Blown Away

By Jay CoffinJuly 17, 2010, 1:24 am

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Lucas Glover stood over a 2-foot bogey putt on the Old Course’s treacherous par-3 11th hole for two minutes. When the fastest player on the PGA Tour takes several minutes to prepare for a putt of that length something is amiss.

On this day, at the home of golf, in a country known for terrible weather, the afternoon portion of the Open Championship’s second round was suspended for an hour, but should have stayed suspended for the remainder of the day. And the madness of it all was that it had nothing to do with Scotland’s trademark rain. Rather, the Old Course simply was not setup to withstand the winds that whipped across this charming town like a tornado that pelts America’s Heartland.

“Every pin they put on a knob on the back of the green,” said Oliver Wilson, who followed a 68 with a 79 and has the weekend off. “If you went to every green and said, ‘where is the worst place we can put these pins,’ they did it on 18 greens. Whoever set these pins should be fired.

“It’s links golf, it’s going to be like this. Either don’t cut the greens so short or put the pins somewhere where it’s flat.”

Just after 2:30 p.m. local time tournament officials blew the horn when conditions were deemed unplayable because wind gusts were over 40 mph, causing balls to move on some of the greens that were most exposed to the wind, particularly those along St. Andrews Bay. It was the first delay for wind at the British Open since 1998 when there was a 38-minute stoppage during the second round at Royal Birkdale.

This delay at the Old Course lasted just over an hour. The only problem was that conditions weren’t much better when players returned to their positions. In fact, they may just have been worse.

“To be honest, I think they just wasted an hour of our time,” said Andrew Coltart following his 77.

Said Tiger Woods: “We thought it might give us a break and we might come out there with less wind and have a chance at posting some pretty good numbers; that wasn’t the case. They were saying it’s a hole-by-hole scenario. They could call it at any time, but they didn’t, even though it was blowing pretty good.”

That seemed to be the theme of the day. Players were either miffed that they were taken off the course for an hour and put back on in similar conditions, or they were annoyed that they had to be on the course at all.

Funny how after the first round it was thought that those who played later in Round 1 and early in Round 2 were the ones who landed on the wrong side of the draw. In reality it was the opposite. The top four men on the leaderboard – Louis Oosthuizen, Mark Calcavecchia, Paul Casey and Lee Westwood – all were finished Friday before Mother Nature decided to play favorites.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest conditions were unplayable. On the aforementioned 11th hole, which was playing 174 yards, Nick Watney aimed left of the flag but his ball ended up way right, giving him a 120-foot birdie putt. His first attempt only went 80 feet, leaving him another 40 feet for par, which he missed.

Phil Mickelson played through rain in the morning and when he was finished his 1-under-par total was hovering right around the cut line. By day’s end he was in a tie for 38th place and easily able to punch a Saturday and Sunday tee time.

Camilo Villegas, not a short hitter by any definition, hit a poor shot off the sixth tee but still failed to reach the fairway on the 412-yard, par 4 hole. On the same hole, Woods yelled “go left, go way left” to his ball because he knew there was more room on that side and that he wouldn’t end up near Villegas.

After the round Woods said that playing partner Justin Rose hit a tee shot “fat” on the third hole because during his swing he thought the ball was moving but it was just oscillating.

Most players were afraid to ground their putters for fear of being assessed a one-stroke penalty should the ball move.

“I don’t think they should have called us off the golf course,” said Rory McIlroy. “When we got back out there the conditions hadn’t changed. The wind probably got a little bit worse. It probably wasn’t a smart move.”

To McIlroy’s credit, he didn’t blame the conditions for his poor play. The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland sent a buzz around St. Andrews Thursday when he opened with a major championship record-tying 63. The round quickly got sideways Friday when he made bogey on four of his first eight holes. He was never able to rebound and shot 80, essentially ending his hopes for a first major.

Woods' round was probably the most impressive on the day although a score of 73 would hardly make the world No. 1 pleased. But he was 2 over early in the round, got both shots back, lost two more near the end of the round before closing for birdie on the home hole that nearly was an eagle. Still, Woods sits eight shots behind Oosthuizen, who holds a five-shot lead over Calcavecchia.

“When we started off we had the bad wind because the front nine was tough,” Oosthuizen said. “And we got to 10 and it started raining again. And then it just dropped completely, the wind, and from 14 we had the last five holes downwind, which is a huge difference.”

The same can’t be said for the afternoon. While Oosthuizen was likely watching this Open Championship on the telly, conditions got nasty and stayed nasty.

Nasty enough for the speedy Glover to turn deliberate while standing over a short putt, proving that on this day around St. Andrews, something definitely was amiss.

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Lesson with Woods fetches $210K for Harvey relief

By Will GrayDecember 13, 2017, 2:51 pm

A charity event featuring more than two dozen pro golfers raised more than $1 million for Hurricane Harvey relief, thanks in large part to a hefty price paid for a private lesson with Tiger Woods.

The pro-am fundraiser was organized by Chris Stroud, winner of the Barracuda Championship this summer, and fellow pro and Houston resident Bobby Gates. It was held at Bluejack National in Montgomery, Texas, about an hour outside Houston and the first Woods-designed course to open in the U.S.

The big-ticket item on the auction block was a private, two-person lesson with Woods at Bluejack National that sold for a whopping $210,000.

Other participants included local residents like Stacy Lewis, Patrick Reed and Steve Elkington as well as local celebrities like NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler, Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

Stroud was vocal in his efforts to help Houston rebuild in the immediate aftermath of the storm that ravaged the city in August, and he told the Houston Chronicle that he plans to continue fundraising efforts even after eclipsing the event's $1 million goal.

"This is the best event I have ever been a part of, and this is just a start," Stroud said. "We have a long way to go for recovery to this city, and we want to keep going with this and raise as much as we can and help as many victims as we can."

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LPGA schedule features 34 events, record purse

By Randall MellDecember 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

The LPGA schedule will once again feature 34 events next year with a record $68.75 million in total purses, the tour announced on Wednesday.

While three events are gone from the 2018 schedule, three new events have been added, with two of those on the West Coast and one in mainland China.

The season will again start with the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic on Paradise Island (Jan. 25-28) and end with the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., (Nov. 15-18).

The LPGA played for $65 million in total prize money in 2017.

An expanded West Coast swing in the front half of the schedule will now include the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in the Los Angeles area April 19-22. The site will be announced at a later date.

The tour will then make a return to San Francisco’s Lake Merced Golf Club the following week, in a new event sponsored by L&P Cosmetics, a Korean skincare company. Both new West Coast tournaments will be full-field events.

The tour’s third new event will be played in Shanghai Oct. 18-21 as part of the fall Asian swing. The title sponsor and golf course will be announced at a later date.

“Perhaps the most important aspect of our schedule is the consistency — continuing to deliver strong playing opportunities both in North America and around the world, while growing overall purse levels every year,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement. “There is simply no better [women’s] tour opportunity in the world, when it comes to purses, global TV coverage or strength of field. It’s an exciting time in women’s golf, with the best players from every corner of the globe competing against each other in virtually every event.”

While the Evian Championship will again be played in September next year, the tour confirmed its plans to move its fifth major to the summer in 2019, to be part of a European swing, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

The Manulife LPGA Classic and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational are not returning to the schedule next year. Also, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open will not be played next year as it prepares to move to the front of the 2019 schedule, to be paired with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

The U.S. Women’s Open will make its new place earlier in the summer, a permanent move in the tour’s scheduling. It will be played May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek Golf Club outside Birmingham, Ala. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 28-July 1) will be played at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on the north side of Chicago and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (Aug. 2-5) will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

For the first time since its inception in 2014, the UL International Crown team event is going overseas, with the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, scheduled to host the event Oct. 4-7. The KEB Hana Bank Championship will be played in South Korean the following week.

Here is the LPGA's schedule for 2018:

Jan. 25-28: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic; Paradise Island, Bahamas; Purse: $1.4 million

Feb. 15-18: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open; Adelaide, Australia; Purse: $1.3 million

Feb. 21-24: Honda LPGA Thailand; Chonburi, Thailand; Purse: $1.6 million

March 1-4: HSBC Women's World Championship; Singapore; Purse: $1.5 million

March 15-18: Bank of Hope Founders Cup; Phoenix, Arizona; Purse: $1.5 million

March 22-25: Kia Classic; Carlsbad, California; Purse: $1.8 million

March 29 - April 1: ANA Inspiration; Rancho Mirage, California; Purse: $2.8 million

April 11-14: LOTTE Championship; Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii; Purse: $2 million

April 19-22: HUGEL-JTBC Championship; Greater Los Angeles, California; Purse: $1.5 million

April 26-29: Name to be Announced; San Francisco, California; Purse: $1.5 million

May 3-6: Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic; The Colony, Texas; Purse: $1.3 million

May 17-20: Kingsmill Championship; Williamsburg, Virginia; Purse: $1.3 million

May 24-27: LPGA Volvik Championship; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Purse: $1.3 million

May 31 - June 3: U.S. Women's Open Championship; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Purse: $5 million

June 8-10: ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer; Galloway, New Jersey; Purse: $1.75 million

June 14-17: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Purse: $2 million

June 22-24: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G; Rogers, Arkansas; Purse: $2 million

June 28 - July 1: KPMG Women's PGA Championship; Kildeer, Illinois; Purse: $3.65 million

July 5-8: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic; Oneida, Wisconsin; Purse: $2 million

July 12-15: Marathon Classic presented by Owens-Corning and O-I; Sylvania, Ohio; Purse: $1.6 million

July 26-29: Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open; East Lothian, Scotland; Purse: $1.5 million

Aug. 2-5: Ricoh Women's British Open; Lancashire, England; Purse: $3.25 million

Aug. 16-19: Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim; Indianapolis, Indiana; Purse: $2 million

Aug. 23-26: CP Women's Open; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Purse: $2.25 million

Aug. 30 - Sept. 2: Cambia Portland Classic; Portland, Oregon; Purse: $1.3 million

Sept. 13-16: The Evian Championship; Evian-les-Bains, France; Purse: $3.85 million

Sept. 27-30: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Purse: $1.8 million

Oct. 4-7: UL International Crown; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $1.6 million

Oct. 11-14: LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $2 million

Oct. 18-21: Name to be Announced; Shanghai, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Oct. 25-28: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship; New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei; Purse: $2.2 million

Nov. 2-4: TOTO Japan Classic; Shiga, Japan; Purse: $1.5 million

Nov. 7-10: Blue Bay LPGA; Hainan Island, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Nov. 15-18: CME Group Tour Championship; Naples, Florida; Purse: $2.5 million

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 4, Jordan Spieth

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 1:00 pm

Dismissed because he’s supposedly too short off the tee, or not accurate enough with his irons, or just a streaky putter, Jordan Spieth is almost never the answer to the question of which top player, when he’s at his best, would win in a head-to-head match.

And yet here he is, at the age of 24, with 11 career wins and three majors, on a pace that compares favorably with the giants of the game. He might not possess the firepower of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, but since he burst onto the PGA Tour in 2013 he has all that matters – a better résumé.

Spieth took the next step in his development this year by becoming the Tour’s best iron player – and its most mentally tough.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Just a great putter? Oh, puhleeze: He won three times despite putting statistics (42nd) that were his worst since his rookie year. Instead, he led the Tour in strokes gained-approach the green and this summer showed the discipline, golf IQ and bounce-back ability that makes him such a unique talent. 

Even with his putter misbehaving, Spieth closed out the Travelers Championship by holing a bunker shot in the playoff, then, in perhaps an even bigger surprise, perfectly executed the player-caddie celebration, chest-bumping caddie Michael Greller. A few weeks later, sublime iron play carried him into the lead at Royal Birkdale, his first in a major since his epic collapse at the 2016 Masters.

Once again his trusty putter betrayed him, and by the time he arrived on the 13th tee, he was tied with Matt Kuchar. What happened next was the stuff of legend – a lengthy ruling, gutsy up-and-down, stuffed tee shot and go-get-that putt – that lifted Spieth to his third major title.

Though he couldn’t complete the career Grand Slam at the PGA, he’ll likely have, oh, another two decades to join golf’s most exclusive club.

In the barroom debate of best vs. best, you can take the guys with the flair, with the booming tee shots and the sky-high irons. Spieth will just take the trophies.

THE MAJORS

Masters Tournament: Return to the 12th; faltering on Sunday (T-11)

Spieth pars 12, but makes quad on 15

Spieth takes another gut punch, but still standing

Article: Spieth splashes to worst Masters finish

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U.S. Open: 1 over usually good ... not at Erin Hills (T-35)

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The Open: Unforgettable finish leads to major win No. 3 (1st)

Spieth survives confusing ordeal on 13

Photos: Spieth's incredible journey on 13

Take it, it's yours: Spieth gets claret jug

Chamblee: Spieth doesn't have 'it' - 'he has it all'

Article: Spieth silences his doubters - even himself

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PGA Championship: Career Grand Slam bid comes up well short (T-28)

Article: Spieth accepts that Grand Slam is off the table


TWO REGULAR TOUR WINS

AT&T Pebble Beach

Article: Spieth rising from 'valley' after Pebble Beach win

Travelers Championship

Spieith wins dramatic Travelers in playoff

Watch: Spieth holes bunker shot, goes nuts


FUN OUTSIDE OF TOUR LIFE


PHOTO GALLERIES

Photos: Jordan Spieth and Annie Verret

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Photos: Jordan Spieth through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 12:30 pm