Notes: Lynn once saved Poulter's life

By Doug FergusonJune 5, 2013, 1:42 am

David Lynn is the Englishman who earned his PGA Tour card last year by finishing eight shots behind as the runner-up to Rory McIlroy at the PGA Championship. He can be racy on Twitter. And in his first year on the American Tour, he already has done well enough to earn over $1.3 million and be No. 29 in the FedEx Cup standings.

Not so well known about Lynn is the story of how he once saved Ian Poulter's life.

''We were in the Czech Republic,'' Poulter said earlier this year about his time on the Challenge Tour in Europe. ''There was four of us in a room to have a shower after the tournament – to try to save money, we keep one room open – and all these golf clubs were strewn across the floor.''

One of the players knocked on the door, and Poulter tried to jump over the bags to get there.

''I caught my ankle in the loop, went down on it and cracked it,'' Poulter said. ''It was so painful. I sat on the toilet as they ran a freezing cold bath, and when I put my foot in the bath I passed out. And as I passed out, my teeth clenched and I swallowed my tongue. He had to wrench my mouth open. It was horrible.''

A decade later, Poulter offered him advice on whether to take up his PGA Tour card. Poulter recommended that Lynn at least play the first half of the season in America, and that's what he has done. Lynn is not playing the U.S. Open because he already booked a holiday, and while it seems like a bad idea, he's not kidding about needing a break. Lynn already had played 15 events when he finished The Players Championship.


THE ART JUNKIE: Fred Couples was amazed by his most recent visit to the White House as Presidents Cup captain. And while he said President Barack Obama was in a jovial mood, what impressed Couples the most was the art on the walls.

That's when he let on that he's somewhat of an ''art junkie.''

''What do I collect? I have California art,'' Couples said. ''I have some, you know, inexpensive expensive. There's some you can buy for 6 grand, some from 150 grand. I like buying one a year. It used to be cars, and now it's a piece of art. I'm almost done.''

He might be running out of space. Couples is trying to sell his home in the Palm Springs, Calif., area, and when that happens, his other house in Los Angeles is smaller.


US OPEN: Kyle Stanley could have locked up a spot in the U.S. Open if he had tied for second in the Memorial. Instead, he bogeyed the 17th hole as Kevin Chappell birdied the last two holes, and the third-place finish only moved Stanley up to No. 59.

He narrowly missed out in the 36-hole qualifier Monday. He's not playing in Memphis. So all he can do is wait.

The biggest threat to bumping out Stanley is Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, who is playing in the Austrian Open and needs to finish about 12th to move past the American. Charles Howell III and Jimmy Walker also could move into the top 60 with top finishes in Memphis.


TOUGH ROUGH: Johnny Miller and Peter Jacobsen miss the days when the U.S. Open was renowned for its long, thick rough.

During an NBC Sports conference call last week for the U.S. Open, Miller said the rough used to be so tough that it put a premium on hitting fairways. USGA executive director Mike Davis starting in 2006 began a concept of graduated rough, making it deeper the further away it was from the fairway. Players have considered that to be a fairest test over the least seven years.

Miller disagreed, saying the U.S. Open became ''more like a PGA Tour event.''

''I think it lost its identity, personally,'' Miller said. ''I don't agree with that one bit. To me, the U.S. Open is supposed to be the ultimate test. ... I just thought like at Torrey (Pines), they set it up like an old Andy Williams with distance. Not that it wasn't a good Open - it was a great Open. But I like the rough, personally.''

Jacobsen recalled watching Hale Irwin in 1974 at Winged Foot, one of the toughest U.S. Opens ever (and one that followed Miller shooting 63 in the final round at Oakmont). Jacobsen said the U.S. Open was about survival, and it was one of the most intimidating events on the PGA Tour schedule.

''You had to drive it in play, get it out of the rough, into the right position where you could get it up and down, and the greens were quick, and hard, and sloping,'' Jacobsen said. ''It was just very difficult. It's really going to be fun for me at Merion to see a return – hopefully a return – to that way of golf.''


NICKLAUS HONOR: Jack Nicklaus has been selected for the Ambassador of Golf Award, which is given each year to a person who has promoted golf around the world. He will be honored on the first tee at Firestone Country Club on July 31, the afternoon before the opening round of the Bridgestone Invitational.

Nicklaus won the 1975 PGA Championship at Firestone, along with the World Series of Golf.

He is the second Nicklaus to receive the award from the Northern Ohio Golf Charities. His wife, Barbara, previously was honored.

''This is certainly a special and meaningful recognition. I feel blessed to be included among such a distinguished list of past recipients, including my wife, because I am certainly Barbara Nicklaus' biggest fan,'' Nicklaus said. ''As Barbara and I look back on our careers and our lives together, we realize and appreciate that golf has contributed to us having a lifetime of fulfillment, enrichment and happiness. But we also felt a responsibility to give back, whenever and wherever we could.''


FOLLOWING THE PROS: Rand Jerris, the senior managing director of public services for the USGA, is trying to dispel the notion that pace-of-play issues in golf are primarily related to recreational players trying to copy tour players, especially on the greens.

A tired argument is that amateurs take too much time reading their putts because that's what they see pros do. Jerris said ongoing research by the USGA shows that player behavior is but a small piece of the pace-of-play puzzle.

That led him to one observation that amateurs don't follow everything they see on TV.

''If we did everything professionals do, there would be no ball marks on the green,'' he said.

Indeed. Next time you're playing golf, see how many people neglect to repair the pitch marks.


DIVOTS: There were 293 three-putts (or more) over four rounds at the Memorial. Davis Love III was the only player at Muirfield Village to make it through 72 holes without a three-putt. ... Paul Goydos returns to competition this week at the St. Jude Classic. Goydos last played at Riviera in February 2012. He is coming back from extensive surgery on his left wrist. ... The LPGA Tour has launched a Spanish language website. The tour has more than 20 players who speak Spanish from countries that include Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Argentina. ... Pebble Beach has broken ground on a new driving range and golf academy, a project that has been 20 years in planning. The project includes 100 additional guest rooms at The Lodge at Pebble Beach and the Inn at Spanish Bay, along with a new 100-room hotel near Spyglass Hill.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Tiger Woods earned $12,896 at the Memorial, his smallest check from finishing a tournament since the 2004 Bay Hill Invitational.


FINAL WORD: ''Let's put it this way. There will be some guys that play the tour to make a living, period. All the good players play the tour to win golf tournaments to be the best player they can.'' – Jack Nicklaus.

Getty Images

CareerBuilder Challenge: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 1:10 pm

The PGA Tour shifts from Hawaii to Southern California for the second full-field event of the year. Here are the key stats and information for the CareerBuilder Challenge. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch (all rounds on Golf Channel):

Thursday, Rd. 1: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Sunday, Rd. 4: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream


Purse: $5.9 million ($1,062,000 to winner)

Courses: PGA West, Stadium Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,113); PGA West, Nicklaus Tournament Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,159); La Quinta Country Club, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,060) NOTE: All three courses will be used for the first three rounds but only the Stadium Course will be used for the final round.

Defending champion: Hudson Swafford (-20) - defeated Adam Hadwin by one stroke to earn his first PGA Tour win.


Notables in the field

Phil Mickelson

* This is his first start of 2018. It's the fourth consecutive year he has made this event the first one on his yearly calendar.

* For the second year in a row he will serve as the tournament's official ambassador.

* He has won this event twice - in 2002 and 2004.

* This will be his 97th worldwide start since his most recent win, The Open in 2013.


Jon Rahm

* Ranked No. 3 in the world, he finished runner-up in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

* In 37 worldwide starts as a pro, he has 14 top-5 finishes.

* Last year he finished T-34 in this event.


Adam Hadwin

* Last year in the third round, he shot 59 at La Quinta Country Club. It was the ninth - and still most recent - sub-60 round on Tour.

* In his only start of 2018, the Canadian finished 32nd in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.


Brian Harman

* Only player on the PGA Tour with five top-10 finishes this season.

* Ranks fifth in greens in regulation this season.

* Finished third in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and T-4 in the Sony Open in Hawaii.


Brandt Snedeker

* Making only his third worldwide start since last June at the Travelers Championship. He has been recovering from a chest injury.

* This is his first start since he withdrew from the Indonesian Masters in December because of heat exhaustion.

* Hasn't played in this event since missing the cut in 2015.


Patrick Reed

* Earned his first career victory in this event in 2014, shooting three consecutive rounds of 63.

* This is his first start of 2018.

* Last season finished seventh in strokes gained: putting, the best ranking of his career.

(Stats provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.) 

Getty Images

Teenager Im wins Web.com season opener

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 10:23 pm

South Korea's Sungjae Im cruised to a four-shot victory at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, becoming just the second teenager to win an event on the Web.com Tour.

Im started the final day of the season-opening event in a share of the lead but still with six holes left in his third round. He was one shot behind Carlos Ortiz when the final round began, but moved ahead of the former Web.com Player of the Year thanks to a 7-under 65 in rainy and windy conditions. Im's 13-under total left him four clear of Ortiz and five shots ahead of a quartet of players in third.

Still more than two months shy of his 20th birthday, Im joins Jason Day as the only two teens to win on the developmental circuit. Day was 19 years, 7 months and 26 days old when he captured the 2007 Legend Financial Group Classic.

Recent PGA Tour winners Si Woo Kim and Patrick Cantlay and former NCAA champ Aaron Wise all won their first Web.com Tour event at age 20.

Other notable finishes in the event included Max Homa (T-7), Erik Compton (T-13), Curtis Luck (T-13) and Lee McCoy (T-13). The Web.com Tour will remain in the Bahamas for another week, with opening round of The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic set to begin Sunday.

Getty Images

Mickelson grouped with Z. Johnson at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 8:28 pm

He's not the highest-ranked player in this week's field, but Phil Mickelson will likely draw the biggest crowd at the CareerBuilder Challenge as he makes his first start of 2018. Here are a few early-round, marquee groupings to watch as players battle the three-course rotation in the Californian desert (all times ET):

12:10 p.m. Thursday, 11:40 a.m. Friday, 1:20 p.m. Saturday: Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson

Mickelson is making his fourth straight trip to Palm Springs, having cracked the top 25 each of the last three times. In addition to their respective amateur partners, he'll play the first three rounds alongside a fellow Masters champ in Johnson, who tied for 14th last week in Hawaii and finished third in this event in 2014.


11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson

At No. 3 in the world, Rahm is the highest-ranked player teeing it up this week and the Spaniard returns to an event where he finished T-34 last year in his tournament debut. He'll play the first two rounds alongside Watson, who is looking to bounce back from a difficult 2016-17 season and failed to crack the top 50 in two starts in the fall.


11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker

Reed made the first big splash of his career at this event in 2014, shooting three straight rounds of 63 en route to his maiden victory. He'll be joined by Snedeker, whose bid for a Masters bid via the top 50 of the world rankings came up short last month and who hasn't played this event since a missed cut in 2015.


1:10 p.m. Thursday, 12:40 p.m. Friday, 12:10 p.m. Saturday: Patton Kizzire, Bill Haas

Kizzire heads east after a whirlwind Sunday ended with his second win of the season in a six-hole playoff over James Hahn in Honolulu. He'll play alongside Haas, who won this event in both 2010 and 2015 to go with a runner-up finish in 2011 and remains the tournament's all-time leading money winner.

Getty Images

Mackay still a caddie at heart, even with a microphone

By Doug FergusonJanuary 16, 2018, 7:34 pm

HONOLULU – All it took was one week back on the bag to remind Jim ''Bones'' Mackay what he always loved about being a caddie.

It just wasn't enough for this to be the ultimate mic drop.

Mackay traded in his TV microphone at the Sony Open for the 40-pound bag belonging to Justin Thomas.

It was his first time caddying since he split with Phil Mickelson six months ago. Mackay was only a temporary replacement at Waialae for Jimmy Johnson, a good friend and Thomas' regular caddie who has a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that will keep him in a walking boot for the next month.

''The toughest thing about not caddying is missing the competition, not having a dog in the fight,'' Mackay said before the final round. ''There's nothing more rewarding as a caddie, in general terms, when you say, 'I don't like 6-iron, I like 7,' and being right. I miss that part of it.''

The reward now?

''Not stumbling over my words,'' he said. ''And being better than I was the previous week.''

He has done remarkably well since he started his new job at the British Open last summer, except for that time he momentarily forgot his role. Parts of that famous caddie adage – ''Show up, keep up, shut up'' – apparently can apply to golf analysts on the ground.

During the early hours of the telecast, before Johnny Miller came on, Justin Leonard was in the booth.

''It's my job to report on what I see. It's not my job to ask questions,'' Mackay said. ''I forgot that for a minute.''

Leonard was part of a booth discussion on how a comfortable pairing can help players trying to win a major. That prompted Mackay to ask Leonard if he found it helpful at the 1997 British Open when he was trying to win his first major and was paired with Fred Couples in the final round at Royal Troon.

''What I didn't know is we were going to commercial in six seconds,'' Mackay said. ''I would have no way of knowing that, but I completely hung Justin out to dry. He's now got four seconds to answer my long-winded question.''

During the commercial break, the next voice Mackay heard belonged to Tommy Roy, the executive golf producer at NBC.

''Bones, don't ever do that again.''

It was Roy who recognized the value experienced caddies could bring to a telecast. That's why he invited Mackay and John Wood, the caddie for Matt Kuchar, into the control room at the 2015 Houston Open so they could see how it all worked and how uncomfortable it can be to hear directions coming through an earpiece.

Both worked as on-course reporters at Sea Island that fall.

And when Mickelson and Mackay parted ways after 25 years, Roy scooped up the longtime caddie for TV.

It's common for players to move into broadcasting. Far more unusual is for a caddie to be part of the mix. Mackay loves his new job. Mostly, he loves how it has helped elevate his profession after so many years of caddies being looked upon more unfavorably than they are now.

''I want to be a caddie that's doing TV,'' he said. ''That's what I hope to come across as. The guys think this is good for caddies. And if it's good for caddies, that makes me happy. Because I'm a caddie. I'll always be a caddie.''

Not next week at Torrey Pines, where Mickelson won three times. Not a week later in Phoenix, where Mackay lives. Both events belong to CBS.

And not the Masters.

He hasn't missed Augusta since 1994, when Mickelson broke his leg skiing that winter.

''That killed me,'' he said, ''but not nearly as much as it's going to kill me this year. I'll wake up on Thursday of the Masters and I'll be really grumpy. I'll probably avoid television at all costs until the 10th tee Sunday. And I'll watch. But it will be, within reason, the hardest day of my life.''

There are too many memories, dating to when he was in the gallery right of the 11th green in 1987 when Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman. He caddied for Mize for two years, and then Scott Simpson in 1992, and Mickelson the rest of the way. He was on the bag for Lefty's three green jackets.

Mackay still doesn't talk much about what led them to part ways, except to say that a player-caddie relationship runs its course.

''If you lose that positive dynamic, there's no point in continuing,'' he said. ''It can be gone in six months or a year or five years. In our case, it took 25 years.''

He says a dozen or so players called when they split up, and the phone call most intriguing was from Roy at NBC.

''I thought I'd caddie until I dropped,'' Mackay said.

He never imagined getting yardages and lining up putts for anyone except the golfer whose bag he was carrying. Now it's for an audience that measures in the millions. Mackay doesn't look at it as a second career. And he won't rule out caddying again.

''It will always be tempting,'' he said. ''I'll always consider myself a caddie. Right now, I'm very lucky and grateful to have the job I do.''

Except for that first week in April.