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Mackenzie Hughes questions updates to Rules of Golf: “Most of them missed the mark”

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Earlier this year, the R&A and the USGA decided to modernize the rules of golf for 2019, in a move that was considered long overdue by most golf fans.

However, not everyone is happy with the changes, and on Thursday, PGA Tour professional Mackenzie Hughes took to social media to question some of the new rules.

Hughes when discussing the rules for 2019 on his Twitter page, stated how he felt that most of the rule changes had “missed the mark”, and his examples for the rule changes that he was most displeased over included the new procedure for dropping a ball, as well as the new damaged club rule.

The Canadian’s post provoked a discussion which allowed Hughes to elaborate on why he isn’t too enamored with one certain rule change.

While his countryman, Graeme DeLaet, used the platform to lambast the authorities, calling it “absurd” not to implement an updated anchoring ban, with many players still using their forearm to anchor the club.

Hughes and DeLaet aren’t the only PGA Tour professionals who have questioned the updated rules for 2019 either. At the PNC Father/Son Challenge, Jim Furyk although bullish that the R&A and USGA had made changes that will improve pace of play, cast his doubts on the new rule that will allow players to repair spike marks before putting.

“If I had to be skeptical of one rule, it would be tapping down spike marks. I think pace of play. I think moving the time you look for your ball (before it is declared lost) from 5 minutes to 3 minutes is going to insignificantly improve pace of play. But the tapping down of spike marks could tend to drag things out a bit.”

GolfWRXers, do you feel that the R&A and USGA missed the mark with some of their rule changes, or are these PGA Tour pros being a little too pedantic?

Let us know what you think!

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Gianni is a freelance writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Diploma in Sports Journalism. He can be contacted at gmagliocco@outlook.com. Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Kumat63

    Dec 26, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Agree with Graham 100% on the anchoring thing. Either ban all anchoring, entirely (and require the club you putt with to be the shortest one in the bag–to avoid the Adam Scott/Langer blatant cheating) or, get rid of the ban itself. Personally I don’t care either way, but the current rule is ridiculous.

  2. C. Winn

    Dec 24, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Really like the change (practice) that allows play (stroke) after first round (day) of 2 day competition. Well done.

  3. Nigel

    Dec 24, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    To answer Hughes’ question; what we accomplished by moving the drop from shoulder height to knee height is a penalty for not dropping the ball from high enough. They got rid of the ridiculousness of penalties for things that didn’t matter – like dropping the ball from below shoulder height which most people we guilty of.

  4. Peter

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:41 am

    searching for a lost ball is not what hinders the pace of play on the pga tour. These guys are good, and it’s pretty rare that they can’t find their balls quickly with the help of marshalls and spotters. walking up to your ball and then taking 5 minutes to make a decision and swing the club however, is a big problem on tour, and thats something that needed to be addressed.

  5. Dan

    Dec 23, 2018 at 1:09 am

    Since when did it become so important to speed up pace of play? Pros get there a couple hours beforehand to putt, stretch, hit balls, some workout a bit, see a masseuse sometimes, do an interview or press conference questions afterwards. We should just add the time to the score and bastardize the whole thing. All these rules are to try to simplify a game to stuffy and complicated for the youth to get into. I don’t go play and brag to friends on how fast the round went. The round is my day. If you want to play fast get a golf video game on the x box and play in 30 min in your boxers. The round takes the time it takes 4 hours instead of 4 1/2, who gives a shit. I’m sure advertisers love a sped up game so we can watch Big Brother or any other of the useless crap on TV. Sports are the closest thing to unscripted drama, why speed it up, don’t slow it down but geez, what’s the hurry? Gotta look at my phone more it’s been 4 hours, I’m getting the shakes.
    Venty Venterson

  6. smz

    Dec 22, 2018 at 12:51 am

    Only 5% of all golfers worldwide play by the Rules… and the remaining 95% just hack and hope they can break 100 honestly…. while carrying a veritable WITB arsenal of weapons/toys.

  7. James

    Dec 21, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    Can’t wait to play behind a group doing the flag in, flag out dance. I’m assuming they’ve heard curse words before…

  8. James

    Dec 21, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Who is McKenzie Hughes? I like any rule that shortens the time to look for a lost golf ball. Gives me more time and the right to yell at slow groups in front of me.

  9. shawn

    Dec 21, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    The USGA is just a shill for the OEMs… and they proved it when they fired Frank Thomas and replaced him with a TM VP to head up club design oversight.
    Frank was.. frank.. and honest about the attempts by OEMs to scam recreational golfers with annual club design changes and to juice up the equipment to the detriment of the game of golf. Tour players are only advertisements for the equipment industry.

    • A. Commoner

      Dec 22, 2018 at 10:42 am

      Really like your post. Frank Thomas may have been under appreciated or even unknown by some but he was (continues to be) a huge asset to the game. ‘More expertise in his little finger……..’

  10. darrell

    Dec 21, 2018 at 11:12 am

    They still haven’t addressed my main issue. When is a swing………a swing? At what point does it count as a stroke? Why is it up to the player to decide whether or not he was actually attempting to hit the ball?

    Allow players to place the ball instead of dropping. There are so many rules issues that come into play by dropping, players don’t know how to proceed.

    Bottom line…….don’t forget……the rules are made by a bunch of amateurs.

    • James

      Dec 21, 2018 at 9:20 pm

      If you’re over 70 you should be allowed to anchor!

      • Scheiss

        Dec 21, 2018 at 11:42 pm

        No. If you have to anchor you should have to be forced to quit golf in shame in front of everybody you know as you make that announcement in front of them

        • Jack Nash

          Dec 24, 2018 at 12:09 pm

          LOL!!! And your playing partners can split your clubs between them.

      • smz

        Dec 22, 2018 at 12:47 am

        If you’re over 70 and you need to anchor, you should quit and take up shuffleboard. Nothing worse than an old far† struggling to walk, swing, putt and constantly searching for his ball…. and buying new clubs annually in the desperate hope of not making a mess of his game.

    • James

      Dec 21, 2018 at 9:22 pm

      A swing is a swing when you intend to hit the ball. Own up to it.

  11. A. Commoner

    Dec 21, 2018 at 10:24 am

    Could this writer begin putting more substance into his articles? Sham credentials? About the topic, Hughes and DeLaet are right about these puffed ego birds missing opportunities to make timely decisions to strengthen both the game and the appeal of the game. (Yes, some extrapolation there.) This group of new rules or revisions is both comedic and tragic. As an aside, we can handle a slow poke in our group, even on the course. Slow play on the tours does not matter to us at all. Not our problem; let the pros take care of it if they want. It’s their business.

  12. kevin

    Dec 21, 2018 at 9:37 am

    imagine on average a player taking an additional 20 seconds to look the line of their putt over and tap down spike marks…and i think this tapping motion will become habit whether there is a spike mark or not, similar to the wipe of the putterface before addressing the putt. 20 seconds per putt per player. a group of 4 amateurs averaging 34 putts a round minus 4 gimmies, this adds 40 minutes to a round.

    whether the math is spot on or not….this rule will add to length of a round and offset any good other rules may have

    • josh

      Dec 21, 2018 at 10:12 am

      The average player is doing this already in recreational rounds. It wont change the length of your weekend round at all. Are you telling me that the people in your group on a sunday afternoon round aren’t tapping spike marks in their line?

    • smz

      Dec 22, 2018 at 1:01 am

      We have a club player who takes a minute or two to read and prepare for his putt. I got so annoyed I stomped all over his line of putt and the others applauded me… he froze. He is absent from club play now.

    • smz

      Dec 22, 2018 at 1:03 am

      We have a club player who takes a minute or two to read and prepare for his putt. I got so annoyed I stepped all over his line of putt and the others applauded me… he froze. He is absent from club play now.

  13. David

    Dec 21, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Dropping knee height decreases the chance will bounce or roll outside of the club length. “Placing” allows people to tee it up and will take longer. It’s a legit compromise and will make the action of “dropping” less formal and quicker.

    The spike marks should be able to be tapped down. They also should allowed relief from divots in the fairway. No reason yo should be penalized b/c of the person in front of you. There should also be a penalty for unraked bunkers. Sucks to penalize for bad etiquette, but that’s todays golfer.

    I 100% agree with Graham.. anchoring of any kind should be banned. Clubs should hang from the hands down.

    • kevin

      Dec 21, 2018 at 9:39 am

      the issue with a divot in a fairway is what defines a divot. there is a big difference between a 4 hour old divot, a one day old divot, a 3 day old divot….etc.

      at what point does every questionable lie in fairway need a ruling as to whether the spot is an old divot or not.

      • Dv

        Dec 21, 2018 at 9:57 am

        We should get relief from all divots regardless of being 1 or 3 days old. A fairway shot should not be penalized for hitting the fairway. Plus it give the fairway time to heal.

    • Willem

      Dec 21, 2018 at 9:47 am

      The R&A has put out a document to explain, amongst other things, why they did not implement rules regarding unraked bunkers and divots.
      This what it says:
      This from the R&A:
      Preserving the Fundamental Challenge of the Game

      Play the ball as it lies –

      In its simplest form, golf is about playing the ball from tee to green by hitting it with a golf club, and not otherwise touching the ball. A fundamental challenge of the sport is to deal with whatever position your ball comes to rest in – whether good or bad. While there are some necessary exceptions (such as obstructions and other abnormal course conditions), the essential nature of golf means these must remain exceptions rather than the norm. Therefore, the new Rules do not provide relief without penalty from situations that some golfers complain about, such as when their ball comes to rest in a divot hole on a fairway or in footprints in a poorly raked bunker. In addition to being contrary to the fundamental principle of playing the ball as it lies, providing free relief in such circumstances would make the Rules harder to apply (for example, what is the difference between an irregularity of surface and an old divot hole?) and could slow down play when there are difficult questions about what is or isn’t a divot hole.

      As a club golfer who sees the effect on revenue with fewer and fewer members, I am extremely ambivalent about the anchoring ban. We have lost some of our older players who have stopped playing because their putting was destroying the enjoyment of the game. I’m all for something which will keep amateurs playing for longer. The pro’s should have their own rules. They play a vastly different game from us in any case.

      • James

        Dec 21, 2018 at 9:19 pm

        If you’re over 70 you should be allowed to anchor!

        • smz

          Dec 22, 2018 at 12:46 am

          If you’re over 70 and you need to anchor, you should quit and take up shuffleboard. Nothing worse than an old geezer struggling to walk, swing, putt and constantly searching for his ball…. and buying new clubs annually in the desperate hope of not making a mess of his game.

    • Benny

      Dec 21, 2018 at 10:42 am

      Well said David!

    • jc

      Dec 24, 2018 at 11:51 am

      but with the new shoes, there are very few spike marks…now you have the waffle pattern or little depressions where the large round soft spikes are left..

  14. DB

    Dec 21, 2018 at 8:47 am

    Don’t care about drop height – whatever. It’s fine.

    The main issue is the failure to update the anchoring ban. Either find a way to ban long anchored putters or don’t. Right now we’re stuck in a middle ground where guys have found a way around the current rule.

  15. Brandon

    Dec 21, 2018 at 8:42 am

    The flag stick thing is what will hurt pace of play the most. If 2 people in a 4some want it in and 2 want it out and they are all bad putters then that’s going to be an awful lot of trips to the hole location to remove and replace the flag. Not to mention the extra spike marks near the cup from the increased foot traffic. At the amateur level this is going to really slow things down.

  16. Mike

    Dec 21, 2018 at 8:25 am

    I’ll start tapping down spike marks once my putting improves to the point where they start costing me strokes.

    So never.

  17. vince guest

    Dec 21, 2018 at 8:21 am

    Got to agree about knee height, makes no difference at all. Plus, do you get penalised if you forget and drop it from shoulder height? And if not then just carry on as before.

    • Willem

      Dec 21, 2018 at 10:16 am

      You won’t get penalized if you drop from shoulder height, but it would constitute a drop using an incorrect method and you would be penalized one shot if you played the ball without redropping with the correct method (ie. from knee-height).

    • Benny

      Dec 21, 2018 at 10:48 am

      Hi Vince
      No penalty. Just pick it up and drop from knee height. Couple videos on Youtube that go over the new rules and thats one of the questions. No biggie.
      If you drop from shoulder and play it, no penalty either. You simply play on and lost the chance of a knee height drop.

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Morning 9: Nothing runs like a Frittelli | Royal Portrush takes center stage

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

July 15, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1 Scottish Open: Wiesberger nabs second W of 2019
(Image above via Wiesberger on Instagram) EuropeanTour.com report…”Bernd Wiesberger…beat Benjamin Hebert in a twilight play-off at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.”
  • “The Austrian entered the final day at The Renaissance Club with a two shot lead but found himself trailing after Hebert carded a stunning closing 62 to set the target at 22 under.”
  • “Wiesberger had edged back ahead with two to play but bogeyed the 17th in a 69 before a par on the third play-off hole handed him a sixth European Tour title.”
2. Nothing runs like a Frittelli 
AP report…”While the rest of the leaders faltered, Dylan Frittelli surged to his first PGA Tour title.”
  • “Frittelli won the John Deere Classic on Sunday, closing with a 7-under 64 for a two-stroke victory over Russell Henley. The South African earned a spot next week in the British Open, finishing at 21-under 263 after the bogey-free final round at TPC Deere Run.”
  • “One of eight players within two strokes of the lead entering the lead, Frittelli was looking forward to the tournament’s charter flight to Royal Portrush.”
  • “I’m sure it’s going to be a fun flight,” Frittelli said.

Indeed. Full piece.

3. Goose is loose at Senior Players 
AP report on Goosen’s win at one of the low-key best venues for watching professional golf…”Retief Goosen birdied the final two holes to win the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship on Sunday at Firestone Country Club for his first PGA Tour Champions title.”
  • “The 50-year-old Hall of Famer from South Africa broke a tie for the lead with a 15-foot putt on the par-4 17th and made a 10-footer on the par-4 18th for a 2-under 68 and a two-stroke victory over 65-year-old Jay Haas and Tim Petrovic.”
4. Kim outduels Thompson 
AP report…”I’m very happy to win, especially this tournament, because Marathon has a lot of history,” Kim said.
  • “With five birdies in the middle of her round, Kim pulled away from Lexi Thompson in their head-to-head duel at Highland Meadows Golf Club outside Toledo, Ohio.”
  • “She played some amazing golf,” Thompson said. “There was a stretch there, mid-round, where she stuck every shot.
  • “Had under 5 feet [for birdie] about four times in a row. So, it was a very well-deserved win by her.”
5. If only Tony Romo played playoff football as well as he does the American Century Championship…
(Kidding, Cowboys fans)
Golf Channel’s Adam Woodard…”Tony Romo is the man to beat in Lake Tahoe.”
  • “The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst has staked his claim as best celebrity golfer by defending his title at the 2019 American Century Championship, winning with a score of 71 points. Former MLB All-Star Mark Mulder (61) finished second, followed by tennis Olympic medalist Mardy Fish and another former MLB All-Star Derek Lowe (57). Actor Jack Wagner rounds out the top five with 55 points.”
6. *Points to Collin Morikawa* You get a tour card!
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”A week after Matthew Wolff earned his PGA Tour card by winning the 3M Open, Collin Morikawa locked up membership for next season.”
“The 22-year-old Cal product, in just his fifth pro start, tied for fourth Sunday at the John Deere Classic to collect 122.5 non-member FedExCup points and run his season total to 456.5. With just three weeks left in the regular season, that number, which currently would slot Morikawa at 88th, will assuredly be more than No. 125 in the final standings, meaning Morikawa can count on earning his card for the 2019-20 season.”
7. Portrush to center stage
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Much has changed since The Open last visited the coastal links of Royal Portrush. It’s been 68 years, in fact, since Max Faulkner scooped 300 pounds for winning the tournament despite never breaking 70. But that remains the only time the oldest major in golf was held somewhere other than England or Scotland.”
  • “That is, until this week. Long viewed as one of the best courses in the world, Royal Portrush now has a chance to shine in front of a global audience like never before.”
  • “And chances are, she’s going to put on quite a show.”
8. In a similar vein… 
James Corrigan at The Telegraph files his look ahead…
  • “Yet things change, as do politics, finance, perception and even dusty old men in blazers, and here we are in Open week. Everywhere you walked in Portrush on Saturday, with a big wheel spinning and looking down on families eating ice creams, and the brave dipping their toes in the grey ocean, it was clear that this was not a normal weekend. For, as the doors swing open, Tiger Woods is turning up on the Sunday morning and, no, that is not an everyday occurrence.”
  • “Perhaps Graeme McDowell summed it up best in a spectacular blog post on the European Tour website. “It’s been amazing to see the Open Championship evolve in the sleepy little town where I was born,” he said. “For anyone who has never been there, Portrush is on the very northern tip of the island of Ireland and is a very raw, beautiful, rugged landscape which feels very remote. To see an Open being staged there is mind-blowing for many of the local people.”
9. Fun yields win for Frittelli  
Good bit from Cameron Morfit going a level beyond the game story for PGATour.com…”It was mentality clarity,” Frittelli said, when asked to explain the difference at the Deere.
  • “With his attention divided and his career flagging, the 29-year-old with the prescription glasses found himself feeling stressed as this season wore on. His European Tour membership was running out, and he found himself in danger of losing his PGA TOUR card, too. That would mean going back to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, where nothing is guaranteed except for the fact that it would preclude his playing in some big overseas events.”
  • “The clock was ticking, and Frittelli had to find a way to tune it out. Enter sports psychologist Jay Brunza, who helped Frittelli finally accept that he couldn’t affect outcomes, at least not positively, by obsessing over them. When he three-putted the 14th hole after driving the green Sunday, he not only forced himself to slow down and not overreact, he smiled.”
  • “I think I was the only one on the course who smiled after a three-putt,” he said.
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Tour Rundown runs toward Open with Frittelli, Kim, Goosen victories

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Something quite brilliant was in the air this week on the world’s golf tours. A new course debuted in Scotland, South Africa stood tall with two champions, and the world anticipated a return to a legendary, northern course that has not seen an Open Championship since 1951. The American tours are drawing to a close, and plans for 2019-2020 are firming up. Five events caught our attention this week, from Gullane to Toledo, from Iowa to Colorado. Plug in your charger and settle in for a nice read of this week’s Tour Rundown.

Scottish Open chalice rests in Wiesberger’s hands

Interesting stories envelope the Austrian golfer, Bernd Wiesberger. After a many-month layoff to rehab a wrist injury this season, 2 victories have come his way, including last week’s Scottish Open. The first 3 playoffs of his European Tour career all ended in defeat. In 2011, 2014 and 2015, he lost in extra holes at the Johnnie Walker, the Lyoness, and the Irish Open. Since then, he’s 2-0 in extra time. During the days leading into the 2016 and 2018 Ryder Cups, the 6-time Euro champ always seemed on the edge of breaking through to the European squad, but tailed off in the stretch run. On Sunday, under great pressure, he broke through for his finest triumph to date.

Soft ground and zero wind made The Renaissance Club an easy target during its championship debut. Wiesberger took advantage in round two, posting a course-record 61 to seize the lead. He held the top spot after 54 holes, placing all pressure squarely on his shoulders as round 4 began. It didn’t help that England’s Andrew Johnston had signed for a 62 before the Austrian pegged his opening tee shot. It also didn’t help that Benjamin Hebert of France was in the midst of his own 62, climbing the leaderboard. Ultimately, the duo of Wiesberger and Hebert would trade counters through the closing holes. After the Austrian holed a gutty, 7-feet effort at the last for a spot in the playoff, Hebert’s sound game betrayed him. He bogeyed the 2nd playoff hole, when par would have won, then 3-putted the 3rd go-round to finish 2nd.

As consolation, Hebert, Johnston and Italy’s Nino Bertasio earned the final 3 spots in this week’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

@ScottishOpen     @EuropeanTour     @Renaissancegc     @BWiesberger

John Deere Classic is Frittelli’s 1st PGA Tour victory

The 3rd weekend of July redefined the careers of its tournament winners. Dylan Frtitelli has long been a quality golfer, since before his days at the University of Texas. Frittelli found himself uncertain of his status for the 2019-2020 campaign. His major-tour memberships were at risk, and a return to the triple-A tours was not his number-one comfort blanket. Everything changed on Sunday, in the middle of the American continent, when Frittelli surged past 3rd-round leader Andrew Landry with 64. As Landry fell to 3rd spot, Frittelli reached 21-under par. His work wasn’t finished, however. After a 4-under opening nine in round 4, the kind that gets you into the top 10, Russell Henley continued to make birdies. He made 6 more coming home, including a marvelous one at the final hole. Henley reached 19-under, claiming 2nd spot for himself. Frittelli didn’t falter. He made 4 at the par-5 17th, one of the few holes Henley failed to birdie in his march to the green. Ultimately, the win was vindication, security, and an unexpected trip to Royal Portrush for this week’s Open Championship. Breathe easy, Dylan.

@JDCLASSIC     @PGATOUR     @TPCDeereRun     @Dylan_Frittelli

Sei Young Kim takes 2nd win of LPGA season at Marathon Classic

Sei Young Kim offered an LPGA marketing tutorial on how to pronounce her name (So Young!) a season or two ago. On Sunday, the 26-year old Korean golfer earned her 9th LPGA title by 2 strokes, over Lexi Thompson of the USA. Kim made 7 birdies over her first 15 holes, establishing a healthy lead as the tournament headed for home. Bogey at the 16th reduced her margin of victory to 2, but also served to secure trivia on the week: Kim’s scorecard’s were 64, 65, 66 and 67. A hand that would do some damage at the card table, also worked well at the Toledo LPGA stop. Thompson nor anyone else ever threatened the front-runner on day four. Thompson had too many bogies (2) and not enough birdies (also 2) on the outward nine, to mount an early challenge. 3 more birdies plus 1 additional bogey through the 16th, brought her even with Stacy Lewis for 2nd spot. Thompson closed fiercely, with birdie at 17 and eagle at the last. Her torrid finish made the final score appear closer than actuality. In truth, it was the Sei Young show all day long, a fitting tribute to a stellar performance.

@MarathonLPGA     @LPGA     @HMGCgrounds     @SY_KIM_lpga

Colorado Championship earns Ledesma a ticket to the show in 2019-2020

Argentina’s Nelson Ledesma had won on this level before. He triumphed at the LECOM in 2019, but that victory was not enough to propel him to the PGA Tour. In a campaign highlighted by higher, more consistent finishes, Ledesma’s victory on Sunday was enough to earn him a card on the golf world’s grandest dance stage. The walk home wasn’t easy on Sunday. Ledesma dueled with fellow southern-hemisphere golfer Brett Coletta the entire round. Ledesma went -1 on each of his 9s, but they could have differed more. On the outward half, the Platense was all over the place: 4 birdies, 1 bogey, 1 double. On the inward half, all pars until the last. Coletta might look back on Sunday and wonder, what went wrong on the par 5 holes. He doubled the first, bogeyed the 5th, and failed to birdie the 13th and 15th. A late birdie at 17 tied him with Ledesma, setting the stage for the 20-feet birdie putt that would settle the matter and send the champion to new heights.

@TPCColorado     @KornFerryTour     @TPCColoradoChampionship     @nelsonledesmaok

Senior Players Championship is Goosen’s 1st on senior circuit

There was a time, in the early 2000s, when a lead in Goosen’s hands was nearly as secure as a Tiger one. Then came the US Open of 2005, when his final-round lead simply went far, far away. Since those days, family, injuries and new challengers brought him back to the pack. Goosen won 4 more events on the European tour, never again on the US side of the water, until Sunday. Having followed Friday’s 62 with a Saturday 75, the South African found himself in 2nd spot, behind the 2019 story of the year, Scott Parel. This time, it was Goosen who hung on and the leader, that faltered.

Parel came out of the gate limping. He was plus-two through 14 holes in round four. Needing to make something happen to put pressure on his playing partner, Parel birdied the 14th and 17th holes. Unfortunately for him, sandwiched in between were another bogey and a double. He fell to a tie for 4th spot, 4 behind Goosen. In other groupings, Tim Petrovic and Jay Haas were making noise. Each closed to within 2 of Goosen, but neither had the firepower to gain any more ground. The pair tied for 2nd at 4-under par. As for Goosen, it was anything but steady or consistent. He had an eagle and 4 birdies on the day, including chirps at the final two holes, to seal the deal. He also had 2 bogies, along with a double at the 11th. It seems that excitement and thrills are part of the new normal for the formerly-unwavering champion. As long as the recipe results in victories, he’ll certainly cook something up.

@ChampionsTour     @SeniorPlayers     @BridgestoneGolf    

 

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Morning 9: Kuchar: “The things my grandma was hearing were really tough” | Kendra Little | Tiger’s Virginia course DOA?

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1. Diaz ahead
AP report…”Roberto Diaz shot a 9-under 62 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the John Deere Classic.”
  • “Playing in the final group of the day off the first tee, the 32-year-old Mexican player birdied four of the first five holes, eagled the par-5 10th and birdied three of the last five in the bogey-free round at TPC Deere Run. He took the lead with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th.”
  • “…Americans Adam Long and Russell Henley were two strokes back. Martin Laird was another stroke back at 65 with Ryan Palmer, Andrew Landry, Vaughn Taylor, Zack Sucher and Ryan Blaum.”

Full piece.

Also worth noting for those invested: Ho Sung Choi fired an opening-round 71, which is currently one stroke off the cut line.
2. A smiling American in Scotland
While the second round is well under way, here’s what happened in the first…
AP report…”Matt Kuchar shot an 8-under 63 on Thursday to share the lead with three players in a low-scoring opening round at the Scottish Open.”
  • “Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, the highest-ranked players in the field, opened with 67s – a score only slightly better than the field average on a day when 118 players broke par at The Renaissance Club, which was softened by heavy early-morning rain.”
  • “Kuchar, who has two previous top-four finishes at the Scottish Open, made two eagles on his first nine and ran off four birdies in five holes to reach 9 under before bogeying his last hole of the day, the par-3 ninth.”

Full piece.

3. A John Deere stalwart struggles
Danny Lawhon, Des Moines Register, syndicated in Golfweek… “…the past 14 months might have been the most frustrating of the Cedar Rapids native’s professional career. He’s got just one top-10 finish in that span, and he hasn’t finished better than 16th this calendar year.”
  • “Coming off three weeks of mental and physical rest following the U.S. Open, he was a fountain of optimism Tuesday in his pre-tournament news conference. By Thursday evening, not even the friendly confines of the John Deere Classic seemed to be on his side.”
  • “For the first time in 11 years, Johnson failed to break par at TPC Deere Run, bogeying the 18th hole to card a 1-over-par round of 72. The last time the Drake alum was over par in any round in the Quad Cities was the third round in 2008, when he shot a 75 on his way to finishing 69th.”
4. Marathon: Lewis lurking
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”Stacy Lewis would like to take a decision out of U.S. Solheim Cup captain Juli Inkster’s hands.”
  • “Lewis would like to make the American team on points, rather than rely on a captain’s pick.”
  • “With a 6-under-par 65 Thursday at the Marathon Classic, Lewis took a step in that direction. She equaled her best score since rejoining the tour as a mom this year.”
  • “Lewis is one shot off the lead in suburban Toledo, where she’s embraced as a hometown favorite. She was born in Toledo, and her parents grew up there.”
5. Stricker leads Senior Players
AP report on the action…”Steve Stricker topped the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship leaderboard at 5 under with a hole to play Thursday when the first round was suspended for the day because of lightning and rain.”
  • “Coming off a victory two weeks ago in the U.S. Senior Open at Norte Dame, Stricker had a hole-in-one on the 184-yard, par-3 seventh at Firestone Country Club.”
  • “Play was suspended at 12:55 p.m., and called for the day at 5:05 p.m…”
6. “Things my grandma was hearing were really tough”
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Kuchar did not reveal what his grandma read or heard, but has those in his life who keep him abreast of what’s being said about him.”
  • “Just the fact that she had called me to say, ‘I can’t believe what they are saying’ was hard, because I had a pretty decent idea from friends telling me, you know, ‘I can’t believe what this guy said,’ or ‘This guy really threw you under the bus,'” Kuchar said.
  • Yet, mentioned above, Kuchar continues to enjoy a prosperous year. He attributes the run to the advice of Phil Mickelson (who’s also had his fun with Kuchar). “He’s been one that says, ‘Listen, this is a tough deal,'” Kuchar said of Mickelson’s words. “He said, ‘I’ve been through way worse. It will pass. You keep being the guy you are and this will go away. Unfortunately it’s a tough situation you’re in, but just keep being the guy you are and time will heal.'”
7. Kendra Little’s struggle
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols...”If I had success, I knew that was going to push me closer to the LPGA,” said Little, who knew a drug test would have revealed her higher levels of testosterone.
  • “But it also would’ve pushed me closer to having to deal with my gender. That was such an insane internal battle.”
  • “It was around the age of 12 or 13 that a doctor first told Little that she was both a boy and a girl. After that day, she never discussed AIS with her parents or anyone else. Once a month she’d get estrogen injections. Later, once every three months.”
  • Those days in the doctor’s office were the darkest. There Little had to face the fact that she was different. That this really was her confusing and complex reality.
8. No Cliffs at High Carolina?
Dillon Davis, Asheville Citizen Times (syndicated in Golfweek)…”A nearly 800-acre Swannanoa, Virginia, property that once was the intended site of a luxury housing community and a Tiger Woods-designed golf course has changed hands, but future development plans there remain unclear.”
“The property was slated to be part of The Cliffs at High Carolina, a neighborhood project featuring about 1,000 luxury homes and what would have been the first U.S. golf course designed by Woods straddling parts of the Fairview and Swannanoa communities. It was sold in April by David Straus of Straus Family LLC for about $15.3 million.”
9. Rain no concern for Royal Portrush
RTE Sport report…“There are no concerns about Royal Portrush links golf club ahead of next week’s Open Championship after heavy rainfall on Wednesday.”
  • “Footage emerged on social media of torrential rain and several puddles at the venue in Antrim. Retired Ulster rugby player Darren Cave posted the video on his official Instagram account today, but tournament organisers Royal and Ancient (R&A) have no worries about the condition of Portrush.”
  • “We had a lot of rain yesterday but the course coped well and we are happy with how it is looking,” an R&A spokesman told RTÉ Sport.

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