Els blames schedule for lack of API star power

By Will GrayMarch 8, 2017, 10:39 pm

PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Ernie Els will be among those returning to Bay Hill next week to honor the legacy of Arnold Palmer, but he understands why several top-ranked players may be absent.

This year marks the first edition of the tournament since Palmer’s death in September because of heart complications. While tournament officials had hoped to draw an elite field and the purse has increased significantly, only 10 of the top 25 players in the world are currently committed to play.

Els made one of his first PGA Tour starts at Arnold Palmer Invitational in 1993 when he was just 23 years old, and he won the event in both 1998 and 2010. He believes the Tour’s hectic spring schedule is largely to blame if the API field doesn’t measure up.

“The purse is up, but then the Tour has put in a World Golf Championship event last week, and guys need to rest,” Els said at the Valspar Championship. “Then there’s a WGC event after API, and then two weeks later you’ve got the Masters. So all of a sudden, you’ve got all these big events, and if they don’t play the world events then all hell breaks loose.”


Valspar Championship: Articles, photos and videos


This is the second straight year that Bay Hill is immediately followed by the WGC-Dell Match Play on the schedule. The event was played in February from 1999-2014 and May in 2015.

“We all absolutely respect what Mr. Palmer did, but I get the guys that just can’t play that week,” he said. “You’ve got certain priorities that you have to try to meet, and some of the guys just can’t do that. So you’ve got to take that for what it is. It’s no disrespect to Mr. Palmer.”

Els played the AT&T Byron Nelson eight times prior to Nelson’s death in 2006, and he watched the field strength for that event deteriorate significantly in the years that followed. He remains hopeful that Bay Hill can avoid a similar decline after the loss of its namesake.

“I would not like to see it, but it’s possible,” he said. “Maybe if the API guys get a date where they don’t sit right in the middle of the two World Golf Championship events, maybe they’ll get a better field.

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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.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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Finances


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Reportedly fake TIME covers


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Pros comment on the president

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm