Cut Line Slow Play Slow Learner
Links golf. It’s always been one of life’s true mysteries, like Lady Gaga and stroke-and-distance penalties, that the Scottish Open has been played on a distinctly parkland layout for the better part of two decades.
But that idiosyncrasy seems certain to change thanks to ongoing financial troubles at Loch Lomond, the event’s current venue, and the sponsor’s desire to attract a better field the week before the Open Championship.
“Barclays would like us to play the event on a links course in the hope of attracting a more world-class field,” European Tour director Keith Waters said. “Even though we have an agreement with Barclays up to and including 2012, we know they want to go beyond that. So if we can move quickly the 2011 Scottish Open will be played elsewhere.”
Now, if only someone would explain Lady Gaga to us.
Memorials. It’s been an emotional few days for PGA Tour types.
On Oct. 14 Bubba Watson’s father, Gerry, died after a lengthy battle with throat cancer, and early Thursday morning Shaun Micheel’s mother, Donna, passed away due to complications from lung cancer.
“Every day that we have her on this earth is a blessing,' Micheel said at the John Deere Classic earlier this year.
Nothing puts golf in perspective like losing a loved one.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
WGC-HSBC Champions. Next week’s Shanghai stop seems to have it all – a stellar field that will include Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, a $7 million purse and a cozy spot within the World Golf Championship fold.
The event’s official money asterisk, however, continues to loom. Although an HSBC victory is considered official, money earned does not count toward a player’s Tour earnings.
Officials made the distinction because holding such an event the week before the Tour finale at Disney could cause upheaval on the money list, but HSBC deserves better. Either find a better date for the event or count it toward next year’s money list and leave the gray area to the lawyers.
Slow play. When a fourball of the game’s best players, none of whom were named Kevin Na or Ben Crane, can’t cover 18 holes on an otherwise deserted golf course in less than five hours it’s time to stop pointing fingers and start coming up with solutions.
Ernie Els, Martin Kaymer, David Toms and Graeme McDowell needed five hours, 16 minutes to play the first round at this week’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda without another soul on the golf course and an army of forecaddies helping them along.
Note to the PGA of America, which runs the Grand Slam as well as the Ryder Cup and PGA Championship, if you really want to grow the game it’s time to do something about slow play. You’re on the clock.
Tweet of the week: ogilviej (Joe Ogilvie): “Skycaddie saves 15-20 minutes off a round of Tour golf. No brainer. Golf hates technology, I get it, but also a realist. Downside is zero.”
Enablers. We addressed this in last week’s edition but felt it was worth revisiting as golf’s Fall Classic gets underway this week at first stage sites from Kannapolis, N.C., to Santee, Calif.
For the fifth consecutive year John Daly is poised to finish outside the top 125 in earnings and for the fifth consecutive year the big man has taken a pass on Q-School.
“I don’t know why you wouldn’t (play Q-School),” David Duval, who played Q-School last year, told the Associated Press.
“You do what you need to if you’re serious about playing great golf. I’m sure at some point, the people at these tournaments who decide on sponsor exemptions look at who goes to Q-School and tries to do it themselves. Because they know you’re working, you’re going. You’ve got to make an effort on your own. Some people don’t even try.”
Daly, hardly the only Tour type to shun Q-School but easily the most high profile, is culpable of indifference at best and self-entitlement at worst, but tournament directors who continue to dole out exemptions to the likes of Daly also deserve part of the blame. We believe the term is enabling.
Anthony Kim. We’ve seen this act before. So had Robert Allenby, which is why he referred to AK at the 2009 Presidents Cup as the “current John Daly” and suggested Kim had been out until 4 a.m. the night before the duo’s singles match at Harding Park.
We’ve also seen Kim denounce the high life for the straight and narrow before, all of which makes this week’s late-night lapse in Las Vegas seem sadly familiar. According to reports in the Las Vegas Review-Journal Kim was admonished for being loud and rowdy at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino late Monday night.
“Anthony Kim is an animal 115 bottles then to top it off a 25k bottle of Dom, which he showered the dance floor with,” Palms Casino’s DJ Exodus tweeted at 3:02 a.m. Tuesday.
Kim, who later withdrew from this week’s Las Vegas Tour stop citing a lingering thumb injury, is a grown man and can live his life however he wishes, but the sad sequel seems like such a waste.
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.
Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”
The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.
“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18
Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf
Well, this is a one new one.
According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:
“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”
Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.
“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.
The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.
“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”
The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.
Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.
Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.