Enough Already

By Ian HutchinsonSeptember 28, 2007, 4:00 pm
MONTREAL -- Theres been way too much sugar sprinkled on the Presidents Cup. Its time to add a little tobasco or jalapeno to the mix.
Dottie Pepper has been spotted on the fairways of Royal Montreal and a few choking dogs comments may liven up an event that has been entirely too complimentary between teams so far.
The fiery Pepper would be just the ingredient to spice things up a little, if Jack Nicklaus would draft a newcomer.
The latest sweetening of the Presidents Cup came on Thursday when Captain Jack conceded a four-foot putt to Mike Weir and Vijay Singh, a decision that split the point in their match against Phil Mickelson and Woody Austin.
Of course, anyone who has followed the Golden Bears legendary career will remember another similar incident in 1969, when he conceded a putt to Tony Jacklin in the Ryder Cup that allowed that event to finish in a draw. The Americans did, however, keep the Ryder Cup that year as defending champion.
Nicklaus is revered for his sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct, making him and International counterpart Gary Player the perfect captains for this competition, which now seems focused on being a goodwill exhibition than an actual competition.
Nobody would have thought any less of Nicklaus if hed made Singh putt out. Chances are that Singh would have made it, but it was a downhill slider and far from a sure thing. Singh seemed surprised when the decision to concede was announced and rightfully so.
There seems to be some confusion as to who actually made the call. The general consensus agrees with Mickelson. Captain Nicklaus said for us to do it and he says something, we just do it, but with me, I dont know.
Nicklaus, on the other hand, said it was his players decision.
It was about three-and-a-half feet. I think that Phil and Woody made the right decision and they both felt that Mike had played a good match and Mike being a Canadian and being here, it was the right thing to do and Im glad they did. I would support it 100 per cent.'
Heres where it gets sticky. All week, its been a love-in for Weir at Royal Montreal and the perception of that comment is that the Americans will try to make their opponent look good in front of his supportive fans.
The fact is that Weir did play a good match after a shaky start and didnt really need any help. Still, he was gracious for the gesture.
It doesnt surprise me with Jack or Gary. They do the right thing and they have for their whole career. Id like to think that if it was role reversal there, we would have done the same thing.
Whether its the right thing is the debate. The answer depends on the actual definition of the Presidents Cup, which seems to have different meanings to different people.
If this is to be a friendly exhibition, present it that way. Its difficult to fault Nicklaus and Player for their conduct and devotion to making the Presidents Cup an all-inclusive event for all nations.
The way the captains have carried themselves is a delightful alternative to the other topic of conversation in Canada, a vicious cheap shot in hockey by Philadelphia Flyer Steve Downie on Dean McAmmond of the Ottawa Senators the other night. Gentlemen in professional sports are refreshing these days.
The key words there are professional sports, where fans pay to see the highest levels of their respective games. In golf, those fans may grant gimmes in their own games, but deny their opponents if a birdie or a game is on the line. Should they expect anything less of elite players
When the Americans granted the gimme on Thursday, it was almost as if they were invoking the mercy rule as they were on their way to a dominating 5 1/2 to 1/2 lead in the competition. Were they so sure of victory on the first day that the half point they conceded to the Internationals might not be the difference on Sunday?
Of course, its not fair to assume American cockiness, but that could be the perception of an event that is still a weak sister to the Ryder Cup and doing little to rival it.
Gentlemanly play is about on-course conduct, honesty and friendship, but not about helping an opponent on to the scoreboard. The decision to award the half-point by the Americans sounds more like something out of minor sports where everyone plays and everyones a winner.
There shouldnt have been a winner or a loser. Both sides played very good golf, conceded Mickelson.
The fans may have agreed with the last sentence of that statement, but felt shortchanged by the first half of the comment.

Email your thoughts to Ian Hutchinson
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Presidents Cup
    Toronto Sun Editor's Note: Ian Hutchinson is golf columnist for the Toronto Sun and senior writer for Pro Shop Magazine, a Canadian golf trade publication, and Canadian Golfer Magazine. He is also a frequent contributor to Golf Scene and Golf Canada Magazine, the official magazine of the Royal Canadian Golf Association.
  • Getty Images

    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

    Getty Images

    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

    Getty Images

    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

    Getty Images

    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.