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
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.