Couples, Funk headline Senior PGA

By Associated PressMay 23, 2012, 8:35 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – A day before the start of the Senior PGA Championship, Fred Funk offered a modest suggestion for tournament organizers.

''I thought maybe we could reverse the order and play the greens as tees and the tees as greens and it would be easier to putt,'' Funk said. ''Just play in reverse.''

Funk wasn't the only golfer approaching the 6,822-yard, par-71 course at Harbor Shores with apprehension. Bernhard Langer talked of the ''most severe – or worst – green complexes'' he's ever seen. Fred Couples wondered what scores might look like if the wind picks up alongside Lake Michigan.

There may have been some pre-tournament posturing going on. But there could also be carnage this week.

''My goal is to think you're never really out of it because everyone's going to make bogeys,'' Couples said. ''I don't know if under par is going to win, 10-under is going to win or if 2-over is going to win, but I know it's a very hard course.''

The tournament will take place without its defending champion. Tom Watson had to withdraw because of a wrist problem. He won last year's championship at Valhalla, beating David Eger in a playoff.

Funk is coming off a victory earlier this month at The Woodlands. He's in a group for the first two rounds Thursday and Friday with Michael Allen and Langer, the Champions Tour's top two money winners this year.

Funk is 13th on that list and seems more concerned about the course than the competition.

''You do have to be precise, but the greens, to what point?'' he said. ''When you see some of the greens, I don't think anyone can be precise enough to hit it in the certain spots on these greens.''

The 10th hole, a 539-yard par 5, includes a multi-tiered green. Funk, Allen and Langer will start their round there Thursday afternoon.

''I think the golf course is phenomenal,'' Langer said. ''If he had done one third of the undulations on the green – that's my personal opinion – I think it would be in the top 20 golf courses I've ever played.''

Allen, who won at TPC Tampa Bay last month and teamed with David Frost for a victory at Savannah Harbor, will try to repeat his Senior PGA Championship win of 2009, when he was two strokes better than Larry Mize. That was the last year this tournament didn't go to a playoff. Tom Lehman took the 2010 title.

''There's a lot of short irons where you've got some really small areas to hit to, but if you can hit them – and you've got backstops – if you can use the course to your advantage, I think you can score decent out here,'' Allen said. ''I know I'm going to say that and be jinxing myself and swearing a few times at myself for a ball coming up in a place I can't play it hardly, or not feeling that I got the best out of it. But that's golf, too.''

Harbor Shores opened two years ago for its first full season in one of Michigan's most economically distressed communities. The Jack Nicklaus-designed course was built on land that was home not long ago to abandoned factories and industrial waste.

The course was awarded the Senior PGA Championship in 2012 and 2014, amid hopes that it could help restore some stability and prosperity to Benton Harbor, which is under the jurisdiction of a state-appointed emergency manager.

There are certainly skeptics. A group called ''Occupy the PGA'' says it was planning to demonstrate during the tournament and has demanded that a quarter of the Senior PGA profits be transferred to Benton Harbor citizens ''as partial rightful compensation for stolen land and water.''

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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.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.