Category: PGA Tour

September 05, 2013

Bubba: Slow play bigger problem than anchored putters

Posted at 11:56 AM by Scooby Axson


The USGA and R&A have banned anchored putting -- effective Jan. 1, 2016 -- but Bubba Watson said that golf's ruling bodies still need to address the biggest problem in the game: slow play.

"Slow play is a problem on the PGA Tour, and I think that's our biggest concern."

"We are worried about putters and golf balls and all these things, but I think we should be more concerned about slow play and speeding the game up, not just for pros but for amateur golfers, as well," Watson said. "Nobody wants to play a game that takes five and a half hours to play. We want everybody to be able to play and go a lot faster."

According to Reuters, Watson made the remarks to the organizers of the Asian Tour's Thailand Golf Championship, which Watson will play later this year. Two Asian players were penalized for slow play at the 2013 majors: Guan Tianlang was hit with a one-stroke penalty at Augusta this year and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama was also being penalized at the British Open. Both penalties were controversial, but Watson said the penalties could be a learning experience.

"Nobody wants to see a young kid, a young player get that penalty. That penalty is not a fun penalty to get... happened to be Asian players, but I think the youngsters can learn from that."

Watson, who has three top-10 finishes this year, was also asked to assess his game. He hasn't won on tour since winning the 2012 Masters.

"I am happy with my game. Obviously you want to produce better scores. You want to win," he said. "I haven't won yet, but I'm playing well. I feel like I'm playing good."

(Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)

September 04, 2013

'Douchebag Championship'? Sports anchor butchers event name

Posted at 10:03 AM by Scooby Axson

Anyone who is a broadcaster knows that live TV can be unpredictable, especially when it comes to pronouncing not too common names. 

Fox Carolina anchor Aaron Cheslock had a slip up for the ages when reading highlights from this past weekend's Deutsche Bank Championship.

In the video above, Cheslock has a bit of trouble saying "Deutsche Bank" and instead says "douchebag," making sure he is a part of the news blooper reel for years to come.  

By the way, Henrik Stenson (-22) won the dou ... Deustche Bank Championship with a two-shot victory over Steve Stricker.

August 26, 2013

Denver sports stars attend golf's "Husher School"

Posted at 3:24 PM by Scooby Axson

The 2014 BMW Championship is more than a year away, but the tournament officials are bringing out the heavy hitters to promote it.

A few of Denver's biggest sports stars shot a TV commercial for the tournament, which will be the penultimate event in the PGA Tour’s FedExCup Playoffs, held at the Cherry Hill County Club Sept. 1-7 in Denver. It will be first time since the 1985 PGA Championship that Tour players will compete at Cherry Hills.

Denver Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, John Lynch, a retired safety who played four seasons with the Broncos and Chauncey Billups, who went to the University of Colorado and played three seasons with the Denver Nuggets, participated in the commercial.

In the 30 second spot (watch below), the four are attending "Husher School," attempting to learn the different ways to tell a golf crowd to be quiet, which includes "lifting" weights and carrying signs that say "Quiet, please."

August 20, 2013

Tom Kite defends Liberty National design

Posted at 9:44 AM by Scooby Axson

The complaints were many: 

Too cramped, a dump, the views are better than the course, and "interesting." 

Those are some of the criticisms of Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City, N.J., the site of this weekend's Barclays, which is the first tournament of the four-event FedEx Cup playoffs.

The stunning views of Manhattan weren't enough to stop the players on tour from sounding off about the course.

When one anonymous player was told the tour was returning to Liberty in 2013, he said, "I can't believe we're going back there." 

But Tom Kite, who helped design Liberty National with Bob Cupp, says that the criticisms are unwarranted because most of the problems that the players complained about are now fixed.

"There were a lot people that raved about the golf course, and there were a few people that were critical," Kite told The New York Post. “We tried to address some of the issues that were a concern to some of the players, and at the same time build on all the really good things most of the players said. It wasn’t written about, but most of the players said really good things."

"It’s easy to write negative stuff,” Kite continued. “It’s more than that. When people say complimentary things about you, you all don’t write about it. There’s no question that that was the case."

The course underwent major changes in the last 18 months. The greens are milder and somewhat playable and some of the landing areas were widened.

"We think the golf course is good, and we hope the players like it this year," Kite said.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

August 19, 2013

Criticism by Tiger, other pros led to Liberty National changes

Posted at 10:58 AM by Scooby Axson

All it took was Tiger Woods saying that Liberty National Golf Course was "interesting," and the next thing you know, wholesale changes were made to the course.

It didn't help also that a caddie said that they ruined a perfectly good landfill when they built the course, whether he was joking or not.

The Barclays will be played at Liberty in Jersey City, N.J. this weekend and is the site of the first tournament of the FedEx Cup playoffs. The last time the tournament was held at Liberty was 2009, when Woods made those comments.

Among some of the changes at the course: five greens were entirely rebuilt, and another six were reconstructed; 13 landing areas were altered and 11 tee boxes were expanded or moved.

“The goal of the modification was really to help increase the overall receptiveness of the golf course,” said Steve Wenzloff, the PGA Tour’s vice president of design services and player liaison told the New York Post. “I say receptiveness as sort of a broad definition. Specially, two facets: the tee shots and the approach shots.”

To make room for a corporate tent, the 18th green was moved 20 yards down the fairway.

“It’s still a hard golf course, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Wenzloff said. “The teeth will still be in it, just the teeth won’t sink as deep into your skin.”

(Photo by Charlie Riedel/AP)

August 16, 2013

Monty: Tiger won't break Jack's record

Posted at 10:55 AM by Scooby Axson


Although Colin Montgomerie has never won a major, that is not going to stop him from speaking about people who have. 

When the much-talked about topic of the chances of Tiger Woods breaking Jack Nicklaus' records of 18 major championships came up on the Golf Channel Sunday night, Monty did not hesistate to put his two cents in. 

Nicklaus said he still expects Woods to break his record. Monty just thinks he was being nice.

"Jack was being diplomatic," Monty said to the Golf Channel via The National, failing to suppress a smile. "Very diplomatic."

Woods struggles at the majors are well-chronicled, having failing to crack the winner's circle at a major since 2008. He finished tied for 40th at last week's PGA Championship and hasn't won the Masters in nine years.

When asked if Woods could get to the elusive 19 majors, Monty was less than optimistic. 

"Five more, with the standard right now, and the competition right now," he said. 


(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

August 14, 2013

Tiger commits to play in The Barclays

Posted at 1:39 PM by Scooby Axson


Tiger Woods has committed to play in The Barclays, according to the website for the world's No. 1 golfer.

The tournament is the first of the PGA Tour's FedExCup Playoffs events, and starts Aug. 22. at Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City, N.J.  He finished tied for 38th at the event last year, which Nick Watney won by three shots over Brandt Snedeker.

Woods, who has won five times on tour this year, is the current FedExCup points leader and won the series in 2007 and 2009. Phil Mickelson is ranked 2nd in the standings.

Although Woods has not won a major tournament in 2013, he is first on the money list and leads the tour in scoring average (68.654).


End of a tradition: No more caddie races on tour

Posted at 11:58 AM by Scooby Axson

PGA Tour officials are now concerned about caddie races, banning the "event" from the tour because of the safety concerns.

The races were a big hit during tournaments at TPC Scottsdale and the Colonial.

Instead of watching caddies live out their Usain Bolt fantasties, tournament officials will offer an app fans can download so they can guess which golfer will reach the green the fastest on the par-3 16th hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Sounds like seconds of fun.

"We have advised the folks at Colonial and out in Phoenix to discontinue the caddie races. It was a situation where we developed a little concern about caddies' safety," Andy Pazder, the PGA Tour's executive vice president and chief of operations, said to the Golf Channel. Running 150 yards puts caddies at risk for injury. I had caddies come to me in Phoenix and at Colonial saying, ‘This is ridiculous, it's like we are a carnival show.'”


May 29, 2013

Poll: Nearly 60 percent of Tour players support anchoring ban

Posted at 12:28 PM by Mike Walker

Scott_walbergNearly 60 percent of PGA Tour pros support the USGA’s ban on anchored putting as practiced by players like Adam Scott [right], according to a Sports Illustrated poll of 70 PGA Tour players.

In response to the question “Should anchored putting be banned on the PGA Tour,” 59 percent of players polled agreed.

The USGA and R&A announced last week that anchored putting strokes -- where the club is “anchored” against the player’s body -- will be illegal, effective Jan. 1, 2016. The ban would affect popular PGA Tour players like Adam Scott [right], Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els. The PGA Tour, which follows the USGA’s rules, has not indicated if it will abide by the new rule or allow anchored putting in PGA Tour events. A majority of players in the SI poll -- 57 percent -- said the PGA Tour should set its own rules of competition.

In addition to anchored putting, the SI poll asked players to name the best swing on Tour, the worst swing on Tour and whether they thought Tiger Woods would beat Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major victories. You can see the full poll results here.

Photo: David Walberg/Sports Illustrated
March 01, 2013

USGA, R&A end comment on anchored-putting ban

Posted at 2:21 PM by Coleman McDowell

"Thanks for sharing."

The USGA and the R&A have ended the lively 90-day comment period that was part of the process of their proposal to ban anchored putting strokes. During the last 90 days, the PGA Tour and the PGA of America have asked the USGA to reconsider the ban. PGA Tour commission Tim Finchem said that the USGA had not demonstrated that anchoring is a competitive advantage, and the PGA of America said the ban could "infringe on the enjoyment of the game."

With the cut-off for comments reached, USGA officials said it will review all feedback received about the rule change before taking action. If the USGA and R&A decide to move forward with the ban, it would take effect on Jan. 1, 2016. The USGA and The R&A proposed the new entry, Rule 14-1b, on Nov. 28.

“The 90-day comment period on proposed Rule 14-1b has been very constructive and we appreciate the thoughtfulness of everyone who offered feedback. We received comments, questions and suggestions from recreational golfers, golf professionals and organizations representing many segments of the golf community. The discussion has been informative and serves as a strong reminder of just how passionate golfers are about the game -– no matter their position on this specific issue.”

“For well over a year, the golf community has engaged in a healthy and spirited discussion about anchoring, as well as other important issues confronting the game. Throughout this period, we have worked to explain the intent of Rule 14-1b, which aims to clarify and preserve the traditional and essential nature of the golf stroke that has helped to make golf a unique and enjoyable game of skill and challenge for centuries.”

“As the comment period comes to a close, we will continue to review and evaluate the feedback that we have received. As we have throughout this process, we will continue to confer with the R&A in our work to reach a final resolution on this matter.”

Three of the past five major champions have used a belly putter, including Ernie Els (2012 British Open), Webb Simpson (2012 U.S. Open) and Keegan Bradley (2011 PGA Championship).

At the moment, the PGA Tour has not said it will go against the USGA's ruling, only that it disagrees with the USGA's stance. Despite the Tour's opposition the ban, prominent players like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson have all voiced support for banning anchored putting strikes.

"My position hasn't changed," Woods said after his pro-am round at PGA National. "I still think it should be swung, it shouldn't be anchored, and that hasn't changed at all."

"I understand his position," Woods said of Finchem. "But I still feel that all 14 clubs should be swung. That hasn't changed at all."

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