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Rosaforte Report: DeChambeau will continue pushing limits

By Tim RosaforteJuly 10, 2018, 11:59 am

Bryson DeChambeau defends a PGA Tour title for the first time in his career this week, and will do so without his trusty "drawing compass” – the same one most high school students leave behind in their geometry classes.

The USGA banned DeChambeau’s measuring device last week, which, ironically, he wasn’t using to read the 12-foot birdie putt that won last year’s John Deere Classic, or the 12-footer he made on the third hole of a playoff to win this year’s Memorial Tournament.

In the wake of the ruling, DeChambeau has gone silent. He plans on making a statement at a Wednesday news conference in Silvis, Ill., deflecting follow-up questions and moving on. With the Open Championship coming up and a genuine chance to make his first Ryder Cup team, DeChambeau is hoping to make his golf speak for him while he sorts out a new invention for his science of green reading.

Leave it to the 24-year-old golf scientist for creating such a bizarre controversy. Known for his single-length irons and sidesaddle putting stroke, DeChambeau pushed the boundaries trying to make up for slightly askew measurements on the Tour’s pin sheets, when breaks didn’t match up to the contours in their yardage books.

“Maybe he outsmarts some of the other guys because he takes a different approach to the game,” said DeChambeau’s manager, Brett Falkoff. “He’s doing it different, his way.”

According to Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of rules, DeChambeau’s manner in this case was addressed in the first part of Rule 14-3a. The rule prohibits a player, during a stipulated round, from using any artificial device or unusual equipment, or using any equipment in an abnormal manner, that “might assist him in making a stroke or in his play”.

The protractor/compass was addressed in what Pagel described as a “general bucket for unusual equipment.” The way Pagel described it, the USGA’s ruling was to assure that skill and judgment are still retained.

It was in a 45-minute phone conversation with John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s senior managing director of championship and governance, that DeChambeau was delivered the decision. It could have been worse had Bodenhamer and his associates ruled that it was a breach of the rules and thus a disqualification after examining the Travelers Championship video that was brought to the attention of the USGA.

“We consider him part of the family,” noted Pagel. By that he was referencing DeChambeau’s 2015 U.S. Amateur victory. In his conversation with the USGA, it was understood that DeChambeau would continue pushing rules’ limits.

“That’s great,” Pagel said. “That’s the level of dialog we want. We love the fact that Bryson is known for innovation and pushing the limits.”

By releasing a statement on July 5, the USGA came out looking like the bad guys. It was actually Tyler Dennis, the Tour’s senior vice president of competitions, that initiated the process by reaching out to the USGA after DeChambeau’s use of a drawing compass was raised by another rules official watching the Travelers on television (DeChambeau finished T-9).

“Like Bryson said, ‘I start playing well and people start noticing different things,’” Falkoff said. Other members of DeChambeau’s team questioned how the use of a range finder or other distance measuring devices in USGA amateur championships is legal while a drawing compass is not. It was also confirmed that DeChambeau had been using the device on and off for two years.

“We kept walking off greens saying, ‘What’s going on, why didn’t it break properly?’” said DeChambeau’s swing coach, Mike Schy. “If you miss a pin placement by 3-4 feet, that can be huge.”

This was the second time DeChambeau pushed the limits with old-school instruments and was overruled. In January 2017, his sidesaddle putter was deemed to be non-conforming.

What will DeChambeau come up with next?  

“He’s working on a couple different things that he can come up with,” said a source close to DeChambeau. “He’s always been an innovator in trying new things … so it’s not going to stop him.”

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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.