The waiting is over: Presenting the 2012 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 20, 2012, 10:13 pm

The red carpet has been unfurled, the Moët is on ice and the teleprompter is stocked full of bad jokes and endless acknowledgments. Without further ado, the 2012 Rexys:

Derecho (duh-RAY-choh) Award. No, not the powerful storm that uprooted trees across the Middle Atlantic states in late June and transformed the third round of this year’s AT&T National into a cozy member-member sans gallery. The Derecho chalice goes to Rory McIlroy who, like the storm that felled trees across Congressional and the surrounding area, seemed to build on himself in 2012.

In March the Northern Irish lad outlasted Tiger Woods at The Honda Classic and lost in a playoff to Rickie Fowler at May’s Wells Fargo Championship. But he drifted into a slump, at least by his lofty standards, missing four of his next five cuts and tying for 60th at the British Open. The 22-year-old, however, showed surprising poise, rebounded with his second major victory at the PGA Championship and playoff tilts at the Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW and easily took Player of the Year honors and money titles on both sides of the Atlantic.

June’s storm at Congressional only quieted the crowds on Saturday; the Ulsterman silenced an entire sport.

Dr. Gregory House Award. It would have taken the cantankerous brainiac to cure what was ailing Charlie Beljan at the season finale at Disney, but not even medicine’s greatest mind could have figured out that all Beljan needed was a “W.”

In one of the most surreal episodes in recent history, Beljan went from an area emergency room on Saturday morning to an inspired victory at the appropriately named Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic on Sunday.

If only House & Co. could have found a way to wrest the Disney event out of the metaphorical ICU before the event flat-lined and was pronounced DOA by the Tour earlier this month.

The inaugural Head-fake Cup. Early Sunday morning at this year’s U.S. Open at The Olympic Club we spotted U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis putting the finishing touches on the course before the final round.

“We want to make them think,” Davis said when asked about a new teeing ground at the 16th hole that lopped nearly 100 yards off the par 5.

Hours later Jim Furyk’s bid for his second Open title essentially ended on that tee when he pulled his hybrid tee shot left into a row of trees and never recovered. “I know the USGA gives us a memo saying that they play from multiple tees, but there's no way to prepare for a hundred yards,” Furyk later said.

With apologies to Furyk, the U.S. Open is billed as the toughest test in golf, and if that includes an occasional pop quiz then so be it.

Allen Iverson “Practice” Award. Maybe something was lost in translation or there was a buy-one-get-one-free offer at nearby Ferrari World, but the scene during Tuesday’s practice round at this year’s HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship just didn’t add up.

Either way, consider it an opportunity lost when Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy set out for an impromptu practice round this year and we counted a total of 15 fans following the group. Note to United Arab Emirates golf fans – Tiger and Rory are as good as golf gets in a practice round or otherwise.

Anchors Away Award (formerly the It’s Not You, It’s Me Award). The U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews’ move to ban anchoring? Nope, this year’s honor goes to the player who made the most surprising personnel moves in 2012.

There are two kinds of swing coaches on Tour: those who have been fired and those who are about to be, but Lee Westwood lands the not-so-coveted AAA trophy because of his split with longtime swing coach Pete Cowen in August.

Marriages go bad, we get that, but no one has ever questioned the Englishman’s ballstriking, which Cowen has overseen since Westwood joined the play-for-pay ranks. That Westwood also split with his caddie this year suggests that he’s in search of answers. For the sake of the unemployment rate, let’s hope he finds the solution soon.

Elwood Blues Blue Light Award. Lombard (Ill.) deputy police chief Patrick Rollins earns a special exemption into this year’s “Rexys” as the wheelman who delivered European Ryder Cup hero Rory McIlroy to Medinah on time for his Sunday singles match.

McIlroy misjudged his tee time at this year’s matches and arrived at Medinah just 10 minutes before his Sunday bout with Keegan Bradley thanks to Rollins’ efforts, which were even more impressive considering it took your scribe no less than 30 minutes to get to the Chicagoland gem each day from a hotel that was at least 5 miles closer.

Elwood Blues would be proud, although we’re not sure what his brother Jake would have thought of the effort.

Pencil Whipping Chalice. Most matches are won or lost on the first tee depending on how the ubiquitous handicap negotiations go, but for Si Woo Kim the apparent injustice was set in motion the moment he signed up for this year’s PGA Tour Qualifying School Tournament.

Maybe the Korean teen missed the small print on his Q-School application, or perhaps he simply didn’t care, but Kim endured four stages of the Fall Classic (from pre-qualifying all the way through the six-round final stage, 324 holes for those scoring at home) to tie for 20th earlier this month at PGA West and earn what can only be considered a Tour Card Light.

Kim cannot become a Tour member until after his 18th birthday on June 28, which will leave him no more than six events, not counting majors or WGCs, as a member to qualify for the playoffs and retain his card.

Kim can play on sponsor exemptions (no more than 12) and Monday qualifying until his 18th birthday, but as one Tour type explained, “he will be auditing the Tour this year.”

The Big Miss-take Trophy. Hank Haney has explained that it was his plan all along to write about his time coaching Tiger Woods, and his 262-page tome was, by most accounts, an interesting, if not wonky, tale.

Where Haney seemed to cross the line was when his writing drifted into the personal aspects of his former student’s life, like this excerpt: “By the time (Elin) and Tiger married, she remained friendly but had become more guarded, even in her own home. She and Tiger developed a calm, almost cool relationship in front of other people, and conversations with them tended to be awkward and strained. I never saw them argue, but they weren’t openly affectionate either,” the swing coach wrote.

“The Big Miss” is an interesting story of Haney’s relationship with the greatest player of our generation. The armchair psychology, however, was the biggest miss.

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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.”