Notes Carts Returning to Monday Pro-Ams

By Associated PressJanuary 10, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 Sony OpenHONOLULU -- When the PGA Tour was fighting Casey Martin's lawsuit for the right to ride, it eliminated the use of carts for all players in Monday pro-ams designed to raise additional revenue for tournaments and their charities.
Six years later, and with Martin no longer playing competitive golf, carts are back.

'What we're doing is trying to work with tournaments to facilitate a more successful Monday pro-am,' said Henry Hughes, chief of operations for the PGA Tour. 'As long as there's not a competition, it's for charity only with no prize money, that's an unofficial event that does not prohibit them from using carts.'
Except for a hilly, expansive course like Kapalua, players still must walk during the official pro-am Wednesday, where 36 players keep score and compete for $10,000 in prize money.
Most tournaments also have a Monday pro-am for lesser-known players, or for sponsor's exemptions, that raise additional money for the overflow of amateurs that want to play with pros.
The tour argued in court that walking was an integral part of the competition, although the courts sided with Martin in a decision ultimately affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Hughes said carts were not allowed in Monday pro-ams during the Martin lawsuit, largely because the tour was concerned it might harm the image of its players.
Lately, however, tournaments have had trouble filling the field for Monday pro-ams, especially on a tough course to walk such as the Reno-Tahoe Open or the Texas Open. Some players who competed the previous week could fly to the next stop, but their caddies were driving and could not get there in time.
Hughes also said the Monday pro-ams are no longer about competition -- in other words, there's no prize money.
'We didn't think it compromised anything,' he said of using carts. 'It's a social round of golf to support the title sponsor and charity. The other thing we had is when the professionals walk and the amateurs are in carts, there was no interaction among the players.'
Olin Browne was among the strongest proponents of walking during the Martin lawsuit. Browne has played plenty of Monday pro-ams the last two years, and he said carts on Monday were no reflection on tour's policy or its philosophy about walking.
'It's purely an aid to the tournament, to help them generate revenue, to make sure players are able to play,' Browne said. 'I don't think it has anything to do with competition. It has nothing to do with the tournament. I think it's more logistical than anything else.'
Browne said if amateurs walk, pros should walk. But when amateurs are in carts, the point of the pro-am is lost.
'The whole point is to interact with the group,' he said. 'If amateurs are driving down the fairway and they're 250 yards ahead of a guy, there's no chance for any interaction. In a perfect world, we'd walk all the time, everywhere. But it's not a perfect world, and we're trying to make the best of it.'
Louisiana natives Kelly Gibson, Hal Sutton and David Toms have been given the Bartlett Award by the Golf Writers Association of America for raising more than $2 million after Hurricane Katrina for victims and the disaster workers.
The award is given to professional golfers for unselfish contributions for the betterment of society.
Gibson, who lives in New Orleans, fed more than 50,000 disaster-relief officials and raised more than $400,000 for the catering. Toms, from Shreveport, raised more than $1.5 million that helped some 600 families relocate to furnished apartments. Sutton, also from Shreveport, gave $65,000 for schools to buy textbooks, and collected thousands of items of clothing for evacuees.
They will be honored April 5 in Augusta, Ga., at the GWAA's annual dinner.
The last time Michelle Wie played in the United States, she was disqualified for taking a drop that was deemed closer to the hole. Criticism has been placed on Wie for taking the bad drop, and on Sports Illustrated writer Michael Bamberger for waiting a day to confront a rules official.
The other party involved was Wie's playing partner, Grace Park, who paid no attention to Wie when she was taking her drop in the third round of the Samsung World Championship.
Brad Faxon showed how it's supposed to be done at the Mercedes Championships.
Jason Gore hit an approach that sailed over the third green and disappeared into the thick, knee-high grass. A marshal found his ball, but it was unplayable.
'I want to see what he does with this,' Faxon said as he looked on from the back of the green, 'because I'm not sure he can drop it no closer to the hole.'
After a few minutes, Gore called him over. Faxon stood over the ball holding his putter to give Gore a reference point, and they determined that a drop on the edge of the grass would not be closer to the hole.
Faxon reminded Gore that if the ball rolled beyond the drop area, he would have to place it. Then, they inspected the area a third time to make sure it was the right spot.
Gore held out his arm -- shoulder-length -- dropped the ball, and it hopped back slightly toward the thick grass, leaving him not much of a backswing.
'That's a bad bounce,' Faxon said.
'Ball in play?' Gore said to him.
'Ball in play,' Faxon confirmed, and Gore went about his business making triple bogey.
The Nissan Open at Riviera has raised its prize money to $5.1 million, up $300,000 from last year. ... One reason Stuart Appleby won the Mercedes Championships last week is that he made nine putts over 10 feet. Vijay Singh made one putt at that distance. ... Appleby was a victim of flight delays leaving the tiny Kapalua airport, and it took him six hours to get to Honolulu. 'I've got jet lag,' he said.
Jason Gore finished 36 shots out of the lead at the Mercedes Championships, the largest margin ever in the eight years at Kapalua.
'We're definitely getting off to a slow start on the Vardon Trophy.' -- Mark Calcavecchia at Kapalua, where the average score was 74.9.
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  • Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

    The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

    The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

    In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

    Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

    Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

    Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

    By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

    Each week on, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


    Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

    Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

    Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

    Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

    Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


    J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

    Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

    Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

    DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

    LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

    Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

    Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

    In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

    "Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

    Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

    "The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

    The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

    "Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

    Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.

    Class of 2011: The groups before The Group

    By Mercer BaggsNovember 20, 2017, 9:00 pm

    We’ve been grouping things since the beginning, as in The Beginning, when God said this is heaven and this is earth, and you’re fish and you’re fowl.

    God probably wasn’t concerned with marketing strategies at the time and how #beastsoftheearth would look with a hashtag, but humans have evolved into such thinking (or not evolved, depending on your thinking).

    We now have all manner of items lumped into the cute, the catchy and the kitschy. Anything that will capture our attention before the next thing quickly wrests said attention away.

    Modern focus, in a group sense in the golf world, is on the Class of 2011. This isn’t an arbitrary assembly of players based on world ranking or current form. It’s not a Big Pick A Number.

    There’s an actual tie that binds as it takes a specific distinction to be part of the club. It’s a group of 20-somethings who graduated from high school in the aforementioned year, many who have a PGA Tour card, a handful of who have PGA Tour wins, and a couple of who have major titles.

    It’s a deep and talented collective, one for which our knowledge should continue to expand as resumes grow.

    Do any “classes” in golf history compare? Well, it’s not like we’ve long been lumping successful players together based on when they completed their primary education. But there are other notable groups of players, based primarily on birthdate, relative competition and accomplishment.

    Here’s a few on both the men’s and women’s side:

    BORN IN 1912

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Feb. 4, 1912 Byron Nelson 52 5
    May 27, 1912 Sam Snead 82 7
    Aug. 13, 1912 Ben Hogan 64 9

    Born six months within one another. Only a threesome, but a Hall of Fame trio that combined for 198 PGA Tour wins and 21 majors.

    BORN IN 1949

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 4, 1949 Tom Watson 39 8
    Dec. 5, 1949 Lanny Wadkins 21 1
    Dec. 9, 1949 Tom Kite 19 1

    Only 96 days separate these three Hall of Fame players. Extend the reach into March of 1950 and you'll get two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North.

    BORN IN 1955

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 30, 1955 Curtis Strange 17 2
    Jan. 30, 1955 Payne Stewart 11 3
    Feb. 10, 1955 Greg Norman 20 2

    Another trio of Hall of Fame players. Strange and Stewart were born on the same day with Norman 11 days later. Fellow PGA Tour winners born in 1955: Scott Simpson, Scott Hoch and Loren Roberts.


    Birthdate Player LPGA wins Major wins
    Feb. 22, 1956 Amy Alcott 29 5
    Oct. 14, 1956 Beth Daniel 33 1
    Oct. 27, 1956 Patty Sheehan 35 6
    Jan. 6, 1957 Nancy Lopez 48 3

    A little arbitrary here, but go with it. Four Hall of Famers on the women's side, all born within one year of each other. That's an average (!) career of 36 tour wins and nearly four majors.


    Birthdate Player Euro (PGA Tour) wins Major wins
    April 9, 1957 Seve Ballesteros 50 (9) 5
    July 18, 1957 Nick Faldo 30 (9) 6
    Aug. 27, 1957 Bernhard Langer 42 (3) 2
    Feb. 9, 1958 Sandy Lyle 18 (6) 2
    March 2, 1958 Ian Woosnam 29 (2) 1

    The best 'class' of players Europe has to offer. Five born within a year of one another. Five Hall of Fame members. Five who transformed and globalized European golf.


    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 12, 1969 Angel Cabrera 3 2
    Oct. 17, 1969 Ernie Els 19 4
    May 12, 1970 Jim Furyk 17 1
    May 12, 1970 Mike Weir 8 1
    June 16, 1970 Phil Mickelson 42 5

    Not a tight-knit group, but a little more global bonding in accordance to the PGA Tour's increased international reach. Add in worldwide wins – in excess of 200 combined – and this group is even more impressive.

    BORN IN 1980

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 9, 1980 Sergio Garcia 10 1
    July 16, 1980 Adam Scott 13 1
    July 30, 1980 Justin Rose 8 1

    Could be three future Hall of Fame members here.

    Editor's note: Golf Channel's editorial research unit contributed.