Change at Cypress Point
Inarguably, one of the best persons in golf is Jim Langley, the man who holds that job.
Langley was in attendance at The World Golf Hall of Fame in Florida Monday night when Cypress Points architect, the great Alister Mackenzie, was inducted posthumously.
As usual, Langleys presence caused little stir. It rarely does. But his absence from Cypress Point will be noted by anybody'member or guest'who has ever gained the privilege of playing a round at the course that has come to be known as The Sistine Chapel of Golf.
The news here is that Langley, 65, is retiring in December after 31 years at Mackenzies enchanting design. Langley, an ex-Marine, was a senior on the 1959 Cal basketball team coached by the legendary Pete Newell that beat Jerry West and Wests West Virginia Mountaineers to win the NCAA championship. Langley married a Cal pom-pom girl who he now refers to as a saint, an exceptional lady.
Life has not cheated Jim Langley although you could argue the case. Fifteen years ago he was involved in a serious car accident while traveling with Bill Borland, who was the Cypress Point club president at the time. Langley sustained serious injuries to his arm and shoulder and hand. He now plays golf with one arm.
Not long ago Langley said this to an interviewer when asked about the ordeal. It was a great experience. It really was. I learned something that perhaps I wouldnt have learned before. You take things for granted in life and we all know since 9/11 that things change instantly.
The members at Cypress Point have been trying to honor Langley these days. And he has been resisting. Politely. He is self-effacing. Or, as one of his assistants, Terry McPartlan told me this week, He is the epitome of humility.
Twice I have had the opportunity to visit and play Cypress Point as a guest. On each occasion I approached the beginning of the round with no small trepidation. Cypress Point is one of those few places in golf where the phrase hallowed ground appropriately applies. It is also famously private.
Within seconds of entering Langleys small pro shop, I was made to feel at ease. And there was nothing obsequious about the way Langley greeted our group.
Now Langley is moving on. His replacement will be Casey Reamer, a PGA of America club pro who, most recently, served as Cypress Points caddymaster. Like Langley, Reamer grew up in California. And like Langley, Reamer will be 34 when he takes over.
Langleys legacy will be his quiet and effortless insistence on treating everyone the same. This is a neat trick at a place peopled, on a daily basis, by captains and kings.
You can expect Reamer to follow the same blueprint.
Langley once said the toughest part of the job was fielding calls'about 20 a day'from people wanting to play Cypress Point. All for good reasons, he said.
Langley also once said the reason he got the job at Cypress Point all those years ago was because he was in the right place at the right time.
Actually, Im thinking it was the other way around when it came to Jim Langley. Im thinking Cypress Point was in the right place at the right time.
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Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated” while taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.
Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor, he made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.
Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).
Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.
“I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.
Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”
“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”
Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.
“No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.
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Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.
Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.
“We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.
To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.
“I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”
Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.
“Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”
The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.
“We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.
Van Rooyen continues links run with impressive 67
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For Erik van Rooyen familiarity has not bred contempt.
The South African, like many European Tour players, has been on a links golf odyssey the last three weeks, playing the Irish Open, Scottish Open and this week’s Open Championship in consecutive weeks, and the crash course paid off on Day 1 at Carnoustie when he opened with a 4-under 67 to assure himself a spot among the early leaders.
Although van Rooyen missed the cut last week just down the coast at Gullane Golf Club, he entered the final round in Ireland with a four-stroke lead.
“I didn't pull it off the final day,” said van Rooyen, who closed with a 74 to tie for fourth place. “I still think I played pretty well. I was nervous. That's completely normal, and I'll learn how to deal with that. I'll take that experience into tournaments like this.”
Van Rooyen, who was alone in second place when he completed his round, began his round with back-to-back birdies and was bogey-free until the last hole. It was just what one would expect from a player who has immersed himself in links golf for the better part of a month.
“We've been playing nice golf now the last three weeks, so definitely used to the way this course is playing, definitely used to handling the wind,” he said. “So I'll be ready.”