Monday Monday - Woods Leads by One at The Players Championship

By Mercer BaggsMarch 25, 2001, 5:00 pm
For the second time in as many years, it will take five days to complete The Players Championship.
Lightning forced a three-hour delay; and darkness officially suspended play in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., at 6:49pm ET.
Tiger Woods birdied the par-5 9th, his final hole of the day, to take a one-shot lead into the back nine on Monday.
Woods carded a 3-under-par 33 on the outward half to leapfrog playing companion and overnight leader Jerry Kelly. Tiger stands at 12-under-par, one stroke lower than Kelly, who played the front side in even-par 36.
Kelly is not alone in second place. Vijay Singh held sole possession of the lead at 12-under through eight holes, but bogeyed the par-5 9th to fall one back of Woods as darkness descended.
Not to be forgotten is Bernhard Langer. The meticulous German is just two off the lead at 10-under-par. Langer, whose last PGA Tour victory came in the 1993 Masters Tournament, recorded three birdies over his first nine holes. He will wake-up Monday morning to a five-foot par putt, which he elected not to putt out before walking off the course.
Last year, Woods trailed Hal Sutton by three strokes through 11 holes when play was suspended. That Monday, Tiger was able to cut his deficit to one; but he could get no closer.
This year, Woods is one up with nine holes remaining.
Im not going to do anything different, no, Tiger said when asked if he would change his game plan from that of a year ago.
After beginning his third round with a bogey, Woods wanted to get off to a hot start on Sunday; and thats exactly what he did. Tiger stuck his approach shot at the par-4 1st to six feet and converted the birdie putt to get within one of Kelly at 10-under-par.
Kelly had a bit of misfortune at the 1st. He hit a perfect drive down the center of the fairway, however, his ball finished in a sand-filled divot. He was unable to attack the flag, yet still managed a par.
Kelly hit the green in two on the par-5 2nd. Playing from the left rough, Woods came up about 30 yards short of the flag. Then, in typical Tiger fashion, the worlds No.1 ranked player chipped in for eagle.
There were no exuberant fist pumps, just a hi-five with his caddie. Unfazed, Kelly two-putted to remain in share of first place at 12-under.
It really didnt affect me one way or the other, Kelly said about Woods chip-in. I just kind of laughed a little bit. I said, This is what its all about.
At the par-4 4th, Woods took the solo lead when Kelly made bogey. The Wisconsin native barely cleared the water guarding the green on his approach shot ' I had 108 to the front of the green and I hit it about 108 , he said.
But faced with a monster birdie putt, Kelly was unable to lag his putt close to the hole. In fact, he rolled his ball clear off the green. He then missed the comebacker for a bogey 5.
While Woods and Kelly were trading positions, Singh was steadily making his way to the top. The Fijian responded to a bogey at the 3rd with back-to-back birdies on the 4th and 5th holes.
Singh then tied Woods for the lead at 12-under by making a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-4 7th.
Singh wasnt a co-leader very long, though, as Woods ran into trouble at the 7th. A missed fairway resulted in an approach shot into the bunker ' 55 yards from the hole. Woods was unable to convert the sand save and fell into a tie for second with Kelly at 11-under.
Following a par at the 8th, Singh found the thick, wet rough off the tee at the par-5 9th. To boot, he had a horrible lie and had to pitch out. Singh eventually found the green on his fourth shot, but missed a 10-footer for par to drop into a three-way tie for first at 11-under.
Im a little pissed about it, Singh said of the bogey. But I feel good about my game. Im looking forward to tomorrow. Ive had many of these delays before. Im just going to come back tomorrow, refocus, and try to finish it.
With the light fading quickly, Woods and Kelly were two swings into the 9th hole when the siren sounded to suspend play. Since they had already started the hole, by rule, they had the option of completing it.
Tiger finished by rolling in a blind 10-foot birdie putt to re-take the solo lead; while Kelly made a solid par save from four feet to stay within one.
I think it was just nice to end the day like that, said Woods. I dont look at the fact that I have the lead. I think it just feels good to end on a positive note.
Kelly, too, will go to sleep pleased.
It was fun. I really enjoyed it. That was everything I expected it to be, said Kelly. Im looking forward to playing with him tomorrow and looking forward to playing with him in many tournaments down the road.
While waiting to start his final round ' which didnt begin until nearly 5:00pm ET ' Kelly said he took a nap. Sleep may prove to be an advantage come Monday.
Singh lives just five miles from the course. Hes trying to become the third straight player on the PGA Tour to win an event while commuting from home. Woods did it last week at the Bay Hill Invitational in Orlando. Jesper Parnevik did the same two weeks ago at the Honda Classic in Coral Springs.
Im going to go home, Singh said after his round, not a hotel room like anybody else.
Said Woods: Im disappointed. I wanted to sleep in my own bed tonight. I was really looking forward to it.
News, Notes and Numbers
*22 players still have to complete their final rounds. Play will resume at 10:00am ET. NBC will cover the event live beginning at 10:00.
*This marks the sixth time in the 28-year history of The Players Championship that the tournament has been forced to a Monday finish due to inclement weather.
*Jerry Kelly is trying to become the first player to make The Players Championship his first-career PGA Tour victory.
*Bernhard Langer is trying to become just the second European player to win this event. Sandy Lyle won the tournament in 1987.
*Defending champion Hal Sutton holed his second shot to the par-4 4th for an eagle 2. It was the second time this week hes eagled that hole. He first did so Friday with a similar pin placement.
*Chris DiMarco aced the 186-yard 3rd hole using a 5-iron. It was the first hole-in-one of the week and the 20th ace in the history of the event.
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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.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.