Notes: Simpson hits in fan's lap; Donald's 'B' game

By Associated PressJune 18, 2011, 9:30 pm

BETHESDA, Md. – It probably won’t cost Webb Simpson a tournament this time. Still, he must be wondering what he did to get on the wrong side of the golf gods.

Simpson’s early round of 5-under 66 at the U.S. Open on Saturday included a penalty stroke when his ball moved after he addressed it with his putter on the 13th green. It was the same penalty he took seven weeks ago at the Zurich Open in New Orleans.

“I addressed the ball, and the ball moved about a half-inch, quarter-inch,” Simpson said. “I think we’ve been through this too many times, hadn’t we? But it was kind of the same deal as New Orleans. It was unfortunate, but I think it really made me committed to try to finish strong and I made a couple of good birdies coming in.”

Simpson said it was his third time such penalty as a pro. It also happened to him once while playing at Wake Forest.

But it was the misfortune at Zurich that might lead to a change in the rules of golf. He was leading by a shot and heading for a tap-in on the 15th hole on Sunday, but the ball moved as he addressed it on the green. He wound up taking a penalty and finished in a tie with Bubba Watson, who beat Simpson in the playoff.

The U.S. Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient are looking into changing the rule so that the golfer isn’t penalized if it can be proven the ball was moved by an outside force.

But it was still in effect at the U.S. Open, which cost Simpson a stroke in the best round of the early going.

Simpson managed to come out even on a more adventurous hole. His drive at No. 18 landed in the lap of a spectator sitting cross-legged on the ground along the ropes. The fan dutifully sat there alone as everyone around him retreated. Simpson walked up to him and humorously pantomimed a swing, as if he were going to play the ball from exactly where it was.

“I’m a pretty experienced golfer,” said the fan, Todd Parker, “so I knew not to move.”

A rules official came along and instructed Simpson to pick up the ball. He took a drop and made a nice recovery, even though his follow-through smacked against the trunk of a large tree. He parred the hole.

“I’ve never had a ball end up in somebody’s lap,” Simpson said. “It reminded me of ‘Happy Gilmore.’ It ended up being a good break, just to the right of the trees. The rough there wasn’t high, it was laid down, so it was a pretty good break.”


BUBBA’S GETUP: Yes, Bubba Watson is indeed changing his clothes every day during the U.S. Open. The military green shirt and camouflage pants he’s been wearing? He actually brought four sets of that outfit to Congressional, one to wear for each round.

The getup was the result of a contest he held on Twitter and Facebook for fans to design a shirt for him to wear this week. The winner received a free trip to the championship.

After the tournament, the shirts will be sold for charity, the proceeds going to the Green Beret Foundation.

“My dad was in Vietnam,” Watson said. “So, yeah, actually it’s a big part of us. We don’t like war, but at the same time the people over there are fighting so we can play golf for a living, we’ve got to support them.”


AMATEUR HOUR: Even the amateurs aren’t succumbing to the rigors of the Blue Course.

Patrick Cantlay is 1 under at the U.S. Open after his third-round 70 on Saturday. The highlight came when the 19-year-old Californian holed out from the bunker at No. 15 for a birdie.

“That was really exciting,” Cantlay said. “It was kind of a tough bunker shot because the green runs away from you, but I nipped it pretty good and it ended up going in.”

Cantlay just completed his freshman year at UCLA and this month won the Jack Nicklaus Award as the nation’s top college golfer. His visit to Congressional this week is also proving to be quite an education for when he turns pro, which he says won’t happen until he’s earned his degree.

“I’ll just be really confident and know that I can compete out here,” he said. “I’ll know what it’s like to have played in the U.S. Open with the golf course and the fans and walking around with all the people.”

Cantlay isn’t a sure bet to be the low amateur. He’s only one stroke ahead of Russell Henley, who shot 71 on Saturday.

The other amateur who made the cut finally hit the wall. Brad Benjamin shot 80, the worst round of the day, and sits at 12 over heading into Sunday.


A MONEY BIRDIE, IN MORE WAYS THAT ONE: Adam Hadwin arrived at the U.S. Open early Saturday with one hole to play. Shoot a birdie, and he’d get to play 36 more.

The 22-year-old from British Columbia was about to tee off at No. 9 Friday evening when the horn sounded, suspending play for the day. He was at 5 over, one stroke below the cut line.

“I was in the clubhouse and I checked the scores and I knew that 4 was going to be the number, so I needed birdie,” Hadwin said. “It was a late night, early morning.”

Teeing off at 8:15 a.m. at the long par 5, Hadwin put his drive in the rough, got his second shot to 98 yards and nailed his approach within 6 inches. Easy birdie putt. Cut made. His trip to Congressional will come with a paycheck.

“You’ve got to splurge a little bit here,” said Hadwin, whose Saturday evening plans included a trip into Washington, D.C., to see the sights. “This is my first Open, and so I’m going to treat myself well and enjoy, and obviously making the cut helps.”

The birdie came with another, more important payoff. Hadwin’s brother was recently hospitalized with Crohn’s disease, so the two of them created a campaign to solicit pledges for every birdie Hadwin makes at the championship.

After making the cut, Hadwin showered, ate breakfast, then teed off in the third round with the first group at 10 a.m. He shot a 73 despite the quick turnaround and snagged three more birdies, giving him nine for the tournament and a total of about $10,000 raised for his cause.

“Tomorrow’s just going to be about having fun and making birdies,” he said.


NO. 1 BUT NOT HIS A-GAME: Luke Donald’s approach at No. 15 landed on a nasty steep slope next to the green. He made a nice recovery, chipping near the pin for a short putt for par.

It’s been that kind of week at the U.S. Open for the No. 1 player in the world. Good and bad. Enough bad that he’s 7 over after three rounds, well out of contention and certain to leave without that elusive first major title.

“It’s been a mixture of everything, really,” Donald said after his round of 74 Saturday. “I haven’t driven it well enough, obviously that puts pressure on your irons. And today I really didn’t make enough putts and could’ve shot a couple under quite easily if I’d made a few putts. It’s one of those weeks where I’m not quite firing.”

He certainly wasn’t about to blame the course. In fact, he said Congressional was playing more like a stop on the PGA Tour.

“The rough isn’t quite as gnarly as at some other U.S. Opens,” said Donald, adding that the greens were also soft because of the rain on Friday. “It has that different feel. It almost feels like the Firestone or something. It’s still tough out there, some tough pins, and you’ve got to play well to shoot a good score.”

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.