Cut Line: Let ams keep their belly putters

By Rex HoggardFebruary 10, 2012, 9:32 pm

No cut this week on the PGA Tour until Saturday, which would seem to coincide with the U.S. Golf Association’s new ruling on anchored putters if recent reports are any indication. But if the belly putter’s demise is on the fast track, there is no end in sight for Fred Couples and what is turning into a game of musical captains’ chairs.

Made Cut

Being short. Full disclosure here, your correspondent is a belly putter user from way back and is more than a little suspicious that the U.S. Golf Association’s sudden interest in longer-than-standard length putters is overly reactionary. Call it the Keegan Bradley accord.

The debate, however, has gained momentum in recent days, particularly with Tiger Woods’ take on long putters and revelations that he has spoken with officials from the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews about a possible rules change.

“I believe it's the art of controlling the body and club and swinging the pendulum motion. That's how it should be played. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to that,” said Woods, who has largely avoided speaking out on controversial issues in the past. “My idea was to have it so that the putter would be equal to or less than the shortest club in your bag.”

That Woods felt comfortable enough taking this issue head on demonstrates how passionate many in the sport are about long putters. But instead of another top-down mandate perhaps the current controversy is an opportunity to finally consider bifurcation of the Rules of Golf.

If the PGA Tour is worried about the evils of the long putter, and the juiced-up golf ball for that matter, then they can, and should, act. But leave the rest of us to break 90 with whatever implements we see fit.

Tseng the queen. Paul Goydos once mused that Tiger Woods was the most underrated player in the game, but as the LPGA Tour begins its season in Australia that crown seems to have been passed to Yani Tseng.

She may have had the most nondescript 12-win, two-major season in the history of golf and, here’s the good part, the 23-year-old began 2012 with designs on improving what she did last season.

“Last year is over,” Tseng said. “This is a new year for me.”

That she could somehow improve on ’11 seems like an afterthought. That it seems unlikely many will notice is just sad.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Oh, captain. Fred Couples offered an interesting glimpse into the complicated inner workings of the process of selecting future Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup captains this week in Dubai, conceding that he would like to have a turn as a Ryder Cup captain.

“Maybe in the next two or four years I'll get a shot at it, but they are going to name another Presidents Cup captain here in another month and I know they're all pushing for me to do it again, so I'm all for that,” Couples said.

The current captain dynamics are complicated. Following the International side’s loss last year at Royal Melbourne there was a groundswell of support from players to give Greg Norman a third term as captain in 2013 at Muirfield Village in Ohio. Conventional wisdom suggests if Norman returns it would make sense to give Couples a third turn.

However, current U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III would like to name Couples one of his assistant captains for this year’s matches but must wait to see if the Tour tabs “Boom Boom” for the Presidents Cup chair in ’13, while the PGA of America wouldn’t give Couples the 2014 Ryder Cup captain’s job if his 2013 dance card is full helping prepare for Muirfield Village.

In short, the Tour and the PGA of America are in a blinking contest and it appears Couples is caught in the middle.

Tweet of the week I: @KyleThompsonPGA “I’ve now had three people tell me congrats on my win last week. Sorry, I’m a different Kyle that plays (Titleist). #noKyleStanley”


Missed Cut

Northern Trust Open. With a monsoon of respect to Billy Hurley, Jordan Spieth and Jason Gore, the decision to not extend Mike Weir a sponsor exemption by officials in Los Angeles is curious at best.

Hurley, Spieth and Gore are certainly deserving of an exemption, but when a two-time champion and former major winner doesn’t rate a pass it may be time to reevaluate the system.

The exemption process has always been a political minefield for tournament directors, with some saying it’s the worst part of their job, yet the little left-hander’s snub would make even Republican strategist Karl Rove cringe.

Tweet of the week II: @Southpaw444 (Steve Flesch) “I don’t care what criteria sponsors ‘claim’ to use to determine who gets exemptions, Mike Weir not getting one into (the Northern Trust Open) is a mockery.”

BMW Championship. That Cog Hill has unofficially been cut out of the BMW rotation for the greener fairways of Conway Farms is sad enough, but the real crime here is that the nation’s second-largest market is only a part-time player in the PGA Tour picture.

Conway Farms will replace Cog Hill, the southside muni that quickly fell out of favor with Tour types following Rees Jones’ nip/tuck in 2008, as the venue for the 2013 BMW, but the event is scheduled to be played in Indiana in 2012 and Denver in 2014 and there is speculation it could make a cameo at San Francisco’s Harding Park in the near future.

Perhaps a city that clings to the idea that the Cubs’ next World Series title is just a season away is jaded enough to endure the Second City’s second-class status on Tour, but that doesn’t make it right.

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Lauren Thompson and a giant 'gator eating a turtle

By Grill Room TeamApril 19, 2018, 4:53 pm

Really, the headline says it all.

"Morning Drive" co-host Lauren Thompson was playing the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes on Thursday in Orlando, Fla., when her threesome turned into a foursome, with the appearance of a giant alligator. Techincally, it was a fivesome, as the 'gator had a turtle in its mouth.



Hey, it's a slow news week for Grill Room.

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Sources confirm Charles Schwab to sponsor Colonial event

By Rex HoggardApril 19, 2018, 2:42 pm

Multiple sources have confirmed to GolfChannel.com that officials at Colonial are poised to announce a new sponsorship agreement with Charles Schwab Corporation.

Tournament officials scrambled this year after Dean & DeLuca ended its sponsorship of the event just two years into a six-year agreement, pulling together an assortment of local sponsors and renaming the event the Fort Worth Invitational.

Colonial’s status on the PGA Tour schedule became even more uncertain when the PGA Championship announced it would move from August to May, beginning in 2019 as part of a major overhaul of the circuit’s schedule.

According to the Dallas News, and confirmed by multiple sources at the club, officials plan to announce the new long-term agreement with Charles Schwab on Monday that will begin in 2019.

News of a long-term sponsorship deal would also suggest the event will remain in May in 2019 and beyond. The Tour has indicated it plans to announce the ’19 schedule at next month’s Players Championship.

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PNC Extends Title Sponsorship of PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Golf Channel Public RelationsApril 19, 2018, 1:00 pm

ORLANDO, Fla., April 19, 2018 – IMG and NBC Sports today announced that The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. has extended its contract as title sponsor of the PNC Father/Son Challenge, the tournament that pairs the games’ legends alongside their sons, daughters and grandchildren.

PNC’s multi-year extension as title sponsor keeps the PGA Tour Challenge Event in Orlando reflecting the bank’s commitment to Central Florida. PNC has served as title sponsor of the tournament since 2012. The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando, Grande Lakes will continue to play host to the PNC Father/Son Challenge. The 2018 PNC Father/Son Challenge will take place Friday-Sunday, Dec. 14-16, with television coverage on Golf Channel and NBC.

“The PNC Father/Son Challenge long ago became one of my family’s favorite golf tournaments,” said 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus. “I have had the pleasure of playing with my sons, and last year, partnering with my 15-year-old grandson GT was a thrill. I am delighted the event—a uniquely special one to us fathers and grandfathers, and perhaps to the many fans out there watching from home or outside the ropes—will continue for many years to come.”

“After our victory in 2016, I said that this win was as good as anything I have done in my career,” said former World No. 1 and major champion David Duval, who alongside his stepson Nick Karavites captured the 2016 title. “I felt blessed to have Nick inside the ropes with me and to have our family surrounding us all week. That’s what makes the PNC Father/Son Challenge so special, and I’m pleased to hear that PNC has extended its support of the event. This golf tournament means so much to all of us who are lucky enough to have the opportunity to play in this event.”

The tournament also holds three events in qualifier markets per year. This year they will be in Dallas, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

“The PNC Father/Son Challenge allows fans to see golf’s legends playing the game they love alongside those they love most,” said Alastair Johnston, vice chairman, IMG. “We are grateful for PNC’s ongoing support of this unique tournament and we look forward to returning to Orlando to celebrate golf and family for many years to come.”

Community support is a key aspect of the tournament and PNC’s sponsorship. PNC is committed to donating $150,000 annually to local non-profits over the life of its sponsorship. Across six previous years of title sponsorship, PNC has already donated $900,000 to Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation and the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children to support the “Healthy Families Orange” program. Over the years, PNC has also had the opportunity through this tournament to co-host events for local women in business, to put on clinics and provide free access to the tournament for active military, and even provide a service dog for a local veteran.

"PNC's long-standing sponsorship of the Father/Son Challenge reflects the philanthropic values we share with the PGA Tour and the golf community, as well as our focus on strong relationships,” said Bill Demchak, chairman, president and chief executive officer of The PNC Financial Services Group. “As PNC Bank continues to expand its footprint, the PNC Father/Son tournament helps us gain visibility with new audiences and to strengthen the relationships we enjoy today with more than 8 million retail, wealth, and corporate and institutional banking customers across the country.”

“NBC Sports is extremely proud of our heritage as co-founder for the Father/Son Challenge, one of golf’s most special events that closes out the calendar year on the golf schedule,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports. “Our relationship with PNC Bank elevates this event each year as a must-attend and must-see event for players and fans alike, and we look forward to our continued relationship with PNC Bank for years to come.”

Past winners of the PNC Father/Son Challenge include some of the biggest names in golf including Raymond Floyd (1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001), Jack Nicklaus (1999), Bernhard Langer (2005-06, 2014), Davis Love III (2012) and David Duval (2016).  Masters champion Angel Cabrera and his son, Angel Cabrera Jr. captured the 2017 title.

To qualify for the PNC Father/Son Challenge, participants must have won either a major championship or THE PLAYERS Championship in their career. The professional’s partner must not currently hold a Tour card, and while the majority of partners in the history of the event have been the sons of the golf legends, the family-themed tournament has seen daughters, grandsons and one father – Justin Leonard’s dad, Larry – participate over the years.

The PNC Father/Son Challenge is operated in partnership by IMG and NBC Sports.

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Fire damages National Golf Links of America clubhouse

By Will GrayApril 19, 2018, 12:55 pm

A fire broke out Wednesday at National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y., causing "extensive damage" to a portion of the historic course's clubhouse.

According to a 27East.com report, an initial call was made to the Southampton police department about a fire on the roof of the clubhouse at 11:34 a.m. With the club's gates too narrow to fit a fire truck through, more than 100 firefighters from various departments helped douse the flames by transporting water up a hill to the east side of the clubhouse.

The fire was reportedly extinguished by 2:30 p.m., with no injuries requiring medical attention. According to a Golf Digest report, the club was undergoing construction on its outdoor eating area known as "the Birdcage" and that most of the club's historical documents reside on the opposite end of the clubhouse from where the fire broke out and was contained.

Opened in 1911, National Golf Links of America was designed by C.B. MacDonald and hosted the inaugural Walker Cup in 1922. The biennial matches returned in 2013 to NGLA, which is often rated among the top courses in the U.S. and sits adjacent to Shinnecock Hills, site of this summer's U.S. Open.