Damaged greens, Singh overshadowing Wells Fargo

By Jason SobelMay 1, 2013, 10:28 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It was exactly 10:47 a.m. on Wednesday when metaphors started falling from the sky.

Since this tournament’s inception a decade ago – first as the Wachovia Championship, then as the Quail Hollow Championship, now as the Wells Fargo Championship – it has earned a reputation as one of the best annual spots on the PGA Tour schedule. Good fields, good course, good weather. What’s not to like?

And then this week happened.

More to the point, it hasn’t even happened yet.

Before the first official shot was even struck this week, the event was hampered by a weakened field (only one top-10 player is here); an epidemic of withdrawals (nine and counting so far); patchy, brownish greens (new ones will be installed next week); and a long-awaited procedural announcement (Vijay Singh getting off scot-free after admitting to using a banned substance).

As if that wasn’t enough, at 10:47 a.m., with the weather forecast calling for a zero percent chance of rain throughout the day … it started raining.

In the metaphor game, that’s equivalent to a hole-in-one.

“It’s like that old saying,” explained Gary Woodland. “Crap happens.”

Or like another old saying: When it rains, it pours – at least figuratively. Seemingly nothing has gone right for this event so far. Just a week ago, past champion Tiger Woods decided to skip it, citing scheduling issues that included him taking a three-week break after the Masters. That may indeed be true, but it hasn’t quelled rumors that the inconsistent putting surfaces likewise swayed his decision.

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He’s not the only one, either. Eight other players have bowed out of the field, listing nagging injuries and the always popular “personal reasons,” despite rampant scuttlebutt that a desire to not compete on these greens fueled these moves.

In a tournament usually replete with elite studs, it’s telling that every player subject to the reshuffle – which is to say, every Q-School and Web.com graduate from a year ago – was able to get into this week’s field.

Not that the event is totally devoid of any star power.

“I just think we should cut the tournament a little bit of slack,” Phil Mickelson said. “It’s not that big of a deal. It should not affect scoring at all. I think we’ll make more 20- and 30-footers because we can be aggressive, and we might miss more short ones, but it shouldn’t affect scoring overall.”

“Right now, it may be taking away from the tournament,” added Bubba Watson. “But I think when the first ball is struck, when you start seeing names on the leaderboard, nobody is going to be thinking about anything else going on. It will be history. The tournament is going to be the story.”

If nothing else, consider this week’s edition of the Wells Fargo Championship – well, at least the days leading up to the tournament rounds – a victim of the ongoing news cycle. When there’s no golf being played, something else has to make headlines.

“You know, in the age that you guys [in the media] have to talk about something 24 hours a day,” Joe Ogilvie explained, “you’ve got to come up with something.”

“Once the tournament starts, I think all of that stuff will stop and it will be about the tournament, about the shots and the scoring,” said Mickelson. “We’ll see what’s made this tournament great in the past and it won’t be an issue. But I think leading up it will be the talk, because we haven’t had the actual action to discuss yet.”

“One thing I’ve realized is that there’s always a new story,” Trevor Immelman added. “There’s a new story every week. Just when you think you’re going to be able to latch onto something and wear it out for a few months, something else happens. It’s amazing to me. I think it’s just one of those things that we work through and next week there will be another story.”

The pre-tournament issues may be leaving a black eye on the run-up to the event, but the 156 players who are still here contend that it’s only temporary.

“It’s a little bit of a bummer to see some of the guys who have left and a lot of things that distract from the tournament,” Brendan Steele said, “but I think once we tee it up [Thursday], it will be a really good show.”

“This is one of the best weeks of the year,” Woodland said. “Unfortunately, they’ve had a little mishap with the greens. I don’t think it will affect it going forward. This is one of the best stops we have. It’s great for families, a great city and a great host.”

If you’re wondering, yes, there is rain in the forecast during the tournament. Perhaps it would be another fitting metaphor if it unexpectedly stays away, the skies clearing as another significant edition of this event comes into view.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking 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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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.