#AskLav: Singh cloud hangs over Pebble Beach

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 7, 2013, 5:37 pm

Only a story as unsavory as Vijay Singh’s deer-antler spray can spoil the felicitous meeting of land and sea.

The most talked-about 49-year-old in golf played Pebble Beach on Thursday, just nine days after he admitted in a Sports Illustrated story that he uses a banned substance, just a week after he withdrew from the Phoenix Open citing a back injury. Quick healer.

Here’s what we know: Singh, in a statement, said he was “shocked” to learn that deer-antler spray contained a chemical (IGF-1) that was on the Tour’s banned-substance list. We know that he met with commissioner Tim Finchem on Wednesday to discuss the report. We know that he’s playing the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. And we know that the PGA Tour has yet to comment on the situation.

It seems unlikely that Singh knowingly took a banned substance; if he had, why openly discuss his use with a SI reporter? But that defense misses the point. Singh used a substance that violates the Tour’s anti-doping policy, and he deserves to be suspended, whether it’s three months, six months, nine months, or a year. Anything less makes a mockery of the Tour’s stance on performance-enhancers.

With that, let’s tear into another #AskLav mailbag. No surprise, there were more Singh queries this week:

Only if it’s applied “every couple of hours … every day,” as Singh outlined in the SI story. Just kidding. Sure, Singh could be sent to the sidelines for a few months, maybe even a year, but there is no way the Tour flips open the record books and begins scrubbing with a giant pink eraser. Besides, Vijay last won the PGA in 2004, long before the Tour enacted an anti-doping policy.

No, this is more an opportunity for the Tour to demonstrate how serious it is about PEDs. If it doesn’t crack down now and suspend a player – a Hall of Famer – who admittedly used a banned substance, what’s that say about its policy?

Now there is some much-needed PR advice for the Big Fijian.

Hyperbolic, perhaps, but Robert Garrigus recently raised a similar point in criticizing the USGA: “They are amateurs who are making rules for a professional game.” Mike Davis and Co. are at a crossroads, and if the PGA Tour decides to go away from the anchoring ban and create its own rule, well, Mark King’s prediction won’t be so easily dismissed.

Why would the Tour embarrass its own? Ask any player and he’ll tell you the slowpokes. But the Tour would never go out of its way to humiliate its own players – same reason it doesn’t reveal suspensions – which is why the ShotLink data is locked away in a safe somewhere deep inside Camp Ponte Vedra, never to be used for public consumption.

So, wait … you don’t like that a color commentator is using, uh, colorful phrases? If I wrote the blandest story possible, I’d lose all of my three remaining readers.

The good news: Double D has re-signed with Nike and seems to be in a good place with his health, his family and his life. The bad news: He hasn’t won in 12 years, has finished inside the top 125 in earnings just once in the last 10 years, and last year made just three of 17 cuts. If he ever wins again, call up Universal Pictures.

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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.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

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.