PGA turns to Tour to deliver scoring system

By Doug FergusonAugust 18, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 PGA ChampionshipCHASKA, Minn. ' The PGA Tour set the standard for scoring systems in golf when it developed Shotlink, which uses lasers to chart every shot by every player in every round of every tournament. Such data is not available at the four majors, because those are run by different organizations.
 
The PGA Championship is debating whether to be the first.
 
The PGA of America had to scramble for a scoring replacement when Unisys ended its partnership. With only four months before the final major of the year, officials opted for a bare-bones version of the tours program.
 
Birdies and bogeys. Driving accuracy and greens in regulation. Just no lasers.
 
So why the bells and no whistles? Kerry Haigh, who runs the PGA of Americas championship, cited a $250,000 cost, short notice and concerns over spectator viewing.
 
We already have an awful lot of towers built on the greens, and there were challenges in that regard for spectator enjoyment, Haigh said Tuesday.
 
Still, he said the PGA of America will consider upgrading to the full package for next year at Whistling Straits.
 
Going forward, our hope is to offset some of those costs and work out a way to do it without the towers, Haigh said. The information is what we would like to get, but doing it in a way that it doesnt affect the feel and look of a major. Wed love to be able to provide that.
 
The PGA Tour typically shares the cost with each tournament it runs. The PGA Championship would have to be a different arrangement because the tour has no stake in the television revenue. One way for the PGA Championship to cover the cost would be to find a sponsor when promoting data during the telecast.
 
When we made the presentation, we showed them everything we can do, said Steve Evans, the tours senior vice president of information systems. I truly believe they were impressed with it. I think from their perspective, everything is brand new and they had been with Unisys for so long. I think they needed a couple of events under their belt.
 
CAPTAIN COUPLES: is playing the next two weeks, and not just so he can scout possible captains picks for the Presidents Cup. Couples had two brushes with winning this year and is 90th in the FedEx Cup standings.
 
Trouble is, he has only played 12 events and needs 15 to keep up his membership.
 
He will at least qualify for The Barclays, the opening playoff event. If he doesnt make it to the second round, Couples would have to add a tournament during the Fall Series.
 
That led to a question that sent PGA Tour officials searching through board documents.
 
The Presidents Cup counts as a tournament entered for the players. Why not the captain? After all, Couples is an active player who will be spending just as much time at Harding Park as anyone else, probably more.
 
Andy Pazder, the senior vice president of tour administration, went back to the 1994 policy board resolution to study the language, and found no doubt about the way it was written that it doesnt apply to captains.
 
Bad news for Couples, good news for the tournaments he plays.
 
STARTING FROM SCRATCH: The golf ball war between Titleist and Callaway is headed back to the first tee.
 
In a big victory for the parent company of Titleist, a federal appeals court last week ordered a new trial in its contentious golf ball patent dispute with Callaway. Acushnet Co. said the three-judge panel found inconsistencies in the jurys verdict, and that the trial court erred by not allowing a defense and the evidence to support it.
 
The decision also means Titleist can sell golf balls that were at issue in the lawsuit.
 
Callaway sued in June 2007, claiming that Titleists popular Pro V1 line of balls infringed on several of its patents. Since then both companies have filed patent infringement lawsuits against each other.
 
This very positive Court of Appeals ruling affirms our contention that we were not allowed to argue our full case before the jury, and that the resulting verdict was inconsistent and not sustainable, said Joe Nauman, the executive vice president in charge of legal and corporate matters at Acushnet.
 
FASHION STATEMENT: Tim Herron, the only PGA Tour player who lives in Minnesota, had to wait around the parking lot at Hazeltine for eight hours Thursday as the first alternate into the PGA Championship.
 
Former PGA champion John Daly walked by on his way to the tee, and Lumpy knew his hopes were gone. Making it tougher was learning that Daly, claiming an old rib injury, swatted at putts in making double bogey on the last two holes and withdrew after a 78.
 
Chances are, Herron would have treated that spot a little differently.
 
Lumpy showed up at his home course, Wayzata Country Club, on Saturday morning for a casual round. He was wearing blue-and-white checkered shorts made by Loudmouth Golf, the same shorts Daly wore this year at U.S. Open qualifying.
 
Coincidence? Think again.
 
I would have loved to play, Herron said. Hey, Johns a friend of mine. I cant blame him.
 
MAJOR CUTS: Kevin Sutherland didnt think much of it until he walked out of the scoring trailer Friday afternoon after signing his card. He was among a dozen players to make the cut in all four majors.
 
The list does not include Tiger Woods, who missed the cut at Turnberry; Phil Mickelson, who did not play at Turnberry; and Sergio Garcia, who made double bogey on the last hole at Hazeltine to miss by one. Kenny Perry, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood were the only players in the top 10 to make the cut in all four majors.
 
The others were Angel Cabrera, Sean OHair, Jim Furyk, Camilo Villegas, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Ross Fisher and Vijay Singh.
 
On the flip side were the four players who competed in every major without making a single cut'Briny Baird, Brandt Snedeker and Michael Campbell.
 
DIVOTS: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson each have been runner-up six times in the majors. Juli Inkster has received an exemption to play in the Samsung World Championship on Sept. 17-20 at Torrey Pines. She is a three-time winner of the event. The FBR Open outside Phoenix, which is looking for a new title sponsor after 2010, raised nearly $4.3 million for local charities through The Thunderbirds, the civic organization that runs the tournament.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK: Six players won multiple majors this decade, the fewest since four players with multiple majors in the 1960s.
 
FINAL WORD: If I tried to lift a golf bag, all my clubs would fall out the other side. ' Michelle Wie, on Y.E. Yang celebrating his PGA Championship victory by hoisting his golf bag over his head.
 
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    G-Mac has Ryder Cup on mind with Genesis in grasp

    By Rex HoggardFebruary 18, 2018, 2:12 am

    LOS ANGELES – Graeme McDowell is four years removed from his last start in a Ryder Cup and golf is more than seven months away from this year’s matches, but then it’s never too early to start daydreaming.

    Following a third-round 70 that left him tied for third place and just two strokes off the lead at the Genesis Open, McDowell was asked if the matches are on his mind.

    “I feel like I've got a lot of things to do between now and getting on that team,” he said. “Standing here right now it's probably not a realistic goal, but if I continue to play the way I'm playing for the next few months, it may start to become a realistic goal.”


    Full-field scores from the Genesis Open

    Genesis Open: Articles, photos and videos


    McDowell began his week at Riviera Country Club fresh off four consecutive missed cuts and has drifted to 219th in the Official World Golf Ranking. But his play this week has been encouraging and the Northern Irishman has always relished the opportunity to play for Europe.

    “Deep down I know I'm good enough, but I've got to show, I've got to put some results on the board, I've got to take care of my business,” he said. “The greatest experience of my career bar none, and I would love to play another couple Ryder Cup matches before it's all said and done.”

    McDowell does have a potential advantage this year having won the French Open twice at Le Golf National, site of this year’s matches.

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    Bubba on McGrady block: 'Just trying not to get hurt'

    By Will GrayFebruary 18, 2018, 1:56 am

    LOS ANGELES – A detour to the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game didn’t keep Bubba Watson from leading this week’s Genesis Open, although an on-court brush with Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady nearly derailed his chances for a third tournament win.

    Watson enters the final round at Riviera with a one-shot lead over Patrick Cantlay after firing a 6-under 65 in the third round. The day before, the southpaw left the course around lunch time and headed across town to participate in the All-Star festivities, where during the celebrity game he tried to score 1-on-1 over McGrady.

    Watson’s move into the lane went about as well as you’d expect given their five-inch height disparity, with McGrady easily blocking the ball into the stands. According to Watson, he had only one thought as McGrady came barreling towards him across the lane.

    “When I saw him, all I saw was, ‘This is my moment to get hurt,’” Watson said. “This big tank is about to hit me, and I was like, ‘Just knock it into the stands. Just don’t touch me.’ So it worked out, he didn’t touch me so it was good.”


    Full-field scores from the Genesis Open

    Genesis Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Watson’s attempt went against his wife Angie’s advice to avoid the paint area, but it provided a fun moment for a player used to carving up fairways and greens – not to mention the guy who played 15 seasons in the NBA.

    “Well, he’s got like just under 800 blocks for his career, so I gave him one more, you know?” Watson said. “It was just, it was a blast. I wanted to see how good he was, see if he could miss it. He hasn’t played in a while.”

    Watson took some heat on Twitter from his PGA Tour peers for the rejection, but few were still laughing as he rocketed up the leaderboard Saturday with five birdies and an eagle. Now he has a chance to win this event for the third time since 2014 – even if he doesn’t plan to go toe-to-toe with McGrady again anytime soon.

    “Some guys wanted to try to win MVP, so I was trying to pass it and let them have their fun and their moment,” Watson said. “I was just trying not to get hurt.”

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    Spieth on third-round 69: 'Putter saved me'

    By Rex HoggardFebruary 18, 2018, 1:37 am

    LOS ANGELES – Jordan Spieth has spent the last few weeks talking about his putting for all the wrong reasons.

    Two weeks ago when he missed the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open he lost 3.76 shots to the field in strokes-gained putting, and last week he wasn’t much better.

    It looked like more of the same at the Genesis Open when he lost about a half stroke to the field on Day 1 with 29 putts, but since then his fortunes on the greens have gotten progressively better.

    “I thought each day last week I progressed,” said Spieth, who needed just 24 putts on Friday and moved into a tie for 20th after taking 26 putts on Day 3.


    Full-field scores from the Genesis Open

    Genesis Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Spieth said he started to feel things turn around at Pebble Beach after working with his swing coach Cameron McCormick and Steve Stricker, who has become something of a putting sounding board for players on Tour.

    “I got set up really nice. I got really comfortable on the greens even though they were very difficult to putt last week and this week,” said Spieth, who rolled in a birdie putt of 14 feet at No. 12 and a par putt of 35 feet at No. 14. “Any putt, I either made it or I left it just short today. It was one of those days that with the way I struck the ball, it was an off day, but that putter saved me and allowed me to shoot the lowest score so far this week.”

    Spieth’s third-round 69 is his best of the week and moved him to within seven strokes of the lead, which is held by Bubba Watson.

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    Bouncing back: Watson seeks a third Riviera win

    By Rex HoggardFebruary 18, 2018, 1:25 am

    LOS ANGELES – Yeah, but can Tracy McGrady smoke a 7-iron from 203 yards to kick-in range for eagle on Riviera Country Club’s opening hole?

    The way Bubba Watson’s mind drifts there’s no telling if, as he began his day at the Genesis Open, he revisited his play from Friday night at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. If he did, it would have been an apropos conclusion after McGrady sent his weak floater into the cheap seats midway through the second quarter.

    Either way, Watson made it clear playtime was over on Saturday. The eagle at the opening par 4 ½ sent Watson on his way to a third-round 65 and the outright lead at the Left Coast event that’s starting to feel like a second home for the lefthander.

    In 11 starts at Riviera, Watson already has two victories. A third on Sunday could get folks talking about renaming the layout Bubba’s Alley. Or not.

    What is certain is that Watson has emerged from a funk that sent him tumbling outside the top 100 in the world ranking and he’s done it in quintessential Bubba style.

    If Friday’s detour to the celebrity game received worldwide attention it was only a snapshot of Watson’s Tinseltown itinerary. He taped a segment for Jay Leno’s Garage show, visited with Ellen DeGeneres and watched a taping of The Big Bang Theory. You know, L.A. stuff.

    Oh, and he’s curved and carved his way around Riviera with signature abandon.

    “You've got to hit shots from every different angle, you've got to move it right to left and left to right, so it's just fun,” said Watson, who also led by one stroke when he won here in 2016, his last victory on the PGA Tour. “Then the greens are the equalizer so it makes me look like I putt as good as the other guys.”


    Full-field scores from the Genesis Open

    Genesis Open: Articles, photos and videos


    He “hammered” a 7-iron from 203 yards at the first to 1 ½ feet for his opening eagle, chipped in at the sixth to begin a run of four birdies in five holes and played the three par 5s in 3 under to move into a familiar spot after enduring his worst season on Tour in 2017 when he failed to advance past the second playoff event.

    That he’s turned the tide in Los Angeles is as predictable as it is peculiar. Despite Watson’s record at the Genesis Open, Riviera wouldn’t seem to be the tonic for all that ails Bubba.

    Ask a player - any player will do - the keys to playing Riviera and the answers range wildly from it being a bomber’s course to the need for ball-striking precision. But the word that comes up with regularity is "patience."

    “Patience and pretty much just not being stupid, to be honest,” Justin Thomas said when asked the key to his third-round 67 that left him tied for eighth place. “Just stop trying to hit at pins with 5-irons and 6-irons, and when I hit in the rough, realize just try to make a par. When I get in places, when I'm out of position, realize that sometimes even bogey is what I need to make.”

    While that thought dovetails with conventional wisdom, Watson’s not exactly known for his patience.

    “Oh, for sure I do. Haven't you seen me in the last 12 years?” Watson laughed when asked if he had patience on the course. “The tougher the golf course, the more focus I have. The tougher the shot, I've been able to focus better. When I get my mind on something, I can focus and do pretty well at the game of golf.”

    While Bubba drifts between artist and antagonist with ease, both on and off the golf course, his primary challenge on Sunday is the picture of thoughtful composure.

    Patrick Cantlay, who returned to the Tour last season after struggling with back issues for years, began the third round with a share of the lead but quickly faded on the front nine. He rallied on the closing loop with birdies at Nos. 10, 11 and 18, where he capped his day with a 54-footer that assured him a spot in Sunday’s final threesome. Although he’s just 25 and playing his first full season on Tour, Cantlay’s approach to the game is patently different from Watson’s.

    “I feel like if I can just engage and not worry about where I am on a particular hole or what's going on and I just engage and stay present in whatever I'm doing at that particular time, it all turns out better than what you would expect,” explained Cantlay, who attended nearby UCLA and played dozens of practice rounds at Riviera. “Making sure you stay present and having that confidence in yourself that if you just click in and focus, it all will be good and that's kind of the head space I'm in.”

    It will be a clash of wildly contrasting styles on Sunday – Watson, who admitted he “(doesn’t) focus very well,” and Cantlay, whose approach to the mental side of the game borders on the clinical.

    One player relishes the challenge of hyper-focus, the other is Bubba, but that’s not to say Watson is void of patience, only that he needs to be properly motivated.

    “Like last night when Tracy McGrady was coming at me, I was focused on not getting hurt and I didn't, so it worked out,” Watson smiled.

    And besides, T-Mac can’t bomb it like Bubba.