Notes: Why is Jack's major total 18, not 20?

By Doug FergusonApril 23, 2013, 8:35 pm

At some point after he won the 1986 Masters, Jack Nicklaus lost two major championships. He's just not sure when.

Tiger Woods has been chasing Nicklaus and his 18 professional majors. Nicklaus was chasing Bobby Jones, only the score was kept differently in his era. Jones was credited with 13 majors – four U.S. Opens, three British Opens, five U.S. Amateurs and one British Amateur.

Along with his 18 professional majors, Nicklaus won the U.S. Amateur twice for a total of 20.

''I was probably at 17 or 18 majors, including the Amateurs, and all of a sudden I had 15 or 16,'' Nicklaus said two weeks ago at the Masters. '''What happened here?' All of a sudden it became 'professional' majors.''

The U.S. Amateur was considered a major when Nicklaus played because ''it related back to Jones.''

''When I passed Jones' record, it was with the amateurs,'' Nicklaus said, referring to the 1973 PGA Championship at Canterbury.

That still was a record-setting major in 1973, for even without the two U.S. Amateur titles, Nicklaus had 12 professional majors, which at the time was one more than Walter Hagen had won.

Nicklaus recalls Browning making a commemorate 20-gauge shotgun after he won the '86 Masters for the last of his majors, playing off 20-gauge and 20 majors. His best guess is that the U.S. Amateur was no longer considered a major, when Woods won it a record three straight times from 1994 to 1996.

''Because they didn't really count Tiger's as majors,'' Nicklaus said. ''Rather than counting Tiger's as majors, they didn't do that, and they sort of took mine away.''


PLAYER OF THE MONTH: The PGA Tour award for Player of the Month doesn't get a lot of attention, even though Avis has been donating $50,000 to the winner's charity since it began sponsoring the award in 2012.

Tiger Woods won the award for March, and the surprise was the margin of the fan vote.

Even though he won a World Golf Championship at Doral and the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill – the two strongest fields of the month – Woods received only 61 percent of the fan vote on a ballot that included Michael Thompson (Honda Classic), Kevin Streelman (Tampa) and D.A. Points (Houston Open). Streelman was second in the fan voting with 31 percent.

Brandt Snedeker won the award in February, when he was runner-up to Phil Mickelson in Phoenix and won at Pebble Beach. He received 45 percent of the vote, compared with 31 percent for Mickelson and 21 percent for Match Play winner Matt Kuchar.

Brian Gay won the award in January after winning the Humana Challenge. He got 64 percent of the fan vote. Woods, who won at Torrey Pines against the strongest field of the month, finished second with 33 percent.


CLOSING IN: The narrow view of Lizette Salas is that she has struggled to finish off her last two tournaments, either an entire round or one hole. She was three off the lead going into the final round at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and closed with a 79. Then, she shot 62 in the final round in Hawaii to force a playoff with Suzann Pettersen, only to chunk her approach into the water on the first extra hole, allowing Pettersen to win with a par.

The broad view is that Salas is doing everything else right, and that first win might not be too far away.

Salas had only one top 10 in her rookie season last year. Her runner-up finish at Ko Olina was her fourth top 10 this year, and she is seventh on the LPGA money list with $348,463, already more than $100,000 over what she made all of last year.

Even better, she is No. 7 in the Solheim Cup standings.

''I just want to win,'' said Salas, the daughter of Mexican immigrants. ''I don't play here just to travel the world. I'm here to win championships, and I'm here to change the world of golf. So if people have something bad to say, then they can say it to me. I'll gladly take criticism. But that's not going to stop me from achieving my goals. I'm here to fight, and that's why I went to USC. We fight on.''

Salas was a four-time All-American for the Trojans and played on their 2008 NCAA title team.


TWO MORE MEMBERS: As much as he loves the American style of golf, Matteo Manassero of Italy isn't in a big rush to try to join the PGA Tour. He is in his fourth year on the European Tour, though he just turned 20 on Friday.

''I want to be comfortable in the top 50 in the world,'' Manassero said at the Masters. ''That gives you more chances to be invited to tournaments. And it would have to be a year in which you start well and then can play more.''

Manassero, who already has three European Tour wins, played reasonably well in America, though not enough to make up much ground. He lost in the opening round of the Match Play Championship, tied for 29th in the Honda Classic and tied for 23rd at Doral, before missing the cut at the Masters.

He needs to stay in the top 50 this week to get into The Players Championship.

Meanwhile, two Europeans who fared well early have taken up special temporary membership. Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark made it to the second round of the Match Play, tied for seventh at Bay Hill and tied for sixth at the Masters. That has given him $632,300 in five starts. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain reached the third round of the Match Play and tied for third at Bay Hill, which helped him accrue $592,020 in five starts.

Both can receive unlimited sponsor exemptions for the rest of the year. Olesen is No. 34, and Fernandez-Castano is No. 31 in the Official World Golf Ranking.


DIVOTS: Jordan Spieth has all but locked up his PGA Tour card for next year. With his tie for ninth at Hilton Head, the Texas teenager has earned $662,398. A year ago, with four extra tournaments on the schedule, Kevin Chappell finished 125th on the money list with $647,510. ... Three tournaments do not make a slump, but it's enough to draw attention to Hunter Mahan. He missed the cut at the Houston Open and the Masters – an 82 on Friday at Augusta National – and missed the 54-hole cut at Hilton Head, when he followed his opening 68 with rounds of 76-78.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Ryo Ishikawa has played 76 tournaments in the last two years, the most of anyone among the top 200 in the world.


FINAL WORD: ''Having the people stand up and clap for you when you come on the last green, that's stuff I'd only seen on TV.'' – John Peterson, on playing in the Masters.

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Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Web.com Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Web.com Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

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Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

"That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

Check out the full interview below:

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Bubba gets to drive dream car: K.I.T.T. from 'Knight Rider'

By Grill Room TeamMay 25, 2018, 4:42 pm

Bubba Watson is a known car aficionado.

He purchased the original General Lee from the 1980’s TV show “Dukes of Hazzard” – later saying he was going to paint over the Confederate flag on the vehicle’s roof.

He also auctioned off his 1939 Cadillac LaSalle C-Hawk custom roadster and raised $410,000 for Birdies for the Brave.

He showed off images of his off-road Jeep two years ago.

And he even bought a car dealership near his hometown of Milton, Fla.

While recently appearing on the TV show “Jay Leno’s Garage,” the former “Tonight Show” host surprised Watson with another one of his dream cars: K.I.T.T.

The 1982 Pontiac Trans Am was made famous in the ‘80s action show “Knight Rider.”

Though, Bubba didn’t get to keep this one, he did get to drive it.

Bubba Watson gets behind the wheel of his dream car—the KITT from Knight Rider from CNBC.

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Cut Line: USGA readies for Shinnecock 'mulligan'

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 3:26 pm

In this week’s Memorial weekend edition, the European team adheres to the Ryder Cup secret formula, the USGA readies for the ultimate mulligan at next month’s U.S. Open and a bizarre finish at the Florida Mid-Am mystifies the Rules of Golf.

Made Cut

Cart golf. When the U.S. side announced the creation of a Ryder Cup task force following the American loss at Gleneagles in 2014, some Europeans privately – and publicly – snickered.

The idea that the secret sauce could be found in a meeting room did stretch the bounds of reason, yet two years later the U.S. team emerged as winners at Hazeltine National and suddenly the idea of a task force, which is now called a committee, didn’t seem so silly.

To Europe’s credit, they’ve always accomplished this cohesion organically, pulling together their collective knowledge with surprising ease, like this week when European captain Thomas Bjorn rounded out his vice captain crew.

Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald (a group that has a combined 47-40-13 record in the matches) were all given golf cart keys and will join Robert Karlsson as vice captains this year in Paris.

Perhaps it took the Americans a little longer to figure out, but Bjorn knows it’s continuity that wins Ryder Cups.



Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

The USGA’s mulligan. The U.S. Open is less than a month away and with it one of the most anticipated returns in recent major championship history.

The last time the national championship was played at Shinnecock Hills was in 2004 and things didn’t go well, particularly on Sunday when play had to be stopped to water some greens that officials deemed had become unplayable. This week USGA executive director Mike Davis was asked about the association’s last trip to the Hamptons and, to his credit, he didn’t attempt to reinvent history.

“Looking back at 2004, and at parts of that magnificent day with Retief (Goosen) and Phil Mickelson coming down to the end, there are parts that we learned from,” Davis said. “I’m happy we got a mulligan this time. We probably made a bogey last time, maybe a double bogey.”

Put another way, players headed to next month’s championship should look forward to what promises to be a Bounce Back Open.

Tweet of the week:

Homa joined a chorus of comments following Aaron Wise’s victory on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson, which included an awkward moment when his girlfriend, Reagan Trussell, backed away as Wise was going in for a kiss.

“No hard feelings at all,” Wise clarified this week. “We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was.”


Missed Cut

Strength of field. The European Tour gathers this week in England for the circuit’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, and like the PGA Tour’s marquee stop, The Players, the event appears headed for a new spot on the calendar next year.

As the PGA Tour inches closer to announcing the 2018-19 schedule, which will feature countless new twists and turns including the PGA Championship’s move to May and The Players shift back to March, it also seems likely the makeover will impact the European Tour schedule.

Although the BMW PGA currently draws a solid field, with this week’s event sporting a higher strength of field than the Fort Worth Invitational on the PGA Tour, it’s likely officials won’t want to play the event a week after the PGA Championship (which is scheduled for May 16-19 next year).

In fact, it’s been rumored that the European Tour could move all eight of its Rolex Series events, which are billed as “unmissable sporting occasions,” out of the FedExCup season window, which will end on Aug. 25 next year.

Although the focus has been on how the new PGA Tour schedule will impact the U.S. sports calendar, the impact of the dramatic makeover stretches will beyond the Lower 48.

Rules of engagement. For a game that at times seems to struggle with too much small print and antiquated rules, it’s hard to understand how things played out earlier this month at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship.

In a story first reported by GolfChannel.com, Jeff Golden claimed he was assaulted on May 13 by Brandon Hibbs – the caddie for his opponent, Marc Dull, in the championship’s final match. Golden told police that Hibbs struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

The incident occurred during a weather delay and Golden conceded the match to Dull after the altercation, although he wrote in a post on Twitter this week that he was disappointed with the Florida State Golf Association’s decision to accept his concession.

“The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

Because of the conflicting statements, it’s still not clear what exactly happened that day at Coral Creek Club, but the No. 1 rule in golf – protecting the competition and the competitors – seems to have fallen well short.