Notes Duval Tweaks Neck By Sneezing

By Associated PressJuly 13, 2005, 4:00 pm
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland --David Duval had a 12:10 p.m. starting time for his final practice round Wednesday, but he didnt join his group until the fourth fairway.
His sinuses were acting up, and he sneezed so hard and so often the day before that it tweaked his neck. Duval had to spend an hour getting therapy before he could play.
If its not one thing, its another, he said.
Duval, the 2001 British Open champion, hasnt won in three years and hasnt made a cut this year. Maybe this is just what he needs. His long list of injuries began at St. Andrews five years ago when his back hurt so much he could barely bend over to stick a tee in the ground. He still managed to get into the final group, and trailed Tiger Woods by only three shots with 11 holes to play.
Reminded of that, the light came on.
Yeah, I cant walk, he said. Watch out.
The claret jug hasnt spent much time in its homeland over the past decade.
Scotlands Paul Lawrie is the lone British winner of the British Open over the past dozen years, and even that 1999 victory should come with an asterisk: Frenchman Jean Van de Velde blew a three-stroke lead on the 72nd hole, letting Lawrie into a playoff at Carnoustie.
Maybe things will change this year. The British contingent'golfers from England, Scotland and Wales'looks as strong as its been in years, with six from its ranks holding spots in the top 65 of the latest world rankings.
And that doesnt even include No. 32 David Howell, who dropped out because of an injury, and 62nd-ranked Greg Owen, who failed to qualify.
The guys have been performing well, said Englands Nick Faldo, who won the last of his three Opens in 1992, so I think weve got plenty of players now.
Scotlands Colin Montgomerie, ranked 40th, relishes the idea of winning his first major at St. Andrews.
This would cap off a fantastic career of mine, he said. I come here full of hope, as I do every year for an Open. And this year is slightly different. I come here on quite good form, really, and I look forward to it in every way.
Monty will have to contend with Englands Luke Donald (15th), Lee Westwood (38th), Ian Poulter (44th) and Paul Casey (60th), along with Stephen Dodd (65th) of Wales.
Donald was placed in one of the prime groups, playing Thursday and Friday with Jack Nicklaus'making his final appearance in a major'and five-time Open champion Tom Watson.
Obviously, theres a little bit more expectation on players like myself, Donald said. That just comes with the territory. You dont really think about it when youre on the golf course. You just get on with it.
In addition to being part of the Open rotation, St. Andrews is a familiar stop for those on the European Tour'its used every year for the Dunhill Links.
Montgomerie, for instance, has been staying in the same hotel every year for nearly two decades.
It must be an advantage, he said. I know my way around here. I know what to do.
But the Brits are still fighting long odds. The huge contingent of top golfers from beyond their shores includes Tiger Woods, the 2000 winner and an overwhelming favorite this year.
David Levy has mixed feelings about Jack Nicklaus farewell appearance in the British Open.
As president of Turner Sports, which will televise the first two rounds of the tournament on TNT, Levy relishes the idea of his cable network getting a chance to show Nicklaus crossing the Swilcan Bridge for the final time Friday.
Of course, that would mean the Golden Bear missed the cut'which tugs at Levys personal preference.
Its a mixed bag, Levy said. It would be great to have Jack on TNT, but I would like to see him play on the weekend. Im sentimental about that.
The bulk of the weekend play will be televised by ABC, though TNT does get a couple of hours both Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Maybe Jack will make the cut, but finish up while were on the air, Levy said hopefully.
Stephen Bridle had to pay nearly $15,000 to get on the Old Course this week'and hell never even hit a shot.
The London banker made the winning bid to serve as caddie for Australian journeyman David Diaz, who put the looper duties up for auction on the Internet.
Diaz had hoped to collect about $7,500, but Bridle won with a bid twice that amount. It also helped that hes got an 8 handicap and has played at St. Andrews three times.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Bridle said.
What a dream.
The 37-year-old Diaz qualified in January for his first major. He said hell use the caddie windfall to travel to the United States along with his wife and children, hoping to land a spot on the PGA Tour.
Diaz has played 10 tournaments on the Australasian, European and Nationwide tours this year, failing to make the cut in any of them.
When the media got on to it, I thought, What have I done? Diaz said. It kind of took the focus away from the fact I was preparing for a golf tournament.
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  • 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.

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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.