Awards Season: Handing out the 2015 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 15, 2015, 7:10 pm

Not surprisingly, Jordan Spieth highlights this year’s Rexys, and it’s equally predictable given the young champion’s penchant for inclusiveness that he will take over the award ceremony and thank everyone in the Dallas phonebook for his success in 2015.

Word Association Award. Earlier this week Merriam-Webster announced its word of the year which isn’t even a word, it’s a suffix – "ism" – which recognizes a narrative that ranged from socialism to racism to capitalism to terrorism.

Given this nod to the inclusive, and Spieth’s historic 2015 campaign, Spieth-isms are the new standard in golf.

In 2015, the 22-year-old wunderkind made humble look good with regular reminders that it takes a village to deliver a season that included five Tour titles, two major championships and a chance to become just the second player to ever win the first three legs of the single-season Grand Slam.

“I’m very pleased with the way we battled,” he said at St. Andrews, where he finished one stroke outside of a playoff.

“I’m really proud of the way that we fought,” Spieth said at the PGA Championship, where he finished second.

“It was amazing that we competed,” he said on Sunday at the Tour Championship, which he won.

And finally, earlier this month at the Hero World Challenge, when he was asked how he could duplicate what he did in 2015 in 2016, Spieth answered: “We’re going to try and do the same thing.”

You know the deal, there is no “I” in Jordan.

Activation Fees. Normally, your scribe uses this space to dole out hardware of various sizes, but after another lost season, it’s more appropriate to ship Tiger Woods an invoice.

He started the year with a career-worst 82 to miss the cut in his first start at TPC Scottsdale, bolted Torrey Pines on Day 1 with deactivated “glutes,” set a new career-worst round with an 85 at Muirfield, and closed the season with two back surgeries in less then two months.

The highlight of 2015 was a tie for 10th at the Wyndham Championship during an 11th-hour push to make the FedEx Cup playoff. The lowlights saw Woods post the same number of rounds in the 80s through the U.S. Open as he had in the 60s, with three each.

At his World Challenge earlier this month, Woods said he was looking forward to playing again, before adding a foreboding qualifier that “everything beyond this ... will be gravy.”

Even if Woods were to get a trophy of some sort, we’re not sure if it would be half full or half empty at this juncture.

Golden Gloves. Miguel Angel Jimenez, the most interesting man in golf, is so savvy he makes three-putts look good. Of course, that didn’t stop Keegan Bradley from going nose to nose with the Spaniard during this year’s WGC-Cadillac Match Play. During the duo’s Day 3 match at Harding Park, Bradley hit his drive left of the 18th fairway and was in the process of getting a ruling, a complicated ordeal that required two separate drops, when Jimenez injected himself and insisted Bradley was taking improper relief.

The exchange became heated, with Jimenez telling Bradley’s caddie Steve “Pepsi” Hale to “shut up.”

“I felt like he was being disrespectful not only to me but my caddie,” Bradley said. “I was kind of standing up for my boy here.”

The situation became even more tense in the locker room after the match. That said, the real rub was that neither player had any chance of advancing to the weekend rounds because of the new round-robin format. Call it the most contentious consolation match in the history of the game.

Golden Boot. He once shot a 63 at St. Andrews and would have rolled into the Auld Grey Toon the preemptive favorite to end Spieth’s historic run.

He would have added a level of intrigue to the jostling atop the Officia; World Golf Ranking that would have been unparalleled in the modern era.

He would have been, after early victories at the WGC-Match Play and Wells Fargo Championship, a legitimate challenger for the FedEx Cup and maybe even the Player of the Year Award.

All of those scenarios, however, ended in July, when Rory McIlroy ruptured a ligament in his ankle during a “kickabout” with friends.

The injury forced him to miss the Open Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and hampered his efforts at the PGA Championship.

That said, McIlroy did rebound to win the European Tour’s finale, and offered a welcome commitment regarding his future extracurricular activities.

“If I do go for a kickabout, I will play goalie. I will stick to the net,” he said last month in Dubai.

Song Swansong. After perhaps only the claret jug, it’s been Ivor Robson and his distinctive voice that has defined the Open Championship for more than four decades.

Robson, who began his tenure as the first tee announcer at the game’s oldest championship in 1975 at Carnoustie, retired after this year’s Open, saying, “I feel you can’t go on forever, and if you’re going to step off, there’s no better place to do it than here (St. Andrews). It’s time to go.”

Robson said he planned to spend his golden years speanding time with his family and playing golf, so in honor of his final announcement: “On the tee, from Scotland, Ivor, the retired.”

Dope-ing. To be clear, Scott Stallings ran through one too many stop signs on his way to becoming just the third player suspended under the Tour’s anti-doping program, but this dubious award goes to those at the circuit’s headquarters for ignoring common sense.

At the urging of his doctor, Stallings took an over-the-counter supplement called DHEA, a precursor to testosterone production and a substance that is banned by the Tour.

When the 30-year-old realized he’d violated the anti-doping policy, he turned himself. “Whether I intended to or not, I took something that wasn’t allowed. I called a penalty on myself, that’s the best way to look at it,” he said.

Lost in the dogmatic doping code, however, is the fact that Stallings never failed a drug test, and many experts contend there is no performance benefit to taking DHEA, which is why the inaugural award – a sterile sample cup – goes to those in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., who refuse to distinguish between honest mistakes and malicious intent.

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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.”