10th Hole Controversy Quieted

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 25, 2002, 4:00 pm
SUTTON COLDFIELD, England -- The 10th hole controversy sparked again Wednesday, but died just as quickly.
Tuesday, European Captain Sam Torrance said the short par-4 hole would be played exclusively from the back tees, which means players will be less inclined to go for the green, which is guarded by trees and water.
Wednesday, Torrance reiterated that statement, but added he might play from the accessible front tees if its requested by my players, but I dont think its going to be.
When United States captain Curtis Strange was told of Torrances comment, he replied, I was just reassured a few minutes ago from (a rules official) that the tee will be back every match.
When I leave here (the press room) I will go to the rules office and find out. Because my guys have to have the chance to prepare.
Shortly thereafter, Torrance reappeared in the interview room and set things straight.
When I said I may move it if my players ask me to ' I dont know why I said it. Its not going to happen, its going to be off the back tee all week, he explained.

Playing With a Pro
Colin Montgomerie was playing the par-3 12th hole Tuesday when a fan got a chance of a lifetime.
I hit a terrible shot yesterday at the 12th, right, and had a horrible lie and I didnt fancy it. So the guy in the crowd thought he did. I gave him my club and he hit it stiff. So, of course, I had to have a go, and I chipped up and missed the putt, Montgomerie said.
Steve ' I dont know his surname ' but hes Steve. And hes 1-up, anyway.

Friendly Advice
Phil Mickelson was spotted practicing with Tiger Woods part-time coach, Butch Harmon. He said it was just harmless advice in the absence of his usual coach, Rick Smith.
Butch is a friend of mine and Ive known him for a number of years, Mickelson explained. He and I are friends and I asked him a couple of questions, and that was about the extent of it. It was nothing more than that.

Be Careful What You Ask
David Duval, who has but one top-10 finish this year, shot 65 in the second round of last weeks World Golf Championships-American Express Championship. He then proceeded to shoot 72-76 and tie for 46th.
The signs of a turnaround appear to be there, but dont ask him to assess the current state of his game.
To be quite honest, Im tired of being asked, simply because I think your questions probably wouldnt be asked if you watched me play a full round, Duval decried to a reporter.
Its three bad shots (a round). I think I hit 14 greens Sunday and shot 4-over. So I hit the first eight greens and missed a fairway on 9, make the turn in 1-over-par, and its like, 'What happened?'
I played exactly how youd want to ' hitting a lot of greens, a lot of fairways. And unfortunately for me, didnt make any putts that day. And so thats why it can be a little tiring hearing that. I see it out there and know it's right there every now and again.
Part of Duvals on-course ills stem from the back injury that sidelined him for 10 weeks in 2000.
I was making compensation and I just havent fully corrected it. I feel like I have in essence, but every now and again I just get back into that reverse, and then I get back under and behind it and it just goes way right. Its pretty simple.
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Golf's Olympic format, qualifying process remain the same

By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 6:25 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Potential Olympic golfers for the 2020 Games in Tokyo were informed on Monday that the qualification process for both the men’s and women’s competitions will remain unchanged.

According to a memo sent to PGA Tour players, the qualification process begins on July 1, 2018, and will end on June 22, 2020, for the men, with the top 59 players from the Olympic Golf Rankings, which is drawn from the Official World Golf Ranking, earning a spot in Tokyo (the host country is assured a spot in the 60-player field). The women’s qualification process begins on July 8, 2018, and ends on June 29, 2020.

The format, 72-holes of individual stroke play, for the ’20 Games will also remain unchanged.

The ’20 Olympics will be held July 24 through Aug. 9, and the men’s competition will be played the week before the women’s event at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

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Webb granted U.S. Women's Open special exemption

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 6:22 pm

Karrie Webb's streak of consecutive appearances at the U.S. Women's Open will continue this summer.

The USGA announced Monday that the 43-year-old Aussie has been granted a special exemption into this year's event, held May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek in Alabama. Webb, a winner in both 2000 and 2001, has qualified for the event on merit every year since 2011 when her 10-year exemption for her second victory ended.

"As a past champion, I'm very grateful and excited to accept the USGA's special exemption into this year's U.S. Women's Open," Webb said in a release. "I have always loved competing in the U.S. Women's Open and being tested on some of the best courses in the country."

Webb has played in the tournament every year since 1996, the longest such active streak, meaning that this summer will mark her 23rd consecutive appearance. She has made the U.S. Women's Open cut each of the last 10 years, never finishing outside the top 50 in that span.

Webb's exemption is the first handed out by the USGA since 2016, when Se Ri Pak received an invite to play at CordeValle. Prior to that the two most recent special exemptions went to Juli Inkster (2013) and Laura Davies (2009). The highest finish by a woman playing on a special exemption came in 1994, when Amy Alcott finished sixth.

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Notah: Driver is Tiger's No. 1 pre-Masters concern

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 5:49 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a Sunday charge at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, sending shockwaves through Bay Hill when it looked as though he might finally claim PGA Tour victory No. 80.

But the charge came to an end at the par-5 16th, where Woods had missed wide-right three days in a row before going OB-left on Sunday en route to bogey.

Woods’ API performance featured just a handful of drivers each day, as firm and fast conditions allowed him to make frequent use of a 2-iron off the tee.

That strategy led to a second top-5 finish in as many weeks, but if Woods wants to win again, if he wants claim another major, he is going to sort out his issues with the big stick.

A guest Monday morning on the Dan Patrick Show, Golf Channel’s Notah Begay believes the driver will be a focus for Woods in his pre-Masters preparation.

“Project No. 1 over the next two weeks is going to be the driver. … Any time he has to turn a shot right to left with trouble on the left, he struggles a little bit,” Begay said.

“Off the sixth tee, off the ninth tee, there was some errant shots. And then we saw the really horrible tee shot yesterday at 16. He talked about in the post-round comments. He just didn’t commit to a shot, and the worst thing that a professional athlete can do to themselves to compromise performance is not commit.

“And so he made a terrible swing, and that’s the miss that is really difficult for him to recover from, because the majority of his misses are out to the right. So, when you eliminate one half of the golf course, you can really make your way around … a lot easier. When you have a two-way miss going, which sometimes creeps into his driver, it really makes it difficult to take out some of the trouble that you’re looking at when you’re standing on the tee box.

“So he has to focus in on trying to find some way to navigate Augusta National with the driver, because it’s a course that’s going to force you to hit driver.”

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McIlroy trails only Woods in Masters betting odds

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 5:47 pm

After rallying for victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy is once again among the betting favorites for the upcoming Masters.

McIlroy was available at 16/1 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook last week, listed behind six other players. But after his three-shot win at Bay Hill, his odds were trimmed to 10/1, leaving him behind only betting favorite Tiger Woods.

Next month will mark McIlroy's fourth opportunity to close out the final leg of the career Grand Slam by slipping into a green jacket. Here's a look at the current betting odds, with the first round only 17 days away:

8/1: Tiger Woods

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas

14/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose

16/1: Jason Day, Jon Rahm

18/1: Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson

25/1: Paul Casey, Bubba Watson

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama

40/1: Henrik Stenson, Marc Leishman

50/1: Alex Noren

60/1: Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Tyrrell Hatton, Thomas Pieters

80/1: Branden Grace, Brian Harman, Tony Finau, Charley Hoffman, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay

100/1: Zach Johnson, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Kevin Kisner