NCAA Rules Change May End Masters of College Golf

By Associated PressDecember 6, 2007, 5:00 pm
EL PASO, Texas -- They call it the 'Masters of College Golf,' the annual tournament that gives the country's All-American golfers a chance to showcase their skills on the links without their teammates.
 
It's been a late fall tradition that 30 of the nation's top male college golfers have looked forward to for 33 years, but a rule change by the NCAA may make the most recent showcase in November the last.
 
The NCAA eliminated the board responsible for deciding what college sporting events would be exempt from a rule that limits the number of playing days for student athletes. The El Paso tournament had previously been an exempt event for golfers.
 
For the golfers, the change means that they may have to choose between the El Paso tournament, a sort of all-star event, and regular-season team events that help their teams earn a shot at the national championship.
 
'One of my fondest memories as a college player was to be able to play in that tournament,' said Buddy Alexander, the men's golf coach at Florida. 'It's a travesty.'
 
Alexander was invited to the tournament's inaugural event and has consistently sent players to El Paso to represent the Gators as All-Americans.
 
To be invited to the Western Refining All-America Golf Classic players must be an All-American or Division II or III national champion. Organizers say that qualification ensures that the tournament is among the premier college golf events.
 
'Most of the golfers who end up here are going to end up on some kind of tour,' said Bernie Olivas, executive director of the Sun Bowl Association, which runs the tournament. 'They go up against the best.'
 
The NCAA e-mailed The Associated Press the rationale for the rule change. That document said the change would reduce students' travel and fatigue and lost class time. NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn declined further comment.
 
Past champions include Tiger Woods, David Duval, and Davis Love III. Tournament alumni have collected nearly $1 billion in winnings on professional tours.
 
Alexander, despite his fond memories of the tournament, said he would be hard pressed to let one his Gator golfers leave the team behind for the sake of the All-America Classic if the tournament isn't exempt.
 
'I am not going to give that (playing date) up for my best player,' Alexander said. 'I need to make the NCAA championship. That would be pretty tough for me.'
 
The tournament could be played during the summer, though Olivas said it may be difficult to attract the same level of talent because of completing Walker Cup events.
 
Arizona coach Rick LaRose said he hopes NCAA rules officials will see fit to grant the tournament a permanent exemption.
 
'It's the only individual event there is and it's a chance for these kids to have a reward for being an All-American,' LaRose said.
 
It's unclear exactly what prompted the rule change.
 
Olivas said he believes it was an effort to eliminate advantages for schools invited to high-profile events where a competitive advantage can be had. But the in the case of the El Paso tournament, he said, there is no such advantage, because invitations are based on All-American or champion status. And each school that sends a player is given a $1,000 scholarship.
 
Greg Grost, executive director the Golf Coaches Association of America, said the tournament is a victim of poor decision making.
 
'It's typical NCAA politics,' Grost said. 'We got thrown under the bus, in my opinion, because of apathy. We hope the Sun Bowl will be given its exemption back. There is no logical reason it shouldn't.'
 
A final decision is expected to be made sometime next year.
 
In the mean time, Olivas said he and the Sun Bowl Association will continue lobbying the NCAA for a permanent exemption.
 
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

“The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

"Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

“It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

"The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

“I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

“Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

The problem was an expired visa.

Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

“Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

“It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”