Notes Leftys Coach Brings Space-Age Technology

By Associated PressJune 12, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenOAKMONT, Pa. -- The USGA measures the speed of greens at Oakmont with a stick called the 'Stimpmeter,' a device created by a Harvard graduate named Edward Stimpson who was intrigued by putts that rolled off the putting surface at the 1935 U.S. Open.
 
Dave Pelz brought far more sophisticated technology.
 
The short-game guru for Phil Mickelson looked like he was on his way to a construction site while walking with his client Tuesday in the practice round, carrying a brief case and attaching a tape measure to his belt.
 
Pelz is a former NASA scientist who has developed what he calls the 'Pelzmeter,' a contraption that contains a $150,000 computer chip to measure speed and slope on the greens.
 
The Stimpmeter, now used so often that it is part of the golf vernacular, essentially is a hand-held stick in which the ball rolls down the device and onto a relatively flat portion of the green. If it travels 12 feet, a green is said to be running 12 on the Stimpmeter.
 
Pelz' device is more of a box that stands about 18 inches high and uses levers to control the release of three golf balls. It measures not only speed but slope, and he says the accuracy is far superior to any stick.
 
'It's calibrated to the inch,' Mickelson said. 'I know what speed each green is.'
 
Pelz refused to share any of the readings, saying the information was for Mickelson only. Standing behind the second tee, Mickelson saw him talking to three reporters and came over to make sure everything was hush-hush.
 
Satisfied with that, Lefty turned amusingly sarcastic.
 
'I'd much rather use a stick created 71 years ago. Twenty years before NASA? Thanks. Great,' he said, giving a mock thumbs-up.
 
The situation really turned comical on the green, when two USGA officials showed up with a Stimpmeter as they searched for possible hole locations, and Pelz took out the 'Pelzmeter' from his briefcase and went to work.
 
It was Xbox on one side of the green, Atari on the other.
 
'He spent $150,000 on this computer chip, and it has a mathematic computation that allows him to measure greens on any surface regardless of slope and pitch,' Mickelson said. 'With his meter, it's calibrated to the inch.'
 
Mickelson shed some light on the findings, saying some greens were significantly faster than others -- without naming which greens.
 
'I had one as fast as 15.6 and one as slow as 11.2, and that's 4 1/2 feet of difference right there,' Mickelson said. 'It's important that I have that information to know going into these greens.'
 
Pelz and Mickelson had a spirited discussion with Tim Moraghan, the agronomist for the USGA, and later with Mike Davis, the senior director or rules and competition who sets up the golf course.
 
'His readings are so significantly different from ours that you almost had to think we were using different mowers,' Davis said.
 
But he's OK with his Atari.
 
Davis points out that some greens might be faster because they are elevated, more exposed to the sun (No. 3), or in a hollow, shaded by trees. He also said the Stimpmeter number is an average of all 18 greens.
 
'At the end of the day, it's played on natural grass,' he said.
 
MONTY'S BAG MAN:
Colin Montgomerie and his longtime caddie are history for now, and the three-time U.S. Open runner-up is hopeful some past history will help him.
 
Montgomerie didn't have time to arrange for another caddie, so he hired one from Oakmont.
 
The looper for the week is Bill Goddard, who has been at Oakmont for 49 years and caddied for Miller Barber in 1973. Barber was paired in the final round with Johnny Miller, who shot 63 to win the U.S. Open.
 
'He knows these greens better than anyone,' Montgomerie said.
 
Not lost on Monty was the year his regular caddie, Alastair McLean, had to skip the Masters in 1998 because of a bad back. He went on to tie for eighth that year, his only top 10 at the Masters. And he also pointed out that Ben Crenshaw continues to use a local caddie at Augusta National, and he's done quite well.
 
It's not like Montgomerie didn't have other offers. The first one came from the airplane pilot on his trip to Oakmont.
 
'I told him, 'I'll have to do well to beat your salary,'' Montgomerie said.
 
He then saw Lee Westwood walking by, and asked if he could join him for a practice round.
 
'I'm not caddying for you,' Westwood replied.
 
KEYSTONE TIGER:
Tiger Woods will be playing in Pennsylvania for the first time as a professional at the U.S. Open, and he can only hope it goes better than the last time he played in the Keystone State.
 
Woods played the famed Sunnehanna Amateur in 1992 when he was 16, finishing in fifth.
 
'Allen Doyle beat me by about five shots,' Woods said.
 
Just his luck, Doyle is also at Oakmont this week as the reigning U.S. Senior Open champion.
 
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT:
Ernie Els and Tiger Woods have different philosophies when it comes to preparing for golf tournaments.
 
Take the famed Church Pew bunkers at Oakmont.
 
Woods was asked Tuesday if he has played out of the large bunker filled with strips of grass between the third and fourth fairways.
 
'No,' he replied.
 
Has he dropped a ball in the bunkers to at least see what the shot would be like?
 
'I don't really think that you should be practicing negativity,' he said. 'You're not going to place the golf ball there, and if you do make a mistake there, you just basically are going to wedge out, anyway.'
 
Els never found the Church Pew bunkers in five rounds when he won the U.S. Open in 1994, opting for a 2-iron down the fairway for position on No. 3, and keeping it well to the right on No. 4.
 
But he practices out of them to be ready.
 
'Absolutely,' Els said. 'That's what we play practice rounds. You hit all kinds of different shots. You never know what's going to happen under pressure. We kind of lose it sometimes.'
 
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    How to watch The Open on TV and online

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 16, 2018, 9:00 am

    You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

    Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

    In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on GolfChannel.com.  

    Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

    (All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

    Monday, July 16

    GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

    GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


    Tuesday, July 17

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


    Wednesday, July 18

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


    Thursday, July 19

    GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

    GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


    Friday, July 20

    GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


    Saturday, July 21

    GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


    Sunday, July 22

    GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

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    Davies wins by 10 on 'best ball-striking round'

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 1:53 am

    WHEATON, Ill. - Laura Davies immediately recognized the significance of having her name inscribed on the first U.S. Senior Women's Open trophy.

    It might be a long time before anyone secures the title as emphatically as Davies did.

    Davies went virtually unchallenged in Sunday's final round of the inaugural USGA championship for women 50 and older, claiming the title by 10 strokes over Juli Inkster.

    ''It's great seeing this (trophy) paraded down for the very first time and I get my name on it first, you know?'' Davies said. ''This championship will be played for many years and there will only be one first winner - obviously a proud moment for me to win that.''

    The 54-year-old Davies shot a 5-under 68 to finish at 16-under 276 at Chicago Golf Club.

    It was the English player's 85th career win, and she felt the pressure even though her lead was rarely in danger.

    ''I haven't won for eight years - my last win was India, 2010,'' Davies said. ''So that's the pressure you're playing under, when you're trying to do something for yourself, prove to yourself you can still win.

    ''So this ranks highly up there. And obviously it's a USGA event. It's hard comparing tournaments, but this is very high on my list of achievements.''

    A 7-under 66 Saturday provided Davies with a five-shot lead over Inkster and what she said would be a sleepless night worrying about the pressure.


    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


    The World Golf Hall of Famer widened her advantage early Sunday when she birdied the par-5 second hole and Inkster made bogey. Davies said a par she salvaged at the 10th was another turning point.

    ''It wasn't the greatest hole I ever played, but I think that, to me, was when I really started to think I might have one hand on the trophy and just had to get the other one in there.''

    Inkster shot an even-par 73. England's Trish Johnson also shot 73 to finish third, 12 shots back.

    ''I mean, she was absolutely spectacular this week,'' Johnson said about Davies. ''I've played against her for 35 years. Yesterday was the best I have ever seen her play in her entire career.

    ''She just said walking down 18 it was best ball-striking round she ever had. Considering she's won 85 tournaments, that's quite some feat.''

    Danielle Ammaccapane was fourth and Yuko Saito finished fifth. Martha Leach was the top amateur, tying for 10th at 6-over 298.

    Davies plans to play in the Women's British Open next month, and called this win a confidence-booster as she continues to compete against the younger generation. She finished tied for second at the LPGA's Bank of Hope Founders Cup earlier this year.

    ''You build up a little bit of momentum, and a golf course is a golf course,'' Davies said. ''Sometimes the field strength is a little bit different, but in your own mind if you've done something like this, 16 under for four rounds around a proper championship course, it can't do anything but fill you full of confidence.''

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    Romo rallies to win American Century Championship

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:42 am

    SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

    Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.

    ''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''

    Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.

    The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

    Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.


    Full-field scores from the American Century Championship


    ''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''

    Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.

    Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.

    Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.

    Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.

    The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.

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    Singh tops Maggert in playoff for first senior major

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:10 am

    HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Vijay Singh hit a perfect approach to set up the winning playoff birdie. His celebration as the ball rolled into the cup was nowhere near as spectacular.

    Singh closed the door on Jeff Maggert on the second playoff hole to win the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Sunday, giving an understated fist pump as his birdie putt dropped from about 2 feet. It was the first major title on the PGA Tour Champions for the 55-year-old Fijian, a past winner of the Masters and two PGA Championships.

    ''It's a little different,'' Singh said. ''It's a senior major, you know, so it's - any time you win a tournament no matter what it is, you feel accomplishment, and that's what I feel. I feel like I played well, and it's a win. A win is a win.''

    Singh (67) and Maggert (68) finished at 20-under 268 at Exmoor Country Club. Brandt Jobe (66) was two strokes behind, while Jerry Kelly (64) and defending champion Scott McCarron (71) finished at 17 under.

    Maggert began the day tied with McCarron and Bart Bryant for the lead. Singh was one shot back, but a crowd at the top of the leaderboard thinned out, turning it into a two-man race.

    ''I wasn't really watching the scoreboard or Vijay,'' Maggert said. ''Like I said, I thought I needed to shoot 5-, 6-, 7-under today to really kind of ice it. So I was really focused in on making seven or eight birdies today. ... You know, I thought some other scores would come into play there toward the end, but the last two or three groups looked like they were struggling, other than me and Vijay.''

    Singh and Maggert posted identical scores through the first 15 holes. But Maggert bogeyed 16, and then missed chances to win in regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    His 15-footer on the 72nd hole rolled wide, forcing the playoff, and a downhill 12-footer on the same green went just past the edge.

    ''We played toe-to-toe all day,'' Maggert said. ''He hit a nice shot on 18, and I had a chance to make a few putts throughout the day, but they just didn't go in.''


    Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players


    Singh made just one bogey this week, and that came in the third round. He had five birdies Sunday and made some neat par saves to get into the playoff.

    His tee shot on 17 landed near the trees to the right of the fairway, and his approach on 18 wound up in a bunker. But Singh blasted to within a few feet to match Maggert's par and send a senior major to a playoff for the first time since the 2015 Regions Tradition.

    Singh played sporadically on the over-50 tour during his first few years of eligibility but is playing more often against men his age these days.

    ''To win the first major on this tour, I'm really excited about that,'' Singh said. ''Winning my first tournament at the beginning of the year was big, and now I've won this one, so I look forward to winning a lot more now. I always say, the first one, you get the first one out of the way, you can win a lot more after that.''

    McCarron was trying to join Arnold Palmer and Bernhard Langer as the only back-to-back winners of this major. He came back from a six-shot deficit to win at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year and got off to a good start on Sunday.

    He birdied the first two holes to reach 18 under. But bogeys on the par-4 seventh and ninth holes knocked him off the lead. His tee shot on No. 7 rolled into a hole at the base of a tree and forced him to take an unplayable lie.

    Bryant (72) and Kenny Perry (68) finished in a pack at 16 under. Illinois golf coach Mike Small (71) finished one shot behind them, while three-time champion Bernhard Langer closed with a 74 to finish at 12 under after starting the day two strokes back.