Golf in the news for the wrong reasons

By Associated PressFebruary 3, 2010, 12:05 am

This is not the kind of publicity the U.S. PGA Tour had in mind.

Golf’s two best players are linked by accusations of cheating—one becausehe has a wife, the other because he has a wedge.

Oh, for happier times.

It was only four months ago when Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson posed on the18th green at the Tour Championship in Atlanta with commissioner Tim Finchem,both holding a trophy, smiles filling the frame. Woods had won the FedEx Cup forthe second time, while Mickelson’s victory seemed to signal a renewed rivalrybetween the game’s brightest stars.

These days, handshakes have been replaced by hand-wringing.

The biggest blow remains the absence of Woods, missing since hismiddle-of-the-night car accident Nov. 27 that fueled sordid tales ofextramarital affairs. Even though it has been nearly two months since heannounced his indefinite break, the laughs kept coming when a San Diego stripclub flew a banner over Torrey Pines that read, “We miss you too, Tiger.”

One day later, the news shifted to a banner quote in The San FranciscoChronicle.

Scott McCarron is not the only player upset about a 20-year-old legalloophole that allows players to use Ping Eye2 wedges with grooves that no longerconform to the rules. He’s just the only player to use the word “cheating.”

“It’s cheating, and I’m appalled Phil has put it in play,” McCarron toldthe newspaper.

Mickelson is happy to be a lightning rod on this topic because he doesn’tlike the U.S. Golf Association’s new rule on grooves and is miffed that Finchemnever takes his ideas seriously. This is a chance to make both of them squirm.In the meantime, he would have expected, even welcomed, healthy debate with hispeers on the Ping wedges.

But cheating?

That’s hitting below his white belt.

It’s like the ferry scene in the movie “Jaws,” when Mayor Vaughn is tryingto talk Chief Brody out of closing the beaches. “You yell, ‘Barracuda’ andeverybody says, ‘Huh? What?’ You yell, ‘Shark’ and we’ve got a panic on ourhands on the Fourth of July.”

Mickelson didn’t panic. But it’s a safe bet everyone around him did.

The world’s No. 2 player said on national television that he was “publiclyslandered,” an ominous choice of words that suggested lawyers would be involvedif the tour didn’t handle the situation to his liking.

The question now is which mess is easier to fix.

So far, the only damage Woods has inflicted has been to himself and hisfamily. He has lost endorsement deals with AT&T and Accenture, and his approvalratings have plunged.

The gloomy forecast for TV ratings cannot be measured unless Woods is gonelonger than eight months, which is how much time he missed last year due to kneesurgery. Ratings were slightly up at Torrey Pines for consecutive years withouthim. And remember, Woods has never played one-third of the tournaments on theU.S. PGA Tour schedule. Those events have managed to survive.

The tour’s biggest concern will be trying to control the gallery when Woodsreturns, if not protecting the guys with whom Woods is playing. If a strip clubwill hire a plane at a tournament where Woods is not playing, what happens onthe ground when he is playing?

Far more troublesome, though not as sensational, is the issue with wedges.

The Ping Eye 2 wedges, provided they were made before April 1, 1990, areapproved for play, even though the depth and volume of the grooves in thosewedges are not allowed. Attribute that to a pair of lawsuits Ping settledagainst the USGA (1990) and the U.S. PGA (1993) over square grooves. Thesettlements take precedence over any rules change.

What makes this situation awkward is that not everyone has access to themunless they find the wedges on eBay, in garages or used club bins. PadraigHarrington spent the holidays giving away his old clubs to charity—includinghis Pings—only to find out he could still use them.

First, however, is getting around this name-calling.

Asked about his “cheating” quote, McCarron didn’t back off the next day,although he described Mickelson’s actions as “bending the rules.” That wouldbe akin to “barracuda.”

Still, the damage had been done.

Mickelson’s camp has been checking the Internet and has lost track of howmany times “cheating” and “Mickelson” are found together.

For those who thought McCarron might apologize on Monday, he chose toclarify instead. He said he never called Mickelson a “cheater.” He only saidthat by using the Ping wedge, it was “cheating.” Glad to get that cleared up.

The tour can choose to fine or suspend McCarron under its “conductunbecoming a professional” policy, which prohibits players from making commentsto the media that unreasonably attack or disparage other players (among otherthings).

Then again, the tour has a policy of not disclosing discipline.

Perhaps the most troubling part of Ping chairman John Solheim’s statement onMonday is that he told the USGA and U.S. PGA Tour in July 2007 that changing theregulations on grooves could lead to what is happening now—confusion,consternation, accusations.

Finchem was to meet with players Tuesday night at Riviera and speak to themedia on Wednesday. The best-case scenario is that McCarron and Mickelson canmake peace, and that Finchem can find a solution to the Ping wedges.

Then he can go back to wondering when Woods will return.

Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

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.