College Adviser: No Publinx, no problem

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 13, 2013, 6:11 pm

The U.S. Amateur Public Links will not be played after 2014, which has created considerable consternation amongst a golf community that likely doesn’t know who played in last year’s men’s final. (Answer: T.J. Vogel over Kevin Aylwin, in a rout.)

Bad p.r. or not, the USGA correctly determined that the Publinx no longer served its original purpose, which was to offer a landing spot for golfers who were not members of USGA clubs. That changed in 1979.

And so, too, has the amateur landscape.

In recent years the Publinx has been dominated by college players, many of whom have gone on to successful pro careers, while others simply became a useless bit of trivia for dimpleheads. Since 2000, only four men (Brad Benjamin, Colt Knost, Casey Watabu, Brandt Snedeker) have won the event while not still enrolled in college – and those players had graduated only a few months prior. 

The truth is, the Publinx had become just another big-time amateur event in a summer full of them.

In a three-month span, elite amateurs can pick and choose their schedule with such premier events as the Western Amateur, Sunnehanna Amateur, Northeast Amateur, Porter Cup, Sahalee Players, Dogwood Invitational and Pacific Northwest Amateur.

In this crowded landscape, the Publinx’s demise simply makes the U.S. Amateur that much more prestigious. At least the casual fan has a chance of remembering those winners.

Here’s what else happened this week on campus:

• As predicted here, the Amer Ari Invitational came down to a playoff between top-10 teams UCLA and Washington, with the Bruins prevailing in sudden death for their second team title of the season. Auburn senior Dominic Bozzelli captured medalist honors, finishing at 11-under 205 for the All-American’s third career individual title.

• On Sunday, Florida State and sophomore Daniel Berger rolled into rival Gainesville and captured the SunTrust Gator Invitational for the first time since 1981. The Seminoles won by 15 shots at Mark Bostick Golf Course, with host Florida finishing in fourth, 19 shots behind. The Gators struggled with reigning Publinx winner T.J. Vogel (sports hernia) and Tyler McCumber (flu-like symptoms) still on the mend.

• Iowa State’s Scott Fernandez, ranked 10th in the nation by Golfstat, tied for third at this week’s UTSA Invitational. The sophomore has now finished in the top 3 in each of the four tournaments he has played this season. 

• Washington sophomore Cheng-Tsung Pan remains the No. 1 player in Golfstat’s individual rankings, followed by UCLA senior Pontus Widegren, Cal sophomore Michael Kim, Washington junior Trevor Simsby and Kent State junior Corey Conners. Alabama sophomore Justin Thomas, the reigning NCAA Player of the Year, is ninth.


Here are the top 10 men’s teams in the country, as ranked by Golfstat (click here for the full rankings): 

1. California: The Golden Bears, who won their first five events of the season, make their next start at the Feb. 20-22 John Burns Intercollegiate.

2. UCLA: The Bruins jumped from fourth to second after their most impressive performance to date, a playoff victory over Washington at the Amer Ari Invitational, which boasted seven of the top 15 (and nine of the top 25) teams in the country. Senior Pontus Widegren led UCLA with a T-4 finish.

3. Texas: The Longhorns dropped a spot in the rankings after a fourth-place showing in Hawaii, but should be encouraged by the T-4s posted by Cody Gribble and freshman Brandon Stone. 

4. Washington: Rose three spots in the rankings, even though the Huskies didn’t get the win at the Amer Ari. Washington had three players in the top 10, led by Trevor Simsby’s T-2, and world No. 1 amateur Chris Williams finished in a share of 20th.

5. New Mexico: The Lobos, who won their spring opener in Arizona, return to action at next week’s John Burns Intercollegiate.

6. Alabama: The Crimson Tide’s spring season gets under way Sunday, at the Puerto Rico Classic.

7. Florida: The Gators suffered the biggest fall of the week after a disappointing fourth-place finish at their home tournament, after which head coach Buddy Alexander sighed, “We didn’t have anything this week.' 

8. Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets held tight in the standings despite a mediocre performance in Hawaii, where only one player, Anders Albertson (T-10), finished in the top 10. 

9. Georgia: The Bulldogs leapfrogged USC without hitting a shot. They begin their spring season Sunday at the Puerto Rico Classic. 

10. USC: The Trojans rallied after a dismal first day at the Amer Ari to finish in a tie for fourth there. Anthony Paolucci led USC with a T-10 finish individually. 

Getty Images

Dunlap, in 'excruciating pain,' shares early Dominion lead

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:29 pm

RICHMOND, Va. – Scott Dunlap and Fran Quinn shot 5-under 67 on Friday to share the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Fighting a left wrist injury that will require surgery, Dunlap matched Quinn with a closing birdie on the par-5 18th on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

''Maybe excruciating pain is the key to playing good golf because I'm not getting nervous on a shot, you're just trying to get through it,'' Dunlap said. ''The worst parts are gripping it and getting the club started ... that's when that bone hits that bone.''

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 on Sunday will get spots next week in the Invesco QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.


Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic


The 55-year-old Dunlap entered the week 29th in the standings. Playing through the wrist injury, he's coming off ties for ninth and seventh in his last two starts.

''I think I finally taped it the right way,'' Dunlap said. ''Or maybe it's the pain meds kicking in. I don't know, one of the two.''

Quinn is 64th in the standings.

''I finished up strong last year, too, kind of secured my privileges for the following year making eagle on 18,'' Quinn said. ''I played solid all day. I had a lot of opportunities. A couple hiccups.''

Jay Haas was a stroke back with Kent Jones, Stephen Ames, Woody Austin and Tim Petrovic. The 64-year-old Haas won the last of his 18 senior titles in 2016.

Vijay Singh and Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, were at 69 with Joey Sindelar, Tom Gillis, Billy MayfairLee Janzen, Glen Day and Gene Sauers.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened with a 70. The 61-year-old German star won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the points lead. He has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

Defending Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland had a 71. He's 14th in the standings. No. 3 Jerry Kelly shot 72. No. 4 Scott McCarron, the 2016 tournament winner, had a 74.

Getty Images

Weather continues to plague Valderrama Masters

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 7:55 pm

SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Marc Warren helped his chances of retaining his European Tour card by moving into a tie for second place behind Englishman Ashley Chesters at the rain-hit Andalucia Valderrama Masters on Friday.

Bad weather interrupted play for a second straight day at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain before darkness caused the second round to be suspended until Saturday, with overnight Chesters still ahead at 5-under.

Weather delays on Thursday, including a threat of lightning, had kept 60 golfers from finishing their opening round. They included Scottish player Warren, who went out on Friday and finished his first round with a 2-under 69.

He then made three birdies to go with one bogey on the first nine holes of the second round before play was halted. He joined Frenchman Gregory Bourdy one shot behind Chesters.


Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters


''I'm hitting the ball as well as I have in a long time,'' Warren said. ''Hitting fairways and greens is the most important thing around here, so hopefully I wake up tomorrow with the same swing.''

Chesters and Bourdy were among several golfers unable to play a single hole in the second round on Friday.

Warren, a three-time European Tour winner, has struggled this season and needs a strong performance to keep his playing privileges for next year.

Currently ranked 144th, Warren needs to break into the top 116 to keep his card.

Getty Images

Watch: Is this the up-and-down of the year?

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 3:30 pm

Play away from the pin? Just because there's a tree in your way? Not Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. Watch him channel some Arnie (or, more appropriately, some Seve) with this shot in the Valderrama Masters:

Getty Images

Cut Line: Johnny's exit, Tiger's fatigue

By Rex HoggardOctober 19, 2018, 2:06 pm

In this week’s edition we bid farewell to the most outspoken and insightful analyst of his generation and examine a curious new interpretation that will require players to start paying attention to the small print.

Made Cut

Here’s Johnny. After nearly three decades Johnny Miller will hang up his microphone following next year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Miller called his first tournament as NBC Sports/Golf Channel’s lead analyst in 1990 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and he told Cut Line this week that at 71 years old he’s ready to relax and spend time with his 24 grandchildren.

“I was the first guy with an open microphone,” Miller said. “That requires a lot of concentration. It’s not that I couldn’t do it but the handwriting was on the wall; it would be more of a challenge.”

Miller will be missed for his insight as much as his often-blunt deliveries, but it’s the latter that made him one of a kind.

A long ride to the right place. After nearly four years of legal wrangling a group of PGA Tour caddies dropped their class-action lawsuit against the circuit this week.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in early 2015 in an attempt by the caddies to secure marketing rights for the bibs they wear during tournaments as a way to create better healthcare and retirement benefits.

The district court largely ruled against the caddies and that ruling was upheld by an appeals court earlier this year, but better healthcare options may still be in the cards for the caddies.

“I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the Association of Professional Tour Caddies.

Sajtinac told Cut Line that the Tour has offered a potential increase to the longtime stipend they give caddies for healthcare and in a statement the circuit said talks are ongoing.

“The PGA Tour looks forward to continuing to support the caddies in the important role they play in the success of our members,” the statement said.

It’s rare when both sides of a lawsuit walk away feeling good about themselves, but this particular outcome appears to have ended with a favorable outcome for everybody involved.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

A long haul. Tiger Woods acknowledged what many had speculated about, telling a group this week at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach that his season-ending push and his first victory in five years took a physical toll at the Ryder Cup.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said on Tuesday. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

Woods went 0-4 for the U.S. team in France and appeared particularly tired on Sunday following the European victory at Le Golf National.

For Woods the result was worth the effort with his victory at the Tour Championship ending a five-year drought, but his play and concession that it impacted him at the Ryder Cup does create some interesting questions for U.S. captain Jim Furyk, who sent Woods out for both team sessions on Saturday.

Tweet(s) of the week: @BobEstesPGA (Bob Estes) “I spoke to a past Ryder Cup captain yesterday. We both agreed that there should be a week off before the [Ryder Cup] to adequately rest and prepare.”

Given Woods’ comments this week it seems likely he would agree that a break – which may become the norm with the Tour season ending three weeks earlier – would be helpful, but Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts had a slightly different take in response to Estes’ tweet. “I’m afraid a different schedule wasn’t gonna make the fairways wider. On that particular course with how we played, [the United States] had absolutely no chance. Hasn’t more than half the euros played playoffs too?” Colsaerts tweeted.

It’s never too early to get a jump on the 2020 trash talking.


Missed Cut

By the book. The USGA and R&A’s most recent rulemaking hill involved the use of green-reading materials. On Monday the game’s rule-makers unveiled new interpretations on what will be allowed starting next year.

Out will be the legal-sized reams of information that had become ubiquitous on Tour, replaced by pocket-sized books that will include a limited scale (3/8 inch to 5 yards).

While the majority of those involved were in favor of a scaled-back approach to what to many seemed like information overload, it did seem like a curious line to draw.

Both sides of the distance debate continue to await which way the rule-makers will go on this front and, at least in the United States, participation continues to be a challenge.

Banning the oversized green-reading books may have been a positive step, but it was a micro issue that impacted a wildly small portion of the golf public. Maybe it’s time for the rule-makers to start looking at more macro issues.