Friday, August 07, 2009

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Paul Casey, stymied by a strained muscle in his rib cage, withdrew after playing six holes Thursday. He was even par when he walked off the Firestone Country Club course.

"Standing on the range when it's nice and warm, it's not too bad," he said. "But as soon as you get out there and it cools down and you've got to use the rest of the body to get the golf ball moving, it doesn't really feel good."

He said he had tweaked an old injury when he hit a practice shot out of the rough on Monday. In an attempt to relieve the discomfort, he made regular visits to the fitness trailer which follows the tour each week. But he didn't improve.

Casey said he had been told that it would take two to four weeks of rest to heal the injury properly.

"I've got to be careful because there's a lot of important golf left," he said. "FedEx Cup, Race to Dubai - a lot of big stuff. ... I'm going to get as much treatment as I can and just try to heal the thing."

GOOD TIMING: Eve Rose Fisher already has impeccable timing.

Her dad, Ross, was jousting for the lead at the British Open two weeks ago while mom Jo was pregnant with her. Even though Ross said he would leave Turnberry in an instant - in mid-round, if need be - to attend Eve's birth, he didn't have to.

She was born six days after Stewart Cink beat Tom Watson in a playoff for the claret jug, with her jittery first-time father tying for 13th with a closing 75.

Eve Rose's timing allowed her father to hurry home and spend some time before going through the entire birth experience.

"Awesome. It's a truly amazing experience, one I'd recommend to any male," her father said Thursday after shooting an even-par 70 in the opening round of the Bridgestone Invitational. "We're having quite fun. I've only been with her for just over a week, but it's really cool. Pretty amazing."

The 28-year-old Englishman - with Jo already four days overdue - birdied the first two holes at Turnberry to briefly take the final-round lead before a quadruple-bogey 8 on the fifth hole put an end to his shot at winning.

After Eve Rose made her appearance, the family was able to bond for a several days in Cheam, England, before Ross flew back to the States for this week's Bridgestone and next week's PGA Championship at Hazeltine. Jo's mother moved in for a while to help out in Ross' absence.

He said leaving home was difficult.

"Yeah, it's tough, but this is my job and what I choose to do and Jo's happy with that," he said. "I'm missing home and she's obviously missing me but it's only two weeks and then I've got three weeks off to look forward to."

Fisher had no problem focusing on his game.

"That's what I've come here to do," he said. "Soon as I've finished hopefully Sunday evening next week, then golf can be put to the back of my mind."

NO WIGGLE ROOM: Danny Lee, the youngest U.S. Amateur champion ever, must play well - and soon - if he wants to avoid going to qualifying school.

Lee, one of only seven players at the Bridgestone who has not qualified for next week's PGA Championship, shot a 2-under 68 on Thursday.

"I was impressed with myself," he said. "I'm really happy with what I've done today."

He is badly in need of a good finish. He has missed the cut in five of his nine starts since turning pro after playing at the Masters. The highlights include a tie for seventh at the AT&T National and a tie for 13th at the Byron Nelson.

To avoid having to go to Q-school, he must earn roughly $188,000 combined at the Bridgestone and the Wyndham on Aug. 20-23.

SIMPLE APPROACH: Asked what he would do to kill time after his opening 68, Miguel Angel Jimenez said, "I will eat first, smoke my cigar and then hit a few putts and then perhaps go to the swimming pool."

COMPETITIVE NATURE: Phil Mickelson was away from the tour for six weeks after the U.S. Open while wife Amy battled breast cancer. In addition, Mickelson's mother also was diagnosed with it.

One thing he missed a lot during that hiatus was the competition.

"I've always loved competing, whether it was for a soda, a golf ball, tees or on the PGA Tour for huge purses," he said. "I missed the competition. I also missed just being on the golf course. It's where I've grown up."

OPEN HANGOVER: Few players are prepared for the many obligations and rising expectations after winning their first major championship.

Lucas Glover's victory in the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black in June has turned his world upside down. There were requests to appear on late-night talk shows and far more demands from sponsors and media. Such a watershed win can knock anyone's game off kilter.

"You get over it a little bit on the golf course," said Glover, who opened with a 1-under 68. "Off the golf course, of course there's still a little bit going on."

He figured it sure beats the alternative.

"It's a good problem to have," said Glover, laughing.

DIVOTS: Lee Westwood double-bogeyed the first hole and had another double and two bogeys, yet countered that with seven birdies in a round of 69. ... Ernie Els holed his second shot for eagle from 137 yards on the 399-yard, par-4 first hole. ... With his ball wedged near a tree root and with a limited backswing, Sergio Garcia slashed a low runner of a third shot that chased more than 100 yards to the green on the final hole. Garcia then holed the par-saving 14-foot putt for a 68. ... The first-round leader has won just seven of the 32 stroke-play PGA Tour events this year.

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