Notes Wie Tees Off with Secretary of State Rice
I thought she was really amazing, Wie said. I look up to her because shes a really strong woman. I cant believe I played nine holes with her. She was kind of a beginner, but she was pretty athletic. She actually hit her driver really well. She liked hitting her driver.
Wie said the rest of the day was a blur, although the 16-year-old was in charge of driving the cart.
'I was like, 'If I crash, the secretary of state goes down with me,'' she said.
She said her favorite subject was chemistry because you get to blow stuff up. And her least favorite?
Its kind of hard to say. I think all my teachers read Time, so ...
MASTERS WIVES TALE
Mark Calcavecchia was talking about his plans for the Masters when he mentioned what surely is a first on the PGA Tour. Is there anyone else whose wife has never been to the Masters but who has played Augusta National?
Thats a rarity, he said.
They were dating in 2001 when Calcavecchia played in a silly-season event late that year at Kiawah Island. He and Brenda drove over to Augusta National as the guest of Will Nicholson, chairman of rules and competition.
Calcavecchias wife (they married last year in Italy) grew up in Ohio playing golf and knew all about the Masters, so the reaction was predictable.
She freaked out, he said. And then she teed off.
First hole, the pin was in the same place it was Sunday, that middle hollow to the right, he said. She was up in the back of the green, putting down the hill. I said, This is fast. And we had just been on the putting green, which was kind of shaggy. She putted it 25 yards down the fairway.
It got better. Augusta National has only championship tees and members tees, so the men allowed Brenda to tee off at the top of the hill at No. 11 to giver her a chance. She made par. She hit the green at No. 12 and made par.
Then she makes bogey out of the creek on No. 13, Calcavecchia said. She shot 43 on the back, parred or bogeyed every hole. And she was excited.
Calcavecchia was able to play because he had qualified for the 2002 Masters, the first year of the significant strengthening of the golf course. He missed the cut and hasnt been back since, although he is eligible this year from finishing in the top 40 on the money list last year.
But he hasnt been back to Augusta National with Brenda, so on her next trip, shell have to stay outside the ropes.
Why no practice round?
I havent had the time or the opportunity or anybodys private jet I could borrow, he said.
ROAD TO A RULES OFFICIAL
Tyler Dennis scored well enough on his Rules of Golf exam to help officiate at a Nationwide Tour event when he was 16. He played on the Stanford golf team with Tiger Woods.
But heres where Dennis is different from other PGA Tour rules officials'he will take a leave of absence in September having been accepted to the MBA program at Cambridge.
Dont ask how I became a rules official, he said from the BellSouth Classic.
Dennis grew up in Utah and worked at a golf course where the head pro was a rules official. Dennis took the rules exam during a workshop, and wound up helping at a tournament in Provo where the field included Ernie Els, a 20-year-old from South Africa.
They gave me a cart and a radio and let me help out, he said.
Dennis played one year with Woods at Stanford. Woods left to become the No. 1 player, Dennis stayed and got his degree in mechanical engineering, then spent one year after college as an engineer before joining the Nationwide Tour as a rules official in 2000 and working his way up to the big leagues.
This sound corny, but my dad told me to do something you wanted to do, Dennis said. I think this is a great job. I love the PGA Tour and what it stands for.
And what does he do with a degree from Cambridge?
I not sure what Im going to be doing, Dennis said. But I know Ill be in golf.
Dont look for Darren Clarke at the BellSouth Classic, where many European tour players go the week before the Masters. Dont expect to see him at Augusta National early in the week, either.
Clarke is in the Bahamas this week and said he wont go to the Masters until Tuesday.
Augusta is tough enough, he said. And it will be just as tough when I get there.
Clarke has a place in Grand Abaco, where he and cancer-stricken wife Heather go to relax. She went to the Bahamas when Clarke played at Doral, where he withdrew after a 75 in the first round because of a wrist injury and went to the Caribbean island to join her.
Bone fishing, he said. Thats my Masters preparation. And probably a few beers.
Sergio Garcias 78 continued an ugly trend. He has not broken par in the final round in his five PGA Tour events this year, and his fourth-round scoring average is 75. ... Brad Faxon will take part in the Driving 4 Life Quest for a Cure Open golf tournament May 8 on the TPC at Boston, where proceeds are to help find a cure for Lou Gehrigs disease. Driving 4 Life was founded by Kim Julian, the widow of former PGA Tour player Jeff Julian, who died of ALS. ... Europes 2007 season again will start in China at the end of this year with the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai on Nov. 9-12. The tour then goes to Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia before concluding 2006 with two tournaments in South Africa ending on Dec. 17. ... The Womens Senior Golf Tour has renamed itself The Legends Tour and has four tournaments on the schedule this year, concluding with the Handa Cup on Dec. 16-17 at the World Golf Village.
STAT OF THE WEEK
The Players Championship has not been decided in a playoff since 1987, the longest streak on the PGA Tour.
Its my favorite place to get to and my favorite place to leave. And that was before they screwed the course up.' Mark Calcavecchia, on Augusta National.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it
There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.
There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.
Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.
The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."
Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:
If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.
“The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”
The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.
Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).
We followed our defending champion Toto Gana during his registration! He even did his Donald Duck impression!— LAAC (@LAAC_Golf) January 17, 2018
Acompañamos a Toto Gana, defensor del título, durante todo el proceso de acreditación. ¡Incluso imitó a Donald Duck!#LAAC2018 pic.twitter.com/NGh7hS4cCz
Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in
There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.
Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.
While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.
Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:
1. Brooks Koepka
2. Dustin Johnson
3. Patrick Reed
4. Justin Thomas
5. Jordan Spieth
6. Rickie Fowler
7. Bubba Watson
8. Webb Simpson
9. Bryson DeChambeau
10. Phil Mickelson
11. Matt Kuchar
12. Brian Harman
On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.
Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:
1. Tyrrell Hatton
2. Justin Rose
3. Tommy Fleetwood
4. Francesco Molinari
5. Thorbjorn Olesen
6. Ross Fisher
1. Jon Rahm
2. Rory McIlroy
3. Alex Noren
4. Matthew Fitzpatrick
5. Ian Poulter
6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello
Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win
Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.
Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.
The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.
The second is from Sunday night.
And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.
Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.
Koepka moves to No. 4 in world with U.S. Open win
After successfully defending his U.S. Open title, Brooks Koepka reached a new career high in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Koepka held off Tommy Fleetwood to win by a shot Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player to go back-to-back in nearly 30 years. As a result, he jumped five spots in the latest rankings to No. 4, six spots higher than he reached with last year's U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills.
Fleetwood finished alone in second place and moved up two spots to No. 10, tying his career-best placement. Patrick Reed moved up two spots to No. 11 by finishing fourth, while fifth-place Tony Finau went from No. 37 to No. 31.
It was a largely quiet week in the rankings despite the fact that a major championship was contested. Outside of Koepka and Finau, the only other player inside the top 50 to move up or down more than three spots was Jason Dufner, who went from 53rd to 48th with a T-25 finish.
Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Koepka and Jordan Spieth. Jon Rahm dropped one spot to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Fleetwood rounding out the top 10. Hideki Matsuyama fell two spots to No. 12, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2016.
Despite a missed cut at Shinnecock, Tiger Woods actually moved up one spot to No. 79 in the latest rankings. He plans to play the Quicken Loans National and The Open in the coming weeks, which will be his final two chances to move into the top 50 in time to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The event is being held for the final time this summer at Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won eight times.