Pros in for bear of a time

first_imgNicklaus, 67, won’t be playing when the Honda Classic begins Thursday at PGA National Resort & Spa, but his presence will loom heavily over the back nine in Sunday’s finish. As a golf course architect, he still dictates outcomes, but now he does so with a fleet of bulldozers. PGA National’s Champion Course originally was designed by Tom Fazio and his uncle, George, in 1981 but redesigned by Nicklaus in 1990 and altered again by Nicklaus this past year to prepare it for the Honda Classic’s move here. PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – This generation of PGA Tour pros knows what it is like to be humbled by Tiger Woods. The drama this week focuses on whether they’re about to take a beating from Jack Nicklaus. When the PGA Tour announced last year it was moving the tournament over from The Country Club at Mirasol, there were questions whether the Champion Course would offer a strong enough test. It has, after all, been 20 years since PGA Tour pros played a tournament on it (1987 PGA Championship) and seven years since the PGA Seniors’ Championship was played here. “Actually, I found it quite a tough test,” said Honda Classic defending champion Luke Donald, who played it for the first time a month ago. PGA Tour pros might post some good scores on the Champion this week, but the Nicklaus design ensures few of them will escape the back nine without a spike in their blood pressure. The final nine starts with a hole that could be nicknamed “Nicklaus Revenge,” a 525-yard par 4 that tour officials believe might be the longest par 4 in tour history. The hole speaks volumes about Nicklaus’ disgust over golf’s failure to limit ball technology and the distance this generation of pros can hit the ball. The Golden Bear asks his most demanding questions starting at the 15th tee. center_img That’s the beginning of a trio of holes so quintessentially Nicklaus in nature, they’re dubbed “The Bear Trap.” If the March winds blow as expected, this trio of holes could offer the most thrills and spills this side of Augusta National’s Amen Corner. “We didn’t change much about The Bear Trap,” Nicklaus said. “It will stand the test. I don’t care if they make golf balls go a thousand yards, The Bear Trap will stand the test no matter what the equipment is.” If that doesn’t make a tour pro gulp, nothing will. Like Nicklaus in his prime, The Bear Trap won’t yield to anything less than a player’s best effort. “I think those holes will make or break whoever’s leading the tournament,” says Robert Allenby, a Jupiter resident who was among the first tour pros to play the renovated course. “You could add the 18th hole. They are four great holes to finish with. That whole back nine’s awesome with a lot of character.” The Champion Course’s overall length has been stretched almost 200 yards to 7,241 yards while par has been shrunk from 72 to 70. Two par 5s for members will play as par 4s. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Inter, Napoli join Juventus top of Serie A

first_img0Shares0000Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi (R) celebrates after scoring in the Serie A match against SPAL at the San Siro stadium in Milan, on September 10, 2017 © AFP / MIGUEL MEDINAMilan, Italy, Sep 10 – Napoli and Inter Milan made it three wins out of three to keep pace with six-time title holders Juventus at the top of Serie A Sunday as AC Milan fell at Lazio.Luciano Spalletti’s Inter beat promoted SPAL 2-0 in the San Siro after Juventus eased past Chievo 3-0 in Turin on Saturday. Napoli also remain unbeaten as they warmed up for a midweek Champions League trip to Shakhtar Donetsk, winning 3-0 at Bologna with late goals from Jose Callejon (66), Dries Mertens (83), and Piotr Zielinski (88).“To go 70 minutes and lose 0-3 is heavy for the boys,” said coach Roberto Donadoni of Bologna’s first loss this season.“Naivety cost us and Napoli punished us. This has to teach us a lesson.”Juventus — who travel to Barcelona for Champions League duty on Tuesday — are top of the standings on goal difference, equal on nine points with Napoli and Inter Milan, with Lazio fourth on seven.AC Milan dropped to seventh after suffering their first defeat of the season as a Ciro Immobile hat-trick lifted Lazio 4-1 at home.Simone Inzaghi’s side ran riot over the Chinese-owned Milan with an on-fire Immobile scoring three in 10 minutes, including a penalty, in a match delayed for an hour due to torrential rain in the capital.Napoli’s forward Dries Mertens (C) celebrates with his teammates after scoring on September 10, 2017 © AFP / FILIPPO MONTEFORTERiccardo Montolivo pulled one back for the visitors off a deflected Hakan Calhanoglu free-kick, but Vincenzo Montella’s side fell to their first defeat in three games.“Not many teams will get four goals past Milan,” said Immobile, who also scored for Italy in a World Cup qualifier this week.“I think we’re on the right track.”After two easy matches against Crotone and Cagliari, Milan got a reality check against Lazio.Immobile’s first was from a penalty on 38 minutes, and four minutes later he added a second with a volley off a Senad Lulic cross.The Italian international then got his third six minutes later and quickly assisted Luis Alberto for the fourth.Earlier, Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi added to his Serie A tally with a 27th-minute penalty, giving him a fifth goal of the season.The spot-kick was awarded after the intervention of the video assistant referee (VAR), after Joao Mario was tripped inside the box with Icardi slotting in.Ivan Perisic sealed the victory after 87 minutes with a powerful volley into the top corner.“They are valuable points which allow us to consolidate our place and build self-confidence,” said Inter assistant manager Marco Domenichini.– Fiorentina five –SPAL boss Leonardo Semplici believes Inter under former Roma boss Luciano Spalletti can now challenge Juventus’ dominance.Lazio’s forward Ciro Immobile celebrates after scoring his second goal against AC Milan on September 10, 2017 at the Olympic stadium in Rome © AFP / Vincenzo PINTO“Inter will challenge for the Scudetto, but I still have to compliment my boys for their performance. I tip my hat to Luciano Spalletti, who is both a friend and a great coach,” he told Sky Sport Italia.“We caused Inter problems and had a few chances to score too, but I think if we play like this, we will ensure our Serie A safety.”Emilia-Romagna side SPAL are sitting eighth.Fiorentina bounced back from successive defeats with their first win of the season — a 5-0 rout at Verona.Argentine striker Giovanni Simeone, son of Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, scored his first goal for the Tuscany club after two minutes.Elsewhere, Atalanta won 2-1 at home against Sassuolo while Cagliari achieved their first win in their new stadium, beating Crotone 1-0, and Udinese defeated Genoa 1-0.Torino left it late with Iago Falque scoring three minutes into time added on to beat Benevento 1-0.Saturday’s game between Sampdoria and AS Roma in Genoa was postponed because of adverse weather conditions.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more