Singh Blasts PGA Tour Officials Over Slow Play
'It's slow. It's always slow here. It's ridiculous,' Singh said. 'I mean you play a round of golf in five hours and wait on every shot. It's just like the officials are just blind. You don't see one out there. It ruins the rhythm of the play.'
The big Fijian had little to say about the 3-under 68 that left him three strokes behind first-round leader Jim Furyk, choosing instead to rant about the slow play on the hilly, tree-lined Westchester Country Club course.
'Every shot out there on the front nine, you had to wait,' Singh said. 'You get fed up with it. I don't know if anybody ever withdrew after nine holes for slow play ...'
Under the tour's 2 1/2-year-old policy, players are considered to be on the clock when their group is out of position - defined by an open hole ahead of them. The 10th time a player is put on the clock during the year results in a $20,000 fine.
Players are allowed 40 seconds for each shot, and given an extra 20 seconds in some situations such as teeing off first on a par-3 hole. Players are supposed to be warned after one bad time, penalized a stroke and fined $5,000 for two bad times, penalized two strokes and fined $10,000 for three bad times and disqualified for four bad times.
'If the officials don't do anything about it, then the guys are going to take more time,' Singh said. 'And when you talk to the officials, they think we're actually trying to bark at them. ... It just messes you up.'
Furyk birdied the final two holes for a back-nine 30 after three-putting the par-5 ninth for the lone bogey in his round of 65.
'Today was one of the slow rounds of the year. It seemed to work for me for some reason,' said Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion who is back in top form after missing five months last season because of a wrist injury.
'I took advantage of the holes where I had wedges in my hands. There were some very tough pin placements.'
Singh, the 1993 and 1995 Westchester champion, was tied with Kenny Perry, John Rollins, Ian Leggatt, Brian Bateman and Hidemichi Tanaka.
Sergio Garcia, the 2001 and 2004 winner, opened with a 72, ending his streak of rounds of par or better in the event at 19. He bogeyed the final four holes.
'I just kind of got out of it coming in,' Garcia said. 'Tomorrow's a new day.'
U.S. Amateur champion Ryan Moore shot a 71 in his professional debut, while amateur rival Spencer Levin, playing his second event as a pro, had an 80.
Singh's sharp criticism came two weeks after Rory Sabbatini putted out of turn on the 17th hole in the Booz Allen Classic in frustration over partner Ben Crane's slow play. The speedy Sabbatini, warned along with Crane for slow play earlier in the round, also stormed to the 18th tee before Crane finished No. 17.
Sabbatini shot a 79 Thursday in his first competitive round on the course since losing to Garcia last year on the third hole of a playoff.
'It's a short course that has tough pins. It's understandable for the whole field to be slow,' Sabbatini said.
Rollins played in the second group off the 10th tee, two groups ahead of Singh's threesome and behind J.P. Hayes, Paul Goydos and Patrick Sheehan.
'You have to go out there and just not let it bother you,' Rollins said. 'It does get frustrating at times, but it is what it is. You just have to deal with it.'
Singh's playing partners, Peter Jacobsen and K.J. Choi, shot 76s.
'I don't understand it. I don't understand why we can't find the right process,' Jacobsen said. 'If the first group is 4:55 they need to be fined.'
The 51-year-old Jacobsen had a quadruple-bogey 8 on the 360-yard seventh hole. He four-putted after taking two strokes to get out of a plugged lie in a greenside bunker.
'I kept hitting the lip and they kept spinning out farther,' Jacobsen said.
Divots: Singh had an eagle, five birdies and four bogeys. He eagled the par-5 18th hole - his ninth of the day - after hitting a 2-iron second shot from 244 yards to 12 feet. ... Moore signed with Gaylord Sports Management before his round. The deal is a joint venture with father Mike's Moore Golf Management. ... Olin Browne, paired with U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell on Sunday at Pinehurst, failed to get into the field after moving to the top of the alternates list Wednesday. Browne finished with an 80 at Pinehurst to tie for 23rd at 10 over, 10 strokes behind Campbell.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.
Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”
The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.
“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18
Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf
Well, this is a one new one.
According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:
“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”
Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.
“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.
The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.
“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”
The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.
Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.
Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.