Els sticking with caddie plan

By Doug FergusonMarch 31, 2010, 3:28 am

ORLANDO, Fla.– Fresh off his second straight victory, Ernie Els headed to Augusta National for a quick practice round Tuesday and planned to take his caddie with him.

Only it’s not the caddie who has been on the bag for those two wins.

Els has been using two caddies this year– former NHL player Dan Quinn, whom he met in South Florida; and Ricci Roberts, his longtime looper from South Africa. Els plans to play 26 times this year, and each caddie gets half of the tournaments, including the majors.

Quinn was to caddie at the Masters. Even after two straight wins with Roberts on the bag, Els said that won’t change.

“I know a lot of guys said I should take Ricci, but we have made a decision,” Els said. “I’ve spoken to Ricci and Dan about it, and they are happy and we’ll stick with it. I don’t think anybody can tell me anything more about Augusta than I already know. I’ve had local caddies take me through there. I’ve had everybody take me through there. So I know exactly where everything goes.”

Els first used Quinn late last year, and he came within one 5-wood into the water of winning the HSBC Champions.

Quinn, a 44-year-old Canadian, spent 14 seasons in the NHL, scoring a career-high 40 goals with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1987. He took up golf when he retired and played on the Celebrity Tour.

Els met him a few years ago and started playing golf with him.

“Found out that he was a very good hockey player. I didn’t quite know that,” Els said. “And he played for such a long time, but he was retired for a while. Pretty easygoing guy, although he’s serious about what he does.”

Quinn caddied for Els before the Florida swing, and will work the Masters and the PGA Championship.


SHANGHAI CHANGE: The HSBC Champions in Shanghai, the fourth World Golf Championship on the calendar, now counts as an official PGA Tour victory – as long as it is won by a PGA Tour member.

The PGA Tour’s policy board decided last week to count as official the only WGC event overseas. However, it will only count as an official win and offer a three-year exemption on Tour if a member wins.

Phil Mickelson won the HSBC Champions last year, but only 24 players – just over one-third of the 67-man field – were PGA Tour members. PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said the decision is not retroactive, meaning Mickelson still has 37 tour victories.

Votaw also said prize money from the $7 million purse would not count toward the money list, even if a PGA Tour member wins. The HSBC Champions is held one week before the Tour’s final event at Disney.


STRONG START: J.P. Hayes disqualified himself from the second stage of Q-School in 2008 when he realized he used a a prototype golf ball that had not been officially approved on one hole.

That gave him limited status last year, and he finally regained his PGA Tour card at Q-School in December.

At this rate, Hayes might not be going back.

The 44-year-old Hayes tied for seventh at Bay Hill for his third top 10 of the year. He tied for fourth in Mexico, one week after he tied for fifth in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

He is 40th in the FedEx Cup standing and has $596,230.

“Very encouraging,” Hayes said. “I was looking for a good start on the West Coast, but I’ve never played well over there. To get off to a start like that is awesome. It’s quicker than I anticipated.”

Hayes is probably about $100,000 away from locking up his card for 2011, and the season is only three months old.

“It definitely makes the rest of the year … I wouldn’t say more enjoyable, but certainly from the standpoint of not having to play catch-up like I’ve been doing the last couple of years,” he said.


PEREZ ON TWITTER: Pat Perez is on Twitter (PatPerezGolf), but he had only eight tweets in seven months until finding a new purpose in social networking.

“Going to start using Twitter for random phrases that make no sense,” he posted a week ago, and he has not let up.

Among his questions:

— “What the hell does ‘lay it on the line’ mean? Lay what on the line and what line are we talking about?

— “I’ve been injured a bunch, but I’ve never ‘licked my wounds.’

— “I went to Arizona State. It’s in Tempe. Where the hell is the School Of Hard Knocks?”


STAT OF THE WEEK: There has not been a playoff on the PGA Tour this year, heading into the Houston Open. The last time there were no playoffs before the Masters was in 1974, and Lee Elder broke the string when he won the Monsanto Open a week later.


FINAL WORD: “I watch my friends play. I watch more Champions Tour golf this year.” – Davis Love III, who turns 46 next month.

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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.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.