Bonds Jordan and the Presidents Cup

By Associated PressOctober 9, 2009, 4:15 am
Presidents Cup

SAN FRANCISCO – Barry Bonds was inside the ropes following Tiger Woods, which was alternately causing both great amusement and great consternation to the fans at the Presidents Cup.

They couldn’t stop talking about how slimmed down Bonds seems now that he’s out of baseball. But he was still big enough that he kept blocking their view of the man they had really come to see – Tiger Woods – and a few weren’t shy about letting him know it.

Michael Jordan didn’t have that problem. Wearing an official windbreaker befitting his role as an assistant captain for the home team, he scooted around in a golf cart from hole to hole and no one was about to complain if he occasionally got in the way.

Barry Bonds Presidents Cup
Barry Bonds watches the action during the Thursday Foursomes at Harding Park. (Getty Images)

Besides, Jordan had a job. He was there to motivate, even if it cost him an afternoon without the company of even one lit cigar.

Jordan had talked to the young players on the U.S. team about believing in themselves while joining them in a practice round earlier in the week, an experience that left Sean O’Hair so in awe that he said he would someday tell his grandkids about it. No need to use the old trick of trotting out an aging president or two to give the team a spark when the greatest basketball player ever was so eager to please.

Not that there wasn’t some presidential star power on hand Thursday. Former President George H.W. Bush was sitting in the front row of the VIP section on the first tee at Harding Park when another former basketball great walked by.

“Jerry, do you know President Bush?” the woman next to Bush asked Jerry West.

It was that kind of day in the opening session of the Presidents Cup, a competition that every two years desperately tries to rise to the level of its older sibling, the Ryder Cup. It never does, but that doesn’t stop the PGA Tour from bringing in all the big names it can to schmooze with all the big sponsors it can find a way to round up.

Call it Ryder Cup Light because it seems to inspire more polite applause than fervent fandom. Maybe that’s because it takes some thinking to figure out that the U.S. versus the International team is basically the best American players against the best players who are from somewhere other than Europe.

But Jordan takes it seriously, perhaps too seriously. He’s so involved that he spent Monday playing the course with members of the U.S. team, nearly creating an incident when city officials were informed that he was smoking cigars on a municipal course where smoking is not allowed.

Some of the U.S. players were so awed by his presence that they would have gladly taken the rap for him. Jordan was about all they could talk about after the practice round, making it even more difficult for the PGA Tour to sell the idea that the late season event is all about players giving it their all for a patriotic cause.

That was why Jordan wasn’t on stage for the opening ceremonies Wednesday, which so upset the caddies for the U.S. players that most of them wrote red No. 23s on their caps for the opening round. But it didn’t keep him from the opening alternate-shot matches, where he went from hole to hole in his golf cart to confer with players and offer them advice.

“It’s not over yet,” he assured Lucas Glover on the eighth green after Glover and Stewart Cink fell two holes behind Ernie Els and Adam Scott.

That’s like telling Dennis Rodman not to stop rebounding midway through the first quarter of a Bulls game, but excuse Jordan because maybe he has just never been an assistant golf captain before. Indeed, the first round of matches mean little in the grand scheme of things, though on this day the Americans were good enough to win three and split one out of the six.

The large crowd at Harding Park seemed to enjoy it all, though they were relatively subdued. There were no “USA! USA!” chants like you hear in a Ryder Cup, perhaps because they’re so used to seeing players from both sides competing against each week after week on the regular tour.

Bonds seemed to enjoy himself, too. It took him a few holes to figure out that he had to get down on one knee so people could see over him, but after that he managed to be relatively unobtrusive. He even signed a hat for one fan as he walked between holes following Woods and Stricker as they won by a lopsided margin over Geoff Ogilvy and Ryo Ishikawa.

Then again, he might have had reason to be nice to the people of San Francisco, including those who kept remarking that his head looked two sizes smaller than a few years back.

Some of them might end up on his jury when the perjury case against him goes to trial.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.