Notes Masters Not for All Tigers New Driver

By Associated PressApril 25, 2007, 4:00 pm
The Viking Classic in Annandale, Miss., already was feeling minimized by getting a spot on the PGA TOUR calendar after the FedExCup competition was over. Then came the announcement from Augusta National that PGA TOUR winners again would automatically qualify for the Masters - but only those events that offered full FedExCup points.
The Viking Classic is part of the Fall Series, meaning it offers no FedExCup points at all.
And the winner won't get that ticket down Magnolia Lane.
``It goes back to what we were years ago when we first started out,'' said Robert Morgan, the tournament's executive director. ``We were official money, but we were not an official win, which was screwy. It's going to be the same in that respect. I would think not having the Masters invitation is going to be a negative.''
The announcement from Augusta National was a double-edged sword for the Fall Series.
Winners of those seven events don't get an invitation to the Masters. However, the Masters will take the top 30 on the money list, meaning more players might compete in the fall if it means a chance for them to move into the top 30 on the money list.
The top 30 from the FedExCup points will be frozen after the TOUR Championship, and all those players will be eligible for the Masters.
``I assume the tour doesn't have anything to do with what the Masters does,'' Morgan said. ``But we were told more than one time that everything would be the same. This was a surprise and a disappointment.''
The Disney Golf Classic might be in the best spot among fall events - the final week of official competition, meaning players will be competing for the top 125 on the money list to earn their cards, and top 30 to get into the Masters, if they aren't already eligible.
Tournament director Kevin Weickel said it's a chance for fall events to prove themselves.
``The Masters always does what's best for the Masters,'' Weickel said. ``It's great for the players that a win gets you back into that circle, and I'd love for the fall events to be included. That may come down in the future. The fall is still new to everybody. They're smart folks up there in Augusta. I'm sure they'll figure it out.''
Even so, fall tournaments must have been wondering about Nick Watney's victory in New Orleans last week. That was a full FedExCup event, but the field was so weak that more world ranking points were awarded to the winner of the BMW Asian Open. Watney earned 28 points, only four more points than the winner of the Mississippi tournament last year.
``We've got to play it first,'' Weickel said of the Fall Series. ``Once we see what the fields are like, that's when we'll all be able to make a fair evaluation.''
Some have described the sound of the Nike Sumo driver as an empty soda can being struck in a racquetball court. That noise was coming from the first tee at Oakmont on Monday, and it was in the hands of Tiger Woods.
Whether he uses it in competition remains to be seen.
Woods used the Sumo driver exclusively during two days of practice at Oakmont.
``The question is whether I use it at the Wachovia (Championship),'' Woods said, referring to next week's tournament at Quail Hollow. ``I already know what my other driver does. It did all right at Augusta National.''
Woods has tested the square-shaped driver in practice, but he has not used it in competition. He had said during a Nike news conference late last year that he hits it farther with the new driver, but he had not figured out the proper launch conditions.
He missed only three fairways with his driver during his final practice round Monday.
Tiger Woods offered an interesting sequence of club selection from the 15th hole of the Masters, even though he never took the 3-iron out of his hand.
He didn't have much of a choice, considering his 4-iron was in two pieces from smacking the tree on his swing at No. 11.
``This is how it went,'' he said. ``When the guys were on the green, it was a 4-iron. When the guys were ready to leave the green, it became a 5-iron. And when I stepped over the ball, it was a 3-iron. The wind was dancing all over the place. It went from no wind, then down and left-to-right, and then it was in and off the right. I always had a 3-iron, but it was like, '3-iron is too much, 3-iron is too much,' and then 3-iron became perfect. And then I hit a terrible shot.''
Woods played a big cut that came up short and into the water, and he scrambled for par.
Electronic leaderboards on the PGA TOUR have been around almost 20 years, and Charles Howell III once described the sound of more than 5,000 yellow cubes turning over as machine gun fire.
Finally, they're about to be replaced.
The tour last week announced a three-year marketing deal with Mitsubishi Electric in which the company will supply 22 Diamond Vision LED scoreboards that will make their debut at The Players Championship next month. After that, officials say the boards will be divided into traveling sets so 11 boards are at each PGA TOUR event.
The boards will be phased in during the summer, and all 11 should be in place starting with the first FedExCup playoff event at The Barclays the last week in August.
The Wachovia Championship next week again is offering its ``Mulligan'' ticket program. Fans who have to leave the tournament early can donate their daily tickets to the tournament, which will be sold for $10. All proceeds from the program go to charity. The tournament already is sold out. ... The Las Vegas tournament will be run by the Shriners Hospital for Children, which will get the charitable proceeds. The tournament, now called the Frys.Com Open, had been run by the Founders Club since it began in 1983. ... Nick Faldo will make his Champions Tour debut in the Senior British Open at Muirfield, the 20-year anniversary of his first major championship at Muirfield. ... Charlotte Country Club will host the 2010 U.S. Women's Amateur, while the 2009 U.S. Senior Amateur is going to The Homestead in Hot Springs, Va.
D.J. Trahan (Southern Farm Bureau) and Eric Axley (Texas Open) are both outside the top 200 in the world ranking despite winning PGA TOUR events in the last seven months.
``It's a nice, drivable par 4.'' - Tiger Woods, on the 288-yard eighth hole at Oakmont, which plays as a par 3.
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.