Manic Monday

By Rex HoggardSeptember 4, 2011, 9:34 pm

NORTON, Mass. – For many Labor Day is the end of a season, for some PGA Tour types Monday promises to be the end of the road, a finality that goes well beyond the play-for-pay set’s affinity for white pants.

Deutsche Bank Championship Monday will be filled with professional milestones large and small, from those vying for playoff survival to others scrambling for last-minute Presidents Cup bids, the final 18 at TPC Boston will decide much more than just a champion.

Who needs the bigger Monday is a matter of perspective, but in CliffNotes form here are a half dozen worth watching.

Adam Scott. Since adding the long putter and Stevie Williams to his bag this year the Australian has quickly transitioned from intriguing comeback tale to world-beater in waiting, a spot he’s occupied in the past before sliding into an inexplicable tailspin in late 2008-2009.

But now those dark days seem like a past life following his victory at last month’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and rounds of 69-63-71 at TPC Boston. He’ll begin the final turn one stroke off the lead held by Bubba Watson and one round away from laying an early claim to the Player of the Year and FedEx Cup titles.

Brandt Snedeker. U.S. Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples’ decision to dole out one of his two coveted picks to Tiger Woods well before the Sept. 26 deadline sent a collective chill down the spines of many American hopefuls.

As the points now stand, Jim Furyk (11th in points), Snedeker (12th), Rickie Fowler (13th) and PGA champion Keegan Bradley (20th) are all vying for that final spot. It’s a list that makes Snedes the odd man out if his spot on the team comes down to needing a pick.

If Snedeker, currently tied for 12th in Boston, is going to make the U.S. team he will need to crack the top 10 on the points list by the end of the BMW Championship, and a good Monday at Deutsche Bank can only help.

Chez Reavie. It would be virtually impossible to tell given his affable demeanor, but the rest of Reavie’s year is riding on Monday’s finishing stretch. He must maintain his place in the top 10 (he’s currently tied for second) just to advance to the next playoff stop in Chicago and hope for more solid play to earn his first trip to the Tour Championship.

But even that won’t get him into the Fall Series. Because of Reavie’s status following knee surgery last June, he’s not qualified for three of the four fall events and he’s into the first stop in Las Vegas only because he finished in the top 10 at the Wyndham Championship.

“It’s been like that all year,” said Reavie, who is currently projected to move up to 27th on the FedEx Cup points list. “I could make it to the Tour Championship and not get into any fall events.”

Geoff Ogilvy. Like Snedeker, the Australian is scrambling for a spot on the International Presidents Cup team. Unlike his American counterpart, Ogilvy is also trying to claw his way into the BMW.

Ogilvy is 12th on the International team’s points list and the Melbourne native could make Greg Norman’s choices easier if he were to play his way onto the squad, which will be set following the BMW. Complicating matters, however, is Ogilvy’s position on the FedEx Cup points list (91st). He will need to finish in the top 15 in Boston if he wants to keep his playoff, and perhaps even his Presidents Cup, hopes alive.

“I’d like to have a good enough (Monday) to guarantee Atlanta (Tour Championship), Presidents Cup, win the tournament. I just want to keep playing,” Ogilvy said.

Kevin Na. Unlike everyone else on this list, Na has no control over what happens on Monday at TPC Boston. He missed the cut with rounds of 73-72 and will be relegated to partial bystander as his FedEx Cup fate is decided.

Throughout the day on Sunday Na lingered between 68th and 70th on the points list, but by the time the sun went down he’d settled at 69th.

“I’ll go home and watch the leaderboard, root for myself because I can’t root against someone else,” Na said after he missed the cut on Saturday.

PGA Tour. After having the playoff opener washed to 54 holes by a hurricane named Irene and jilted for the second time in four years by a postseason no-show by Tiger Woods, the circuit is in need of a big finish to liven things up.

The 54-hole leaderboard is helping, with the high-profile likes of Bubba Watson, Jason Day and Adam Scott, Nos. 16, 15 and 23 on the current playoff points list, topping a board that features 17 players within three strokes of the lead.

Phil Mickelson, who had created more buzz with his decision to go with a belly putter this week than his play, also helped the Deutsche Bank’s “Q-rating” on Sunday, signing for a 63 that gave him an outside chance at his second Boston tilt.

If all the lead characters can maintain the status quo, Monday’s finish could feel, well playoff-like.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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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.