Notes Quail Hollow responds to Leftys criticism

By Associated PressMay 3, 2010, 3:24 am

Quail Hollow ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. – Phil Mickelson entered the final round of the Quail Hollow Championship thinking 11 under might give him his second straight victory.

The Masters champion did his part with a 4-under 68, but was blown away with Rory McIlroy’s course-record 62 that left Mickelson alone in second place, four shots back.

“I thought 11 under would have been a good score to post because the course was pretty challenging,” Mickelson said. “But 62 is one of the best rounds I’ve seen in a long, long time.”

Mickelson sank a 40-footer for birdie on 13, then birdied 14 to get within a stroke. But Mickelson’s hopes sank when he walked down the 15th fairway.

“I saw that he had eagled 15 and had started to pull away,” Mickelson said. “For him to win on the PGA Tour before his 21st birthday, I think it just sets his career off. … I’m happy for him that he was able to put together this great round. I’m sorry it was at my expense.”

Mickelson, who recovered from a stomach issue early in the week, plans some time with coach Butch Harmon before The Players Championship begins Thursday.

“I think after coming off such a great high as Augusta and taking a couple weeks off, you’re never really sure where your game’s going to be,” Mickelson said. “For me to play solid, get into contention and have a fun, good week, gives me some momentum.”

PHIL’S CRITICISM: Quail Hollow has enjoyed plenty of praise for its major-like feel, old-school layout and top field – which made Mickelson’s comments about the greens even more biting.

After telling his caddie to keep the flagstick in on 18 Saturday because he felt the hole location didn’t allow him to putt toward the cup, Mickelson said the greens “are some of the worst designed greens that we have on the tour.”

Added Mickelson: “I would say 18 is the worst on this Tour, but it’s not the worst on this golf course. Twelve is, and we have some ridiculous putts here.”

Quail Hollow Club president Johnny Harris responded to the criticism Sunday.

“I was sort of glad that he did it,” Harris said. “We have always tried to listen to the players and to the patrons and to the people that work here about how we can improve our product. I think Phil voiced something that he wouldn’t have said if he didn’t feel it.

“I look forward to listening to what he has to say and see if there’s not some things we can do to tweak the situation and improve it. We’ve always done that.”

Harris said they’ve already planned changes for next year, including eliminating the false front and the ripples on the back left on the eighth green. They’re also considering removing cedar trees on the right of the 18th fairway.

Harris said he plans to meet soon with Mickelson – who indicated he’s keeping the event on his schedule.

“I’ve come to really love and enjoy this golf tournament,” Mickelson said.

MAYFAIR’S LETDOWN: Billy Mayfair’s feel-good story ended with a flat final-round 76, ending his hopes of becoming the first Monday qualifier to win on the PGA Tour since 1986.

“Disappointing finish, but all around it was a great week,” he said.

Mayfair, who lost his exempt status after finishing 157th on the money list last year and hasn’t won since 1998, entered Sunday with a two-shot lead. But he ran into trouble early, including a double-bogey on the par-5 seventh.

He eagled the 14th, but his third shot on the 16th hit the lip of the bunker and stayed in. His double-bogey ended his chances of finishing in the top 10. He tied for 14th and collected $120,250.

“I have a lot more golf this year to try to keep my card,” Mayfair said. “It’s a learning experience.”

NEW NAME?: The tournament could soon have its third name.

The Wachovia Championship last year became the Quail Hollow Championship after Wells Fargo, which bought Wachovia, took the bank’s name off the event amid scrutiny following federal bailouts during the financial crisis.

Wells Fargo’s deal as title sponsor runs through 2014, and the company was more visible this year. Putting the name back on the event could come in 2011.

“I didn’t expect them to take their name off the event, so they fooled me before, but I can’t imagine that they don’t want to do something that involves their name with the event,” Harris said.

Harris said his only concern is confusing television viewers with another name change.

“It’s their call,” Harris said of Wells Fargo. “We look forward to embracing anything they want to do.”

Harris played coy about the future of the event past 2014, when the sponsorship deal and the contract with the PGA Tour runs out. Harris has had discussions about bringing a PGA Championship or Ryder Cup to Quail Hollow.

“There’s plenty of support as long as we can come up with the best way to attract the best players in the world to Charlotte,” Harris said. “We’ll dance with anybody.”

DIVOTS: The sold-out tournament didn’t see significant declines in weekend attendance despite Tiger Woods missing the cut. “All our indicators are up,” Harris said. “We’re up in food sales. We’re up in Bloody Mary mix sales. The merchandise tent seems to be way ahead of last year.” … Dustin Johnson bogeyed seven of his first eight holes, shot 77 and finished tied for 29th. … Rickie Fowler, 21, shot 67 Sunday while wearing all orange for his second straight top-10 finish. “Orange is the color of the Oklahoma State Cowboys. That’s where I came from,” he said. … Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe who now lives in Charlotte, shot 66 and finished fourth.

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.