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Professionals complain a lot, I’ve found. They seem to want fairway traps from which they can reach the green, holes that are not too long, rough that is not too deep, greens that are dead-flat…perhaps if I made my living playing golf I would feel the same, but the fact is that if we turn golf into a putting contest, nobody will care and there won’t be a living.
ROBERT TRENT JONES


    

Wednesday
Jul022014

Day Of Firsts: Harding Park Gets Its Major, PGA's Unite! 

The Kumbaya vibes were off the charts as the PGA Tour, PGA of America, the San Francisco Mayor's office and everyone else with a hand in the deals harrumphed all things Harding Park. Confirmation came of a 2015 WGC Match Play, a 2020 PGA Championship and a 2025 Presidents Cup, assuming that last event hasn't succumbed to the diseases of Korea and Liberty National and whatever almost ideal place they take the Cup.

From PGATour.com:

"Today is an announcement of a lot of firsts," Finchem said during Wednesday's ceremonies. "The first time that the PGA TOUR and the PGA have announced a series of events that are coordinated in this kind of fashion. It's the first time that these three particular events will be played at the same venue."

“TPC Harding Park is a world-class facility and San Francisco is a mecca of the best sports, cultural and entertainment events the world has to offer, so today’s exciting announcement only serves to further the City’s stature in that respect, and is a wonderful extension of our long-standing partnership with the PGA TOUR,” Lee said.

Ron Kroichick explored the possibility of the Match Play becoming a regular thing and the city sounded skeptical it could handle the excitement, while the PGA Of America hopes to make Harding a once-a-decade stop if things go well. First off though, getting Mayor Lepetomaine to get the tournaments straight would help.

Today’s news conference survived one awkward moment, during Mayor Ed Lee’s opening remarks. He referred to the “Players Championship,” not the PGA Championship, coming to Harding in 2020. Casual fans might not realize the difference, but Lee’s misstep caused PGA of America president Ted Bishop — standing only a few feet away — to squirm.

While I didn't see a month mentioned for the 2020 PGA and no one cares about the 2025 Presidents Cup, the match play timing could have been interesting but now (thankfully) appears to be a one-off.

David Scott explains how the Wells Fargo Championship and host Quail Hollow will go after The Players in 2015 to accomodate a one-time match play in May.

It is unclear when the Match Play, which will take place at San Francisco’s Harding Park municipal course April 29-May 3 2015, will be scheduled in future years.

The switch means the Wells Fargo will be played the week after the Players Championship, the tour’s most prestigious non-major tournament, rather than the week before the Players as it has since 2007.
Hougham said he didn’t expect the change to adversely affect the Wells Fargo’s field.

“It just means there are going to be three great weeks of golf – the Match Play, the Players, the Wells Fargo – leading up to the U.S. Open,” said Hougham.

Commissioner Moonbeam made pretty clear that May 2015 is a one-time deal for the Match Play and that  anchoring the West Coast Swing is still the priority, as it should be for the health of the swing that gets the biggest ratings and needs the Match Play to cap off the early part of the season.

Jeff Rude had all sorts of good stuff in this roundup of the announcement, including this about the robust month of May, 2015.

2. The May schedule on the 2015 PGA Tour is so packed with important tournaments, there’s no way everyone can be happy, particularly when considering the European Tour’s flagship event (BMW PGA) is in the mix. Not that anything this side of inner peace or free money can make everyone happy.

It has been held on Week 8 of the Tour schedule, ending the West Coast Swing. The Tour is said to want to return to that date again starting in 2016.

Kroichick also explored how all of this came together and as with most things in high-level golf, good wine, great views and a politician's visit went to their heads. Oh, and the awareness that it’s really time to stop taking the PGA Championship to midwest sweat boxes.

They joined tour executives for dinner in May at Epic Roasthouse, along the Embarcadero. The group sat outside on a warm, glorious night and talked about Harding’s revival. Pete Bevacqua and Kerry Haigh, high-ranking officials from the PGA of America, had seats facing the bridge. The mayor stopped by to say hello.

Meetings the next day included views of the Golden Gate Bridge on another sparkling spring day. Then came a drive on the Great Highway, to take a first-hand look at the course.

It's a romantic comedy! Execs drink, dine, see the sun in San Francisco, drive PCH and get hitched with Harding Park. Coming to a theater near you in May, 2020.

As for the format, this PGATour.com story tells us what we mostly already knew, with some clarifications:

Going forward, the 64-player Match  Play Championship field will be divided into 16 four-player groups. Each group will play round-robin matches within their group on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The player with the best record in each of the four groups advances to the Round of 16 for single-elimination match play (in the event of a two-way tie in a group, head-to-head results will be used as the tiebreaker; a three-way tie will require a sudden-death playoff). The Round of 16 will be played Saturday morning, followed by the Quarterfinals Saturday afternoon. The Semifinals will be Sunday morning, followed by the Championship Match and Consolation Match on Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday
Jul022014

Happy 100th To The Eden Course!

Though just eleven of H.S. Colt's original holes remain on St. Andrews' Eden Course, it's still a lovely place to play or tee off from every five years when The Open is played on the Old Course.

Big thanks to reader Brian for Laurie Watson's wonderful look back at the creation of the course and opening day 100 years ago on July 2, 1914.

The land for the course was owned in part and leased from Mr Cheape of Strathtyrum House. The Town Council leased two fields adjoining the Goods Railway Station, where the sheds on the 17th are today plus three fields to the north of Pilmour Cottage and on the northside of the railway. The final agreement which was set out in writing on papers dated the 7th and 10th of November 1913, was to last for 25 years. For the land the Council paid Cheape £130 per annum.

As part of the agreement Cheape and his tenants were allowed to graze their sheep on the course. He also reserved the rights to shoot for game, be it rabbit or hares, ‘subject to the shooting being exercised in such a way as shall not interfere with the use of the fields for purposes of a golf course.’

Okay, so Mr. Cheape having one out of two wasn't bad. Oh how Dr. MacKenzie was right about the rabbits!

And oh how we wish we could have been there for this moment:

For the construction, the Town Council set aside £3,000. Mr C.D Harris of Sunningdale was taken on to manage the construction but as part of his contract he had to employ local labour.  Golf course architect Mr Harry S. Colt was a member of the R&A and was deemed the right man for the job.

The Eden officially opened on 2 July 1914 after storm clouds cleared away in time for the opening ceremony. All the local dignitaries including Provost Herkless were there and course designer Harry Colt. The Provost spoke first saying that golf had been played in St Andrews for centuries and that the Old Course remained the first and greatest of courses in the world. His words were greeted with applause.

Wednesday
Jul022014

R.I.P. Errie Ball

The man who saw everyone from Harry Vardon to Tiger Woods and was the last living person to have played in the first Masters, died Wednesday morning at 103.

John Strege with the details and links to some nice past stories on Ball.

Golf Channel producer Scott Rude put together a superb profile of Mr. Ball earlier this spring.

Wednesday
Jul022014

Match Play To Adopt Pool Play Format Starting In 2015

Ron Kroichick reports in anticipation of Wednesday's big day of announcements at Harding Park that the 2015 WGC Match Play will adopt a round-robin pool play format providing some guaranteed great golf viewing for the first three days.

This will keep the full field around through Friday but keep the final 16 format the same as in the past.

The top 64 players in the Official World Golf Ranking will qualify for the event, as in the past. Starting next year at Harding, the field will be divided into 16 four-player “groups,” with round-robin match play on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of tournament week.

Then the winner of each group will advance to the round of 16 on Saturday morning. (Head-to-head results will be used to break two-way ties, with sudden-death playoffs for three-way ties.)

Tuesday
Jul012014

Rickie Fowler Tweets That He's Fine After An "Accident"

In the player-Tweet division, this one certainly ranks with the strangest. No further details were mentioned in the conversation that followed among his relieved fans.

 

 

Tuesday
Jul012014

"British Open qualifying leaves younger players out"

Doug Ferguson opens his weekly notes column by analyzing the changing nature of Open Championship qualifying, and while he appears to lament (as do I) the loss of 36-hole qualifiers that might have allowed some Web.com Tour and top amateurs to gain entry, it's hard to argue with the field quality bump The Open gets with its current system of taking the top four not already in from Congressional and Greenbrier along with top three no in from the Irish, French and Scottish.

“These matters have been very much considered by the European Tour and the PGA Tour, and their request certainly has been to evolve from what we were with the 36-hole stand-alone into the series we have now,” R&A; executive director Michael Tate said Tuesday. “They don’t have that simple opportunity. They can, of course, still travel to the UK and qualify. But I understand how difficult that is. I think in the world of the game of golf, what we achieved and what we are doing now is probably correct.”

Indeed, 288 players currently are playing for 12 spots at four regional spots in Britain the next two days. A decade ago, local qualifying was the only way into The Open, and it was held the weekend before the championship.

Here are the current qualifying results posted at The Open website.

At Sunningdale, England’s Matthew Southgate and Chris Rodgers and South Korea’s Byeong-Hun An qualified. At Gailes Links, three Scottish golfers earned their passage to The Open, Marc Warren, Jamie McLeary and Paul McKechnie. At Woburn, the places went to amateur Paul Dunne of Ireland, and England’s Oliver Fisher and Rhys Enoch, and at Hillside the three qualifers were John Singleton and Christopher Hanson of England and Oscar Floren of Sweden.

Tuesday
Jul012014

R&A Announces Opens For Birkdale, Carnoustie...At Greenbrier

A slightly surreal scene considering that The Open is generally played in the UK and the announcement was made at a West Virginia casino, but whatever floats their boat I say!

The R&A announced the 2017 Open Championship is headed to Royal Birkdale and Carnoustie for the 2018 Open Championship. If you assume Royal Portrush or an English links hosts in 2019, and the Old Course in 2020, this means at least until 2021 for Turnberry.

Tom Watson was also granted a one-year extension on his exemption to play the Old Course one more time in 2015.

Monday
Jun302014

"It's hard to imagine the old Tiger embracing excuses or mediocrity."

Even though Tiger Woods just missed a cut in his first start back, acted surprised at the difference between Bermuda and cool season grasses, and has no plans to get more tournament “reps” between now and The Open Championship, he’s currently still listed at a generous 20-1 for Royal Liverpool.

We debated some key points on Morning Drive today with Gary Williams and Damon Hack (not posted) and it's pretty clear to anyone who is a Tiger-the-golfer fan: the fire just isn't there. To be feeling better and have the major he could so easily win because of his creativity, ability to handle the wind and epic performance there last time and not to be taking it seriously suggests Tiger just doesn't quite care like he used to. He loves his adorable kids, loves his yacht and it's summertime! What's not to love if you're him? Oh right, practicing and preparing for links golf.

Remember, he's been on the national stage nearly 20 years now and there's only so long the fire can burn. I don't begrudge him. He gave us many great years and he'll have a few more runs in him, but to be supposedly feeling great and to go on vacation after his Congressional play suggests he just doesn't care like he used to. Doesn't make him a bad person, it just mean's he's not the Tiger we used to know.

Robert Lusetich addressed the many oddities of Tiger's performance at Congressional and the defeatist comments after, which included blaming grass types for his rusty short game.

Felt great and shot a 4-over-par 75 -- Tiger's New Math.

There will be those who feel it's too harsh to criticize a golfer coming off a three-month layoff and especially one coming off back surgery.

But this is the great Tiger Woods we're talking about, not some journeyman, and it's hard to imagine the old Tiger embracing excuses or mediocrity.

And remember that Woods insisted in May that the time off recuperating from surgery was a blessing, as it had allowed him time to work on his short game.

Except that his short game at Congressional was as horrible as it's ever been.

Woods only got up-and-down on three of 16 missed greens.

Imagine if he hadn't worked on his short game.

Monday
Jun302014

Toledo's Inverness Spends $2 Million To Update Its Gem

Thanks to reader Dan for this David Briggs story on Toledo's Inverness Golf Club going all out to bring their course up-to-date agronomically in hopes of luring major events. One of the great golf clubs on the planet, the course has been major-less since 1993's PGA Championship.  Unfortunately there is no mention by Briggs of remedying this truly wonderful club's only defects: too many Christmas tree-style plantings and some egregious design butchery by George and Tom Fazio.

Sadly, the story mentions the addition of 60 more trees as most courses go other way, but the planting has nothing to do with the club's love of our tall woody friends and everything to do with combating the ball flying too far. Six new bunkers were also added and fairways "reshaped to feed into the sand traps," which I'm going to assume means taking down old sand build-up to bring Ross's hazards more into play.

It was a simpler time when Inverness hosted its last of four U.S. Opens in 1979 and its last PGA Championship in 1993. Today, it takes far more than tradition and a breathtaking course to land a major professional event. A club must reside in a market with significant financial corporate support or have one heck of a plan.

If Inverness is to again snare one of golf’s three premier rotating events — including the Ryder Cup — it must get aggressive, which includes corralling statewide corporate support and a willingness to host secondary championship events for the USGA and perhaps the Western Golf Association.

While Inverness has traditionally hosted mostly pro USGA events — the 1973 U.S. Amateur endures as the lone exception — the club will now pursue amateur ones, too. Possibilities include the U.S. Amateur, Junior Amateur, and Walker Cup, a biennial match between the top amateurs from the U.S., Great Britain, and Ireland. The idea is to bring high-level golf to Toledo while also scratching the USGA’s back, helping the governing body host some of its 12 championship events with the hope that it lands them the biggest fish of all, the men’s U.S. Open.

“It's in our mission statement now, our goal is to host events of national prominence, and that can be either amateur of professional,” Kopan said. “We've had a lot of discussions with the USGA, and they would like us to do more championships for them.

Monday
Jun302014

It’s Back! WGC Match Play To Harding Park In 2015

Ron Kroichick says Wednesday's announcement of the 2020 PGA Championship to Harding Park will also include a surprise: the 2015 WGC Match Play, filling an open May date on the schedule.

He writes:

Wednesday’s news conference at City Hall will include this Match Play announcement, a source close to the PGA Tour said Monday. The tournament, held the past eight years at Dove Mountain outside Tucson, Ariz., is expected to move from February to May, improving the chances of dry conditions at Harding.

The tour’s commitment to hold Match Play in San Francisco covers only one year, but Rec & Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg said, “The idea here is that Match Play has the potential to be a recurring event.”

This certainly leaves open the question of sponsor and format, but it sounds like the tour is going to forge ahead in trying to save this event, even if it means filling in those blanks later and for that, fans of match play golf will be grateful.

Monday
Jun302014

Reluctant Video: Sergio Crashes Bethpage

These tour-pro-surprises-Joe-Public ads have just about run their course, but you have to give Taylor Made credit for this Bethpage State Park surprise shoot complete with free drivers and Sergio having to spend way  more time with everyday people than he'd like.

I’m not sure there’s a greater compliment to the cameramen and editors than this: they managed to make Sergio seem approachable and fun. And it's pretty clear, they really did surprise the folks playing Bethpage that day. So if nothing else, they earned their money.

Monday
Jun302014

Is China Demolishing Illegal Golf Courses?

Clare Jim and Xiaoyi Shao of Reuters file an investigative look at multiple golf courses that appear to have been demolished by the Chinese government for violating the 2004 ban on building "golf courses." They outline how many developers have gotten around this by calling their properties "sports training centers" or "tourist resorts."

Note the photo with the story showing the method to prevent people from crossing barriers onto the demolished courses. Thanks to reader Jeff for sending in this excellent Reuters report, which includes this:

During a recent visit to the 60-hectare (148-acre) site, a villager in his 20s told Reuters how workers wiped out virtually all trace of the course in a few weeks.

"Trucks went in and out. They almost destroyed the road in our village," said the man, surnamed Wang, who declined to give his full name.

Someone has since planted corn on parts of the muddy land.

The NDRC said the course had been built by Lao He Wan Investment Co under the guise of the Delong Agricultural Model Park. Reuters could not find any trace of the company. Local authorities responsible for the district did not respond to requests for comment.

Among the other courses demolished, one was built in southwestern Yunnan province by a subsidiary of medium-sized Chinese property developer Agile Property Holdings Ltd, the NDRC said. Agile declined to comment.

All five developers were fined.

Monday
Jun302014

The Open Qualifiers Out Of The Quicken Loans National

I'm just going to let those tournament names linger and focus on the task at hand: filling the field for The Open Championship.  The R&A now awards spots in The Open to the top four previously unqualified players who finish within the top 12 at the Quicken Loans and next week’s Greenbrier Classic.

From Doug Ferguson's story on the Quicken Loans National, which has replaced a 36-hole qualifier for The Open Championship:

Brendan Steele made a late rally, only to take on too much from the rough on the 18th and find the water for double bogey.

Much like Rose, Steele also got a reprieve, though the stakes were different.

This was the first British Open qualifier on the PGA Tour -- the leading four players not already exempt from the top 12 at Congressional get into Royal Liverpool next month.

Stefani earned one spot as the runner-up. Charley Hoffman (69) and Ben Martin (71) each birdied two of the last three holes to tie for third. Even with a double bogey, Steele got the last spot with a 71 that put him in a three-way tie for third with Andres Romero and Todd, who already is exempt. Steele earned the spot over Romero because he has a higher world ranking. Romero closed with a 68, the low score in a final round when the scoring average was 73.7.

Sunday
Jun292014

Congressional Gets Its "Reputation Back" With A Par-Fest!?

I know that Justin Rose was trying to be nice and make the (apparently insecure) members of Congressional feel better, but his post-round remark is ultimately an unintended slap at Rory McIlroy's resounding U.S. Open victory at the Blue Course in 2011. And also a bit of outdated thinking that a great test is one that rewards the least accident-prone driver. Naturally, Thomas Boswell lapped it all up, even bringing out the "defenseless" word to describe the U.S. Open at Congressional.

From Doug Ferguson's game story on Rose's fortunate win at Congressional after playing a careless shot at the 18th, only to be Sean Stefani in a sudden-death playoff after Stefani played the same carless shot.

"Congressional got its reputation back after the U.S. Open," Rose said. "I really enjoy this type of golf and this type of test. I think it tested all of us. I'm delighted."

Rose and Stefani each closed with a 1-under 70 -- only six players broke par in the final round -- and finished at 4-under 280.

Ferguson also noted the oddity of the winning score coming in higher than the 36-hole lead.

Only six players broke par in the final round. And it was only the second time this year that the winning score was higher than the 36-hole lead (6 under).

Barry Svrluga explained how both playoff participants faced the same tempting decision and succumbed to the temptation to go for Congressional's 18th green when a lay-up would have done the trick.

I know this is the kind of "test" people like because it makes them feel better about their lousy games. Lots of rough, lots of chipping out, lots of reward for driving down an imaginary center line that even PGA Tour pros can't handle. It bores me to death. For the same reason that Pinehurst's more complete exam offended people because it wasn't an old style "test" I'll never be able to grasp the pleasure taken from a cynical par-fest.

For those who get their jollies watching PGA Tour pros hack out of rough and play a game with which we are too familiar, John Strege offers this:

Even the tournament host, Tiger Woods, who missed the cut in his return to competitive golf, though he apparently avoided injury. That in itself was an achievement with rough so thick that “if we played it every week you’d see more wrist injuries,” defending champion Bill Haas said.

Only six of the 75 players broke par in the final round and only two scored in the 60s, but everyone, ultimately, was a victim of Congressional mettle.

And a Freddie Jacobsen Vine for the rough hacking brigade:

The highlights. Or are they lowlights interspersed with fortunate?

Sunday
Jun292014

1-In-5.7-Million: Aces On Back-To-Back Days

Many thanks to reader Alexandra for this stellar Joe Avento story on Dean McPherson, who made two aces in 24 hours, one with a PW and another with a hybrid (and with witnesses). Both came at Tennessee’s Johnson City Country Club.

Avento writes:

Saturday’s ace came at the seventh hole, and the ball took a little turn on a hill on the green before falling. The 4-hyrbid shot went 180 yards. Steve Myers, Tyler Larsen and Arch Jones witnessed the ace.

“We all talked it in,” McPherson said. “We were talking to it the whole way. It actually paused for a second on the side before we saw it tip over.

“I was like ‘There’s no way this is happening twice,’ ” he said.

McPherson said his buddies’ reactions were what made it such a special occasion. They threw their clubs in the air to celebrate the unlikely feat.

“When I turned around, seeing their faces was were as cool as seeing the ball going in,” he said. “We all threw our clubs in the air. If we had a video, we could sell it.”

Jones was about to hit next, so he had a club in one hand and a tee and ball in the other. He threw them all in celebration.

“I had to go find everything before I could hit,” he said. “It was really something.”

Sunday
Jun292014

L.A. Times Story On Comcast, Roberts And Future Of Cable

This one won't be of the slightest bit of interest to readers outside of the U.S.A, but Meg James of the Los Angeles Times has filed a terrific profile of Drive, Chip and Putt committee member and Masters website committee head Brian Roberts, who also happens to be CEO of Comcast as it bids to buy Time Warner Cable and rule American cable. If only Lucy Li knew who was announcing her name at the 18th green putting portion of the DCP!

Anyway, James' story is of interest because (A) it's a great read about the goals of Comcast, owner of Golf Channel and (B) sheds some light on the thinking of Roberts, who is a single digit handicap golfer, top-flight CEO and probably the most powerful man in American golf and sports media. (Sorry USGA, it certainly won't be Rupert in 2016!)

While I'm no fan of mega-companies like the proposed Comcast-Time Warner, the most heartening thing about Roberts is that he's a fan of innovation. That's something most CEO's hate to admit publicly because loving tech to Wall Street means loving spending money on the future, somethign they find about as vile as it gets! Yet Roberts has a nice track record of spending with the long term in mind. Bill Gates has something to do with that according to James.

Roberts credits another mogul with helping him recognize the importance of technology: Bill Gates.

The Microsoft Corp. co-founder was chastising cable executives during a 1997 industry dinner. Tech firms were concerned that the nation's existing cable lines would not support the dawning digital revolution.

Roberts politely challenged the software billionaire, saying if Gates was so bullish on the industry, then why didn't he buy 10% of all the cable companies?

A few days later, Microsoft purchased $1 billion in Comcast stock — a move that underscored the future of cable.

"He basically said, 'I believe that you will have a bigger business in data someday than you do in video,'" Roberts said. "And he was right."

Comcast now counts its high-speed Internet service as its highest-margin business. Last year, the business brought in more than $10 billion in revenue.

Saturday
Jun282014

Andy Murray Invested In Seve Movie, Admits To Sandbagging

Bob McKenzie reports for the Express that Scottish tennis great Andy Murray invested in Seve The Movie, released June 27th, in part because of his dad's admiration for Ballesteros.

McKenzie writes:

"We went to watch the tournament in Gleneagles quite a few times which was just down the road from our house. I haven't played golf since I started having problems with my back and since the surgery, I haven't bothered trying to be honest.

"I will wait till I have finished (my career)."

Not that you would want to play Murray for 50p by the sounds of it.

"When I used to play for money, I always used to play off 16 or 17," he says with a smile.

"I have never lost a game of golf for money in all the times I have played. I don't know what my handicap was exactly but that is what I used to play off. "Everyone got hacked off when I was playing against them."

Murray plays Kevin Anderson in a fourth round match Monday at Wimbledon, reports The Guardian's Kevin Mitchell.

Henry Fitzherbert of The Express raved about Seve The Movie, calling it...

absorbing, beautifully shot picture (brilliantly edited by Saska Simpson) cleverly combines archive footage of Ballesteros with a dramatic re-enactment of his youth featuring a charming performance from young unknown Jose Luis Gutierrez.

Ewan Murray previewed the film for The Guardian and noted this about the lead actor:

José Luis Gutiérrez, who plays the young Seve in the early part of the film, should be underplayed. This is a role bearing a heavy weight of pressure and responsibility. Even for Gutiérrez – a 16-year-old with a handicap of four – Ballesteros is iconic to the level that he admitted to being “frightened” about not being up to the task.

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw called Seve The Movie “engaging enough” and writes:

a misty-eyed tribute that, in DVD form, is destined to rest on the memorabilia-packed shelves of legions of golf-crazy guys from Dallas to Dumfermline.

No release date outside of the UK and Ireland has been set.

The trailer:

Saturday
Jun282014

Video: Kostis Analyzing Tiger's Subtle Swing Changes

Instructor Mitchell Spearman penned a guest commentary for ESPN.com with the help of Farrell Evans and and after watching early in the week, said he didn't like what he saw of Tiger's swing.

He looked fit and strong as ever, but his swing was not that familiar Tiger-esque motion. It was shorter, he was moving his head off the ball to the right. His transition was rushed, and his upper body was hanging back on the downswing.

Most of all, he was holding on to his angle way too long prior to impact.

CBS's Peter Kostis was kinder, noting "very subtle" changes in Tiger's swing. From the third round telecast of the Quicken Loans National:

Saturday
Jun282014

Video: Hanson's 222-Yard Ace Gives Fan Year Off On Mortgage

Stellar and lucrative shot (for a fan) from Peter Hanson, hitting a 222-yard 4-iron on Congressional's second hole.

The ace in round three of the Quicken Loans National means some lucky fan gets a year off on their Quicken Loan, according to SB Nation's Brendan Porath.

With Quicken Loans now the title sponsor at this tourney, the ace also resulted in an award for Arline Deacon of Fayetteville, Ga. As the winner of a random drawing triggered by the hole-in-one, she will now have her mortgage payments taken care of for a year. Quicken will now do that for every ace at PGA Tour events for the rest of the year (Hanson's is the 11th of this season).

Friday
Jun272014

On Tiger: "Not ready to contend any day soon, anyway."

The second round viewing from the Quicken Loans National was both fascinating and discouraging, as Tiger Woods made a miraculously fast recovering from back surgery only to look and sound like the same less-than-once-in-a-lifetime golfer he had become just before the surgery.

Constantly mentioning he needs "reps," Woods made clear after his 74-75 MC that his priorities lie elsewhere these days by refusing to even consider adding more to his schedule. For those hoping he'd return refreshed with the desire of old and a desire to do anything possible to win, Woods made clear this is his only start before The Open Championship at Hoylake. As the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open lures a great field the week prior to the Open, the mystery remains, why does Woods insist on getting to the UK as late as possible when a great week at Royal Aberdeen is an option?

From Karen Crouse's NY Times story on Woods missing the cut at The Quickie.

Woods said he could take “a lot of positives” from the week. “The fact that I was able to even play; I came back four weeks earlier than we thought I could,” he said. “I had no setbacks. I got my feel for playing tournament golf.”

The 16 missed greens and the missed putts, including an 8-footer at the fourth hole and a 9-footer at the sixth, both for birdies, were a product of his rust, Woods said.

From Steve DiMeglio's USA Today story:

It was just the 10th time Woods missed the 36-hole cut in 299 starts on the PGA Tour. It was his first missed cut since 2012.

"A lot of positives to take away from these last two days," said Woods, who had back surgery March 31. "Even though I missed the cut by four shots; the fact that I was able to even play (was encouraging). I came back four weeks earlier than we thought I could. I had no setbacks. I got my feel for playing tournament golf. I made a ton of little, simple little mistakes, misjudging things and missing the ball on the wrong sides and just didn't get up-and-down on little simple shots. Those are the little things I can correct, which is nice."

Jeff Rude had no problem saying what was obvious if you watched: Woods is healthy again but it'll take a lot of rounds to get his mojo back. And he has no plans to play any more than he has to.

But that might be difficult to accomplish without more competitive rounds to chip off the rust that was apparent at the Quicken Loans National.

As it stands, he isn’t expected to compete between now and then. But because he needs more fine-tuning, it would behoove him to add the Scottish Open the week before going to Royal Liverpool. Yes, he’s a creature of habit who hardly ever plays the week before a major championship, but these are extenuating circumstances.

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