PGA Tour's future uncertain at Trump Doral

By Doug FergusonMarch 1, 2016, 11:44 pm

DORAL, Fla. – Donald Trump was a distraction at golf tournaments even before he was running for president.

Go back 15 years when the LPGA Tour's final event was held at Trump International in West Palm Beach. It was bad enough that Trump walked down the middle of the fairways like he owned the place (which he did). In the second round, Karrie Webb hit a tee shot on the par-3 seventh that was short of the green and tumbling toward the water when light rough held it up.

Trump, who thinks golf isn't great unless it's hard, said that while Webb was a great player, that shot should have gone in the water. That night, his maintenance staff shaved the banks so severely that green spray paint was used to cover a few splotches of bare dirt.

Two years ago at Doral, Rory McIlroy hit 4-iron into the par-3 ninth during a practice round when he was asked to hold his position. Turns out The Donald was ready to leave, and his helicopter was parked near the walkway toward the green. McIlroy could only smile amid the roar of rotors and gusts as the helicopter took off.

At least it was a practice round. Trump caused an even bigger stir when his helicopter had players backing off shots at Turnberry in the first round of the Women's British Open last year.

Is he bad for golf?

Not at all.

But he might turn out to be bad for Doral, which has been part of the Florida swing longer than any other PGA Tour event.



Trump has been scooping up properties from Scotland to Dubai, from Los Angeles to New York and Florida, for more than a decade. They are good courses, enough that majors from three tours will be held on them over the next six years - the 2017 U.S. Women's Open and 2022 PGA Championship at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey, and the 2017 Senior PGA Championship at Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia.

Whether those championships will be played at his courses is still to be determined. The PGA of America last year canceled its Grand Slam of Golf at Trump's course in Los Angeles shortly after his comments about Mexican immigrants when Trump announced his candidacy.

The other golf organizations tried their best to say as little as possible, waiting to see how his bid for the GOP nomination would play out. Odds are none of them saw Trump winning primaries, leading in the polls and gaining momentum going into Super Tuesday.

What now?

Of immediate concern is the World Golf Championship at Doral this week. The helipad was vacant on Tuesday and likely will remain that way for most of the week, although PGA Tour officials have been told that Trump is likely to make an appearance at some point, most likely on Sunday.

This is the first time the top three players in the world - Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and McIlroy - have competed in the same event since September. That won't create a fraction of the buzz as when The Donald drops in.

That's not the problem, however.

Doral has been a popular part of the PGA Tour since 1962, and this could very well be the last one.

No one saw this coming in 2012 when Trump added Florida's most famous golf resort to his portfolio. He poured $250 million into the resort and had Gil Hanse redo the Blue Monster to make it more dramatic by bringing water into play more than it already was. It also has become too great an advantage for the long hitters, perhaps more than any other course on tour. Look at the top six from last year - Dustin Johnson, J.B. Holmes, Bubba Watson, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson and Louis Oosthuizen.

Not everyone loves the redesign. That's nothing new, and it's not the issue.

It's Trump as a presidential candidate, and the bombastic dialogue that has become a staple of his campaign, which makes the future in Miami look bleak.

The PGA Tour has a contract with Doral through 2023, although there is a provision that a new title sponsor would have the right to take the tournament somewhere else. Cadillac is in the final year of its title sponsorship and is not going to renew.

The task is to find a new sponsor that doesn't mind the sideshow that Trump brings to a tournament.

If a new sponsor doesn't want to be at Trump Doral, there are not many other options in Miami with the property that can handle size of a World Golf Championship. The tour has looked at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne, a strong public course that once hosted a senior event. But with only one road to the course, that might not be practical.

The end of the PGA Tour in Miami? Now that's a distraction.

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”