GR PGA running diary: First major action in Rd. 1

By Jason CrookAugust 7, 2014, 11:50 pm

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – I did a lot of things right yesterday.

I drove around town, managed not to crash the car or get lost, took photos, blogged my experiences, and even went to dinner with my GolfChannel.com team and managed not to embarrass myself.

But I did one thing wrong, and it was kind of a big.

I left my power cord at the Valhalla media center, and my computer died while I waited for my compatriots to bring it to my rescue. This resulted in a pretty-late publish time for my PGA running diary, and I am 100 percent sure a lot of you stayed up hitting refresh until it appeared.

So for that I would like to apologize, because no PGA Championship coverage is complete without the full Grill Room treatment. I hope that you will all grant me this one-time rookie mistake as we move into actual tournament play, because now I'm in the field, and reporting some pretty hard-hitting stuff.

Thursday

6:35 a.m. ET – Alarm clock goes off. I like the direction we’re trending on this trip. A few more days and we might be at my normal wake-up time of 11ish. (I don’t work until 2 p.m. a lot of days. The Grill Room is a no-judgment zone. Get off your high horse.)

7:14 – Make it across the street to the media shuttle bus with several seconds to spare. I use all of my extra time to stare blankly at the back of the seat in front of me.

7:45 – Arrive at Valhalla.

7:56 – Head to the media dining area to grab some breakfast. GolfChannel.com writer Ryan Lavner informs me that the singular bourbon cocktail he ordered at dinner last night had too much sugar in it and kept him up all night. I bring up the fact that he ate an entire apple pie for dessert and perhaps there may have been a small amount of sugar in the, again, entire apple pie that contributed to his sleepless night. He dismisses this notion. We keep on living our lives.

9:34 – Decide to follow Tiger Woods’ group after some early work. Immediately regret this decision as soon as I find his group on the 13th hole.

9:49 – Hear “this is ridiculous, I can’t even move” for the 373rd time in 15 minutes. I think 374 times does the trick. Like a super-extended backwards version of Beetlejuice, I say it hoping it will make everyone disappear. It doesn’t work.

9:50 – I want to leave, but I wasn’t raised a quitter. It’s why I can’t quit drinking and also why I don’t stop believing. Just kidding, that was Journey.

9:52 – Meet Joe Dirt. Pretty chill dude, big Tiger fan.

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10:22 – Tiger hits his approach fat. Ends up short and left of the green. He curses and throws his club. I laugh loudly.

10:24 – Tiger chips in for birdie. They say laughter is the best medicine. l take the credit for the shot to anyone who will listen. I get a lot of weird looks.

11:00 – Spot a grown man, and he wasn’t the only one, dressed head to toe like he’s ready to play. I mean the whole deal: spikes, slacks, collared shirt, hat with a ball marker attached. I’m not advocating for an Oakland Raider Black Hole vibe to golf, and I know Steve Flesch almost got in the tournament today through a freak set of circumstances as the 93rd alternate, but what is going through this guy’s head when he gets ready this morning? You ain’t playing dude. Put on a t-shirt and grab a beer.

11:14 – Man almost falls on rough terrain to my right. Mark my words: someone is going to eat said terrain before the week is out. Odds on me are increasing with every step I take while looking down to write this.

12:11 – Remember that stupid diatribe earlier about me not being a quitter? What can I say? I lied. Deal with it, because I can't deal with the Tiger masses anymore.

2:18 p.m. – Time to watch the defending champion in all his glory. I bet he’s as excited as I am.

2:25 – Find Jason Dufner’s group on No. 2. I wasn’t looking for his wife, Amanda, but it’s really hard to not not notice her. Sure, she’s really, really, really ridiculously good looking, but also everyone pointing and staring is kind of a dead giveaway.

2:32 – Duf’s group that also includes past PGA champs Keegan Bradley and Y.E. Yang come off the second green. The lone Yang fan in the state of Kentucky makes himself known with a loud “Let’s go Y.E.!” He probably feels dumb right now. Just my guess.

2:35 – Spot a guy holding up a PGA Championship program with a hole cut out of it so he can take pictures without getting chastised by the evil empire that is the Mobile Device Policy Enforcement. You can spot these guys because of their bright green vests and their penchant for being telling people to shush and put away their phones. They’re almost as inconspicuous as a guy pretending to walk around all day with a giant program in front of his face.

2:55 – Finally make my move to get a picture of Amanda for the Grill Room gallery. She grants me a picture. Mission accomplished. Gallery page views, consider yourself up.

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4:54 – Still on euphoric high about my photo of Amanda as I put together the daily gallery, I don’t think there’s any other photos of her out there. Grill Room has the only one. I wonder what this means for our professional relationship going forward. I bet she seeks me out tomorrow to take another one.

4:55 – Jason Dufner withdraws. Crap. I drown my sorrows in media center nachos. A liberal portion, since that’s the recommended dose.

Tune in tomorrow for more of Grill Room's exclusive PGA Championship coverage. Click here for a link to today's gallery, and check out yesterday's running diary here.

Getty Images

Snedeker starts slow in effort to snag Masters invite

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.

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.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."