Golf Talk Live -Curtis Strange Transcript Segment 1

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 26, 2001, 5:00 pm
TEASE
CURTIS STRANGE HAS ALWAYS COURTED PRESSURE AS THOUGH IT WERE A WELCOMED FRIEND. HE ROSE TO THE OCCASION WITH A FINAL HOLE EAGLE TO SECURE THE INDIVIDUAL AND TEAM TITLES IN THE NCAA'S FOR WAKE FOREST. HE WON BACK TO BACK U.S OPENS DURING HIS REIGN AS THE WORLD'S BEST PLAYER.

HE'S AN ACCOMPLISHED BROADCASTER AND WRITER AND THE CAPTAIN OF THE 2001 U.S RYDER CUP TEAM. MEET CURTIS STRANGE, NOW, ON GOLF TALK LIVE.

TOM STRANGE WAS NOT ONLY AN INCREDIBLE FATHER, HE WAS A VERY GOOD PLAYER, AND HE UNDERSTOOD THE GOLF SWING HE WOULD TEACH TO HIS TWIN SONS, CURTIS AND ALAN. TOM WON THE VIRGINIA STATE OPEN FIVE TIMES,

IS A MEMBER OF THE MIDDLE ATLANTIC HALL OF FAME AND THE VIRGINIA SPORTS HALL OF FAME. TOM STRANGE WAS AN ASSISTANT TO SAM SNEAD AT THE GREEN BRIAR IN WEST VIRGINIA, BEFORE MOVING BACK TO VIRGINIA TO RUN WHITE SANDS COUNTY CLUB IN VIRGINIA BEACH. TOM LOVED TEACHING JUNIOR PLAYERS.

ESPECIALLY HIS SONS CURTIS AND ALAN. TOM DIED WHEN THE TWINS WERE 14 AND CLOSE FAMILY FRIEND AND 1950 PGA CHAMPION CHANDLER HARPER GAVE CURTIS HIS TIME, HIS LOVE AND HIS GUIDANCE. HIS DAD HAD GIVEN HIM THE SWING.

WAKE FOREST COACH JESSE HADDOCK WOULD BE CURTIS' LAST FATHER FIGURE AND WAS A TOUGH BUT LOVING DISCIPLINARIAN. CURTIS WOULD HELP WAKE FOREST AND JESSE HADDOCK TO THEIR FIRST NCAA TITLE IN 1974 WITH A FINAL HOLE EAGLE THAT GAVE CURTIS THE INDIVIDUAL TITLE AS WELL.

AS AN AMATEUR, CURTIS WON EVERYTHING BUT THE U.S. AMATEUR. AT HOME, HE WON THE VIRGINIA STATE JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP IN 1970 AND'72 AND THE STATE AMATEUR IN 1974 AND '75. HE WON THE EASTERN, THE WESTERN AND NORTH AND SOUTH AMATEURS. HE PLAYED ON THE WINNING 1975 WALKER CUP TEAM.

HE MAY HAVE BEEN THE BEST PLAYER IN THE 1976 PGA TOUR QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT, YET HE FAILED TO QUALIFY. AFTER A EUROPEAN TOUR STINT, HE JOINED THE PGA TOUR IN THE SPRING OF 1977. WHILE THERE WOULD BE DISAPPOINTMENTS, LIKE THE 1985 MASTERS, THE 1990 U.S OPEN, AND THE '95

RYDER CUP, CURTIS FULFILLED HIS POTENTIAL AND BECAME THE NUMBER ONE PLAYER IN THE WORLD. HE WON 17 TIMES ON TOUR FROM 1979 THROUGH 1989 INCLUDING BACK TO BACK U.S. OPENS IN 1988 AND '89. HE PLAYED ON FIVE RYDER CUP TEAMS AND IS THE CAPTAIN OF THE 2001 U.S. RYDER CUP TEAM. CURTIS HOLDS A COURSE RECORD, 62, AT THE OLDEST 18 HOLE COURSE IN THE WORLD, THE OLD COURSE AT ST. ANDREWS.

HE WAS THE FIRST TO WIN ONE MILLION DOLLARS IN A SEASON ON THE PGA TOUR. CURTIS WON THREE MONEY TITLES AND PLAYER OF THE YEAR HONORS. CURTIS IS IN HIS 40'S NOW AND THERE ARE OTHER WORLDS BESIDES WINNING TOURNAMENTS. HE'S AN ACCOMPLISHED TELEVISION ANALYST FOR ABC SPORTS.

HE'S A RESPECTED WRITER FOR GOLF MAGAZINE. HE'S A LOVING HUSBAND TO SARAH AND A GREAT FATHER TO HIS SONS DAVID AND THOMAS. LIKE MANY GREAT SPORTSMAN HE'S OPINIONATED, ARROGANT AND TOO TOUGH ON HIMSELF. FOR SO MANY YEARS HE DROVE HIMSELF TO BE THE BEST HE COULD BE. FORCED HIMSELF TO WORK HARD ENOUGH TO

REALIZE HIS MAGNIFICENT OPPORTUNITY. TO FULLY AND HAPPILY EXPLOIT HIS VAST POTENTIAL AND ALL THOSE 5 FOOT PUTTS HE HOLED AS A YOUNG TEENAGER TO WIN THE IMAGINARY U.S. OPEN, WHILE PUTTING ALONE ON THE PRACTICE GREENS NEAR HOME, WERE SUCCESSFULLY HOLED

AGAIN WHEN HE WAS THE BEST IN THE WORLD. HE DREAMT OF BEING A MAJOR CHAMPION AND ON ANY NIGHT HE CHOOSES HE CAN DREAM AGAIN OF WHAT WAS BECAUSE THE DREAMS, NOW MEMORIES, ALL CAME TRUE.

PETER KESSLER
WELCOME TO GOLF TALK LIVE, I'M PETER KESSLER. GREAT PLEASURE TO INTRODUCE YOU TO THE UNITED STATES RYDER CUP CAPTAIN, FORMER NUMBER ONE IN THE WORLD, CURTIS STRANGE. GREAT TO HAVE YOU HERE.

CURTIS STRANGE
THANK YOU PETER.

PETER KESSLER
AND I TELL YOU

CURTIS STRANGE
NICE TO BE HERE.

PETER KESSLER
NOBODY'S BEEN BETTER THAN YOU AT CALLING IN THE LAST 5, 6 YEARS AND CHECKING IN AND TELLING US WHAT YOU THINK AND I APPRECIATE IT.

CURTIS STRANGE
WELL SOME OF THE GUESTS YOU'VE HAD ON, YOU KNOW, YOU GET THE URGE TO CALL IN AND SAY HOW MUCH THEY MEANT TO YOU. YOU KNOW, I REMEMBER THE LAST THING WAS JERRY PATE. HE AND I WERE TRAVELING MATES WITH JAY HAAS IN AMATEUR GOLF AND, AND

BOB GOLBY MEANT SO MUCH TO ME OVER THE YEARS THROUGH JAY HAAS, AND THEY'RE, THE PEOPLE LIKE THAT YOU WANT TO KIND OF EXPRESS YOUR, YOUR APPRECIATION AND THANKS.

PETER KESSLER
I REMEMBER WHEN JER... WHEN YOU CALLED IN WHEN JERRY WAS HERE. YOU BASICALLY TOLD HIM THAT HE WAS LUCKY TO BEAT YOU IN THE U.S. AMATEUR.

CURTIS STRANGE
IT WAS NOT THE FIRST TIME I EVER TOLD HIM THAT EITHER. (LAUGHS) HE, YOU KNOW, HE WAS, JERRY PATE WAS, WAS, WAS A FANTASTIC PLAYER. HE WAS THE NEXT SUPERSTAR AND HE GOT ME THAT DAY.

PETER KESSLER
OTHER THAN PICKING OUT REALLY UGLY SHIRTS FOR YOUR TEAM, WHAT DOES A RYDER CUP CAPTAIN DO SEVEN MONTHS BEFORE THE RYDER CUP BEGINS?

CURTIS STRANGE
OH GOSH, I DON'T, DO WE HAVE ENOUGH TIME? UH, REALLY, SARAH AND I HAVE, HAVE BEEN DILIGENTLY WORKING SINCE DAY ONE. YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT ALL THESE THINGS HAVE TO BE ORDERED AND PREPARED AND ORGANIZED WELL

BEFORE THE MATCHES GET HERE. AS A PLAYER, YOU KNOW, YOU GO INTO THE, TO THE MATCHES. YOU DON'T THINK TOO MUCH ABOUT THEM UNTIL YOU GET THERE MONDAY AND THEN YOU'RE READY TO PLAY AS A TEAM, BUT AS A CAPTAIN, YOU KNOW, ANYBODY EVER TELLS ME THAT ORDERING SHIRTS AND SWEATERS AND SLACKS IS AN EASY JOB, THEY'D BEST

START DUCKING IN A HURRY. I'LL TELL YOU. I'M SO SICK OF PIN STRIPES AND COLLAR STRIPES BUT, ANYWAY, WE'RE DOING EVERYTHING. YOU KNOW EVERYTHING REMOTELY CLOSE WITH THE RYDER CUP GOES ACROSS THE DESK. I MEAN IT'S KIND OF NEAT. IT'S, WE, WE

DESIGNED THE BAG ONE NIGHT AND WE, YOU KNOW, OBVIOUSLY THE CLOTHES AND UMBRELLAS AND LOGISTICS, SCHEDULES ALREADY. EVERYTHING THE PLAYERS MIGHT NEED DURING THE WEEK IS DONE.

PETER KESSLER
WHAT DO YOUR SONS THINK ABOUT THIS WHOLE RYDER CUP EXPERIENCE THAT YOU'RE GOING THROUGH NOW?

CURTIS STRANGE
I THINK PROBABLY THEY HAVE THE ATTITUDE THEY'VE HAD THEIR WHOLE LIFE WITH DAD AND WHAT HE DOES FOR A LIVING. IT'S JUST IT'S PART OF IT, IT'S ANOTHER THINGS HE'S GOING THROUGH, ANOTHER THING HE'S DOING AND YOU KNOW THEY WERE THERE AT THE '95 RYDER CUP WHICH WAS A WONDERFUL

EXPERIENCE FOR THEM, BUT YOU KNOW, IT'S JUST IT'S SOMETHING DAD'S DOING. YOU KNOW, WE KIND OF DO OUR THING AND PLAY OUR GOLF OR BASKETBALL AND GO TO SCHOOL AND, AND HOPEFULLY HE'S THERE TONIGHT WHEN WE COME HOME BUT A LOT OF TIMES HE'S NOT.

PETER KESSLER
WHAT KIND OF PLAYERS ARE YOUR SONS?

CURTIS STRANGE
OKAY. THEY, THEY'RE OKAY. THEY ENJOY THE GAME. I ALWAYS SAID TO MYSELF, AND THIS IS THE WAY I WAS BROUGHT UP, THAT MY DAD NEVER PUSHED ME TO THE

GAME, HE WANTED ME TO COME TO IT BECAUSE IF YOU COME TO IT YOURSELF YOU TRULY FALL IN LOVE WITH IT AND I DIDN'T WANT TO PUSH THEM. I, I JUST ALWAYS WANTED THEM TO, TO LEARN TO PLAY WELL ENOUGH SO THEY COULD ALWAYS ENJOY THE GAME IN ANY

BUSINESS OR ENDEAVOR THEY WOULD GO IN TO AND THEY ALREADY DO THAT WHICH IS, WHICH IS GREAT.

PETER KESSLER
HOW IMPORTANT HAS YOUR WIFE SARAH BEEN TO YOUR SUSTAINED SUCCESS OVER THE LAST 25 YEARS?

CURTIS STRANGE
YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO ASK THOSE TOUGH QUESTIONS SO EARLY IN THE SHOW. I,

PETER KESSLER
LET ME READ YOU THROUGH MY NOTES.

CURTIS STRANGE
YOU KNOW IT'S, YOU KNOW WE MET IN COLLEGE AND YOU KNOW, SHE DIDN'T KNOW WHO I WAS OR WHAT I DID AT COLLEGE OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT AND, AND THEN WE TURNED PRO, AND I SAY WE, YOU KNOW WE TRAVELED AND WE, WE, WE YOU KNOW SCRIMPED PENNIES, WE HAD TO. I DIDN'T KNOW IF I COULD MAKE

IT ON TOUR AND YOU KNOW ALWAYS SUPPORT FROM BEHIND AND YOU KNOW, LOOKING BACK ON IT, IT MEANT MORE TO ME, IT MEANS A WHOLE LOT MORE TO ME NOW THAN IT DID THEN, BUT JUST SOMEBODY'S ALWAYS THERE.

NEVER TALKED GOLF AND AS WE PROGRESSED AND BECAME MORE SUCCESSFUL WE WERE JUST ALWAYS THERE AND THEN WE HAD KIDS AND ALWAYS THERE FOR THE KIDS AND YOU KNOW I HAVE TWO GOOD BOYS AND IT'S

NOT BECAUSE OF ME SO MUCH. IT'S BECAUSE OF MY, MY WIFE AND UH SHE'S BEEN WONDERFUL TO THE FAMILY AND, AND YOU KNOW, RECENTLY WITH THE RYDER CUP SHE'S BEEN PICKING A LOT OF PIN STRIPES AND STRIPES AND SWEATERS FOR ME. I WOULDN'T DARE TRY TO DO IT BY MYSELF.

PETER KESSLER
HOW INCREDIBLE DID YOU FIND HER SUPPORT WHEN YOU NEEDED IT AFTER YOU DIDN'T MAKE QUALIFYING SCHOOL THE FIRST TIME AROUND? HOW SOLID WAS SHE?

CURTIS STRANGE
WELL WHATEVER , I THINK, WHEN I LOOK BACK ON THAT, IT WAS, IT WAS '76, AT BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS, OF ALL PLACES AND I THINK, YOU NEED SUPPORT, PETER, WHEN YOU DON'T DO WELL. WHEN YOU'RE DOING WELL, YOU KNOW, EVERYTHING IS ROSIE AND YOU KNOW

YOU'RE HOLDING THE TROPHY UP OR, OR WHATEVER. YOU'RE PLAYING WELL, LIFE IS GOOD, BUT YOU NEED SUPPORT, YOU NEED PEOPLE THERE WHEN THINGS AREN'T GOING WELL, AND THAT WAS THE FIRST REALLY DEVASTATING TIME OF MY CAREER. I, I THINK AT THAT TIME, COMING UP THROUGH AMATEUR GOLF WAS

FANTASTIC. THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME I'D EVER HAD A REAL SET BACK. I LO...MISSED BY A SHOT. I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE, THE GUY YOU KNOW TO, TO PLAY WELL AND TO GET ON TOUR AND DO WELL AND NOW I DON'T HAVE A

CARD AND DIDN'T HAVE A PLACE TO PLAY AND WE CRIED LIKE BABIES THAT NIGHT IN THE ROOM. WE DID. AND, BUT WE CAME BACK.

PETER KESSLER
DID YOU CONSIDER DOING ANYTHING ELSE WITH YOUR LIFE EXCEPT PLAYING GOLF THEN?

CURTIS STRANGE
WELL I THINK I REMEMBER THAT NIGHT, YOU KNOW, AS YOU, AS YOU BEAT YOURSELF UP A LITTLE BIT, I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT I WAS GOING TO DO FOR A LIVING BUT I THINK YOU COME TO YOUR SENSES WHEN YOU WAKE UP THE NEXT MORNING

AND REALIZE THE SUN DOES COME UP THE NEXT DAY, UH, AS MUCH AS YOU MIGHT NOT WANT IT TO SOMETIMES, IT CAME UP. WE WENT BACK TO CAROLINA. I PRACTICED AND, AND WENT TO PINEHURST. ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLACES, FOR THE NEXT QUALIFYING SCHOOL AND JUST

EVERYTHING KIND OF EVOLVED FROM THERE, BUT, YOU KNOW IT'S, IF YOU DIDN'T HAVE THOSE TIMES, IF YOU DIDN'T

HAVE THE SET BACKS, IF YOU DIDN'T HAVE THE TIMES THAT YOU NEVER THOUGHT YOU'D COME BACK FROM, YOU WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO ENJOY THE GOOD TIMES. YOU WOULDN'T APPRECIATE THEM.

PETER KESSLER
WHEN WE COME BACK LET'S TALK ABOUT YOUR DAD A LITTLE BIT, AND WE'LL DO THAT IN JUST A MOMENT.

(MUSIC)

(BREAK)

NEXT SEGMENT
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Bubba donates $200,000 of winner's check to charity

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 6:27 pm

Bubba Watson earned $1,260,000 for winning the Travelers Championship, and he left a pretty hefty tip for the tournament.

According to the Travelers Championship's Twitter account, Watson donated $200,000 to aid in the event's charities, of which the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is the primary beneficiary.



The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, founded in 1988 by actor Paul Newman, offers a summer camp experience for children with physical and medical limitations.

Click on the video above for the "Golf Central" feature on the camp.

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Daly WDs from U.S. Sr. Open, blames USGA for denying cart request

By Ryan LavnerJune 25, 2018, 5:13 pm

John Daly has withdrawn from this week’s U.S. Senior Open because of a knee injury.

In a tweet, Daly said that he has “deteriorating osteoarthritis” in his right knee but that the USGA denied his request for a cart this week at The Broadmoor in Colorado.

“Don’t know what’s ahead for me,” he tweeted.

Daly said that he is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires players or caddies to submit medical documentation proving “substantial impairment” and that the use of a golf cart is necessary. The USGA can deny the use of a cart if providing it to a player “fundamentally alter(s) the fairness of the competition.”

A USGA spokesperson confirmed Monday that Daly requested the use of a cart but declined to comment on Daly’s condition or the specific reasons why his request was denied, “as it is considered private, personal information.”

“Consistent with the ADA, we review each request for cart usage on a case-by-case basis,” the USGA said in a statement. “We deeply respect the privacy of all of our players.”

After this story was posted, the USGA posted an additional statement through its Twitter account, saying that Daly’s request “did not support a waiver of the walking condition. We offered Mr. Daly the opportunity to provide additional information to support his request for a cart. He informed us this morning that he decided to withdraw.”

The USGA added that Scott Verplank also followed the USGA process and that the additional information he provided supported his request for a cart this week.

Daly has three top-10s in eight starts this season, including a tie for seventh last week in Wisconsin. Prior to that, he withdrew from each of his previous three events. He was replaced in the field by David McKenzie.  

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Kang grouped with world No. 1, USWO champ at KPMG

By Randall MellJune 25, 2018, 3:36 pm

Defending champion Danielle Kang will be grouped with Rolex World No. 1 Inbee Park and reigning U.S. Women’s Open champ Ariya Jutanugarn in the first two rounds of this week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes Golf Club outside Chicago.

Here’s a look at some of the notable groupings (all times ET):

Kang, Park and A. Jutanugarn: 9:10 a.m., Thursday; 2:20 p.m., Friday.

Kang broke through to win her first LPGA title at Olympia Fields last year and is looking to join Se Ri Pak and In Gee Chun as the only players to claim major championships as their first two LPGA titles. Park is aiming to win this major for the fourth time. She is the last player to win it back to back. (Actually, she won it three times in a row, 2013-15). Jutanugarn is looking to win back-to-back majors after claiming the U.S. Women’s Open a month ago.


Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko and So Yeon Ryu: 2:10 p.m., Thursday; 9 a.m., Friday.

Thompson is seeking her first victory this year, but she arrives in good form. She tied for third Sunday at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, her third consecutive top-10 finish. Ko won the LPGA Mediheal Championship in April and also is coming off a top-10 finish last weekend, her fourth in her last six starts. Ryu won the Meijer Classic two weeks ago.


Michelle Wie, Charley Hull and Nelly Korda: 2 p.m., Thursday; 8:50 a.m. Friday.

Wie won the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March and has been flirting with another victory ever since. She has six finishes of T-15 or better this season, including a T-10 finish at the U.S. Women’s Open. Hull’s first LPGA title felt like a major at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship in 2016, but she’s looking to claim a real one this week. She finished top 10 in both of the women’s majors played so far this year. She was T-6 at the ANA Inspiration and T-10 at the U.S. Women’s Open. Korda would like to follow Kang’s lead and become another first time LPGA winner at the Women’s PGA. She tied for 10th at the U.S. Women’s Open a month ago and followed that up with a T-9 finish at the Meijer Classic two weeks ago.

Here's a look at full tee times:

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Monday Scramble: Again and never again

By Ryan LavnerJune 25, 2018, 3:00 pm

Bubba Watson takes title No. 3, Paul Casey folds, Rory McIlroy's putting struggles continue, Phil Mickelson apologizes, Ho-sung Choi stars and more in this week's edition of Monday Scramble:

Bubba Watson still defers to 2015 as the best year of his career. That’s when he won in Los Angeles, Augusta, Shanghai and the Bahamas. During the PGA Tour wraparound season, however, he won only twice, and it wasn’t nearly enough to top Jordan Spieth for Player of the Year honors.

This season might be different.

There are still two majors and the playoffs left, and voters tend to weigh major victories more heavily, but the 39-year-old Watson has to be considered the current favorite for Player of the Year.

He’s the first three-time winner of the campaign, and his three titles have come on a variety of courses and even formats – at Riviera, at the Match Play, at TPC River Highlands. The common denominator is a strong field, and Watson prevailed again Sunday after a closing 63.

The only issue for Watson’s POY candidacy: He’s entering a portion of the schedule (July-September) in which he’s never won. He has only one top-25 at The Open. He hasn’t contended at the PGA since a playoff loss in 2010. He has stated that he isn’t particularly fond of East Lake, site of the all-important FedExCup finale.

But maybe this is the summer it all changes and Watson becomes the Tour’s top player for the first time in his career.

1. Just 71 yards. Tight lie. Downwind. Tucked pin. Desperately needing birdie.

Of the many spectacular shots that his boss has hit in his career, caddie Ted Scott put his hand on Watson’s shoulder and told him this was the best yet:


2. Watson’s final-round 63 was the lowest closing score by a winner on Tour this season. His round included six birdies and no bogeys over his final 10 holes, as he chased down a sputtering Paul Casey and eventually passed him, erasing a six-shot deficit. 

3. It wasn’t a surprise, of course.

Watson has three wins, six top-10s and eight top-25s at TPC River Highlands. His scoring average there: 67.48. His career earnings are north of $4.7 million.

“I feel like this is my home course,” he said. “I can play golf around here.”



4. Even with a drought-busting victory earlier this year at Innisbrook, Casey on Sunday couldn’t shake his reputation as a talented ball-striker who has trouble closing.

Staked to a five-shot lead after the opening hole, Casey shot 2 over in the final round – including crushing bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 – to finish three shots back of Watson. His was the worst score of anyone inside the top 35.

Casey has 53 top-10s on Tour but only two wins. Odd.

5. Without question, Casey wasn’t as sharp as his third-round 62, but it didn’t help to be in the final group behind J.B. Holmes.

Indeed, one of the Tour’s most notorious slowpokes was at it again at TPC River Highlands.

After icing Alex Noren with a 3-minute standoff with his ball at Torrey Pines, Holmes dropped at least a hole behind on the closing stretch Sunday.

It clearly affected both quick players in the final group, Casey and Russell Henley. Yes, it’s a shame that Holmes can continue to disrupt the competition without repercussions, but Casey needed to be prepared for that situation.



6. Another stellar week of ball-striking was for naught last week for Rory McIlroy. He tied for 12th, but his statistics really told the story at TPC River Highlands:

Strokes gained: tee to green: First

Strokes gained: putting: Last

Since that highly publicized lesson with Brad Faxon resulted in an emphatic victory at Bay Hill, McIlroy has only had negative strokes-gained weeks on the greens.

That’s not a knock on Faxon’s methods. It’s more a reflection that even the poorest putters on Tour can find a spark for a week.

7. Well, it’s official: Jordan Spieth is mired in the worst slump of his young career.

Never before has the 24-year-old gone six consecutive starts without a top-10 finish. But that’s exactly what Spieth has done now, dating to the Masters.

The Travelers may have been his biggest head-scratcher yet. He shared the first-round lead after a 63, then played 3 over the rest of the week and finished outside the top 40.

It wasn’t his suddenly suspect putting that let him down, either. He finished the week ranked 21st in strokes gained: putting; once again, it was his long game (he was 60th in strokes gained: tee to green).

Spieth didn’t sound concerned afterward. He said that his putting is the “best it’s been for a couple of years” – keep in mind he was ranked ninth and second, respectively, in 2015-16 – and now it’s just a matter of sorting out his alignment with his long game.

He didn’t rule out adding another start before his title defense at The Open – the most likely landing spot is the Deere, where he won in 2013 and ’15 – but he also took three weeks off before capturing the claret jug last year at Royal Lytham.

8. U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka said he never thought about pulling out of the Travelers because of fatigue, and he was rewarded with a Sunday 65 to post a top-20 finish. He also wasn’t surprised by the number of “stupid mistakes and mental errors” he made, a product of being wiped out after a long, trying week at Shinnecock.

Last year, remember, Koepka didn’t play another event after his win at Erin Hills and followed it up with a tie for sixth at The Open. This time, at least, he has a few extra reps before heading to Carnoustie.

“I’m shutting it down for a while,” he said. “I don’t feel like I need to play. I feel like my game is in a good spot.”



9. Four days too late, Phil Mickelson finally offered an apology for his actions during the third round of the U.S. Open – and it’s precisely what many thought Mickelson would say after he finished his week at Shinnecock Hills.

Since he was still fired up after his Saturday round, fine, let him blow off steam, continue to be defiant and provide an excuse (albeit a confusing one). But the next day, after some time to reflect? Fall on your sword and show some contrition. That’s on the first page of the PR handbook.

And yet Mickelson didn’t talk at all to reporters after the final round, and he only issued a statement three days later, after “a few days to calm down.”

“My anger and frustration got the best of me last weekend,” he said. “I’m embarrassed and disappointed by my actions. It was clearly not my finest moment and I’m sorry.”

That’s a step in the right direction, but he’s sorry for what exactly? Sorry that he deliberately broke the spirit of a rule? Sorry that he made a farce out of the competition? Sorry that he didn’t withdraw? Sorry that he told fans and fellow players to “toughen up” if they were offended? Sorry that he offered a lame excuse about wanting to break that rule for years? Sorry that he didn’t just admit that his window to win the U.S. Open is almost closed?

So many questions remain.

10. One question that seemingly WAS answered Monday: Mickelson won’t partner with Tiger Woods again at the Ryder Cup.

It wasn’t that absurd of a consideration, the two aging warriors and rivals whose relationship has thawed in recent years. It’s possible it’s their final Ryder Cup together, and perhaps this time, 14 years later, they’d bring out the best (and not the worst) of each other.

But U.S. captain Jim Furyk laughed off the idea Monday, saying that it’s not a “good idea” and that if the two stars heard it on TV they “just fell off the couch laughing.”

OK, then.

11. If you’re reading this column over lunch, well, sorry, but Greg Norman recently had a photo shoot for ESPN the Magazine’s “Body Issue,” and the results were nothing short of horrifying.

The Shark is still crazy-fit at 63, but he's also a similar age to my parents and at some point this just becomes weird.


Growing up, my favorite player to watch was Tiger Woods.

Over the past few years, it’s been a joy to watch Rory McIlroy up close.

But there’s no one, anywhere, at any time, who is more entertaining to watch than Ho-sung Choi. I’d never heard of him before last week, and perhaps we’ll never hear of him again, but what a thrill it was for him to come into our lives. His WILD body English after shots, his twisting and contorting and pirouetting, was beautiful and mesmerizing.

Playing in the Korea Open, Choi nearly stole one of the two available spots into The Open. Perhaps the powers-that-be can offer him a special exemption into Carnoustie – you know, for the good of the game and all that.

This week's award winners ... 


Another Rules Investigation: Bryson DeChambeau. After photos surfaced of DeChambeau using a compass during the Travelers, Tour officials informed him that they’re looking into whether it’s an allowable device during competition. He uses the compass to check the “true pin locations,” since he says sometimes the Tour-issued sheets are slightly off. Credit him for his response afterward: “It’s just funny that people take notice when I start putting and playing well.” He's now up to eighth in the Ryder Cup standings ...

Best This Decade: Stewart Cink. Following up a fourth-place showing in Memphis in his previous start, Cink closed with 62 in Hartford to share second. It’s the first time since 2008 that Cink had consecutive top-5s on Tour.

Awkward: Paul Casey/Peter Kostis dynamic. As his student kicked away a five-shot lead in the final round, we would have loved to watch Kostis’ reaction in the CBS booth.

Must Be a FSU Thing: Chase Seiffert. A former teammate of Koepka’s, Seiffert parlayed a Monday qualifying spot into a top-10 at the Travelers, earning a spot in two weeks at The Greenbrier.  

Making It Look (Big) Easy: Jovan Rebula. The rising junior at Auburn won the British Amateur to earn a spot into the first two majors of 2019, provided he remains amateur. Even more interesting: Rebula will join his uncle, Ernie Els, at Carnoustie.  


Time to Go Low: Thorbjorn Olesen. The best score for the first three rounds of the BMW International Open was 67 … and then Olesen hung an 11-under 61 in the final round to finish one shot out of a playoff. Meanwhile ... 

Home Hurt: Martin Kaymer. Trying to score a victory in his home country, Kaymer bogeyed the 71st hole when he thinned a wedge shot over the green. He finished one stroke shy of Matt Wallace.

Can’t Make This Up: Marc Dull. You might remember the name from the two stories we published about him last month – he’s the Florida amateur whose "inebriated" caddie allegedly sucker-punched his opponent during a rain delay at the State Mid-Am. Well, he found himself in another rain delay, this time in a playoff for the State Amateur. His opponent, Gabriel Lench, emerged unscathed during the rain delay and won on the second extra hole.

Blown Fantasy Pick of the Week: Daniel Berger. Technically, he earned a paycheck (T-67), but the week was a massive disappointment for a player who A) lost in a playoff at the Travelers last year and had a tie for fifth in his other prior appearance, and B) tied for sixth at the U.S. Open after holding the 54-hole lead. Sigh.