Spieth wants to win the Nelson before it moves

By Ryan Reiterman May 16, 2017, 10:47 pm

IRVING, Texas – Jordan Spieth’s “Hello, world” moment came seven years ago at the AT&T Byron Nelson when he finished T-16 as a junior in high school.

He would like to add one more special memory this week at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas.

All of the past champions have their names inscribed on a wall behind the statue of Byron Nelson that sits near the first tee, and Spieth wants to add his name to the list before the tournament moves 23 miles south next year to Trinity Forest, a new Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw design where Spieth is a member.

“It's a very special place for our family and friends,” Spieth said Tuesday of Las Colinas. “It's very bittersweet. Obviously fantastic memories and looking forward to creating new ones this week and hopefully the best ones yet.”

Spieth was born and raised in Dallas and attended the Nelson with his family as a kid. He burst onto the national scene with his first of two U.S. Junior Amateur wins in 2009. He received a sponsor’s invite to the Nelson the following year, and quickly became a household name with rounds of 68-69-67-72. He came within three strokes of the lead before fading to a T-16 finish in his PGA Tour debut.

Amazingly, it’s still Spieth’s best result in six starts at the Nelson, but the two-time major champion hopes that will change this week.

AT&T Byron Nelson: Articles, photos and videos

He’s coming off a missed cut at The Players Championship, but Spieth’s confidence is still high despite failing to make the weekend at TPC Sawgrass for the third straight year. He won his ninth PGA Tour title earlier this year at Pebble Beach and has recorded four other top-10 finishes.

“I hit the ball phenomenal and putting was great leading in,” Spieth said. “My one bad day of the week was Thursday striking the ball and I recognized what it was, I couldn't fix it in time for the round and then I fixed that on Friday, but then I just didn't get any of the putts to go.”

Spieth desperately wants to end his winless streak this week at the Nelson, but he has learned not to put any extra pressure on himself.

“I think that was more of a question when I was an amateur and then the first couple of years on Tour,” said Spieth of the added pressure of his hometown event. At this point, this is my seventh time. It's bizarre. Just feels like somewhat of another Byron to me.

“It's still a really fun week that I've learned to enjoy more than put that pressure on myself and even when I've been in contention, I've learned to enjoy having that with everybody around and it's helped me just have a better time this week.”

Spieth is also having fun at home. Not only is he sleeping in his own bed, but Spieth is hosting several house guests. Fellow #SB2K16 and #SB2K17 alum Smylie Kaufman, as well as former Texas teammates Kramer Hickok and Alex Moon are all staying at casa de Spieth. Hickok received a sponsor’s invite and Moon qualified for the tournament on Monday with a 7-under 65.

“Looking forward to a strong performance by our house this week,” Spieth joked.

After a game of pool basketball Monday, Spieth said things will be pretty low key at his house the rest of the week.

“It's more just eating dinner and if we see each other, ‘What time are you off? What time are you getting up?’ Nothing out of the ordinary,” he said.

Not surprising since the host has some unfinished business.

“I really would like to get my name there by Byron's statue after coming out and looking at all those names for so many years,” Spieth said.

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Woods would 'love' to see Tour allow shorts

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:59 pm

Players on the European Tour are allowed to wear shorts during practices and pro-ams.

The PGA of America permitted players to show some leg while prepping for last year’s PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods would like to see the PGA Tour follow suit.

"I would love it," he said Thursday in a Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf. "We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer, and then on top of that when we have the winter months here a lot of the guys go down to South Africa and Australia where it's summer down there.

"It would be nice to wear shorts. Even with my little chicken legs, I still would like to wear shorts."

Caddies are currently allowed to wear shorts on Tour, during events.

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Feasting again: McIlroy shoots 65 to lead BMW PGA

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:04 pm

Rory McIlroy made seven birdies and no bogeys on Friday for a 7-under 65 and the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

After opening in 67, McIlroy was among the early groups out on Day 2 at Wentworth Club. He made three birdies and no bogeys on the par-35 front nine on Friday, and then went on a run after the turn.

McIlroy made four consecutive birdies, beginning at the par-5 12th. That got him to 12 under, overall, and gave him a clear advantage over the field. With two closing par-5s, a very low number was in sight. But, as he did on Day 1, McIlroy finished par-par.

"I've made four pars there [on 17 and 18] when I really should be making at least two birdies, but I played the other par-5s well," McIlroy said. "It all balances itself out."

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

McIlroy has made 14 birdies and two bogeys through two rounds. At 12 under, he had a four-stroke lead when he completed Friday play.

"The work has paid off, to some degree," McIlroy said of his practice with swing coach Michael Bannon. "I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there. But, for the most part, it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce."

This event has been feast or famine for McIlroy. He won here in 2014, but has three missed cuts in his other three starts. This week, however, he’ll be around for the weekend and is in position for his first European Tour victory since the 2016 Irish Open and his second worldwide victory of the year (Arnold Palmer Invitational).

"I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said about his weekend approach with the lead. "On the first tee box tomorrow I'll be thinking about what I did today. Trying to just keep the same thoughts, make the same swings. I went a couple better today than I did yesterday. I'm not sure I'll keep that progression going but something similiar tomorrow would be nice."

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Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."

Marc Dull (Florida State Golf Association)

Golden: Dull rude, caddie 'inebriated' at Florida Mid-Am

By Ryan LavnerMay 25, 2018, 1:03 am

Jeff Golden has offered more detail on what transpired at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship, writing in a long statement on Twitter that Marc Dull’s caddie was “inebriated” before he allegedly sucker-punched Golden in the face.

In a story first reported by GolfChannel.com, Charlotte County Police responded to a call May 13 after Golden claimed that he’d been assaulted by his opponent’s caddie in the parking lot of Coral Creek Club, where he was competing in the Mid-Am finals. Golden told police that the caddie, Brandon Hibbs, struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

Golden posted a 910-word statement on the alleged incident on his Twitter account on Thursday night. He said that he wanted to provide more detail because “others have posed some valid questions about the series of events that led to me withdrawing” from what was an all-square match with two holes to play.

Golden wrote that both Dull and Hibbs were rude and disruptive during the match, and that “alcohol appeared to be influencing [Hibbs’] behavior.”

Dull, who caddies at Streamsong Resort in Florida, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I’ve never seen an opposing caddie engage in so much conversation with a competitor,” Golden wrote. “On the eighth hole I had become extremely frustrated when my opponent and caddie were talking and moving. I expressed my disappointment with their etiquette to the rules official in our group.”

On the ninth hole, Golden informed the official that he believed Hibbs had broken the rules by offering advice on his putt. Golden won the hole by concession to move 2 up at the turn, and Hibbs removed himself from the match and returned to the clubhouse.

Golden wrote that after the penalty, the match “turned even nastier, with more negative comments from my opponent on the 10th tee.” He added that he conceded Dull’s 15-foot birdie putt on No. 10 because he was “sick of the abuse from my opponent, and I wanted the match to resemble what you would expect of a FSGA final.”

Though there were no witnesses to the alleged attack and police found little evidence, save for “some redness on the inside of [Golden’s] lip,” Golden wrote that the inside of his mouth was bleeding, his face was “throbbing” and his hand was also injured from bracing his fall. X-rays and CT scans over the past week all came back negative, he said.

Golden reiterated that he was disappointed with the FSGA’s decision to accept his concession in the final match. He had recommended that they suspend the event and resume it “at a later time.”

“The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

Asked last week about his organization’s alcohol policy during events, FSGA executive director Jim Demick said that excessive consumption is “highly discouraged, but it falls more broadly under the rules of etiquette and player behavior.”

Dull, 32, was back in the news Wednesday, after he and partner Chip Brooke reached the finals of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. They lost to high schoolers Cole Hammer and Garrett Barber, 4 and 3.