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PGA Tour: Memorial Tournament and Canadian Open: Notes from the Ballwasher

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PGA Tour: Memorial Tournament and Canadian Open: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty PGA Tour: Memorial Tournament and Canadian Open: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer Tue May 28, 2019 9:06 pm

1).The late spring diet of terrific courses for the PGA Tour Pros to play continues as we move from Bethpage, through Colonial to Muirfield Village, Jack Nicklaus's masterpiece. Next week the boys will head north of the border to Ontario's Hamilton Golf and Country Club (a Harry Colt design) and then on to Pebble Beach for the US Open.

2).But first: What about Colonial?
Kevin Na convincingly won his third Tour event, and his apparent good humour moved him from the bottom of my Tour pro likeability chart. I thought Na's comments on Sunday about Colonial being one of only about 7 or 8 courses he feels he can still expect to win were instructive. And made his withdrawal this week kinda surprising seeing as he was a little unlucky to runner up to Matsuyama just a few years ago. Perhaps he fancies a rest before going to Pebble Beach, where his criteria would seem to suit him.

3).Na's closest challengers stumbled their way through Sunday's round; lots of observation by the CBS crew about Tony Finau which I thought was interesting. Still doesn't make enough putts and needs to go on a Dustin Johnson-like course of practice with his scoring clubs, 8-iron thru' his wedges.
And Jordan Spieth had everyone at CBS in a dizzy tizzy after his putter came alive in Rounds 1, 2 & 3, but scarcely made a thing on Sunday which magnified his problems off the tee.
Still, four Europeans (household names Blixt, Sabbatini, Hatton & Knox) kept their wits about them in finishing T8 or better; too bad Martins Kaymer and Laird made a mess on Sunday, spoiling potentially good finishes - the story of their year so far.

4).With only ten tournaments available between now and the end of the "Regular Season", FedEx Points are at a premium and this week's Memorial Tournament at Jack's place doesn't help the strugglers, as it is yet another limited field "invitational".

5).Among those Europeans and other "notables" who still have to secure their "playing privileges" for 2019/2020 are:
Hatton, Knox and Blixt, whose fine week at Colonial got each of them within 50-ish points of the likely Top 125 threshold.
Uihlein, Watney - within 100 points of safety.
Berger, Power, Lowry, Laird and Noren all 150 - 200 points to go.
Harman, Haas, Dufner, Frittelli, Henley, Willett, Schniederjans, Schwartzel, Lahiri & Kaymer all in pretty desperate shape.
Not much time to go, chaps.

6).Muirfield Village will stretch out to about 7,400 yards and is largely modelled after Nicklaus's game: Wide fairways, second shot favouring a high fade, fast greens.
Only four PGA Tour events have seen a player hit all 56 fairways: And three of them have been here: twice by Calvin Peete and once by Brian Claar. The other was in Tucson by David Frost.
And Frosty also holds the Tour record of fewest putts in a tournament, 92 at Harbour Town.
The record for greens hit in regulation is 69 out of 72, by Jacobsen and Jerry Kelly.

7).You'll see one of the best quartets of Par-5's anywhere, and the great short Par-4 14th - hopefully the Tour (or a following wind) will persuade the pros to give it a lash one day during the tournament. I'm not sure Nicklaus has got his 16th hole quite right yet, a very unforgiving mid-length Par-3, but otherwise the course is a gem.
Unfortunately it could be a wet "gem," if storms forecast for late Wednesday and Thursday materialise. Cooler, drier weather should drain the place out for the weekend.

8).It's amazing to me that Rory McIlroy has still to contend here, a course pretty much tailor-made for him. Obviously Woods has a handful of wins here and conditions could suit him, but Justin Rose, another course specialist has struggled this past couple of months. Matt Kuchar has a strong record so Kooch each way (probably about 25's?) looks a good bet to moi.

9).Remaining US Open "Sectional Qualifying" will take place on Monday, June 3rd - recent qualifiers via the owgr Top 60 include Furyk, Scott, Harding and Pan, Lowry, Snedeker and Putnam.
And there'll be another last gasp crack at qualifying via the Top 60 at the Canadian Open next week.

10).Finally, the Open Championship has such a contrived series of qualification criteria that a player could finish 3rd in US Open play at Pebble Beach but miss out, but qualify via the preceding week's Canadian Open by finishing Top Ten. Daft I tell you, just plain daft. The R&A Slumbers sometimes.


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:28 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by navyblueshorts Tue May 28, 2019 9:43 pm

Interesting comment re. McIlroy, but given you mention it favours those that can hit a fade, maybe that's McIlroy's problem as his standard pattern is a draw flight.

Good article, as usual, Kwini. Many thanks once again OK.
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Post by kwinigolfer Tue May 28, 2019 10:24 pm

Life intervenes for Justin Rose and Mark Fulcher:

https://www.golfchannel.com/news/roses-longtime-caddie-taking-indefinite-medical-leave-duo-splits-now

Slogging away in the 90F degree Fort Worth heat can't have helped, or the long walks around Bethpage.
Good luck to both of them.



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Post by McLaren Tue May 28, 2019 10:25 pm

Navy

Not sure McIlroy is hitting what people traditionally think of as a draw flight. He hits his mid to long irons so high that they are coming down pretty much the same whether they draw or fade.


Never really understood the dislike of Na on here and have always doubted that he is actually that slow. Has always seemed likable in the few interviews he has given. I bet he is one of those guys with sneaky high career earnings, like a CHIII but with more wins.
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Post by kwinigolfer Tue May 28, 2019 10:26 pm

Cheers navy.
I was just thinking that Muirfield Village has accommodating fairways and often plays soft, and Rory certainly hits it high!
Maybe this week . . . . . ?

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue May 28, 2019 10:34 pm

McLaren wrote:Navy

Not sure McIlroy is hitting what people traditionally think of as a draw flight.  He hits his mid to long irons so high that they are coming down pretty much the same whether they draw or fade.


Never really understood the dislike of Na on here and have always doubted that he is actually that slow. Has always seemed likable in the few interviews he has given.  I bet he is one of those guys with sneaky high career earnings, like a CHIII but with more wins.


Mac,
I've twice seen Na be unnecessarily rude and dismissive to volunteers on the course, and he has certainly been one of the slowest coaches out there. That's why I disliked him. Plus: $8M behind CHIII, Na's played 150 fewer tournaments, both with three wins - not enough for either.

But agree about Rory, he just doesn't need to be firing at every flag, especially not at Muirfield Village where a regular habit of short-siding oneself will lead to a short week.

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Post by McLaren Tue May 28, 2019 10:55 pm

3 wins for CHIII is more than I thought he had, fair play to him. I would need to see actual data to believe that Na is any slower than most of the guys out there, who all seem pretty slow.


Rory needs to make sure his brain is firing never mind firing at pins.
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Post by kwinigolfer Wed May 29, 2019 12:46 am

McLaren wrote:


Rory needs to make sure his brain is firing never mind firing at pins.


Not many have played better than Rory this year . . . . . . . . .

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Post by navyblueshorts Wed May 29, 2019 9:55 am

McLaren wrote:Navy

Not sure McIlroy is hitting what people traditionally think of as a draw flight.  He hits his mid to long irons so high that they are coming down pretty much the same whether they draw or fade.


Never really understood the dislike of Na on here and have always doubted that he is actually that slow. Has always seemed likable in the few interviews he has given.  I bet he is one of those guys with sneaky high career earnings, like a CHIII but with more wins.
It's a draw Mac; plain and simple. You're talking about descent angle, which isn't relevant to the point I was making. Height has nothing to do with it if you need to move it left-to-right and can't, reliably. That said, I don't know that's McIlroy's problem at MV; just a suggestion.
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Post by wiretapper Wed May 29, 2019 4:01 pm

I don't think Kaymer cares whether he retains his card

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed May 29, 2019 4:34 pm

wiretapper wrote:I don't think Kaymer cares whether he retains his card

Possibly not!
But I'd be surprised if he wouldn't like the option. Trouble is, he's done nothing to earn it, not the way he's been playing.

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Post by McLaren Wed May 29, 2019 8:01 pm

Navy

If we assume Rory does play a draw, I would need to see his data to be convinced of this, you cannot say that his shot shape is that of the typical player we would describe as playing a "draw". Most players cannot play the high draw and yet that is possibly what Rory's stock shot is.

He does not face the same issues that a old school "draw" player would face.
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Post by McLaren Wed May 29, 2019 8:03 pm

wiretapper wrote:I don't think Kaymer cares whether he retains his card

Has he got something better to do?
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Post by navyblueshorts Wed May 29, 2019 10:21 pm

McLaren wrote:Navy

If we assume Rory does play a draw, I would need to see his data to be convinced of this, you cannot say that his shot shape is that of the typical player we would describe as playing a "draw". Most players cannot play the high draw and yet that is possibly what Rory's stock shot is.  

He does not face the same issues that a old school "draw" player would face.
His standard pattern is a draw. I'm sure he can hit a cut when necessary, but it's not a natural shape for him.
Never mind. Fine if you want to think whatever you want to think. Let's move on...
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Post by GPB Wed May 29, 2019 11:51 pm

In Golf Blogger-ville, once you are branded a slow player, you can never shake the reputation of being slow player

Reminds me of the Vince Boudreau quote in "Play it to the Bone". Its graphic so I will just give an IMDB citation

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0196857/characters/nm0000437

Kaymer wants to play a schedule of a World Class elite player, but he playing more like a Challenge Tour player. He has played the system masterfully and I don't understand why the PGATour let him have a card this season.

He got some sort of medical exemption, when he only missed playing 4 weeks last season, and fell short by 4 events. He made no good faith effort to get to 15 events last year, did not play a regular PGATour event after the Players Championship in May, 2018. None.

Question, If Rory Sabbatini happens to join the EuroTour next season, is he eligible for the Euro Ryder Cup team. He is not listed on the Int'l Prez Cup Standings.

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Post by GPB Thu May 30, 2019 12:01 am

Anyone see the Golf World's player poll on the USGA?

The USGA GOT ROASTED

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/usga-confidential

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 30, 2019 1:56 am

GPB wrote:Anyone see the Golf World's player poll on the USGA?

The USGA GOT ROASTED

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/usga-confidential


We were talking about that a couple of weeks ago, before it went on-line - thanks for the link.

And: There's every chance the USGA will c0ck things up again in a fortnight, we'll see!


EDIT! This is what Rory had to say:

https://www.golfchannel.com/news/rory-mcilroy-could-be-problem-if-usga-cant-redeem-themselves-pebble-beach


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Post by navyblueshorts Thu May 30, 2019 8:52 am

GPB wrote:Anyone see the Golf World's player poll on the USGA?

The USGA GOT ROASTED

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/usga-confidential
Laugh What a surprise. Let the oh so fabulous, whining players run it themselves. Turn up, shut up and play golf, preferably in under 6 hours. P**s off.
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Post by wiretapper Thu May 30, 2019 10:08 am

I saw an interview with Kaymer in which he said as long as he had rights to play the PGA tour he would continue to play some events but that long-term, he saw himself as a full-time European Tour member only playing in the US in majors, WGCs, or the Players, should he qualify.

Personally, I think he knows physically and mentally he cannot continue to play both tours regularly and that Europe is his comfort zone but since he has a final season exemption on the PGA tour, he may as well use it and see if he can win some $$$

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Post by McLaren Thu May 30, 2019 11:07 am

I know you folks aren't keen on the f1 analogies but the teams in F1 have had too much of a say in rule making for years now and nothing good has come of it. Surprisingly self interested competitors don't make the best rules for the wider good of the sport.

The USGA should tell the players to p155 of.
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Post by Shotrock Thu May 30, 2019 11:34 am

Thanks for the link.

I saw some of this first hand when I worked as a volunteer at Merion in 2013. Overheard one of the blue jackets say to another blue jacket  (after day one) ... "Looks to me like the grand lady (Merion) held up quite well." I thought I was listening to a P.G. Wodehouse short  story (which, btw, I really enjoy). Well, Mr. Blue Jacket, you radically changed said course for a weekend's play.

I can tolerate obnoxiousness over pomposity any day.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 30, 2019 12:08 pm

McLaren wrote:I know you folks aren't keen on the f1 analogies but the teams in F1 have had too much of a say in rule making for years now and nothing good has come of it. Surprisingly self interested competitors don't make the best rules for the wider good of the sport.

The USGA should tell the players to p155 of.


Mac,
Your analogy doesn't work.
The PGA Tour broke away from the PGA Of America about fifty years ago, led by blokes like Nicklaus and Palmer. That didn't work out too badly, did it - two hugely respected and successful organizations who complement each other.
The USGA needs the PGA Tour and the PGAOA much more than the USGA will ever need the pros.

(And, by the way, USGA, wherever has all that money gone? Clue: I bet Mike Davis has a pretty nice house despite a decade of arrogant incompetence.)

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Post by Roller_Coaster Thu May 30, 2019 12:51 pm

McLaren wrote:I know you folks aren't keen on the f1 analogies but the teams in F1 have had too much of a say in rule making for years now and nothing good has come of it. Surprisingly self interested competitors don't make the best rules for the wider good of the sport.

The USGA should tell the players to p155 of.

Unusually Very Happy I somewhat agree. However with so many tales of US Opens being set up by people whose job it isn't to set up courses, people ignoring professional grounds staff regarding course conditioning and likely impacts on playability, grassless greens in windy conditions I would at least listen to the people that play a lot of the courses when they chime in.

I actually like pros "struggling" once a year, but struggling with a test of accuracy and competence, not because of incompetent set-ups and chance. When it becomes the latter, I do think there is a space for the players telling the USGA to pi55 off, but the line between genuine reasonable points about course set up versus privileged players used to bombing with impunity having a whinge is difficult.

On F1 - I've been watching the Netflix documentary about last season. Very good. Shame Merc and Ferrari declined to participate but it has offered a very watchable insight into some bits of F1 and I have been thoroughly enjoying it. Interesting interplay between Renault/Red Bull regarding engine supply and Ricciardo moving, interesting viewpoints on teammates and the idiosyncrasies of the team/team mate relationships.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 30, 2019 1:28 pm

Talking of the USGA, Round 1 of the USGA's Womens Open is underway in historic Charleston, SC, arguably the first US city to be introduced to golf, in 1739.
The CC Of Charleston has been around for well over 200 years and their current course was laid out by Seth Raynor almost 100 years ago.

Unusually, it's not totally beyond the realms of possibility that some British ladies might contend, with Bronte Law having secured her first win on the LPGA Tour last week, Georgia Hall being the reigning Women's Open Champ and Charley Hull usually competitive wherever she plays.
Good luck ladies.

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Post by McLaren Thu May 30, 2019 1:40 pm

Kwini

You say it has worked and from some perspectives it has. But I would have thought that from your point of view the PGAT does not allow for the vision of the global game you would like to become a reality.

Player supported PGAT protectionism means few attempts at foreign WGC venues, draining of other tours talents, no prospect of 5th major outside USA, PGAT "bias" for owgr points. Basically in general world golf is all about the PGAT, if there were an impartial world governing body need that be the case? And one not run by the players for the players.
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Post by Shotrock Thu May 30, 2019 1:46 pm

Par is just a number. If the USGA wants an over par score for this championship then simply make any par 4 under 400 or 450 yards a par 3. Problem solved.

There is no way (IMO, of course) the many now dead course designers likely wanted the green speeds at the nutty levels they keep them at for the US Open.

Kwin, I'll have to do some digging, but I recall reading the USGA is sitting on hundreds of millions US$. Not bad for a non-profit organization.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 30, 2019 2:01 pm

Shotrock wrote:

Kwin, I'll have to do some digging, but I recall reading the USGA is sitting on hundreds of millions US$. Not bad for a non-profit organization.

Yup, it's alluded to indirectly in the article - FOX TV probably told them to use it for the 2020 elections.


Mac,
I think you have a little device (I know, I know) at home which moves goalposts at the click of a mouse.

The PGA Tour and PGA Of America have no remit to bail out every other Tour, any more than your beloved have a duty to bail out, say, Rangers; they're focused on being successful for their members and, much as I have contempt for some of their agenda, they're doing a mighty fine job. Not the PGA Tour's fault that other Tours are weak and inept.
The USGA has no such accountability, they set themselves up, as Shotrock says, as a non-profit and put a bunch of highly paid "amateurs" in charge of their products.

What ever has the USGA done to "allow for the vision of the global game"? Bloody nothing. Arguably the R&A has done much more.

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Post by Plunky Thu May 30, 2019 2:17 pm

Shotrock wrote:Thanks for the link.

I saw some of this first hand when I worked as a volunteer at Merion in 2013. Overheard one of the blue jackets say to another blue jacket  (after day one) ... "Looks to me like the grand lady (Merion) held up quite well." I thought I was listening to a P.G. Wodehouse short  story (which, btw, I really enjoy). Well, Mr. Blue Jacket, you radically changed said course for a weekend's play.

I can tolerate obnoxiousness over pomposity any day.

Hear Hear and What Ho Shotrock !  I have read "A woman is only a woman" numerous times and the description of the epic battle between two duffers still makes me laugh every time.   thumbsup

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Post by Shotrock Thu May 30, 2019 2:20 pm

I'll have to look that up!

"Uncle Fred Flits By" is an epic piece of literature in my humble opinion.

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Post by Plunky Thu May 30, 2019 4:11 pm

I'll check that one out.  I know I once read and enjoyed "Uncle Dynamite" and I think they're the same characters.   thumbsup

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 30, 2019 4:13 pm

Terrible first 11 holes for Rory, driving a bit like McLaren's latest favourite footballer, AMF. Not good enough.

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Post by GPB Thu May 30, 2019 4:47 pm

ICYMI (In Case You Missed it)

13 yr NFL player and recently retired Kyle Williams from the NFL's Buffalo Bills played in the USGA 4-ball event this past week. He was a Defensive Tackle

He and his partner, Keith Berthelot made the Match Play portion, EASILY!. T7th shooting 66-65 at Bandon Dunes.

They lost in the Round of 16.


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Post by McLaren Thu May 30, 2019 5:45 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:.

The PGA Tour and PGA Of America have no remit to bail out every other Tour....

....What ever has the USGA done to "allow for the vision of the global game"? Bloody nothing. Arguably the R&A has done much more.

I just thought that you wouldn't necessarily run golf the way the PGAT would want it to be run, I guess I have misjudged your position over the years.  In future just don't bleat on about spreading WGC's, more events in Aus, ET being unfairly treated etc if you going to disagree with me now just to be difficult.

I think you were well aware what point I was making and it contained many positions you have claimed to agree with previously.
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 30, 2019 6:38 pm

Apples and oranges, Mac.
Do I like, personally, what Beman, Finchem etc have done for my enjoyment of World Golf? Hell, No!

But have they done a good job for their members? Above and beyond.


BP, Mobil, even the despicable Haliburton, and the rest aren't good for the environment but they're fantastic for their shareholders.


And now Martin Kaymer's shot his round of the season, 67; wouldn't you know it??!!

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Post by McLaren Thu May 30, 2019 7:24 pm

I know, and my point was that if you leave it to the players (or those working for them) to come up with how the game is run they will get rich and you won't get the game you want to see.
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 30, 2019 7:49 pm

But a competitive sport organization is unlikely to be an altruistic enterprise.

That doesn't mean it does everything one would prefer, but that's a separate topic.

The PGA Tour would thrive just fine in North America without playing USGA events and would happily play to their own rules. That's pretty much what they're saying and you don't have to read very much between the lines to see that.

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Post by I'm never wrong Thu May 30, 2019 8:07 pm

Anyone else seen that video Tweeted by Phil? Two drivers? One to “cut” and one to “bomb”. Weird. Trying to be funny I think but didn’t raise a smile with me.

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu May 30, 2019 8:27 pm

I'm never wrong wrote:Anyone else seen that video Tweeted by Phil? Two drivers?  One to “cut” and one to “bomb”. Weird. Trying to be funny I think but didn’t raise a smile with me.

Read about it. After 8 holes he's hit 3 fairways out of 7 drives; wonder which driver is behaving and which is steering him into trouble?
Not the first time he's done it but wouldn't've thought it was the ideal preparation for Pebble Beach where he won in more orthodox style just a few months ago.

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Post by McLaren Thu May 30, 2019 9:14 pm

Not the first time he has gone down the two driver route.
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Post by McLaren Fri May 31, 2019 1:56 am

Absolutely shameful attempt by Kuchar to cheat his way to a free drop out of a pitch mark. His drive rolled into someone else's pitch mark in the fairway and he tried to argue that the second or third bounce of his drive made a new pitch mark on top of the old one.

What was he thinking?


The video is on twitter if you want to see him argue the toss on this for about 5 minutes.
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Post by wiretapper Fri May 31, 2019 9:07 am

I watched it live last night Mac and he was totally chancing it but this seems to be his MO of late.

Eddie Pepperell summed it up best on Twitter Laugh https://twitter.com/PepperellEddie/status/1134225866848911360

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Post by McLaren Fri May 31, 2019 11:32 am

It seemed to me like he openly tried to cheat. Not sure at what point the dishonesty is so blatant that you can be DQ'ed?

Using a slightly generous take on the rules is one thing but Kuchar was going way beyond that and the second referee was clearly pretty annoyed about the ridiculous claim Kuchar was making.


And the thing is there was a more plausible claim he could have made, that his ball bounced and then spun into its original pitch mark. But instead he goes for the new pitch mark after multiple bounces story. Plonker.
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Post by kwinigolfer Fri May 31, 2019 12:17 pm

McLaren wrote:It seemed to me like he openly tried to cheat. Not sure at what point the dishonesty is so blatant that you can be DQ'ed?

Using a slightly generous take on the rules is one thing but Kuchar was going way beyond that and the second referee was clearly pretty annoyed about the ridiculous claim Kuchar was making.


And the thing is there was a more plausible claim he could have made, that his ball bounced and then spun into its original pitch mark. But instead he goes for the new pitch mark after multiple bounces story. Plonker.

Ridiculous, and on a day when the DeCham / Rose / Woods group was put on the clock, and DeCham was p1ssed off at getting a "bad time", what on earth was the Rules Official doing allowing Kuchar to waste 10 minutes?

Interesting that John Wood didn't seem to be advocating for Kuchar, and that Mickelson thought so highly of his claim that he went up to the green and completed the hole whilst Kuchar was conducting his pantomime.

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Post by Roller_Coaster Fri May 31, 2019 1:45 pm

Deflected away from Mexican caddygate though.

In case I've got the wrong end of the stick... He can't seriously have been claiming that the second bounce of his ball made a pitchmark within a pitchmark that already existed and it was this, second, pitchmark in which his ball came to lie, thus entitling him to relief?

Crazy. Surely this will come out as a stunt with, say, a betting company?


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Post by McLaren Fri May 31, 2019 2:05 pm

Roller, yes that is what he was claiming. His words were something along the lines of; if the second or third bounce alters the ground in the original (someone else's) pitch mark he should get relief.
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Post by kwinigolfer Fri May 31, 2019 6:26 pm

Kuchar & Mickelson playing together.
Dodgy ruling applied for + plus two drivers in one bag = two missed cuts.

(Glad I mentioned Kuchar's stellar record at Memorial . . . . . . )

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri May 31, 2019 6:34 pm

Danny Willett played well for 54+ holes at Bethpage and he's at it again with a fine 69 to get him (temporarily) into the Top Ten.

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Post by GPB Fri May 31, 2019 7:22 pm

Re: Kuchar

I had flashbacks to Seve trying to bully rules officials into a favorable ruling.

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/recalling-a-battle-of-gamesmanship-between-two-of-the-games-singular-personalities

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri May 31, 2019 8:22 pm

Don't see the point of that article, except to reflect on lack of an editor and that Seve beat Ken Green. As Europe later that year did in Green's only Ryder Cup.

Sad end for the two of them: Seve's life and Kenny's leg (and son).

Nice run for Justin Rose: Eagle, bird, eagle. EDIT: par, bird. And then a chip in for birdie on #11 after a penalty stroke. EDIT: Par, birdie, birdie. -8 after 14, with a bogey thrown in.
Martin Kaymer still going nicely, brilliant save on #18.


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Fri May 31, 2019 9:58 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post by GPB Fri May 31, 2019 8:53 pm

Oops wrong link

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/ken_green_mastersdiary1989

My playing partner today was Seve Ballesteros, and a funny thing happened between us on the 10th hole, a long, downhill par 4. Seve had shot 31 on the front nine and looked like he might run away with it, but he snapped his drive on 10 into a muddy area to the left of the fairway. I was 60 yards away and noticed he was taking a lot of time to play his shot, so I went over to see what was going on. It turned out he wanted relief due to "unusual crowd damage" and was waiting for a ruling. His ball was sitting fine, but it was in a little rut and he couldn't take a clean swipe at it.

"Watch this," I said to my caddie, Joe LaCava. "They're going to give him a free drop, but I am not going to let it happen." Sure enough, a rules official showed up and appeared to OK the drop, but he said he needed to call in another rules official for a second opinion. "I think you better," I said. "That's not right. I want another ruling here. This isn't going to fly." So as we waited for another official to arrive, Seve said something like, "You can go hit your shot if you want. I promise you I won't drop my ball."

I came this close to coming back at him. He was wrong. Earlier, on the second hole, my second shot stopped in a muddy area that was a lot worse than what Seve had. And the rules guy there refused to give me a drop. That's fine, but remember, my name is Ken Green. If the guy involved is Seve Ballesteros, Greg Norman or Ben Crenshaw, he's going to be given relief. You can make book on it.

Anyway, the second official, Michael Bonallack, secretary of the Royal and Ancient, came up and didn't even hesitate. He flat refused to give him relief and told Seve to play the shot. Later, I heard the television guys, most notably Tom Weiskopf, noted that I had a responsibility to protect the field in this kind of situation.

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