Mackenzie to Be Next USGA President
MACKENZIE TO BE USGA PRESIDENT: Minnesota trial lawyer Reed K. Mackenzie has been nominated to succeed Trey Holland as president of the U.S. Golf Association. He will be officially elected to a one-year term at the USGAs annual meeting in February. (USGA nominees are usually elected without incident. They typically serve two one-year terms.)
Mackenzie, who has been a member of the USGA Executive Committee since 1992, has also served on the Implement & Ball Committee since that time. He was I&B chairman between 1994 and 1997.
Some equipment manufacturers have privately included Mackenzie on the list of equipment-limitation hardliners, a matter of special concern in this age of debate over golf ball distance and spring-like effect in driving clubs. But Mackenzie doesnt believe his presidency will intensify the USGAs agenda ' or soften it.
Im sure it wont, Mackenzie said Thursday from his Minneapolis office. Im supportive of what were trying to do, and I dont plan to steer anyone in any particular direction.
Mackenzie also said he plans to continue discussions between the USGA and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews with an eye toward harmonizing the ruling bodies disagreement over spring-like effect in drivers. The USGA currently limits the coefficient of restitution in such clubs; the R&A does not.
Rumors circulated in the equipment industry over the summer that USGA officials encouraged prominent golf clubs to not stock Callaway Golfs non-conforming ERC II driver in their pro shops. Mackenzie said that never happened.
Our policy has been to never talk about particular clubs or particular manufacturers, but to encourage the application of the Rules of Golf across the board, Mackenzie said.
Callaway introduced the ERC II in October 2000. On December 8, 2000, the USGA issued a press release reiterating that scores turned in for a USGA Handicap must be made in conformance with the Rules of Golf, including rules concerning equipment. The release did not mention specific clubs or manufacturers, but referred readers to an online list of nonconforming equipment.
CLUB CAR LAYOFFS: Golf car power Club Car has had to cut its work force for the first time in the companys 39-year history. The Augusta, Georgia company, which splits about 90 percent of the golf car market with crosstown competitor E-Z-GO, laid off 25 employees. Club Car blamed depressed golf course demand for the decision. Many of its customers are shelving golf car purchase plans as a result of business downturns caused by the September 11 terrorist attacks, Club Car said.
Club Car still employs more than 1,000 people, mostly at its Augusta headquarters.
GOLDEN BEAR ENDORSES HYPERTENSION DRUG: He seems calm enough, but even Jack Nicklaus, 61, has to keep a lid on high blood pressure. Now the Bear of Gold has signed on to endorse Altace, a drug hes been taking for a year now to control his own blood pressure. Under the multi-year deal, Nicklaus will appear in print and television ads starting next year.
The parties wouldnt comment on the details of the deal, but they characterized it as one of the most extensive of Nicklaus career.
Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake
Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.
While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.
“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.
Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.<
DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi
Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.
“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”
Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).
“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.”
Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.
Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace).
“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”
Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi
What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.
Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.
McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.
He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.
McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65).
Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds.
“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”
Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder
Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.
Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.
Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:
Filling in tomorrow for Corey Pavin that WD today @cbgolfchallenge I do things like this a lot to help events and asking for sponsors exemptions here but didn't get any help.— Ken Duke (@DukePGA) January 18, 2018
Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.
Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.