McCarron refuses to back down

By Doug FergusonFebruary 1, 2010, 10:25 pm
Farmers Insurance Open

SAN DIEGO – Scott McCarron is not backing away from his accusation that Phil Mickelson and other players are cheating if they use the Ping Eye 2 wedges with square grooves.

McCarron issued a statement Monday in which he wanted to clarify that while he believes “it’s cheating” for Mickelson and anyone else to use the Ping wedges, “I never called Phil Mickelson a cheater.”

“That being said, I want my fans, sponsors and most importantly, my fellow players, to know that I will not be silenced and I will continue my efforts to get the groove issue resolved,” McCarron said.

Mickelson said over the weekend that he was “publicly slandered,” and he hinted at legal action if the PGA Tour does not discipline McCarron for his choice of words.

Square grooves no longer are allowed on the PGA Tour because of a new U.S. Golf Association policy effective this year that requires grooves in irons to be more a more shallow V-shape, which generate less spin.

However, the Ping Eye 2 wedges made before April 1, 1990, are approved for competition because of a lawsuit that Ping settled with the PGA Tour and USGA some 20 years ago.

It has not been proven whether the grooves of a 20-year-old golf club – Mickelson played them in college at Arizona State and found this wedge in his garage – spin more than V-shaped grooves made with today’s technology.

John Daly and Dean Wilson were the first players to use the Ping wedges this year, at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Mickelson, who finished 19th at the Farmers Insurance Open, said he was not sure the Ping wedge was more effective than his new wedges from Callaway.

Mickelson, however, has been angry with the USGA since the groove policy was announced. He claims he submitted wedges under the new rules that the USGA did not approve, yet he was allowed to use a Ping wedge with square grooves that are not conforming.

“I understand black and white,” Mickelson said Friday. “And I think that myself or any other player is allowed to play those clubs because they’re approved – end of story.”

McCarron said to use the Ping wedges violated the spirit of the rule.

On Monday, he directed some of his frustration at the USGA and the PGA Tour for knowing the potential for this controversy before it blew up on them last week at Torrey Pines.

“Instead of addressing the matter, the tour chose to put the onus to comply on its players,” McCarron said. “Unfortunately, a handful of players have chosen not to comply, and that is what has led to this current ordeal. In my opinion … the Tour must now put a rule in place to protect the field and ban these wedges.”

McCarron said the focus should shift from a small number of players using the Ping Eye 2 wedges to the majority of players “who chose to do the right thing.”

“I am still appalled by the fact that any player would make the choice to put this controversial wedge in play, and I stand by my previous comments,” he said.

The only apology he offered was to the Farmers Insurance Open for the distraction it caused.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is to meet with players Tuesday in Los Angeles to discuss the wedge dispute.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.