Awards season: Handing out the 2016 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2016, 3:30 pm

Think of the year-ending Rexys as more Globetrotters than Golden Globes, but the aftermath is similar with honorees often left confused and cranky, and the committee on the hook for the bar tab.

Participation Prize. Not since middle school has an athlete accomplished so much outside the winner's circle and in 2016 the Participation nod goes to a pair of impressive also-rans in Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar.

Kuchar wasn't even qualified for the Olympics until the 11th hour when a collection of high-profile no-shows combined with his tie for third at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational bumped him to 15th in the Official World Golf Ranking and into the Games, where he rallied with a final-round 63 to claim the bronze medal.

 Lefty had a similarly understated year, finishing second to Henrik Stenson at The Open after narrowly missing a putt for 62 in the opening round at Royal Troon. But it was at September’s Ryder Cup where Mickelson made his year by helping lead the U.S. team to victory and validate the changes to the U.S. system that he helped championed.

Phoenix Award. He was a ghost for much of the year, an urban legend with sightings at regular intervals but nothing definitive until Tiger Woods committed to, and played, the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

He tied for 15th in a 17-player field with an equal mix of birdies and bogeys. Rust was the primary culprit for Woods’ play at the Challenge and his return sparked an avalanche of optimism heading into 2017, but after a year of relative obscurity just making it to the first tee at Albany was an accomplishment of mythical proportions.

Wrong Address Acknowledgment. In November, USGA executive director Mike Davis referred to Rule 18-2 as a “God-forsaken” rule, and few, particularly Dustin Johnson, would argue with him.

The rule, which deals with a ball moving after a player has addressed it, cost Johnson a stroke but not the title at the U.S. Open when a surreal chain of events led to the bomber finishing his round unsure if he had a four- or five-stroke lead.

Earlier this month, Davis followed through on a promise to adjust the rule, eliminating the penalty when a ball is accidentally moved on the putting green.

Bronze Medal. Kuchar and China’s Shanshan Feng may have taken home the proper “show” medals at this year’s Games, but from 30,000 feet golf’s return to the Olympics deserves an acknowledgment of qualified success.

Many of the top players in the men’s game declined to make the trip to Rio, citing everything from concerns over the Zika virus to scheduling problems, and the legacy left behind (the Olympic Golf Course) is in danger of succumbing to the indifferent forces of nature and South American politics.

But the competition was inspiring and, for those who did make the trip to Brazil, the spectacle of the Games went well beyond what many envisioned.

There’s room for improvement before golf arrives in Japan for the 2020 Olympics, but a bronze medal isn’t a bad consolation prize – just ask Kuchar.

Mulligan Mug. He’d been down this rabbit hole before, endured the rigors of a two-year process that is consuming and cruel. But still, Davis Love III took the gig as U.S. Ryder Cup captain because his friends, the players, contended he was the right man for the job.

The result was a dramatic U.S. victory at Hazeltine National and a .500 record for Love, who lost his first turn as captain in 2012.

Love probably hasn’t taken a mulligan on the golf course since his late father, the legendary swing instructor Davis Love Jr., put a club in his hands, but if anyone needed a do-over it was Captain America.

Gold Watch. By many accounts, Tim Finchem didn’t receive an expensive timepiece when he officially stepped down as commissioner of the PGA Tour in November.

There were various gifts from friends and colleagues, there was even a five-minute standing ovation from tournament directors earlier this month, but no gold watch.

 What else would you give the man who spent more than two decades forging golf’s future? Not all of Finchem’s decisions were popular, not all of them made sense, but there is no debating that he led, and that has to be worth a valuable keepsake.

Make-Good Mug. FedEx Cup math be damned. After being pencil whipped at East Lake in the past, Rory McIlroy finally cleared the $10 million hurdle this season.

In 2012, the Northern Irishman began the week of the Tour Championship with a commanding lead in the points race only to drop the title to Brandt Snedeker; and in ’14 he finished third in the playoff race despite top-10 finishes at three of the four post-season stops.

But in September, McIlroy made the math easy, outdueling Kevin Chappell and Ryan Moore in extra holes to claim the FedEx Cup and a well-deserved make-good.

Courage Award. Actually, the Courage Award is an honor occasionally given out by the Tour, but we’re borrowing it to give to Sam Saunders, who spoke so eloquently in September at his grandfather Arnold Palmer’s funeral.

“He would always take my phone call, always,” Saunders said, before recalling the time Palmer answered his phone while he was in the Oval Office.

“He said, ‘I’m with the president,’” Saunders said. “I said, ‘The president of what?’ And he said to me as if it was so obvious, ‘Of the United States.’”

The golf world lost a piece of itself with the passing of Palmer, and Saunders’ grace and humility was an apropos homage to everything The King stood for.

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Sponsored: Callaway's 'Golf Lives: Home Course'

By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 4:20 pm

In this original series, Callaway sets out to profile unique golf locations around the country based on their stories, communities and the characters that surround them. The golf cultures across the series are remarkably diverse, yet in all cases it's the course itself that unifies and ignites the passions of those who play.

“Golf Lives: Home Course” focuses on three distinct home courses across the country – one in D.C., one in Nebraska and one in Portland, Ore. All have very different golf cultures, but are connected by a deep love of the game.

Click here for a look at all three series segments, as well as past Golf Lives features.

And here’s a breakdown of the three courses in focus: 


Langston Golf Course (Washington, D.C.)

Opened in June 1939, Langston is steeped in a rich history. Known for its triumphant role in the desegregation of public golf, the course has been integral to the growth of the game’s popularity among African Americans. With its celebratory feel, Langston shows us golf is not unifies individuals, but generations. 


Edgefield Golf Course (Portland, Ore.)

The air is fresh, the beers are cold and the vibes are electric at Edgefield. You'd be hard pressed to find a more laid back, approachable and enjoyable environment for a round. Overlooking stunning panoramic views of northeast Portland, two par-3 pub courses (12 holes and 20 holes) wind through vineyards, thickets of blackberry bushes and a vintage distillery bar. All are welcome at Edgefield, especially those who have never swung a club. 


Wild Horse Golf Club (Gothenburg, Neb.)

In 1997, the locals and farmers living in the tight-knit town of Gothenburg decided to build a golf course. A bank loan, a couple of tractors, and a whole lotta sweat-equity later, their prairieland masterpiece is now considered one of the best in the country. Wild Horse is the soul of the community, providing unforgettable memories for all who play it.

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Pepperell likely sews up Masters invite via OWGR

By Will GrayOctober 15, 2018, 2:13 pm

Eddie Pepperell received a trophy for his win Sunday at the British Masters, but another prize will be coming in the mail at the end of the year.

Pepperell held on to win by two shots at rainy Walton Heath, giving him his second win of the year to go along with a pair of runner-ups. The Englishman started the year ranked No. 133 in the world and was as low as 513th in May 2017. But with the win, Pepperell jumped 17 spots to a career-best 33rd in the latest world rankings.

It means that Pepperell, who finished T-6 at The Open while fighting a hangover in the final round, is in line to make his Masters debut next spring, as the top 50 in the world rankings at the end of the calendar year become exempt into the season's first major.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

Another player now in the mix for that top-50 exemption is Emiliano Grillo, who went from 62nd to 49th with a T-2 finish at the PGA Tour's CIMB Classic. Grillo has played in two Masters but missed this year's event. Marc Leishman moved up eight spots to No. 16 with his win in Malaysia, while T-2s result moved Chesson Hadley from 75th to 60th and Bronson Burgoon from 162nd to 102nd.

There were no changes among the top 10 in the latest rankings, with Dustin Johnson still ahead of Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy. Francesco Molinari remains in sixth, with Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth rounding out the top 10.

Both Koepka and Thomas are in the field at this week's CJ Cup in South Korea, where they will have an opportunity to overtake Johnson for world No. 1.

With his next competitive start unknown, Tiger Woods stayed at No. 13 for another week.

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USGA, R&A unveil new limits on green books

By Rex HoggardOctober 15, 2018, 1:53 pm

Following a six-week feedback period, the USGA and R&A unveiled a new interpretation of the Rules of Golf and the use of green-reading materials on Monday.

The interpretation limits the size and scale of putting green books and any electronic or digital materials that a player may use to assist with green reading.

“We’re thankful for everyone’s willingness to provide feedback as we worked through the process of identifying a clear interpretation that protects the essential skill of reading a green, while still allowing for information that helps golfers enjoy the game,” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior managing director of governance.

Players will be allowed to continue to use green-reading books beginning in 2019, but the new interpretation will limit images of greens to a scale of 3/8 inch to 5 yards (1:480), and books can be no larger than 4 1/4 inches by 7 inches (pocket-sized). The interpretation also bans the use of magnification devices beyond normal prescription glasses.

The USGA and R&A will allow for hand-drawn notes in green books as long as those notes are written by the player or their caddie. The rule makers also dropped a proposal that would have limited the minimum slope to four percent in green-reading material.

“These latest modifications provide very practical changes that make the interpretation easier to understand and apply in the field,” Pagel said.

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CIMB purse payout: Leishman earns $1.26 million

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 1:34 pm

Marc Leishman never let off the gas pedal and cruised to a five-stroke victory at the CIMB Classic. Here's how the purse was paid out at TPC Kuala Lumpur.

1 Marc Leishman -26 $1,260,000
T2 Emiliano Grillo -21 $522,667
T2 Chesson Hadley -21 $522,667
T2 Bronson Burgoon -21 $522,667
T5 Justin Thomas -20 $237,300
T5 Abraham Ancer -20 $237,300
T5 Charles Howell III -20 $237,300
T5 Louis Oosthuizen -20 $237,300
T5 Gary Woodland -20 $237,300
T10 Kevin Chappell -19 $175,000
T10 Si Woo Kim -19 $175,000
T10 Shubhankar Sharma -19 $175,000
T13 Kyle Stanley -18 $122,640
T13 Byeong Hun An -18 $122,640
T13 Paul Casey -18 $122,640
T13 J.B. Holmes -18 $122,640
T13 Stewart Cink -18 $122,640
T13 Austin Cook -18 $122,640
T19 Keegan Bradley -17 $89,320
T19 Kevin Na -17 $89,320
T19 Nick Watney -17 $89,320
T22 Keith Mitchell -16 $71,120
T22 John Catlin -16 $71,120
T22 Cameron Smith -16 $71,120
25 Xander Schauffele -15 $59,920
26 Joel Dahmen -14 $54,320
T27 Kevin Tway -13 $50,120
T27 Gaganjeet Bhullar -13 $50,120
T27 Scott Piercy -13 $50,120
T30 C.T. Pan -12 $43,820
T30 Thomas Pieters -12 $43,820
T30 Beau Hossler -12 $43,820
T33 Billy Horschel -11 $35,303
T33 Ryan Palmer -11 $35,303
T33 Ryan Armour -11 $35,303
T33 Kiradech Aphibarnrat -11 $35,303
T33 Danny Lee -11 $35,303
T33 Kelly Kraft -11 $35,303
T39 Brice Garnett -10 $27,720
T39 Jamie Lovemark -10 $27,720
T39 Brian Stuard -10 $27,720
T39 Jimmy Walker -10 $27,720
T43 Jason Dufner -9 $20,160
T43 Satoshi Kodaira -9 $20,160
T43 Chez Reavie -9 $20,160
T43 Justin Harding -9 $20,160
T43 Ernie Els -9 $20,160
T43 Jason Kokrak -9 $20,160
T43 Sam Ryder -9 $20,160
T50 Branden Grace -8 $15,365
T50 Sanghyun Park -8 $15,365
T50 Andrew Putnam -8 $15,365
T50 Rafael Cabrera Bello -8 $15,365
T54 Ted Potter Jr. -7 $14,280
T54 Ben Leong -7 $14,280
T54 Brendan Steele -7 $14,280
T54 Sihwan Kim -7 $14,280
T54 Troy Merritt -7 $14,280
T59 Whee Kim -6 $13,720
T59 Davis Love III -6 $13,720
T59 James Hahn -6 $13,720
62 Michael Kim -5 $13,440
T63 Pat Perez -4 $13,160
T63 Tom Hoge -4 $13,160
T63 Anirban Lahiri -4 $13,160
T66 Scott Vincent -3 $12,740
T66 Brandt Snedeker -3 $12,740
T66 Ryan Moore -3 $12,740
T69 Peter Uihlein -2 $12,390
T69 Brian Gay -2 $12,390
71 Minchel Choi -1 $12,180
T72 J.J. Spaun E $11,970
T72 Berry Henson E $11,970
74 Ollie Schniederjans 3 $11,760
T75 Scott Stallings 5 $11,480
T75 Jon Curran 5 $11,480
T75 Rahil Gangjee 5 $11,480
78 Leun-Kwang Kim 13 $11,200