The Week in Golf News 115 - 119
Big Names Flocking to March's Dubai Desert Classic
Mark O'Meara has joined his neighbor and good friend Tiger Woods to play in March's Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club.
O'Meara committed to the event, which has a total purse this year of $1.5 million, and will be competing against not just Woods, but a host of the world's best players, including several prominent European stars in Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomerie.
In addition to these names, Jose Coceres will be back to defend his crown from his victory at the 2000 edition.
The event will be contested March 1-4. Be sure not to miss live coverage of the event only on The Golf Channel.
Senior Tour Championship Gets New Home
The season-finale Senior Tour Championship will be hosted by a different venue for this 2001 edition. The site will be the Gaillardia Golf & Country Club in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
This announcement was made Sunday by PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, with the agreement not only seeing Gaillardia as host to the tournament this year, but the following year as well in 2002.
Tom Watson will be returning to defend his title from last year's event, which was played at the TPC of Myrtle Beach. This year, he will be competing for a purse, which has been officially raised to $2.5 million. With $435,000 on the table for the winner, this year's champion will be the richest ever from a single event in Senior PGA Tour history.
In addition, the championship will also be the concluding tournament to the Charles Schwab Cup, an new season-long race on the 50-and-over circuit which offers $2.1 million in bonus money to the top-five finishers and a full $1 million to the winner.
Club Throwing Gets Otto in Hot Water
Sunshine Tour officials will question South African golfer Hennie Otto after reports he broke his golf clubs and threw them into a river at last week's South African Masters.
Caddies and players told officials that Otto had lost his temper after shooting 10-over par in Friday's second round.
Otto is scheduled to play in this week's Alfred Dunhill Championship in Johannesburg where Tour officials plan to meet with him.
Tuesday - Jan. 16, 2001
St. Andrews to Host 2004 British Amateur
St. Andrews, the home of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club will host the 2004 British Amateur Championship to celebrate the R & A's 250th anniversary . The event will be played on the Old Course beginning May 31st.
It will be the 15th time the British Amateur will be played at St. Andrews, and the first time since 1981.
Furyk Moves Up in World Rankings
Despite tying for eighth place last week at the Mercedes Championships, Tiger Woods maintained his gargantuan lead over the golf world in the latest World Golf Rankings.
The next seven players remained the same as Ernie Els, a third- place finisher in Hawaii came in second followed by Phil Mickelson, David Duval, Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie, Davis Love III and Hal Sutton.
Vijay Singh, who along with Els tied for third last week switched places with Tom Lehman as they round out the top-10.
Darren Clarke and Jesper Parnevik head the list of the second 10.
Fresh off his win in Hawaii, Jim Furyk moved up three places to 13th followed by Nick Price, Michael Campbell, Sergio Garcia, Justin Leonard, Stewart Cink, John Huston and Thomas Bjorn.
Mercedes Championship runner-up Rory Sabbatini made the biggest move of the week, climbing 24 places to 61st. Sabbatini missed a three-foot birdie putt on the final hole last week, which would have forced a playoff with Furyk.
Mark O'Meara continued his slide in the World Golf Rankings as he dropped 13 places to 88th.
Jumping into the top-100 is Tucson Open runner-up Kevin Sutherland. Coming in at 91st in the rankings, the Sacramento, California native finished one stroke behind winner Garrett Willis. Sutherland had lost to Vijay Singh in the first round at the World Match Play Championships.
Masters Announces 2001 Invitations
Augusta National Golf Club issued its preliminary list of invitations to the 2001 Masters on Tuesday. 88 of the 95 invited players are expected to play in the first major of the year this April in Augusta, Ga.
The list includes 16 Masters rookies including American PGA Tour Players Chris DiMarco, Bob May, Tom Scherrer, Steve Flesch, Jonathan Kaye and Franklin Langham.
The field also includes a record tying 35 international players with Augusta National having the discretion to add to that list.
Players can still earn their way into the Masters by winning The Players Championship or by being in the top 50 in the world rankings or the top three on the PGA Tour money list on the Monday following the Genuity Championship (Doral).
Wednesday - Jan. 17, 2001
Pak Withdraws From Subaru Memorial
Last week's winner Se Ri Pak has withdrawn from this week's $1 million Subaru Memorial in Naples, Fl. The South Korean LPGA star decided to rest for a week to recover from flu-like symptoms she has been burdened with for more than a week.
Pak won last week's YourLife Vitamins LPGA Classic in Orlando, Fl. by shooting a record-tying 64 to win by four shots over Penny Hammel and Carin Koch. It was her first win since the end of 1999.
At the end of her breakthrough rookie season of 1998, Pak was hospitalized for exhaustion.
Greater Milwaukee Open Announces Purse Increase
The 34th annual Greater Milwaukee Open will have a total purse of $3.1 million, a record- setting increase of $600,000 from last year's event.
The winner, runner up and third-place finisher will net $558,000, $334,800 and $210,000, respectively.
This is the sixth straight year that the purse has increased, and the 19th time overall. The increase for the past two years was $500,000.
'The Greater Milwaukee Open, with this announced purse increase and the announcement several weeks ago of a record contribution made by the tournament to charity, continues to be a vibrant part of the PGA Tour schedule,' said Robert Milbourne, president of the Greater Milwaukee Open's board of directors.
The 33rd Greater Milwaukee Open was won by Loren Roberts, who shot a tournament record 24-under 260, eight shots better than Franklin Langham. It was Roberts' seventh career tour victory.
Baker-Finch Drops Out of New Zealand Open
A back injury has forced Ian Baker-Finch to withdraw from this week's New Zealand Open. The 1983 champion was set to tee it up in the first round with Phil Tataurangi and Michael Long. Australian Damian Chatterly, the first reserve, is likely to take Baker-Finch's place in the field.
Baker-Finch missed the cut in his most recent start on the ANZ Tour at last month's Australian PGA at Royal Queensland. He has limited his playing time in the last few years devoting most of his time to broadcasting.
Supreme Court Hears Martin Case
Supreme Court justices heard arguments, Wednesday in Washington D.C., as to whether disabled golfer Casey Martin has a legal right to use a cart in between shots at PGA Tour events.
Martin's lawyer, Roy L. Reardon, contended walking is not an integral part of the game. Citing the Americans with Disabilities Act, a 1990 law that bans discrimination against the disabled in housing, employment and public accommodations; Reardon said the Act gives people 'like Casey Martin a chance to get to the game.'
Adam Barr reports from Washington, D.C.
However, PGA Tour lawyer H. Bartow Farr III argued that the Tour is not obligated to comply with the ADA, and that riding in a cart would fundamentally alter the nature of the competition.
The seven justices are expected to issue a ruling by July.
Martin, 28, suffers from Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome, a circulatory disorder in his right leg that makes it painful to walk long distances.
Martin comments from the steps of the Supreme Court.
Martin sued the PGA Tour in 1997 for the right to ride in a cart. A federal judge ruled in his favor; the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals then upheld the decision in 2000.
But the following day, a Chicago-based federal appeals court ruled against Indiana golfer Ford Orliger, who sued the USGA for the right to ride in a cart during U.S. Open qualifying. This became the basis for the PGA Tour appeal to the Supreme Court.
Thursday - Jan. 18, 2001
Strong Euro Contingent Set For Singapore
Six winners from last year's European Tour will join Colin Montgomerie and Vijay Singh at next month's inaugural Caltex Singapore Masters and Charity Pro-Am.
Scotland's Gary Orr, England's Anthony Wall and Brian Davis, Denmark's Steen Tinning, Italy's Massimo Scarpa and Taiwan's Yeh-Wei-tze have committed to the $850,000 tournament.
The event, which will be held at the Singapore Island Country Club Feb. 22-25, will mark the first time that the country has hosted a joint-sanctioned event between the European and Davidoff (former Asian) Tours.
Otto Avoids Penalty
Hennie Otto has avoided sanction after breaking his clubs and throwing them into a river following a 10-over-par round during last week's South African Masters.
The Southern Africa Tour issued a statement on Thursday saying it would not be taking any action since Otto's 'transgression did not take place during a tournament round or in public view.'
The 24-year-old South African player snapped all of his clubs and tossed them with his bag into a nearby river after his second-round score of 80.
Otto, with new clubs in play, posted a first-round 2-over-par 74 at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Friday - Jan. 19, 2001
Ryder Cup Board to Discuss 2009 Site
The Ryder Cup Board announced Friday that it will meet next month to discuss where to hold the 2009 Ryder Cup.
England, Scotland and Wales are among the countries that have made significant bids to host the 2009 Ryder Cup matches.
Mitchell Platts, spokesman for the Ryder Cup, said, 'The Ryder Cup Board is keen to stress that no decision on the host nation for the 2009 match has been taken. The Ryder Cup Board has been extremely impressed by the bids, all of which are being given total consideration, and they will continue a process of evaluation leading to an announcement in advance of the 2001 match in September.'
Tiger Joins Dynamic Phoenix Field
The Phoenix faithful just got reason to be a little more rowdy when the PGA Tour comes to town next week. Tiger Woods has officially entered the 2001 Phoenix Open to be held at the TPC of Scottsdale in Arizona, Jan. 25-28.
Woods' addition means 27 of the top 30 finishers on the 2000 PGA Tour money list will be in attendance. Tiger joins, among others, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, David Duval, Nick Price, Jose Maria Olazabal, Tom Lehman, Hal Sutton and Jesper Parnevik.
This will be Tiger's third start in Phoenix. He finished third in 1999, a year in which police apprehended a patron who was following Woods' group on Sunday with a handgun in his backpack.
Woods also tied for 18th in his first Phoenix Open appearance in '97, an event that will forever be remembered as much for his 3rd-round hole-in-one at the famed 16th as for Steve Jones' record-setting victory.
Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys
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?
Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'
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
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.
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.
Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain
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.