Tour players want active say in future policy

By Rex HoggardJuly 2, 2013, 12:30 am

That sound you heard just past the lunch hour in the east wasn’t shock or surprise. The golf world has seen this one coming for months.

The PGA Tour went with the ban on anchoring not because the circuit thought it a handsome addition to the Rules of Golf. It went with it because the alternative was not an option.

“I thought that was a layup. We didn’t have a choice,” said Joe Ogilvie, a member of the 16-member Player Advisory Council

Had the Tour drawn a line in the rulemaking sand, chaos would have ensued. Three majors (it seems likely the Masters would have followed the rule) and professional golf everywhere else in the world played under one set of rules, everything else in the U.S. under another.

The Tour didn’t like the USGA and R&A’s move to ban anchoring, but it fancied the idea of an eternal distraction even less, so the circuit informed players via email on Monday that they would continue to follow the Rules of Golf.

“The (policy board) was of the opinion that having a single set of rules on acceptable strokes applicable to all professional competitions worldwide was desirable and would avoid confusion,” commissioner Tim Finchem said in the email.

No, the sound you heard was the collective bracing for what comes next.

Of immediate concern, at least to Tour accountants, is a potential legal bout between Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and those who currently anchor. Nine Tour players formed a coalition led by Boston-area attorney Harry Manion in January – a group that includes Adam Scott, Carl Pettersson and Tim Clark.

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Official statement from the PGA Tour on anchor ban

“The decision today was not unexpected,” Manion said. “We were expecting this, but we are pleased there was no acceleration (of the ban).”

Manion said he plans to meet with each player “individually” and see how they want to proceed, and according to Ogilvie, the specter of legal action was not mentioned during Monday’s 20-minute meeting with Finchem.

If there is a lawsuit it would be directed at the Tour which means the circuit would be on the hook for whatever settlements, if any, were imposed.

The possibility of legal action will also likely dictate when the Tour implements the anchoring ban. The USGA and R&A plan to enact the new rule on Jan. 1, 2016, but that is some three months into the 2015-16 season.

According to one source, if the Tour were to implement the rule early it may open the circuit up to more liability, which means, in theory, the 2015-16 season could be played under two sets of rules.

But if the Tour is faced with a litany of details to now sort out, the PGA of America has a bona fide political time bomb on its hands as a result of the new rule.

PGA of America president Ted Bishop has been one of the ban’s most outspoken critics and for good reason. It is his members that must now deal with the daily fallout.

“For those amateurs who say they are going to continue to anchor they won’t be allowed to play in any club event. They can’t keep a handicap. That is a political issue that we as club pros are going to have to deal with. It is going to be a problem,” Bishop told “At the end of the day we are the ones who are going to have to deal with this.”

It’s that reality that led Bishop and the PGA to suggest that it might be time for bifurcation, or two sets of rules, and while his membership eventually voted to adopt the ban it came only after a “spirited debated.”

Inevitably it seems the Tour’s decision to go with the ban swayed the PGA to adopt, however begrudgingly.

“When we talked about a second set of rules (bifurcation) in March, none of us at the PGA thought we were going to be a part of that second set of rules,” Bishop said. “Our conversation centered on what we would do if the PGA Tour went with a second set of rules. When it became clear the Tour wasn’t going to go with a second set we didn’t have a choice.”

Which brings golf to perhaps the most profound consequence of the anchoring ban. If a lesson was learned from this episode it was that there is a growing disconnect between the game’s rule makers and the ruled.

It wasn’t the USGA and R&A’s move against anchoring, or a desire to save the long putter, that riled many players and administrators so much as it was a feeling the rule makers are increasingly making rules from a vacuum.

“I don’t think they will ever make a ruling by themselves again,” Ogilvie said. “I’ve been on Tour a long time and I have never heard this kind of animosity toward the R&A and USGA. Professional golf didn’t have a voice at the table.”

That, many Tour types contend, simply won’t do.

The Tour will weather whatever, if any, legal storm that arises from its decision to adhere to the ban and players who anchor will find another way. What may become the legacy of the anchoring ban, however, is how future rules are enacted, and no one saw that coming.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.