Moving Up Down In and Out

By Rex HoggardSeptember 5, 2010, 2:29 am
DeutscheBank Logo 2007NORTON, Mass. – They call it 'Moving Day,' a cliché that for 51 weeks seems like an oversimplification. As if any day wouldn’t be a good day to climb a leaderboard.

That is until the travelling circus set up shop at the Deutsche Bank Championship, where on this windblown Saturday more baggage, of the literal and psychological variety, was processed than on Thanksgiving at LaGuardia.

Brandt Snedeker rolled into a share of the lead, which, with all apologies to Snedeker, may have been the day’s least-compelling storyline given what was on the line for so many.
Steve Marino
Steve Marino is among those looking to keep alive his playoff run. (Getty Images)
For many, Round 2 at TPC Boston was a “Hail Mary” shot at advancing to next week’s playoff stop in Chicago. For some, the Deutsche Bank turn was the final blow to whatever Ryder Cup hopes they were clinging to.

Although the FedEx Cup axe was much more absolute, the finality of it all also was unmistakable for the likes of Anthony Kim, a Ryder Cup lock as recent as a month ago but likely on the outside of captain Corey’s watch list after missing another cut in Boston.

“All of a sudden it’s looking like three easy choices for Pavin (and) one tough one,” 2008 U.S. captain Paul Azinger Tweeted Saturday afternoon.

In no particular order, you have a T-8 (Zach Johnson), T-8 (Stewart Cink) and a TW, who carded his first bogey-free round of the year and is tied for 29th. Mr. Pavin will take three veterans, on form, hold the second guessing.

Johnson, a rare bright spot for the U.S. side the last time the matches were played on the unfriendly confines of the Continent, has made the biggest move in recent weeks. He’s also something of a motivated wild-card after missing the last matches at Valhalla.

“I watched every second of (the 2008 Ryder Cup),” Johnson said. “As I told Corey, 2010 Ryder Cup captain, it was one I was cheering for them like crazy.”

That final pick, however, promises to put the labor back into Labor Day for Pavin, On Wednesday night, Pavin gathered his Elite Eight, those who had already qualified for his team, at a local Fleming’s Steakhouse for a relaxed night of storytelling. He should have been asking for advice.

Golf Channel continued to crunch the Ryder Cup numbers after last month’s PGA Championship, and the perennial favorites seem to be Lucas Glover (No. 10), Sean O’Hair (No. 19) and Rickie Fowler (No. 21).

Among that group, O’Hair hit the ball all over New England and missed the cut in Boston, finishing 97th out of 97 players. Glover and Fowler will be around for the weekend, but neither has been particularly impressive in recent weeks.

At this rate, Pavin may want to check on the immigration status of Paul Casey and Justin Rose, the eighth-ranked player in the world and a two-time Tour winner this year, respectively, who were passed over for picks by European captain Colin Montgomerie.

At least Glover and Fowler have two more days to make their case. For the likes of Spencer Levin and D.A. Points, their playoff hopes went the way of a Red Sox pennant run.

Both began the week as Chicago long shots, Levin 71st and Points 74th on the points list and never broke par.

“Chicago was in the back of my mind, missing the cut was in the back of my mind,” Levin said. “Watching the playoffs last year I knew it was something I wanted to do.”

Ditto for Chris Couch, who started the week 67th on the list, signed for back-to-back 72s and will watch the last two playoff tilts from his couch.

That’s not to say no one made hay on Saturday. Steve Marino, who had slipped to 78th after missing the cut at The Barclays, is at 8 under and likely bound for the BMW. Journeyman Kris Blanks has made a similar climb from 91st . Blanks needs to finish inside the top 20 to advance. He’s currently tied for eighth.

But the biggest postseason climb belongs to Andres Romero. The Argentine was mired in his worst season as a pro with only two top-10 finishes, just made it into the playoffs (115th) and finished tied for 52nd at The Barclays to earn the last spot into the Deutsche Bank. Thanks to a 5-under 66 on Saturday and an 8-under total he still has Chicago on his travel itinerary.

Moving Day, indeed.

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.