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Rosaforte Report: Holmes apologizes and defends self

By Tim RosaforteJanuary 30, 2018, 4:18 pm

In this week's Rosaforte Report: J.B. Holmes responds to criticism of his final-hole approach at Torrey Pines, Jason Day discusses a huge victory, we get to know a little more about the most unknown man in the OWGR top 20, and Brittany Lincicome talks about night golf.

Two days later, there is more commentary about J.B. Holmes’ slow play than there is Jason Day’s first PGA Tour victory in a year-and-a-half, which I get. Four minutes and change is way too long to hit a shot – even with the wind gusting on the 72nd hole of a tournament.

I talked to Holmes on Monday, and he told me he didn’t realize how long it was taking for him to play an approach shot into the 18th hole during Sunday’s final round of the Farmers Insurance Open. He apologized to playing partner Alex Noren but defended himself and offered explanation as to why it took so long to play the shot that lit up Twitter by his peers.

Watching the replay, it looked like Holmes had zoned out.

“I didn’t realize how long it was taking,” he said. “We (Holmes and caddie Brendan Parsons) were just trying to make the best decision to play.”

In other words, Holmes was waiting for the gusts to die down, so he could take the head cover off a 5-wood he didn’t trust, and play a shot to the green. Ultimately, he hit a poor wedge shot and made par to finish fourth.

“If it bothered Alex, he could have said something and he could have hit,” Holmes said. “If I messed him up, I apologize. He still made a good swing. He smoked it. (Hitting 3-wood over the green and through the tunnel, next to the CBS booth.) I don’t understand what the big hoopla is all about. I was just trying to give myself the best chance to win the tournament. I didn’t want to mess anybody up.”

What messed up Holmes is that he hammered a drive, but with his cut and a crosswind, the ball ended up traveling 296 yards instead of the 330 yards he expected. This left 235 yards to carry the water, 240 to the flag. With the conditions, he felt like a career 5-wood was the play, but he lacked trust, which added to the indecision.

Ryan Palmer, the third player in the group, had already laid up with a wedge. He and caddie James Edmonson could hear the gallery get restless, but were more amused than bothered by the delay. “We kind of giggled at times,” Palmer said.

Most didn’t take it as being funny. Mark Calcavecchia called it horrendous sportsmanship to Noren and Palmer. Daniel Berger, Luke Donald, Ken Duke and Steve Elkington weighed in.

Steve Flesch made the point that instead of four minutes and 10 seconds, J.B. “could have taken six minutes and nothing would have been done. Last hole. Last group. Something should have been said way earlier.”

And that “something” should have come from a Tour official. There were no statements released by the PGA Tour and no response when I reached out late Monday afternoon.

Even though the final group took 6 hours to complete their round, they weren’t put on the clock all day – and had consistently been waiting to hit shots – a reason why Tour officials would not have approached them in the 18th fairway.

Holmes, who had a reputation for being a slow player, feels like he’s changed that habit, and doesn’t want to be incriminated.

“I used to be slow. I’d agree with that,” he said. “But it’s been years and I’m not slow any more. I don’t get timed more than anybody else.”

A New Day for Jason

Jason Day couldn’t sleep on Sunday night. Even after a full day of golf at Torrey Pines that included five playoff holes, the 30-year-old Australian couldn’t quiet his mind. Shows you how much pressure he was under, on many fronts.

There was much at stake for Day on Monday morning in the Farmers Insurance Open. A win would be his first since the 2016 Players Championship, and signal that he’s serious about regaining the No. 1 ranking that he held for 51 straight weeks.

There was also the ongoing issue of his back. Unable to bend down and hit a golf shot, Day revealed he had an MRI during his stay at The Vintage Club to get ready for the California swing, and while it came back negative, the tinge of pain was enough to withdraw from the Farmers pro-am.

“The back’s OK,” Day said after shooting 64 on the North Course in the second round of the tournament. “I mean, it’s just sore. I just have to deal with it. It is what it is.”

Day would be the first to say he’s been injury prone, with various wrist and thumb ailments that have cost him playing time and competitive traction. None of them was potentially career ending. He seems more concerned about a bulging disc or the facet joints that that MRI showed were getting closer to his nerves.

“It’s hard to get it off my mind,” Day said of the injuries that keep popping up.

Power lifting has been Day’s way to strengthen the muscles around his back. In a Q&A he did for Men’s Fitness, Day explained that the power lifting he’s been doing focuses on his legs and core. “I do a lot of squats, do a lot trap-bar deadlifts and a lot of sumo deadlifts. You can’t get too big.”

With the speed back in his golf swing, Day admitted he felt different this year than last year, that a year ago he felt mentally stressed, rundown and burned out.

“It was hard for me to be on the golf course, but this year my whole mindset’s different,” he said. “I'm very motivated to get back to the No. 1 spot and I know that the only way to get back to the No. 1 spot is win and that's what I've just got to do.”

The Not-So-Invisible Man

In this country, Alex Noren may be the most unrecognized top-20 player in the world. But with all the TV time the Swede earned in the gloaming of Sunday night’s five-hole playoff with Day at Torrey Pines, Noren experienced a breakthrough moment at 35.

“I’m pretty realistic about it,” Noren told me last year in Abu Dhabi. “If somebody says you’re unknown, it doesn’t really matter to me that much. Maybe that’s why you keep trying.”

Tendinitis on both wrists, along with blisters and callouses on his hands, are signs that Noren has been guilty of trying too hard. Having a family has brought out his best golf. “I think Alex found a very good balance in his life with other things to occupy his mind,” offers European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn.

Bjorn seemed to be blessing Noren after his win in last year’s BMW PGA Championship, posting a Tweet that said, “A 62 final round on the West course to win @BMWPGA is beyond impressive! Congrats @Alex_Noren quickly turning into one of the world’s best!”

In America, where he played college golf at Oklahoma State, Noren is best known at The Bears Club, where he practices during the winter months, absorbing the advice of Jack Nicklaus and watching Rory McIlroy crush balls. As Noren told me for a column I wrote last year, “If I was hitting it like Rory, I wouldn’t have these callouses.”

So where does he go from here? To Scottsdale, Ariz., for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, with his family in tow. “I came over here to try to play these golf courses and try to get used to playing against these guys,” he said before leaving Torrey Pines. “I learned a lot and played probably best ever tee to green for me, so it’s big; it’s big for me.”

Lincicome’s Shots in the Dark

It wasn’t just Day and Noren playing great golf in the dark on Sunday night. Brittany Lincicome experienced the same type of lighting closing out the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Championship and finished birdie-birdie for her eighth career win.

Lincicome went over it on Monday, explaining that it was a little different than the nine-hole, night-golf, glow-ball contests that she plays with Angela Stanford.

“It couldn’t have been more stressful,” Lincicome said.

With no leaderboards, Lincicome was praying that she was only fighting against the players in her group. Pumped up with adrenaline, her drive at 18 left an awkward yardage from a divot. Luckily she had been practicing half-wedge shots.

“It helped, for sure,” Lincicome said. “In a divot, last hole, under pressure with no lights wasn’t where I wanted to be. I hit one of the best shots I’ve ever hit in my life.”

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Furyk: Not a 'good idea' to team Tiger, Phil at Ryder Cup

By Ryan LavnerJune 25, 2018, 1:12 pm

Those hoping for another Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson partnership at the Ryder Cup might be sorely disappointed.

U.S. captain Jim Furyk all but slammed the door on the reboot Monday on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive.” Speaking at the CVS Health Charity Classic, Furyk laughed off the idea and said that it wouldn’t be a “good idea” for him to team them again.

“It worked out so well the first time,” he said, chuckling, referring to the 2004 matches, where captain Hal Sutton paired the sport’s two biggest stars and watched them go 0-2 en route to a lopsided team defeat at home.

Colin Montgomerie, who was also on the set and a member of that ’04 European squad, chimed in: “It was a great decision for Europe!”

Woods and Mickelson’s relationship has improved in recent years, since they were part of the task force that morphed into the Ryder Cup committee. They even played a practice round together this year at the Masters. But Furyk seemed to suggest even that wouldn’t be enough to put them together again in Paris.

“I hope they’re both watching, because they just fell off the couch laughing,” Furyk said. “I wouldn’t guess that would be a good idea as a captain, I’m just saying.”

Both Mickelson and Woods are outside the top 8 automatic qualifiers. Mickelson is currently ranked 10th, while Woods is now 39th.

Woods has already been named a vice captain for this year’s matches, though Furyk said that Woods had broached the topic of being a playing vice captain as early as January. Furyk added that he hasn’t discussed what Woods would need to show him over the course of the year to be considered for a captain’s pick.

“He hasn’t played as big of a schedule as everybody else,” Furyk said, “but when he has played, he’s played pretty well. Definitely an eye-opener for everyone.”

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Grandma hopes sick JT has some 's***-kicking antibiotics'

By Grill Room TeamJune 25, 2018, 1:08 pm

Justin Thomas tied for 56th at the Travelers Championship, still recovering from a brutal test at the U.S. Open and, apparently, battling an illness.

Thomas is next competing at this week's French Open, along with the likes of Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia and a host of potential Ryder Cup foes.

Count his grandmother as one who is pulling – really, really pulling – for his physical recovery.

Grandmothers are the best. And as you can make out from the top of the text exchange, she finally figured out what was on JT’s pants in Round 1 at Shinnecock Hills.

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What's in the bag: Travelers champion Watson

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 12:22 pm

Bubba Watson won the Travelers Championship for a third time in his career. Here's a look inside his bag:

Driver: Ping G400 LST (7.6 degrees), with Grafalloy Bi-Matrix Prototype X shaft

Fairway wood:  Ping G (13.2 degrees), with Fujikura Tour Spec 8.2 X shaft

Irons: Ping iBlade (2), Ping S55 (4-PW), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (52 degrees, 55 degrees, 63 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts

Putter: Ping PLD Anser

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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Travelers purse payout: Bubba, Cink close low, earn big

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 12:06 pm

Bubba Watson shot 63 on Sunday to win the Travelers Championship. He took home the trophy, but he wasn't the only player to earn a big payday. Here's how the purse was paid out at TPC River Highlands:

1 Bubba Watson -17 $1,260,000
T2 Stewart Cink -14 $462,000
T2 Beau Hossler -14 $462,000
T2 J.B. Holmes -14 $462,000
T2 Paul Casey -14 $462,000
T6 Kevin Tway -13 $234,500
T6 Brian Harman -13 $234,500
T6 Russell Henley -13 $234,500
T9 Chase Seiffert -12 $189,000
T9 Bryson DeChambeau -12 $189,000
T9 Anirban Lahiri -12 $189,000
T12 Rory McIlroy -11 $147,000
T12 Ryan Blaum -11 $147,000
T12 Jason Day -11 $147,000
T15 Charley Hoffman -10 $115,500
T15 Patrick Cantlay -10 $115,500
T15 Danny Lee -10 $115,500
T15 Kyle Stanley -10 $115,500
T19 Brooks Koepka -9 $79,000
T19 Fabian Gomez -9 $79,000
T19 David Lingmerth -9 $79,000
T19 Zach Johnson -9 $79,000
T19 Emiliano Grillo -9 $79,000
T19 Matt Jones -9 $79,000
T19 Jamie Lovemark -9 $79,000
T26 Sam Ryder -8 $49,700
T26 Si Woo Kim -8 $49,700
T26 Richy Werenski -8 $49,700
T26 Blayne Barber -8 $49,700
T26 Steve Marino -8 $49,700
T26 Peter Malnati -8 $49,700
T26 Patrick Rodgers -8 $49,700
T33 Alex Cejka -7 $39,550
T33 Tyler Duncan -7 $39,550
T33 Kevin Streelman -7 $39,550
T36 Seamus Power -6 $35,175
T36 James Hahn -6 $35,175
T38 Scott Stallings -5 $30,800
T38 Russell Knox -5 $30,800
T38 Brandon Harkins -5 $30,800
T38 Lanto Griffin -5 $30,800
T42 Adam Hadwin -4 $24,500
T42 J.J. Henry -4 $24,500
T42 Jordan Spieth -4 $24,500
T42 Mackenzie Hughes -4 $24,500
T42 Brett Stegmaier -4 $24,500
T47 Billy Hurley III -3 $17,578
T47 Vaughn Taylor -3 $17,578
T47 Sam Saunders -3 $17,578
T47 Kelly Kraft -3 $17,578
T47 Keegan Bradley -3 $17,578
T47 J.J. Spaun -3 $17,578
T47 Wesley Bryan -3 $17,578
T47 Denny McCarthy -3 $17,578
T47 Scott Brown -3 $17,578
T56 Ryan Armour -2 $15,680
T56 Keith Mitchell -2 $15,680
T56 Ken Duke -2 $15,680
T56 Justin Thomas -2 $15,680
T56 Hunter Mahan -2 $15,680
T61 John Huh -1 $14,910
T61 Martin Laird -1 $14,910
T61 Steve Wheatcroft -1 $14,910
T61 James Driscoll -1 $14,910
T61 Tom Lovelady -1 $14,910
T61 Nick Hardy -1 $14,910
T67 Daniel Berger E $14,350
T67 Trey Mullinax E $14,350
T69 Cameron Tringale 1 $14,000
T69 Kyle Thompson 1 $14,000
T69 Ethan Tracy 1 $14,000
T72 Dominic Bozzelli 2 $13,650
T72 Martin Flores 2 $13,650
74 Padraig Harrington 4 $13,440