The La Jolla Follies

By Rich LernerFebruary 13, 2001, 5:00 pm
The last time I saw a six beat a seven was in a Calcutta-style tournament years ago. Louie Epstein, a solid 21 handicap, approached a one-footer at the par-4 finishing hole and said to his son-in-law, Howard Sokol, 'Let me tap that in Howard - that's an eight for a seven.'
Meanwhile, one of their opponents, Mort Schiff, stuffed his triple-bogey roll center cut, and with the stroke he was due, lifted his team to victory.

Phil Mickelson's no Mort Shiff, but now he too knows how the rest of the chops in the world of golf feel. Sometimes a double bogey's actually good enough. The La Jolla Follies didn't close with the kind of fireworks Mickelson set off in Fort Worth last year, when he poured in a long range putt at the 72nd hole for a closing 63 at venerable Colonial. But a win's a win, right?
Poor Frank Lickliter. He's on the verge of his first win, needs only five to put it in the bank, and he tosses seven. Should his caddie have grabbed him by the shirt collar after Lefty blew it in the ravine? Was this a Van de Veldian situation? Doubtful, considering Lick had played the 17th in 3-under over the final two rounds using his driver. As for the putt he jackhammered six feet past the hole, that appeared to be a borderline spasm.
Too bad. Lick's a throwback guy, armed for combat behind the wheel of his beloved Humvee with a cigarette, the cool shades and a hunting rifle. Give him credit for walking step-for-step with the game's heavy hitters on Sunday, playing 4-under over the final six to make the playoff.

As for the rules imbroglio, certainly golf fans received a valuable education on the subject of the provisional ball. I, on the other hand, received a stern warning from my family that bedtime for the kids was fast approaching and that if I didn't spend some time with the little ones I'd be penalized in my own right. Try explaining to a three-year-old that in golf there is no clock, only interminably long blimp shots.
Anyway, Mickelson now owns 18 PGA Tour victories at age 30. He's headed to the Hall of Fame, unless he goes Lighthorse Harry Cooper and comes up empty at the majors, which I think is an impossibility. Phil of late has demonstrated the necessary stones. For the second straight year, he issued a directive to the field and particularly to Tiger - who like Phil has deep ties to the San Diego area - that Torrey Pines is his house. Winning the head-to-head with Tiger has to help him when he gets to the majors, possibly eye-to-eye with Woods.
Granted, the loose swings he made at Pebble and then again at San Diego cast a smidgen of doubt, but remember Phil shot 66 on Sunday in winning last year's Tour Championship. Plus, I believe Lefty's one of the few who actually relishes the idea of kicking Tiger's behind. And it's imperative to think that way. Bring Tiger to the center of the ring. Exchange heavy artillery. You striped one 305, I'll take it 310. You jammed a wedge to six feet. I'll put it to four feet.
By the way, this isn't merely a player-versus-player battle we're witnessing. This is equipment company against equipment company. Titleist was getting hammered by Nike, not in terms of overall market share but in terms of perception. Nike had THE WINNER. Titleist had the bluebloods in Mickelson and Love, considered talented but a bit soft in the wake of Tiger's rampage a year ago. Titleist countered with its new Pro V-1 golf ball, and the added 10 to 15 yards has helped Love and Mickelson close the gap.

Interestingly enough, I'm not sure Love got enough credit for what he did at Pebble. Had Tiger started seven back, then played the first seven holes in 8-under, AND hit 18 in two for a summer-rules, course record 63, it would have been widely hailed as another Tiger classic. Instead it was a Love classic, No. 2 on his hit parade behind his rainbow fairy tale at Winged Foot in 1997.
Love had two viable, winning eagle chances on the 72nd and 73rd holes at Torrey, but alas couldn't convert. Still, he's revived hope that instead of being simply a wealthy, 13-win guy with one major, he might someday conclude his fine career as maybe a very wealthy, 20-win and three major guy ticketed for the Hall of Fame.
Finally, even as I'm writing this column Tuesday morning, Tiger Woods is picking up his 29th ESPY, the most overhyped award in history. I need the ESPYs to tell me Woods was athlete of the year? Steven Segal as a presenter?
As unbelievable as six beating seven at The La Jolla Follies.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm