A Week of Firsts and More Boo

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 7, 2008, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the GOLFCHANNEL.com editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.

Aloha 2008!: Sweden's Daniel Chopra tapped in a 1/4-inch putt on the fourth playoff hole to defeat Steve Stricker to capture the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii. It was Chopra's second career PGA TOUR victory.
Backspin Nothing like already having travel plans for the 2009 season sewn up in just the first week of 2008. And like they like to say in baseball, 'if the season ended today,' Chopra would be voted player of the year, lead the money list and be the only player back in Maui next year. Unfortunately, the Sony Open starts on Thursday and Tiger has about 16 events yet to play.

NO TIGER, NO PHIL, NO PROBLEM: Tiger and Phil decided - again - not to play in Maui, instead opting to hang out with family and friends in what has become their standard, long winter break from golf.
Backspin While four of the top 10 players - Harrington and Scott the others - were not in attendance for the 'winners only' tournament, that didn't take away from a great week of golf on the breathtaking Plantation Course in Kapalua, which ended with an exciting playoff finish. It now appears as though we will all have to wait for the Buick Invitational, at Torrey Pines, in late January, before we see the top-2 players in the world tee it up.

BUT NO FINCHEM? PROBLEM: PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem also was absent from the lid-lifter in Hawaii and it didn't go unnoticed, subsequently drawing the ire of one player in particular.
Backspin Joe Ogilvie, a member of the PGA TOUR policy board, seemed to have the pulse of the players when he said, 'I think it [sends the wrong message] when you've got four of the top 10 (players) not here at a marquee event. It seems to be common sense to me. If I was commissioner, I'd be here.' Those are Ogilvie's words.

BOO BEING BOO: En route to his visit to Maui for his first-ever appearance in the Mercedes-Benz Championship, Boo Weekley was stopped by airport security and was found to have several bullets in his carry-on luggage.
Backspin After spending the off season falling from ladders and hunting deer, Weekley had a little issue when trying to navigate airport security on his way to Hawaii. Weekley apparently had forgotten to empty out his carry on bag from his last hunting trip, leaving two bullets in the bottom, prompting security to red flag his name. Whoops. 'They put the red flags on me. I had the cops there. I thought I was going to jail,' Weekley recounted. Thanks, Boo, for getting us started on what we all hope is a long year full of stories from you.

RULES ARE RULES...: Scott Verplank had his ball positioned on the slope of the 13th fairway on Thursday - with wind gusting some 30 mph in his face - when his ball moved about a quarter-inch. Verplank did not think he had addressed the ball, but after a discussion with a rules official, he was told he caused the ball to move. Verplank protested, but lost the argument after his round and was left with a double bogey on his card.
Backspin Even Verplank's playing partner, Rory Sabbatini, disagreed with the decision of rules official Mike Shea, which says something. Verplank, who did bounce back with a birdie on the very next hole, finished in a tie for 18th. That extra shot actually only cost him a few thousand dollars in prize money.

UM, THANKS, BUT NO THANKS: It was reported by Golf Digest's Tim Rosaforte this past week that the membership at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York voted to take their club out of consideration from hosting the 2015 U.S. Open. Winged Foot hosted the memorable 2006 U.S. Open, the one that gave us the now infamous Mickelson 72nd hole meltdown.
Backspin According to sources, the main sticking point was - what esle? - money. But another key for the rejection was members not being happy with the amount of time that the course was closed for play. We here at Backspin would rather watch the U.S. Open hosted at another site and never have anyone messing with our tee times. Though it would be very cool to say your club has hosted an Open. O.K. - it's a toss up.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: By virtue of his win in the last event in the 2007 season, Stephen Ames was designated to hit the 'opening drive' of the 2008 season; A report out of Australia told of a python that received emergency surgery after it swallowed four golf balls which it had apparently mistaken for chicken eggs.
Backspin Finally, Ames will ultimately be remember more for this historic 'opening drive' than for his 9-and-8 beat down from Tiger in the 2006 Match Play Championship; A hungry snake, several golf balls, some chickens and going under the knife - sounds like an typical episode of Desperate Housewives.

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Mercedes-Benz Championship
  • Weekley's Wild Adventure
  • More Headlines
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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.

    Playing with the pros

    Tiger, DJ and Faxon

    Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

    Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

    Rory faces criticism

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

    President at the Presidents Cup

    Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

    Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

    Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

    Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

    Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

    Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

    Cart on the green

    Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

    Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

    Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

    Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

    Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

    Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

    Trump golf properties


    Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

    Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


    Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

    Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

    Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

    Reportedly fake TIME covers

    Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

    Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

    Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

    Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

    Pros comment on the president

    Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

    Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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