What if a Tour player said he was gay? A major champ weighs in

By Jason SobelMay 1, 2013, 2:19 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – One big aftereffect of NBA player Jason Collins’ announcement on Monday that he is gay – becoming the first current athlete in a major American team sport has come out publicly – is that it’s sparked discussions as to how athletes in other sports would react to a fellow player making a similar declaration. Even in golf. Even on the PGA Tour. Even in an idling courtesy car of a major champion who felt the need to expand upon earlier statements.

There has never been an openly gay PGA Tour member, which raises the question about the potential reaction.

Upon arriving at Quail Hollow Club on Tuesday, the first player I saw was Webb Simpson – and I asked him that question. It was part of his pre-tournament interview session with the media, admittedly mixed awkwardly among questions about the state of the Quail Hollow greens, his upcoming U.S. Open title defense and playing a home game here this week.

Still, the 27-year-old pro handled the query with all the deftness of an uphill 3-foot putt.

“I hope they would respond in a respectful way,” he said. “We've got a lot of personalities out on Tour, so I know if it happened, I would hope that everyone would not do anything to make the person feel bad or to put them down. That's the way I think of our Tour. Our Tour is a place where guys know each other and see each other every week. It's different than the NBA. You've got your one small team, but the Tour is kind of like a big family.”

Maybe that was the expected response, but it was also thoughtful and sincere.

The surprising part came 15 minutes later. My cellphone buzzed and it was Simpson, who wanted to further discuss the issue. This wasn’t an instance of a player attempting to retract his comments or more clearly define his point of view. He just wanted the forum to expand on his thoughts about how such a revelation would be received on golf’s highest level.

So we ducked into his courtesy car and Simpson began expanding.

“If you asked every player, you’d have a few different responses,” he said. “I think there would be guys who just wouldn’t care one way or the other. They wouldn’t want to talk about it, wouldn’t want to go there; it’s a non-issue to them.

“I think there would be a group who would applaud it. They would see courage in them coming out and be proud of them.

“And I think you’d have another camp that would be against it. Whether it’s their beliefs or values they’ve grown up with, I think you’d have a camp that would be against it, as well.”

True to his words, when some of his peers were questioned on the same topic – not for their personal thoughts about one of their own coming out on Tour, but as part of the general consensus – few offered no comment, few declined to speculate on what is for now a hypothetical situation and others felt indifferent toward the issue.

“I don’t think it would be a problem,” Bo Van Pelt stated. “To each his own. It doesn’t really have any effect on my life, so I don’t see what the problem would be. It’s the evolution of the time that we’re in. I think we’re going to get to the point pretty soon where you don’t even have to talk about stuff like this.”

It’s been nine years since 13-time LPGA champion Rosie Jones wrote a New York Times article announcing she is gay. This was just prior to the 2004 Kraft Nabisco Championship, and Jones remembers receiving enormous amounts of support from the LPGA, its players, sponsors and fans.

She believes that such a disclosure by a male player on the highest circuit may not be afforded the same luxuries.

“It wouldn’t surprise me at all if there are a couple of gay guys on the PGA Tour,” Jones speculated. “I don’t know if there are any, but there probably are. … As far as the sexuality goes, I think it’s harder there because guys scrutinize that a lot more. I think it would be really hard.”

Even so, she thinks it wouldn’t be as difficult as the announcement Collins made earlier this week.

“I think it would probably be easier for someone to come out on the PGA Tour than a team sport,” Jones added. “You run the show. You only answer to yourself. That’s really important for something like this. You have to make yourself happy. There are a lot of people who feel better in their skin, like I do, if they’re open with themselves and their lives, if they’re not trying to protect anything. That becomes really hard.”

There would undoubtedly be a different set of hurdles for an openly gay PGA Tour player to climb than there was for Jones or Collins or anyone else, for that matter. Each case is specific unto itself.

Then again, as Simpson succinctly said of the potential scenario before driving away, “Really, it’s just like any other profession.”

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”