No Kenny Perry Rule Change
Currently a player must win twice on the PGA Tour in the 12-month period leading up to the U.S. Open to get an exemption into the U.S. Open. The exact wording for the 2008 U.S. Open on this was: Any multiple winner of PGA Tour co-sponsored events whose victories are considered official from April, 2007 through June 1, 2008.
Not long ago The Masters eased its qualifying standards to allow players with just one official PGA Tour victory in the last 12 months into its field.
Perry won The Memorial last year two weeks prior to the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. But he chose not to attempt to qualify through sectional play. He later won twice more and starred in the U.S. teams rousing victory over Europe in the Ryder Cup.
He took a lot of heat from a lot of people for skipping the British Open and then had to withdraw after one round of the PGA because of an eye ailment.
Anyway, the word started going around that the USGA might follow suit with the Lords of Augusta and lower the standard from two wins to one. That word, apparently, was wrong.
One win wont do and I doubt seriously if that position will change in the foreseeable future (assuming my crystal ball is reasonably clear), USGA executive director David Fay informed Golf Channel.com in an e-mail.
Fay said the USGA wont finalize anything on this matter until its annual meeting in February. GolfChannel.com has learned that there is some sentiment to making a change on the USGAs executive committee but that Fays position represents the majority.
The good news as it relates to Perry and the U.S. Open is that he has already qualified for this year and has said he plans to play at Bethpage Black in June.
Award Winner: Northern Trust Open tournament director Tom Pulchinski expects to name the recipient of the first Charlie Sifford Exemption by the end of this week.
The tournament recently announced it would extend an exemption in honor of Siffords trail-blazing efforts on behalf of African-American golfers.
The exemption will go to the player who represents the advancement of diversity in golf but who wouldnt otherwise be eligible.
Sifford is 86 now and didnt earn his Tour card until he was 39 because of doors that werent open in golf for African Americans.
Pulchinski said the exemption wont be restricted to professionals but did say this years recipient will be an African-American. Other minorities, in future years, will receive consideration.
The Northern Trust Open will be played Feb. 19-22 at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Ca.
GOLF BOOKS: There are so few really good ones. And there are way too many overly sentimental ones. James Dodson struck all the right notes in his tome, Final Rounds, more than 10 years ago.
In May, we will get the release of his latest major work, A Son of the Game.
Its a memoir, the publisher says about finding new meaning through an old sport.
And Dodson does this better than most. A quick perusal of an advance copy confirms that Dodsons cleanly-carpentered prose still has all the familiar beveled edges.
A sample from the early pages: During the spring of 1948, cheered on by his rowdy fraternity brothers from Chapel Hill and wielding a wooden-shafted putter hed found as a kid on a bench in the locker room of his fathers nine-hole golf club in tiny Tarboro, (Harvie) Ward came out of nowhere to win the coveted North and South Amateur Championship at Pinehurst, making himself a star overnight.
Thats a long sentence that reads short. Doing that takes talent. My sense is the 289 pages will go by quickly, too. I am looking forward to it.
PET PEEVE OF THE WEEK: This will be a new semi-regular feature of this mid-week golf notes column. Nit-picking, by the way, is allowed.
And this weeks pet peeve is the word trajectory. More specifically, its the seeming inability of most players ' and even some announcers ' in golf to pronounce it correctly.
Listen closely and you will hear chadrectory and chajecory, but rarely trajectory. Even the great Jack Nicklaus struggles with this one.
It all reminds me of how Lee Trevino still pronounces Baltusrol. He puts an extra t in there and says, Baltustrol.
Somehow, coming from Trevino though, its not a pet peeve.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
The Social: G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T.
Tom Brady compares himself to Tiger Woods, who coincidentally is returning to the PGA Tour this week, Jordan Spieth hangs out with some decent company and kids these days ruffle some feathers with their friendships.
All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.
Well, it’s finally Farmers Insurance Open week and Woods has been spotted practicing for his official return to the PGA Tour on Thursday.
Some thought this day might never come after a 2017 filled with mostly downs for the 14-time major champ.
But as he has taught the golf world time and time again, you just can't count Tiger out.
Back on TOUR. pic.twitter.com/OPmjaXFo1l— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 23, 2018
So even as Jon Rahm attempts to overtake Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world this week at Torrey Pines, all eyes will be on one of the greatest we've ever seen do it, even if that guy is ranked No. 647 in the world.
Speaking of greatness …
There’s not many who can just offhandedly compare themselves to Tiger, but if anyone gets a pass, it’s Tom Brady.
The 40-year-old New England Patriots quarterback led his team back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year despite playing the AFC title game with a cut on his throwing hand.
When asked about it after the Patriots come-from-behind victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady answered, “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
So there you have it. A 40-year-old Brady is winning AFC Championships with his C game. Good luck, Eagles; you’re going to need it.
Also, if for some reason you wanted an update on Justin Thomas' life, it's still awesome:
I was thinking we kick @JordanSpieth out and replace you with him... everybody wins! enjoyed yesterday man— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) January 22, 2018
Yeah, that's last year's PGA Tour Player of the Year hanging with Cy Young winner Cory Kluber in a suite at the Patriots game and teasing us with a possible #SB2K18 cameo.
Curtis Strange likes his competitive golf straight up, hold the friendliness.
This, according to Curtis Strange.
The two-time U.S. Open champ took to Twitter during the CareerBuilder Challenge to vent his frustration regarding the constant chit-chat and friendliness between Rahm and Andrew Landry:
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
@JonRahmpga and Andrew Landry.Hopefully no offense taken on my comment yesterday. You guys are terrific, I’m a huge fan of all players today. Made a adverse comment on U guys talking during playoff.Not for me. A fan.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 23, 2018
Never went out of my way to disrupt. Having a chat wasn’t for me,my generation, or before me. Some inside baseball. Honesty.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 23, 2018
This, of course, makes sense in theory. But good luck watching golf – or really any sport – from here on out. Sure there will be a few old school guys who buck the trend here and there, but for the most part, it’s really hard to share a private jet/dinners/vacations/(insert awesome thing here) with someone, and then completely turn off the friendship coming down the stretch of a big tournament.
Damn millennials. They ruin everything.
By now you've all seen that poor Philadelphia Eagles fan who lost his battle with a subway station pillar (from multiple angles), so instead here is a video of a man attempting to stand on an egg. Bet you can't guess how that goes.
Seriously if you haven't seen the video of that Eagles fan, here's your last chance in this column. You'll be glad you did.
Jordan Spieth, Michael Phelps and Bryce Harper walk on to a golf course … there’s no punchline, that actually happened last week in Las Vegas.
Was the whole thing just a big advertisement for Spieth’s new Under Armour shoe? You bet.
But that doesn’t make the optics of three of the biggest superstar athletes on the planet teeing it up for a round any less awesome.
The trio has three major wins, five All Star Game appearances and 28 Olympic medals between them, and there they were over the weekend just fake laughing for the camera and driving around individual golf carts with their own personalized logos on them.
Matt Kuchar. Still good at golf. Still overly polite. This according to European Tour pro Eddie Pepperell who had the privilege of hitting on the range next to Kuuuuuch in Abu Dhabi last week.
Hit balls next to Kuchar yesterday and two very Matt Kuchar things happened; He didn’t miss a shot, and when he let out a fart he went, “oopsies.”— Eddie Pepperell (@PepperellEddie) January 20, 2018
That image is burned into your brain forever now, thanks Eddie. From now on when you think of Kuchar you're going to think of those Sketches ads and "oopsies."
Which, I suppose is better than a, "Did you get that?"
Blayne Barber's caddie, Cory Gilmer, collapsed and hit his head while at a restaurant at the Sony Open and has been mostly unconscious in the neurological intensive care unit ever since.
The outpouring of love and support from the golf community has been overwhelming on social media, and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the mounting medical costs for Gilmer and his family.
Check out the link below for more info or to donate to a worthy cause:
Many people have asked how to help Cory and his family during his time in Hawaii. We set up a GoFundMe page! Check it out and give! Thank you all for the prayers and support.https://t.co/4frdZN4vrQ— Blayne Barber™ (@BlayneBarberAU) January 22, 2018
Top-ranked amateur wins LAAC, earns Masters invite
Joaquin Niemann walked Augusta National Golf Club as a patron last year. He’ll be a competitor in 2018.
Niemann, the top-ranked amateur in the world, shot 8-under 63 Tuesday at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Santiago, Chile, to win the Latin America Amateur Championship.
And with the title, both redemption and an invitation to the Masters Tournament.
Niemann finished runner-up in last year’s LAAC to fellow Chilean Toto Gana. He followed Gana around Augusta grounds, watching as his best friend played two rounds before missing the cut.
Niemann, who was going to turn professional had he not won this week, started the final round one back of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz. Niemann was sluggish from the start on Tuesday, but then drove the 313-yard, par-4 eighth and made the eagle putt. That sparked a run of five birdies over his next six holes.
Niemann was bogey-free in the final round and finished five shots clear of Ortiz, at 11 under.
Judges Panel, Host Announced for Wilson Golf's "Driver vs. Driver 2," Premiering This Fall on Golf Channel
‘Driver vs. Driver 2 Presented by Wilson Currently in Production; Sports Broadcaster Melanie Collins Returns to Host
Morning Drive: Driver vs. Driver 2 Judges Announced
Golf Channel and Wilson Golf announced today the panel of judges and host for the second season of Driver vs. Driver, the innovative television series that follows aspiring golf equipment designers as they compete for the opportunity to have their driver idea or concept transformed into the next great golf driver from Wilson. The show is currently in production and will premiere this fall.
Joining judge Tim Clarke, President of Wilson Golf, are two newcomers to the series: 9-time National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star and current NHL on NBC hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick – an avid golfer with a single digit handicap and a self-described golf equipment junkie; and PGA Professional, golf coach, equipment reviewer and social media influencer Rick Shiels.
“Golf is a big passion of mine, and personally I enjoy learning about new equipment and concepts,” said Roenick. “To be able to see this side of the business in how equipment is developed first-hand is fascinating. Being a part of the process in reviewing driver concepts and narrowing them down to an ultimate winning driver that will be sold across the country is a tremendous honor.”
“Jeremy, as an avid golfer, and Rick, as a coach, equipment reviewer and golf professional, bring incredible, real world insights and different perspectives to the show and this process,” said Clarke. “I’m excited to work alongside these two judges to push the boundaries of innovation and bring a next-generation driver to golfers around the world.”
Sports broadcaster Melanie Collins returns as the host of Driver vs. Driver 2. Currently a sideline reporter for CBS Sports’ college football and basketball coverage, Collins hosted the inaugural season in 2016 and formerly co-hosted Golf Channel’s competition series, Big Break.
Production for Driver vs. Driver 2 began in the fall of 2017 and will continue through the summer, including this week at the PGA Merchandise Show. The series is being produced by Golf Channel, whose portfolio of original productions include interview series Feherty hosted by Emmy-nominated sports personality David Feherty, high-quality instruction shows School of Golf, Golf Channel Academy and Playing Lessons and a slate of award-winning films.