Sutton Tiger Leonard and more

By Associated PressMay 21, 2003, 4:00 pm
Hal Sutton believes changes to Europe's Ryder Cup team is only going to make it tougher for the United States to win the back the cup.
''I'm sure it's going to make their team even better,'' Sutton said. ''It's going to be easier to play our tour and still gather points to make their team.''
Instead of taking 10 players from a European money list, Europe will take the top five from the world ranking and the next five available from the money list, along with two captain's picks.
''It might hurt their tour just a little bit,'' said Sutton, noting that players might be persuaded to play more on the PGA Tour. ''But I'm sure it's a positive move for them overall.''
Europe has won the Ryder Cup six of the last nine times.
One of the players Tiger Woods leaned on for guidance in deciding whether to turn professional was the man he now routinely beats -- Ernie Els.
Tom Callahan describes their relationship in his book, ''In Search of Tiger.''
The most meaningful conversation came after the trophy presentation at the 1996 British Open, where Els was runner-up and Woods, 20, was the low amateur.
''I told him 18 was too young for reasons apart from golf,'' Els said in the book. ''I said 19 might be all right and 20 was fine. I tried to let him in on how mentally tiring this level is, traveling so much and playing so many tournaments. And at times, how vicious the game can seem.''
Before Woods left Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Els said to him, ''I don't have to tell you, you're more than good enough to be playing out here.''
Woods, who was long and wild off the tee at the time, turned pro that summer after winning his third straight U.S. Amateur. Els knew what was going to happen, but kept it a secret for more than a month.
As Woods announced at the Greater Milwaukee Open that he was turning pro, Callahan called Els and asked the Big Easy, ''Is he ready?''
There was a long pause.
''That's the dumbest question I've ever been asked,'' Els replied. ''Have you seen him?''
Then, Els had a question for Callahan.
''What are we going to do when he finds the fairway?''
Justin Leonard is the latest player to wear sunglasses on the PGA Tour, but only between shots.
''I've never had any eye problems, but I had them on during a practice round and left them on during the tournament,'' he said. ''Then we were playing in the desert, and walking through the crowd there's a lot of dust. We get to Florida and there's pollen.''
A traditional in every other sense, Leonard doubts he'll reach the stage where he keeps them on over shots and putts. He tried it once on the practice range.
''I hit a couple pretty good, then I would catch one about this far behind the ball,'' he said, holding his fingers 3 inches apart. ''That experiment is over.''
Instead of a tie for a Father's Day gift, those with the financial means -- and that means six figures -- can bid for a round of golf with Tiger Woods.
For the second straight year, the Tiger Woods Foundation is offering a golf outing with the world's No. 1 player through eBay. Bidding begins on June 6 and runs through June 16, the day after the U.S. Open.
The highest bidder gets a round for four with Woods at Isleworth Country Club, his home course outside Orlando, Fla.
Last year, the round of golf went for $425,000 to an anonymous bidder.
The PGA of America lost two of its past presidents in the last week. Don Padgett of Pinehurst, N.C., died Friday at age 78. Padgett was PGA president from 1977-78, a period marked by rapid expansion of the Ryder Cup. Warren Orlick of Birmingham, Mich., president from 1971-72, died Saturday at age 90. ... After 20 events on the PGA Tour, 25 players already have earned at least $1 million. Fourteen of them have not won this year. ... Phil Mickelson is no longer the highest-ranked lefty in golf. Mickelson dropped to No. 6 in the world ranking, one spot behind Masters champion Mike Weir.
Until his tie for 29th in Germany, Tiger Woods had never finished worse than 15th in a non-PGA Tour event.
''I really wish a lot of these players could act like gentlemen for one week. You know, stand up when she enters the room, open the door for her and thank her for being there -- just in case some of them have a daughter every now and then.'' -- CBS Sports analyst David Feherty, on Annika Sorenstam playing Colonial.

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.