Rakegate Dominates Memorial Talk

By Associated PressJune 1, 2006, 4:00 pm
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Day One of Rakegate left dozens of the world's top players at the Memorial Tournament frustrated and angry.
In case you've missed the tempest in a tee box, course designer and tournament founder Jack Nicklaus decided late last week to snap off every other tine on the bunker rakes at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
That might not sound as if it would lead to golf's Armageddon, but the change transformed the perfectly manicured and smooth traps into furrowed demons, to hear most of the players tell it Thursday.
Jeff Maggert suggested that if Nicklaus wanted to make the course harder, he should have narrowed the fairways. As it was, Maggert said, 'to try to kind of manufacture something is Mickey Mouse.'
Nicklaus said he made the change to help players such as Maggert -- shorter hitters who are able to shape shots and spin the ball.
'I was trying to equalize the game,' Nicklaus said during the ESPN telecast. 'I think the game was about 80 percent shotmaking and 20 percent power when I played. Power has always been an advantage and always will be. But I don't like to see it 80 percent power and 20 percent shotmaking.'
He said the rake and bunker changes 'give guys who don't hit the ball nine miles a better opportunity to play a golf tournament and be on a par with guys like Tiger Woods.'
Woods, a three-time winner of the Memorial, isn't playing this year because of the death of his father. Nicklaus isn't playing either, for the first time in the tournament's 31 years.
Yet plenty of long and short hitters alike complained about the rakes.
After finishing a 74, Ernie Els said the bunkers were extremely penal.
'You're either lucky or unlucky. If you're unlucky, you have no shot, basically,' he said. 'I don't care how good of a bunker player you are, you have no shot. But I guess that's what they want.'
The new rakes create deeper, wider lines in the traps. In addition, most of the traps are raked perpendicular to line of flight to the green. So any time a ball enters the sand, it invariably nestles to the bottom of a rake line, with a ridge of sand resting tightly against the ball both in front and back.
'This is the best-groomed golf course, and I can't believe they would do the bunkers like this,' Robert Allenby said after a 71. 'It already was hard to get the ball tight. I don't think anyone likes it who is playing this tournament.'
The PGA Tour does not have specific requirements for sand, rakes and bunkers. The rakes and the style of raking won't change for the remainder of the Memorial, then will be evaluated later after listening to the players and studying statistics.
'This is a test, not a policy,' said Slugger White, a tour rules official. 'Maybe in hindsight, we should have prepped the players a little earlier. If that's a mistake, we can live with it.'
'We'll see how this plays out. We've taken some criticism. We'll just go forward. It's change. Everyone's a little bit stubborn when it comes to change.'
Nicklaus said that the new rakes and method of raking was a trial run for other stops on the PGA TOUR.
'I don't believe that,' said Brad Faxon, who had a 73. 'I just don't think these bunkers were that easy to begin with, you know? I don't mind, because I'm a good bunker player. So it wouldn't bother me, but I don't think this place is broken, either.'
Nick Price shot a 69 and then ripped the bunkers.
'It's kind of a waste, because he (Nicklaus) has such beautiful sand in the bunkers,' Price said. 'Why put beautiful sand in the bunkers if you're going to rake them with these rakes? You might as well put crappy sand in there.'
As might be expected, Sean O'Hair, who shot a 5-under 65, didn't see anything wrong anywhere on the course. Then again, he didn't hit many shots off line.
'The thing is, they're bunkers -- they're hazards,' he said. 'A lot of guys are complaining about it and saying they're too difficult. But bunkers are supposed to be difficult, or at least that's the attitude I have. Now, if I hit in about 20 of them tomorrow, I'm probably going to have a different outlook on it.'
Without question all the talk this week has many players dwelling far too much on bunkers and sand and rakes instead of more important matters with greater impact on a round.
'If you want to keep your job out here, you've got to get past it,' Joey Sindelar said after a 73. 'The traps are not easy, so stay out of them.'
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”