Wies Father to Caddy at US Open
B.J. Wie hasn't caddied for his 14-year-old daughter all year, and the timing is peculiar.
Team Wie endured a bizarre confrontation last year at the Women's Open while playing with Danielle Ammaccapane, who accused them of poor etiquette and berated the teenager in the scoring tent.
B.J. Wie accused Ammaccapane of purposely bumping his daughter on the green, then retracted his allegations the next day and said Ammaccapane's father threatened him.
By the final round, he turned the bag-toting duties over to swing coach Gary Gilchrist, and said, 'I fired myself. I've caused too much trouble.'
So why return this week as a caddie?
'We were going to get another caddie, but then I have to get used to him and I didn't want to waste the time to get used to the caddie while I have to get used to the course,' Michelle Wie said. 'There's no one that knows me better than my dad, so I just have him on the bag.'
But she made it clear who calls the shots on the golf course.
Wie said she laid up on the 527-yard ninth hole during a practice round Tuesday, although she might try to reach the green in two later in the week. Asked whether her father suggested she play short, Wie laughed and said, 'Not really. I don't really listen to my dad on the golf course.'
B.J. Wie was hopeful of getting Mike 'Fluff' Cowan, who caddied for his daughter at the Michelob Ultra. But those plans ended when Cowan's regular loop -- Jim Furyk -- returned from wrist surgery and played in the U.S. Open.
Dottie Pepper, battling through a series of injuries the last couple of years, received a special exemption to play in the U.S. Women's Open.
But she didn't even make it to the first tee.
Pepper withdrew Monday night because of a pinched nerve in the back of her head that extended over her eye and down to her shoulders. She was at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota on Tuesday for a spinal tap, and planned to come to Orchards Golf Club to do television work for ESPN and NBC.
'I'm extremely disappointed,' Pepper said. 'I'm kind of at my wit's end.'
Pepper was replaced by Jennifer Greggain, who last played in the Women's Open at Pine Needles in 2001 when she was five months pregnant.
QUITE A CHANGE
Playing in the Booz Allen Classic was like getting a whiff of smelling salts for some players knocked out by the overcooked conditions at Shinnecock Hills.
Billy Mayfair followed an 89 in the final round of the U.S. Open with a 66 in the first round of the Booz Allen. Charles Howell III went from an 83 to a 61.
'The ones that played in the U.S. Open will feel more relaxed,' Fred Funk said. 'If they played last week, they are going to come here and they're actually going to see green grass. That in itself is nice.'
The biggest difference was on the scoreboard, where Adam Scott finished at 21-under 263.
Craig Stadler still calls all the shots in the family.
Stadler celebrated a milestone in his career when he won a Champions Tour event the same day his son, Kevin, got his first Nationwide Tour title.
By the time the elder Stadler arrived for his news conference, reporters were talking to his son on a conference call. The Stadlers were asked how they were going to celebrate, and who would pick up the tab.
Craig earned $232,500 for his fifth Champions Tour victory, and Kevin collected $81,000.
'You're buying dinner. I'll buy the beers,' Stadler told his son. 'And you're driving.'
The victories came four weeks after the elder Stadler pleaded guilty in Michigan to operating a vehicle while impaired.
THE STREAK GOES ON
Assuming Dana Quigley doesn't break his arm - and even that might not stop him - he will make his 250th consecutive start next week at the Senior Players Championship in Michigan.
There have been a few close calls. Quigley hurt his elbow before the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am in Tampa, Fla., but played through the pain and let it heal when the Champions Tour took the next week off.
Quigley was asked if his streak was comparable to that of Cal Ripken.
'I'm happy with what I've accomplished, but Cal Ripken went over 2,100 games without a rest,' Quigley said. 'The desire to play has never diminished, but what Ripken did is far superior. I just go out and play golf every day.'
The hype over Michelle Wie might best be illustrated by nominations for the ESPY Awards. The 14-year-old Hawaiian, whose only victory is the 2003 Women's Amateur Public Links, is on the ballot for Best Female Golfer along with Annika Sorenstam and Grace Park, who won the first two majors of the year.
Sorenstam also was nominated for Best Female Athlete (along with Diana Taurasi and Justine Henin-Hardenne).
Wie's other nomination was in the Best Breakthrough category, where the competition includes LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and 15-year-old soccer sensation Freddy Adu.
Fans have control over the awards for the first time. Online voting takes place July 9, and the winners will be announced July 18.
The Royal Bank of Scotland has become a partner with The First Tee program. Starting this fall in New York, and later in Washington, Philadelphia and Chicago, the RBS Mentor Program will link children with a mentor in their community and give them a chance to compete for $10,000 toward a college education. ... Aaron Barber, the forgotten man in the Annika Sorenstam group at Colonial, tied for ninth at the Booz Allen for his first top-10 on tour in 33 starts. ... Tim Herron has quietly risen to No. 13 in the Ryder Cup standings, with top-four finishes in three of his last six tournaments.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Bill Haas earned $23,280 when he tied for 33rd in his professional debut at the Booz Allen Classic. His father, Jay, earned $32,326 in 30 tournaments as a rookie in 1977.
'That was the first time I cried on the golf course, except for the time I was 10 at the Public Links and I was losing. I was crying during the round.' - Michelle Wie, who broke into tears after losing in the finals of the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:
Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.
While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.
As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.
Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.
And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.
And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.
McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.
The Ryder Cup topped his list.
Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.
When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.
“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”
McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.
Or similar assertions from TV analysts.
“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.
And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.
The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.
Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.
And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.
Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.
The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.
The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.
More bulletin board material, too.
Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.
Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions
Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.
The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.
It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.
The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”
Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.