Bradley, Simpson in mix at World Challenge despite anchor ban

By Jason SobelNovember 30, 2012, 12:20 am

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – One day after the U.S Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews jointly announced their momentous proposal to ban anchored putting, reminders of the decision loomed ominously throughout Sherwood Country Club.

There was Keegan Bradley, walking into the World Challenge interview room after an opening-round 3-under 69, looking toward the assembled media, smiling and imploring, “No belly putter questions.”

Nice try.

There was Tiger Woods, striding past Bradley on the practice green after his round and without stopping, casually offering his buddy some grief: “You’ve got to cut that thing down.”

Good one.

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And there was the leaderboard, boasting Bradley and fellow anchorman Webb Simpson amongst the World Challenge leaders after the first round.

How ironic.

If Wednesday will be remembered as a day that shook the golf world, then Thursday was its aftermath, like scattered branches littering a neighborhood after a major storm. It’s undoubtedly been a whirlwind ride for Bradley, the first player to win a major championship while anchoring his putter and thus one of the faces of the movement to ban the style.

In a share of second place two shots behind leader Nick Watney, Bradley scoffed at the notion that any success he achieves prior to switching to a new putting style should be marked with an asterisk.

“I feel like the USGA has really put an X on our back and really shined a light on us, and I don't know if that's exactly fair,” he maintained. “You know, I just hope that people look at us for the type of players that we are and the accomplishments that we've had and not because we use a belly putter, and now the USGA says it's going to be illegal. When we started putting with it, they were legal, and they still are. It's a sticky situation, and I hope people can see through that.”

Not everyone can.

In the time since the proposal was announced, Bradley has already heard from plenty of fans and, well, those who aren’t exactly fans.

“I've been catching such flak on Twitter and these other places,” he confided. “I had a guy yesterday telling me to send my application in to Burger King for 2016.”

Hey, at least there he could have it his way.

If the social media jabs were malicious, those coming from his fellow players were of the more playful variety.

“A lot of joking around, a lot of ribbing,” he said. “I finally had enough of it on the putting green the other day. I was putting with Tiger, and I grabbed Tiger's putter, and all of a sudden I see everyone start to walk around and start to look. I took his putter, which is about the opposite of what I putt with -- it's upright, it's light, it's a blade -- and I made three out of four putts from 10 feet, so I made sure to remind those guys every time I see them that I made those putts.”

Maybe he should have stuck with it. Anyone suggesting Bradley owns an unfair advantage with his oversized flatstick found their argument losing traction on Thursday, as he anchored his way to 32 total putts while hitting 17 of 18 greens in regulation, thereby creating some ammo against those who claim he’ll struggle once the ban goes into effect.

The story was eerily similar for Simpson. The reigning U.S. Open champion posted a 2-under 70 not because of his anchored putter but in spite of it, needing a pedestrian 31 rolls on the day.

“I played well,” he said afterward. “Made a bad mistake on the last, but overall a pretty solid day.”

If Simpson and Bradley accomplished anything in their first round after the announcement, it’s more fodder for the side of the debate which steadfastly claims sticking a putter into your belly is hardly a solution or cure-all to poor putting, nor is it the lone reason that some elite players using anchored putters are considered elite.

Then again, Bradley could probably find some more proof for his argument.

When he used Woods’ putter to drain three of those four 10-footers on the practice green, Woods declined to return the favor and test out Bradley’s belly.

“You don't want to see Tiger putt with that putter,” Bradley joked. “If it was up to me, I'd film him and send that to [USGA executive director] Mike Davis, and I think he would take the ban off.”

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Watch: Bubba casually hits flop shot over caddie's head

By Grill Room TeamMarch 22, 2018, 9:20 pm

We've seen this go wrong. Really wrong.

But when your end-of-year bonus is a couple of brand new vehicles, you're expected to go above and beyond every now and then.

One of those times came early Thursday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where Bubba Watson’s caddie Ted Scott let his boss hit a flop shot over his head.

It wasn’t quite Phil Mickelson over Dave Pelz, but the again, nothing is.

And the unique warm-up session paid off, as Watson went on to defeat Marc Leishman 3 and 2 to move to 2-0-0 in group play.

Hey, whatever works.

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Spieth explains why he won't play in a 'dome'

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 9:01 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – No one at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was as excited about Thursday’s forecast as Jordan Spieth.

Winds blew across Austin Country Club to 20 mph, which is typical for this time of year in Texas, and Spieth put in a typical performance, beating HaoTong Li, 4 and 2, to remain undefeated entering the final day of pool play.

The windy conditions were exactly what Spieth, who never trailed in his match, wanted. In fact, demanding conditions factor into how he sets his schedule.

“I have, and will continue to schedule tournaments away from a dome, because it's just unusual for me. I like having the feel aspect,” said Spieth, who attended the University of Texas and played Austin Country Club in college. “Places with no wind, where it's just driving range shots, it's just never been something I've been used to. So I don't really know what to do on them.”

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Spieth used the CareerBuilder Challenge as an example. The Coachella Valley event rarely has windy conditions, and as a result he’s never played the tournament.

“I played in a dome in Phoenix, and I didn't strike the ball well there. Actually I've had quite a few this year, where we didn't have very windy conditions,” said Spieth, who will face Patrick Reed in his final pool play match on Friday. “I don't go to Palm Springs, never have, because of that. Look at where you can take weeks off and if they match up with places that potentially aren't the best for me, then it works out.”

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Curry jokes about Romo's 77: 'Got him by a stroke'

By Grill Room TeamMarch 22, 2018, 8:40 pm

This just in ... professional athletes are competitive. Even when they're playing their secondary sport.

Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption Thursday, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo started hot with an even-par 36 on his opening nine holes, but faded down the stretch to open with a 5-over 77.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Ron Kroichick, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry couldn't help but crack a smile when informed of the score, saying, "I got him by a stroke."

Curry was referencing his brief foray into pro golf last August, when he shot back-to-back 4-over 74s at the's Ellie Mae Classic.

So just in case Romo needed another reason to go low tomorrow when he tees off at 1 p.m. in the second round, he's got one.

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Group standings at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 22, 2018, 7:20 pm

Here are the group standings for pool play at the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas. The player with the most points in each pool advanced to Saturday's Round of 16 in Austin, Texas. Click here for scoring and click here for the bracket.

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
(1) D. Johnson: 0-2-0 (2) J. Thomas: 1-0-0 (3) J. Rahm: 0-0-1 (4) J. Spieth: 2-0-0
(32) K. Kisner: 0-0-1 (21) F. Molinari: 1-0-0 (28) K. Aphibarnrat: 1-0-0 (19) P. Reed: 2-0-0
(38) A. Hadwin: 1-0-1
(48) P. Kizzire: 0-1-0 (43) C. Reavie: 0-1-0 (34) H. Li: 0-2-0
(52) B. Wiesberger: 1-0-0
(60) L. List: 0-1-0 (63) K. Bradley: 0-0-1 (49) C. Schwartzel: 0-2-0
Group 5 Group 6 Group 7 Group 8
(5) H. Matsuyama: 1-0-0 (6) R. McIlroy: 1-1-0 (7) S. Garcia: 1-0-0 (8) J. Day: 1-0-0
(30) P. Cantlay: 0-1-0
(18) B. Harman: 0-0-1 (20) X. Schauffele: 1-0-0 (25) L. Oosthuizen: 1-0-0
(46) C. Smith: 1-0-0 (44) J. Vegas: 0-1-1 (41) D. Frittelli: 0-1-0 (42) J. Dufner: 0-1-0
(53) Y. Miyazato: 0-1-0 (51) P. Uihlein: 1-0-0 (62) S. Sharma: 0-1-0 (56) J. Hahn: 0-1-0
Group 9 Group 10 Group 11 Group 12
(9) T. Fleetwood: 1-1-0 (10) P. Casey: 1-0-0 (11) M. Leishman: 0-2-0 (12) T. Hatton: 1-0-0
(26) D. Berger: 0-2-0 (31) M. Fitzpatrick: 0-1-0 (23) B. Grace: 1-1-0 (22) C. Hoffman: 0-1-0
(33) K. Chappell: 1-1-0 (45) K. Stanley: 1-0-0 (35) B. Watson: 2-0-0 (36) B. Steele: 1-0-0
(58) I. Poulter: 2-0-0 (51) R. Henley: 0-1-0 (64) J. Suri: 1-1-0 (55) A. Levy: 0-1-0
Group 13 Group 14 Group 15 Group 16
(13) A. Noren: 2-0-0 (14) P. Mickelson: 1-1-0 (15) P. Perez: 0-0-1 (16) M. Kuchar: 1-0-1
(29) T. Finau: 2-0-0 (17) R. Cabrera Bello: 1-1-0 (24) G. Woodland: 0-0-1 (27) R. Fisher: 1-1-0
(39) T. Pieters: 0-2-0 (40) S. Kodaira: 0-2-0 (37) W. Simpson: 0-0-1 (47) Y. Ikeda: 1-1-0
(61) K. Na: 0-2-0 (59) C. Howell III: 2-0-0 (50) S.W. Kim: 0-0-1 (54) Z. Johnson: 0-1-1