Notes: Spieth would take mulligan at St. Andrews

By Doug FergusonDecember 23, 2015, 12:09 am

If he could take one mulligan this year, Jordan Spieth knows exactly where it would be - the final round at St. Andrews.

Trying to become the first player to capture the third leg of the modern Grand Slam, he was tied for the lead at the British Open until he missed an 8-foot par putt on the 17th hole and failed to birdie the 18th. Spieth missed a playoff by one shot.

But that's not where he'd take the mulligan.

''My first putt on No. 8,'' Spieth said.

He had a long birdie putt on the par-3 hole that he ran so far by the cup that it stopped just off the green. He took three putts from there for a double bogey.

''I made a mistake, and it cost me at least a shot,'' Spieth said. ''The wind was sideways and it was into the rain and I was thinking it would be slow. I'd left it short all week and I didn't want to leave that one short. And, obviously, I didn't.''

Spieth figures if he had two-putted for par, the 50-foot birdie putt on the 16th ''becomes the one that won the tournament.''

That's a lot of conjecture. Then again, there are no mulligans in the majors.

''You can say maybe the putt on 17,'' Spieth said. ''But everyone missed that putt - it's not an easy one. And everyone says the wedge on 18.''

He came up just short of the 18th green instead of making sure he at least had a 25-foot look at birdie, as Zach Johnson did before him.

Still, No. 8 gnaws at him.

''That was an easy fix,'' he said.


MATCH PLAY MATH: The biggest blowout in the Match Play Championship was Tiger Woods winning every hole on the front nine and closing out Stephen Ames, 9 and 8, at La Costa in 2006. This was two days after Ames, the No. 64 seed, jokingly said anything can happen in match play, ''especially where he's hitting the ball.''

Mathematically, it could have been worse.

Much worse.

Consider what happened to Phil Mickelson in the Presidents Cup this year. He did not know about the one-ball condition and used a different model on the par-5 seventh hole in a fourballs match. The penalty is a one-hole adjustment, and because Jason Day won the hole (Mickelson mistakenly was not allowed to finish the hole), the International team went from all square to 2 up.

That led to two questions: What other rules and conditions allow for a ''hole adjustment?'' And what would be the earliest an 18-hole match could end?

Kathryn Belanger, the assistant manager of rules communications for the USGA, provided the answer. It's a long shot. Odds are it will never happen.

But follow along, because it is possible.

A player carries a non-conforming club (Rule 4-1).

He changes the weight of his driver after teeing off, but he does not make a stroke with the club after the adjustment (Rule 4-2).

He starts his round with 15 clubs (Rule 4-4a).

He has two caddies (Rule 6-4).

He violates the one-ball condition on the opening two holes (Appendix I, Part C, Item 1c).

He has a parent as a caddie when they are not allowed (Appendix I, Part C, Item 2).

He takes an unauthorized ride in a cart on both holes (Appendix I, Part C, Item 8).

If all of these violations are discovered on the second hole, each would carry a two-hole adjustment to the state of the match. That's 14 holes. Assuming the player also loses the first two holes, he now is 16 down with 16 to play.

His opponent could win the 18-hole match on the third hole by a score of 17 and 15.

Maybe Ames got off easy.


MAKING THE CUT: Tiger Woods is duly impressed with today's young stars, with Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth winning two majors in successive years and Jason Day picking up his first major at the PGA Championship and getting to No. 1 in the world.

Only one aspect perplexes him - too many weekends off.

Spieth already has missed the cut 12 times in his three full seasons on the PGA Tour. McIlroy has missed the cut eight times in the last three years. Rickie Fowler has missed the cut 11 times in the last two years.

''In today's game, you don't have to make cuts,'' Woods said in his Time magazine interview earlier this month. ''And I see these guys miss so many cuts when they're that good. ... It doesn't compute, because I haven't done it. I think I've missed only 15 cuts in my career.''

Woods has missed the cut 16 times, including six in the last two years.


MCILROY AWARD: Rory McIlroy won the Association of Golf Writers trophy, given to those born or living in Europe who made the most outstanding contribution to golf. He joined Seve Ballesteros and Lee Westwood as the only three-time winners of the award.

McIlroy won three times on the European Tour, and once on the PGA Tour. He also captured the Race to Dubai, even though he missed two months with an ankle injury.

He narrowly won over the Walker Cup team that handily beat the Americans at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Third place went to Andy Sullivan of England, who joined McIlroy as a three-time winner on the European Tour.


TALE OF TWO SEASONS: Matt Kuchar already knew what happened to him this year before he was presented with some statistics.

''I felt like the first half of the year I didn't hit it great but I putted well,'' he said. ''And the second half, it flip-flopped. I hit it well and struggled with the putter. The beautiful thing about the game is you need everything to work in order to have good tournaments.''

One statistic is all that mattered to Kuchar: This was only the second time in the last seven years that he failed to win on the PGA Tour. Kuchar had two chances early at the Sony Open and Humana Challenge, and Rickie Fowler beat him with birdies down the stretch at the Scottish Open.

''I wasn't real happy with my year. It's not what I'm accustomed to, it's not what I expect out of myself,'' Kuchar said. ''There was a lot of frustration.''


DIVOTS: Tom Weiskopf has been chosen to renovate the North course at Torrey Pines. Work is to begin immediately after the Farmers Insurance Open. Weiskopf told The San Diego Union-Tribune, ''My challenge is to not get caught up in what the best players in the game are going to do here in one round a year.'' ... Of the top 10 players in the world ranking at the end of the year, Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and Jim Furyk are the only ones who lost more points than they gained in 2015. ... The 2018 U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball is going to El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, California. ... Anirban Lahiri has received a sponsor's exemption to the Farmers Insurance Open, along with Robert Garrigus, Aaron Baddeley, Jhonattan Vegas, Ollie Schniederjans and Xander Schauffele.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Based on the current Olympic rankings, 14 players in the 60-man field are outside the top 200 in the world ranking.


FINAL WORD: ''My bad golf is a little bit better now.'' - Anirban Lahiri on how he improved in 2015.

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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

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.