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19th Hole

‘Next time have the courage to tag me’ – Tour pro responds to journalist amid Bay Hill range controversy

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This week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational is not only a welcome stop for many of the top professionals in the game, but also something of a tribute to the man known as the ‘The King’.

One of the greats of the modern game, the seven-time major winner is honored at many courses around the world, and particularly at Bay Hill, scene of ‘his’ tournament that starts today.

However, one PGA Tour player has been accused of ”golf felony” by Golf Digest reporter Dan Rapaport, after repeating an act seen as sacrilege to the fans of golf history.

Rapaport originally replied to a post from March 2021, by Billy Horschel’s caddie, Mark Fulcher, showing a player practicing in the space historically reserved for Arnie, with the looper’s comment, “Seems like Mr Palmer’s spot is no longer sacred.”

The writer retweets with the hope that, “API week means it’s the one-year anniversary of this Golf Felony. Let us hope this Golf Felony is not repeated this year.”

However, alongside is a separate image showing it has been, this time revealing the identity of the felon – Dylan Frittelli, with the header, “Oh man. Picture from the ground shows that same man committed the same Golf Felony for the second consecutive year!”

The South African, winner of the 2019 John Deere Classic replied, “I’m sure Arnie would’ve let me hit some balls from his spot while he ate lunch or went to play 9 holes.”

Golf fans weren’t so sure.

“Might as well stomp on Arnie’s grave. Prediction: Frittelli misses the cut due to the Palmer curse.” said one, to which the player responded, “Let’s see if you’re right.” Another offered the comparison, “Do you think if the Lakers designated a seat on the bench for Kobe players would sit in it?”

The 31-year-old did have some support however, with one fan posting that, “If you don’t want someone hitting there, rope it off! If not, it’s fair game. Unwritten rules aren’t rules.”

Outwardly undisturbed by the events, Frittelli pleaded ignorance to the unwritten rule saying “Nobody ever told me this spot was his? It’s my third time here”, after hitting back at Rapaport, saying “Have the courage to tag me next year Daniel!”

Frittelli tees off with Charles Howell III and Danny Willett at 12.35pm.

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  1. Pingback: ‘What a coward you are’ – Lee Westwood slams journalist who ridiculed him amid Saudi links – GolfWRX

  2. Joel

    Mar 8, 2022 at 4:08 pm

    I feel so shafted that I wasted time learning about this

    • Twitter daddy

      Mar 11, 2022 at 11:34 pm

      Your brain: “something I don’t like??? He must work for people I already don’t like!!!!!! End him!!!!!”

      Scary place, your brain is bud.

      Don’t reply, I already know all of your other opinions but thanks for sharing your ignorance with the rest of us

  3. ChipNRun

    Mar 7, 2022 at 5:10 pm

    Question: Does Rapaport really work for Golf Digest, or is he with Barstool Sports? Sounds more like a lame Barstool comment to me.

    • Kopock MI

      Mar 11, 2022 at 11:37 pm

      Your brain: “something I don’t like??? He must work for people I already don’t like!!!!!! End him!!!!!”
      Tiffany, your brain seems like a scary place to be in…
      Don’t reply, I already know all of your other opinions but thanks for sharing your ignorance with the rest of us

  4. CelesteP

    Mar 6, 2022 at 6:31 pm

    I made $2,000 last week working from home.

  5. Dylan Frittelli

    Mar 6, 2022 at 1:09 pm

    Come on guys I am just trying to move past my beginner golfer look. Next year I’ll be ripping darts like Mr. Palmer used to back in the day

  6. golf man

    Mar 5, 2022 at 6:22 pm

    Dylan Fritelli is just trying to get his name somewhere close to the PIP prize.

  7. Speedy

    Mar 5, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    The range anywhere is a fight ready to happen.

  8. Gene

    Mar 5, 2022 at 11:22 am

    Next year put Arnie’s golf cart in that spot..

  9. JackDash

    Mar 4, 2022 at 10:05 pm

    Traditions be dead these days …. Let’s Go Brandon!!!

  10. Harold Ward

    Mar 4, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    You really have to be hard up for problems to make one out of this.

  11. Herb McGeezerson

    Mar 4, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    Hope he does it next year.

  12. Ozzy

    Mar 4, 2022 at 4:58 pm

    Dead is dead. Someone dies every half sec in this world. Traditions and unwritten rules are just effin opinions. Lipz and azzhoez. If the people that matter here had issues, they’d politely ask him to move.

  13. Henry R Fitzgerald

    Mar 4, 2022 at 4:04 pm

    Like Arnold would care.

  14. Paulo

    Mar 4, 2022 at 3:33 pm

    @dylanfritelli you’re a Johnson . If tiger was hitting from the spot I don’t think Arnie would mind but somebody dressed like a cross between a clown and a beginner golfer who’s read too many gold fashion articles really has no right.

  15. GenoK

    Mar 4, 2022 at 3:07 pm

    If ANYONE thinks that Mr. Palmer would CARE, MAKE SURE A SIGN IS POSTED, stating DO NOT USE ARNIE’S SPOT! I also liked the comment about roping it off. Had either of these golfers played Bay Hill before?

  16. Jerry

    Mar 4, 2022 at 2:59 pm

    Whoever thinks this is ok has no sense of tradition.

  17. Greg McNeill

    Mar 4, 2022 at 2:05 pm

    The range at BH is on the small side by Tour standards. It gets pretty crowded mid-morning Thurs and Fri. I played in the Pro-Am in ’95 and Daly was right on top of me. So I did what any amateur would do- I quit hitting balls and just stood there, gaping at the distance of his driver. In those days, it was other-worldly.

  18. benseattle

    Mar 4, 2022 at 11:57 am

    First off Alan Shipnuck has NOTHING to do with this story, so there’s that. But “sacred ground,” a “golf felony?” Oh please. Rappaport is taking himself and this little range spot tribute WAY too seriously. For those who haven’t heard, Arnold Palmer is dead so it’s highly unlikely that he’s going to show up and wonder “who’s taken my reserved place on the range?” Small gestures such as putting out Arnie’s bag and nameplate are a nice way to remember one of the greats here at his club but for Daniel Rappaport to have a hissy fit over a player — on a very crowded practice tee, no doubt — stepping in to warm up is an unnecessary, attention-seeking jibe.

  19. JubJub

    Mar 4, 2022 at 11:26 am

    Anyone with a brain wouldn’t hit balls there.

  20. Matt A

    Mar 4, 2022 at 12:05 am

    Does anyone think Arnold would mind?

  21. BD57

    Mar 3, 2022 at 9:20 pm

    This is stupid, a writer looking for attention.

    If Bay Hill wants “Arnie’s Spot” preserved as such, it would rope it off, put up a sign to honor him there, point out its significance to the world.

    If Bay Hill HASN’T done that, then “it’s a spot on the range” & nothing more.

    There’s a statue of Arnold on the property. Honor him there.

    • Hunter

      Mar 4, 2022 at 11:26 am

      There’s a big “Palmer” sign right there, next to the big umbrella. So it has been marked off.

    • Henry R Fitzgerald

      Mar 4, 2022 at 4:03 pm

      Well said!

      Crazy society we live in.

  22. Rapaport Is a Hack

    Mar 3, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    Arnold Palmer had much more class than Rapaport.

    He would have said,’that’s all you got son?’

  23. Joey5Picks

    Mar 3, 2022 at 5:03 pm

    Frittelli: If ya don’t know, now ya know.

    And for those saying “unwritten rules aren’t rules”, I suppose you have no problem if your friend hits on your wife or your daughter.

    • BoomChack

      Mar 3, 2022 at 6:35 pm

      Get a hold of yourself!!!!

    • Professor

      Mar 4, 2022 at 3:56 am

      I’m, is there something you want to tell us?

    • C

      Mar 4, 2022 at 7:38 am

      Thou shall not covet something…something…pretty sure that one’s written down somewhere.

  24. Henry R Fitzgerald

    Mar 3, 2022 at 4:58 pm

    These so-called journalists are just a bunch of hacks.

    Rapaport
    Shipnuck

    Oh boy!

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19th Hole

16 LIV Golf pros threaten legal action against DP World Tour; DP World Tour responds

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16 LIV Golf players have threatened the DP World Tour with legal action after being banned from the Scottish Open and fined £100,000.

The 16 players will likely include Europeans such as Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer. In the letter obtained by “The Telegraph”, the players said that the Tour’s actions to ban and fine players “will have adverse consequences on the DP World Tour.”

The letter ‘implored’ the DP World Tour to “reconsider your recent penalties and sanctions” and rescind the fines and suspensions by 5pm on Friday. If the Tour doesn’t rescind the bans and fines by that time, the players will be taking immediate legal action. “If not, you will leave us with no choice but to employ the various other means and methods at our disposal to rectify these wrongs,” the letter states.

The letter also criticizes the DP World Tour’s decision to partner with the PGA TOUR for the Scottish Open and Barracuda Championship. Due to their alliance, some DP World Tour players have been forced out of the Scottish Open to make room for PGA Tour players. Therefore, some DP World Tour players will have to fly to Kentucky to play for a smaller purse in the week before the 150th Open Championship.

Additionally, the 16 players criticized the DP World Tour’s new deal with the PGA Tour that will see the top 10 players on the Race to Dubai rankings earn PGA Tour cards.

“That the DP World Tour top performers will now earn PGA Tour cards serves only to solidify the DP World Tour as second fiddle to the PGA Tour and depletes the DP World Tour’s top rising talent even further”.

Full letter here:

“In Mr Pelley’s latest communication, he uses the statement that every action in life comes with a consequence. We agree, and we are concerned that the actions of the Tour against us, LIV Golf, and golf in general will have adverse consequences on the DP World Tour, a tour and an organisation that, despite our recent interactions, we care deeply for.

“The intention of this letter is not to further divide us, but to respond to Tour statements and to pose questions that the Tour should answer and we should discuss in detail. Instead of spending our time, energy, financial resources, and focus on appeals, injunctions, and lawsuits, we would implore you, the custodians of the DP World Tour, to reconsider your recent penalties and sanctions, and instead focus our energies on forging a path forward that is better for the DP World Tour members and the game of golf.

“To this end, we ask that you rescind your fines and suspensions by 5:00 pm on Friday, July 1, 2022. In addition, we represent over 5 percent of the DP World Tour membership and, under its articles of association, we ask you to convene a meeting of Tour membership to discuss these important matters further. If not, you will leave us with no choice but to employ the various other means and methods at our disposal to rectify these wrongs.

“We appreciate that the argument being put forward is that the ‘strategic alliance’ with the PGA Tour will provide overall benefit to DP World Tour members – hence the competitive threat to the PGA Tour being treated differently when it comes to releases and other matters.

“To begin with, we do not accept that protecting the PGA Tour through this alliance could in any way justify this disparate treatment. Even if it could, what are these benefits? This a question we have asked for many months.

“Thus far, the option to play the Barracuda Championship instead of the Scottish Open doesn’t appear to be one that benefits the membership at all. Ultimately, approximately 40 DP World Tour members who would have been eligible for the Scottish Open on the DP World tour will now not be eligible, and instead will only have the option to go and play on the PGA Tour in Kentucky the week before The Open, for less money but at a higher cost to participate.

“In addition, PGA Tour players have been encouraged to play the Scottish Open through a stipend to cover travel costs, but the same benefit is not afforded to DP World Tour members?! That the DP World Tour top performers will now earn PGA Tour cards serves only to solidify the DP World Tour as second fiddle to the PGA Tour and depletes the DP World Tour’s top rising talent even further. And without regard to whether this collaboration is lawful, would this collaboration be happening without LIV Golf entering the market?”

In response, the DP World Tour released this statement on Friday morning:

“There has been a leak to the media of a letter we received on behalf of a number of LIV Golf players which contains so many inaccuracies that it cannot remain unchallenged.

“Before joining LIV Golf, players knew there would be consequences if they chose money over competition. Many of them at the time understood and accepted that. Indeed, as one player named in the letter said in a media interview earlier this year; ‘If they ban me, they ban me.’ It is not credible that some are now surprised with the actions we have taken.

“The letter claims that these players ‘care deeply’ for the DP World Tour. An analysis of the past participation statistics on our Tour in recent years of several of the leading players named, suggests otherwise.

“One player in particular named in the note has only played six Rolex Series events in the past five years. Another one, only four. I wish many of them had been as keen to play on our Tour then as they seem to be now, based on the fact they have either resigned their membership of the PGA TOUR or, if they are still in membership, have been suspended indefinitely.

“Furthermore, given how deeply these players say they care about the DP World Tour, perhaps some of them could have played in Ireland this week in support of our new title sponsor, in particular one player who gave us a signed commitment to play at Mount Juliet.

“With that player currently in action at Pumpkin Ridge, you can imagine the allegation in the letter that we are in the wrong, is hard to accept.

“We also take great exception to an allegation made near the end of the letter which states we are somehow playing ‘second fiddle’ to the PGA TOUR. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“We held a player meeting in Ireland on Tuesday where we outlined in great detail all the many benefits of our expanded relationship with the PGA TOUR.

“One of those is an unprecedented ten cards on offer to the PGA TOUR, cards that many of the players named in this letter desperately wanted to attain in the early stages of their careers. Why now be critical of those trying to do the same?

“The letter also expresses supposed concern about the future of the DP World Tour. Rest assured no-one should have any worries on that score.

“The DP World Tour is a vibrant, independent and global Tour with increasing and guaranteed prize fund growth over the next five years. We have fantastic tournaments across the year including a host of wonderful national Opens, all played in front of huge crowds, illustrated perfectly by this week’s Horizon Irish Open.

“Finally, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on any potential legal matters.

“I will simply reiterate that our Members’ Regulations which have been in force for more than 30 years, have been accepted by all the players, are there to protect all of our members, and we will use them to take all necessary steps to protect their interests.

“The sanctions for those members who knowingly broke our rules by playing at the Centurion Club without a release are proportionate, fair and, I believe, considered necessary by the majority of our members.”

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19th Hole

Phil Mickelson makes a couple of interesting equipment changes for LIV Golf’s Portland event

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For many years, golf fans watched Phil Mickelson using what may have been one of the shortest putters on tour, but while he won the PGA Championship with his trusty Odyssey Milled Blade “Phil Mickelson” he’s been tinkering with the length for a while.

Last September at the Fortinet Championship, Phil was spotted with a new, extended, grip on the flat stick, allowing him to create an ‘arm-lock’ style that made him feel as if, “I’ll get on a roll and just start making a lot.”

So to this week’s LIV tournament at Pumpkin Ridge, and the six-time major winner is experimenting once again.

Twitter’s ‘Phil Mickelson Tracker’ posted a photo of his extended putter with the one-word exclamation “#Armlock!”

The replies were mostly positive, suggesting it can only help the three-time Masters champion improve past some poor putting stats. Indeed, since a standout gain of over 12 shots putting at Kiawah Island, Lefty has lost strokes to the field in nine of his last 12 recorded starts, with his worst performance being a loss of over ten shots at the BMW Championship last August. No wonder he lobbed on the extra rubber at Napa.

With his Callaway deal on hold, Mickelson has also made a change in his wedges.

Lefty has a Ping Eye2 wedge in the bag this week, with the model being an Eye2 XG (a reproduction of the original Eye 2 but with 2010 conforming grooves) which he has used occasionally since 2014. 

Mickelson sits T30 after the opening day’s action in Portland, after shooting a disappointing round of 3 over par on Thursday.

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19th Hole

Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia’s personal relationship has reportedly turned toxic

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In 2014 Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia were the so-called ‘dream team’ of the Ryder Cup.

The pair totted up a combined total of 5-and-a-half points of the 16-and-a-half won by the victorious European team, beating the pairing of Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan in the second day foursomes before both winning their singles.

Their relationship was so solid that McIlroy was honored to be an usher at Garcia’s wedding in 2017, but recently it’s all gone sour, with Golf Monthly reporting a “complete deterioration” of the relationship.

A week ago, it was widley reported that the Spaniard had told his Northern Irish friend that they were now “finally getting paid what we deserve,” a comment that received the reply, “Sergio. We’re golfers. We don’t deserve to be paid anything.”

According to Golf Monthly, the relationship has now “turned personal,” with the world number three unhappy that his old friend has dedicated himself to the Saudi-backed tour, putting the selection process for the Ryder Cup into confusion. The rhetoric between the two is reported to be “bitter and personal.”

At the Wells Fargo Championship in May, as he was hacking out of the rough after a ruling, Garcia was heard muttering, “I can’t wait to leave this tour,” before being confirmed as one of the initial participants of the LIV Golf Series.

Whilst it is unclear exactly what the sanctions are with regards to the Ryder Cup 2023, the way the PGA and DP Tours are moving, there is a distinct possibility that LIV players will be seriously affected – though Garcia has made clear that he wants to be a part of it.

At a press conference before the inaugural LIV event at the Centurion Club, Garcia stated, “I haven’t resigned from the European Tour because I would like to still be a member. I’m European, I love the European Tour. I played it for 23 years. Obviously we’re going to have to wait and see what the European Tour does. But I definitely would like to keep my membership and get my chance to make the Ryder Cup team because I love that event. But we’ll wait and see what happens over there.”

Whilst recent LIV press conferences on site have caused their own controversy, Garcia has prompted his own backlash.

After reportedly delivering an anti-DP World Tour rant at the BMW International in Germany last week, Golf Monthly reports that one tour player commented:

“They (LIV players) all think they are untouchable, and they all think the tours can’t do anything. I think they’re all about to realize they’re wrong. It is short sighted to think regulations can’t change and that there isn’t a lot of ill-feeling towards them. I think they’ve miscalculated quite dramatically.

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