Simpson one back of Palmer at Phoenix Open

By Associated PressFebruary 3, 2012, 12:30 am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Ryan Palmer parred his final hole at dusk for a 7-under 64 and the lead Thursday in the suspended first round of the Phoenix Open.

The start of the round was delayed an hour because of frost, and play was suspended because of darkness at 6:05 p.m. with 42 players unable to finish. Last year, frost and frozen greens delayed play nine hours during the week, forcing a Monday finish.

“I knew I was going to be here in the morning for the second round, so I wasn’t worried about it if we had to come back and restart,” Palmer said. “So, I didn’t think about it and I just kept hitting shots and sticking to my game plan.”

Webb Simpson was a stroke back on the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale.

“It’s one of those courses that just fits your eye well,” said Simpson, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 6.

Palmer switched back to a trusted Odyssey putter model after missing the cuts in his previous starts this year in the Sony Open and Humana Challenge. The three-time PGA Tour winner made seven birdie putts from 10-15 feet.

“I used the exact same putter the last two years, and of course had two of the best years of my career,” Palmer said. “But toward the end of the year last year, around the BMW, I just got frustrated with not making anything, so I thought I’d try something different, put a similar style head in play and actually had some success.

“But my first two weeks out here I could tell I wasn’t comfortable when I’d get over the short putts. When I got home from Bob Hope (Humana), I pulled it out of the garage and was putting in my living room, then went outside in the backyard on my putting green, and I knew it was time to bring it back out. So it showed today.”

He was 8 under after a birdie on No. 6, but had his lone bogey on No. 7 and parred the final two holes.

Jarrod Lyle, Harrison Frazar, Derek Lamely, Kevin Na and Chez Reavie were two strokes behind at 66, and Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner and Spencer Levin also were 5 under. Watson and Levin had three holes left. Dufner, a playoff loser last year, had five holes remaining.

Kyle Stanley opened with a 69, four days after a devastating loss in the Farmers Insurance Open. On Sunday at Torrey Pines, he made a triple-bogey 8 on the final hole of regulation and lost to Brandt Snedeker in a playoff.

“It was just good to be out there,” Stanley said. “It was almost therapeutic.”

He was 4 under with three holes left, but bogeyed Nos. 7 and 9.

“I hit it decent,” Stanley said. “Hit a couple wedges that didn’t respond the way I thought they were going to, but other than that, I’m pretty pleased.”

He received warm cheers and words of encouragement from the fans.

“I’m kind of overwhelmed by it,” Stanley said.

Phil Mickelson had 24 putts in a 68, and defending champion Mark Wilson, coming off a victory two weeks ago in the Humana Challenge, was 1 under with two holes left.

“I feel so good with the putter,” said Mickelson, the former Arizona State star who won the tournament in 1996 and 2005. “It’s been a little while. It’s been a few years since the guys out here have seen me putt like this.”

Mickleson played alongside Dustin Johnson and the green-clad Rickie Fowler in a morning group that attracted the largest gallery in the estimated crowd of 77,053.

“I like the way he dresses,” Mickelson said about Fowler. “It’s not for me, but I think he dresses really sharp.”

Fowler holed out from 68 yards for birdie on the par-5 15th after hitting his second shot into the water in front of the green.

“As soon as I hit it, I knew it was how I wanted to hit it,” Fowler said. “It skipped behind the hole, and I could see it spinning right down the stick.”

Fowler finished with a 69, and Johnson had a 68.

“I’m good buddies with Rickie and Phil, so we had a great time,” Johnson said.

Simpson had five birdies in a six-hole stretch, capped by a 9-iron bunker shot to inches on the second hole after his drive drifted right and ended up in a bunker.

“I had a good lie in the bunker and had 145 yards. I was just trying to hit an easy 9,” Simpson said. “It was one of those that just came out perfect and landed great and ended up being a tap-in. It was my favorite shot, I think, I’ve hit this year.”

He also birdied the fifth hole to get to 7 under, but dropped a stroke on No. 6 when his chip released more than he expected.

Last year, the 26-year-old former Wake Forest player closed the regular season with a victory in the Wyndham Championship, then won the Deutsche Bank two weeks later in the FedEx Cup playoffs. He’s coming off a two-week break after opening in Hawaii with a tie for third in the Tournament of Champions and a tie for 38th in the Sony Open.

“One of big things this year was you see so many players go out and have a big year and they come out and they struggle,” Simpson said. “It’s fine if I struggle, but I want to make sure that I’m doing the same things.”

DIVOTS: Arron Oberholser, returning from hand and hip injuries, was 1 over with three holes to play in his first PGA Tour round since October 2009. … Stephen Ames withdrew before the round because of back pain.Vaughn Taylor was in line to take the spot as an alternate, but wasn’t on site, so Scott Brown got the position in the field. Brown was even par with three holes left.

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.