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USGA's Davis: Impact of course expansion 'horrible'

By Will GrayNovember 20, 2017, 8:54 pm

With professionals hitting the ball farther than ever, USGA executive director Mike Davis offered a candid assessment of the ripple effects tied to increased golf ball distance.

A recent Wall Street Journal report broached the possibility of using different balls at different levels of competition, an effort that would help curtail driving distance among the game's elite players which continues to increase.

It also noted some of the subsequent areas that become impacted by the ball traveling farther, including the costs tied to expanding course footprints as well as maintaining those longer layouts. It's a chain of effects that rubs Davis, who discussed the idea of a reduced-distance ball option at a symposium in March, the wrong way.

"You can't say you don't care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand," Davis said. "The impact it has had has been horrible."

The movement to slow the rapid evolution of golf ball technology continues to grow, and earlier this month it picked up the support of 14-time major winner Tiger Woods. Speaking on Geno Auriemma's podcast, Woods admitted that "we need to do something about the golf ball."

"I just think it's going too far because we're having to build golf courses, if they want to have a championship venue, they've got to be 7,400 to 7,800 yards long," Woods said. "And if the game keeps progressing the way it is with technology, I think the 8,000-yard golf course is not too far away."

According to the report, one possible solution would be the introduction of a "reduced-distance" ball with different specifications that could be used for play in certain tournaments or on certain courses. While no rule change appears on the immediate horizon, golf ball distance is one of several issues the USGA continues to examine in a tandem research effort along with the R&A.

GolfChannel.com has reached out to a USGA spokesperson for comment.

As for Davis, it appears that the myriad of cost and environmental factors tied to increased distance have led to a revised stance on one of the biggest hot-button issues currently facing the game.

"I don't care how far Tiger Woods hits it," Davis said. "The reality is this is affecting all golfers and affecting them in a bad way. All it's doing is increasing the cost of the game."

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.