Whaley's ascension began before Bishop's ouster

By Rex HoggardNovember 26, 2014, 3:32 pm

It took just 30 seconds to make history last Saturday in Indianapolis. Or maybe it was 98 years in the making. It’s often difficult to track paradigm shifts.

Some will contend Suzy Whaley’s historic bid began the moment ousted PGA of America president Ted Bishop pressed the “send” button Oct. 23 on his smartphone.

From those watching from 30,000 feet, Bishop’s gender-insensitive tweet – in which he referred to Ian Poulter as a “Lil Girl” – sent the PGA reeling and on a path offering the least resistance.

Of course Whaley would win Saturday’s election for secretary and become the PGA’s first female officer. The alternative would have been another media maelstrom, right?

In the hurried moments following Bishop’s social media miscue, Whaley was one of the few female voices in the game to speak out against the embattled president.

“For me to hear comments that are derogatory about young girls, or insulting, just because you are a girl, is offensive,” she said.

Three days later Whaley seemed to soften her stance on Bishop the man, if not his social media misstep.

“I worked with [Bishop] for three years; he has two daughters; he has a great family; he’s worked hard to make golf 'inclusive,'” Whaley said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that Ted is not sexist.”

In a convoluted way, Whaley’s reaction to Bishop’s actions cost her, at least initially, in her bid to make history. But for those who see Saturday’s vote as a politically expedient way out of a media mess, know that Whaley’s path to the secretary’s post began long ago.

Those who considered Saturday’s vote a fait accompli ignore nearly two years of intense campaigning and what amounted to a commanding lead heading into last week’s annual meeting.

Long before gender became a headline for the PGA, Whaley was on the road to history. She was largely considered the frontrunner before Oct. 23 and her election was as dominant as it was decisive.

Whaley collected 52 percent of the 114 votes and became the first secretary elected on a first ballot with at least three candidates in PGA history.

To dismiss Whaley’s election as an abdication to the urgency of now is a disservice to the candidate and the collective.

“Our theme for this week was driving the game forward and certainly we are looking to be inclusive to all of those who want to play the game,” Whaley said. “As we move forward, I hope we show that and I hope I can be a part of that.”

In his nominating speech for Whaley, Gary Reynolds acknowledged the unspoken undertones of the week and urged voters to, “rise above the fray and return the best candidate and the best person to be the secretary of the PGA.”

Even Bishop, who did not attend last week’s annual meeting, stressed that his legacy - whatever it may be - not impact the PGA's future. “I hope this is decided like all other elections with the best candidate and not by all the external forces,” he said.

It’s not as though Whaley is blind to the gender issues facing the organization. Just four percent of the association’s members are female and if the litany of grow-the-game initiatives are going to be successful, they must start with what some perceive as a gender gap.

“It’s an enormous opportunity,” Whaley said. “If more women see that we have females in our association and if you have more women at golf facilities, people like to be around people that look like them. We want people to know golf is for everyone.”

While Whaley’s election was historic, it was anything but hasty. Although it took just 30 seconds for the assembled delegates to tab the Connecticut club professional as the PGA’s next president-in-waiting, the die for Saturday’s vote was cast long before the association found itself awash in unwanted press.

Beyond how long it took the PGA to come to its gender crossroads is what type of mandate Saturday’s vote sent across the association, if not all of golf.

The buzzwords for last week’s annual meeting were “moving forward.” It was a theme that was set in motion long before Bishop’s tweet, long before Whaley the candidate became Whaley the secretary.

“Electing Suzy today is a big move forward,” said Paul Levy, who preceded Whaley as secretary and ascended to the vice president’s office on Saturday.

Whether it took 30 seconds or 98 years, there was no denying the association is certainly bound for new ground.

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

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In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.