APRIL 17, 2017

What is Jason Dufner’s problem?

I’ve covered only golf in my career, but according to many of the older writers who have chronicled other sports, professional golfers are the best athletes to cover.

Any sport has its difficult personalities, but the vast majority of professional golfers understand that they are fortunate to be on the PGA Tour, and they act accordingly. They are the best of the best, playing for millions of dollars each week and with the opportunity to earn in one year what most people would earn in a lifetime.


Dustin Johnson continues to excite the Las Vegas oddsmakers ahead of the U.S. Open, despite his last-minute withdrawal from the Masters with a back injury.

Johnson, the reigning U.S. Open champion, rates as a 7-1 favorite to win the June 15-18 national championship at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. He also was favored two weeks ago to win his first green jacket but slipped down stairs in his rental home in Augusta, Ga., on the eve of the Masters. Minutes before the first round, he said that he couldn’t swing without pain and withdrew.

Put a muzzle on TV’s ‘soft drivel’

I suspect that the soft drivel spouted by the commentators during golf telecasts is a producer's effort to expand viewership by making the participants' persona "family friendly." Personally, I prefer to hear more meaningful commentary about the course, the players themselves, why the shot or putt wasn't executed as predicted by the analyst, etc. Enough of what the player's wife is doing or his father and brother are doing in the community.

In no other sport do fans have to endure the constant drone of family information. We don't listen to this when hoopsters are shooting foul shots, when pitchers are holding a man on base or when teams are huddling. It's quite sufficient that children run up on the green when victory is secured. Nothing similar occurs in any other sport.

Keeping score


Number of South Carolinians to win in the 49-year history of the RBC Heritage, after PGA Tour rookie Wesley Bryan closed with a 4-under 67 Sunday at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, S.C. Bryan, who became an Internet sensation with his brother George in forming the Bryan Brothers trick-shot duo, shot 13-under 271 for his first Tour victory. Bryan, 27, a Columbia, S.C., native and South Carolina graduate, jumped 36 spots in the Official World Golf Ranking, to 37th. He ended last year at No. 127 after a three-victory season on the Tour.


Number of Canadians to win on the PGA Tour Champions, after Stephen Ames shot 6-under 66 Sunday for a 201 total and four-stroke victory in the Mitsubishi Electric Classic at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Ga. Ames, 52, joins countrymen Dave Barr and Rod Spittle as winners on the 50-and-older tour.


Number of years since Italy’s Edoardo Molinari had won on the European Tour. Molinari, 36, the 2005 U.S. Amateur champion and older brother of touring pro Francesco Molinari, defeated Ireland’s Paul Dunne with a par on the first playoff hole to win the Trophee Hassan II at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat, Morocco. Molinari had eagled the par-5 finishing hole to complete a 5-under 68 for a 9-under 283 total before Dunne, the 54-hole leader, made birdie to force the playoff.


Career earnings, in dollars, for Cristie Kerr, who pocketed $300,000 for winning the LPGA’s Lotte Championship on Saturday at Ko Olina Golf Club in Kapolei, Hawaii. Bouyed by a third-round 62, Kerr, 39, shot 20-under 268 for a three-stroke victory. She ranks third on the LPGA’s career money list and T-27 on the all-time victory list, with 19.

In the news

Honored: With the Byron Nelson Award, Stanford senior Maverick McNealy. The award recognizes a graduating senior for his academics, athletics, character, integrity and citizenship. McNealy, of Portola Valley, Calif., is a two-time Pac-12 player of the year who won the Jack Nicklaus Award as national player of the year in 2015. He is exempted into this year’s U.S. Open and British Open as winner of the 2016 Mark H. McCormack Medal, which goes to the No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.


18Birdies, a mobile golf-technology startup, has signed PGA Tour players Willy Wilcox and Harold Varner III in conjunction with its launch of Live Rounds, the company announced. Live Rounds allows golfers to share their rounds, stats and achievements in real time.

Golf-apparel maker Bradley Allan has introduced its spring collection, the company announced. The line includes polos and outwear.

April 19-22
Junior: Sage Valley Junior Invitational
Sage Valley Golf Club, Graniteville, S.C.
April 20-23
European Tour: Shenzhen International
Genzon GC, Shenzhen, China Tour: United Leasing and Finance Championship
Victoria National GC, Newburgh, Ind.
PGA Tour: Valero Texas Open
TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course)
April 21-23
Champions Tour: Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge
Top of the Rock, Ridgedale, Mo.
Symetra Tour: Sara Bay Classic
Sara Bay CC, Sarasota, Fla.
April 25-26
National Golf Day
April 27-30 Tour: El Bosque Mexico Championship
El Bosque CC, Leon, Mexico
LPGA: Volunteers of America Texas Shootout
Las Colinas CC, Irving, Texas
PGA Tour: Zurich Classic of New Orleans
TPC Louisiana, Avondale, La.
European Tour: Volvo China Open
Topwin Golf and CC, Beijing
April 28-30
Symetra Tour: Symetra Classic
Atlanta National GC, Milton, Ga.
Industry: Haggin Oaks Golf Expo
Haggin Oaks Golf Complex, Sacramento, Calif.

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