Clark's passionate plea helped shape anchoring opinions

By Randall MellFebruary 27, 2013, 7:22 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Why are so many members of the PGA Tour’s Player Advisory Council opposed to the proposed ban on anchoring putters?

Tim Clark’s impassioned plea in a pivotal player meeting at Torrey Pines last month partly explains it.                                            

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said 13 of 15 PAC members are opposed to the ban. The one-sided nature of that was surprising given Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were among high-profile players who initially came out supportive of the U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club’s proposed ban.

Clark, who anchors a long putter, wasn’t even playing the Farmers Insurance Open but made a special trip to that player meeting at Torrey Pines. That’s where USGA executive director Mike Davis met with PGA Tour pros. It’s also where more than one player surprisingly challenged the idea the USGA and R&A’s should still govern the professional game.

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When the floor that night was opened for player comments or questions, Clark was the first player to stand up.

“Tim Clark got up and said some things that were very sincere, about his livelihood and his family,” said Brandt Jobe, who was there. “When Tim spoke, that really impacted players who would have been on the fence. A lot of people who didn’t really care that much were affected by the points Tim made that night and decided, ‘I’m going in that direction.’”

Clark has a genetic condition that prevents him from turning his forearms and wrists inward. He has used a long putter for several years.

Though players will tell you there’s more difference in opinion among the overall membership than among the PAC, Jason Dufner is convinced the PGA Tour will not go along with an anchoring ban should the USGA and R&A decide to implement the rule.

“I felt like this is the stance the Tour would take,” Dufner said. “I was telling guys who anchor putters that that if I were using one, I wouldn’t be too concerned about it. I just don’t see there being a ban on anchoring on the PGA Tour.”

Clark put a face and a compelling story to the argument for anchoring.

“Guys understand what’s going on out here, and there’s a little bit of compassion, and a little bit of understanding from the players who are dealing with this every week,” Dufner said. “We’re playing against each other. We know how hard it is out here. There are some guys who have been doing this a long time and feel like their livelihood would be taken away with an anchor ban. You might see really prominent guys not be able to stay out here, or you might see litigation. You don’t want to see players in that position, where they feel like they have to defend themselves.”

The USGA and R&A’s 90-day comment period ends Thursday. They’re expected to decide later this spring whether to implement the ban.

Jobe says the overwhelming support of the PAC doesn’t necessarily translate as strongly with the overall membership.

“That’s 15 people on the PAC,” Jobe said. “There are more than 200 members.”

Stewart Cink, a former PGA Tour Policy Board member, said the PAC’s recommendations aren’t always followed by the Tour’s policy making board of directors.

“When I was on the board, I thought it was unprecedented for the board to go against the PAC, but that is not true,” Cink said. “That turned out not to be true when we formulated the FedEx Cup. The PAC is an important source of feedback, but it is not the final say so, and in no way is it impossible to go against the PAC. The PAC wasn’t against the FedEx Cup, but they were against some aspects of the points breakdowns.”

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.