Lietzke at 50 and Hes Ready to Roll

By George WhiteMay 17, 2001, 4:00 pm
The rookie from Beaumont, Tx., came roaring down Interstate 10, crossing the California state line and inching up on Palm Springs. He had asked somebody back in Arizona how to get to Riviera Country Club, and he listened intently to the reply: just go past Palm Springs toward Los Angeles, you cant miss it.
So, just outside of Palm Springs, he saw what looked like a satisfactory hotel. Hmmm, I guess Ill stay here, he thought.
He went inside, got the room and unpacked. He marched out ready to go, stopping by the front desk to ask directions to Riviera.
The hotel staff exchanged puzzled glances. Well, the clerk said, theres a golf course a couple of miles away. She wasnt certain of its name. Would the young man want to play there?
Bruce Lietzke stumbled and stammered momentarily ' was this not the Los Angeles Open? Was not Riviera just up the street someplace?
No, the desk clerk said kindly, Riviera isnt up the street. I found out that I was about 90 miles away, said Lietzke. Boy, I found out in a hurry that Los Angeles is a lot more spread out than Beaumont.
Lietzke plays the PGA Tour for the final time at the MasterCard Colonial. He is 49, almost 50, and he says he might play a regular tour event or two in the future, but he is a confirmed Senior Tour rookie at the conclusion of this event. And no more bonehead moves, he said with a laugh, remembering that first Los Angeles trip back in 1975.
Lietzke has been looking forward to this week since the mid-80s. In 1988 he was certain the Senior Tour was here to stay. He had his children after marrying at 30 and with both nearly fully grown, he can play and do a little sight-seeing. He has long been known as the player who takes long stretches off, only to come out and play some pretty decent golf. He then retreats to his wife and children again, only to peek out long enough to return to golf long enough to make a nice check.
There was a time when he did it differently. The first eight years, he played a normal schedule. When his eldest, son Steven, was born in 1983, he drastically reduced his schedule. A year when he played 12 tournaments was a big deal.
By cutting back, though, he saved something that perhaps other golfers dont have. He has had a full family life, enjoyed several hobbies, coached his sons softball and golf teams.
I think that if I had continued ' I played eight full campaigns and then my kids came along ' if my kids had not come along and I had maintained that pace for a few more years, I could have had four or five more excellent years of winning, he said. He had nine wins his first eight years, only four his last 17. However, he perfected the art of playing a little and winning a lot.
Lietzke has been the ultimate homebody. If he hadnt been so inactive, I think I would have left the tour in 1990, he said.
If you continue to push yourself ' and I did push myself for eight years ' I think my enthusiasm would have waned somewhere. I have no regrets. I did exactly what I wanted to do. I was able to have a family ' to be a father and a husband, which became way more important that golf.
Despite playing so seldom, he finished 16th on the money list in 1992 and was as high as 79th in 98. Now, though, theres some pressing business to take care of.
Ive got another place to go out and chase my dreams, he said. Golf probably isnt going to be my No. 1 priority anymore, but I can continue to play the game that I love. I dont do anything else. I dont have a business. I dont design courses or anything like that. Tournament golf is all Ive ever known, and the Senior Tour gives me a chance to do that.
Most Senior events began Fridays instead of Thursdays, so Lietzke and wife Rosemarie can take full advantage of sight-seeing. Hes going to see a lot of things he missed on the regular tour, things that he was just too busy to see.
July 18th is the day he turns 50. Get the RVs ready. Bruce is loose, and hes headed your way.

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Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

“While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

“What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

“I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:

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Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to to submit your picks for this week's event.

Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

"The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

"You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

"But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."