Guthrie leads Daly, Uihlein on Day 1 of BMW Masters

By Doug FergusonOctober 24, 2013, 12:00 pm

SHANGHAI – Luke Guthrie took only 19 putts in his round of 7-under 65, giving Americans the top three spots on the leaderboard Thursday in the BMW Masters.

Only three Americans are in Shanghai for this European Tour event. And one of them is John Daly, playing for the first time in nearly four months since surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right elbow.

Equally surprising was Guthrie, a promising young American who is taking a break from the start of a new PGA Tour season because he wanted more experience in the growing world of golf. He showed plenty of game on a day of 30 mph wind – so difficult that only 13 players broke par.

''It was one of the better rounds I've ever played,'' Guthrie said.

Daly relied on knockdown shots to cope with the wind and kept bogeys off his card for a 68. One shot behind was the one American that could have been expected to contend at Lake Malaren – Peter Uihlein, a European Tour member who already has one win this year and is 10th on the money list.

Uihlein got off to a poor start, three-putting for bogey on the second hole and then hitting his approach into the water right of the par-5 third green, even though the wind was ripping from right-to-left. He rallied with six birdies for a 69, and maybe the timing was just a coincidence. He was on the tee at No. 7 when he heard the Boston Red Sox had won the opening game of the World Series, 8-1.

''I was 5-under the rest of the day,'' Uihlein said.

The wind was relentless and contributed to threesomes taking some 5 1/2 hours to finish.

Graeme McDowell, trying to chase down Henrik Stenson in the Race to Dubai, holed a 90-foot eagle putt on the 13th hole in his first tournament as a married man. McDowell was at 70, part of a group that included Paul Casey, Thongchai Jaidee and Wales Open winner Gregory Bourdy.

Rory McIlroy, equipped with a new golf ball, drove the ball beautifully in the blustery conditions and shot 71. Stenson opened with a 72.

Guthrie played the opening two events in the new PGA Tour season in California and Las Vegas, and then flew halfway around the world to China. He will return to America for two more events after this, so Shanghai seems a long way to travel for just one week of golf.

But the 23-year-old from Illinois was determined to travel, and he accepted a sponsor's exemption to the BMW Masters about a month ago.

''This is my first time over in China and Asia, and I just wanted to challenge myself to come travel abroad and get used to this, and just keep gaining experiences and get better at becoming a global player,'' he said. ''And it's nice to get off to a good start today.''

His first trip overseas was this summer to Scotland for the British Open, where he missed the cut but picked up at least one lesson.

''I kind of drink a lot of Mountain Dew to a fault, and couldn't find Mountain Dew,'' he said. ''I packed some, so I'm learning.''

More important than the caffeine-laced soda was his short game. Guthrie had about a 25-foot putt on the 10th hole when he realized it was the longest putt he had faced all day. And then he realized he had one-putted every green on the front nine.

What skewed the statistics was his three-hole stretch in the middle of the back nine that built some separation – a routine up-and-down for birdie on the par-5 13th, pitching a 25-yard shot over the bunker and into the cup for an unlikely birdie on the 14th, and then using the wind to hold up a flop shot from beyond the green at the par-5 15th. Once it landed, the ball ran toward the cup like a putt and dropped for eagle.

He closed with pars for a score that left some players wondering what course he was on. The wind was blowing across on most of the course, making it tough to get near the hole. The greens were fast and frightening, and crispy toward the end of the round. Uihlein said he couldn't recall faster greens on the European Tour this year.

''I've never witnessed wind like this in China,'' McIlroy said.

Coming off a tie for second in Korea last week, McIlroy was pleased with the quality of his golf. He threw away shots with three-putt bogeys, from 10 feet on the fourth hole and with a poor chip that led to a three-putt bogey on the easy par-5 13th.

''From tee to green, it was really solid,'' McIlroy said. ''It could have been better. But on a day like today, it's just good to keep yourself there, or thereabouts. Luke shot 65, but the next is 4 (under) and 3 and 2. So it's not too bad.''

DIVOTS: Joost Luiten hit a tee shot and then withdrew with a shoulder injury. The BMW Masters is the first of four events called the ''Final Series'' in the Race to Dubai. Players are required to play two of the three events leading to the final event in Dubai. Luiten's WD counts as a start. ... Six players failed to break 80. Defending champion Peter Hanson, who has had back problems all year, opened with a 79. Graeme McDowell's wife, Kristen, is an interior designer. Rory McIlroy raved about the work she did at his south Florida home. Asked if she was expensive, McIlroy smiled and said, ''It's not just GMac making the money.''

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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.