Notes Rules May Keep Lefty Out of BellSouth

By Associated PressMarch 27, 2005, 5:00 pm
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Horrible weather at The Players Championship, and PGA Tour rules might keep Phil Mickelson out of the BellSouth Classic.
Mickelson was four strokes off the lead after two rounds of The Players Championship, which could be stretched until Tuesday because of rain. That means Mickelson's expected practice rounds at Augusta National early this week might get pushed to Wednesday at the earliest, and make him unavailable for the BellSouth's pro-am.
PGA rules are clear: if you miss the pro-am without an excused absence, you can't play that week.
'There's a good chance I'll end up playing Augusta on Wednesday and that means I won't be able to play' at TPC at Sugarloaf, Mickelson said Sunday.
Mickelson, the defending Masters champion, said he's not a fan of the PGA Tour's pro-am rule because it affects only those scheduled to play in the pre-tournament event and not all competitors.
'I don't think it's a legitimate rule,' he said. 'I think the punishment should not affect the competition itself.'
Henry Hughes, chief of operations for the PGA Tour, said he didn't anticipate any exceptions to the pro-am policy just because a tournament ends on Monday, or even Tuesday.
'I would think that does not have any impact,' Hughes said. 'It's not a cross-country trip. I don't see any conflict.'
Earlier this year, U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen overslept, missed his pro-am tee time at the Nissan Open and was disqualified at the Riviera Country Club.
The rule went into effect before last season. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said in the two years before that, 'we averaged 54 total no-shows' for pro-ams.
'We went from that to last year, two DQs,' Finchem said.
Pro-ams are significant revenue streams for tournaments. A spot in the March 30 pro-am at the Tournament Players Club at Sugarloaf cost $4,950, according to the tournament's Web site.
Goosen was the only disqualification so far this season. Finchem says there have been no excused absences.
As problematic as disqualifying a player can be, Finchem says 'there's always a silver lining in just about everything. I think it's really got the players focused on the regulation and the importance of making your tee time on Wednesday.'
Steve Jones seemed as happy to close out a second-round 77 Sunday at The Players Championship as he was with his first-round 64.
'Hey, I made it, I finished the round,' Jones said, big smile on his face.
He waved his arms in the air after finally reaching reach the halfway point at TPC at Sawgrass' Stadium Course. When you're 46 and off the PGA Tour radar for two years with a tennis elbow injury, any tournament golf is good golf.
'I felt so good Friday and even yesterday,' Jones said. 'You try and hold on to that good feeling, that good swing.'
He was tied for the lead when he left the course Saturday midway through the second round. Jones' last nine holes were nothing short of a golfing disaster. He had back-to-back double bogeys on the 11th and 12th holes and three more bogeys coming in for a closing 43. He fell seven shots off the pace.
No matter what happens at The Players, the former U.S. Open champion is pleased with his progress.
'I got to rethink some of my strategies on the fairways,' he said. 'I'll take a lot from this. I've got to play the back nine again real quick, so maybe I can improve myself.'
That's what Jones did, finishing seven shots better with a 36 before the third round was halted.
Now that's going down swinging.
Andre Stolz came to the 18th -- and the final hole of his first Players Championship -- Sunday morning after back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th holes.
He must have felt the adreneline since he proceeded to pump three tee shots into the large lake along the left side of the difficult hole.
Finally, on his fourth tee shot, Stolz hit dry land in the right rough. By that time he was on his seventh stroke. It took two more to hit the green.
Two putts later, Stolz -- who made seven birdies during the round -- closed with an 11.
He ended with a 76 and a two-round total of 10-over 154.
Stolz, a 34-year-old Australian who won the Michelin Championship at Las Vegas last season, has missed the cut in six of his eight events this year.
Hal Sutton, who won the 2000 Players Championship, did not return to Sawgrass' Stadium Course to finish his second round Sunday morning, citing a hip injury. ... Vijay Singh was 5 under par after the first round. In the 29 holes he's played since, Singh has only two birdies. ... Graeme McDowell's caddie thought his man was getting ready to tee off on No. 4 when he saw three kids walking down the left side of a cartpath. 'Stand on the path please,' the caddie called out. The kids immediately came to a halt. Only later did the caddie realize McDowell was waiting for the fairway to clear -- and one of the kids was the son of Davis Love III.
Related Links:
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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.