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Hatton 'frustrated' by rules situation with Mickelson

By Will GrayMarch 14, 2018, 6:53 pm

Tyrrell Hatton's bid to join the playoff earlier this month at the WGC-Mexico Championship was derailed by a spike mark on the final green, but the Englishman was reportedly flustered by an explanation from a rules official a few holes earlier.

Hatton is in the field this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he tied for fourth last year. But in a recent podcast with Sky Sports, he detailed a situation from the final round at Chapultepec Golf Club where he was joined by Phil Mickelson and Shubankhar Sharma in Sunday's final group.

According to Hatton, the group had received a warning about slow play earlier in the round and were again approached after Hatton had birdied the 14th hole to draw even with Mickelson.

"So Sharma had been, he wasn't that slow, to be honest. But I feel like Phil was taking quite a lot of time on certain things," Hatton said. "You've got four holes left to play, it's sort of crunch time. And we've all hit good tee shots up 15, and one of the officials drives over and says, 'Phil you're exempt, but Tyrrell and Sharma I'm going to start timing you.'

"And Phil goes, 'Oh, he obviously likes me.' And I was like, I was raging," Hatton said. "Danny, my player manager, was walking with me, and I walked over to him as I got near the ball and said, 'Can you believe what this referee's just done? He's said that me and Sharma are on the clock.' I said to him, in the circumstances, that's a disgrace."

A PGA Tour rules official told GolfChannel.com that the situation outlined by Hatton is within the rules, whereby once a group receives a formal warning the individuals in the group can then be "observed" individually to determine if further action is required.

"If we've been observing the group, we're not going to punish players who are doing their part to keep up, but we're going to time the ones that aren't," the official said.

The section of the PGA Tour rule book pertaining to slow play reads: "Once a group has been warned, the Rules Committee (if available to do so) will monitor the pace of individual players in the group to determine if any players should be timed individually, as opposed to the entire group, in the case the group does not regain its position on the course."

Hatton eagled the 15th hole in the immediate wake of the warning, but he admitted to being unnerved by the presence of the official with stopwatch in hand near the 16th green when he raced a birdie putt more than 10 feet past. He ended up one shot out of a playoff, where Mickelson beat Justin Thomas for his first win in nearly five years.

"It was quite frustrating for me," Hatton said. "Obviously I've grown up watching golf, and Phil's been around a helluva long time, and I'm trying my best to beat him. But I just found that slightly off-putting and it was sort of, when I came away from the tournament, it's frustrating that that actually happened."

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Na holding out hope for Ryder Cup captain's pick

By Rex HoggardAugust 21, 2018, 9:22 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. – There are no shortage of goals for players as the PGA Tour reaches the final month of the season, and how players prioritize those accomplishments depends on individual motivations.

For example, coming into the season Kevin Na’s primary goal was to win a Tour event, which he accomplished last month at the Greenbrier. After that, things get interesting.

“I think win, No. 1. Ryder Cup, No. 2. Tour Championship, No. 3,” he said on Tuesday at The Northern Trust.

Na is currently 19th on the FedExCup point list, which gives him a good chance to qualify for the season finale, which comes with an invitation to three of next year’s four majors. The more pressing concern would be this year’s Ryder Cup.


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Na finish 18th on the U.S. Ryder Cup point list and he would likely need to do something extraordinary the next two weeks for captain Jim Furyk to make him one of his picks. Still, making the team that will travel to Paris next month is always on his short list.

“If I can somehow get my name on one of those lists of players that play the Ryder Cup; maybe at the end of my career, instead of saying, you know, you probably say, I had X amount of wins; and I played X amount of Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, I think is pretty cool,” said Na, who has never played on a Ryder or Presidents Cup team.

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Woods tinkering with driver shaft, loft at The Northern Trust

By Rex HoggardAugust 21, 2018, 9:11 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. – Tiger Woods said on Tuesday at The Northern Trust that he spent last week attending his children’s soccer games and tinkering with his driver.

Although he finished runner-up at the PGA Championship, Woods hit just 5 of 14 fairways on Sunday at Bellerive and ranked 74th for the week in fairways hit. It was no surprise that his focus heading into the FedExCup Playoffs was finding more fairways.

“We've been working on it, experimenting with different shafts and different lofts on my driver and 3-wood, as well,” Woods said. “Just trying different things. I've still got two more days and I'll still be monkeying around with a couple things and come game time we'll see what I go with.”


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Woods played an abbreviated practice round on Tuesday at Ridgewood Country Club, which included Nos. 1-8 and Nos. 15-18, with a new driver that features a different shaft from the one he used at the PGA Championship and more loft (9.5 degrees).

He also had a TaylorMade equipment representative walking with him on Tuesday and went to the practice range after his round for more work.

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English confident in playoff run after just sneaking in

By Rex HoggardAugust 21, 2018, 9:07 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. – Harris English didn’t know the exact math, only that he needed to play his best final round of the season last week at the Wyndham Championship.

Although it wasn’t perfect, English’s closing 68 was good enough to tie for 11th place and vault him from 132nd on the season-long point race to 124th and into the playoffs.

“It was definitely a bit of a pressure-packed situation coming down the stretch. Different than, really, winning a golf tournament,” English said on Tuesday at The Northern Trust, the postseason lid-lifter. “It felt like Q-School again back in 2011 where you're in the sixth round and trying to get it done.”


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Despite three-putts on three of his final nine holes, English earned his seventh consecutive trip to the postseason and some much needed confidence after a tough year.

English had just two top-10 finishes this season and spent the majority of the summer mired around the playoff bubble (No. 125).

“Being 124 right now, I need another really good week this week to make it to Boston [the second playoff stop],” he said. “I like where I am. I have a lot of confidence from last week. Struck the ball well and kind of did everything to put the ball in great position. If I can do that again this week, that would be a heck of a week.”

Nick Taylor also played his way into the top 125 last week, finishing tied for eighth place at Sedgefield Country Club to move from No. 129 to No. 119.

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Veterans look to regain status at Web Finals

By Will GrayAugust 21, 2018, 7:19 pm

The last time a FedExCup playoff event was held at Ridgewood Country Club, Hunter Mahan left with the trophy. This time around, he's in Ohio hoping to reinstate his PGA Tour status.

While the postseason kicks off in New Jersey, more than 100 players will tee it up in the first of four Web.com Tour Finals events with an eye on earning one of 25 PGA Tour cards available for the 2018-19 season. This week's event is the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship in Columbus, Ohio, with subsequent stops in Beachwood, Ohio, Boise, Idaho and Atlantic Beach, Fla.

Mahan played this past season on his status as a past PGA Tour champion, making 12 cuts in 21 starts. But those results left him at No. 159 in the final FedExCup standing, with only the top 125 securing cards for next season.

That put Mahan among the group of players finishing Nos. 126-200 on the points list who are eligible to play in the Finals, although Nos. 126-150 will still have conditional PGA Tour status next season regardless of Finals performance. They'll be joined over the next four events by Nos. 1-75 on the Web.com Tour money list from the 2018 season, with Nos. 1-25 already guaranteed a promotion for next season.

Other notable PGA Tour veterans in the field for the first Finals event include Stuart Appleby, Lucas Glover, Ben Crane, Sangmoon Bae, Robert Streb and Johnson Wagner. Also in the field are Aaron Baddeley, David Lingmerth, Fabian Gomez, Matt Every and Peter Malnati, all of whom saw multiple-year exemptions for wins in 2015 and 2016 expire at last week's Wyndham Championship.

Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry, both of whom lost their fully-exempt status last week in Greensboro, are not in this week's field. They finished Nos. 144 and 140, respectively, in the FedExCup standings meaning that both players will still have conditional PGA Tour status next season.

PGA Tour non-members who earned at least the equivalent of No. 200 in regular-season points are also invited, a group that includes European Tour member Julian Suri, former NCAA standout Dylan Meyer, recent Monday qualifiers John Oda and Chase Seiffert, and veteran John Peterson, who has stated he will retire from professional golf at age 29 if he doesn't earn back his card.

In addition to the top 25 from the regular season Web.com money list, the top 25 earners from the four-event Finals will be fully exempt next season on the PGA Tour. With each event boasting a $1 million purse with $180,000 to the winner, it means that a top-5 finish at any single event will be enough to clinch a card.

Players who fall short of that mark will still receive status on the Web.com Tour for 2019, although players like Mahan who have won on the PGA Tour before can still afford themselves some starts on the main circuit via past champion status.