Notes: AimPoint users need to be careful

By Doug FergusonSeptember 8, 2015, 10:16 pm

NORTON, Mass. - Ian Poulter and Kevin Chappell played together at the Deutsche Bank Championship, and their birdie putts on the par-5 second hole during the second round were significant mainly because of how they read the greens.

Both use AimPoint Express, only Poulter had to do without on this occasion. He was just under 20 feet away. Chappell was about 12 feet away, and his marker was in the line of where Poulter ordinarily would have straddled the line of his own putt to feel the slope of the green.

''I thought it may go right-to-left, but I couldn't tell until I hit it that I picked the wrong line,'' Poulter said.

Poulter has been using the method since January, joining a growing list of players that includes Adam Scott, Stacy Lewis and Hunter Mahan. It has become so popular that the R&A and USGA published a joint statement at the start of the year that cautioned players of one pitfall.

One part of AimPoint Express is to pick an area halfway toward the hole where the feet can feel the slope (and from there players will hold up one or two fingers to help them figure out where to start the putt).

Rule 16-1a, however, makes it illegal for players to touch the line of their putts, which is defined as the line players want their balls to take and includes a ''reasonable distance on either side of the intended line.''

The European Tour went so far as to post a video explaining how the rule can be breeched if players are not careful. The variance of the line will be greater on longer putts than the shorter ones. No one is believed to have been penalized yet (two-stroke penalty or loss of hole in match play).

''You can't stand in your own line, but your own line is vague,'' Chappell said. ''When it first became big, it came up. They were going to try to outlaw it a few years ago, and then it became like, 'OK, your line from 4 feet is much smaller and precise than your line from 40 feet.' But it would be pretty hard to stand in your line from 40 feet and have them prove you have an advantage.

''I haven't been warned, but I've had discussions about it.''

FINAL MAJOR: The Evian Masters this week in France is the fifth and final major on the LPGA Tour schedule, and it presents another opportunity for an unprecedented feat. Only it doesn't involve Inbee Park.

Park won the Women's British Open last month at Turnberry for her fourth different major, and now she goes after the career Grand Slam (all five majors) at Evian.

But she wouldn't be the first woman to do that.

Karrie Webb won her first major at the du Maurier Classic outside Calgary in 1999, and she wrapped up the career Grand Slam over the next two years (Kraft Nabisco, U.S. Women's Open, LPGA Championship). But when tobacco sponsorship became an issue, the du Maurier was replaced by the Women's British Open, and Webb won that (at Turnberry) in 2002. That gave her what the LPGA referred to at the time as the ''Super Slam.''

If the Australian can win the Evian Masters for a career Grand Slam of six majors, the LPGA may as well called it the Karrie Slam.

LONG YEAR: Carlos Ortiz of Mexico finished his rookie year on the PGA Tour sooner than he wanted after a season that felt much longer than he imagined. The 24-year-old from Guadalajara can't recall playing so much golf in his life. The Deutsche Bank Championship was his 30th event.

''I thought it was bad in college,'' Ortiz said of his schedule. ''I played seven weeks in a row. It's too much. It becomes work. Hopefully, next year I can play better and have more breaks.''

He fell into the same trap of so many rookies who need a week off but are concerned about their position in the FedEx Cup or money list. As long as they're at home, they are giving up a chance at points or money.

Ortiz didn't miss a cut in four starts last fall, and he tied for ninth in Mexico. But his Fedex Cup standing fell out of the top 100 in the summer and he kept playing until he began the playoffs at No. 112 and needed a good week at The Barclays to advance. He was in good shape going into the final round until he opened with a quadruple-bogey 8.

''One of the worst experiences of my life,'' Ortiz said. ''I wanted to cry.''

Instead, he bounced back to play the rest of the round in 1 under and made it to the TPC Boston. This time, he wasn't so fortunate. Ortiz made four straight birdies early in the final round to get inside the projected top 70, only to make triple bogey at No. 9 and shoot 41 on the back nine for a 76. He had the look of a tired golfer.

Next year might not be much easier. Ortiz is likely to make the Olympic team for Mexico.

DIVOTS: Now that the LPGA has gone through the inaugural International Crown, it is moving back the dates to qualify so the cutoff is closer to when the event is played. The eight countries will be determined by the world ranking after the first LPGA major of the year at the ANA Inspiration. The four players who qualify for each team will be determined after the second major in June at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. The tournament will be July 19-24 at Rich Harvest Farms southwest of Chicago. ... Keegan Bradley closed with a 69 to narrowly advance to the third FedEx Cup playoff event. That wasn't the only reason to celebrate. He got engaged at the start of the week to Jillian Stacey.

STAT OF THE WEEK: The 54-hole leader has failed to win the last six years at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

FINAL WORD: ''Nothing is different. I don't feel it's far off, even though my score is far off. It's just weird. It's almost like a bad dream. I just need to wake up and get the putts to go in again.'' - Jordan Spieth after missing back-to-back cuts for the first time in his career.

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

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In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.