Come Fly With Me

By Mercer BaggsOctober 26, 2009, 6:50 pm

Y.E. Yang

THE FLY: Y.E. Yang found plenty of trouble getting to paradise. After making a 16-hour flight from South Korea to New York, Yang's charter plane from JFK airport to Bermuda had to be re-routed after the landing gear wouldn't retract.  A four-hour delay ensued before the PGA champion could again take off for his ultimate destination. In all, Yang's trip to the PGA Grand Slam of Golf took nearly 26 hours. While the three other major champions practiced and battled horrible weather conditions Monday in Bermuda, Yang took a nap on a fold-out bed in the locker room. Stewart Cink, the British Open champion, snapped a shot of Yang [above] with his camera phone and posted it on his Twitter page.
Sure, flying stinks, but pray we never develop Star Trek-like teleportation. Here's two reasons why: 1) Jeff Goldblum. 2) No excuse to avoid family. And if you're ever in a situation where you really want to get off an airplane, pull a Charles Grodin.

Angel Cabrera

THE FLY, PART II: Angel Cabrera had air transportation problems as well this past week. The reigning Masters champion endured multiple flight delays while trying to travel from Bermuda, site of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, to Spain for the Castello Masters. He missed his tee time and was disqualified.
Backspin To make matters worse, Cabrera's group was on the first green when play was suspended due to high winds. Had those winds picked up a bit earlier then Cabrera would have been able to make the start. This is probably the worst thing that has happened to Cabrera all year. What a great year it's been.

Lucas Glover

AIN'T LIFE GRAND: U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover shot 65-66 to win the PGA Grand Slam of Golf by four shots over Masters winner Angel Cabrera. British Open champ Stewart Cink was third, while PGA winner Y.E. Yang was fourth.
Backspin Winning a major championship is the gift that just keeps on giving. Not only do you secure a place in golf lore; you get lavished with praise, perks, and millions and millions and millions of dollars. Yang got $200,000 just for showing up and playing two days of care-free golf in Bermuda. The earning potential for a newly minted major champion is limited only by how much he is willing to exhaust himself during the offseason.

Troy Matteson

HEART OF THE MATT-ER: Troy Matteson won his second career PGA Tour event, defeating Rickie Fowler and Jamie Lovemark in sudden death at the Open. Matteson bogeyed his final two holes of regulation to force the playoff, but atoned with a birdie on the second extra hole.
Backspin Matteson set a 36-hole PGA Tour scoring record by shooting back-to-back 61s in the second and third rounds. Still, Fowler may have been the most impressive this week. The 20-year-old had an ace and seven birdies in the final round. In just two events on Tour as a pro, he's earned over $550K. He now needs to win the Viking Classic – not out of the realm of possibility – to earn a Tour card for 2010. Otherwise, it's off to the final stage of Q-School, which at least guarantees him a spot on the Nationwide Tour next year.

David Duval

MONEY TALKS: Troy Matteson's victory in the Open moved him from 131st to 55th on the PGA Tour money list, with two tournaments remaining. Matteson was the only player to move inside the top 125, while Jeff Maggert (123rd to 127th) took his place on the outside.
BackspinDavid Duval is now the official bubble boy at 125th. Rich Beem is 124th, with others like Steve Flesch and Ricky Barnes perilously slipping in the standings. Chris Riley is currently 126th, with $613,027 this season. It took $852,752 to finish 125th in earnings last year.
Nationwide Tour graduates

THE GRADUATES: Matt Every, needing at least a solo third-place finish to earn his 2010 PGA Tour card, won the Nationwide Tour Championship to secure a spot on the main circuit. He and 24 others now have tickets to the big show next season.
Backspin Count Fran Quinn among them. The veteran spent Saturday night in the hospital due to a urinary tract infection but managed to hang on to the 25th position. Brian Stuard and Alister Presnell were the only two players who started the week inside the cut line and were bounced out. Stuard finished $2,844 behind Quinn for the final spot.

Erik Compton

EASY E: Erik Compton easily advanced to the second stage of PGA Tour Q-School, winning his opening-round site by seven strokes. A year ago, and still recovering from his second heart transplant, Compton needed a late rally to make it to Stage 2, where his drive for a Tour card ended.
Backspin Hopefully, Compton will make it to the final stage, thus securing him at least a spot on the Nationwide Tour. Among those who didn't make it to Stage 2 were: Gary Nicklaus, the 40-year-old son of Jack Nicklaus; Sam Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer; Tadd Fujikawa and former U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee. Unlike the others who failed to advance, Lee still has a place to play next year as he won a 2009 European Tour event.
Michael Jonzon

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:  Michael Jonzon won the European Tour's Castello Masters. ... Phil Blackmar won his first Champions Tour title at the AT&T Championship. ... Trevor Immelman had successful wrist surgery and expects to be healthy for the 2010 season.
BackspinIt was the 37-year-old Swede's first European Tour win since 1997. And what a sweet trophy he won. ... Blackmar had been contemplating a move back to the broadcast booth before this triumph, which came in his home state of Texas. ... At least he knows no matter what happens each year he always has one place to play in April.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

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?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

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

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

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.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

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.