Golf

Friday, August 12, 2022
Fowler sneaks in at No. 125 and shoots 65 . . .

    Si Woo Kim and J. J. Spaun are tied for first in the FedEx St. Jude Championship in Memphis, first event in the season-ending FedEx playoffs. The top 125 on the points list were eligible to begin play this week, but only 120 started. Without the LIV defectors. 

    The top 70 on Sunday will advance to the BMW Championship, and the top 30 thereafter will go on to the Tour Championship in East Lake.  

    Kim gained his deadlock at the top by holing out from 167 yards for an eagle on No. 18, going six under on the final six holes, while Spaun made a simple 62 with eight birdies. The duo has a one-stroke lead over Sahith Theegala's 63, and two over a group at 64, including defending champ Tony Finau, J. T. Poston, K. H. Lee and Sepp Straka. Finau won his last two events, the 3M Open in Minnesota and the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, collecting close to $2.9 million for the pair. He's also the defending champ in the FedEx St. Jude. 

    Rickie Fowler, who was about to miss the playoffs for the first time in eons, made it at No. 125 because of the scratching of the LIV group and took full advantage of his situation with a 5-under 65, good for a tie for eighth.

    CAMS: Davis, Young and Smith, 67s, tied for 29th; Tringale, 72, not in top 70 - projected cut is 1 under; Champ and Percy not playing. There are 76 players at 1 under or better.

    Gator Billy Horschel is tied for 49th with a 2-under 68. 

    In trouble: Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Sungjae Im, 70; leading money-winner Scottie Scheffler, 71, along with Will Zalatoris, Matt Kuchar and Justin Rose.   

Monday, August 8, 2022
Yes, Wyndham was a PGA Tour event . . .

    Let's say two friends have parted for a few weeks - one has left for overseas to report on Ukraine vs. Russia, the other went to report on the Wyndham Championship.

    The first guy comes home and his friend decides to play a joke on him: he hands him a list of the top seven in the latest Korn Ferry Tour event. 

1 - Joohyung Kim . . . 20 under

2 -Sungjae Im and John Huh - 15 under.

4 - Ben Griffin - 14 under.

5 - Max McGreevy, Russell Henley and Taylor Moore - 13 under.

    The guy who's been in Ukraine is impressed. He tells friend No. 2 that these guys should do well on the PGA Tour next season. That's when he finds out this was the order of finish of last week's PGA event in Greensboro. He tells his friend to stop pulling his leg. 

    Does it sound nuts? Not if you're guy No. 2. Golf is in trouble. Deep, deep trouble. The fans who have been supporting the PGA Tour for decades deserve better. The defectors who have decided they can't live on the $40 million or $50 million or $100 million they have banked over the years don't seem to be concerned. 

    Can it go on like this? I doubt it. 

 

 

Friday, August 5, 2022
LIV tour has the sport in disarray . . .

    The Wyndham Championship has greatly accentuated the woes the PGA Tour has encountered in the past couple of months due to the LIV league with its outrageous purse structure and pilfered roster fully in play.

    After one round in Greensboro, North Carolina, John Huh is the Wyndham leader at 9 under par. His 61 is a shining monument to the prowess of the new sharks who have taken charge of the PGA Tour in the wake of the defections of so many marquee players to the Norman/Saudi group. Huh is a headline-writers' dream, but he won't he drawing Tiger-like galleries anytime soon.

    Huh has a two-stroke lead over Sungjae Im (63) and three over Brandon Wu (64) as the standing of each player listed to the right of the scores, such as 78-111-183-97-132-off-119 and 122, only illuminates the state of the PGA union. At this time, the only thing that can help the PGA Tour through this trying time is the return of Eldrick Woods, and that's something they can't count on. 

    Gators: Billy Horschel - 67, -3, tied for 23rd; Camilo Villegas - 71, +1, tied for 109th; Brian Gay - 74, withdrew. Seminoles: Hank Lebioda - 69, -1, tied for 58th; Chase Seiffert - 70, Even. 

Sunday, July 31, 2022
Neither tour will prosper from the current mess . . .

    The PGA Tour vs. LIV has reached new 'heights' this week, and it's not good news for either.

    The established league is in Detroit for the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and Taylor Pendrith and Tony Finau are tied for the lead at 21 under par after 54 holes. One of the Cams, Young to be exact, is third at 17 under, Stephen Jaeger fourth at 16 under and Patrick Cantlay fifth at 15 under. Not like the glory days when the leaders on Sunday were fellas named Tiger, and Phil, and Dustin, and Brooks, and the galleries were packed from tee to green and everywhere in between.

    On the other hand, LIV has no TV, no main newspaper coverage, and aside from the PGA defectors features a parking lot full of players who are heroes in their own living rooms, as the saying goes. About half the field competing at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, are complete strangers to U. S. golf fans. 

    Sure, Dustin is there, and Henrik Stenson, and Phil, and Louis Oosthuizen, and Brooks Koepka, but so are Sadom Kaewkanjana, Eugenio Lopez-Chacana, Jinichiro Kazuma and David Puig, and about 15 or so others in the same non-recognition boat.

    Stenson is leading in Jersey at 9 under after 36 holes, with Dustin three behind. Patrick Reed, Carlos Ortiz and Talor Gooch are tied for third at 5 under. Next come Lee Westwood, Turk Pettit and Phachara Khongwatmai at 4 under. Too many names that will perplex headline writers. 

    Mr. Mickelson, who seems to have lost it in the last few months, is tied for 40th in a field of 48 at 6 over par. If the scenario has overwhelmed him, and Phil continues to struggle, he won't be a draw for spectators, and the enormous sum of cash the Saudis laid out to draw him in will be a total waste. 

    Adding to the mounting problems of the LIV's is that Donald Trump has lost most of his bootlickers in the media so coverage - so far - has been scant. Crowds at Bedminster have been disappointing, and reports are that tickets for the event have been selling online for $1. That's a recipe for disaster. 

    Families of 9/11 victims have been extremely vocal in their view of partnering with Saudis when it's a fact that 15 of the 19 suicide hijackers were Saudi-based, even though Trump no longer admits it. They, and millions of other Saudi haters will never support LIV, and that makes it a difficult sell for this country. 

    LIV is handing out outrageous sums of cash to 48 players who are mostly millionaires; they would be better off using their wealth to feed the starving masses in so many parts of the world around them.   

 

Saturday, July 30, 2022
He's 15 under par with a one-stroke lead . . .

    With so many of the game's heroes playing in the controversial Saudi league, the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit lost much of its luster. So it's no wonder there are a great many fans wondering who the heck is Taylor Pendrith. The answer: he's the 36-hole leader at the Detroit Golf Club, with rounds of 64-65-129, 15 under par. He has a one stroke lead over a name familiar to the golf faithful, Tony Finau, second with 64-66-130, and three strokes over Lee Hodges (who?), who has posted rounds of 66-66-132.

    There are five Cams in the field - Cam Young at 10 under, Cam Tringale at 4 under, defending champ Cam Davis and Cam Champ at 3 under, and Cam Percy, who shot 73, withdrew, and will be home for the weekend.     

    All the Gators and Seminoles: Brian Gay, Camilo Villegas, Chase Seiffert and Hank Lebioda, missed the cut.  

    It will be interesting to watch the galleries today and tomorrow to see how they compare to days gone by. 

    

Monday, July 25, 2022
There are six on the PGA Tour . . .

    If there was such a thing as PGA Tour trivia, and the question was to name as many Camerons (or Cams) as you can who are currently playing on Tour, it's a pretty good bet that not even the rest of the PGA players could name them all. A related question could be 'What does $21,244,921 represent?'

    The answer to question No. 1 is six. The answer to No. 2 is that's how much combined cash the six have earned as the 2021-2022 season nears its completion. 

    Talk about the old saw 'You can't tell the players without a program,' five of the six will be competing this week in the $8.4 million Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, and most in the galleries are sure not to be able to distinguish between them.

    Here's a list of the six, where they stand on the money list, and how much each has earned.

2 - Cam Smith, $9,847,004.

11 - Cam Young, $5,672,611.

29 - Cam Tringale, $2,999,771.

 77 - Cam Davis, $1,507,069.

133 - Cam Champ, $841,338.

 171 - Cam Percy, $377,128.

    Obviously, none of the six is missing any meals, although Percy may have a problem retaining his exemption for the upcoming new season beginning in September. Of course, the list is minus the LIV guys - Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and the rest - who have been removed from the rolls by the PGA bigwigs. 

    Smith is the only one who has won this year and he's captured three titles. Davis won the one beginning Thursday last year, and last year Champ won the 3M Open, which Tony Finau won yesterday. 

    Finau closed with 67 and 72 holes in 17 under to nail down his third PGA title. Sungjae Im and Emiliano Grillo tied for second at 14 under, Grillo blowing his chance with a Sunday 71. James Hahn tied for fourth after a 65 which included an eagle hole-out from 69 yards out on the par-5 12th hole, followed by birdies on 14-15-16 for a back nine 31. Tom Hoge lost his shot with a Sunday 70 and finished at 13 under, and Scott Piercy, who just needed a 71 to win it all, blew up to 76 and wound up at 13 under. 

    Seminoles: Hank Lebioda, 7 under, tie for 16th; Chase Seiffert, 2 under, tie for 45th. Gators: Camilo Villegas, tie for 58th, +1. 

 

    

 

 

    

Saturday, July 23, 2022
Scott Piercy holds a three-stroke edge . . .

    With seven holes to play yesterday in the second round of the 3M Championship, Ted Potter was 1 over par for the day and 2 over for the 29 holes he had played. With the cut line sitting at 1 over, Ted needed to make one birdie on the final seven to make the cut in Blaine, Minnesota. But he couldn't find a birdie while making three bogeys on the way in, and wound up with 72-75-147, 5 over par and missing the cut by four strokes. 

    Scott Piercy added a 64 to his opening 65 and is 13 under par heading into today's moving day. He's three strokes ahead of Emiliano Grillo (67-65-132), as co-leader Sungjae Im fell off the pace with 65-70-135. 

    Gator Camilo Villegas (72-69-141) made the cut at 1 under, but Matt Every (73-76) and Brian Gay (79-71) did not. Seminole Hank Lebioda made it with 68-74-142, even par. 

Friday, July 22, 2022
Ted is right on the cutline of +1 . . .

    Ted Potter opened with a 1-over-par 72 at the 3M Open in Blaine, Minnesota, and is in a 19-way deadlock for the final spots for making the cut, which was +2 as round 1 ended. He hasn't made a cut in quite a while, so today's round will be important for him.

    Scott Piercy is the co-leader with Sungjae Im, both posting scores of 65, six under par over the TPC Twin Cities course. They lead by two over Tony Finau, Emiliano Grillo, Tom Hoge, Brice Garnett and Doug Ghim, who shot 67. There are nine 68s, including Seminole Hank Lebioda.

    Gator Brian Gay was way off his recent sharp dual-tour game with an 8-over 79. Matt Every is one off the projected early cut with 73, and Camilo Villegas is tied with Ted at 1 over-72. Seminole Chase Seiffert is at even-par 71. 

    Ted made one birdie on the front nine, his only one of the day. He added bogeys on 11 and 18, where he hit his tee shot into the water. A good pitch from 36 yards out to within two feet saved him from taking a double.   

Friday, July 22, 2022
Includes long-time Ocalan Tom Alvey . . .

    The Marion County Golf Association has added four new members to the board of directors - Tom Alvey, Tim Hunt, Dick McDonough and Steve Humphrey. Below is a brief introduction.

    Tom Alvey moved to Ocala from Ohio in 1965 and even though he wasn't a golfer, he quickly picked up the game and became notably one of the best putters to step on any green in the county. Tom is a former Golden Hills club champion.  Tom's organizational skills, roll up his shirt sleeves and pitch-in work ethic makes him a valuable asset for the board. Tom married his wife Carol 37 years ago and they have one daughter, two granddaughters and two great-granddaughters.

    Tim Hunt is assuming the position of Director of Communications, succeeding John Morgan Elliott who recently made a career change which has taken him to Atlanta. Tim was born and raised in Ocala and is teaching physical education at Maplewood elementary school. He is no stranger to the local golf scene, having coached the Forest High School team from 2006-2012. He is married to Victoria and they have an 8-year-old daughter, Violet.

    Dick McDonough moved from Virginia to Ocala in 2016 with his wife of 52 years, Judith. Dick brings plenty of golfing organizational experience to the board, having been President of the Quantico Men's Golf Association and on the BOD of the Roseville Golf Club. He has many club championships on his resume and he's won several events in Marion County, the most notable being the 2019 Marion Masters Super Championship. The McDonoughs have six children and 12 grandchildren.

    Steve Humphrey, who along with his wife of 27 years, Dianne, moved from Kentucky to Ocala in 2019. brings a great deal of experience to the table having served on the Kentucky Golf Association Player Advisory Board. Steve's golfing skills became quickly recognized in Ocala; he won numerous events with the most notable being the Doug Oswald Invitational. Steve has won many tournaments throughout the country and holds several Kentucky Senior titles (Open twice and Amateur twice). He is currently the fifth-ranked Super Senior in the country.
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
All looking to regain Tour exemptions . . .

    With the Tour elites spending last week at The Open in Scotland and now ready for a brief vacation, this week's 3M Open in Blaine, Minnesota has become an event that welcomes players of all shapes and sizes, from all sections of the world of golf. It's a chance for those who have lost their PGA exemptions to get back in business, and that includes Ted Potter.

    Ted has had a series of missed cuts and this one can get him back on track. The defending champ is the Cam who didn't dazzle the Scots with a 1-2 finish at St. Andrews - Cameron Champ - who shot 15-under 269 last year to defeat Ocalan Louis Oosthuizen by two strokes. Also returning is the previous winner, Michael Thompson, who was 19 under in 2020, and Chez Reavie, winner of last week's Barracuda Championship with a plus 43 total using the modified Stableford scoring system. 

    The most recognizable names on the 3M entry list are Rickie Fowler, Stewart Cink, Jason Day, Tony Finau and Hideki Matsuyama. Gators include Camilo Villegas, Matt Every and dual Tour player Brian Gay, and the two Seminoles are Hank Lebioda and Chase Seiffert. 

    Cam Smith made an unbelievable comeback to win The Open after it looked like Rory McIlroy or Viktor Hovland had a huge advantage after 54 holes. But Rory closed with a 70, and Hovland with 74, while Smith shot 2-under 34 on the front, then birdied holes 10-14, and added another on 18 to finish with 64, 20 under par. Cam Young was just as spectacular, also posting a 34 on the front nine, then making three birdies and an impossible eagle on No. 18 to miss tying Smith by one stroke and forcing a playoff. All four deserve the week off. 

    

Sunday, July 17, 2022
Louis one shy of The Open weekend, Ted isn't close at Barracuda. . .

    Both of Ocala's prides made early exits from their respective engagements this weekend, Louiis Oosthuizen from The Open at St. Andrews and Ted Potter from the Barracuda Championship in California.  

    Louis and his brethren from the controversial LIV tour, as expected, took a lot of heat over in Scotland, as everybody - other contestants, the media, and the fans - wanted to put the Saudi-backed enterprise front and center.  Louis bowed out after Friday's round, missing the cut by one stroke after he took a triple bogey seven on the par-4 16th hole. That put him two away from the cut of even par, and he whittled it to one with an 18th-hole birdie. 

    But other LIVers had greater success: Dustin Johnson heads into today's finale tied for seventh at 10 under par, six behind co-leaders Viktor Hovland and hometown favorite RoryMcIlroy, both 16 under. Shane Lowry is 7 under, Ian Poulter 5 under, Lee Westwood and Talor Gooch 4 under and Sergio Garcia 3 under. Seminole Brooks Koepka missed the cut at 4 over, as did John Daly and his beard at 3 over. 

    Lowry added to the day's festivities with a pair of long pitch-in eagles, while Hovland sparked his round of 66 by birdieing four holes in a row, 3, 4, 5 and 6, and didn't have a bogey on his card. McIlroy thrilled his thousands of followers and the TV audience with a hole-out from a bunker for an eagle on No. 10.

    Hovland has tucked away rounds of 68-66-66-200, while McIlroy's cards read 68-66-66-200, and they'll go to the first tee with a four-stroke edge over the two Cams, Young (64-69-71-204) and Smith (67-64-73-204), the early leaders whose Saturday rounds may have knocked them out since the top pair show no signs of faltering. Si Woo Kim and red-hot Scottie Scheffler are both hanging around at 11 under. Gator Billy Horschel can make some hay - he's at 4 under 212, tied for 35th.

    The most intriguing non-LIV tale is that of Alex Noren, who had moved up to first alternate as post time was approaching in Scotland. But Alex didn't want to be excluded from all play this week so he decided not to take a chance that there would be one more defection, and he hopped aboard a jet for California and the Barracuda Championship. As luck would have it, there were not one but two late defections, Justin Rose and Erik Van Rooyen, and Rikuya Hoshino and Aaron Rai took the spots Noren left behind. The former shot 75-73 and missed the cut, while the latter did likewise with 75-72. After 54 holes in California, where they're utilizing the modified Stableford scoring system, Noren is tied for third with 28 points. 

    Chez Reavie is the Stableford leader with 37 points. He's six ahead of Martin Laird and nine better than Noren and the last Cam - Davis. Kevin Tway, one of the 36-hole leaders, dropped from plus 21 (4th) to plus 19 (24th) with a -2 round. 

    Seminole Chase Sieffert is tied for 40th at plus 16 but teammate Hank Lebioda missed the cut by a stroke. Gators Camilo Villegas (+6) and Matt Every (+1) also headed home. 

    Ted shot rounds of 37-40-77 (two birdies, six bogeys, one double) and 39-35-74 (three birdies, four bogeys, one double) and at -6 missed the cut by 13 points.  

            

Tuesday, July 12, 2022
Tiger, Phil, Oostie and Sergio spice up St. Andrews spectacular . . .

    It used to be called the British Open in America, but now it's simply called "The Open Championship," as it has always been known across the sea. And this week's renewal at historic St. Andrews is attracting more attention than ever before for a variety of reasons.

    Tiger Woods, winner of The Open in 2000, 2005 and 2006, is back and has been the subject of much speculation since his arrival a few days ago. 

    Then, there's the group of PGA Tour players who have been among the backbone of U. S. play for so many years; among them Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy (2014 winner), Tony Finau, Jordan Spieth (2017 winner). 

    There's the cadre of newbies who seemingly have taken over the Tour in the past year or so - Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa, Sam Burns, Will Zalatoris, Xander Schauffele, Abraham Ancer, Joaquin Niemann, Patrick Cantlay. 

    There's the smaller group of LIV defectors who have been allowed to compete this week because it's not an event sponsored by the PGA Tour, which has suspended them - Phil Mickelson, Ocalan Louis Oosthuizen, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Talor Gooch, Ian Poulter, Branden Grace, etc. Phil won The Open in 2013, Louis won in 2010. 

    There's Trey Mullinax, a mostly minor league player who apparently was invited after winning the Barbasol Championship on Sunday. 

    There's the oldies - a bunch of former winners who have no chance of winning this one and probably little chance of making the cut, but who love St. Andrews, dating back to 1989 (Gator Mark Calcavecchia). Also included: John Daly (1995), David Duval (2001), Darren Clarke (2011), Padraig Harrington (2007, 2008), Zach Johnson (2015), who's only 46 but who hasn't been a factor for several years, Stewart Cink, who found new life at the age of 48 (2009), and Ernie Els, who one might say is due in 2022 after winning in 2002 and 2012.   

    There's the other recent winners - defending champ Collin Morikawa, Shane Lowry (2019), Francesco Molinari (2018), and Henrik Stenson (2016), who holds The Open record of 20 under par.

    There's the huge group whose names and faces are unknow to U. S. aficionados - Ashley Chesters, Justin De Los Santos, Ben Campbell, Barclay Brown, Guido Migliozzi, Marco Penge - and many more. 

    There's not: Greg Norman (1986, 1993), organizer of the LIV circuit, who would probably have had to show up in Fife, Scotland in body armor. 

    There promises to be more written about this edition of The Open than any in history, even more than when Tom Morris Jr. won four in a row from 1868 to 1872 (no event in '81). Picking a winner? Impossible! 

    

Monday, July 11, 2022
Ted is removed from Korn Ferry list at Memorial . . .

    This was todays early take for Ted Potter's upcoming week: It no longer stands.

    (Ted Potter's chances to return to the PGA Tour next season through success on the Korn Ferry Tour, as he did in 2011, have narrowed down to four more regular-season events and the three $1 million playoff tournaments.

    The first of these events is this week's Memorial Health Championship presented by LRS in Springfield, Illinois. It's being played at the Panther Creek Country Club and there's the usual $750,000 in purse money. Ted has played seven Korn Ferry events and collected only $8,498 in checks, which is tied for 180th. When he moved up to the big time after the 2011 season, he had won twice and earned just over $400,000 when it was known as Buy.com, good for the second spot on the money list.)

    There are many familiar faces playing in the Memorial this week, players who have previously enjoyed success on the PGA Tour and are struggling to get back, such as Daniel Chopra, Sam Saunders, Tag Ridings, Erik Compton and Boo Weekley.

    Gator Tyson Alexander, who lives in Jacksonville but still plays out of Gainesville, is a virtual cinch to make his first PGA foray: he's seventh on the money list with $235,217 in the bank. 

    Back to Ted. He was also entered in the $3.7 million Barracuda Championship in Truckee, California and is now listed in the field; he's been removed from the Memorial. But his success on the PGA Tour has been nil.

    Ted has also played in seven PGA events and missed all seven cuts. He has three rounds in the 80s and only a pair of 68s, one at the Bermuda Championship and one at the Barbasol. He's 46 over par, and his only sub-par 36-hole score - minus 1 - came at the Barbasol where he shot 75-68. 

    There are two Gators in the Barracuda - Matt Every and CamiloVillegas - and one Seminole, Hank Lebioda.  

KELLY RALLIES TO WIN SENIOR BRIDGESTONE OPEN - Jerry Kelly's 11 under par proved to be best in the scramble in the Senior Bridgestone Open - two strokes better than Steve Stricker and three better than Steven Alker and Ernie Els.

    The no-cut format for most senior-type events is a gift for many, whose games just aren't good enough to give the elite group (listed above) a run for their money. Case in point: Gator Chris DiMarco is like the 'old gray mare who ain't what she used to be' judging by his 17over total for this one, 28 strokes behind Kelly. 

    Alex Cejka, in contention from the start, shot 73 yesterday to drop into a tie for fifth. Gator Brian Gay tied for 31st at 2 over, and Scott Dunlap tied for 44th at 5 over. Marco Dawson, former touring pro at Ocala's Adena Springs, finished 10th at 4 under.  Justin Leonard's senior debut was a bust - he tied for 61st at 11 over - and former Ocalan Roger Rowland opened with 76, then withdrew. 

Sunday, July 10, 2022
He has a two-stroke lead over Cabrera Bello . . .

    Xander Schauffele opened the Scottish Open with a 2-over-par 72 at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick on Thursday, but he has rebounded with rounds of 65 and 66 and goes into today's finale at 7 under par, with a two-stroke lead over Rafa Cabrera Bello. Two Jordans, Spieth and Smith, are tied for third at 4 under, followed by a slew of hopefuls another stroke or two behind.

    With the par-70 course not yielding many super rounds, Xander doesn't have to do too much to bag another tournament and add it to the growing list of titles of about 10 young Turks who have taken over the PGA Tour. Cameron Tringale, who shot 9-under-61 on Thursday folded his tent with 72 and 74, but still isn't out of the running. He's 3 under and tied for fifth. 

    Billy Horschel, the only Gator in the field, shot 75-70 and missed the cut. 

BRIDGESTONE UP FOR GRABS:

    The Bridgestone Senior Players Championship is a wide open affair heading into today's finale. Alex Cejka, Steve Stricker, Jerry Kelly and Steven Alker are all in the mix at Firestone in Dubin, Ohio. Former Ocalan Roger Rowland shot 76 Thursday and then withdrew.

    Justin Leonard's debut with the seniors isn't going well - he's 10 over par after 54 holes. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022
Faces tough field at famed Firestone Country Club in Akron ...

    Former Ocalan Roger Rowland began the week as the fourth alternate for the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship at the famed Firestone South course in Akron, Ohio. Today, Roger is in the field, and he'll be first off the first tee at 10 a. m. tomorrow in the company of Mark Walker. 

    Roger has had a rough beginning in his initial season on the Champions Tour - nine events played and a meager $15,248 in earnings, good for 108th place on the money list. But with a larger-than-usual purse of $3 million, he can make a big step up the ladder with the kind of performance he displayed when he finished fifth in the Tour's qualifying tournament, closing with 6-under-par 30 on his final nine. 

    The event also marks the debut of Justin Leonard, who turned 50 on June 15. Justin left the PGA Tour five years ago, and prepped for this one by asking for - and receiving - an exemption into the AT&T Byron Nelson in mid-May. He shot 71-70 and missed the cut by four strokes, but felt he could be respectable with the elderly set. Justin has been an invaluable asset on Golf Channel and NBC telecasts, and expects to continue in that role with a trimmed-down schedule. 

    Gators who will be on hand for the Bridgestone are Chris DiMarco, dual-Tour player Brian Gay and Scott Dunlap. Gay has been on a wild ride since turning 50. He's played in 15 PGA Tour events this season and earned $203,278 with his best a tie for 12th at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. With the senior set he's collected $326,223 for seven events, his best a fourth-place finish in the Chubb Classic. Not a bad haul through the first week of July. In his career, Gay has earnings of $24,022,381, playing in 641 tournaments. 

    In the Bridgestone, they'll all have to deal with such as red-hot Steven Alker, Steve Stricker, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Bernhard Langer, Mike Weir and Padraig Harrington, all at the top of their game.

    Mr. Rowland has his work cut out for him.   

Sunday, July 3, 2022
Dustin Johnson second, Oostie is fifth . . .

From the wires:

   Branden Grace produced a spectacular third round to win the LIV Golf Portland event and claim the £3.2m ($4 million) first prize. The South African had started Saturday two shots behind Carlos Ortiz but a round of 65 saw him storm to victory three shots clear of the Mexican. Former world No. 1 Dustin Johnson had been in contention despite a slow start but couldn’t keep pace with Grace on the back nine, while Patrick Reed’s charge came too late to threaten the top two.

    Grace won twice on the PGA Tour and nine times on the European Tour before defecting to LIV Golf prior to the inaugural event at Centurion Club. He is part of the Stinger GC team that won just outside London as Charl Schwartzel claimed victory. Despite Grace’s performance, it was the 4 Aces team featuring Johnson, Reed, Pat Perez and Talor Gooch that took the prize this time around.

    While the action unfolded, LIV Golf announced its latest new signing in Ryder Cup regular Paul Casey. “LIV Golf continues to attract the best players in the sport as it builds increasingly competitive fields with each event,” LIV Golf’s chief executive, Greg Norman, said. “Paul Casey adds to the growing list of top 50 golfers who are excited to be part of an innovative and entertaining format that is creating something new for golf. His proven track record on a global stage adds another exciting piece to the competition as we prepare for Bedminster.”

    Louis Oosthuizen finished fifth at 7 under and brought $975,000 back to Ocala. 

    Branden Grace: -13; Carlos Ortiz: -10; Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson: -9; Louis Oosthuizen: -7 

 

Saturday, July 2, 2022
Too many no-name players, plus poor performances by marquee players, spell danger . . .

    The new and controversial LIV golf group is in its second week and despite its monster payouts it's anybody's guess how long it will last in its present state.

    After 36 holes (out of 54) in the event at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Dustin Johnson is tied for the lead with rounds of 68-68-136, 8 under par. Carlos Ortiz is also 8 under with rounds of 67-69-136, followed by Branden Grace at 6 under and Justin Harding (who?) at 5 under. 

    Seminole Books Koepka (70-70-140) is 4 under, tied with Ocala's Louis Oosthuizen (71-69-140) and three others. 

    The LIV site says that today's finale is sold out, but will it continue that way if Sergio Garcia continues to shoot 6 over par, and Phil Mickelson 10 over, as they finished in the first event in London? Phil goes into today's round after a pair of 75s; he's 6 over and tied for 36th.

    It's a major question as to just how long it will take for fans to shrug off the newness of the whole affair when Itthipat Buranatanyarat shoots 79-74, Sadom Kaewkanjana 82-70, Phachara Khongwatmai 77-75 and Jediah Morgan 76-84, to pinpoint just a few? There are plenty more of the cold-shooting no-names among the league of 48.

    Charl Schwartzel won the London event and collected $4 million. Hennie Duplessis, a huge favorite in his own household, was second, worth $2,125,000, and Petr Uihlein's tie for third was worth $1,275, 000 more than his whole career on the PGA Tour. 

    The players making the huge paychecks will continue to support Greg Norman's folly, and why not? But what will happen if the LIV goes under and Phil and Dustin and Louis and Sergio and Bryson all ask to come back to the PGA? Will they be accepted, or will the PGA guys say no dice, traitors! This is a story that won't say 'the end' for a while.    

Thursday, June 30, 2022
Field of 22 set for July 23-24 . . .
    DETROIT – Intersport today announced the men’s field committed to compete in THE JOHN SHIPPEN National Golf Invitational presented by Rocket Mortgage. The 36-hole stroke play competition for Black male professional and amateur golfers will be held July 23-24 at Detroit Golf Club in Detroit, Michigan. A one-hour TV special about THE JOHN SHIPPEN will air on CBS leading into final-round coverage of the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Sunday, July 31. 

    The winner of the event will earn an exemption into the Rocket Mortgage Classic (July 28–31). Eleven of the 22 men in the field for the 2022 THE JOHN SHIPPEN National Golf Invitational presented by Rocket Mortgage are SHIPPEN alumni, including defending champion Tim O’Neal.  

    THE JOHN SHIPPEN, designed to showcase Black amateur and professional golfers, is named after John Shippen Jr., who was the first American-born golf professional and also the country’s first Black golf professional. Shippen was bestowed PGA of America membership posthumously in 2009. 

    To ensure that any financial barriers are removed, THE JOHN SHIPPEN will cover all travel costs (airfare and hotel) for participating players.



 

 


 


 

 





 





 











 


 


 


 


 


 


 





 



 


 


 

 


MEDIA CONTACTS:  


Solomon Hughes, 614.315.2446,
[email protected]  


Greg Ball, 760.271.9183,
[email protected]  


 


INTERSPORT ANNOUNCES MEN’S FIELD FOR 


THE JOHN SHIPPEN NATIONAL GOLF INVITATIONAL  


PRESENTED BY ROCKET MORTGAGE 


 


THE JOHN SHIPPEN National Golf Invitational Presented by Rocket Mortgage 


Invites the Nation’s Top Black Male Professional & Amateur Golfers  


to Compete July 23-24
at Detroit Golf Club; Event to Air on CBS in Advance of the PGA TOUR’s Rocket Mortgage Classic 


 


The Field Will Compete for an Exemption into the Rocket Mortgage Classic 


 


DETROIT (June 30, 2022) – Intersport today announced the men’s field of players committed to compete in
THE JOHN SHIPPEN National Golf Invitational presented by Rocket Mortgage. The
36-hole stroke play competition for Black male professional and amateur golfers will be held July 23-24 at Detroit Golf Club in Detroit, Michigan. A one-hour TV special about
THE JOHN SHIPPEN will air on CBS leading into final-round coverage of the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Sunday, July 31. 


 


The winner of the event will earn an exemption into the Rocket Mortgage Classic (July 28–31). Eleven of the 22 men in the field for the 2022
THE JOHN SHIPPEN National Golf Invitational presented by Rocket Mortgage are SHIPPEN alumni, including defending champion Tim O’Neal.  


 


THE JOHN SHIPPEN, designed to showcase Black amateur and professional golfers, is named after John Shippen, Jr., who was the first American-born golf professional and also the country’s first Black golf professional. Shippen
 was bestowed PGA of America membership posthumously in 2009. 


 


To ensure that any financial barriers are removed, THE JOHN SHIPPEN will cover all travel costs (airfare and hotel) for participating players.
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Ted should get into one of them . . .
    Ted Potter remains in limbo - as of this morning he's still the No. 1 alternate for the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic, but he's moved up from No. 4 alternate to No. 1 for the Korn Ferry Tour's The Ascendant in Colorado. There's bound to be one more defection before Thursday in one of the two events - we think. 
Monday, June 27, 2022
Ted should make it into the John Deere Classic as first alternate . . .

    Once again, Ted Potter has entered two events and made the alternates' list on both this week, and his best bet is no doubt the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic. Ted is the first alternate in that one and that usually means he'll move up in the next 24 to 48 hours. He's also the fourth alternate for the Korn Ferry Tour's The Ascendant presented by Blue in Berthoud, Colorado

    Ted missed the cut by one stroke last week at the Live and Work in Maine Open in Falmouth, Maine.

    Xander Schauffele won the Traveler's Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut at 19 under 261. He was locked in battle, one stroke behind Sahith Theegala, heading into No. 18, but Theegala double bogeyed the par 4 to drop to 17 under, while Xander made a short birdie putt to wind up two strokes ahead. Seminole Hank Lebioda tied for 56th at 2 under.

    Lebioda will play in the John Deere, along with Seminole Chase Seiffert and Gators Matt Every, Brian Gay and Camilo Villegas. Gay has been successfully dividing his time between the PGA Tour and the Champions in the past few months.

    Brian finished tied for 18th at 2 over par last week in the U. S. Senior Open in Bethlehem, PA, where the golf course was the winner even though Padraig Harrington officially finished first. Padraig collected $720,000 after shooting 10-under 274, but closed with 72. Only Steve Stricker (final round 65) made it close - he was 9 under, five strokes ahead of third-place Mark Hensby. 

     How difficult the course was is borne out by the cut line of +5, and that 16 players shot 20-over-par or worse. Even Bernhard Langer, the perennial champ, was seven over. Gators: Chris DiMarco 9 over, Mark Calcavecchia 14 over.