Wind the Winner at Kapalua


The Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course on Maui. Hawaii was forced to cancel the first round on Saturday, due to high winds.  PGA TOUR officials hope to get in 36 holes Sunday, and play 18 on Monday’s final day, declaring a champion after 54 holes.

Slugger White, the PGA Tour’s vice president of rules and operations explained;

“We got balls rolling all over the green, so we have canceled play for the day.”

It was the same story on Friday, the opening round was wiped out with the first group through eight holes. Three groups did not tee off after an official saw Carl Pettersson’s 40-foot putt on the second green get blown 30 feet past the hole and off the green.

Slugger added;

” Forecast for tomorrow is a little better, 15- to 25-mph with gusts, maybe, to 30. A little less moisture, more like pineapple showers than these downpours that we have had.”

Brandt Snedeker has not played an official shot for 2013, he is playing in the final group alongside defending champion Steve Stricker ,and they did not tee off Friday. Brandt said he was happy with the officials’ decision;

“Yeah, they did do the right thing, it’s just a little too windy out there for us to play.  If the course wasn’t so exposed, it wouldn’t be a problem, but you have a lot of greens exposed to 40-mile-an-hour wind gusts. It’s tough to make that call, they did the right thing. We had to try to play today if we wanted to try to get 72 holes in. Unfortunately a short day, but hopefully get out tomorrow and get some golf.”

Hunter Mahan reported that the 30 players were trying to take the delays in stride;

“It’s difficult, we are in such a cool place and we can’t really do much. It’s strange when you go down the road 10 minutes or 15, 20 minutes and it’s great, it looks beautiful over there but for some reason right here, it’s tough. It’s difficult to figure out if you want to go hit balls right now or wait till later or what you want to do. I think we all are trying to figure out what to do and what’s the best plan for us to get ready for the next two days or three days.”

I can sympathize with those guys, I understand what it is like with those winds. Here at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Course, in New Zealand, the winds have been blowing pretty constantly for a couple of months, playing to your handicap recently has been a rarity.

See you Sunday

Kapalua / Getty Images

Wyndham Championship 1st round, Pettersson in Lead.


Carl Pettersson

Carl Pettersson/ getty images

In the opening round of the Wyndham Championship from Sedgefield Country Club, Carl Pettersson leads by one shot at -8 under par with his opening effort of 62, his best round ever in his PGA career. If you were wondering if Carl had the benefit of any members bounces during the day you would be right, he a fully paid up member of the Sedgefield club. When reminded of this fact Carl said;

” That’s right, I am a member, I forgot. This game is very streaky, we get on a good run, you’ve got to keep going and it seems like when you’re playing well, you never think you’re going to play bad. When you’re playing bad, you never think you’re going to play well.”

Carl was the 2008 Wyndham Championship winner, and he picked up right from where he left off at last week’s PGA Championship, in superb style.  Not only is he a past champion of the event, but as a youth, he grew up and attended high school at Grimsley in Greensboro. Carl also active on the Board of Directors at Sedgefield Country Club.

David Mathis and Tim Clark are one stroke behind at -7 under par, with both players being bogey free on their opening rounds.          Tim said he was trying to keep pace with Carl;

“I’ve got to keep pace with Carl, when he goes low, he really goes low. If I’m able to hang in there, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

David  has had just one top-10 finish this year, and arrived at this tournament down at 136 on the FedEx Cup points list, and in the top 125 qualify for The Barclays.

David had three straight birdies on Nos. 13-15 to move to -7 under par before closing his round with three pars. he said he was not trying to think about his lowly position;

“I tried not to think about it, but it’s really difficult not to think about because it’s such a big part of the year. Your life can change really quick in the FedEx Cup if you play well.”

It will be interesting tomorrow to see if these three guys can remain at the top of the leaderboard, there is still a long way to go in this tournament.



Do the Rules of Golf need an update ?

Carl Pettersson

Carl Pettersson/getty images

During the PGA Championship Carl Pettersson incurred a two shot penalty when his club brushed aside a loose impediment, a leaf, while he was trying to extricate himself from a hazard. Carl had an official with him at the time, and asked the man if it was OK if his club brushed against the grass during the backswing. The official said yes, it was OK to brush the grass on the back-swing of the stroke, and he was correct in what he said, he just never mentioned the possibility of moving the leaves, and it would have been inappropriate of him to advise Carl. That is another rule concerning giving advice. Obviously Carl was not a happy camper;

 “I double checked with the official to make sure I could brush the grass as long as I didn’t put any weight on the ground with the clubhead, and he said sure, I wish he would have mentioned the leaves, too. I was just trying to hit the ball. I didn’t even think twice about it.”

Not being able to remove loose impediments in a hazard is a good rule, remember Tiger Woods at the PGA Tour event held at TPC Scottsdale, Stadium Course. Tiger was playing the par-five 13th hole, his tee shot to the left of the fairway, well in-bounds but in the desert. His ball came to rest near a boulder that would interfere with his swing toward the green. The boulder was deemed to be a loose impediment so Tiger had a group of adoring fans ” roll the stone away” so that he had a clear shot to the green. Tiger went on to birdie the hole, but if the ball had been in an area that was a classed as a hazard he would not have been allowed to move the boulder. The point is, Carl was in a hazard and if he was faced with a boulder, or dead tree trunk or any loose impediment he would not have been allowed to move it. Neither should he be allowed, he should not have been in the hazard in the first place, that’s the penalty.

I do not agree that players are allowed to consult the officials about what is right or wrong, the player and his caddie should know all the rules. The officials should just be there to referee the match and make calls about the rules, not explain the rules chapter and verse to someone who should know them.

Talking about stupid rules, what about the temporary rule the PGA made about there being no bunkers on the course. Pete Dye designed the course with lots of well positioned bunkers in play, what a bad decision it was to nullify the effect of these hazards.

I have never before seen anybody raking a sandy area, it does not happen out on the course, so why should they rake green side sandy area’s. Does that not incur another penalty for improving the lie ? just another rule in the book.

PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, Rory McIlroy Wins.


Mac attack! Rory McIlroy bounced back to form with USPGA victory

Rory McIlroy/

Rory McIlroy won the PGA Championship title at Kiawah Island on Sunday, after completing his third round, and then teeing off again in the final round. Rory won by this title by a massive eight shots over second placed David Lynn. Rory’s total was -13 under par, with David in second spot at -5 under par.

Rory said the achievement had not yet sunk in;

 “I don’t think I have let it sink in yet, it was a great round of golf. I just wanted to play solid, as I did all the way through the week. I got off to a shaky start but settled into it and my putting was phenomenal. It has been an incredible week, I had a good feeling about it at the start but I never imagined I would do this. It means an awful lot to look at the names on the trophy and to put my name beside them is something special. To sit up here and see this trophy and call myself a multiple major champion. I know I’ve talked about it in the past, and not many people have done it. I just want to keep working hard, keep practising, and hopefully there’s a few more of these in my closet when my career finishes.”

David Lynn was alone in second place, his last round of -4 under par giving him a tournament total of -5 under par.

David Lynn

David Lynn/

David explained why he has not played in America before;

” I’ve never been exempt to play anything in America, so that’s the reason why I’ve never been over here. To come and perform the way I have this week in a major is very special and a great achievement. It has not sunk in properly yet to be honest.”

David skipped last month’s Austrian Open to protect his top 100 world ranking, and earn a first spot in the PGA Championship.This was just his second major after featuring in the 2003 British Open, where he finished tied for 53rd.

“I got the phone call the Tuesday of the week before the tournament and flew out on Sunday. Turning up at the course for the first time, there was more excitement than nerves. I’m about to play my first event in America and I’m going to see a lot of faces that I’ve seen on television, so that was good. Watching the 1991 Ryder Cup here, it was always a place that intrigued me. I mean, visually from the air, it looks amazing and it’s not disappointing when you turn up here. I have to say, with the wind, it probably is a little bit European. I noticed that I think there was eight players in the top 10 going into today’s round were European. The only thing I’ve struggled with this week is the humidity. I’ve been wearing a rain glove because my hands get quite sweaty. It has been quite hot and humid, but it’s lived up to its expectations for me. I’ve loved the golf course, and the crowds has been fantastic, everything has been great.”

There were four players tied in third place; Keegan Bradley, Justin Rose, Carl Pettersson and Ian Poulter. Ian had it at -8 under par at one point during the final round, and at the time was only one shot behind Rory, but he let it slip away. Ian said of his great start to the day;

“I guess it was a dream start, birdieing the first five holes. I put myself in position, which was great. I couldn’t ask for a better nine holes and then obviously birdieing 11 and 12 was also pretty good, too. So I put myself in position and I guess I run out of a little bit of steam coming around the turn on 13, 14, 15. I come unstuck right there. Just disappointing to bogey the last, really. I didn’t press at all. I still felt that I had to get through that stretch of holes. There was no case of pressing in any way, shape or form. I just thought I needed not to make any mistakes and unfortunately I made three on the spin which was a real shame. Rory has obviously played some immense golf out there today and when he plays golf like he’s playing this week, and especially the last couple of days, he’s very impressive to watch. You know, everybody should take note; the guy’s pretty good.”

For your information, Tiger Woods finished at -2 under par for the tournament, eleven shots off the pace, it makes you wonder if he really has another Major in him.

The R&A confirm “Anchoring” is under review.


R&A                                                          USGA




The R&A’s Chief Executive Peter Dawson confirmed today that the legality of players “anchoring” their putting stroke is under active review by golf’s governing bodies. There  has been a recent upsurge in use of anchored putting strokes on Tour,  not just among older players, Carl Pettersson recently won the U.S. PGA Tour event the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head. In interview after his win, when asked about the long putter, Carl said;

” I’ll be back to the short one next year when they ban it.”

I wonder if he had already been informed on the impending rule change back then on April 15th 2012. Any action that the governing bodies may take would most probably be to amend the Rules on method of stroke rather than limiting putter length.

Peter Dawson speaking at  a press conference at Royal Lytham & St Annes, venue for this year’s Open Championship, said:

“The use of long and belly putters, and in particular any anchoring of the club against any part of the player’s body, has been under review by The R&A and USGA for some time. The recent upsurge in use of anchored putting strokes on Tour has brought the subject into renewed focus. We appreciate that this is a complex and emotive issue that divides opinion. Any decision will be made with the best interests of the game in mind and introduced only after a lengthy period of notice.”

No specific length of time was mentioned  for a decision to be made, with the final ruling resting with the Rules committees of The R&A and USGA.


Cleveland/Srixon’s sales down, CEO Greg Hopkins Worried


Cleveland/Srixon’s CEO Greg Hopkins has spoken about the downturn on sales, especially in the mid-priced equipment range. That refers to the equipment primarily used by a key demographic for the sport’s future, the golfer who’s raised his interest level toward becoming a frequent player.

Greg Hopkins thinks the game’s playing popularity suffers because of what he sees as misplaced fears that further advancements in equipment will allow professional players to unfairly rewrite the record books. Greg argues that such design limits on equipment advances keep the already challenging sport too difficult for many new players to the game.

Greg speculates golfers are simply holding on to equipment longer to stretch their golfing budgets;

“The game is at a crossroads. This isn’t a cheap hobby, both the cost of equipment plus the daily greens fee a player may incur. That was a bad formula for the prolonged economic downturn. And when families are struggling to meet bills, It’s hard for a player to tell the spouse they need to buy a brand-new $300 driver. We need to get a consensus of what’s the best way to grow the number of golfers.”

A rather strange phenomenon around all the recent advances in technology is that the average handicap of the amateur player has not gone down. Most players still struggle to break a hundred, even when using all the latest equipment. Does this mean the new equipment is not that helpful to beginners, or is it that golf courses have just lengthened their lay-out, or put in extra hazards, like more bunkers to combat the extra distance the player can get from this new equipment.  According to the United States Golf Association in Far Hills. The average handicap for U.S. men, 14.7 in 2007, was 14.5 last year. Women have improved more (27.6 in 2007 to 26.8 in 2011)

Another decision looming on the horizon from The R&A and The USGA is the banning of the long putters. Carl Pettersson said yesterday, after his win at RBC Heritage, about his broomstick putter;

“I will be back to the short one next year when they ban it.”

Carl has been using his broomstick for 14 years, I can not see that banning it now is in the best interests of the game.

Carl Pettersson Wins RBC Heritage @ Harbour Town Golf Links · Hilton Head, South Carolina

Carl Pettersson won the RBC Heritage, at Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, South Carolina. Carl had a last round of -2 under par 69, for a tournament total of -14 under par.

Carl Pettersson, Of Sweden, WavesThe Associated Press

Carl enjoyed his last round, saying how good it felt;

 “It was great. I knew I was playing well. I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I was kind of downplaying the whole thing. But getting off to a birdie on 1 was great. The whole front nine I played really good. I felt like I was being greedy; I could have been a couple more under. It was a tough day. The greens were really quick. I played good all day. I missed a few tee shots on the back nine, but scrambled well and bogeyed the 15th, which I managed to do the last three days. But it was good. It was solid, the swing felt good. I felt calm. It was a great feeling today.  I put in a new putter, I’ve used it on and off before, it’s a Nike Method long putter, and I used it in Houston, finished second there. I putted well all week. So it puts a nice roll on it. But I’ve used a long putter for 14 years. I’ll be back to the short one next year when they ban it.”

I was not aware that the R&A and The U.S.G.A. were going to ban long putters in the near future, have the authorities written to all the long putter users warning them of a pending change to the rules. Please let me know if you know something, I would be very interested in learning the details.

Zach Johnson was alone in second place, with a final round of -1 under par 70, for a tournament total of -9 under par.

 Zach Johnson HitsGetty Images

Zach spoke about his round today and the positives to take from it;

“There was a lot of positives. There were a couple of bumps along the road, but a lot of positives. Certainly some things that I can learn from and grow from. And I think overall I’m going to use this and hopefully build some confidence with it, and take it the rest of the year.  I didn’t putt that bad. I actually made some putts on the back nine that I think were pretty crucial. I’m certainly not going to put anything on my putter. My putter was awesome. I didn’t hit it great specifically on the back nine. A couple of wayward tee shots on the left, I’m not sure where they came from, but I’ll figure it out. All in all it was a good week. . I think Friday was probably the most benign day as far as the wind goes. This course doesn’t need wind to be hard. But when you incorporate some wind and these trees, you never know what’s going to happen. It’s very difficult. She’s a great test. And I love coming back.”

Luke Donald was resigned to surrendering No. 1 when he teed it up this morning, he simply said;

“Now, my focus is winning tournaments.”

I, for one hope that he does.