Man of His Word Furyk Back to Defend

By Associated PressJuly 25, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Canadian OpenMARKHAM, Ontario -- Jim Furyk kept his word.
 
Minutes after winning the Canadian Open last September at historic Hamilton Golf and Country Club, the American star said he would return to defend his title despite an untimely new spot on the PGA TOUR schedule.
 
'It was never a question,' Furyk said Wednesday after his pro-am round.
 
'The first question when I got in the media room was, 'Are you coming back next year?' And I was like, `Why wouldn't you if you're the defending champ?''
 
For most top players, the national championship -- in its second year without a title sponsor -- wasn't a viable option because of its position after the British Open and before the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship.
 
Furyk, coming off a 12th-place tie Sunday in the British Open at Carnoustie, probably would have taken the week off if he wasn't the defending champion.
 
'I wouldn't say, yes, I would definitely be here,' Furyk said. 'I won't say no, I definitely wouldn't be here. It would have probably been a call on how I felt.'
 
He would have rather played Hamilton again than Angus Glen's revamped North Course.
 
'If I had to pick between here and Hamilton, I would have wanted Hamilton,' Furyk said. 'I love that golf course, but I don't think this is a bad golf course in any means. I think it's fine. It's just a totally different style.'
 
At No. 3 behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, Furyk is the top-ranked player in starting field Thursday. No. 7 Vijay Singh, the 2004 winner, also is playing, but Canadians Mike Weir (No. 36) and Stephen Ames (No. 38), and No. 46 John Rollins, the 2002 champion on the adjacent South Course, are the only other top-50 players.
 
Woods, the 2000 winner at Glen Abbey, hasn't played since 2001, and Mickelson made his last appearance in 2004.
 
The Royal Canadian Golf Association also failed to get a commitment from Davis Love III, a surprising decision after Love's design firm restructured the North Course last year in preparation for the tournament. Love created new tees, narrowed fairways and altered bunkers on the 6-year-old course designed by Jay Morrish and Canadian Doug Carrick on a former cattle ranch in the rolling hills north of Toronto.
 
'Every time we talked from THE PLAYERS Championship on, he was going to play,' tournament director Bill Paul said Tuesday. 'He's the biggest disappointment. ... Obviously, he should be here.'
 
Weir, whose 2003 Masters victory played a key role in Royal Montreal getting the Presidents Cup, is fighting to earn one of 10 automatic spots on the International team, but will likely end up as one of captain Gary Player's two picks. The Canadian tied for eighth in his last two starts, the AT&T National and British Open.
 
'I guess you'd have to ask Gary as far as where I stand in his mind. I have no idea,' Weir said. 'I can't worry about the Presidents Cup. I'm trying to get focused this week. This is a big week, so I'm not looking down the road.'
 
The 10 spots available through the world rankings will be set after the PGA Championship. Weir is 17th and Ames 18th, with Australians Aaron Baddeley, Stuart Appleby and Robert Allenby also outside the top 10.
 
'I wouldn't want to be in Gary's shoes,' said Jeff Sluman, the longtime tour player who will serve as U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus' assistant.
 
Weir, from Bright's Grove on Lake Huron near the Michigan border, came close to winning in 2004 at Glen Abbey, but lost to Singh on the third extra hole. Pat Fletcher was the last Canadian winner, taking the 1954 event at Point Grey in Vancouver.
 
'Hopefully, somebody will do it soon,' Weir said. 'I hope it's me.'
 
Mark Calcavecchia, the 2005 winner at Shaughnessy in Vancouver, praised the course.
 
'With the rolling hills, it's a beautiful piece of land. It's visually appealing,' said Calcavecchia, coming off a 23rd-place tie at Carnoustie. 'I think the battle this week will be on the greens. They can come up with some really tough pins and if you hit it in the wrong place, you're going to have a hard time two-putting.'
 
Singh also pointed to the hole locations.
 
'They need to hide the pins,' Singh said. 'Otherwise, guys will go very low.'
 
Divots:
Furyk teamed with BlackBerry billionaire Jim Balsillie in the pro-am. ... Spencer Levin, the former U.S. amateur star who won consecutive Canadian Tour events this year, topped the six qualifiers from the circuit's money list. He tied for 13th as an amateur in the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock. ... Singh tied for 27th at Carnoustie. ... The final two holes are part of the South Course. The layout was altered because of the large seating capacity around the South Course's 18th green.
 
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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.