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Monday Scramble: Deal with it

By Will GrayOctober 30, 2017, 2:30 pm

Justin Rose rallies, Dustin Johnson collapses, Tiger Woods makes the rounds, a high-schooler gets edged out by a bylaw and more in this week’s edition of Monday Scramble:

Rose left China with the trophy, but this will be remembered as the one that got away from Johnson.

The world No. 1 started the final round of the WGC-HSBC Champions with a seemingly insurmountable six-shot lead, then spent the afternoon proving why the word "seemingly" has to be interjected into the sentence.

Johnson picked a bad time to have perhaps his worst round of the year, failing to make a single birdie after notching 22 over the first 54 holes. It added up to a two-shot win for Rose, who entered the final round admittedly playing for second place.

A few hours on the paddleboard back home in Florida should help DJ put to bed any lingering regrets about his final-round woes amid blustery conditions, but it was certainly a surprising result for the American fans who went to bed Saturday night expecting to wake up to news of a Johnson coronation.


1. But let's not shortchange Rose, who put up a closing 67 on a difficult day when no one else in the top 10 managed to break 70.

The Englishman was a hard-luck runner-up at the Masters earlier this year, and he appeared to be closing in on his first winless year since 2009. But he remained patient amid Johnson's surprising collapse, and managed to take advantage when the slimmest of opportunities presented itself.

It's his first win since a gold medal was placed around his neck at the Rio Olympics, and his first PGA Tour victory since the 2015 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

2. As an Englishman born in South Africa who currently resides in the Bahamas, it should come as no surprise that Rose possesses a global resume. He has won tournaments on every continent except Antarctica and has lifted trophies in 10 different countries: China, England, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Scotland, Hong Kong, Japan, Turkey and the U.S.

3. Rose came from eight shots back to begin the final round, the third largest comeback in Tour history.

The only players to erase larger deficits on the final day? Paul Lawrie, who was 11 shots back at The Open in 1999 and Stewart Cink, who blew past Ted Purdy at the RBC Heritage in 2004 from nine shots off the pace.


4. To put Johnson's stunning demise in perspective, this was just the seventh time in his career that he didn't record at least a single birdie or better, and the first such round since June.

Johnson was in position to become the first player to ever win three WGC events in a calendar year, and he was hoping to extend his active streak of seasons with at least one win to 11. It turns out both will have to wait until at least 2018.

5. Johnson's Sunday melt took a little bit of heat off of Brooks Koepka's rough patch during the third round.

Playing alongside Johnson in the final group and holding a share of the lead, Koepka made a quad on the par-5 eighth hole en route to dropping well off the pace. He ended up alongside Johnson in second place at 12 under.

Earlier in the week, Koepka estimated that he and Johnson had hung out together for 14 of the 21 days following the Presidents Cup, talking about anything but golf. Neither will likely look to dwell on how things ended this week in China.


6. For a guy who hasn't played competitively in months, Tiger Woods sure found a way to be relevant in the news cycle this past week.

First there was the "stinger" social media post, which drove speculation about his possible return to a new high. Then there was an appearance at Game 2 of the World Series in Los Angeles, followed by his guilty plea Friday to reckless driving charges stemming from a May DUI arrest.

That's a full week, and it yielded Woods a solid chunk of the news cycle while many of the game's best played overnight in Asia.

7. Amid all the appearances, the question remains whether or not Woods will decide to tee it up two months from now at the Hero World Challenge.

The tournament made the unconventional move of announcing 16 of its 18 players earlier this month, perhaps paving the way for Woods to take one of two remaining sponsor exemptions should he so choose. It amounts to a far-fetched scenario for anyone who listened to Woods at the Presidents Cup, when he acknowledged the possibility of never again playing competitively.

The themes from Woods and agent Mark Steinberg have been to take it slow following back fusion surgery in April. But with each passing social media swing video, the lure of a return in the controlled environment of the Bahamas may be too tempting to pass up.

8. One person who seems confident about Woods' return is former swing coach Hank Haney.

Haney hasn't worked with Woods since 2010, but the two were together for six major wins. Haney explained on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio that he expects Woods to tee it up at Albany, even though his most recent return to competition lasted only seven rounds before back issues flared up that led to another surgery.

"They're going to toy with everybody, because it's just what they do. But he's playing at the Hero World Challenge," Haney said. "He's not going to wait until February to play again."


9. In an era of 20-somethings dominating the LPGA tour, Cristie Kerr continues to turn back the clock.

Kerr won her 20th career title at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia over the weekend, becoming the first player to win over the age of 40 since Catriona Matthew back in 2011.

She did so with a 35-foot bomb on the final green, and with yet another trophy on her shelf she trails only Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb on the LPGA's all-time money list.

"Yes, I'm 40," Kerr told reporters. "And a winner."

And clearly still with plenty left in the tank.

10. Kudos to the USGA for taking the top event in women's golf to one of the most iconic courses in the country.

Pebble Beach will host the 2023 U.S. Women's Open, creating a Northern California double-dip with The Olympic Club hosting in 2021. It'll be the first time the top women in the game play a major on the scenic oceanside layout, and it's about time they were afforded the opportunity.

Pebble will also host the men in 2027, creating a 10-year run of blueblood venues that means a possible return to a course like Chambers Bay or Erin Hills will have to wait until at least 2028.


When is a win not a win?

The riddle was answered this week with the plight of high-schooler Emily Nash, who dusted a field of boys at a regional competition only to be denied both the first-place trophy and a deserving spot at the state tournament.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association dug its heels in while clinging to an arcane bylaw that insists girls can compete in boys' events, but that their scores can only count for the team portion - not the individual race.

The subsequent social media firestorm had pros from both genders weighing in with support for Nash, while LPGA stars crafted a video tribute to Nash under the hashtag #EmilyWon.

It's an unfortunate situation, and one that should have been easily resolved. Hopefully the resulting controversy ensures a similar scenario won't play out in the future.

This week's award winners ... 


In the Winner's Circle: Ryan Armour, who earned his first Tour win at age 41 at the Sanderson Farms Championship. Armour has bounced between the PGA and Web.com circuits for a decade and had only one prior top-10 finish since 2008.

Making the Most of It: Scott Strohmeyer. After surviving a pre-qualifier and winning a Monday qualifier with a holed bunker shot, Strohmeyer tied for fourth in his first career Tour start. The top-10 finish earns him a spot this week in Las Vegas.

Taking Notice: Chesson Hadley, who was a runner-up in Mississippi and came away impressed with the aerial display from Strohmeyer over the weekend:

Thanks for Stopping By: Shugo Imahira, who was disqualified from the WGC-HSBC Champions because he apparently saw an incorrect starting time and failed to show up for his 10:35 a.m. start to Round 3. But in the no-cut, limited-field event, he still went home with $43,000 in (unofficial) prize money.


On the Mend: John Daly, who had to abruptly withdraw from the same event after re-injuring his knee in an on-course fall. Hopefully the two-time major champ can come back stronger in 2018, as he remains an asset for the tour.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat: Bernhard Langer, who won a PGA Tour Champions playoff event for the second straight week. We ran out of superlatives long ago for the ageless German, who is now just nine wins shy of Hale Irwin's all-time mark on the over-50 circuit.

Back in the Saddle: Paul Casey, who will reportedly reinstate his European Tour membership for 2018. Suddenly, the European chances of winning back the Ryder Cup next fall at Paris seem decidedly better with the Englishman back in the fold.

Blown Fantasy Pick of the Week: Hideki Matsuyama. A return to the site of his seven-shot romp from a year ago wasn't enough to snap the Japanese phenom out of his months-long slide, as he tied for 50th and never broke par. Sigh.

Aaron Wise, Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods Getty Images, @TGRLiveEvents

Monday Scramble: This is their jam

By Nick MentaMay 21, 2018, 2:00 pm

Aaron Wise asserts himself, Trinity Forest draws mixed reviews, Tiger Woods hangs out in Vegas, and somebody maybe (or maybe not!) punches somebody else. All that and more in this week's edition of Monday Scramble.

Aaron Wise's learning curve lasted exactly 17 starts. That's how many events he had played as an official PGA Tour member before breaking through for his maiden win Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson. A kid plenty ready for the moment, the 2016 NCAA Division I individual champion entered the final round tied for the lead and ran away from Marc Leishman with six birdies in a seven-hole stretch. Once firmly in control, Wise made eight straight pars on his way into the clubhouse. Heady stuff for a 21-year-old.

You need look back only a couple weeks for evidence that Wise was ready for something like this. Saturday at the Wells Fargo Championship, he could have melted down on the 18th hole. With his ball sitting on a steep bank inside the hazard line, Wise thought about taking a drop next to the green but ultimately chose after minutes of indecision to play it where it was. And he whiffed. He went right under it. He thinned his next shot over the green and looked as though he was going to throw away three days of fabulous play all at once. Instead, he steeled himself and chipped in to save his bogey-5.

Although Wise couldn't run down Jason Day a day later, his tie for second played a vital role in propelling him to victory just two weeks later. Wise said he felt "oddly calm" in the final round and that his experience at Quail Hollow had filled him with the self-belief he needed to close out his first win.

Mark down Wise as yet another young force to be reckoned with, as if there was somehow a shortage of those on Tour.


1. Let's go to the golf course. The Nelson's move to Trinity Forest was met with plenty of skepticism from players, some of whom simply stayed away.

The event's OWGR winner's points and strength of field dropped to 34 and 178, respectively, from 50 and 335 one year ago. The Nelson's strength of field was the lowest for a PGA Tour event in 2018 (excluding the opposite-field Coarles) and looked more in line with what you might expect during the wraparound portion of the schedule.

It's certainly possible top players are taking a wait-and-see approach to the course, but if the Nelson does wind up sandwiched between the Wells Fargo and the PGA, Trinity Forest is not going to be any kind of warmup for a Bethpage Black or a Harding Park or an Oak Hill, not when Quail Hollow is a PGA Championship layout. 



2. And if players are waiting on positive reviews to lure them to a venue that bares little resemblance to any other course on the PGA Tour schedule, they're not going to hear anything positive from Matt Kuchar. Asked on Thursday about the layout, Kuchar answered, "If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” before adding, "I really liked Las Colinas. That place was great. I really, really enjoyed Las Colinas.” After missing the cut, Kuchar admitted his distaste for the layout negatively affected his play, leaving architecture enthusiasts surely enraged.

Objectively, Las Colinas was an immaculately conditioned TPC devoid of character, and Trinity Forest is a rugged, minimalist tract with so much character it could border on caricature under certain conditions. The two designs have nothing in common, and Tour types are generally resistant to change, a sentiment summed up well by Adam Scott: “Majorities just don’t like different, do they? This is just different than what we normally roll out and play." On the plus side, Jordan Spieth, a Trinity member, said that many of the guys who did show up enjoyed the course more and more after each round. Architect Ben Crenshaw is hoping good word will spread. 

There's nothing wrong with Trinity Forest. It was actually nice to see something a little different on Tour. But the Nelson's place on the schedule may prove an obstacle to attracting the game's best regardless of where the event calls home.



3. As for the top talent who did show up, Spieth - say it with me now - was once again let down by his putter. The club that played such a pivotal role in his three major victories has abandoned him this season. Spieth entered the week second on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green and 183rd in strokes gained: putting. When he walked off the final green Sunday at Trinity Forest he was third in the field in SG: off-the-tee, fourth in SG: tee-to-green, fourth in proximity to the hole and 72nd in SG: putting. Those numbers left him 12 shots behind young Mr. Wise.

Remember when Spieth was a 21-year-old dusting the best in the world? Those were the days.

In all seriousness, the putting will get better, and when he finally matches general competence on the greens with his elite ball-striking, he'll finally capture his first trophy of the season. Don't be surprised if it happens this week at Colonial in another hometown event, one he won in 2016.



4.The aforementioned Scott remains - by the slimmest of margins - unqualified for the U.S. Open. Needing to crack the Official World Golf Ranking's top 60, Scott appeared to have done enough when he closed a final-round 65 with a birdie to pull into a four-way tie for sixth. Unfortunately, just moments later, he'd drop into a three-way tie for ninth, missing out by a single shot. 

Scott has played the last 67 majors in a row, dating back to 2001. It's a streak bested by only Sergio Garcia. Having missed this week's cutoff, he'll need to either head to sectional qualifying on June 4 or be inside the top 60 on June 11.

5. I understand golf is different than basketball and football, but the concern over how gambling might negatively impact the game feels a little like pearl-clutching. Yes, some idiot with money on the line could yell in somebody's backswing on the 72nd hole. That absolutely could happen. And yet, somehow we survive every Open Championship and every other tournament played in countries that allow gambling.

Then again, fans outside the U.S. don't yell mashed potatoes or baba booey.

I take it all back. We've made a huge mistake.



6. You might not be familiar with the name Adrian Otaegui, but that could change in a hurry if he keeps up his current form. The 25-year-old Spaniard just backed up a runner-up at the Volvo China Open with a win at the Belgian Knockout.

He's finished in the top 20 in each of his last six European Tour starts and he hasn't finished worse than T-40 in nine events. Both of his wins in the last year have come via match play (or something close enough in the case of the Knockout). With the victory, Otaegui is now up to 77th in the world, making him the fourth-highest Spaniard behind Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia, and Rafa Cabrera Bello. 

7. While we're on the subject of the Belgian Knockout, two notes about the format. First, credit again goes to Keith Pelley and company for being unafraid to try something other than 72 holes of stroke play.

The rechristened Belgian Open, which had been dormant since 2000, featured 36 holes of normal stroke play qualifying before giving way to nine-hole, head-to-head stroke play in the knockout rounds. Considering how divisive the WGC-Match Play's round-robin format has become, early-stage stroke play does seem like an easy enough solution when it comes to both cutting the field and protecting the game's biggest stars from a Day 1 exit.

8. For the second time in as many events, the LPGA shortened an event due to weather.

At least the circuit was able to finish three rounds this time. Two players actually got in 56 holes, with Ariya Jutanugarn defeating Nasa Kataoka in a playoff. The victory is Ariya's first of 2018, but the Jutanugarns' second, following Moriya's breakthrough last month in L.A.

9. The Most Interesting Man in the World, Miguel Angel Jimenez, captured his first senior major at the Regions Tradition, but how about Steve Stricker's start to his PGA Tour Champions career? He's gone T5-1-1-T2-T2. Look out, Langer.

Didn't mean to shortchange Jimenez there. Just figured this image summed up the moment.

10. It never ceases to be amazing, by the way, the fine line between the wilderness and a PGA Tour card. Michael Arnaud had made just one Web.com start this year, and he shot an 81. He made only two of five cuts on the Web all last year. On Tuesday, he was in Oklahoma preparing to play an Adams Tour event when he was informed that he had been moved up to first alternate at the BMW Charity Pro-Am. So he took his chances and raced to South Carolina. He was the very last man into the field. And now he's a Web.com winner, inside the top 25 on the money list. All it takes is one great week to rejuvenate a career. 


Our Ryan Lavner normally writes this column, but he's on NCAA duty the next couple weeks. That said, he is checking in with this story about a fist fight that might not have actually happened at the Florida Mid-Am! Here's a little taste:

In a one-paragraph post on its website, the Florida State Golf Association declared Marc Dull the winner of the 37th Mid-Amateur Championship on May 13 after his opponent – in a tie match with two holes to go – was unable to return because of an “unfortunate injury” sustained during a lengthy weather delay.

Left unreported was what allegedly happened.

According to a police report (see below) obtained by GolfChannel.com, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office received a call that afternoon from Dull’s opponent, Jeff Golden, who claimed that he’d been assaulted in the parking lot at Coral Creek Club, the tournament host site in Placida. In a statement provided to police, Golden said that he was sucker-punched in the face by Dull’s caddie, Brandon Hibbs.

You know you want more. Click here.

This week's award winners ...

A master class in big timing: Hosting his annual Tiger Jam event at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, Tiger Woods "challenged" World Long Drive competitor Troy Mullins to a showdown, but rather than wait and see who won, Woods got up on the tee, unleashed a drive, and simply walked away, going full mic drop.

This may have been a savvy play by Tiger, considering Mullins won a WLD event last summer with a drive of 374 yards.

Life is just a party and parties weren't meant to last: We compiled a photo gallery of some of Woods' best celebrity interactions at Tiger Jam over the years, but this image tops them all:

Who needs local knowledge? Tip of the cap to Hideki Matsuyama and his caddie for this read. "I think we start this a good 10 feet left, let it funnel right, and then it should take a hard left at the hole."

Kuchar should have just done that.

Belgian Wave: Is this the opposite of a Belgian Dip?

New rule: Backstopping is absolutely fine as long as we stop marking balls altogether.

And finally:

I like to think we have a lot in common, as I randomly pick up this column, quickly put it back down, and then try to (not-so) casually slip away. Cheers, buddy.

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What's in the bag: AT&T Byron Nelson winner Wise

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 21, 2018, 1:52 pm

Aaron Wise won the AT&T Byron Nelson for his first PGA Tour victory. Here's a look inside the winner's bag.

Driver: Callaway Rogue (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Pro 75X shaft

Fairway woods: Callaway Rogue (15 degrees), with Fujikura ATMOS Black 8 X shaft

Irons: Callaway X Forged UT (2), with KBS Tour prototype Hybrid shaft; Apex 16 (4), Apex MB (5-PW), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue shafts

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 (50, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts

Putter: Odyssey O-Works Red V-Line Fang CH

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X

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2018 NCAA Golf Championships TV Schedule

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 21, 2018, 12:29 pm

Golf Channel will shine a spotlight on college golf across the next two weeks at the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf National Championships. With more than 60 hours of live tournament and news coverage on-site from Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater Oklahoma (Monday-Wednesday May 21-23 and May 28-30), Golf Channel’s coverage connects 18 straight days of live tournament golf.

Watch live coverage of the NCAA Golf Championships beginning Monday, May 21 at 4pm ET on Golf Channel and streaming.

Keep up with the social media conversation by following Golf Channel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Join in by using #NCAAGolf 

Golf Channel NCAA Women’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times ET)

Monday, May 21: Individual National Championship  4-8 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 22:Quarterfinals, Team Match Play 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 22: Semifinals, Team Match Play 4-8 p.m. (Live)

Wednesday, May 23:Team Match Play National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)

 

Golf Channel NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times ET)

Monday, May 28: Individual National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 29: Quarterfinals, Team Match Play 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 29: Semifinals, Team Match Play 4-8 p.m. (Live)

Wednesday, May 30: Team Match Play National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)

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AT&T Byron Nelson purse payout: Wise a millionaire

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 21, 2018, 12:05 pm

PGA Tour rookie Aaron Wise earned his first Tour title on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out at Trinity Forest:

1 Aaron Wise -23 $1,386,000
2 Marc Leishman -20 $831,600
T3 Branden Grace -19 $400,400
T3 J.J. Spaun -19 $400,400
T3 Keith Mitchell -19 $400,400
T6 Ryan Blaum -16 $257,950
T6 Kevin Na -16 $257,950
T6 Jimmy Walker -16 $257,950
T9 Adam Scott -15 $207,900
T9 Charles Howell III -15 $207,900
T9 Kevin Tway -15 $207,900
12 Brian Gay -14 $177,100
T13 Rory Sabbatini -13 $148,867
T13 Ethan Tracy -13 $148,867
T13 Matt Jones -13 $148,867
T16 Russell Knox -12 $115,500
T16 Hideki Matsuyama -12 $115,500
T16 Bronson Burgoon -12 $115,500
T16 Derek Fathauer -12 $115,500
T16 Joel Dahmen -12 $115,500
T21 Jordan Spieth -11 $80,080
T21 Billy Horschel -11 $80,080
T21 Robert Garrigus -11 $80,080
T21 Peter Uihlein -11 $80,080
T21 Martin Piller -11 $80,080
T26 Tyler Duncan -10 $55,825
T26 Anirban Lahiri -10 $55,825
T26 Parker McLachlin -10 $55,825
T26 Martin Flores -10 $55,825
T26 J.T. Poston -10 $55,825
T26 Shawn Stefani -10 $55,825
T32 Cody Gribble -9 $39,116
T32 Johnson Wagner -9 $39,116
T32 Geoff Ogilvy -9 $39,116
T32 Nick Taylor -9 $39,116
T32 C.T. Pan -9 $39,116
T32 Scott Piercy -9 $39,116
T32 Nicholas Lindheim -9 $39,116
T32 Fabian Gomez -9 $39,116
T32 Beau Hossler -9 $39,116
T32 Nate Lashley -9 $39,116
T42 Zac Blair -8 $23,184
T42 Abraham Ancer -8 $23,184
T42 Maverick McNealy -8 $23,184
T42 Denny McCarthy -8 $23,184
T42 Jonathan Byrd -8 $23,184
T42 Eric Axley -8 $23,184
T42 Sam Ryder -8 $23,184
T42 Brian Stuard -8 $23,184
T42 J.B. Holmes -8 $23,184
T42 Sung-hoon Kang -8 $23,184
T42 Andrew Putnam -8 $23,184
T53 Ben Crane -7 $17,659
T53 Steve Wheatcroft -7 $17,659
T53 Troy Merritt -7 $17,659
T53 Patrick Rodgers -7 $17,659
T53 Corey Conners -7 $17,659
T53 Robert Streb -7 $17,659
T59 Ryan Armour -6 $16,632
T59 Peter Malnati -6 $16,632
T59 Vaughn Taylor -6 $16,632
T59 Dominic Bozzelli -6 $16,632
T59 Adam Schenk -6 $16,632
T59 Hudson Swafford -6 $16,632
T59 Michael Thompson -6 $16,632
T66 Matt Atkins -5 $15,862
T66 Roberto Diaz -5 $15,862
T66 T.J. Vogel -5 $15,862
69 Sang-Moon Bae -4 $15,554
T70 Tom Lovelady -3 $15,246
T70 Cameron Percy -3 $15,246
T70 Rod Pampling -3 $15,246
73 Brian Davis -1 $14,938
74 Mark Wilson 1 $14,784
75 Robert Allenby 2 $14,630