Notes Jack Troubled by Kids Focus on Golf

By Associated PressNovember 28, 2007, 5:00 pm
Along with his record 18 professional majors and a PGA TOUR career that spanned four decades, perhaps one of the most remarkable tributes to the consistent greatness of Jack Nicklaus was that he only withdrew from two tournaments.
 
One of them was the Philadelphia Golf Classic in 1970. The other was the 1983 Masters.
 
Nicklaus doesn't consider himself lucky, just well-rounded -- not his shape, but his interest in other sports.
 
Even when he was at Ohio State, Nicklaus said he would put the clubs away after the golf season and play intramural football, basketball and volleyball. As a teenager, he played sports in every season.
 
'I think I was developed to play other things and do other things, and golf didn't beat me down to one thing. I just didn't wear out,' Nicklaus said during his recent visit to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
 
Hardly anyone lifted weights if they were serious about golf when Nicklaus was growing up, but so much about this sport has changed. Nick Faldo and Greg Norman were fanatical about fitness, then Tiger Woods and a host of others have taken that to a new level.
 
'It's a different day,' he said.
 
What concerns Nicklaus are kids who are steered toward golf and spend their time doing little else.
 
'You see kids specialize in golf. I think that is idiotic,' he said. 'To play all the sports is great. I played everything. My dad played everything. Golf to me was just another sport until I was about 19. When I won the National Amateur at 19, I finally said, 'Hmm, I must be a little better than I think I am.' It was just a game -- still is a game.'
 
His advice to young golfers?
 
'I think kids should be playing everything, doing everything,' he said. 'Eventually, if you want to specialize in something, that's fine. But go out and enjoy, and be happy to be able to play other things.'
 
EVE N. PAR:
The LPGA Tour rolled out a playful statistic this year, keeping track of how much a player would have earned by finishing at even par (Eve N. Par) in all official events.
 
Eve N. Par would have finished with $605,121 to finish at No. 24 on the LPGA money list.
 
Apply that to the PGA TOUR, and the statistics get skewed, for Eve N. Par would have won the Masters and the U.S. Open. Total earnings would have been $4,650,492 to finish at No. 5 on the PGA Tour money list, playing in 43 tournaments.
 
Throw out the majors and replace them with opposite-field events (when applicable), and the total would have been $1,780,875 to finish 48th on the money list.
 
ULTIMATE GAME:
The Ultimate Game offers a $1 million first prize to two-player teams that pay their own entry fee of up to $60,000. The competition is off limits to fully exempt members of the PGA, European, Asian, Japan, Nationwide and Champions tours.
 
But it doesn't say anything about the LPGA Tour.
 
U.S. Women's Open champion Cristie Kerr plans to sign up for the March 6-11 event with her swing coach, Jim McLean.
 
'It's not often that I get to play in such a unique format with my longtime mentor and a person who has so greatly influenced my golf game,' Kerr said of McLean. 'Couple that with the fact that it's a chance to play for $1 million, and I can't wait.'
 
Kerr will play from the same tees as the men in the better-ball format. Entry fees range from $45,000 to $60,000 per team, and players get that back if they win two matches. It will be held at the PGA West Stadium Course.
 
CHOPRA'S CHOICE:
Daniel Chopra made plenty of right decisions when he won the Ginn sur Mer Classic last month, his first PGA TOUR victory that gives him a two-year exemption.
 
With Q-school starting Wednesday, it was a reminder of another good decision he made six years ago.
 
Chopra reached the final round of Q-school on the European Tour, and the second stage of Q-school on the PGA TOUR. The problem was they were scheduled the same week in November 2001.
 
'So I had to make a choice,' Chopra said. 'Do I go to European Tour school, final stage, have a chance to get on to the big tour? Or do I say, 'No, I want to go and play the PGA TOUR?''
 
The decision was surprisingly easy.
 
Chopra backed out of the European Q-school finals, stunning many around him. It was a huge risk; had he not advanced and earned a card through the PGA TOUR's Q-school, he would have essentially had nowhere to play in 2002. But he wound up making the Nationwide Tour that year, got to the big tour in 2004 and finally showed he could win.
 
'Took a long time,' Chopra said.
 
JACK IS BACK:
Jack Nicklaus is heading into the meat of his tournament schedule.
 
First up is the Del Webb Father-Son Challenge this weekend in Orlando, where he and Gary will try to win for the second time. Then after a three-month break, Nicklaus and Tom Watson will defend their title in the Wendy's Champions Skins Game in Hawaii.
 
That's about all the competition Nicklaus needs these days.
 
Nicklaus and Watson will compete in the Champions Skins Game Feb. 23-24 against Arnold Palmer and Jay Haas; Gary Player and Loren Roberts; and Fuzzy Zoeller and Peter Jacobsen. The format at Royal Kaanapali is alternate shot.
 
Nicklaus has earned $2,295,000 in the Champions Skins Game, about 40 percent of what he earned in his 45 years on the PGA TOUR.
 
DIVOTS:
Davis Love III had hoped to return from ankle surgery in time for the Father-Son Challenge and the Target World Challenge, but he is not ready to play. His next start likely will be the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Love, who received an invitation to Target, was replaced in the 16-man field by Colin Montgomerie. ... The PGA Grand Slam of Golf will return to the Mid-Ocean Club on Bermuda next year. It will be played Oct. 14-15, two weeks after the Tour Championship. ... PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem was asked if he could envision Tiger Woods ever joining the European Tour with the new bonus money and $10 million season-ending event in Dubai. 'I've learned after 11 years to let Tiger speak for himself,' he said. ... The 18 players in the Father-Son Challenge have combined to win 62 majors.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Sixteen players at the final stage of Q-school are past champions on the PGA TOUR.
 
FINAL WORD:
'It's not quite the Masters, but it's $675,000. Thank you.' -- Stephen Ames, on winning the LG Skins Game.
 
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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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.