Category: Amateur Golf

August 26, 2013

Amateur Lydia Ko: I don't care about $300,000 prize

Posted at 5:04 PM by Pete Madden


Lydia Ko is getting defensive. The 16-year old rising star shot a 6-under 64 on Sunday to defend her Canadian Women's Open title and then had to defend her decision to retain her amateur status despite ever-increasing earning potential.

[Ko] bristled when asked about losing out on another $300,000 payday, the Associated Press reported.

"I don't care. I don't care," Ko said. "I can say that a couple more times, if you want."

Ko became the youngest winner on the LPGA Tour when she won the 2012 Canadian Women's Open, and with five top 10 finishes on tour in 2013 (including Sunday's victory), hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money has already fallen to her runners-up.

"You know, I've always said I'm thinking about it and that's the same answer right here," Ko told reporters.

The decision of whether and when to turn pro has bedeviled talented young golfers for decades, but modern purse sizes might have made even Bobby Jones blink. There's mounting pressure on young athletes to collect while they can, but for every Tiger Woods -- who left Stanford University behind after two years and has enjoyed all-but-unprecedented professional success since -- there's many more Colt Knosts -- who turned pro after winning the 2007 U.S. Amateur (forfeiting his invitations to the Masters, the U.S. Open, and the Open Championship) and then failed to make it out of Q School with a 2008 PGA Tour Card.

With so much at stake, at least, as Matt Richens of reported, the decision might not be totally up to her.

"I've got some people above me like my mum and dad," Ko said. "They're the boss."

(Photo: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images)

September 19, 2012

Truth & Rumors: San Diego golfer shoots front nine 25

Posted at 10:21 AM by Mark Dee

Here's a quiz you'll never have to give yourself:

Q: What sticks faster in the mind?
        A) Shooting a 25 on the front nine
        B) Three-putting the 18th to miss out on a 59

Well, for one San Diego golfer, it's more than just a hypothetical question, because that's exactly what 20-year-old Todd Baek did on Sunday at Salt Creek Golf Club in Chula Vista, Calif.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Baek made three eagles, five birdies and one par en route to an 11-under-par 25 for his outward nine. But, after reaching the par-five 18th in two, he three-putted from 60 feet for par -- and a round of 60.

Baek, who played his college golf at San Diego State, still set the course record at the 6,829-yard track by two shots, and he will have plenty of momentum heading into Wednesday, when he'll play in a pre-qualifier for Q-School at PGA West.

But as for that question?

“I was more mad that I screwed up my chance to shoot 59,” Baek told the Union-Tribune.

And there you  have it. Golf: God's cure for contentment.

August 17, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Texas Am cards two aces in one round

Posted at 11:40 AM by Mark Dee

Talk about a twofer.

Richard Akin, a 67 year old from Houston, carded a pair of aces in a single round -- with the same golf ball, according to the Houston Chronicle.

In a shotgun event, his second and last one came on his last shot, a 7-iron at the 147-yard par 3 on the La Quinta Course at Quail Valley.

"I called that one (in the air)," recalled Akin, an 8-handicap who lives in Houston. "I said, 'Last hole. Let's make it two.' "

Akin's high draw landed about 15 feet short of the pin and trickled in, similar to what he did earlier on the par-3 fifth hole with a pitching wedge. Akin, who is a senior vice president of an engineering and construction company in Houston, also used the same ball for both shots, which is unusual. He had intended to save the ball he used for the first one, but when he lost his second ball in a water hazard, he wound up using his original ball on the 17th.

This doesn't surprise us. Any golfer who only keeps two balls in his bag during competition must be very good indeed. Although now that ball has probably earned its pension: As the article mentions, the odds of recording two holes-in-one in a round are about 67 million to one.

So, how did the 8-handicap finish?

In the end, Akin, once a plus-2 handicap, wound up shooting 78.

"Wouldn't you know it?" he said. "I have to get two aces to break 80 these days."

Hat tip for Jonathan Wall at Yahoo! Devil Ball Blog on this one.

June 29, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Hossler who? A new teen phenom shreds records in Texas

Posted at 1:54 PM by Mark Dee

Sorry Beau. There's someone else. And, yes, he's younger.

That's right, another teen phenom is tearing down course records in Dallas, according to Bill Nichols at the Dallas Morning News. Scottie Scheffler, a 16-year-old from Highland Park, Texas, shot two rounds of 61 at two different courses last week -- both course records. Because, you know, anyone can do that once. The first 61 came at Northwood Country Club -- host of the 1952 U.S. Open -- where Scheffler clipped the record held by Hunter Mahan. Later that week, he put up the same number at Dallas Country Club, matching the record set by 2011 U.S. Amateur champ Kelly Kraft.

His coach, for one, doesn't sound surprised. Or particularly impressed:

"He's a phenomenal talent," said Royal Oaks head pro Randy Smith, Scheffler's instructor. "He was just playing for fun. We'd like to see him take that score to a tournament."

Back when he was merely 15 and a sophomore at Highland Park, Scheffler won the Class 4A state title by three strokes. He has been working through a growth spurt of eight inches and 30 pounds over the last year.

"He's growing so much I don't recognize him each time I see him," Smith said. "When you're growing that fast, you just try to maintain some semblance of your swing and stay on top of the equipment to make sure it fits. He'll be fine as soon as he knows how long his arms are."

The Bear mad at the ball?
Jack Nicklaus put on his architect hat -- which is different than, say, his club- or wine-making hat -- to talk about the changes he made to the PGA Centenary Course at Scotland's Gleneagles last Wednesday.

Gleneagles, in preparation for the 2014 Ryder Cup, brought the Bear in to beef up the much maligned course, and Nicklaus managed to get a few shots in at why the course needed changing in the first place, according to The International News.

"When I was asked to do the course more than 20 years ago, in those days it was a pretty challenging golf course.

"With the equipment and the golf ball and everything going so much further, it needed alterations.

"I would prefer golf balls being altered personally but until that happens, alterations need to happen to golf courses.

"I don't think it's going to be a golf course that breaks the back, it's not meant to be that.

"There are plenty of opportunities for birdies - birdies are exciting in the Ryder Cup - but it also makes you play golf," the American added.


Golf and politics don't mix
Might Travelers champ Mark Leishman be kept out of the British because of…immigration law?

Maybe, according to Jay Busbee at Yahoo!'s Devil Ball Golf blog. The Austrialian (who is married to an American, with an American-born son) doesn't have a green-card approved for travel abroad. What the actual consequences of that are, I'm not sure. This is a golf blog. I imagine a Tom Hanks in The Terminal sort of situation, but with much more emphasis on the airport PGA Tour Shop.

Here's what Busbee makes of it:

[Leishman] didn't bother playing in the recent Gleneagles qualifier because he figured he'd be home with his new son, and so didn't bother getting his green card updated. "But I spoke to my lawyers, my immigration lawyers, two days ago, and it's looking like I will hopefully be able to go," he said. "I've been approved for an advanced parole to leave the country."

The trick is that these matters usually take about 30 days to resolve, and we're 21 days out from the start of the British. That's cutting it a wee bit close, yes? Still, nice problem to have.


Finally, something funny
As is our custom, we follow politics with humor. Specifically, humor at the expense of David Duval, courtesy of "America's Finest News Source" (i.e., The Onion). The article is titled "David Duval Still Shilling Nike Golf Products Years After Contract Runs Out," and here's a snippet:

"He's in here about twice a week putting a Nike VR Pro driver in somebody's hands and asking them to take a few swings," said local Sports Authority manager Aaron Camacho, adding that Duval hangs around the store's golf aisles in his full Nike gear for hours at a time. "We've thought about kicking him out, but he's used and read about these products more than any of us on staff, and to tell you the truth, he's purchased more of our Nike stuff than any other customer."

Read the rest and kick off your weekend in high spirits.

Tweet of the Day:


June 06, 2012

Truth & Rumors: McIlroy's ex denies mortgage rumor

Posted at 12:58 PM by Mark Dee

Did Rory McIlroy pay off his ex's mortgage? Holly Sweeney, who split with McIlroy last year, says no. But, even in reporting her denial, the Irish Independent sounds skeptical:

She has [the flat] on the market at a cool £660,000. The model said that her and US Open golf champ McIlroy did not buy it - but admitted they did look at it together when they were an item.

Holly said that she had a "couple of things going on" which helped her to pay off the massive mortgage.

When asked how she did pay it off, she said: "I don't know. I still ask myself the same question. I was just very clever with how I managed everything."

How daft. For those not keen on the Queen's currency, that's roughly $1.02 mil. Which is to say, just a hair more than the winner's take at this week's Fed Ex St. Jude, where McIlroy will tee it up tomorrow morning. Good to know both parties have some irons in the fire...

North Korea's Next Top Golfer

Repressive. Unfair. Just a little bit slow.

All of that can describe the government of North Korea. But it applies to golf there, too, according to's coverage of the Hermit Kingdom's national championship, which took place in May.  As Michael Wray reports, one Korean faced off against 15 foreigners for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Amateur Golf Open, a 54-hole event on the country's only track, about 20 miles outside the capital city, Pyongyang. According to Wray, the golf follows the politics:

The golf itself was an unforgiving slog across undulating fairways and incredibly slow greens. Teeing off on the first hole, players see a generous fairway bending gently up to an inviting green. On closer inspection, though, the test is much sterner, with white out-of-bounds stakes bordering both sides of the hole, forcing wayward players to replay their stroke, add a penalty and rack up high scores. Out of bounds is considered golf's ultimate design penalty, and most courses use them sparingly, if at all. There, they choke the course's entire 18 holes.

Of course, penalties off the fairway are nothing compared with the hardship endured by ordinary North Koreans. People are forced to follow a prescribed path of loyalty to their country and to the ideology of its founding father, Kim Il Sung. Those who violate the will of the ruling family face severe retribution. Scores of defectors have documented the hardships of labor camps where political dissidents are sent for even the tiniest hints of contrarianism.

But all that aside, you could win a national championship.  And while you have the U.S. Open on the brain, let's be realistic: this is your chance. Unless the ruler Kim Jong Un is the field. If he's anything like his father, Kim Jong Il, you'll have no chance. According to 17 witnesses/bodyguards, the "Great Leader" was a great stick, firing a world-record 38-under-par in his first and only round, which included five aces. That's probably a record, too. 

Dress like Rickie

For all Rickie Fowler's sartorial disciples, Puma has laid out his clothes for each day of the U.S. Open. Just like your mom used to do, if your mom was really into Saturday Night Fever


Fowler looks to be attending a Fourth of July roller disco for much of the week. But the biggest surpise may be the Sunday shorts? I'm sure some USGA style maven will catch that oversight before Fowler leaves the locker room.

Tweet of the Day

August 25, 2010

Furyk doesn't get Mickelson leeway, Tiger returns to Jersey and Chambers Bay fights back

Posted at 12:12 PM by Steve Beslow

DQ'd and PO'd
The big story this morning is Jim Furyk getting bounced from the Barclays, the PGA's first FedExCup Playoff event, for sleeping through his alarm and missing his pro-am tee time. This is a pretty well-known rule, and it's very closely enforced--I distinctly remember when John Daly was disqualified for the same infraction at Bay Hill (which, in a bizarre turn of events, also got two other Tour players ejected from the tournament). So at least everyone's held up to the same standards, right? Waggleroom's Ryan Ballengee isn't so sure.

The PGA Tour has announced that Jim Furyk - currently sitting in third position in the FedExCup standings - has been disqualified from this week's first round of the Playoffs at The Barclays for missing his 7:30 pro-am tee time by five minutes. The disqualification is the set penalty for tardiness for these pro-am outings...

While I completely understand keeping non-members out of the Playoffs, this seems a bit unjust. Furyk will be impacted for four weeks because of this disqualification and his alarm clock not working. On a regular event, the penalty seems more appropriate - it has just a week's worth of impact (though longer for a guy who is on the verge of certain money list thresholds).

For a Playoff event - a major-lite Tour stop - to have a pro-am seems a little out of whack, but acceptable. To cause a guy to have such a severe penalty in his quest for $10 million, though, seems unconscionable.

Phil Mickelson missed his pro-am tee time for the Byron Nelson Championship in 2007 due to poor weather blocking his plane from making it from Alabama to Dallas-Ft. Worth's Love Field the night prior. Mickelson took his time getting to Las Colinas in time for the pro-am, but was not disqualified by Tour officials. That set off an uproar of anger about the exemption.

Somehow I had completely forgotten about that Phil exception (and how peeved a lot of Tour pros were about it). Unfortunately, I think this is a case where two wrongs don't make a right: the Tour was outrageously foolish to allow Phil to play in that tourney in 2007, and they'd be just as out of line letting Furyk play this week, because, as Dustin Johnson will tell you, a rule is a rule is a rule. That said, this rule is stupid, and they should figure out a way to change The Tour relies on pro-ams for support, so I understand why they're so sensitive about players taking their responsibilities seriously, but there are options short of DQs that can keep the players in line. How about a fine, somewhere between $10,000-$100,000, or, even better, a percentage of their earnings from the tournament (so the better they do, the more they lose)? That way if players don't show they'll be plenty hurt, but they'll have the opportunity to earn their keep come the weekend. Still, Furyk might want to consider investing in a travel alarm clock.

Welcome back, Tiger
As a proud son (and current resident) of the Garden State, I take a lot pride in our most prized resources: overflowing cranberry bogs, copious lower-back tattoos and, of course, renowned championship golf courses. The PGA Tour returns to the jewel of Bergen County this week, Ridgewood C.C., and the local media has rolled out the welcome mat to all of the Tour's stars. Well, almost all of them...

Tiger Woods is back in New Jersey — which means certain people should be alerted. Women, in general. Perkins’ waitresses, strippers and porn stars, in particular. And, of course, given the condition of his golf game, any fans at the Barclays Classic standing near a tree along a fairway.

Woods is officially single now, with the price of his freedom — or was it Elin’s? — a reported $100 million. And while that, along with his struggle to right his career, might have the crowd at Ridgewood Country Club abuzz, forgive us if we’re not excited about his appearance in Paramus. After all, the guy has treated the state like it’s one big waste bunker.

When he was playing in the PGA Championship at Baltusrol in 2005, Woods was upset when a local golf pro accidentally parked in his reserved spot. Then at the height of his superstardom, he played most of his practice rounds at dawn, before fans were allowed on the course. When caddie Steve Williams committed an infraction during the first round of the tournament, Woods refused to disqualify himself.

He signed only a handful of autographs that week — when Phil Mickelson won the tournament and the hearts of New Jersey fans — and when his Sunday round was over, Woods high-tailed it out of town. Even though there was a chance he could have been in a Monday playoff, he couldn’t get out of New Jersey fast enough.

Last year, when the Barclays was played at Liberty National, Woods criticized the greens and called the course “interesting” — which is PGA-speak for “What a dump.” Again, autographs, or any interaction with fans, were rare.

And now, he’s back in the Garden State. Oh, joy.

It should be pointed out that the Star-Ledger, while a relatively well-respected journal, may hold a bit of a grudge against Mr. Woods. It was their reporter who tattled on Stevie Williams, saying the caddie stepped on Tiger's ball in the 2005 PGA Championship, an accusation that Woods and Co. vehemently denied. That having been said, there's no doubt that New Jersey is Mickelson territory at the moment, as is the entire Tri-State area. This week will be a good test for the "New Tiger" we've been hearing so much about. If he can keep a smile on his face, keep nodding his head and keep signing his name, he may win back the favor of some of the most boisterous fans in golf. Oh, and shooting under par wouldn't hurt.

Nothing Amateur About Chambers Bay
With all the attention the Barclay's is getting this week, the always fun U.S. Amateur is getting (typically) overlooked. While the tournament itself is great, there's some added excitement this year as it's being held at Chambers Bay, site of the 2015 U.S. Open. Here's a take on the course setup from Golfweek's Sean Martin, who sees danger for the amateurs this week...and the pros in the years to come.

Ten feet. That’s often the difference between a great shot and a bad one at Chambers Bay.

NCAA champ Scott Langley hit 4-iron to Chambers Bay’s par-3 15th hole during Tuesday’s second round of stroke play at the U.S. Amateur. The left-hander pulled it 10 feet right of his target, then watched his ball bound through the green and into a bunker. Had Langley hit his mark, his ball would’ve funneled down a slope and likely ended up close to the hole.

“It’s like playing golf in my driveway,” Langley joked about the firm conditions at Chambers Bay...

Chambers Bay’s fast, firm conditions, and extreme putting surfaces, are driving players wild at the U.S. Amateur. The conditions are exacerbated by the course’s extreme undulations and lack of rough, which can cause balls to bound more than 50 yards away from a player’s target.

Most players are paying the young course compliments, but some are leaving with a bad taste in their mouth. This is an important week for Chambers Bay, the three-year-old links-style course along the Puget Sound. This year’s U.S. Amateur, the first national championship here, is a dress rehearsal for the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.

The scoring average for the 156 players who played Chambers Bay on Monday was 79.87. Three players broke par at Chambers on Monday, with Augusta State’s Patrick Reed leading with 68. Seventy-nine players shot 80 or higher Monday at Chambers Bay. That’s more than 50 percent. Five shot in the 90s, including two 95s.

Martin is quick to point out that, while certainly tough, he's not ready to call the conditions unfair. So far it sounds like the players aren't doing too much complaining either (at least not outwardly), but I think we can all agree that amateurs tend to be a little less ornery than Tour pros when it comes to course conditions. Still, I'm excited about the possibility of a U.S. Open course that really fights back. It's not like Pebble and Bethpage Black are pushovers, but relying on weather and deep rough is old hat at the Open--fairways and greens so hard you can bounce a stone off them? Rough so thin it couldn't stop a feather? Now we're talking U.S. Open golf. Is it 2015 yet?

August 18, 2010

Truth and Rumors: Players respond to bunker ruling, Tiger is 'finished', PGA Championship going muni

Posted at 11:28 AM by Steve Beslow

Tour Tweets
By now you've heard everybody and his mother's reaction to Dustin Johnson's two-stroke penalty at Whistling Straits (my mother's reaction: "My, he's tall."). As for Johnson's fellow PGA Tour pros, after the Championship festivities wound down, they took to the Internet and Tweeted their brains out. Intrepid blogger Stephanie Wei has compiled some of the best Johnson-related Tweets:

Stewart Cink: @donnabrookes there’s NEVER a doubt whether you’re in a bunker in St Andrews! Even the ones that have seen golf balls all year!
Not sure if relevant to Whistling, but after my 2004 Hilton Head waste area controversy, they rebuilt all wastes on course into bunkers.
In light of PGA finish, Augusta just announced new seating for patrons available in right greenside bunker by 18 green.

Joe Ogilvie: I’m stupified they are even considering penalizing Dustin, if anything it is Ground Under Repair.
Common sense would be to play everything inside the ropes as bunkers and every “bunker” that is outside the ropes as waste areas.
In crisis managemt never good to employ the “cover my ass” strategy as PGA seems to be doing. Never works. Admit set up was wrong & move on

John Daly: So that means the sandy cart paths that I saw & other players hit off of are also considered bunkers?!
So, a sandbar off Lake Michigan considered a bunker too if that’s what they’re sayin–

Rickie Fowler: Proud of the way my boy DJ handled the ruling--I think a bunker that fans have been standing in all day should be considered a waste bunker
No telling what I would have done…from the tv coverage I never once thought of him being in a bunker just thought it was a bare spot

Not a lot of surprises here: almost everyone either took Johnson's side or at least the compromise position that it was as much the course's fault as DJ's. A couple interesting notes though. First, there is no love lost between Tour players and the 18th hole at Whistling Straits. As much as these guys seem to admire the course as a whole, the "Dyeabolical" 18th gets no love whatsoever. Also, Wei herself brings up the possibility that several (and quite likely many) players broke the exact same rule throughout the week, they just weren't under as much scrutiny, so no one noticed. For some reason this situation kind of reminds me of that NFL game a couple of years ago when Donovan McNabb admitted he didn't know the NFL's overtime rule (and that games could end in ties). We all had a good laugh at him until we found out that half the league was equally clueless. Not a perfect analogy, I know, but that's what it makes me think of.

FYI, Tiger's finished
Being a member of the New York media, I try to give my fellow writers the benefit of the doubt--I often have to write articles that touch (or go slightly beyond) the borders of my personal knowledge/expertise, so I understand that other writers and reporters have to do the same. Usually, at those times I take a slow, cautious tone and try not to be overly dramatic. New York Magazine's Drew Magary has taken a slightly different approach...

Tiger Woods didn't win the PGA Championship [Sunday], or any major this year. Get used to that sort of thing happening, because Tiger Woods will never win another major championship again.

He's finished. He's not catching Jack Nicklaus. He's won what, fourteen majors? Well, that's what he'll stay on for the rest of eternity. It's a shame, because he has put his entire being into chasing Nicklaus, and we, as fans, have followed him for over a decade assuming that the record would eventually be in his grasp, and sooner rather than later. It's frustrating to get to this point and think that we'll never reach that moment with Woods. But we never will. There are a few reasons why.

Here are the reasons that Magary gives for his bold prediction (he goes into each with some detail):

1. What's the point?

2. He isn't made for this kind of adversity.

3. Other players are better now, and they aren't scared of him.

4. Turns out, Tiger Woods is not preternaturally immune to pressure.

5. He's not Tiger Woods anymore. So who is he?

I'm going to be completely honest, when I read the first paragraph of this story I assumed it was satire and, unfortunately, I was mistaken. In deference to Magary, I'm not sure that any of these statements is, in and of itself, incorrect (except for "What's the point," because, as the author states, the point is to beat Jack's record). The problem is that they amount more to grasping at straws than actually building an argument (in effect, he's answering the question: if Tiger Woods never won another major, why would that be? Rather than the question: How will Tiger Woods play for the rest of his career?) Yes, Tiger is struggling, and yes, his personal life has clearly taken a toll on his game, but the idea that he's "finished" is borderline absurd. T4, T4, T23, T28. Those are Tiger Woods' finishes in the majors this year. That means that when things were at their absolute worst, Tiger finished in the top five twice and the top 30 all four times against the toughest fields in golf. At the height of his powers in 1969, Jack Nicklaus went T24, T25, T6 and T11 in the majors. Good thing he didn't just pack up his clubs and go home.

PGA Championship going muni?
Some good notes from the AP's Doug Ferguson about the PGA Championship trying to find more reasonable public courses as host sites in the future.

Anyone wishing to take on the Whistling Straits course where Martin Kaymer won the PGA Championship and Dustin Johnson was buried by a bunker ruling need only to make a reservation and have $340 handy, along with $100 for the caddie.

That's still not as much as Pebble Beach.

Even so, there is a difference in public play between resort courses, such as Pinehurst or Pebble Beach, and true public courses, such as Bethpage Black and Torrey Pines.

The PGA Championship is lacking in the latter.

This came to mind last week during the PGA of America's annual news conference, in which president Jim Remy shifted the focus to public golf. He noted there are more 9-hole courses than 18-hole courses in America, and that 75 percent of the rounds played in the country are on public courses. He cited the average fee at just under $30.

"There are availability of reasonably priced golf courses, and I think that we need to get the message out that there is a real value to a family to be involved in a sport," Remy said.

So why isn't the PGA Championship going to such a course, which can provide a proper test and have room to stage a big event? It has been more than two decades — 1989 at Kemper Lakes outside Chicago — that the PGA Championship was held on a daily fee course.

"We've had discussions with a number of daily fee facilities, along with traditional clubs," PGA chief executive Joe Steranka said. "We'll step out of the box every now and then and try something. And right now, the USGA is doing a great part in taking it to the Bethpage Blacks and Torrey Pines."

Hard to say if the PGA actually follows through with this. Even though I'm sure they're sincere about trying to get more daily fee courses into their rotation, I imagine that the logistics of that are extremely tricky--especially finding a course that can hold the quality of golf/amount of spectators they need and that's not already on the Open circuit. I talked to a bunch of everyday golfers at Bethpage Black for our Open preview a couple of years ago, and while many of of them were excited and proud to be regulars on a U.S. Open course, they couldn't help but gripe at the number of tee times that had been cut to accommodate for the changes that had to be made and to let the course set up for the Open.


May 31, 2010

Spieth finishes tied for 8th in prestigious junior golf tournament

Posted at 5:34 PM by Jeff Ritter

Anthony Paolucci fired a final-round 69 to cruise to a three-shot victory at the Thunderbird Invitational, the American Junior Golf Association's marquee event. Jordan Spieth, who made national headlines last week at the PGA's Byron Nelson Championship by finishing tied for 16th as a 16-year-old high-school junior, finished in a tie for eighth after a final-round 73.

Paolucci, 17, from Del Mar, Calif., led wire-to-wire in the three-day event after opening rounds of 66 and 69. Spieth was tied for fifth place entering the final day, but made double-bogeys on the third and fourth holes to fall out of contention. He finished three-under for the event, nine shots behind Paolucci.

Check out Damon Hack's article from SI Golf+ for more on the Thunderbird Invitational, and the AJGA's potential impact on the future of professional golf.

April 08, 2009

Masters Amateur Jack Newman doesn't want to anger Tom Izzo

Posted at 3:45 PM by David Dusek

Tom Izzo Jack Newman earned his way into this week's field at Augusta National by winning the 2008 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. But it didn't take long for the junior at Michigan State to feel like the Spartan's chances of winning the Monday night's National Championship basketball game against North Carolina were slipping away.

"About five minutes, maybe," he said.

Although he knows Goran Suton, the team's 6-foot 10-inch center, and lives near guards Kalin Lucas and Derrell Summers, he clearly doesn't want to cross the team's fiercely intense coach, Tom Izzo (right).

When asked what he thought Izzo would be like on the golf course he said with a laugh, "You know, I don't really know him, so I don't want to comment. I don't want to say the wrong thing."

In keeping with Masters, Newman is staying in the Crow's Nest above the clubhouse with the other Masters amateurs. He finished the nine-hole Par 3 Contest at 3 under par, just two shots behind Tim Clark.

(Photo by John Biever/SI)

January 28, 2009

Calcavecchia: Enough of Amateur Hour

Posted at 11:10 PM by Cameron Morfit

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Mark Calcavecchia gave the most entertaining press conference of the week so far after playing in the FBR Open pro-am on Wednesday.

"I'm starting to feel better every day," Calcavecchia said, alluding to an Oct. 14 operation on his knee that he characterized as minor. "Of course, it will be nice to play golf [Thursday] with two other pros for a change. Jesus. Five days in a row of chops. Four days at the Hope--mind you, they were all a bunch of nice guys, but I've seen enough bad shots in the last five rounds I've played to last me all year."

Calcavecchia said he was quickly up and walking around after his arthroscopic surgery, but that the knee led to a few swing problems that he's currently trying to fix with instructor Peter Kostis.

"I'm trying to correct those, and the knee feels pretty good," Calc said. "Not great mind you, but really from the knees down are my main problem right now, and of course from the neck up is always a problem, too. And my belly could be a little smaller, too. Other than that, I actually feel pretty decent."

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