Notes Daly among fastest players on Tour
The information is not available to the public, only the players. The idea is for them to see where they rank among their peers, another layer of evidence should they need to pick up the pace.
“We use it as a tool for players to analyze where they may have room for improvement,” said Andy Pazder, the tour’s senior vice president of tour administration.
Brett Quigley looked up his ranking last week at the Transitions Championship and was perplexed – not because he was No. 12 on the list of players who take the shortest time to play, but who were the 11 guys faster than him.
The timing is not scientific, but it has shown to provide an accurate snapshot.
Unlike an official timing when a player is out of position, the volunteer entering the Shotlink data hits the button as soon as the first player in the group hits a shot. The next player is “timed” until he hits his shot. That doesn’t account for waiting for the previous player to pick up his tee and move to the side, or any other delays.
The first player to hit in each group is not timed. The Tour throws out the top 10 percent of fastest times and top 10 percent of the slowest times. Also thrown out is whenever a player requires a ruling or has to take a drop.
After studying the data for a couple of years, and measuring that against which players were put on the clock most frequently, the tour found the two lists to be comparable.
John Daly, Chris Riley, Dustin Johnson, Mark Calcavecchia, Pat Perez and Quigley were around the top of the ranking. Portions of the list were obtained under the condition the slower players were not identified to avoid embarrassment, although it’s safe to say there were no surprises.
The times have been made available to players since 2006, and there is no evidence that it is helping. But this goes beyond timing and a ranking. Because the Shotlink data can process so much information, players can even find out where they are slow. The system studies how long it takes players to hit off the tee, from the fairway, when they go for a par 5 in two, when they lay up on a par 5, around the green and putting.
“We can go to a player and show, for example, that he’s good everywhere from tee to green, but once he gets on the green he slows down,” Pazder said. “It’s turned into a pretty good resource.”
MASTERS TIME: Stephen Ames matched the low score of the final round at the Transitions Championship, and while it was only good for a tie for sixth, it sure didn’t hurt. Ames moved up to No. 54 in the world, raising his hopes of getting into the Masters.
This is the final week – the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill on the PGA Tour and the Andalucia Open in Spain – for players to get into the top 50 and earn an invitation to Augusta National.
K.J. Choi made the biggest move last week with his runner-up finish at Innisbrook, moving from No. 75 to No. 47. Now all he has to do is stay in the top 50 after Bay Hill.
“All I can say is I will try my best next week to maintain or better that position,” Choi said.
Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand is at No. 45 and would appear to be safe.
Those in dire need of a strong week include J.B. Holmes (No. 58) and Justin Rose (No. 59). Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa is at No. 60 and playing the Andalucia Open.
TIGER SCHEDULE: Tiger Woods says he doesn’t know where he will play after the Masters, and there are indications he will not play the minimum 15 tournaments required for PGA Tour membership.
That doesn’t mean he will lose his card.
Woods becomes a life member after this year – 5 years of active tournament play with at least 20 victories. What he loses is his voting rights for the 2010, meaning he would not get to vote for Player of the Year.
The Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average requires that he play at least 60 official rounds, while the Byron Nelson Award (the Tour’s version of the Vardon) requires only 50 rounds. There are no minimum standards to be eligible for the Jack Nicklaus Award (PGA Tour player of the year) or the Arnold Palmer Award (money list).
GETTING A GRIP: Known for his unorthodox swing, Jim Furyk now has a most peculiar grip on his putter.
Attribute that to his father.
Furyk was unhappy with his putting last year, his second consecutive season without winning, and while talking over his game with his father – who also is his coach – during the offseason, Mike Furyk suggested turning the grip on his putter upside-down.
“I don’t know why he thought about it, but he said, ‘Have you ever thought about turning it upside-down?’ And I kind of laughed because it sounded so crazy,” Furyk said.
Furyk putts cross-handed, and his father figured having the thicker part of the grip in his left hand might help. Furyk flipped the grip and tried it out, and he has not changed since he began his season at Riviera.
“It’s much, much more comfortable for me,” Furyk said after his one-shot victory in the Transitions Championship.
DIVOTS: John Daly said on Twitter that he was “depressed” to learn he did not get exemptions to Bay Hill or the Houston Open, although he hasn’t lost his humor. “Not getting an exemption is 3 weeks off and I’m not even suspended,” read one tweet. … Tiger Woods’ image is on the media credential for Bay Hill, along with tournament host Arnold Palmer. … New Orleans Saints coach Sean Peyton was at Bay Hill on Tuesday, posing with the Super Bowl trophy and Arnold Palmer.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Geoff Ogilvy and Ian Poulter are the only players who have won on the PGA Tour this year who are not at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
FINAL WORD: “They went back home to Minnesota. It was too cold down here.” – Tim Herron, on why his parents did not stay in Florida to watch him play the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18