Cinderella Story: Parel With Legit Shot At $1 Million Schwab Cup

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If he doesn’t win the Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix this week, Scott Parel will need some help from Bernhard Langer and others to claim the $1 million prize. Still it’s been a while since the PGA Tour Champions has seen someone who played so little PGA Tour golf (five starts at age 38) turn into a leader money winner and potential Schwab Cup champ.

Eamon Lynch of Golfweek with Parel’s surprise rise from the Monday qualifying ranks, including this:

Parel didn’t even join the paid ranks until he was 31 years old, after a decade in the IT industry. He made just five career starts on the PGA Tour, and it wasn’t until 2003, when he was 38, that he secured Web.com Tour status. He made 18 starts that year and earned $3,344. His lone win came in 2013. By then he was 48 and turning his attention to the over-50s circuit.

With no playing privileges, Parel had to rely on Monday qualifiers, a system that offers odds only slightly better than a Mega Millions lottery drawing. He made it through eight times that first season but remained realistic.

Instagram Trophy Wrap: Sunday Winners Wallace, Alex, McCarron, Hickok, Wilson, USA Women

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While the Dell Technologies crowns a champion on Monday, Labor Day weekend's Sunday gave away mostly straightforward hardware. And yes, I'm lumping in Jeff Wilson's U.S. Senior Amateur win from a few days ago, because, why not?

Congrats to all of the big winners, starting with three-time European Tour winner in 2018 Matt Wallace, who birdied seven of eight holes coming in and survived an all-English, four-man playoff. For his effort, he won the largest salad bowl in golf:

A winner again 🏆🙌🏼 #MiD18

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Marina Alex claimed her first LPGA title in Portland:

@marinaaadee FIRST EVER #LPGAWinnerSelfie 🤳👏🏽⛳️

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Scott McCarron earned both a hat he'll never wear again and a trophy he'll hide ASAP in winning the Shaw Classic.

😁 he couldn’t stop smiling. @shawclassic

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Kramer Hickok adds another breakthrough win for Texas men's golf in 2018, taking the Web.com Tour's DAP Championship.

Nice work by Jeff Wilson in finally winning a USGA event by taking the U.S. Senior Amateur at Eugene Country Club last week.

And finally, congrats to the American women at the World Amateur Team at Carlton House.

Feinstein On Watson's Impressive Old Course Showing

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While he faded to a final round 77, Tom Watson's opening 69-68 in the Senior Open at St. Andrews and continued contention until early Sunday was a thing to behold on many levels. 

But as John Feinstein notes for Golf World, with it only being Watson's fifth start of the year due to wife Hilary's battle with cancer, the ability to perform as the 68-year-old did was something special not to be overlooked.

the Senior Open was his fifth event of 2018 and he hadn’t played anywhere since April. The reason for his absence was simple—and sad: His wife, Hilary, has been battling cancer. There was no way he was leaving her side during chemo and radiation treatments that began last fall. Only during respites in her treatment—at her urging—did he play.

A few weeks ago, Hilary Watson completed yet another painful round of chemo, this time in Houston. Still, she wanted her husband to play at St. Andrews, a golf course and a place he loves. 

The St. Andrews Effect: 591 Try Senior Open Qualifying, Chamblee, Koch Among The Notables

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The Forecaddie weighed in on the proceedings from Scotland where many Americans made the voyage.

Well done to all of the geezers who crossed the Atlantic in an effort to play this week's Senior Open at The Old Course.

For Immediate release:

Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee will make his first professional appearance in more than ten years after successfully qualifying for The Senior Open Presented by Rolex.

The American, who made his last appearance on the PGA Tour in 2008, was one of 27 golfers who came through qualifying to book their place on the Old Course at St Andrews from July 26-29.

A record 591 qualifiers took part in the traditional Monday Qualifying at Fairmont St Andrews, Ladybank, Lundin Links and Scotscraig, with participants from all four corners of the globe descending on the county of Fife.

The 56 year old, who shared first place at Scotscraig Golf Club, said: “St Andrews means a lot to everybody in the golf world, but it holds a special place in my heart because I spent the summer of 1982 in Scotland. One of the highlights of my career was playing in The Open in 1995.

“So to bring my career in the game full circle, from the amateur game, to the PGA Tour, to the Senior Open, I couldn’t be happier to have made the field and to play amongst some of the best players to have every played the game.

“It’s a real treat for me to see a side of the game I haven’t known for 15 years.”

Joining Chamblee from Scotscraig were compatriot John Inman and English amateur Robert Maxfield – CEO of the Professional Golfers’ Association. Also earning their spots were Victor Casado, Vicente Fernandez, Darrell Kestner and amateur G.S. Lacy.

The first results of qualifying came from Ladybank as Fran Quinn finished first on three under par. He was joined automatically by Tommy Tolles and David Shacklady, who successfully earned his Staysure Tour card at Qualifying School earlier this year.

A five-way play-off was required for the final four spots, with Bob Ford, amateur Ryan Howison, Mark Ridley and former Walker Cup player Gary Wolstenholme securing their places on the first extra hole.

At Fairmont St Andrews, the closest Qualifying venue to the Old Course, Spain’s Andres Rosa was the only golfer to finish under par – one stroke ahead of David Mills and Henrik Simonsen who finished level par with rounds of 72.

An eight-man play-off decided the final four spots with Sweden’s Mats Dornell joined by fellow amateur Gene Elliott, Bill Breen and Pedro Linhart taking the spoils.

Six spots were available at Lundin Links, with Gary Koch – a colleague of Chamblee’s - and Jonathan Cheetham sharing first place on three under par. Angel Franco, amateur Michael McCoy and San Filippo qualified automatically on two under par.

A six-man play-off determined the final place on offer for this year’s Senior Open, and play was suspended on Monday evening due to darkness with three players still in the hunt. After play resumed at 8am on Tuesday morning, Australia’s Paul Archbold became the last man in after negotiating nine extra holes. 

The successful qualifiers will join a host of golfing greats at St Andrews including Ryder Cup Captains Sir Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Tom Watson, Ian Woosnam, and defending Senior Open champion Bernhard Langer.

Tickets starting at £15 can be purchased at st.golf/SeniorOpen18Tickets, while under-16s and parking are free.

Results

Fairmont St Andrews

Andres Rosa
David Mills
Henrik Simonsen
Mats Dornell (AM)
Gene Elliott (AM)
Bill Breen
Pedro Linhart

Ladybank

Fran Quinn
David Shacklady
Tommy Tolles
Bob Ford

Gary Wolstenholme
Mark Ridley
Ryan Howison (AM)

Lundin Links

Gary Koch
Jonathan Cheetham
Mike San Filippo

Michael McCoy (AM)
Angel Franco
Paul Archbold

Scotscraig

Brandel Chamblee
John Inman
Robert Maxfield (AM)
Vicente Fernandez
Victor Casado

Darrell Kestner
G.S. Lacy (AM)

Smoltz Tees Off In U.S. Senior Open: "It's probably the No. 1 thing that I've ever accomplished,”

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The former Cy Young Award-winning and Hall of Fame Atlanta Braves ace tees off in the U.S. Senior Open at 7:21 am MT with Jim McGovern and Bob Ford.

Now Fox's lead baseball analyst with Joe Buck, Smoltz will be playing in a USGA.org exclusive window and in Fox Sports 1's Friday broadcast time.

Either way, he's still more proud 

“It's probably the No. 1 thing that I've ever accomplished,” said Smoltz on Tuesday. “I'm proud of all my accomplishments from a team aspect, but as an individual, I haven't had anything anywhere close to this.”

He played his Wednesday practice round with Fred Couples:

Couples: "I think my time's running out."

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Golf World's John Strege talks at length with Fred Couples, who considers his made cut and T38 at the Masters a victory given the poor state of his back.

Couples gives it a go at this week's U.S. Senior Open and at the Senior Open at St. Andrews but beyond that he's not sure he'll play much more competitive golf.

The trials of bending are evident in the makeup of his golf clubs. The longest iron in his bag is a 5-iron, for now. “I no longer have a 4-iron,” he said. “I have five woods in my bag [three of them hybrids] and the next one to go out will probably be my 5-iron, because [hybrids] are just a little longer and they’re easier to hit and I don’t have to bend down.”

To test his back, “to see if I could play,” in advance of the senior event last week, Couples played in the member-guest at his home club, Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, Calif. “I played a practice round and three days, and I didn’t move very well Sunday or Monday.

“To be honest with you, the last couple years my back has been not so good."

John Daly And The USGA Not Agreeing On His Golf Cart Petition Request, Daly WD's From U.S. Senior Open

The U.S. Senior Open at The Broadmoor gets underway at Thursday and John Daly has withdrawn, citing the USGA's refusal to grant him a cart. 

Daly made the request, the USGA says it wanted more information and Daly claims that is not the case, so he WD'd.

Scott Verplank was granted a cart after applying for one. The USGA noted this in a Tweet:

Akron Blues: Losing WGC For Champions Tour Like Going From Major Leagues To Double A

Bob Dyer of the Akron Beacon-Journal reacts to news of the PGA Tour leaving Firestone for Memphis, and providing a Senior Players as the consolation, writing that it's "equivalent of going from Major League Baseball to AA."

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Dyer notes the rumors of FedEx demanding WGC status for the Memphis stop and player affinity for Firestone as reasons to be dismayed, but ultimately can't get past the loss of big names coming to Akron.

Area golf fans no longer will be able to rub shoulders with household names like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy. No more Dustin Johnson. No Rickie Fowler. No Justin Spieth.

In this week’s rankings, the top three players on the Senior Tour are Bernhard Langer, Steve Stricker and Scott McCarron — prominent former PGA Tour players, to be sure, but hardly living legends.

Dyer says it all came down to the cost of World Golf Championship sponsorship and has pretty good sources on that.

Gordon Knapp, CEO of Bridgestone Americas, said Thursday that his company would have been permitted to keep the WGC event in Akron had it anted up enough money. But clearly Bridgestone’s sponsorship budget is lower than FedEx’s.

“We looked at where the PGA was going with their … pricing, and frankly, we had to take a step back and take a look at our own portfolio of sports sponsorship packages,” he said.

He declined to disclose any numbers. 

It's not typical to see a CEO call out the price increase like that, so was Bridgestone made an offer they had to refuse, or is the WGC pricing really on the upswing for all sponsors? 

Now He's The Old Timer: Rymer Makes Champions Debut

The Big Timer Billy Ray Charlie Rymer returns to competitive golf this week at the Boca Raton Championship.

The former U.S. Junior Champion turned Georgia Tech star turned tour player turned morning television personality became eligible for the PGA Tour Champions. He's documenting his return in Rymer Reasons vlogs exclusive--EXCLUSIVE!--to GolfChannel.com.

His first trip to the course did not go quite as planned...

Poll: Should The Governing Bodies Drop The Anchoring Ban?

Bernhard Langer's recent brush with anchoring at the U.S. Senior Open prompted a pre-round visit with rules officials from the USGA. There was also overwhelming outrage on social media and coverage from Fox Sports addressing concerns of a possible rules violation. The issue summed up here by Brandel Chamblee, who coverage this week may have prompted the latest response:


At the very least, Langer is taking things right up to the edge of the anchoring ban. At the worst, he's openly resisting the rule knowing that the genteel world of golf would never actually prosecute a player of his caliber.

This all prompted an unusual Friday news dump with statements from Langer, fellow Champions Tour long putter user Scott McCarron and the USGA. Here is what was said:

The "integrity" language here from the USGA would suggest that actually enforcing the rule is now almost impossible given the introduction of intent.  With this in mind and knowing there are seniors whose golfing lives were made miserable by not being able to anchor, perhaps it's time to drop a rule that will not be enforced?

The SI/Golf.com gang contemplated massaging or changing the rule in this week's discussion that included caddie John Wood.

Given the potential rules changes for 2019, should the governing bodies consider abandoning a rule that started in 2016 after much debate?

The poll and your votes please:

As part of the rules revisions, should the governing bodies drop the anchoring ban?
 
pollcode.com free polls

Allianz Ends PGA Tour Champions Sponsorship, But Not Over Holocaust Survivor Protests

An AP story lays out the (mostly horrifying) details of German insurance giant Allianz's battle to not pay out $2.5 billion in insurance policies to Holocaust survivors. The issue with Allianz even enjoys rare bipartisan support in Florida from Senators Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R), along with U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) of Miami.

The company says protests at the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton did not impact the sponsorship issue.

''While none of us can undo the past, we must confront it,'' spokesman Christian Kroos said in an email.

''Allianz began its compensation efforts in the 1950s by working in close cooperation with the German government, to try to make certain that restitution was made to those who lost their properties during the Nazi period. Anything else would be enormously disrespectful - especially to those who suffered unspeakable violence at the hands of Nazi Germany.''

Hollis Cavner, CEO of tournament organizer Pro Links Sports, said Allianz told his firm years ago it would not renew its contract when it expired after the 2017 tournament. A new sponsor is expected to be named soon.

SI's More Magnificent-Than-Normal Player Poll

Sports Illustrated's annual anonymous players poll is always fun, but the questions were more clever than ever this year and the responses are all worth looking at as long as you can handle the motion sickness that comes with reading golf.com.

You won't be shocked to know that the male players are not Hillary fans, but the LPGA's finest also don't sound too excited. In the "If you were to be in a bar fight" question, Ernie edged Keegan. Congrats guys, you are considered the most likely to do damage when inebriated!

There are also some epic quotes--"I have a Twitter, but I have never twittered"--

The most alarming question may have been the apparent hostility many players have for paying caddies 10% after a win.

Does the caddie deserve 10% of a winner's check?

PGA TOUR

Yes 67%
No 33%

Loose Lips: "Maybe more like 8%."

The Donald seems to be embraced by the players, with Trump Doral surviving 45% to 39% in favor of keeping the Doral event. In the voting booth, Trump carried the PGA Tour votes 34% to 22% for Undecided.

The other shocking result that speaks to the vitality of the almighty dollar: players would rather win The Players than an Olympic medal.

The Players or a gold medal?

The Players 62%

Gold 38%

The Texas Open or a gold medal?

Gold Medal 76%

Texas 24%

John Daly At 50: An Appropriately Fun Retrospective

Kind of glad Herb Wind didn't have to do a New Yorker piece on this birthday.

John Daly gets a more appropriate retrospective from the SkratchTV gang. Oh, and Fuzzy owes Long John $150k according to USA Today's Josh Peter, money that will be well spent no doubt.

PS - Long John, two majors...shouldn't he be on a World Golf Hall of Fame ballot?