Notes Rules May Keep Lefty Out of BellSouth

By Associated PressMarch 27, 2005, 5:00 pm
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Horrible weather at The Players Championship, and PGA Tour rules might keep Phil Mickelson out of the BellSouth Classic.
Mickelson was four strokes off the lead after two rounds of The Players Championship, which could be stretched until Tuesday because of rain. That means Mickelson's expected practice rounds at Augusta National early this week might get pushed to Wednesday at the earliest, and make him unavailable for the BellSouth's pro-am.
PGA rules are clear: if you miss the pro-am without an excused absence, you can't play that week.
'There's a good chance I'll end up playing Augusta on Wednesday and that means I won't be able to play' at TPC at Sugarloaf, Mickelson said Sunday.
Mickelson, the defending Masters champion, said he's not a fan of the PGA Tour's pro-am rule because it affects only those scheduled to play in the pre-tournament event and not all competitors.
'I don't think it's a legitimate rule,' he said. 'I think the punishment should not affect the competition itself.'
Henry Hughes, chief of operations for the PGA Tour, said he didn't anticipate any exceptions to the pro-am policy just because a tournament ends on Monday, or even Tuesday.
'I would think that does not have any impact,' Hughes said. 'It's not a cross-country trip. I don't see any conflict.'
Earlier this year, U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen overslept, missed his pro-am tee time at the Nissan Open and was disqualified at the Riviera Country Club.
The rule went into effect before last season. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said in the two years before that, 'we averaged 54 total no-shows' for pro-ams.
'We went from that to last year, two DQs,' Finchem said.
Pro-ams are significant revenue streams for tournaments. A spot in the March 30 pro-am at the Tournament Players Club at Sugarloaf cost $4,950, according to the tournament's Web site.
Goosen was the only disqualification so far this season. Finchem says there have been no excused absences.
As problematic as disqualifying a player can be, Finchem says 'there's always a silver lining in just about everything. I think it's really got the players focused on the regulation and the importance of making your tee time on Wednesday.'
Steve Jones seemed as happy to close out a second-round 77 Sunday at The Players Championship as he was with his first-round 64.
'Hey, I made it, I finished the round,' Jones said, big smile on his face.
He waved his arms in the air after finally reaching reach the halfway point at TPC at Sawgrass' Stadium Course. When you're 46 and off the PGA Tour radar for two years with a tennis elbow injury, any tournament golf is good golf.
'I felt so good Friday and even yesterday,' Jones said. 'You try and hold on to that good feeling, that good swing.'
He was tied for the lead when he left the course Saturday midway through the second round. Jones' last nine holes were nothing short of a golfing disaster. He had back-to-back double bogeys on the 11th and 12th holes and three more bogeys coming in for a closing 43. He fell seven shots off the pace.
No matter what happens at The Players, the former U.S. Open champion is pleased with his progress.
'I got to rethink some of my strategies on the fairways,' he said. 'I'll take a lot from this. I've got to play the back nine again real quick, so maybe I can improve myself.'
That's what Jones did, finishing seven shots better with a 36 before the third round was halted.
Now that's going down swinging.
Andre Stolz came to the 18th -- and the final hole of his first Players Championship -- Sunday morning after back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th holes.
He must have felt the adreneline since he proceeded to pump three tee shots into the large lake along the left side of the difficult hole.
Finally, on his fourth tee shot, Stolz hit dry land in the right rough. By that time he was on his seventh stroke. It took two more to hit the green.
Two putts later, Stolz -- who made seven birdies during the round -- closed with an 11.
He ended with a 76 and a two-round total of 10-over 154.
Stolz, a 34-year-old Australian who won the Michelin Championship at Las Vegas last season, has missed the cut in six of his eight events this year.
Hal Sutton, who won the 2000 Players Championship, did not return to Sawgrass' Stadium Course to finish his second round Sunday morning, citing a hip injury. ... Vijay Singh was 5 under par after the first round. In the 29 holes he's played since, Singh has only two birdies. ... Graeme McDowell's caddie thought his man was getting ready to tee off on No. 4 when he saw three kids walking down the left side of a cartpath. 'Stand on the path please,' the caddie called out. The kids immediately came to a halt. Only later did the caddie realize McDowell was waiting for the fairway to clear -- and one of the kids was the son of Davis Love III.
Related Links:
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    Rose (64) peaking just ahead of the U.S. Open

    By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:40 pm

    A former U.S. Open champion appears to be finding his form just three weeks ahead of the year's second major.

    Justin Rose ascended to the top of the leaderboard Friday at the Fort Worth Invitational, with rounds of 66-64 pushing him to 10 under par for the week.

    Through 36 at Colonial, Rose has marked 12 birdies against just two bogeys.

    "Yeah, I did a lot of good things today," Rose said. "I think, you know, the end of my round got a little scrappy, but until the last three holes it was pretty flawless. I think I hit every fairway pretty much and obviously every green to that point. ...

    "Yeah, the way I played through, I guess through my first 15 holes today, was about as good as I've played in a long time."

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    Rose won in back-to-back weeks last fall, stunning Dustin Johnson at the WGC-HSBC Championship and riding that victory right into another at the Turkish Airlines Open.

    Now the 2013 U.S. Open winner at Merion feels himself once again rounding into form ahead of this year's Open at Shinnecock. A final-round 66 at The Players gave Rose something to focus on in his recent practice sessions with swing coach Sean Foley, as the two work to shore up the timing of Rose's transition into the downswing.

    As for his decision to tee it up at Colonial for the first time since 2010, "It was more the run of form really," Rose explained. "I feel like if I didn't play here it was going to be a little spotty going into the U.S. Open. I felt like I wanted to play enough golf where I would have a good read on my game going into Shinnecock.

    "So rather than the venue it was more the timing, but it's obviously it's just such a bonus to be on a great layout like this."

    For whatever reason, Rose does tend to play his best golf at iconic venues, having won PGA Tour events at Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional.

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    Koepka (63): Two wrist dislocations in two months

    By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:19 pm

    Brook Koepka's journey back from a wrist injury that kept him out four months hasn't been totally smooth sailing, even if his play has suggested otherwise.

    Koepka on Friday fired a 7-under 63 to move up the leaderboard into a tie for third, three shots behind leader Justin Rose through the end of the morning wave at the Fort Worth Invitational.

    After a slow start Thursday saw him play his first 13 holes 3 over, Koepka is 10 under with 11 birdies in his last 23 holes at Colonial.

    "It doesn't matter to me. I could care less. I'm still going to try as hard as I can," Koepka said. "I don't care how many over or how many under I am. Still going to fight through it."

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    Just like he's been fighting his wrist the last two months or so. Koepka reinjured his wrist the Wednesday of The Players when he was practicing on the range and had to halt mid-swing after a golf cart drove in front of him. He nonetheless managed to finish T-11.

    And that's not the only issue he's had with that wrist during his return.

    "We had a bone pop out of place. I didn't tell anybody, but, yeah, they popped it back in," Koepka admitted Friday. "Luckily enough we kind of popped it back into place right away so it wasn't stiff and I didn't have too, too many problems.

    "Yeah. I mean, I've dislocated my wrist twice in the last two months. You know, different spots, but, I mean, it's fun. I'll be all right."

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    Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

    By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

    Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

    On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

    In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

    Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

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    Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

    Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

    He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

    McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

    "That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

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