Notes: PGA's Bishop, R&A's Dawson at odds over anchoring

By Doug FergusonMay 1, 2013, 1:17 am

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The biggest rivalry in golf at the moment could be the heads of two different organizations on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

PGA of America president Ted Bishop has been vocal about his opposition to the proposed rule that would ban the anchored stroke used for long putters. Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson last week referred to Bishop's public comments as a ''campaign.''

''The PGA of America knows my views about this and I'm disappointed at the way that campaign was conducted,'' Dawson said. ''It put rule-making onto the negotiating table. The negotiating table is no place for rule-making to take place. Obviously, the feelings are strong. We shall have to see where it goes.''

Bishop took it one step further in an interview and exchange of emails with Golf World magazine, in which he revealed details of his encounter with Dawson during the Masters and questioned the R&A's male-only membership.

''I find that to be very curious and perplexing given the fact that the R&A has not been inclusive, as evidenced by their unwillingness to accept women as members to the R&A,'' Bishop told the magazine. ''This is a much different approach than we have taken in America.''

Bishop said when he told Dawson that the PGA of America was looking after the best interests of the amateur golfer, Dawson pointed a finger at him and said, ''That's not your role.'' He said they met again at a reception that night that was more civil.

But he continues to challenge Dawson, particularly the 90-day comment period that ended two months ago.

''The PGA of America has gotten the impression from the R&A that we should have just accepted the proposed rule change and not issued any comments,'' Bishop said in an email to Golf World. ''Then why have a comment period at all? If you remember, Dawson stated on Nov. 28 that he doubted if any new evidence would surface during the comment period that would result in the ban on anchoring being dropped. That hardly set the stage for an 'open' comment period.''

Bishop also made a comment that won't make this issue any less divisive, saying the differences between the PGA of America and the R&A came down to cultures.

''Europeans have a tendency to accept the things that are imposed by their respective governments, while Americans will debate, argue and vote on issues,'' Bishop said in the email. ''I think that is the fundamental premise that America was founded on.''

The PGA Tour and PGA of America are opposed to the new rule. The European Tour is in favor of it. A decision whether to adopt the rule is expected by the end of May. If it's approved, it would not go into effect until 2016.

RUB OF THE GREENS: For a golf club that strives for perfection, Quail Hollow has its hands tied this week by Mother Nature.

Due mainly to an unusually cool spring, the home of the Wells Fargo Championship has struggled so mightily with its greens that two of them (Nos. 8 and 10) have had to be resodded in recent weeks, and tournament officials have asked players to hit only one shot into Nos. 12 and 13 during practice rounds.

The rest of the greens are spotty at best, most with several patches of brown. And it's not just looks. Some players say the greens are running at different speeds.

''It's tough to see,'' said Webb Simpson, the U.S. Open champion who lives at Quail Hollow. ''I think their biggest challenge is going to try to get it to be the same firmness and speed of the other greens.''

The practice green might have been in the best shape of all, and putts were bouncing more than they were rolling.

''The good news is everybody's playing the same golf course,'' Simpson said. ''So there will be no excuses this week.''

GUAN MORE: Guan Tianlang isn't done with the PGA Tour just yet.

Guan accepted a sponsor's exemption into the Byron Nelson Championship next month. That will be his third PGA Tour event in a span of six weeks, more golf than Tiger Woods will have played in the last month or so. Guan made history at the Masters as the youngest to play all four rounds in a major, and he became the youngest player to make a cut in a PGA Tour event at the Zurich Classic last week in New Orleans.

Still to come is qualifying for the U.S. Open.

A DIFFERENT QUESTION: A popular question to most players at the Masters was about Guan Tianlang, and what players were doing at age 14. Bubba Watson heard the question again in New Orleans last week and decided to turn it around, with a dose of perspective.

''Let's got a different route,'' he said. ''If you looked at every sport through time, everybody has gotten better – bigger, better, stronger, fast, no matter sport it is. In golf, there are kids nowadays that are learning at a younger age. They're working out at a younger age. They're eating better. They know what to practice because they've watched Tiger Woods. ... So you can just see it.''

He then mentioned the LPGA Tour, where the players seem to be getting younger. And he mentioned LeBron James, who went to the NBA straight from high school.

''So you look at every person in sports, it's growing that way,'' Watson said. ''Pretty soon they're going to be younger, and 20 years down the road, it's probably going to be younger than 14. But records are already broken.''

NEXT QUESTION: Maybe it's time to stop asking Jack Nicklaus if he thinks Tiger Woods will break his record of 18 professional majors.

An answer last week during a Q&A at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley explains why.

Nicklaus for years has said essentially the same thing. He thinks Woods will break his record, but that Woods still has to do it. Golfweek magazine was there when the question came up again. The answer didn't change – ''I still think Tiger will break my record,'' he said – except for what Nicklaus tacked on to the end of it.

''If I said anything different, there would be headlines in the newspaper tomorrow,'' he said.

Can you imagine?

DIVOTS: The U.S. Open received a record 9,860 entries this year, smashing the mark of 9,086 for the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. The U.S. Open returns to Merion this year for the first time since 1981. ... Hideki Matsuyama, the two-time Asia-Pacific Amateur champion (and 2-for-2 in making the cut at the Masters) won the Tsuruya Open last week on the Japan Golf Tour in just his second start as a pro. Matsuyama is now No. 108 in the world, 10 spots ahead of Ryo Ishikawa. ... Billy Horschel winning and D.A. Points finishing second put both of them inside the top 50 in the world, and knocked Matteo Manassero out of The Players Championship. Manassero would have to win at Quail Hollow this week to get into the richest tournament in golf. ... Nassau native Georgette Rolle has been given a sponsor's exemption into the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic next month at Atlantis Resort. Rolle is a graduate assistant coach for the men's and women's golf teams at Texas Southern, and she teaches at a First Tee program in Houston. She also hosts a two-day junior camp in The Bahamas once a year.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Tiger Woods has averaged $97,126 per round from official events in his PGA Tour career.

FINAL WORD: ''He was responsible for all the bogeys I made. I made the birdies.'' – Angel Cabrera, on having Angel Jr. caddie for him at the Masters.

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Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:43 pm

While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he's apparently been hard at work ever since.

"I'll be treating it very serious," Romo told reporters Tuesday. "My wife will tell you she hasn't seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I'm going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you'll get the best I've got this week."

Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf "you're trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag."

"I'm not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball," Romo said. "It's at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that's difficult, and sometimes that's easier depending on the situation."

Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which "was not up to any Tour standard." The first-tee jitters can't be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

"I think they're waiting to either tell me 'Congrats' or 'I knew it, terrible,'" Romo said. "Something along those lines. They're probably going to wait to see which way the wind's blowing before they send them."

Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

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Spieth vs. Reed random? Hmm, wonders Spieth

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Monday’s blind draw to determine the 16 pods for this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play didn’t exactly feel “blind” for Jordan Spieth, whose group includes Patrick Reed.

Spieth and Reed have become a staple of U.S. teams in recent years, with a 7-2-2 record in the Ryder and Presidents Cup combined. So when the ping-pong ball revealed Reed’s number on Monday night Spieth wasn’t surprised.

“It seems to me there's a bit more to this drawing than randomness,” laughed Spieth, whose pod also includes Haotong Li and Charl Schwartzel. “It's not just me and him. It's actually a lot of groups, to have Luke List and Justin [Thomas] in the same group seems too good to be true. It might be some sort of rigging that's going on, I'm not sure.”

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Spieth will play Reed on Friday in the round-robin format and knows exactly what to expect from the fiery American.

“I've seen it firsthand when he's been at his best. And we have history together in a couple of different playoffs, which is a match-play scenario,” Spieth said. “I've got to take care of work tomorrow and the next day for that day to even matter. But even if it doesn't matter, trust me, it will matter to both of us.”

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U.S. Open champ Koepka (wrist) to miss Masters

By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:12 pm

Reigning U.S. Open champ Brooks Koepka will miss the Masters, according to a USA Today report.

Koepka has been battling a left wrist injury since late last year, and he hasn't played since finishing last at the limited-field Sentry Tournament of Champions in early January. Weeks later he revealed that he had a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU) tendon but hoped to return in time for the season's first major.

According to the report, Koepka only started putting this week and plans to begin hitting chips next week.

"They said I would be about 80 percent, but I can't play 80 percent," Koepka said. "I either have to go full bore or not at all. I don't want to risk getting it re-injured and then be out a long time."

Koepka has finished T-33 or better in each of his three prior Masters appearances, culminating in a T-11 result last year.

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Spieth's agent leaving firm, but keeping Spieth as client

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Jay Danzi has stepped down as COO of Lagardère Sports U.S., and will take one of the game’s most marketable players, Jordan Spieth, with him.

In a press release, Danzi said, “after careful consideration I feel that it’s time for a new adventure.” Danzi will represent Spieth independently.

“It’s been a privilege having Jordan be part of the Lagardère Sports’ family for the last five years and watching him grow from a promising young player to someone who transcends the game,” said Steve Loy, Lagardère Sports president of golf. “We are also grateful for Jay’s contributions over the years, in golf and other areas of our business.”

Lagardère Sports underwent an aggressive expansion in recent years, acquiring numerous boutique firms including Danzi’s business and Crown Sports Management.

Although losing Spieth, the world’s fourth-ranked player, and Danzi, who took over as Lagardère COO in February 2017, is a setback, the firm still has a number of high-profile clients including Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm and Patton Kizzire, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season.