Venturi Palmer Skirted Rules Didnt Cheat

By Associated PressApril 4, 2004, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Ken Venturi still believes Arnold Palmer did not follow the rules when he won the 1958 Masters, but he took issue Sunday with headlines that portrayed him accusing Palmer of cheating.
 
'I never, ever used that word,' Venturi said from his home in California. 'There's nothing like that in my book. It's caused me a tremendous amount of embarrassment.'
 
Venturi contends Palmer did not understand the rules when he played a second ball from an imbedded lie in the final round of the '58 Masters.
 
'It was an infraction of the rules -- we've all been guilty of that,' Venturi said. 'A cheater is someone who knows the rule and purposely breaks it. I never said that (about Palmer).'
 
Venturi's book, 'Getting Up & Down: My 60 Years in Golf,' created a controversy last month as Palmer prepared to play his 50th and final Masters.
 
Palmer trailed Venturi by one shot in the '58 Masters when he sought relief from an imbedded ball behind the par-3 12th green. The rules official, Arthur Lacey of the British PGA, denied Palmer a free drop.
 
Palmer disagreed and played two balls, making a double bogey with the first one and a par with the second one.
 
Tournament officials told Palmer three holes later that he was entitled to relief and that the par would count on his scorecard. Palmer went on to win by one shot over Doug Ford and Fred Hawkins.
 
Venturi said the debate comes down to each player's version of the second ball.
 
Venturi says in his book that Palmer only declared he was playing a second ball after making double bogey. Palmer has written in two books -- 'A Golfer's Life' and 'Playing by the Rules' -- that he announced he was playing two balls before playing either of them.
 
Whatever the case, the rules still back Palmer.
 
Tom Meeks, senior director of rules and competition for the U.S. Golf Association, said Sunday that the 1958 rule (11-5) for playing two balls stipulated that if a player failed to announce his intentions ahead of time, the score he made with the second ball would count as his score.
 
That was the heart of Venturi's argument.
 
'What if he had chipped in for birdie? He wouldn't play a second ball, would he?' Venturi said.
 
He said players were supposed to play the balls simultaneously; otherwise, they would get an idea of the speed and break of the green from playing the first ball to a conclusion.
 
Meeks, however, said the rules did not require that.
 
In an argument over semantics, Venturi said he was disturbed by headlines that used the word 'cheat.' He said the only reference to golf's dirtiest word was in Palmer's book, 'Playing by the Rules.'
 
'I later heard that Ken Venturi was particularly upset, feeling like he had been cheated by my second-ball situation at the 12th,' Palmer wrote.
 
Venturi said he has not called Palmer since the book was published March 17, and doesn't feel as if he needs to.
 
'Going back to what my father always told me, when you're right, you don't have to explain anything to anybody,' Venturi said. 'I don't have to justify my position to Arnold. It's the newspapers' place to say, 'Ken Venturi did not say that.''
 
Palmer declined to talk about Venturi's book when asked repeatedly about it last month at Bay Hill.
 
'I don't know a thing about it, I really don't,' he said. 'And I'm not really too interested. That's my comment.'
 
Palmer won the Masters four times. Venturi finished fourth in 1958, and he was runner-up two years later when Palmer birdied the last two holes to win by one shot.
 
Venturi has not been back to the Masters since he retired as a CBS Sports analyst two years ago.
 
He was an honorary starter in 1983 when Byron Nelson's wife died, and Venturi said club chairman Hootie Johnson asked him upon his retirement from CBS if he wanted to be an honorary starter.
 
'I told him, 'Don't ever break tradition,'' Venturi said. 'The honorary starter should be a Masters champion. I wish I were a Masters champion. But I turned him down.'
 
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Getty Images

Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

“I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

“If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”


Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)


Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

“He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

"I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”

Getty Images

McIlroy: Ryder Cup won't be as easy as USA thinks

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:18 pm

The Americans have won their past two international team competitions by a combined score of 38-22, but Rory McIlroy isn’t expecting another pushover at the Ryder Cup in September.

McIlroy admitted that the U.S. team will be strong, and that its core of young players (including Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler) will be a force for the next decade. But he told reporters Tuesday at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship that course setup will play a significant role.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said, referring to the Americans’ 17-11 victory in 2016. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

At every Ryder Cup, the home team has the final say on course setup. Justin Rose was the most outspoken about the setup at Hazeltine, saying afterward that it was “incredibly weak” and had a “pro-am feel.” 

And so this year’s French Open figures to be a popular stop for European Tour players – it’s being held once again at Le Golf National, site of the matches in September. Tommy Fleetwood won last year’s event at 12 under.

“I’m confident,” McIlroy said. “Everything being all well and good, I’ll be on that team and I feel like we’ll have a really good chance.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that. The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.” 

Getty Images

Floodlights may be used at Dubai Desert Classic

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 12:44 pm

No round at next week’s Dubai Desert Classic will be suspended because of darkness.

Tournament officials have installed state-of-the-art floodlighting around the ninth and 18th greens to ensure that all 132 players can finish their round.

With the event being moved up a week in the schedule, the European Tour was initially concerned about the amount of daylight and trimmed the field to 126 players. Playing under the lights fixed that dilemma.

“This is a wonderful idea and fits perfectly with our desire to bring innovation to our sport,” European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said. “No professional golfer ever wants to come back the following morning to complete a round due to lack of daylight, and this intervention, should it be required, will rule out that necessity.”

Next week’s headliners include Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson. 

Getty Images

Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.