Talking Drugs and Ryder Cup

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 7, 2008, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
HOME BOUND: Tiger Woods wasnt on hand to host his own event at the AT&T National, but he did address the media ' and updated his physical situation ' in a brief teleconference Monday.
Backspin Tiger said he couldnt make it to D.C. because he wasnt able to fly after undergoing knee surgery. He added that hell be in a brace and on crutches for three weeks, so dont expect to see him in public any time soon, especially not in Valhalla.

NO I IN TEAM, BUT AN I IN TIGER: Asked during his teleconference whether or not he would go to Louisville to cheer on the American squad during the Ryder Cup or would possibly accept a vice-captain position should captain Paul Azinger offer him one, Tiger responded with: Its about those 12 guys, not about me. Im not a part of that crew.
Backspin Players likely to make the U.S. team have said they would like to have Tiger around Ryder Cup week, if only in the team room for camaraderie. Aint gonna happen. If Tigers not playing, Tigers not caring. Well, make that, Tiger's not going out of his way to care. Well, make that, Tiger can do whatever Tiger wants to do. Well, never mind, you get the point.

AT&T NATIONAL: Anthony Kim fired a bogey-free 5-under 65 on Sunday to rally for his second win of the season at the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.
Backspin Kim is beginning to look more and more like the answer to all the critics as to 'who' is going to finally be the next young gun to step up to the plate and - although not necessarily challenge Tiger - but to at least show some golf balls when it comes to winning tournaments. He's loaded with talent, boasts plenty of confidence and, of course, wears a belt buckle that even makes Rory blush.

TEST, 1, 2, 3, TEST: The PGA TOUR began its drug testing policy this week at the AT&T National. Players are randomly tested with urine samples taken (with an administer present) to determine if players are taking steroids or other performance-enhancing substances, as well as illegal recreational drugs.

Backspin Appropriately enough, testing began at Tigers event. Woods has been calling for this for years. Though he wasnt in the field this week, Tiger said on Monday that he has taken the test a couple of times on his own just to make sure that it didnt detect anything out of the ordinary. Not all players are on board with the policy. Some dont think its necessary at all, while others just dont like the process, i.e. someone gathering a sample while watching you first hand. Its just a matter of time before someone gets busted for Vicks Vapor rub.

LEFTY TESTING THE MARKET: Phil Mickelson has put up one of his two estates in Rancho Santa Fe for sale. El Mirlo, the home for the world's No. 2 and his family for seven years beginning in 2000, sits on five acres and is described as 'looking very much like a European villa, Americanized with a swimming pool and huge putting green.' And it, of course. comes with a hefty - or let's say - a Lefty price tag.
Backspin 'Phil phanatics' would jump at the opportunity to own a house formerly occupied by Lefty. However, the $10-12 million listing might price out more than a few potential buyers. Most will just have to wait for their next chance at Mickelson memorabilia when one of his apple cores appears on eBay. Oh, who are we kidding? Shall we say: when one of Phil's Twinkie wrappers makes its way to eBay?

LONG NAME, ONE WINNER: Seon Hwa Lee won the - get this - P&G Beauty LPGA NW Arkansas Championship presented by John Q. Hammons. It was Lee's second win of the season and the fourth of her LPGA Tour career.
Backspin Not sure which is more impressive - Lee's dramatic birdie on 18 for the win or the seemingly never-ending title of the tournament - which is, once again - the P&G Beauty LPGA NW Arkansas Championship presented by John Q. Hammons. And exhale. But as for Lee, the victory vaults her into the top-10 of the world rankings and, strangely enough, just barely into the top-10 of the South Korean women's world rankings.

QUALIFYING STANDARDS: Just as he did for the U.S. Open, Davis Love III went through qualifying to get into the Open Championship. Love made it through a four-man playoff Monday to reach the seasons third major at Royal Birkdale. Rich Beem and Paul Goydos also qualified, while Jose Maria Olazabal, Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy failed to make it.
Backspin Too bad about McIlroy, who made a huge splash last year in finishing as low amateur. But congratulations to Love. After all hes accomplished he is now forced to play his way into majors. And hes successfully done so without complaining. Fortunately, he wont have to worry about qualifying for the PGA Championship as hes automatically exempt due to his 1997 triumph.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Argentina's Eduardo Romero won the Dicks Sporting Goods Open by one shot over Fulton Allem and Gary Koch for his second career Champions Tour victory; Ross Fisher shot a 4-under 68 Sunday to easily win the European Open by seven strokes over Sergio Garcia - and well ahead of Padraig Harrington - in a wire-to-wire victory.
Backspin It had been two years since Romero, an 8-time winner on the European Tour, visited the winner's circle; Harrington commented on the course layout calling it, 'A great tune up for the [British] Open.' But it looks like Harrington could use another trip to the garage as the Irishman finished 18-shots off the pace.

Related Links:
Full Coverage - Arkansas Championship
Full Coverage - AT&T National
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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.

    Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

    Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

    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.