Pain But No Gain

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2008, 5:00 pm
In Backspin, GolfChannel.com takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf ' with a spin.
 
FRUSTRATING FINISH: Annika Sorenstams storied career came to a sudden and frustrating halt Friday when she missed the 36-hole cut at the ADT Championship, her final LPGA event before stepping away from competition.
 
Backspin As if Annika wasnt mad enough about going out with a whimper instead of a bang, she then had to endure the ignominy of giving a urine sample for a drug test. Sorenstam will have plenty of fond memories when she looks back on her career. None of them, however, will include this past week.
 

MILLION DOLLAR BABY: In Annikas absence, Ji-Yai Shin won the $1 million first-place prize at Trump International. She beat seven others over an 18-hole sprint to collect her third victory of the year, which also includes the Womens British Open.
 
Backspin Good for Shin. Not so much for the LPGA. The tour saw Annika, defending champion Lorena Ochoa, Cristie Kerr and South Florida native Morgan Pressel all miss the first cut. This format is much like match play: it adds excitement and a change of pace, but it is also volatile and can lead to people switching their televisions to bull riding on Sunday.
 

WHERE IS MY APPENDIX?: Paula Creamer, who with a win could have won the season-long money title, survived to the final day of the ADT Championship and ultimately finished in a tie for third. But she almost didnt make it to the course on Sunday. Creamer went to a local hospital Saturday after play due to pain similar to appendicitis. Doctors cleared her to play ' with an inflamed abdominal wall ' even though she still experienced discomfort.
 
Backspin Creamers rush to the hospital and back was probably the most exciting part of the ADT weekend. You would think eight players, including Creamer and Karrie Webb, battling from scratch for $1 million would be great excitement. For at least this weekend, youd be wrong.
 

BIVENS SPEAKS!: LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens took to the podium on the eve of the her tour's season finale to give her 'State of the Tour' address. Topics discussed were the 2009 schedule, the controversial LPGA language initiative, and the economic challenges it faces next season.
 
Backspin Bivens arrived to the press conference on crutches, which was symbolic of the tour right now. Tournaments will be down next year (34 to 31), as will total prize money (about $5.25 million). And things may get worse before they get better. Unfortunately for the LPGA, they don't have a Tiger Woods to carry them through the lean times.
 

HONEST HAYES: J.P. Hayes became golf's latest symbol of honesty when it was revealed that he disqualified himself from the second stage of Q-School after he discovered that he used an illegal ball during play.
 
Backspin The best thing about all this isn't that Hayes was honest about not cheating; it's that he was honest in his emotions after the fact. Hayes admitted that he was disappointed, but reminded everyone that he had made over $7 million in his career and would be just fine without playing full time on the PGA Tour in 2009. In fact, he can now spend more time with his family. Don't worry about J.P., because he's not.
 

WHITE HOUSE WELCOME: President Bush welcomed the victorious U.S Ryder Cup team for a tour of the White House and visit to the Oval Office. Seven of the 12-member team made the trip, along with captain Paul Azinger and assistant captain Raymond Floyd.
 
Backspin A PGA Tour player meeting a Republican president must be like a Trekkie meeting William Shattner. It's hard to believe only seven of the 12 players showed up. Perhaps Bush should have offered up an appearance fee.
 

HONG KONG PHOOEY: Wen-Tang Lin defeated Rory McIlroy and Francesco Molinari in sudden death for his first European Tour title at the UBS Hong Kong Open. Molinari was knocked off on the first extra hole, while Lin took out McIlroy with a birdie on the second playoff hole.
 
Backspin McIlroy may not have won, but he was mighty impressive on Sunday. The 19-year-old, who made a splash at the Open Championship two years ago, shot 5-under 65 in the final round. With all of the big names set to star on the European Tour this 2009 season, McIlroy might steal a little limelight himself.
 

DALY DOINGS: Not to be overlooked in Hong Kong was John Dalys performance. Daly opened with back-to-back 68s and, after a third-round 73, closed with his best round in years: a bogey-free, 8-under 62.
 
Backspin Hard to figure where this came from. Maybe he got a good nights sleep Saturday. Daly next heads to Australia for this weeks Aussie Masters. With most of the golf world in hibernation right now another strong performance from Daly would wake up some fans.
 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: La Paz hospital in Spain released Seve Ballesteros from the intensive care unit this past week. ... Nick Faldo stated that he'd like another shot at captaining the European Ryder Cup team. ... 14-year-old Jason Hak became the youngest player in European Tour history to make the cut, doing so in his native Hong Kong. ... Tommy Armour repeated as champion of the Pebble Beach Invitational.
 
Backspin Seve isn't out of the woods just yet. But if anyone knows how to escape from wooden areas, it's Seve. ... Sure, Nick. Just jump in line ' right behind Sir Jack Neveragain and Anthony Areyoukiddingme. ... Hak broke the record of Sergio Garcia, who was 15 years, 46 days. ... Armour started the final round with a five-stroke lead, but after shooting 76, needed a 36-foot birdie in sudden death to win again.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' ADT Championship
  • Full Coverage ' UBS Hong Kong Open
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  • 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?

    Getty Images

    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.

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    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

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    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.