Stat attack!: Quicken Loans National review

By John AntoniniJune 30, 2014, 2:19 am

Justin Rose is second on the PGA Tour in bounce-back percentage, but his comeback victory at the Quicken Loans National was his biggest bounce back of the year – even though he only followed a bogey or worse with a birdie or better one time last week.

Rose opened with a 74 at Congressional – including a front-nine 40. It was the worst first-round score for a winner this year and just the seventh time since 2000 that a player opened with a 74 or worse in a PGA Tour event and went on to win.

 Score Player Tournament To par
 75 Mark Calcavecchia 2007 Tampa +4
 74 Justin Rose 2014 Quicken Loans +3
 74 Vijay Singh 2004 Houston +2
 74 Stuart Appleby 2005 T of C +1
 74 Phil Mickelson 2005 BellSouth +2
 74 Tiger Woods 2005 Masters +2
 74 Padraig Harrington 2008 British Open +4

After the 3-over start, Rose shot 65 Friday and followed with rounds of 71-70 on the weekend to finish tied with Shawn Stefani at 4-under 280. Rose won on the first playoff hole after Stefani hit his approach into a greenside pond. Interestingly, Stefani also opened with a 74 last week, and six of the seven players who were in the top five began their week with over-par rounds.

Comeback kings: Quicken Loans leaders after round one

 Finish Player First round Final score Pos. after day one
 1 Justin Rose 74/+3 280/-4 T-83
 2 Shawn Stefani 74/+3 280/-4 T-83
 T-3 Charley Hoffman 72/+1 281/-3 T-43
 T-3 Ben Martin 72/+1 281/-3 T-43
 T-5 Andres Romero 70/-1 282/-2 T-16
 T-5 Brendan Steele 74/+3 282/-2 T-83
 T-5 Brendon Todd 72/+1 282/-2 T-43

Rose (and Stefani) trailed first-round leader Greg Chalmers by eight strokes after he opened the week with a five-under 66. This was the fourth time in the last three years that the winning score in relation to par was worse than that put up by the first-round leader. Rose has been involved in two of those occassions, with his win at the 2013 U.S. Open also meeting this requirement.

PGA Tour events where the winner’s score was worse than the first-round leader’s score: 2012-2014

 Tournament First-round score Winner's score Champion
 2014 Quicken Loans -5 -4 Justin Rose
 2013 British Open -5 -3 Phil Mickelson
 2013 U.S. Open -3 +1 Justin Rose
 2012 U.S. Open -3 +1 Webb Simpson

This was Rose’s first win since the U.S. Open and it came on another major venue, Congressional, host of the 2011 national championship won by Rory McIlroy. Rose missed the cut at that Open (again opening with a 74), and if his victory Sunday was somewhat of a surprise it’s because he hadn’t played Congo since that missed cut. He skipped the National the last two years even though he won the tournament in 2010 when it was held at Aronimink GC in Pennsylvania. Rose is one of six players who have won in 2013-14 despite skipping the tournament the previous two years. He is also one of seven active players who have won the same current PGA Tour event (not a major or a WGC) on two different courses.

PGA Tour winners in 2014 who didn’t play that event the previous two years

 Player Tournament Last played
 Justin Rose Quicken Loans 2011
 Adam Scott Colonial 2011
 Webb Simpson Las Vegas 2010
 Harris English Mayakoba Never
 Chesson Hadley Puerto Rico Never
 Patrick Reed WGC-Cadillac Never

Active players who have won the same current PGA Tour event on two different courses*

 Player Tournament First course Second course
 Justin Rose Quicken Loans 2010 Aronimink 2014 Congressional
 Tiger Woods Tournament of Champions 1997 LaCosta 2000 Kapalua
 Vijay Singh Shell Houston Open 2002 TPC Woodlands 2004-05 Redstone
 Stuart Appleby Shell Houston Open 1999 TPC Woodlands 2006 Redstone
 Jim Furyk Canadian Open 2006 Hamilton 2007 Angus Glen
 Vijay Singh Barclays 93-95-06 Westchester 2008 Ridgewood
 Tiger Woods Tour Championship 1999 Champions 2007 East Lake

Rose becomes the second major champion from 2013 to win this season, following Adam Scott, who won the Crowne Plaza at Colonial.

How the 2013 major champions have fared in 2014

 Player Starts Cuts made Best Top 10s Points rank Money rank
10 10 Won Colonial 6 13 13


13 11 Won Quicken Loans 6 12 9
15 11 T-11 FedEx, Wells Fargo 0 89 88
14 11 Second Colonial 4 44 42

In his last seven starts, the South African-born Englishman has made six cuts and finished no worse than T-14. He has moved from 75th on the FedEx Cup standings to 12th, and from 57th on the money list to ninth.

Justin Rose on the PGA Tour since the Masters

 Tournament Finish Scores Earnings
 Masters T-14 76-70-69-74—289 $148,500
 Zurich Classic T-8 71-67-69-68—275 197,200
 Wells Fargo 5 69-67-71-71—278 276,000
 Players T-4 67-71-71-69—278 440,000
 Memorial MC 73-72—145  
 U.S. Open T-12 72-69-70-72—283 156,679
 Quicken Loans Won 74-65-71-70—280 1,170,000

But why shouldn't Rose be playing his best golf of the season? It's his time of year. He might have started his hot streak a bit earlier in 2014, but late spring/early summer is when Rose blooms. He had two previous June victories, at the Memorial in 2010 and the Open in 2013. His win at the 2010 National came on July 4. He’s also come close to winning several other times in this portion of the calendar with a runner-up at the 2008 Memorial, and a third in Hartford in 2005, both of which he was leading after three rounds. Here’s how Rose has fared at the PGA Tour events that currently end in June. He was won 26.5 percent of his career earnings at these tournaments.

Justin Rose in the PGA Tour events that currently end in June

 Tournament Starts Top-10 Best Earnings
 Memorial 10 5 Won, 2010 $2,198,620
 St. Jude 0 0   0
 U.S. Open 9 3 Won, 2013 $2,023,054
 Travelers 8 3 Third, 2005 $788,902
 Quicken Loans 5 2 Won, 2010, 2014 $2,511,620
 Total 32 13 Four wins $7,522,196

There is no truth to the rumor that Rose is petitioning Augusta National to have them switch the Masters to the week before the U.S. Open. But we wouldn't blame him if he tried.


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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.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.