Notes Sergios All Wet Miracle Shot

By Associated PressJune 1, 2007, 4:00 pm
DUBLIN, Ohio -- It was a hot, humid day, the temperatures climbing into the 90s. What better way to refresh yourself during a round of golf than a brief splash in the water?
 
Sergio Garcia got a cooling shower, but not by his choice. He pulled his drive into the trees on the par-5 15th hole during Friday's second round at the Memorial Tournament, the ball clunking off a trunk and ricocheting into a small stream.
 
Garcia, who shot a 3-under 69 in the first round, was even on the day at the time.
 
His ball was still tumbling in the current of the creek, so he got a ruling from an official before taking off his shoes and socks, rolling up his pantlegs and stepping into the water. He didn't want to pick up a penalty because the ball was still moving.
 
When it came to rest in a small hole in the silt, he took a mighty slash at it with a wedge, hitting it back toward the tee while splashing water all over his orange-and-blue ensemble. The ball ended up in deep rough next to the fairway.
 
From there he punched a shot to the end of the fairway and hit a wedge to the green, two putting for a bogey.
 
'I just got wet, but it dried up because it's so warm,' Garcia said with a grin after finishing off a 73. 'In the breeze, it was feeling kind of cool.'
 
MIRACLE SHOT
Nick O'Hern was expecting the worst, yet got the best.
 
His second shot to the par-4 18th hole in the second round Friday ended up against the lip of the yawning 'Azinger' bunker left of the green. He deliberated for several minutes, sizing up shots to try to just advance the ball.
 
'The worst-case (scenario) was double-bogey and I thought if I go to the front of the green I could still quite easily make double. So what's the point of that?' said O'Hern, who had shared the lead with an opening-round 65. 'We might as well have a go at it and hope we get lucky.'
 
O'Hern took a dozen practice swings before finally taking a ferocious cut. The ball came out hard and fast, but was slowed by the steep slope beyond the pin. It rolled all the way to the second cut, then turned and started rolling back downhill toward the hole. It slowly curled into the cup, touching off a loud roar from the gallery.
 
'When it was about 5 feet short, it just kept rolling and rolling and I thought, 'This can't reach the hole, it can't come all the way back.' But it did,' O'Hern said. 'My caddie went nuts. He was giving me a bear hug. He just said it's the greatest shot he's ever seen.
 
'I think I'll go and buy a lottery ticket now.'
 
CAVALIERS FAN
Ben Curtis grew up a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, but even he couldn't stick around to watch the end of their 109-107 double-overtime victory over the Detroit Pistons in the NBA's Eastern Conference finals on Thursday night.
 
'I turned it off going into overtime,' said Curtis, who had a 9:41 a.m. tee time Friday morning. 'I figured if I watched two overtimes ... I probably would have been juiced up and wouldn't have slept until 2. So I just turned it off and figured I read the newspaper in the morning.'
 
Curtis, who grew up 10 minutes away from Muirfield Village Golf Club, has the Reebok contract to wear NFL logo shirts and hats. He wore the orange and brown of the Cleveland Browns in the second round.
 
He said he'd be willing to trade for some Cavaliers clothing.
 
'Yeah, that'd be good,' he said. 'They're the hot team right now, so why not?'
 
EXEMPT AND EXCITED
Kyle Reifers, a Dublin native, received an exemption to play in the Memorial. He missed the cut with rounds of 76 and 75, but he couldn't have been more appreciative of the chance to play in front of his friends and family, just a couple of miles from home, on the course and in the tournament that Jack Nicklaus built.
 
'It was great. The experience was second to none,' he said. 'Just being here, playing at Jack's tournament, is a great honor for me.'
 
Reifers said he would most likely relax around his mother's home and wouldn't attend the final two days of the tournament. Besides, he's scheduled to play in a U.S. Open sectional qualifier on Monday at Scioto Country Club and Ohio State Scarlet.
 
Among the other other pros set to play in the qualifer are: John Cook, Paul Azinger, Jason Gore, Tim Herron, J.B. Holmes, Charles Howell, Jerry Kelly, Tom Lehman, Peter Lonard, Billy Mayfair, Rocco Mediate, Sean O'Hair, Jose Maria Olazabal, Mark O'Meara, Jesper Parnevik, Bob Tway, Scott Verplank and Camilo Villegas.
 
DIVOTS
Ian Poulter was DQ'd for signing an incorrect scorecard. ... The hardest hole in the second round was the par-4 10th with the field averaging 4.3 shots; the easiest was the par-5 fifth with an average of 4.6. ... Will MacKenzie, at 4-under 140 through 36 holes, has eagled the fifth hole both rounds. ... Chris DiMarco had two eagles but no birdies in a 75 and missed the cut.
 
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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.