Press Pass Island Green Moments Golfs Best Views

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 9, 2007, 4:00 pm
Press PassEach week, GOLF CHANNEL experts and analysts offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf with the Press Pass.
 
Hot Topic
What should be the average field size and cut line for a regular PGA TOUR event?
 
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
Part of this depends on the time of year. Certain west coast events, early in the year, have less daylight and, therefore, less time to get all rounds completed, especially if there are weather issues. I've got no problem with low 70 and ties and fields of 144 except when daylight is a problem. Playing on the PGA TOUR should be a privilege, not a right. So when the fields are smaller, I'm OK with that, too.
 
Kraig Kann Kraig Kann - Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
One Hundred and fifty for full-field events. 25 threesomes off each side on Thursday and Friday. Cut to 60 and ties, making it more of a premium to make the cut. My biggest issue is pace of play. Invites like the Memorial and Arnold Palmer Invitational should be 120.
 
Mark Rolfing Mark Rolfing - Analyst, GOLF CHANNEL:
One hundred and forty four with a cut to the low sixty and ties.
 

 
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
This would probably get me lynched at a player meeting, but I think field size should be 144 max and closer to 120 at tournaments where daylight is an issue. Id really like to see 120 at most every event with a cut to low 60 and ties, but thats not likely to get approved anytime soon.
 
Hot Topic
What is your most memorable moment on the par-3 17th during THE PLAYERS Championship?
 
Hewitt:
Probably Len Mattiace's 8 in 1998. He was the home town boy. And he was in contention on that Sunday. It was the worst, most meaningful train wreck I can remember. It was also a great example of grace on the part of a player. Mattiace talked to reporters afterward for as long as there were reporters with questions. Too many other players would have been looking for a place to hide.
 
Kann:
Len Mattiace hitting the ball in the water comes to mind immediately. Scott Gump as well. I also remember Brad Fabels golf ball being swooped up by the bird. It would be easy to say Tigers putt ' which was great, but even Couples par (hole-in-three) was more electric.
 
Rolfing:
Without a doubt the most memorable moment was Tigers birdie putt at 17 from the back of the green to the front hole location in the 2001 PLAYERS Championship.
 
Baggs:
Len Mattiace in 98 comes to mind first. And, for some reason, I also have a good recall of Craig Perks birdie there in the final round in 02. He had just chipped in for eagle on 16 to take a one-stroke lead and followed up by hitting a nice shot safely onto the green at 17. He then made the long birdie putt to go up to by two, before chipping in for par on 18 to seal an improbable victory.
 
Hot Topic
In regards to the 17th, what is the best spot at any event to watch live golf?
 
Hewitt:
The best spot is probably behind the green on the seventh hole at Augusta National. Bobby Jones once wrote it was the best place on the golf course to see action on several different holes. Only problem is, a lot of people know it and it can get very crowded.
 
Kann:
The 16th at the FBR Open or 11th/12th at Augusta. Im also a big fan of the 16th fairway at Hilton Head. Sneaky good for the gathering of folks who seem to congregate there.
 
Rolfing:
The hillside left at 17 because you can watch the action at both 17 and 16 from that vantage point at the TPC Sawgrass.
 
Baggs:
On a couch. At home. Golf is much better to watch on TV than in person. But if you do go to an event, 17 at Sawgrass is a pretty good place to camp out. You can put down a blanket on the left, side hill, hang out and enjoy the show.
 
Hot Topic
Should THE PLAYERS Championship winner receive a 5-year exemption on the PGA TOUR?
 
Hewitt:
I think THE PLAYERS winner should get a 10-year exemption, the way it used to be before they shortened it to five years in 1998. This is a big stage and the reward ought to be commensurate with the achievement of winning on it.
 
Kann:
No. Three years is good by me. Five is a bit strong.
 
Rolfing:
Yes
 
Baggs:
No. Three years at the most. THE PLAYERS is not a major. I have no problem with a major winner getting a 5-year exemption on the PGA TOUR, but not the winner of THE PLAYERS. It should be between that of a regular event and a major ' which is exactly what THE PLAYERS is.
 
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    Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

    By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

    Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

    It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.

    The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.

    The week was more than nostalgic. 

    It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.

    In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.

    “I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”

    Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.

    “It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”

    Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.


    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


    The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.

    “It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”

    Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.

    “Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”

    She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.

    “Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.

    At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.

    With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.

    This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.

    “A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”

    Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.

    “It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.

    In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.

    Getty Images

    Suwannapura beats Lincicome in playoff for first win

    By Associated PressJuly 15, 2018, 10:49 pm

    SYLVANIA, Ohio - Thidapa Suwannapura won her first LPGA event on Sunday, closing with a 6-under 65 and birdieing the first playoff hole to defeat Brittany Lincicome at the Marathon Classic.

    The 25-year-old Thai player is the sixth first-time winner on tour this year. Her previous best finish in 120 starts was seventh at the 2014 Kingsmill Championship.

    Suwannapura picked up three strokes over her final two holes, making eagle on the par-5 17th and closing with a birdie on the par-5 18th at Highland Meadows to finish at 14-under 270.

    In the playoff, Suwannapura converted a short birdie putt after Lincicome hit her second shot into a water hazard and scrambled for par.

    Lincicome shot 67. She had a chance to win in regulation, but her birdie putt from about 10 feet did a nearly 360-degree turn around the edge of the cup and stayed out. Next up for the big-hitting Lincicome: a start against the men at the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship.

    Third-round leader Brooke Henderson led by two shots after six holes, but struggled the rest of the way. Back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes dropped her out of the lead. The 20-year-old Canadian finished with a 2-under 69, one shot out of the playoff.

    Getty Images

    Kim cruises to first win, final Open invite at Deere

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 9:38 pm

    Following the best week of his professional career, Michael Kim is both a winner on the PGA Tour and the 156th and final player to earn a tee time next week at The Open.

    Kim entered the final round of the John Deere Classic with a five-shot lead, and the former Cal standout removed any lingering doubt about the tournament's outcome with birdies on each of his first three holes. He cruised from there, shooting a bogey-free 66 to finish the week at 27 under and win by eight shots over Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.

    It equals the tournament scoring record and ties for the largest margin of victory on Tour this season, matching Dustin Johnson's eight-shot romp at Kapalua in January and Molinari's margin two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National.

    "Just super thankful," Kim said. "It's been a tough first half of the year. But to be able to finish it out in style like this means a lot."

    Kim, 25, received the Haskins Award as the nation's top collegiate player back in 2013, but his ascent to the professional ranks has been slow. He had only one top-10 finish in 83 starts on Tour entering the week, tying for third at the Safeway Open in October 2016, and had missed the cut each of the last three weeks.

    But the pieces all came together at TPC Deere Run, where Kim opened with 63 and held a three-shot lead after 36 holes. His advantage was trimmed to a single shot during a rain-delayed third round, but Kim returned to the course late Saturday and closed with four straight birdies on Nos. 15-18 to build a five-shot cushion and inch closer to his maiden victory.

    As the top finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt, Kim earned the final spot at Carnoustie as part of the Open Qualifying Series. It will be his first major championship appearance since earning low amateur honors with a T-17 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and he is also now exempt for the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.

    The last player to earn the final Open spot at the Deere and make the cut the following week was Brian Harman, who captured his first career win at TPC Deere Run in 2014 and went on to tie for 26th at Royal Liverpool.

    Getty Images

    Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

    Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

    Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    "I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

    Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

    Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.