Mike Davis chosen as head of USGA

By Associated PressMarch 2, 2011, 9:45 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)—Mike Davis is taking over as executive director ofthe U.S. Golf Association without having to give up part of his old job that heloved the most—setting up golf courses for the U.S. Open.

The USGA said Wednesday it has selected Davis to be its seventh executivedirector. He replaces David Fay, who retired in December after 21 years incharge.

Davis, a 21-year veteran of the USGA and its senior director of rules andcompetition since 2005, has become popular with the players over the last fiveyears for his sense of fairness in setting up U.S. Open courses. He introducedthe concept of graduated rough, and twice in the last four years has declined tochange a par 4 into a par 5 because he felt it made those holes fair andexciting.

One of those was the 18th at Torrey Pines in 2008, where Tiger Woods madebirdie on the 72nd hole to force a playoff that he won.

Staying involved in course setup was key to Davis taking over as executivedirector.

“They knew I very much wanted it,” Davis said of his new job. “I tried toargue the point that not only is it something I very much like, it’s somethingI’ve gotten decent at. So why look for a change?”

When asked if the job description was altered for Davis, USGA president JimHyler replied, “The short answer is slight.”

“Obviously, Mike has done a terrific job with the U.S. Open setup and we’dbe nuts if we pulled him out of that,” Hyler said. “We want him to continue tobe involved in our signature event from a course setup standpoint. When wetalked with Mike about this job, we never dreamed he would not be involved inthe setup. It fits very well. We get the best of both worlds.”

There’s more to the job than setting up a golf course, however.

Davis, 46, will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the USGA,which governs golf in the United States and Mexico and works with the Royal &Ancient, which governs the rest of the world, in setting the rules andregulating equipment standards.

He reports to the USGA president, who serves two one-year terms.

Davis said he will delegate the jobs of course setup at the U.S. SeniorOpen, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Amateur and the Walker Cup. He said Jeff Hallwould be his temporary replacement in charge of rules and competition, and thatthe USGA is looking at reorganizing the department because of how much it hasgrown over the years.

Along with running 13 national championships, the USGA oversees some 700qualifying events.

Davis said he was apprehensive about some of his new responsibilities, whichinclude overseeing the USGA staff and working with the governing body’scorporate and broadcast partners and state associations. His only concern is nothaving enough time.

Otherwise, he said there will be only a few differences from what Fayhandled.

One of them is the broadcast booth.

Fay was famous for his bow ties, and he often sat in on NBC Sports telecastsof the U.S. Open in case a rules question arose.

“You won’t see me in a bow tie,” Davis said, adding that he most likelywould not be in the booth during a U.S. Open. Davis also said he would only getinvolved in the U.S. Open in the early morning before competition. He would notdeal with championship details such as pace of play or deciding when to stopplay in case of bad weather.

“I’ve very organized and detail oriented,” Davis said. “When it comes toother people’s areas, I believe in giving them responsibility and holding themaccountable. The stuff I do myself, I’ll get my hands dirty. But I’m not goingto micromanage people.”

Davis grew up in Pennsylvania and played college golf at Georgia Southern.

He attended his first U.S. Open in 1980 with his father, and was amazed tosee shots that barely missed the fairway disappear into deep rough, while shotswell off line landed in trampled grass where the spectators were walking. That’swhere he came up with the idea of graduated rough—shorter near the fairway,thicker as the it got farther away.

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Wise wins first Tour title at AT&T Byron Nelson

By Nick MentaMay 21, 2018, 1:22 am

On the strength of a final-round 65, 21-year-old Aaron Wise broke through for his first PGA Tour victory Sunday, taking the AT&T Byron Nelson at Trinity Forest. Here's how Wise beat the field and darkness following a lengthy rain delay:

Leaderboard: Wise (-23), Leishman (-20), Branden Grace (-19), J.J. Spaun (-19), Keith Mitchell (-19)

What it means: This is Wise’s first PGA Tour win in just his 18th start as a member. Tied with Leishman to start the final round, Wise raced ahead with six birdies in a seven-hole stretch from Nos. 4-10 and never looked back. He'd make eight straight pars on his way into the clubhouse and the winner's circle. The 2016 NCAA Division I individual champion just locked up Tour status through 2019-20 season and guaranteed himself a spot in the PGA Championship.

Best of the rest: Leishman reached 20 under par but just couldn’t keep pace with Wise. This is his second runner-up of the season, following a solo second in the CJ Cup in October.

Round of the day: Grace carded a 62 – where have I heard that before? – with eight birdies, an eagle and a bogey to end up tied for third, his best finish of the season on Tour.

Biggest disappointment: Adam Scott looked as though he had done enough to qualify for the U.S. Open via the Official World Golf Ranking when he walked off the golf course. Unfortunately, minutes later, he’d drop from a four-way tie for sixth into a three-way tie for ninth, narrowly missing out on this week's OWGR cutoff.

Break of the day: Wise could very well have found the hazard off the tee at No. 9 if not for a well-placed sprinkler head. Rather than drop a shot, he took advantage of his good fortune and poured in another birdie putt to extend his lead.

Quote of the day: "It's a dream come true to win this one." - Wise

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Otaegui wins Belgian Knockout by two

By Associated PressMay 21, 2018, 1:20 am

ANTWERP, Belgium – Adrian Otaegui beat Benjamin Hebert by two shots in the final of the Belgian Knockout to win his second European Tour title.

The hybrid format opened with two rounds of stroke play on Thursday and Friday, before the leading 64 players competed in nine-hole knockout stroke play matches.

Otaegui and Hebert both finished three shots off the lead at 5 under after the first two days and worked their way through five matches on the weekend to set up Sunday's final at the Rinkven International Golf Club.


Full-field scores from the Belgian Knockout


''I'm very happy, very relaxed now after the last nine holes against Ben that were very tight,'' Otaegui said. ''I'm just very proud about my week.

''I just tried to play against myself. Obviously your opponent is just next to you but I just tried to focus on my game.''

Scotland's David Drysdale beat James Heath of England by one shot in the playoff for third spot.

Herbet said he was ''just a little short this week.''

''Adrian is a very good player, especially in this kind of format,'' he said. ''He's already won one tournament in match play last year. This format is fun, it puts you under pressure almost every hole because everything can happen. I think it's a great idea.''

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Spieth looking forward to Colonial after T-21

By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 1:10 am

DALLAS – Jordan Spieth finally got a few putts to drop at the AT&T Byron Nelson, but after a frustrating week he’s looking forward to heading across town.

Spieth shot a 4-under 67 amid soggy conditions at Trinity Forest Golf Club, his lowest score of the week but one that still left him in a tie for 21st at 11 under par. His frustrations had a common theme throughout the week, as he ranked seventh among the field in strokes gained: tee to green but 72nd in strokes gained: putting.

“Felt like I played better than I scored,” Spieth said. “Just burned the edges or barely missed, and I misread a lot of putts, too. Overall just struggled a little bit matching line and speed and kind of getting it all together out here.”


Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

AT&T Byron Nelson: Articles, photos and videos


Spieth remains in search of his first win since The Open in July, but his results in the interim haven’t exactly been a struggle. This marks his seventh top-25 finish in his last nine starts as an individual.

Spieth is in the midst of a busy part of his schedule, and will play his third of four events in a row next week at the Fort Worth Invitational. With runner-up finishes in 2015 and 2017 sandwiched around a victory there two years ago, Spieth did little to contain his excitement for a return to venerable Colonial Country Club.

“It’s one of those courses where whether I have my A game or not, I seem to find my way into contention, which is really cool,” Spieth said. “It’s one of four or five places I go into, no matter where the game is at, I’m excited to get started and feel like I have a chance to win.”

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Razorbacks, Fassi scrambling to recover in NCAAs

By Ryan LavnerMay 21, 2018, 12:56 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – We’re not even halfway through this NCAA Championship, and the top women’s player in the country is already worn out.

Indeed, it’s been three rounds of hard work for Maria Fassi as she tries to claw herself and second-ranked Arkansas back into contention at Karsten Creek.

“I haven’t been able to create momentum of any kind,” she said after a third-round 73 left her at 16-over 232, 23 shots off the individual lead and outside the top 90. “I’ve been fighting every single hole. It’s just been exhausting.”

It’s been that way for her teammates, too.

Arkansas entered nationals as one of the pre-tournament favorites. The Razorbacks won the SEC Championship for the first time. They won seven events, including a regional title in which they shot 26 under par on the University of Texas’ home course. They were comfortable knowing that they not only had Fassi, the top-ranked player and a six-time winner this season, but also a strong supporting cast that includes Baylor transfer Dylan Kim and Alana Uriell.

And then the first two rounds happened. The Razorbacks had shot a team score in the 300s just once all season, but they posted two in a row here at Karsten Creek (308-300).

Fassi’s play has been even more of a mystery. In the opening round she shot 81 – with two birdies. She followed it up with a second-round 78, then birdied her last two holes just to shoot 73 on Sunday. She thought she had a smart game plan – taking fewer drivers, putting the ball in play on arguably the most difficult college course in the country – and it just hasn’t worked out.

“I just need to stay really patient, be true to myself and keep fighting,” she said. “I know what I’m capable of doing, and if I play my game it’s going to be plenty good.”

So what’s been the conversation among teammates the past two nights?

“It involved a lot of cuss words,” Fassi said. “We know this is not Arkansas golf. We know this is not the game that we play.”

The top-15 cut line should have been an afterthought for a team as talented as the Razorbacks, and yet they needed a 1-over 289 just to play Monday’s fourth round of stroke-play qualifying.

“Backs against the wall, they had to go get it done and they did an awesome job,” said Arkansas coach Shauna Taylor. “In our locker room we call it ‘Do the Possible.’ It’s doing what you’re capable of doing.”

And now the Razorbacks sit in 11th place, just six shots off the top-8 cut after their two worst rounds all season. They still have a chance to advance.

“You can’t panic,” Taylor said. “We’ve played great golf all year. We’ve put ourselves in a hole and it was time to go to work and dig yourselves out of it.”