Daly gets 3 early starts but no Hope

By Doug FergusonJanuary 6, 2010, 6:18 pm

KAPALUA, Hawaii – John Daly already can count on playing in at least three PGA Tour events during the first two months of the season, quite a change from where he was a year ago.

Daly was in the early stages of a six-month suspension for conduct unbecoming a professional when the 2009 season started, and his future in golf was limited to tournaments in Australia and on the European Tour.

He will start at the Sony Open next week in Honolulu. He said he also received an exemption to the San Diego Open, and that he was in the 156-man field at Pebble Beach next month.

Even so, he was stunned that he did not receive an exemption to the Bob Hope Classic. The tournament gave its unrestricted spots to Rickie Fowler, Rocco Mediate, Jamie Lovemark and David Duval, who shot 59 in the final round of his 1999 victory. Another unrestricted exemption went to Sam Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer.

“That was kind of a shocker they didn’t give me one,” Daly said on Monday. “I felt like I brought a lot of celebrity friends to that tournament. That was kind of a slap in the face. I supported that tournament for all those years. My feelings were hurt there.”

Daly didn’t mind that Palmer’s grandson received one because “those are Palmer’s courses” and the King was so connected to the Hope. He is hopeful of getting spots to Riviera and Phoenix, although he realizes tournaments have plenty of choices.

“It’s tough,” he said. “This is a year I really need favors from a lot of tournaments. I need some loving this year. That’s why I used to do all this stuff for the tournaments. It was always in my mind that I might need some help someday.”

Daly said his Florida swing already includes a start at the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook, where two years ago the two-time major champion was criticized for using former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden as a caddie for a few holes after a rain delay.

En route to Hawaii, Daly stopped by Ping to get fitted for some new irons, although a deal was not imminent and Daly said he was not in a hurry. He last played Ping when he won the 1991 PGA Championship.

Looking back, Daly said the suspension had its benefits. The time off led him to get lap-band surgery, and he has lost 115 pounds (52 kilograms) over the last nine months.


SPECIAL GUEST: During his whirlwind travels in December, when Y.E. Yang found time for a round of golf that he won’t soon forget. Making good on a pledge a week after winning the PGA Championship, he played with former President George W. Bush.

Yang met Bush in August during a trip to the TaylorMade facility in Carlsbad, California, and since they live relatively close to each other in Dallas, they arranged to play.

The round took place at Brook Hollow, and it turns out Bush is very much like his father when it comes to pace of play.

“Very fast,” Yang said. “We had a fivesome and played in three hours.”

Yang said Bush played off about a 12 handicap and said he shot 85.

“He was a nice guy, very fun to play with,” Yang said.


AWARDS: Tom Watson and Ken Green will share the Ben Hogan Award from the Golf Writers Association of America for continuing to stay active in golf despite a physical handicap or serious illness.

Green lost the lower part of his right leg when his recreational vehicle ran off a road in Mississippi and killed his brother and his girlfriend. Green has been fitted with a prosthesis and hopes to resume his career on the Champions Tour. Watson had hip replacement surgery, and eight months later nearly became golf’s oldest major champion at 59 until losing in a playoff at the British Open.

It was the first time the Ben Hogan Award ended in a tie.

Padraig Harrington was honored with the ASAPSports/Jim Murray Award for his cooperation with the media, while golf course architect Pete Dye won the William D. Richardson Award for consistent and outstanding contributions to golf.

They will be honored at the GWAA Awards Dinner on April 7 in Augusta, Georgia.


A WINNER IN TIGER’S CAMP: At least one member of Tiger Woods’ team has reason to celebrate these days.

Steve Williams, who races cars on a dirt track when he’s not caddying for golf’s No. 1 player, made it through a series of qualifying races to a 24-car field and won the New Zealand Saloon Car Championship last weekend.

That made him the first driver to win the Saloon Car Championship and the Super Saloon Car Championship, which he captured in 2006. Next up is a chance to win his third straight race at the Super Saloon this weekend as he tries to become the first driver to hold both titles in the same season.

As for when he might return to his other job? Williams offered no insight in a telephone interview on Tuesday.


LONG WALK: Players are allowed to use carts during the practice rounds and the pro-am at the SBS Championship because of the massive elevation changes on the Plantation Course at Kapalua.

So why was Retief Goosen’s caddie wiping sweat from his brow after nine holes?

“I walked,” he said while catching his breath. “The ninth hole is the worst.”

Goosen said he has spent plenty of time in the gym, but wanted to get used to walking a golf course. It was bad enough that he had his caddie go for a long and hilly walk. He also had 17 clubs in the bag.

Ryan Moore also chose to walk during the practice rounds.

DIVOTS: Geoff Ogilvy is sporting a new look at Kapalua – Titleist on his cap instead of Cobra, Foot-Joys on his feet instead of Puma, and he shaved, which he didn’t do at all last year. Ogilvy said he was not able to renew his deal with Puma. … Seven players are making their debut at the SBS Championship. Even more alarming is that only seven players are in the winners-only field for the second straight year. … The Sony Open next week in Honolulu got a big boost this week when Ernie Els and Vijay Singh committed to play.

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Watch: Woods uses computer code to make robotic putt

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 3:10 pm

Robots have been plotting their takeover of the golf world for some time.

First it was talking trash to Rory McIlroy, then it was making a hole-in-one at TPC Scottsdale's famous 16th hole ... and now they're making putts for Tiger Woods.

Woods tweeted out a video on Tuesday draining a putt without ever touching the ball:

The 42-year-old teamed up with a computer program to make the putt, and provided onlookers with a vintage Tiger celebration, because computers can't do that ... yet.

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Woods admits fatigue played factor in Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:35 pm

There was plenty of speculation about Tiger Woods’ health in the wake of the U.S. team’s loss to Europe at last month’s Ryder Cup, and the 14-time major champ broke his silence on the matter during a driving range Q&A at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach on Tuesday.

Woods, who went 0-4 in Paris, admitted he was tired because he wasn’t ready to play so much golf this season after coming back from a fourth back surgery.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

The topic of conversation then shifted to what's next, with Woods saying he's just starting to plan out his future schedule, outside of "The Match" with Phil Mickelson over Thanksgiving weekend and his Hero World Challenge in December.

“I’m still figuring that out,” Woods said. “Flying out here yesterday trying to look at the schedule, it’s the first time I’ve taken a look at it. I’ve been so focused on getting through the playoffs and the Ryder Cup that I just took a look at the schedule and saw how packed it is.”

While his exact schedule remains a bit of a mystery, one little event in April at Augusta National seemed to be on his mind already.

When asked which major he was most looking forward to next year, Woods didn't hesitate with his response, “Oh, that first one.”

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Podcast: Fujikawa aims to offer 'hope' by coming out

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 17, 2018, 12:03 pm

Tadd Fujikawa first made golf history with his age. Now he's doing it with his recent decision to openly discuss his sexuality.

Last month Fujikawa announced via Instagram that he is gay, becoming the first male professional to come out publicly. Now 27, he has a different perspective on life than he did when he became the youngest U.S. Open participant in 2006 at Winged Foot at age 15, or when he made the cut at the Sony Open a few months later.

Joining as the guest on the latest Golf Channel podcast, Fujikawa discussed with host Will Gray the reception to his recent announcement - as well as some of the motivating factors that led the former teen phenom to become somewhat of a pioneer in the world of men's professional golf.

"I just want to let people know that they're enough, and that they're good exactly as they are," Fujikawa said. "That they don't need to change who they are to fit society's mold. Especially in the golf world where it's so, it's not something that's very common."

The wide-ranging interview also touched on Fujikawa's adjustment to life on golf-centric St. Simons Island, Ga., as well as some of his hobbies outside the game. But he was also candid about the role that anxiety and depression surrounding his sexuality had on his early playing career, admitting that he considered walking away from the game "many, many times" and would have done so had it not been for the support of friends and family.

While professional golf remains a priority, Fujikawa is also embracing the newfound opportunity to help others in a similar position.

"Hearing other stories, other athletes, other celebrities, my friends. Just seeing other people come out gave me a lot of hope in times when I didn't feel like there was a lot of hope," he said. "For me personally, it was something that I've wanted to do for a long time, and something I'm very passionate about. I really want to help other people who are struggling with that similar issue. And if I can change lives, that's really my goal."

For more from Fujikawa, click below or click here to download the podcast and subscribe to future episodes:

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Davies takes 2-shot lead into final round of Senior LPGA

By Associated PressOctober 17, 2018, 2:00 am

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies recovered from a pair of early bogeys Tuesday for a 2-under 70 that gave her a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Senior LPGA Championship as she goes for a second senior major.

In slightly warmer weather on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort, the 55-year-old Davies played bogey-free over the last 11 holes and was at 6-under 138. Brandi Burton had a 66, the best score of the tournament, and was two shots behind.

Silvia Cavalleri (69) and Jane Crafter (71) were three shots behind at 141.

Juli Inkster, who was one shot behind Davies starting the second round, shot 80 to fall 11 shots behind.

''I had a couple of bogeys early on, but I didn't panic,'' Davies said. ''I'm playing with a bit of confidence now and that's good to have going into the final round.''

Davies already won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open this summer at Chicago Golf Club.