Rollins back to defend Reno-Tahoe Open title

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2010, 3:06 am

Reno-Tahoe OpenRENO, Nevada – John Rollins admits he would rather be at St. Andrews playing in the British Open this weekend.

Still, he’s not complaining about a return trip to the Sierra Nevada where he won the $3 million Reno-Tahoe Open last year after tying for second the year before.

The 34-year-old Rollins matched the course record with a second-round 62 on the way to his third career PGA Tour victory last year at Montreux Golf & Country Club.

“It is a fun tournament. It’s got a different feel. It’s just kind of laid back, sort of a relaxed atmosphere out there this week and we’ve got a good golf course on top of it,” he said after a practice round Wednesday at the Jack Nicklaus-designed course that winds through towering pines and mountain streams a half hour from Lake Tahoe.

“It’s got to be one of the prettiest golf courses we play all year with the mountains and the fairways. I’m hoping I can draw off the good vibes that I have here and jump start a decent finish to the season,” said Rollins, who is currently ranked No. 116, while he is 70th on the tour money list with $779,621.

Because he failed to qualify for the British Open, Rollins will tee it up Thursday in a field that includes eight other past Reno champions – Parker McLachlin (2008), Steve Flesch (2007), Will MacKenzie (2006), Vaughn Taylor (2004-05), Kirk Triplett (2003), Chris Riley (2002) and Notah Begay III (1999).

In past years, the 12-year-old Reno tourney was played in August opposite a World Golf tournament usually in Ohio. It’s one of the so-called encumbered tournaments opposite other majors or World Golf events that attract the top players.

“It’s an opportunity for a rookie or a second or third-year guy who hasn’t won yet, where his status is kind of year to year,” Rollins said. “Guys are really fighting for their jobs and it gives them that extra tournament to possibly win and stay exempt or solidify their job for a couple more years.”

Chad Campbell is the only player in the field in the top 100 of the rankings, at No. 93. Taylor, who ranks 103rd, finished sixth last week at the John Deere Classic after a tie for ninth at the Travelers and tie for 11th at the AT&T National.

Stuart Appleby, who has eight career victories, is making his debut at Reno. Others in the field include Chris DiMarco, Steve Elkington, Jason Gore, Woody Austin, Tim Herron, Scott McCarron and Shaun Micheel, the 2003 PGA Championship winner who was fourth last week at the Deere.

“I’m kind of rooting for the old guys,” said McCarron, who used to live in Reno and is still a member of Montreux. “Guys like myself and Kirk Triplett, Steve Elkington, Mark Brooks. You’ve got a lot of veteran players that are playing here this week who have very good records.”

McCarron is serving as the formal tournament host and been helping this week to try to recruit a title sponsor that might make it possible to some day move to its own date.

“The tournament could be a stand-alone with a big sponsor-type event. The players love coming here,” McCarron said.

Rick George, the PGA tour’s executive vice president and chief of operations, said he chose to forego a trip to the British Open this year so he could visit Reno.

“I wanted to see the product we have here. It is an important event on our schedule,” George said Wednesday. “This tournament has elevated itself in a lot of ways already. The only missing piece is the title sponsor. It’s a great golf course that our players love. It’s really a first-class event.”

With it’s wide fairways, the 7,472-yard Montreux ranked as the third easiest course on tour to hit the fairway off the tee (following Silver Rock and Pebble Beach) but was second toughest only to Harbour Town to hit the greens from 150 to 175 yards out.

“You’ve go to be accurate because these greens are tough to hit and the greens are very difficult to read,” McCarron said. “This golf course is built on such a severe slope that there are a lot of optical illusions out there.”

Rollins said the hills take a toll by the end of the day.

“I don’t get to carry an oxygen mask with me so it’s always tough,” he said after Wednesday’s practice round. “I need like a 20-second time out just to catch my breath.”

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.