Scott's Masters win popular the golf world over

By Jay CoffinApril 15, 2013, 12:56 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – This is not giving away a trade secret, but journalists are a finicky bunch.

We don’t play well with others. We fuss about parking, we complain about access. We question the courage of those we cover while sitting in an air-conditioned room eating free ice cream.

But damn it, we recognize a good story.

We’re taught that there is no cheering in the media center. We cheer for no one, against no one. We root for the best story. We pull for history.

Many rules went out the window Sunday when Adam Scott won the Masters.

The dashing Aussie walked into an interview session an hour after winning his first major and nearly the entire room applauded for the most recent member of the green jacket fraternity.

Couldn’t help it.

'Morning Drive': Norman discusses Scott's win and impact on Australia

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Scott, you see, was the best story this week. He deserved to win this major as much as anyone has ever deserved to win a major.

Not just any major. This major. The Masters. Where Aussies have struggled for decades. Where Greg Norman ran into Jack Nicklaus in 1986, Larry Mize in 1987, and himself in 1996 via an epic collapse against Nick Faldo. Where Scott shot 67-67 over the weekend two years ago only to lose to CharlSchwartzel’s four birdies over the last four holes.

Scott, 32, had major championship scar tissue, although he wouldn’t admit it. The 2011 Masters caused some of it, but last summer’s British Open caused the most damage when Scott blew a four-shot lead over the last four holes to cough up the claret jug to Ernie Els.

He handled that meltdown with class. In fact, Scott was so calm in the aftermath that it seemed like others felt sadder for Scott than he did for himself.

“Everything I said after the Open is how I felt, and I meant it,” Scott said this Sunday. “It did give me more belief that I could win a major. It proved to me, in fact, that I could.”

Well, he did. And now he never again has to answer why he hasn’t.

It’s amazing what draining epic putts of 20 feet in regulation and 12 feet in a sudden-death playoff to win a green jacket will do.

Just 24 hours earlier Scott, one of golf’s good guys, was a veritable underachiever who had won big events but didn’t have the toughness to win the game’s biggest, most important tournaments.

Now, the major floodgates have opened and Scott is on top of the world. He’s gone from a man who couldn’t win a major to a man we expect to win several majors.

Funny how that works.

“Everybody questioned whether he had the intestinal fortitude to do that, but we all knew it,” said Norman, Scott’s idol growing up as a young mate in Oz. “The players knew it. He’s got the game to do it, and I was just extremely happy for him.”

So now we look to the future.

Scott has won nine PGA Tour events, and there aren’t too many clunkers on his resume. He’s won a World Golf Championship, a Players Championship, a Tour Championship and now a Masters. Heady stuff.

Now that the major monkey is off his back, Scott can play with less pressure. Consider this: Scott should own two of the last three majors. Obviously he doesn’t, but he’s too good a player to falter as dramatically as he did at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. It’s an exception, not the rule.

It’s not foolish to believe Scott could win multiple majors over the next six to eight years. He’s proved he can contend at the British Open and has a great record at the PGA Championship. His U.S. Open record is spotty, but this year’s championship is at Merion, a place where you have to think your way around the golf course. Scott is one of the game’s great thinkers.

Besides, Scott seems to have figured out the formula for contending in majors, having done so five times in the last nine big events.

The newly minted champ has competitively starved himself the past two years. While many top players feel the need to mold their games into shape while battling tournament conditions, Scott only plays events he feels he can win. He wants to miss competitive golf, so when he shows up on the first tee he desires the chase.

An old approach where he globetrotted the first decade of his career nearly burned him out. Now he’s made peace with preparation and doesn’t need to play 30-plus times a year.

The Masters was only Scott’s fifth event of the year. He’s fresh.

“Adam can go on to win more major championships because of his age and because of his experience and because he’s finally got one under his belt,” Norman said.

If you’re not thrilled for Scott, you have no heart. This victory meant very much to many people. Every win does. But this is infinitely different. For Scott and his country.

“He probably had more pressure on him today than any other player on the planet, because he was playing not only for the millions of Australians, but he was playing against the entire field and there was more pressure on him because no Australian has ever done it,” Norman said. “It’s a monumental task, and I’m so happy for him.”

Said Scott: “It's amazing that it's my destiny to be the first Aussie to win (the Masters). Just incredible.”

As the rain continued to fall over the Augusta grounds late Sunday, Jason Day, heartbroken after coming up two shots shy of the playoff, searched for a television to watch the waning moments.

He couldn’t be the first Australian to win, but he was rooting for his compatriot.

“I’m pulling for Scotty to finally win the Masters and be the first player to do it,” Day said. “If it wasn’t myself, I really want it to be Scotty.”

It was. And most at Augusta National rejoiced, even those who have rules against it.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

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.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

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.