Tour player council, Finchem discuss anchoring

By Rex HoggardMay 28, 2013, 11:18 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio – For an hour and a half, they talked.

The 16-member player advisory council, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem (via a conference call) and just as many opinions on the plan to ban anchoring in golf, or so it seemed.

The opinions on Tuesday afternoon were “mixed,” according to PAC member Doug LaBelle, as the circuit decides how to proceed following news earlier this month that the USGA and R&A will ban anchoring in 2016.

“It’s a tough one because there’s a lot of passion,” said Davis Love III, a four-time player director on the policy board, which will ultimately decide the issue, and a current PAC member.

Nine of the 16 PAC members are playing this week’s Memorial tournament, and the rest joined the meeting deep within the bowels of Muirfield Village’s expanding clubhouse, via a conference call. At issue, is how the Tour will respond to the rule change, fall in line with the rules, as it has historically, or deviate from the Rules of Golf and effectively create two sets of rules.

Just two of the 16 PAC members, Webb Simpson and Brendan Steele, use long putters, but for many who attended Tuesday’s meeting this issue goes well beyond whether players should be allowed to bury the butt of a club in their stomachs or against their chests.

“There is a sentiment to either agree with it and move on, which is what we ought to do, or let’s start making our own rules. That’s the big decision here now,” Love said. “Maybe there is a silver lining here. Maybe it becomes a better relationship with the USGA moving ahead.”

To be clear, nothing was decided during Tuesday’s 90-minute meeting. The PAC simply advises the policy board, which is scheduled to meet again in early July at The Greenbrier Classic. But it is worth pointing out that in an informal poll of the PAC members in February, the vast majority opposed what was then a proposed ban.

“There were a lot of opinions, and they were divided to be honest,” LaBelle said. “We are going to continue to gather information and figure out what is best for us going forward.”

What is best for the Tour, however, is not so clear cut.

A group of nine Tour players who use long putters – including Tim Clark, Carl Pettersson and Masters champion Adam Scott – have been meeting with Boston-area attorney Harry Manion since January, a move that suggests if the Tour adheres to the ban, Finchem & Co. should expect a legal challenge.

“I’m just trying to make sure I have all the correct information,” said Scott late Tuesday on the Muirfield Village practice tee. “I’m happy the Tour continues to handle the situation the way they have so far, and I hope they continue to collect all the information they can to make the best possible decision.”

But a looming lawsuit, or the end of anchoring, seemed to be less of a flashpoint during Tuesday’s meeting than a fundamental concern over who makes the rules.

“Nobody seems to be concerned about a lawsuit. It’s more about what’s best for the game going down the road,” Love said.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.