Wednesday, December 31, 2008

PGA Tour Suspends Daly

John Daly finally got his comeuppance from the PGA Tour which suspended him for six months for bad conduct. Daly himself announced the suspension just weeks after he spent the night in jail after being found drunk on a Winston-Salem sidewalk. The suspension is just another blemish on a career that also includes two major championships. In recent years, Daly has become a caricature of himself – hard drinking, gambling, fights with his wife, missed cuts, DQs, WDs, and on and on. Daly plans to play in Europe because his five-year exemption as a past PGA Tour champion expires this year. Daly said he wasn’t sure when the suspension started and the PGA Tour does not comment on disciplinary actions. This is not Daly’s first strike. The tour suspended him in 1993 for quitting in the middle of a round in an unofficial tournament at Kapalua and he sat out the last five months the next year after getting into a fight a spectator in Akron, Ohio.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Kent Jones.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Obama Hits the Links

President-elect Obama relaxed in Hawaii today by playing a round of golf. He looked pretty sporty in a white golf shirt, khaki shorts, a Secret Service cap and shades. My deputy managing editor was critical of the cargo shorts but I think he needed the big pockets to store extra balls because he acknowledged to reporters that “I’m not that good.” He did adopt the look of fellow southpaw Phil Mickelson by wearing his watch while playing, something Mr. Fairway never does. I also liked part of his snack at the turn – hot dogs, orange soda, Coke and Powerade. But he also purchased something called a “Spam musabi,” described as a local specialty that features the aforementioned mystery meat and a fried egg on a bed of rice and held together with a seaweed wrap. Yuck. No word what Obama shot on the par 72 Olomana Golf Links, a public course which is only 6,326 yards from the championship tees.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Ken Still.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Harrington Wins Player of the Year Honors

Padraig Harrington, who won the British Open and the PGA Championship, was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year for 2008. Earlier this week, Harrington won the same honor from the Golf Writers Association of America. Harrington beat Tiger Woods who won four of the six tournaments he entered, including the U.S. Open, before being sidelined with a knee injury. Vijay Singh, Camilo Villegas and Kenny Perry also were on the ballot for player of the year. In a vote by tour players, Andres Romero of Argentina won the rookie of the year award and Dudley Hart won comeback player of the year.Bernhard Langer was Champions Tour player of the year and Brendan de Jonge winning the Nationwide Tour award. The golf writers name Jay Haas as the Champions Tour player of the year and Lorena Ochoa as the LPGA Tour player of the year.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Jim Colbert.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tempest in a C Cup

Steve Williams, the bad boy caddie for Tiger Woods who smashes cameras of unruly photographers, gave an interview to The Guardian in which he calls out Phil Mickelson. Williams, at home in New Zealand, said he wouldn’t call Mickelson a great player because “I hate the prick." Nice. With a touch of no class, he followed that comment with a story about fan at this summer’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines where Woods and Mickelson were paired together in the first two rounds. According to Williams, as Woods and Mickelson were walking down the 17th fairway, someone in the gallery shouted, "Phil," in Mickelson's direction. Mickelson did not respond. But when the fan called out, “Hey, Mr Mickelson." Phil turned and waved. Williams said the fan yelled out, "Nice tits." Naturally, the gallery got a huge chuckle out of that. In an interview the next day with New Zealand-based Star Times, Williams also said, "I don't particularly like the guy. He pays me no respect at all and hence I don't pay him any respect. It's no secret we don't get along either." Mickelson took the high road. "After seeing Steve Williams' comments all I could think of was how lucky I am to have a class act like Bones (MacKay) on my bag and representing me." Shame on Williams for mouthing off. Tiger also issued a statement on Monday. "I was disappointed to read the comments attributed to Steve Williams about Phil Mickelson, a player that I respect," he said. "It was inappropriate. The matter has been discussed and dealt with." Hope Tiger told Stevie to shut his pie hole. It will be interesting to hear what Tiger says at his news conference on Wednesday in advance of his annual Chevron World Challenge event in California.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to J.C. Snead.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Daly Smashes Fan's Camera

Bad boy John Daly did his best Stevie Williams impression in Sydney, Australia Thursday when he smashed a spectator’s camera into a tree. Daley, en route to a 6 over par 78 in the Australian Open, was on the ninth hole – his last of the day – when he pushed a tee shot off the fairway. He stomped into a clump of trees where a spectator tried to take a picture of Daly at close range. Daly snatched the camera and smashed it against the nearest tree, telling the man, "You want it back, I'll buy you a new one." He later released a statement via tournament organizers saying the spectator put his camera within six inches of his face. “My eyes are still burning from the flash of the camera,” Daly said. “I feel it was very rude to put a camera that close to somebody's face in any situation. The guy that had the camera had already taken a dozen shots at close range." Daly took a penalty drop, finished the hole with a bogey and stormed off the course immediately after signing his card. Australian PGA officials are reviewing the incident and could impose a fine or other sanctions against Daly.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Greg Powers.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Azinger Out; Pavin To Leader Ryder Cup Team

Paul Azinger will not return as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain in 2010, opening the door for Corey Pavin to lead the Americans when they challenge the Europeans in Wales. The official announcement will be made by the PGA of America on Thursday in New York. Azinger was praised for breaking the Europeans’ stranglehold on the cup, which they won three straight times. He did it without the services of injured Tiger Woods. Although it was apparent that Azinger wanted to be asked to captain the U.S. team, the feeling here is that he had nothing to gain and everything to lose by taking on the captain’s role again. Pavin, known as the “Gritty Little Bruin” for his determined style of play, had a record of 8-5-0 in three Ryder Cups, two of which were American wins.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Bob Menne.

Q-School Hits, Misses

The PGA Tour Q-School ended Monday with the usual ups and downs that will help determine the futures of 163 professional golfers. Harrison Frazar won the event, helped by a 59. Others who will return to the big money next year include: Notah Begay, Chris Riley, Jay Williamson, John Huston, Glen Day and Mathias Gronberg.

Those not so lucky (hint: it might be time to find a new line of work) included Mark Brooks, Frank Lickliter, Neal Lancaster, Jason Day, Jason Gore, Olin Browne, Chris Smith, Tommy Gainey, Robert Damron, Willie Wood, Bubba Dickerson, Guy Boros, Brad Elder, Carlos Franco, Robert Gamez, Bob May and Kevin Stadler. They will be relegated to the Nationwide Tour.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Brian Watts.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wie Will Get Card

Barring a final round blow-up (hey, anything can happen!), Michelle Wie will get her LPGA Tour card tomorrow. She shot a 68 on Saturday for a four round total of -14, good enough for second place behind Stacy Lewis and nine shots clear of the top 20 cutoff.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Bruce Zabriski.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Q-School Time

Yes, it's time for Q-School, those stressful rounds in early December that determine whether touring golf professionals will have a job next year. The PGA Tour wannabes will play six rounds with only the top 25 earning cards. The rest of the 163 players in the field will have status of some sort on the Nationwide Tour. Last year, Frank Lickliter finished first at -29. Alas, he only won $548,113 which put him 149th on the money list and he is back at school again. One former major winner, Mark Brooks, is in this week's field.

On the LPGA Tour, entrants will play five rounds. The field will be cut to the low 70 and ties after 72 holes and the top 20 finishers will earn their cards. Michelle Wie is in the field and was T-6 after the first round at -3.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Mike Nicolette.