Notes: PGA's Bishop, R&A's Dawson at odds over anchoring

By Doug FergusonMay 1, 2013, 1:17 am

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The biggest rivalry in golf at the moment could be the heads of two different organizations on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

PGA of America president Ted Bishop has been vocal about his opposition to the proposed rule that would ban the anchored stroke used for long putters. Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson last week referred to Bishop's public comments as a ''campaign.''

''The PGA of America knows my views about this and I'm disappointed at the way that campaign was conducted,'' Dawson said. ''It put rule-making onto the negotiating table. The negotiating table is no place for rule-making to take place. Obviously, the feelings are strong. We shall have to see where it goes.''

Bishop took it one step further in an interview and exchange of emails with Golf World magazine, in which he revealed details of his encounter with Dawson during the Masters and questioned the R&A's male-only membership.

''I find that to be very curious and perplexing given the fact that the R&A has not been inclusive, as evidenced by their unwillingness to accept women as members to the R&A,'' Bishop told the magazine. ''This is a much different approach than we have taken in America.''

Bishop said when he told Dawson that the PGA of America was looking after the best interests of the amateur golfer, Dawson pointed a finger at him and said, ''That's not your role.'' He said they met again at a reception that night that was more civil.

But he continues to challenge Dawson, particularly the 90-day comment period that ended two months ago.

''The PGA of America has gotten the impression from the R&A that we should have just accepted the proposed rule change and not issued any comments,'' Bishop said in an email to Golf World. ''Then why have a comment period at all? If you remember, Dawson stated on Nov. 28 that he doubted if any new evidence would surface during the comment period that would result in the ban on anchoring being dropped. That hardly set the stage for an 'open' comment period.''

Bishop also made a comment that won't make this issue any less divisive, saying the differences between the PGA of America and the R&A came down to cultures.

''Europeans have a tendency to accept the things that are imposed by their respective governments, while Americans will debate, argue and vote on issues,'' Bishop said in the email. ''I think that is the fundamental premise that America was founded on.''

The PGA Tour and PGA of America are opposed to the new rule. The European Tour is in favor of it. A decision whether to adopt the rule is expected by the end of May. If it's approved, it would not go into effect until 2016.

RUB OF THE GREENS: For a golf club that strives for perfection, Quail Hollow has its hands tied this week by Mother Nature.

Due mainly to an unusually cool spring, the home of the Wells Fargo Championship has struggled so mightily with its greens that two of them (Nos. 8 and 10) have had to be resodded in recent weeks, and tournament officials have asked players to hit only one shot into Nos. 12 and 13 during practice rounds.

The rest of the greens are spotty at best, most with several patches of brown. And it's not just looks. Some players say the greens are running at different speeds.

''It's tough to see,'' said Webb Simpson, the U.S. Open champion who lives at Quail Hollow. ''I think their biggest challenge is going to try to get it to be the same firmness and speed of the other greens.''

The practice green might have been in the best shape of all, and putts were bouncing more than they were rolling.

''The good news is everybody's playing the same golf course,'' Simpson said. ''So there will be no excuses this week.''

GUAN MORE: Guan Tianlang isn't done with the PGA Tour just yet.

Guan accepted a sponsor's exemption into the Byron Nelson Championship next month. That will be his third PGA Tour event in a span of six weeks, more golf than Tiger Woods will have played in the last month or so. Guan made history at the Masters as the youngest to play all four rounds in a major, and he became the youngest player to make a cut in a PGA Tour event at the Zurich Classic last week in New Orleans.

Still to come is qualifying for the U.S. Open.

A DIFFERENT QUESTION: A popular question to most players at the Masters was about Guan Tianlang, and what players were doing at age 14. Bubba Watson heard the question again in New Orleans last week and decided to turn it around, with a dose of perspective.

''Let's got a different route,'' he said. ''If you looked at every sport through time, everybody has gotten better – bigger, better, stronger, fast, no matter sport it is. In golf, there are kids nowadays that are learning at a younger age. They're working out at a younger age. They're eating better. They know what to practice because they've watched Tiger Woods. ... So you can just see it.''

He then mentioned the LPGA Tour, where the players seem to be getting younger. And he mentioned LeBron James, who went to the NBA straight from high school.

''So you look at every person in sports, it's growing that way,'' Watson said. ''Pretty soon they're going to be younger, and 20 years down the road, it's probably going to be younger than 14. But records are already broken.''

NEXT QUESTION: Maybe it's time to stop asking Jack Nicklaus if he thinks Tiger Woods will break his record of 18 professional majors.

An answer last week during a Q&A at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley explains why.

Nicklaus for years has said essentially the same thing. He thinks Woods will break his record, but that Woods still has to do it. Golfweek magazine was there when the question came up again. The answer didn't change – ''I still think Tiger will break my record,'' he said – except for what Nicklaus tacked on to the end of it.

''If I said anything different, there would be headlines in the newspaper tomorrow,'' he said.

Can you imagine?

DIVOTS: The U.S. Open received a record 9,860 entries this year, smashing the mark of 9,086 for the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. The U.S. Open returns to Merion this year for the first time since 1981. ... Hideki Matsuyama, the two-time Asia-Pacific Amateur champion (and 2-for-2 in making the cut at the Masters) won the Tsuruya Open last week on the Japan Golf Tour in just his second start as a pro. Matsuyama is now No. 108 in the world, 10 spots ahead of Ryo Ishikawa. ... Billy Horschel winning and D.A. Points finishing second put both of them inside the top 50 in the world, and knocked Matteo Manassero out of The Players Championship. Manassero would have to win at Quail Hollow this week to get into the richest tournament in golf. ... Nassau native Georgette Rolle has been given a sponsor's exemption into the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic next month at Atlantis Resort. Rolle is a graduate assistant coach for the men's and women's golf teams at Texas Southern, and she teaches at a First Tee program in Houston. She also hosts a two-day junior camp in The Bahamas once a year.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Tiger Woods has averaged $97,126 per round from official events in his PGA Tour career.

FINAL WORD: ''He was responsible for all the bogeys I made. I made the birdies.'' – Angel Cabrera, on having Angel Jr. caddie for him at the Masters.

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Tiger Woods names his Mount Rushmore of golf

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 25, 2018, 6:29 pm
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Mickelson savoring his (likely) last road game

By Rex HoggardSeptember 25, 2018, 3:49 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Phil Mickelson lingered behind as his foursome made its way to the ninth tee during Tuesday’s practice round.

He needed the extra practice, no doubt. He’s one of just six players on the U.S. Ryder Cup team with even a modicum of knowledge about Le Golf National, but the likely reason for Lefty’s leisurely tempo was more personal.

The 2019 Ryder Cup will likely be Mickelson’s last road game as a player.

He’ll be 52 when the U.S. team pegs it up at the 2022 matches in Rome. Although there’s been players who have participated in the biennial event into their golden years – most notably Raymond Floyd who was 51 when he played the ’93 matches – given Mickelson’s play in recent years and the influx of younger players the odds are against him.

“I am aware this is most likely the last one on European soil and my last opportunity to be part of a team that would be victorious here, and that would mean a lot to me personally,” Mickelson said on Tuesday.

It’s understandable that Mickelson would want to linger a little longer in the spotlight of golf’s most intense event.

For the first time in his Ryder Cup career Mickelson needed to be a captain's pick, and he didn’t exactly roar into Paris, finishing 30th out of 30 players at last week’s Tour Championship. He’s also four months removed from his last top-10 finish on the PGA Tour.

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Although he’s reluctant to admit it for Mickelson Le Golf National looks every bit a swansong for the most accomplished U.S. Ryder Cup player of his generation.

In 11 starts at the Ryder Cup, Mickelson has a 26-16-13 record. Perhaps more telling is his 7-3-1 mark since 2012 and he holds the U.S. record for most matches played (45) and is third on the all-time list for most points won (21.5), just two shy of the record held by Billy Casper.

Mickelson’s record will always be defined by what he’s done at the Masters and not done at the U.S. Open, but his status as an anchor for two generations of American teams may never be matched.

For this U.S. team - which is trying to win a road Ryder Cup for the first time since 1993 - Lefty is wearing many hats.

“You know Phil and you know he's always trying to find a way to poke fun, trying to mess with someone,” Furyk said. “He's telling a story. Sometimes you're not sure if they are true or not. Sometimes there's little bits of pieces in each of those, but he provides some humor, provides some levity.”

But there is another side to Mickelson’s appeal in the team room. Although he’s never held the title of vice captain he’s served as a de facto member of the management for some time.

“At the right times, he understands when a team needs a kick in the butt or they need an arm around their shoulder, and he's been good in that atmosphere,” Furyk said. “He's a good speaker and good motivator, and he's been able to take some young players under his wing at times and really get a lot out of them from a partner standpoint.”

In recent years Mickelson has become something of a mentor for young players, first at the ’08 matches with Anthony Kim and again in ’12 with Keegan Bradley.

His role as a team leader in the twilight of his career can’t be overstated and will undoubtedly continue this week if Tuesday’s practice groupings are any indication, with Lefty playing with rookie Bryson DeChambeau.

As DeChambeau was finishing his press conference on Tuesday he was asked about the dynamic in the U.S. team room.

“We're going to try and do our absolute best to get the cup back,” he said.

“Keep the cup,” Lefty shouted from the back of the room, noting that the U.S. won the last Ryder Cup.

It was so Mickelson not to miss a teaching moment or a chance to send a subtle jab delivered with a wry smile.

Mickelson will also be remembered for his role in what has turned out to be an American Ryder Cup resurgence.

“Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best,” Mickelson said in the Scottish gloom at the ’14 matches. “Nobody here was in any decision.”

If Mickelson doesn’t step to the microphone in ’14 at Gleneagles in the wake of another U.S. loss and, honestly, break some china there probably wouldn’t have been a task force. Davis Love III likely wouldn’t have gotten a second turn as captain in ’16 and the U.S. is probably still mired in a victory drought.

Lefty’s Ryder Cup career is far from over. The early line is that he’ll take his turn as captain in 2024 at Bethpage Black – the People’s Champion riding in to become the People’s Captain.

Before he moves on to a new role, however, he’ll savor this week and an opportunity to win his first road game. If he wants to hang back and relish the moment so be it.

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DeChambeau gets foursomes, fourball mixed up

By Will GraySeptember 25, 2018, 3:31 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Bryson DeChambeau is an accomplished player when it comes to match play, having captured the U.S. Amateur and starred on a Walker Cup team. But don’t ask him to explain the semantic difference between the formats in play at this week’s Ryder Cup.

DeChambeau became crossed up Tuesday at Le Golf National when he was asked about the intricacies of foursomes play – better known to many Americans as alternate shot.

“Fourball, foursomes, I always get those mixed up,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just easier for me to say alternate shot.”

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Thankfully for DeChambeau, he still has some time to make a distinction between the two before the matches begin in earnest. And when they do, it’ll be fourballs for the morning sessions both Friday and Saturday, with foursomes in the afternoon – a change from the 2016 matches when DeChambeau was on the grounds at Hazeltine as a spectator.

While the foursomes format brings with it added pressure in an already tense environment, one of the biggest concerns is how well players can adjust to using the ball of their partner on a given hole. DeChambeau is known to leave nothing to chance in his preparation, and he’s already circled that particular factor as he gets set to make his Ryder Cup debut.

“It’s key because we want to be comfortable. Each player needs to be comfortable with the ball that they are playing,” DeChambeau said. “So for compatibility reasons, it’s one of the most important things out there in regards to alternate shot. It is the most important.”

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Tiger helped calm down Reed before epic RC match

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 25, 2018, 3:30 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Tiger Woods apparently played a pivotal role in getting Patrick Reed ready for that epic Ryder Cup singles match against Rory McIlroy – all by cracking a joke on the range.

Then a U.S. vice captain, Woods noticed that Reed was too amped up during the warm-up for the opening singles match.

“He’s watching me warm up, and he’s like, He needs to calm down. He needs to chill out,” Reed recalled. “I was hitting the ball sideways – I was just like, Let’s go.

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“But he pulled me aside. Cracked a little joke to calm me down a little bit” – what the joke was, Reed wouldn’t say, but you can probably guess that it was unprintable – “and I was able to bring that adrenaline level down to manageable, rather than sitting there on high rev.”

It didn’t take long for Reed to explode again.

In one of the most entertaining matches in Ryder Cup history, Reed and McIlroy traded blows for the first eight holes at Hazeltine, combining for eight birdies and an eagle before settling down. Reed eventually won the match, 1 up, after rolling in a birdie putt on the final green.

“It’s something that was hard to make sure you stayed up in that mind frame and also that level that you could play,” Reed said. “You get so amped up, it’s hard. It’s hard to figure out how far you’re going to hit the ball, but at the same time, if you’re so even-keeled in the other direction, it’s hard to get yourself up to get going. You only have 18 holes.

“The good thing is I’ve been able to manage that really well, and luckily I was able to have Tiger there to help me out there on Sunday.”