Kim looking for a super special year

By Associated PressFebruary 2, 2010, 7:31 pm

Anthony Kim won twice, starred in the Ryder Cup and climbed to No. 6 in theworld ranking. That was two years ago, and it would seem the 24-year-oldAmerican would strive to get back to that level.

But as he makes his U.S. PGA Tour debut this week in Los Angeles, Kim isaiming higher.

“After the year I had two years ago, even though people said it was abreakout year, I don’t feel like I did anything super special,” Kim said onTuesday. “I would like to do something super special this year.”

And what does he have in mind?

“Win golf tournaments,” he said. “Nobody cares if you finish in the top10.”

Even before Tiger Woods took his indefinite break, Kim thought he’d getplenty of attention in what could be a pivotal year to determine whether hemakes the most of his talent or makes excuses.

For a guy like Kim, it’s a backhanded compliment when the U.S. PGA Tourrefers to his 2009 season in the media guide this way: “Despite failing toreach the career-best numbers he posted in 2008, (he) still managed to finishNo. 35 in the FedEx Cup standings.”

Kim said his only entourage this year will be his personal assistant, caddieand occasionally his swing coach, another change from having a posse of friendswith him at most tournaments.

He already has managed to be in the news this year. Kim became the scapegoatfor the Bob Hope Classic’s weak field when he was among nine U.S. PGA Tourplayers who took releases to play in Abu Dhabi. All nine were European Tourmembers, six of them were Europeans. Kim took heat as the only American, not tomention a kid who went to high school not far from the tournament.

Kim offered no apologies, saying that he will be playing more U.S. PGA Tourevents than the 22 he played last year.

“We’re trying to grow the game everywhere. It’s not just about the PGATour,” he said. “If golf grows on the European Tour, in Asia, that only helpsthe PGA Tour. That’s where I wanted to start my season.”

Scott McCarron , who seems to be in the news a lot these days, was amongthose who criticized Kim for skipping the Hope. Perhaps it was just acoincidence, but Kim ran into McCarron on Sunday in the Palm Springs, Californiaarea.

He said McCarron tried to explain what he meant in his comments, althoughKim didn’t seem terribly interested.

“I saw what Scott said. He’s on the player board (Players AdvisoryCouncil), and his opinion got out in the media more than it usually would, orwould at all,” Kim said. “I saw him a couple of days ago, briefly. Hementioned something about it. But he really didn’t bring it up to me, so therewas really nothing for me to say to him.”

Going into a pivotal year, Kim is mainly interested in delivering a messagethrough his scores.

STICKING WITH WHAT WORKS: Steve Stricker was a rising American star in 1996when he won twice and finished No. 4 on the U.S. PGA Tour money list.Endorsement offers followed, Stricker changed clubs and it was a contributingfactor to his plunge into obscurity.

Even in the midst of a great revival, Stricker is mindful not to repeathistory.

He has stuck with Titleist while climbing to No. 3 in the world ranking andbecoming a staple on Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams. And he is hesitant tofix what’s not broken.

Stricker is still using the 755 irons, which he first began using four yearsago. Titleist has come out with two new versions from that model of irons, yetStricker isn’t about to change. He even has duct tape on one club where aplastic label has come off.

“I have a hard time coming off the years I had and changing something,”Stricker said.

Not that he’s unwilling to try. Stricker had the new Titleist AP2 irons inhis bag at the Chevron World Challenge in December and shot a 65 in the finalround at Sherwood to finish 10th. When he arrived in Hawaii, his old clubs wereback in play.

“I’m kind of snakebit from 13 years ago,” Stricker said. “I’m verycautious to change.”

DALY DOINGS: John Daly already has received two sponsor exemptions on theU.S. PGA Tour this year. Pebble Beach is not one of them.

The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am has one of the more peculiar criteria.It takes winners of the tournament, the four majors and The Players Championshipdating to 2005—and all such winners before 2000.

Daly qualifies because of his majors (1991 and 1995), while Todd Hamilton (2004 British Open) does not. Matt Gogel (now retired) would not be eligible forwinning Pebble in 2002, while Brett Ogle would be eligible for winning in 1993.

Daly, meanwhile, said on Twitter that his partner next week would be DallasCowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

VOTAW DIVORCED: Less than four years after Ty Votaw married Sophie Gustafsonof Sweden, whom he began dating while still commissioner of the U.S. LPGA Tour,the couple has divorced.

According to records in St. Johns County, Florida, the marriage wasdissolved on Jan. 25, and the judge ordered the case sealed a day later. Votawis the U.S. PGA Tour’s chief spokesman, who also spearheaded the successful bidto get golf back in the Olympics. Gustafson has 23 victories worldwide and hasplayed on the last seven Solheim Cup teams.

Votaw took on some controversy and even a U.S. LPGA board review of therelationship (it saw no conflict) when he began dating Gustafson in 2002 afterhis first marriage ended in divorce. He retired as U.S. LPGA commissioner in2005, and they married in June 2006.

Contacted by e-mail, Votaw declined to comment.

DIVOTS: Ben Crane has three U.S. PGA Tour trophies, two of them collector’sitems—the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee and AT&T Classic outside Atlantano longer exist. … The Royal Bank of Canada is expanding its golf sponsorship,adding personal endorsements with Fred Couples , Luke Donald and Morgan Pressel.RBC already had deals with Anthony Kim, Mike Weir and Stephen Ames .

STAT: The first four U.S. PGA Tour events have been decided by one shot. Thelast time that happened was in 2002, when two of those events were decided inplayoffs.

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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.

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.