Timing of USGA-Fox announcement rankles many

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 8, 2013, 2:36 am

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – The USGA threw a sweeping curveball Wednesday when it announced a new, long-term partnership with Fox Sports on the eve of the 95th playing of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. The deal begins in 2015, runs through 2026 and will include Fox Sports broadcast of the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Senior Open, as well as the USGA’s other national amateur championships.

The news caused quite a stir in golf circles. Here is a smattering of response from various members of the golf industry:

'On a night when we honored Lee Trevino with our PGA Distinguished Service Award and on the eve of the PGA Championship, we would hope that the attention of the entire golf world would be on the season's final major.' – PGA of America statement

“Don’t know the relationship between @USGA and @ThePGAofAmerica but seems petty to announce new TV deal today USGA… Couldn’t wait??” – Brandt Snedeker via his Twitter account @BrandtSnedeker

“Let’s forget for the moment that Fox Sports has NEVER televised golf other than some local team play golf shows. Let’s forget that the USGA is a non-profit organization with a “For The Good Of The Game” slogan currently airing their early round telecasts on ESPN with weekday and weekend coverage from NBC, and a major partnership with Golf Channel. Let’s forget that the USGA does not need any more money than it currently brings in. No, let’s just focus on the unprecedently tacky decision by the USGA (not Fox) to announce a major shake-up in how the USGA does business on the eve of the PGA Championship.” – Geoff Shackelford via GeoffShackelford.com

“While it's big business news the decision by a major golf organization to announce this on the eve of a championship conducted by another major golf organization is a monumental misstep of bad timing and poor judgment. The prevailing sentiment by the assembled golfing world here in Rochester is one of disbelief because golf's major ruling bodies have always respected each other’s big events, and adhered to an unwritten agreement to not overshadow one another. It's unfortunate that after the very public and sometimes bitter battle these two organizations had this year over the anchored putter – and the PGA of America's respectful handling of the defeat – the USGA could not have returned the favor. The final major of the year gets underway tomorrow. Tiger tees off at 8:35 a.m. ET… and we can't wait.” – Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner Wednesday on “Live From the PGA Championship”

“It was the highlight of my year of work for me. The U.S. Open has always been the tournament. It’s a big bummer for me and Dan Hicks. I don’t know what they’re (Fox) is going to do. You can’t just fall out of a tree and do the U.S. Open. I guess the money was more important than the performance. No way they can step in and do the job we’re doing. It’s impossible. There’s just no way. I wish Fox the very best.” – NBC Sports golf analyst Johnny Miller told the Associated Press

“Will always love the U.S. Open. It becomes a part of you after so many yrs. Our national championship. What a privilege it has been.” – NBC Sports’ Dan Hicks via his Twitter account @DanHicksNBC

“The combination of NBC and Golf Channel will continue to be the dominant voice in golf coverage going forward. We’ve enjoyed our 19-year relationship with the USGA, and will continue to serve the golf fan every day.” – NBC Sports Group statement

“We've had a rewarding relationship with the USGA. We look forward to televising the U.S. Open and other USGA championships in 2014 and wish them the best in the future.” – ESPN statement

“Rest assured, it was not our intent and it is not our style to disrupt a partner’s event.” – USGA spokesman Joe Goode told the Associated Press in an email

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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 Web.com 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.


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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.

@tommyfleetwood_1

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.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."