Notes No Love for Heckler

By Associated PressMarch 3, 2004, 5:00 pm
Davis Love III had no problems with how he confronted the gallery during the final round of the Match Play Championship and demanded that a heckler be taken away.
He said fans like that should be kicked off the course.
'How about if I come into the press room, and instead of saying that maybe that cost me a hole, saying, 'This is unfair. This cost me the golf tournament. I'm getting a lawyer.' How many lawyers in California would have jumped on that?' Love said Tuesday.
But he said he stopped thinking about the heckler after the hole was played.
'As soon as I hit it in the trees (on No. 6), I was like, 'How do I get this out?' I'm back to playing the game,' Love said. 'I didn't think about it again until afterward.'
Love missed a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 6 (the 24th hole of the match). Tiger Woods took the lead for the first time by winning the next three holes and wound up beating Love, 3 and 2.
It's not the first time Love has confronted a heckler. After hitting into the water in the final round of the '98 Bay Hill Invitational, Love confronted a fan who called out, 'C'mon Davis, this isn't the Ryder Cup.'
'Why should I play with someone trying to distract me from playing?' Love said. 'It's not fair. The people who disagree with that, they don't understand the game.'
A Visit to the Masters Champion
The biggest thrill for Mike Weir after he won the Masters last year was dropping a ceremonial puck at a Stanley Cup playoff game in Toronto.
The strangest episode of his new fame? The guy who showed up at his home in Utah.
'I got a knock on my door, and there was a guy standing there, and he had five Masters flags,' Weir said Tuesday during a conference call.
The man was from Calgary, on his way home from the Masters, and decided to stop in Salt Lake City to see if he could find Canada's latest sports star. Weir went to BYU and lives in suburban Draper.
'Somehow, he found my house,' Weir said. 'He went to some neighborhoods ... kind of drove around. I guess he asked some construction workers, and they told him that I lived in the neighborhood. He came right to my front door.'
Stranger yet: Weir saw the man's wife in the front seat of the car, waving to him.
'You'd think his wife would say, 'Don't you think it's a little odd to be going to the guy's house?' But no, he thought it was OK,' Weir said.
The Masters champion chatted with him and eventually signed the flag.
The man apparently later heard a report about the episode and wrote Weir an apology.
And The Winner Is ...
Golf Digest magazine had former CBS Sports golf analyst Ben Wright and Martha Burk square off in a series of questions.
The final question: Who won the Masters?
'I did,' Burk said with a laugh. 'If you count the column inches of coverage and the ability to raise a profile in the press, there's no question I won.
'As far as the guy at the top of the scoreboard, I couldn't tell you.'
Heads I Win, Tails You Lose
One of the more peculiar moments from the Match Play Championship came during the first round between David Toms and Niclas Fasth of Sweden.
They didn't have a referee in their group to decide who was away. Trying to measure the distance of the putts with the flag stick didn't work, either.
Toms suggested flipping a coin, a common procedure -- except maybe in Sweden.
'I don't know if Niclas has ever flipped a coin, because he goes, 'How does this work?' Toms said. 'It was a very confusing thing. We flipped a coin, but he said, 'What happens if I call tails?'
'It was just a big mess.'
The caddies and players ultimately agreed that Toms was away. He holed the putt and wound up winning on the 19th hole.
Consolation Prize
One thing that kept Davis Love III grinding away in the semifinals Saturday afternoon is what awaited him Sunday afternoon if had lost: the dreaded consolation match.
'I've played a consolation match, and it's not fun,' said Love, who was soundly beaten by David Duval in the consolation match four years ago.
Tour officials want to keep the 18-hole consolation match because it helps fill dead time during the telecast and allows fans another match to watch.
The difference between third place and fourth place is $100,000 and 7.4 world ranking points, so it's not entirely meaningless.
'It was a bit flat, to be honest,' Stephen Leaney said after losing to Darren Clarke. 'With no disrespect, we didn't come here to be third or fourth.'
Badd Coincidence
Aaron Baddeley had only 95 putts last week at the Chrysler Classic of Tucson, two more than the PGA Tour record held by Kenny Knox and Mark Calcavecchia.
And he three-putted the final hole -- his only three-putt of the week -- to finish one shot behind.
The last time Baddeley had such a good week on the greens was the 2002 Sony Open. He made every putt inside 5 feet until the 71st hole -- backing off when the door of a portable toilet slammed -- and wound up losing to Ernie Els in a playoff.
Clubhouse badges for the Bay Hill Invitational have sold out for the first time since the tournament moved to Bay Hill Club in 1979. A victory by Tiger Woods would make him the first professional to win the same golf tournament five straight years. ... Annika Sorenstam will receive the Gold Tee Award from the Met Golf Writers Association at their 53rd National Awards Dinner on June 14. ... Great Britain & Ireland is getting a head start on trying to win the Walker Cup for a fourth straight time. A group of 12 players is coming to Chicago Golf Club in August to prepare for the 2005 matches. ... The Royal Canadian Golf Association is creating a $1 million University Golf Fund to support promising golfers and help Canadian schools establish credible golf programs.
Stat of the week
Seve Ballesteros is playing the Ford Championship at Doral this week. He has not made a cut in the United States since the '96 Masters, and he hasn't made the cut at a regular PGA Tour event since he tied for 37th at The Players Championship in 1995.
Final word
'I've got a little dinner to organize that I didn't have to do last year.' -- Mike Weir, on what he'll do differently at the Masters.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Getty Images

What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

Getty Images

Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

Getty Images

Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.