Politics may trump golf at U.S. Women's Open

By Randall MellMay 29, 2017, 6:50 pm

Women who will be teeing it up at the U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., in July got a sense last week of the challenges that await them.

Based on reports out of U.S. Women’s Open media day at Bedminster, and out of the Senior PGA Championship at Trump National in Washington, D.C., the shot-making challenges are only half of the rigor that awaits them at a Trump course.

In fact, players may want to consider some wardrobe adjustments, like Kevlar golf polos to deflect the criticism that is going to be aimed at them.

And flame retardant pants, to protect themselves from the hot seat awaiting in the media center.

It’s not going to be an easy week on or off the golf course with UltraViolet, Martha Burk and other activists outraged that women will be playing a major championship on one of Trump’s properties. It’s not going to be easy with media pundits stepping up criticism.

Champions Tour pros Fred Funk and Rocco Mediate got a taste of it at the Senior PGA Championship when they were confronted about the Trump logos they wear.

Women who tee it up at Bedminster won’t have to be wearing a Trump logo to move into the crosshairs. They will be found guilty of aiding and abetting Trump merely by showing up to play.

Earlier this year, UltraViolet co-founder Shaunna Thomas summed up the indictment every player who shows up at Bedminster will face. She said the USGA and LPGA are “giving millions in revenue, free advertising and branding to Trump, a racist, sexist, sexual predator” and they “should not be rewarding Trump’s bigoted brand and normalize his platform and policies that degrade women and divide our country.”

UltraViolet, a national group assembled to fight sexism and expand women’s rights, won’t have to fly “Dump Sexist Trump” banners over the U.S. Women’s Open the way it did over the LPGA’s Founders Cup and ANA Inspiration events. The message is going to hover with or without the actual signage.

At U.S. Women’s Open media day last week, USGA executive director Mike Davis tried to separate golf from politics, but he got cornered trying.

“We are simply not going to cross that line into politics,” Davis said. “We appreciate that there are some out there that want to make this a political event, but this is a golf event for the United States Golf Association.”

Newark Star-Ledger columnist Steve Politi countered with logic hard to dismiss. He countered asking how Trump’s bragging to Billy Bush about making unwanted sexual advances against women on a tape recording in an “Access Hollywood” revelation could be construed as political.

“How would what he said be any different if he was still just a prominent businessman?” Politi wrote. “Would the USGA have moved the tournament if he was still hosting a reality TV show and not living in the White House?”

Somebody will win the U.S. Women’s Open at Bedminster, but female players are all in a no-win situation trying to defend playing there.

There’s no fairway to hit with the questions coming to them. There are hazards everywhere in this kind of landscape.

The sad part is these players didn’t put themselves in this position.

The USGA did.

The hard part for the LPGA and its players is that the USGA is such a strong and vital partner. The U.S. Women’s Open has done more for their advancement than any other event in the game. The USGA is a vital partner in the LPGA-USGA Girls’ Golf program. The USGA opens doors for female players.

The LPGA isn’t going to abandon an important partner that has done so many good things for women’s golf, even though LPGA commissioner Mike Whan made it clear early on he would like the event moved. Whan wasn’t going to harm a loyal partner once the USGA dug in with its intent to keep its championship at Bedminster. He’s standing with the organization.

Players aren’t going to boycott, either, because it would be like cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

The USGA made this bed, and now every woman who shows up to play at Bedminster will be sleeping in it with the Trump brand.


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McIlroy 'committed to everything ... ran out of holes'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 7:08 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy summed it up: “I don’t really feel like it’s a defeat. I feel like it’s a good week.”

McIlroy, in search of his fifth major, tied for the lead at The Open late on Sunday at Carnoustie when he made eagle on the par-5 14th hole. An hour later, he had made five consecutive pars to close out a 1-under 70 and tie for second place with Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.

That group ended two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. McIlroy thought it was realistic to squeeze one more shot out of his round, but he never though it was possible to squeeze out two.

“I committed to everything,” he said. “I hit the shots when I needed to. I made good swings on 17 and on 18. I just ran out of holes.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

McIlroy hasn’t played poorly this year, but this hasn't been a year that would rank as a total success. He took the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and collected a second-place finish at the BMW PGA Championship. He had a legitimate chance to win the Masters before a terrible Sunday round, and then missed the cut at the U.S. Open last month at Shinnecock Hills.

Sunday at Carnoustie, McIlroy bogeyed two of his first five holes and quickly became an afterthought. When others faltered, McIlroy birdies Nos. 9 and 11, then eagled 14 to vault back into the picture.

“I’m happy with how I played,” he said. “I didn’t get off to a great start, but I hung in there, and I battled back.

“So I’ll look back at this week and be very encouraged about what I’ve done and the golf that I played. I feel like that will stand me in good stead for what’s coming up.”

McIlroy is scheduled to play the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks, followed by the PGA Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs.

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Edoardo, other pros congratulate Francesco on Twitter

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:54 pm

Francesco Molinari played a bogey-free weekend at Carnoustie to claim Italy's first claret jug.

His rock-solid performance in the final round earned him his share of social media plaudits.

Here's a collection of Twitter hat-tips, and we start off with Frankie's brother, Dodo.

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Woods: Fan who yelled had 'tipped back a few'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:37 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods stood on the 18th tee and thought he needed birdie to have a chance to win The Open. He pulled driver out of his bag, a sign he wanted to boot the ball as far down the fairway as possible.

Woods took a mighty swat and - right in the middle of his downswing - someone yelled. Woods flinched.

Luckily his ball still found a decent spot just off the right of the fairway.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I’ve had things like that happen a lot in my career with people who just tried to time it,” Woods said Sunday at Carnoustie after shooting 71 to tie for sixth place. “They tipped back a few, and it’s late in the day.

“Unfortunately, that’s part of what we have to deal with in today’s game. People are trying to yell out things to try to be on TV or be in social media or whatever it may be. That was too close to the game of play.”

Woods hit his approach to 6 feet and missed the birdie putt. He tapped in for par to shoot even par and finish 5 under for the week, in a tie for sixth.

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Pros melt down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:30 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and, for a little while, took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

His fellow pros were watching and tweeting like your average fans.

We compiled some of their missives below:

Woods would go on to finish in a tie for sixth at 5 under par for the week.