Notes A new gambling policy on European Tour

By Doug FergusonMarch 16, 2011, 3:58 am

Transistions ChampionshipPALM HARBOR, Fla. – The European Tour has a new policy in its regulations this year that forbids a player or a caddie to place a bet on any golf tournament in which they are participating.

That’s the letter of the law. But it’s not the intent.

“It’s a completely new regulation for us,” said David Garland, director of tour operations. “We just feel that looking at other sports, and instances of gambling scandals in other sports over here, we didn’t have a policy. It’s been a little topical at the moment.”

Betting, particularly in Britain, is almost a sport unto itself. Garland said golf is the fourth-most popular betting sport in the United Kingdom. During some of the major championships, there can be bets on who will have the lowest score among a particular group, or even as simple as who will place in the top 10.

The first section of the policy is that no player or caddie can either directly or indirectly bet or be involved in a bet in a competition they are playing or have any influence. Another section forbids players or caddies to provide information in which either has inside information.

That kind of stuff would appear to go on all the time.

“I don’t think the $20 bet is a problem,” said Thomas Bjorn, chairman of the tournament committee. “We’ve had big scandals in cricket, there’s stuff going on in snooker. You have to protect yourself against the inside stuff.”

So is this policy directed mainly at caddies?

“Not at all,” Garland said. “We know the caddies have a range of small bets. It’s just making them aware that it can lead to other things. They’ve got to realize caddies are an integral part of the golfer’s team. They can influence, and they need to be aware of this policy.”

Garland said the tour essentially needed to protect itself with a policy, especially in light of other scandals. Unlike the anti-doping policy, in which a six-month education process preceded the policy taking effect, the tour put it in the books immediately and will spend the next year talking to various people involved to make them understand.

“What we’ve seen in other sports is that it’s the individual who’s not at the top of the game that gets involved,” Garland said. “It starts with information. Then it goes to, ‘Can you do this for me and do that for me?’ In the world of illegal gambling, these are high numbers people are talking about, and it may become tempting.

“We want to get this over to players, caddies and everyone connected on the tour about the dangers involved.”


TOP RECOGNITION: Martin Kaymer can still make his way through airports and shopping malls without being recognized as the world’s No. 1 player, although he did get a taste of his growing fame in Arizona.

After moving to the top of the ranking, Kaymer said he was finishing up dinner at a steakhouse in Scottsdale.

“We got a free dessert from the restaurant and on the cake it said, ‘Congratulations, No. 1 in the world,”’ Kaymer said. “I get recognized a bit more than in the past.”


TWITTER AND TEXT: Lee Westwood has taken to Twitter and his followers quickly grew to some 135,000 during his 17-week reign as No. 1 in the world ranking. He is active, having put out more than 3,000 tweets.

Westwood, however, appeared to go silent when Martin Kaymer replaced him at No. 1 in the world.

That wasn’t the case. Westwood just went old school and sent Kaymer a text message. It was his agent, Chubby Chandler, who explained to him the phenomenon of Twitter.

“Sometimes you can see some of the guys on it, they don’t quite get what they’re achieving,” Chandler said. Lee has 135,000 followers, and when he wasn’t No. 1, I said to him, ‘I think you should congratulate Martin.’ He said, ‘I already have. I sent him a text.’ And I said, ‘You’ve got 135,00 people who don’t know you’ve done that.”’


STICKY GRIPS: Geoff Ogilvy was curious about a new style of grips that he made the switch to when he was home in Australia late last year.

What’s so unusual about the leather grips from The Grip Masters?

For starters, they’re made of kangaroo – but that’s an Australian thing.

What intrigued Ogilvy is that the more the grips get moist, the more tackier they become. He says he can control that by how much he wipes them down with a wet towel.

“I got addicted to the tackiness straight away,” Ogilvy said of the one-piece leather grips.

As for the kangaroo? The grips also are made from the leather of cows, and even deer and sea snakes.

“Everything (Rory) Sabbatini has on his belt, you can get for a grip,” Ogilvy said. “I just thought kangaroo would be cool. I’m sure I’d like a cow just as much. But everyone has cows. We’re the only country that has kangaroos.”


DIVOTS: Now that Butch Harmon no longer works with Stewart Cink, he has added another client to his stable – S.K. Noh, the talented teenager from South Korea. Harmon says Noh approached him in Abu Dhabi, and he came to see Harmon in Las Vegas on his way to the Cadillac Championship. Harmon says he’ll be working with him on a limited basis. … The USGA is moving its U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur events in 2012 to earlier in the year to avoid conflicts with going back to school. … Lee Trevino, 71, shot a 70 in the first round of the Toshiba Classic. It was the first time he broke his age in competition. … Golf Channel said it averaged 1.07 million viewers the opening two rounds of the Cadillac Championship, the best two-day viewership for Doral since 1.09 million viewers in 2002 when it was on USA Network. Golf Channel now has had higher ratings for all 36 of the PGA Tour rounds it has broadcast this year.


STAT OF THE WEEK: The last eight World Golf Championships have been won by eight players dating to the 2009 Bridgestone Invitational – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Ernie Els, Hunter Mahan, Francesco Molinari, Luke Donald and Nick Watney.


FINAL WORD: “I find it very strange that he has never been No. 1 in the world. He really deserved to be there. But obviously with Tiger up there all those years, it was very difficult.” – Martin Kaymer, on Phil Mickelson never reaching the top of the world ranking.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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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.