Its Not Easy Sifting Through the Waste Area

By Kraig KannApril 23, 2004, 4:00 pm
Somebodys got to draw a line in the sand on this whole thing! Ever since Sundays finish in Hilton Head things have been chaos at Golf Channel Headquarters. Starting with Sunday nights 'Sprint Post Game,' continuing with 'Golf Central,' and running deep into Wednesday nights 'Sprint Pre Game,' where the focus should have been on Humble, Texas and the Shell Houston Open, all anyone wanted to talk about was Stewart Cink, loose impediments and a possible loose interpretation of the rules as we thought we knew them.
 
Trust me on this, weve looked at more tape than 3M ships out in a week. Ive spent more time thinking about, and making phone calls on, this one incident than any story I can remember in my nine years at TGC. And Im hardly alone among those whove dedicated their working life over the past few days to figuring this thing out. (The beauty of this job, by the way.)
 
You know what Ive concluded? Not much, to tell you the truth, except that I think the list of those to question runs pretty deep.
 
  • Start with Stewart Cink. Say what you want about his interpretation of what he could or could not do, but it just seems like he might have gone where no man had ever gone before in that waste area. One of the absolute most honorable and respectable players on tour, Cink, like it or not, will not soon escape his link to the rule.
  • Slugger White comes next. I give this guy a huge dose of credit for taking me up on the offer to join us on Wednesday nights 'Sprint Pre Game.' Did we hear from the referee, who many think handed Ohio State the national title against Miami, just a day later on national television? However, somewhere in that conversation walking off the 16th tee the lines of communication became a bit blurred. My biggest question remains: If White and Cink never talked walking toward the waste area, would the outcome ultimately have been ruled differently?
  • Ted Purdy is no saint in this whole thing. Hes mad now, but how closely was he watching what Cink was doing in that waste area? Remember, he had a similar shot in regulation which didnt turn out nearly as well. His drop at the 13th wasnt exactly letter perfect, and PGA Tour rules official Jon Brendle should get one of Purdys first Christmas cards this year.
  • CBS Sports didnt exactly jump all over it the minute Cink went to work. Wheres the whoa, wait a minute to go along with the videotape?
  • The PGA Tour cant get a whole lot of help from the USGA, because the USGA doesnt even recognize waste areas in the first place. So why doesnt the PGA Tour fall in line? PGA Tour rules, local rules or USGA rules? No wonder were always confused.
  • And finally, lets throw course designer Pete Dye into this while were at it. Guess what, he called our show Wednesday night right after it ended to apparently say that he never intended for it to be played as a designated waste area with different rules. I havent spoken with him, yet. But hes fired up to join us Sunday night on the 'Sprint Post Game' so dont miss it.
     
    Whatever your feeling is about the outcome -- the ruling and the players in the storyline that Sunday will not soon be forgotten -- I think it bears mentioning with strong emphasis that each of the characters in the plot gave us their time.
     
    Cink politely declined a live chat on 'Golf Central' and the 'Sprint Pre Game,' but did return my phone calls and did spend time with me talking about it on two separate occasions, giving me his side of the story for use on the shows.
     
    Slugger White talked with us on 'Golf Central' Monday night, returned my call again on Tuesday and agreed (with Jon Brendle) to put an appearance on the 'Sprint Pre Game' ahead of his sons baseball practice and his family in general.
     
    Ted Purdy hardly hid from our phone calls and seemed to give viewers the same line of discord that he gave to our Jerry Foltz on the telephone. Trust us, hes mad.
     
    I dont know what becomes of the situation from here. But I hope you can appreciate their respect for the issue and their respect for how passionate we, as fellow fraternity members of the sport, are about these situations as they arise in front of our very eyes.
     
    I do know this: Im a member at Windermere Country Club here in the Orlando, Fla. area. And weve got a few waste areas that Ive found myself in before. And the next time Im there, or anybody is for that matter, people will be talking about the shot Ill play, how Ill prepare to play it, questioning the result if they didnt watch my shot, and also throwing the name Cink into the conversation. It just cant be helped.
     
    I do hope we can get things back to normal in a hurry, though. Im suddenly missing all the e-mails and discussion about whats wrong with Tiger, why the media fawns all over Tiger and why were also all now so quick to fall in love with Phil.
     
    Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."