Bode Miller can't bring quesadilla to Masters

By Associated PressApril 11, 2014, 9:47 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – U.S. skier Bode Miller and wife Morgan Beck have a story to tell about the Masters.

According to the Augusta Chronicle, Miller and Beck were stopped on their way to the course Thursday and told to get rid of a quesadilla they had hoped to snack on during the first round.

''If you pay $7,500, you ought to be able to bring out a quesadilla,'' Miller said.

The couple was eating at Berckmans Place, a posh hospitality venue tucked behind trees alongside the fifth fairway. The facility, which opened last year, is available to club members, tournament sponsors and select others. The tent has three main restaurants, walls of Masters history, areas to watch the tournament and a practice putting area that's a replica of three Augusta National greens.


TALL TASK: John Isner should be able to find his friends fairly easily at crowded Augusta National.

The 6-foot-10 tennis player, who is ranked ninth in the latest ATP standings, arrived at the Masters on Friday and started searching for his fellow Georgia Bulldogs.

There are a bunch of them in the field.

''It's very cool,'' Isner said. ''It's crazy, really. Not to mention there's probably five or six others that have their (tour) card as well. A lot of Bulldogs, and we are in Georgia, so these guys are going to get a lot of support.''

Bubba Watson, Chris Kirk, Harris English, Russell Henley played at Georgia, and Patrick Reed started his college career at Georgia before transferring to Augusta State.

Isner won't have much trouble spotting them. After all, when you're the tallest guy on the grounds, you don't have jockey for a clear view.


CROWD NOISE: The first tee at Augusta National is a social place. The clubhouse is nearby, along with the big oak tree that has become THE gathering spot during the Masters.

So everyone crowds around the opening tee, making it an entertaining spot to listen to spectator chatter.

Here are a few examples from Friday when Angel Cabrera, Ian Poulter and Gary Woodland were teeing off.

One observer on Cabrera, an Argentinian who's modestly listed at 210 pounds: ''He looks just like me. He has no neck.''

Another one on Poulter, a Brit who's known as much for his colorful outfits as his golf: ''Oh my God. He's wearing sherbet-lime-green shoes that perfectly match his shirt and pants. I love those shoes!''

Woodland, an American who's considered one of the biggest hitters on tour, was also fair game: ''Watch him hit a feather cut up the hill about 325.''

Hard to argue with those assessments.


TIGER FACTOR: Television already is feeling the effects of not having Tiger Woods at the Masters.

In a release, ESPN said its live telecast of the opening round Thursday had a 1.5 rating with an average audience of 2 million viewers. That's down from a 2.0 rating and 2.8 million viewers from a year ago.


SENIOR WARMUP: Seven golfers at the Masters will have a short trip to their next event: They'll be playing at a Champions Tour event in suburban Atlanta.

Fifty-four-year-old Fred Couples is the latest senior to commit to the Greater Gwinnett Championship, which will be held next weekend at the TPC Sugarloaf in suburban Atlanta.

That setup is mighty convenient. The Sugarloaf course, which once hosted a PGA Tour event, is about a 2 1/2-hour drive from Augusta National.

Also going straight from the Masters to the Greater Gwinnett Championship are Ben Crenshaw, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Larry Mize, Mark O'Meara and Miguel Angel Jimenez, who will make his Champions Tour debut at Sugarloaf. The Spaniard turned 50 on Jan. 5.

Of course, all seven have their minds on more important matters at the moment. Especially Jimenez, Couples and Langer, who are actually in contention after the opening round of the Masters.

Jimenez and Couples opened with 1-under-par 71s and Langer shot 72, leaving them all within four shots of leader Bill Haas.


LONG LINE: Getting a photo at the Masters takes patience - maybe because it's free.

Spectators aren't allowed to bring cameras or cellphones onto the hallowed grounds during the four-day tournament, so they have few chances to get precious pics on the pristine course.

And if you want to get one in front of the famed clubhouse, get in line - a long line.

More than a hundred people were waiting for their shot Friday morning, hanging out in the warm sun for a couple quick clicks. The photos are free - quite the deal at a place where weekly passes can go for thousands of dollars on the open market.

''It's a free gig,'' a security guard told those in line.

He also had a word of caution: ''If you lose your card, you lose your photo.''

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Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

“While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

“What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

“I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:







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Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week's event.

Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

"The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

"You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

"But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."