MONDAY, MAY 29, 2017
by Steve Elling

A straw cowboy hat adorning his head, Mike Spencer leaned on the metal railing situated along the driving range at TPC Sawgrass with a cup of cold beer in hand, watching attentively as players warmed up during one of the biggest weeks in golf. Hundreds of fans milled about at The Players Championship, animatedly and excitedly, because their heroes were nearly within arm’s reach.

Spencer, a self-described avid golfer, watched as Aussie star Jason Day, the 2016 Players champion, spanked drivers into the horizon, representing a key part of one of the deepest tournament fields in golf. Only one marquee name was missing, really, another former world No. 1 who had won the event four years earlier.

 


by Gary Van Sickle

I’m pretty sure that Nike, Adidas, FootJoy, Under Armour and the other giants were hoping some small outfit with limited resources would try to take them on in the dog-eat-dog apparel business. 

Enter Paul Dorn and his Wocket shorts, part of a Wocket Performance Apparel line that he soon hopes will include clothes for tennis, fishing and made-to-order slacks.

What are Wocket shorts? They are golf shorts that come with a golf towel sewn into the back-right pocket. Does that sound silly? Nobody who has worn them for a round of golf, including me, thinks so. That back-pocket towel is always handy, unlike the one you usually forget back in the golf cart, and it’s an instant new habit.

 



Funk, Mediate miss the big picture

Despite more than 30 years each as professional golfers, Fred Funk and Rocco Mediate are choosing a naive and cowardly approach to questions about their affiliations with Donald Trump (“Funk rebuts writer’s ‘hatchet job’ as part of ‘agenda,’ May 26, http://bit.ly/2s7V7Y8). Funk lashing out at a reporter simply doing her job and Mediate just wanting to talk about golf miss the big picture that every professional knows.

Both men chose to accept sponsorship money and to wear the company logo on their shirts. In exchange, that makes them representatives of the Trump brand and open to questions about the man and his firm. If they choose to ignore that responsibility or to lash out when uncomfortable questions arise, they shouldn't have signed the deal. It was their decision to align themselves with the most divisive man on the planet.

 


Keeping score

3

Number of consecutive birdies that Kevin Kisner made on the back nine Sunday at Colonial Country Club en route to a one-stroke victory in the PGA Tour’s Dean and DeLuca Invitational. Kisner, who trailed eventual co-runner-up Webb Simpson by three strokes after 54, birdied Nos. 10-12 and shot 4-under 66 for a 10-under 270 total. It was his second career victory. Simpson (71), Jordan Spieth (65), Sean O’Hair (66) and Jon Rahm (66) shared second at 271.

9

Number of Champions Tour career major titles won by Bernhard Langer, who claimed the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship on Sunday. Langer, who had won the Regions Tradition one week earlier for his eighth major title on the 50-and-older tour, shot 4-under 68 for an 18-under 270 total at Trump National Golf Club-Washington D.C. in Potomac Falls, Va. Langer pulled ahead of 54-hole leader Vijay Singh with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th. Langer, 59, owns 32 career senior-tour titles, second only to Hale Irwin’s 45 (“Ageless Langer takes aim at elusive Senior PGA title,” May 26, http://bit.ly/2s4FukY).

20

Strokes under par, a tournament scoring record, posted by Shanshan Feng in winning the LPGA Volvik Championship at Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich. Feng, 27, of China, shot 4-under 68 on Sunday for a 268 total and her seventh career LPGA victory.

62

Final-round score for Alex Noren, who stormed from seven strokes behind to win the European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club in Virginia Water, England. In shooting the course-record, 10-under score, Noren, 34, a Swede who played at Oklahoma State, finished at 11-under 277 for his ninth career victory. Earlier in the year, he gave eventual champion Dustin Johnson a scare in the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play in rising to No. 10 in the world (“Surging Noren enters first Masters on a roll,” March 30, http://bit.ly/2r2VvJH).

68

Score posted by University of Texas junior Scottie Scheffler for a third consecutive day, to open a three-stroke lead at 12-under 204 in the NCAA Division I men’s tournament at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. Stroke play concludes today, when the individual medalist will be crowned and the top eight teams advance to match play Tuesday and Wednesday. Scheffler’s Longhorns stand 11th, four strokes out of the final team qualifying spot. Vanderbilt, which shot 8-under 280 for an 18-under 846 total, grabbed a one-stroke lead over Oklahoma, Nevada-Las Vegas and Southern California. Illinois (850), Oklahoma State (852), Baylor (852) and Virginia (852) are inside the cutline for match play entering the final day. Results: http://bit.ly/2r1XHQ1


In the news

Earned: Berths in two major championships in the span of seven days, by American Chan Kim. He birdied the 72nd hole to shoot 4-under 68 for a 15-under 273 total and win the Mizuno Open in Japan on Sunday, earning a spot in the British Open. On the preceding Monday, Kim, 27, advanced out of a sectional qualifier in Ono City, Japan, for a spot in the U.S. Open. The June 15-18 U.S. Open at Erin Hills will be his first appearance in a major championship. Other qualifiers from the Mizuno Open for the British Open, to be played July 20-23 at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England: New Zealand’s Michael Hendry, Australia’s Adam Bland and South Korea’s K.T. Kim.

Announced: By the LPGA, that Japanese star Ai Miyazato will be retiring after this season. Miyazato, 31, a former world No. 1, won nine times on the LPGA – all in a 37-month stretch from 2009 to 2012 – and earned more than $8 million.

Withdrew: From this week’s Memorial Tournament, Rory McIlroy, who cited lingering effects from a rib injury that had prompted him to pull out of the previous week’s BMW PGA Championship. McIlroy, No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, has made only six starts worldwide this year, with four top-10s.



CALENDAR
May 25-31
College men: NCAA Division I championship
Rich Harvest Farms, Sugar Grove, Ill.
May 26-29
Junior: AJGA Thunderbird International Junior
Grayhawk GC (Raptor), Scottsdale, Ariz.
May 27-31
Men’s amateur: U.S. Amateur Four-Ball
Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort Nos. 2 and 8 courses
Women’s amateur: U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball
The Dunes Golf and Beach Club, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
June 1-4
Web.com Tour: Rex Hospital Open
TPC Wakefield Plantation, Raleigh, N.C.
PGA Tour: The Memorial Tournament
Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, Ohio
European Tour: Nordea Masters
Barseback G&CC, Malmo, Sweden
June 2-4
Symetra Tour: Fuccillo Kia Classic of NY
Capital Hills at Albany (N.Y.)
LPGA: ShopRite LPGA Classic
Stockton Seaview Hotel & GC, Galloway, N.J.
June 5
U.S. Open sectional qualifying
(10 sites)
June 6
Industry: Women’s Golf Day
various golf facilities worldwide
June 7-10
Men’s amateur: Monroe Invitational
Monroe GC, Pittsford, N.Y.
June 8-11
European Tour: Lyoness Open
Diamond CC, Atzenbrugg, Austria
LPGA: Manulife LPGA Classic
Whistle Bear GC, Cambridge, Ontario
Men’s amateur: Palmer Cup
Atlanta Athletic Club, Johns Creek, Ga.
PGA Tour: FedEx St. Jude Classic
TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tenn.
Web.com Tour: Rust-Oleum Championship
Ivanhoe (Ill.) Club
June 9-11
Symetra Tour: Four Winds Invitational
Blackthorn GC, South Bend, Ind.
Champions Tour: Principal Charity Classic
Wakonda Club, Des Moines, Iowa
June 14-17
Men’s amateur: Sunnehanna Amateur
Sunnehanna CC, Johnstown, Pa.
June 15-18
LPGA: Meijer LPGA Classic
Blythefield CC, Belmont, Mich.
Web.com Tour: Air Capital Classic
Crestview CC, Wichita, Kan.
PGA Tour: U.S. Open
Erin Hills, Erin, Wis.
June 16-18
Symetra Tour: Decatur-Forsyth Classic
Hickory Point GC, Decatur, Ill.
June 18-22
Junior: Western Junior
Park Ridge (Ill.) CC
June 19-24
Men’s amateur: British Amateur
Royal St. George’s GC, Sandwich, England
June 20-21
Junior: Pepsi Little People’s Tournament
Westview GC and Knights of Columbus Par 3, Quincy, Ill.
June 21-24
Men’s amateur: Northeast Amateur
Wannamoisett CC, Rumford, R.I.

      
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