2013 Rexys: Excellence (not always) in golf

By Rex HoggardDecember 19, 2013, 7:20 pm

In recognition of one of the most contentious years in golf, we asked PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and Vijay Singh to co-host this year’s Rexy award soiree, but the commish was concerned there was IGF-1 in the Moët and the Fijian’s lawyers didn’t have time to file a confidentiality agreement with the court. So you’re stuck with your scribe.

The envelopes, please. (Click here for a look at the 2012 Rexys)

Snowman Award (Non-scorecard division): This goes to the unknown attendant at Dove Mountain who dug through the storage room during the blizzard of 2013, also known as the WGC-Accenture Match Play, to find a pair of gloves and a stocking cap for your correspondent to weather the wintery storm.

As an aside, Charlie Beljan won the actual Snowman Award after carding 2013’s first 8 in Round 2 at the Humana Challenge. But Beljan’s miscue was not nearly as entertaining as the Blizzard of ’13.

Dufnering Crown: Give it to the man himself for sparking a viral sensation, but the list of honorable mention candidates for the first-year award is extensive. From Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter to a flight of Blue Angels aviators and Ted Bishop, the president of the PGA of America, Dufnering’s 15 minutes was fun for everyone.

Jim Cantore Award: The folks in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., took on Mother Nature in 2013 and lost. All total, 22 of 40 events were impacted by weather delays last season, from heavy fog at Torrey Pines and frost at the Waste Management Phoenix Open to the winter wonderland that became the WGC-Match Play.

Things were so bad in ’13, the word is the Tour plans to have Cantore double as next year’s first-tee announcer to hand out hole locations, scorecards and weather reports.

Caddie races at Phoenix Open

NFL (No Fun League) Cup. Only the Tour – only the Tour! – could turn something as harmlessly entertaining as the annual caddie races at TPC Scottsdale and Colonial into a good run spoiled.

The Tour nixed the races, in part, out of concerns for caddie safety and because the event had become a “carnival show.” Yes, we wouldn’t want a carnival atmosphere at TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole, would we?

The Sausage Silver. The inaugural award goes to the European Tour’s Ryder Cup captain selection process. The scene in the Abu Dhabi hotel, where Paul McGinley was named next year’s skipper, was surreal and the politicking that went on to land the Irishman the gig would make a Washington politico blush – but the system worked.

The players got the captain they wanted. It was like sausage – you don’t want to know how it’s made; you just want to enjoy the end product.

The Worst Timing Award. Because of Tour regulations, Si Woo Kim, who earned his card at last fall’s Q-School, wasn’t able to enjoy the benefits of membership until his 18th birthday on June 28. As a result, the South Korean played just eight times and didn’t cash a check.

Yeah, happy birthday. You’re headed back to Q-School.

Jim Mackay and Phil Mickelson

Top Outdoor Butler Bowl. We pinched this award from Kip Henley, Brian Gay’s longtime caddie, and the inaugural recipient is a runaway winner – Jim “Bones” Mackay.

Bones helped loop Phil Mickelson to the one title that few outside Camp Lefty thought he’d ever win, in July at Muirfield. It’s time to add another line to the caddie credo, show up, shut up, keep up and, now, step up.

Game of Thrones Chalice. Compromise was a rare commodity in 2013 and the list of potential candidates for this award reads like a who’s-who roll call of the game’s powerbrokers.

From Bishop and R&A chief executive Peter Dawson’s public dustup over the proposed – and eventually passed – ban on anchoring, to the reported coup attempt by outgoing president Glen Nager at the U.S. Golf Association, 2013 was characterized by not-so-quiet contempt.

On the bright side, however, we may have touched on a cure for slow play. Put that group in a threesome and watch how fast they blaze through 18 holes.

Velvet Underground Award. Vijay Singh admitted to using the Ultimate Spray, which is derived from deer-antler velvet and contained IGF-1, which is on the circuit’s list of banned substances; he was sanctioned by the Tour for violating the performance-enhancing drug policy; he was later cleared of any wrongdoing and subsequently sued the Tour for, among other things, public humiliation.

If it seems like nobody wins in this scenario it’s because nobody does.

Tiger Woods

Best Selfie Award: No, not the self-portrait that has become the social media norm. The “Best Selfie” goes to Tiger Woods for a performance that looked a lot like those historic campaigns in 2000 and 2006.

While it has become good sport to pick apart Woods’ play in the majors and his caustic relationship with the Rules of Golf in ’13, he won five times, claimed his 11th Player of the Year Award, secured the winning point for the U.S. side at the Presidents Cup and looked, well, a lot like the old guy.

King of Cool Cup. The Rexy committee voted to retire this award in honor of Fred Couples, who again proved to be the most interesting man in the room in ’13 after completing the Presidents Cup trifecta at Muirfield Village and joining the World Golf Hall of Fame.

“This is the coolest night of my life,” Couples said through tears in May at the induction ceremony.

Couples, once and for all, answered the question, “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” Freddie.

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Watch: Tiger birdies 3 of 4, then goes OB

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 18, 2018, 8:30 pm

Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off in his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.

Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which he walked in.

A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.

A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.

Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.

Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at the par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.

His momentum was slowed by his first bogey of the day at No. 9, the product of an errant drive and its ensuing complications. As a result, Woods made the turn 2 under on his round, 9 under for the week, and still five off the lead, like when he started the day.

But Woods wouldn't wait long to make up for his mistake, immediately responding with another flagged iron and another birdie at No. 10.

He continued his assault on Bay Hill's par-5s at the 12th, getting up and down from the sand for a birdie-4 that moved him to 11 under par, just two off the lead.

And with this roll at 13 giving him his third birdie in four holes, the charge was officially on, with Woods just one back.

Just when it looked like Woods was primed for a late run at his 80th PGA Tour victory, Woods stepped to the tee at the par-5 16th, where he had missed wide right three days in a row, and sniped his drive out of bounds into a backyard miles left.

He made 4 on his second ball for a bogey-6 to drop back to 11 under, three behind.

(More coming...)

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 5:00 pm

Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course

By Ryan LavnerMarch 18, 2018, 1:50 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.

McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”

This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.

A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.

McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.

“It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”

As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.

“It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”

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Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

Her confidence is high.

“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.