' Saudi moves to join series
ST. ALBANS, England — (AP) — Graeme McDowell accepts it is “incredibly polarizing" to join the Saudi-funded rebel golf tour. Nobody is going to argue that fact.”The Northern Irish golfer was referencing the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. “I really feel like golf is a force of good in the world — I just try to be a great role model to kids,” he said. "As golfers, if we tried to cure geopolitical situations in every country in the world that we play golf in, we wouldn’t play a lot of golf. I’d agree with what Graeme said.” ___More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsCopyright 2022 The Associated Press.wftv.com
Rory McIlroy with 65 off to another great start at Bay Hill
Bay Hill Golf Rory McIlroy hits from the third tee box during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux)ORLANDO, Fla. — (AP) — Rory McIlroy opened with a 7-under 65 on Thursday and had reason to expect a score like this at Bay Hill, not so much because of the course but rather the day of the week. With three birdies and a 40-foot eagle on the par 5s, McIlroy set a daunting target for Jon Rahm and the others playing in the afternoon. But there is a rhythm to playing Bay Hill that makes McIlroy comfortable, mainly taking advantage of the par 5s and some of the shorter par 4s. “I played the par 5s particularly well, and that was the bulk of the score,” he said. His lone victory at Bay Hill was a 67-64 finish, so he does know how to close.wftv.com
Todd matches Johnson's 61 to take the lead at Travelers
Both golfers shot bogey-free rounds, with Todd making five birdies on the front nine and Johnson five on the back. Todd said the round became a game of whatever you can do, I can do just as well. Its hard to miss the leader boards obviously, so (Johnson's) name was up there from a pretty early point, Todd said. Mackenzie Hughes, who led after a 60 on Thursday, shot his second straight 68 for sole possession of fourth place. Nick Watney withdrew just before the second round of last weeks RBC Heritage Championship.
Positive COVID test leads to more withdrawals from Travelers
McCarthy became the third PGA Tour player to test positive for the virus since its restart and the second this week, joining Cameron Champ who withdrew on Tuesday. Gordon, a 23-year-old Vanderbilt graduate playing his fourth PGA Tour event on a sponsor's exemption, is 12-under 128 after 36 holes. The Travelers field continued to shrink after Denny McCarthy tested positive for the coronavirus. McCarthy, who shot an opening-round 67, said he began began feeling sick Thursday night and tested positive for the virus on Friday morning. McDowell and Brooks Koepkas caddies both tested positive.
Mackenzie Hughes shoots 60 to take early lead at Travelers
Jim Furyk shot a 12-under 58 on the same par-70 TPC River Highlands course four years ago, the lowest score in a tour event. I kind of joked walking off there that 59 wasn't even the record because of Jim's 58, Hughes said. Phil Mickelson, paired with McIlroy in his first competitive round since turning 50, was one of five players to shoot 64. Patrick Cantlay also shot 60 at TPC River Highlands as an amateur in 2011. The Travelers is the third event on the tour calendar since golf resumed.
McDowell withdraws from Travelers as tour await test results
Cameron Champ tested positive when he arrived Tuesday and took his mandatory test at TPC River HIghlands. McDowell told Golfweek that his caddie, Ken Comboy, tested positive. The alarm bells have started to ring now that Kenny has failed this test, McDowell told Golfweek. Nick Watney was the first player to test positive, on Friday at the RBC Heritage. He told Golfweek he tested negative at the Travelers Championship on Monday, and he would decide when he reached home whether he should quarantine from his family.
Koepka ready to get back to work after nearly 3 months off
During his short offseason, Koepka had stem cell treatment on his left knee because the patella tendon was partially torn. As Li Haotong of China was making his debut at the Presidents Cup, Guan Tianlang was preparing to qualify for the PGA Tour Series-China. Ishikawa showed signs of getting back to form last year when he won three times on the Japan Golf Tour, his first titles since 2016 and his biggest year in Japan since 2010. Otherwise, the Japan Golf Tour season doesn't start until a week after the Masters. The last seven rounds on the PGA Tour in Hawaii were played under lift, clean and place rules.