McCarron offers apology tour mulls options

By Doug FergusonFebruary 3, 2010, 6:55 pm

Scott McCarron has apologized to Phil Mickelson for using the word “cheating” when he disagreed with Mickelson and others who use the Ping Eye 2 wedges that are only allowed because of a legal loophole.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem met with players at the Northern Trust Open late Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles and, according to one player, said the Tour was working with Ping to figure out a solution.

The player spoke on condition of anonymity because Finchem asked that he be the first to speak publicly to the media Wednesday morning.

The Tour likely would not be able to invoke a local rule banning the wedge at Riviera this week.

McCarron caused a furor last week at Torrey Pines when he told the San Francisco Chronicle about Mickelson using Ping wedges with square grooves, “It’s cheating, and I’m appalled Phil has put it in play.”

Mickelson said he had been “publicly slandered” and hinted at legal action.

McCarron told the Golf Channel as other reporters looked on Tuesday evening: “I’m certainly sorry for it. I’d like to apologize to Phil Mickelson for what I said. We both realize we’re on the same page on this issue.”

Whether that was enough to satisfy Mickelson remained to be seen.

McCarron also apologized in the meeting, according to the player.

The U.S. Golf Association changed its rules to outlaw square grooves with a certain depth and volume, now requiring grooves that are more shallow with rounded edges, which some refer to as V-shaped grooves. The idea is to reduce spin and make hitting into the fairway more important.

However, the Ping Eye 2 wedges made before April 1, 1990, are approved for play, even though the grooves don’t conform. That’s because Ping’s legal settlement with the USGA (in 1990) and PGA Tour (in 1993) take precedence over any rule changes.

The player at the meeting said Finchem apologized to players for the PGA Tour not realizing some competitors – Mickelson, John Daly and Hunter Mahan, among others – would use clubs that were at least 20 years old.

Among the considerations were to find a solution with Ping and John Solheim, the chairman and CEO of the equipment company; or to look into the possibility of creating its own set of rules, the player said.

Solheim had said in a statement Monday that the Tour could not establish a local rule that was different from the USGA. Solheim also said he was willing to discuss a “workable solution.”

Earlier Tuesday, three-time major champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland said he was contemplating using the Ping wedges at Riviera.

“I’m kind of waiting to see what the Tour’s direction is,” Harrington said. “What I’m doing is I’m preparing myself for all eventualities. It would be naive not to. I did some good testing yesterday. Unfortunately, the testing showed up exactly what you would expect, and there’s a significant difference. I think that significant difference depends on the players.”

Steve Stricker said he was surprised how divisive the Ping wedges have become.

“The rule isn’t very good,” he said. “We have conforming grooves, but yet we can play a set of grooves that were legal back in 1990. I think the rule just needs to be altered. Hopefully, we get it straightened out and we all get on an even playing surface.”

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

 

 

Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.