SECOND EVENT PINEHURST STAFFA TOUR – FIRST ROUND
Narrow fairways, waste bunkers and car hoods for greens. What else could you want from Pinehurst #2?
Throw in some sustained gusty wind, a rarity down in the Carolinas, and NOW let’s see how these seasoned pros attack the course.
What happened was, in a field of 155 golfers, only 16 shot par or better.
The first round leader was Jodie Mudd with a 3-under 67. Matter of fact, only two other golfers ever got it to 3-under at any point during their round. More about that in a minute.
Mudd had a flawless front nine, with birdies on the short par-four third and the 395-yard seventh, the latter with a perfect drive to the corner of the dogleg followed by a nine-iron to feet, going out in 33.
Mudd got it to 3-under on the fourteenth as his 6-iron approach from just outside of 200 yards stopped pin high and less than ten feet from the hole.
It was the par-three fifteenth which gave him the most trouble. Missing the green left, he chunked a pitch then three-putted from 16 feet. But he was able to tighten the lug nuts before the wheels fell off as he bounced back to birdie sixteen, banging a drive over 300 yards and knocking home a 23-footer, as well as eighteen, where he dropped a putt from off the green and nearly 50 feet away.
Gardner Dickinson was one of the two others who managed to even see 3-under. He bettered Mudd’s front nine by a stroke with birdies on the two par-threes. The first of those, on six, came after he misjudged the wind and overshot the green by a wide margin, dropping in a 32-yard pitch.
A one-over 36 on the back nine, starting with a poor approach on the par-five tenth which left him under a tree (or up one) which led to a bogey and Dickinson’s tied for second with Ian Woosnam and Jim Gallagher.
The only other golfer to see 3-under was Billy Burke. His round started as if he were shot out of a cannon, with birdies on three of his first four holes
He darned near holed out his approach on the opening hole, stopping a 9-iron a foot away. The third hole turned out to be the easiest par-four on the course–the only one playing under par, and not by much (3.98). Burke birdied that as well as the next hole, the par-five fourth as he put his approach shot from the bunker about 75 yards out to within seven feet.
Alas, Burke couldn’t sustain that quick start as bogeys on eight, eleven and twelve and a double on sixteen where he had to take an unplayable lie from behind a tree trunk sent him over par. A birdie on the par-three seventeenth helped but he still finished at one-over. But, with the high scores today (73.79, or nearly four-over par), he’s still in a very large tie for seventeenth.
NO SLEEVE OF BALLS FOR YOU:
The par-three sixth, playing at 225 in a swirling wind with the pin tucked in near the greenside bunker. Of the 155 golfers, not a one could stop the ball on the green. Not one. Most took a flier, though some seemed to have the distance gauged only to land the ball in the nearby trap. There were three chip-ins and 58 got up and down with many of the rest bogeys, making the hole play at 3.65, the toughest three par on the course.
SECOND EVENT PINEHURST STAFFA TOUR – SECOND ROUND
Someone turn off the wind machine, please.
Once again, sustained gusts made an already difficult course even harder as no one finished the day and, as a result, the first two rounds under par.
Yesterday’s leader, Jodie Mudd, 3-under after a tough day yesterday, was the only golfer to reach -4 at any point today. And that came on the first hole as he hit his approach to ten feet, sinking the putt. Then four bogeys on the remainder of the front nine saw him go out in 39 on the way to a 5-over 75. At 2-over for the tournament, he’s still only one stroke back.
1-over leads for the moment with a trio of golfers posting that score.
Tommy Bolt, with an impressive 71 yesterday considering the conditions, bettered that by a stroke today. A botched approach on two led to a bogey. But he bounced back by knocking home a 19-foot putt on three and a 14-footer on four to move to even par. But he got derailed on five as a tee shot into the right trees led to an unplayable lie and he compounded that by flubbing two approaches at the sloped front of the green, watching the ball roll back to him twice before hitting a third chip way off target, two-putting from 25 feet. Bolt recovered after that, with a birdie on seven and a chip in for a three on eighteen to finish with a 70.
Leonard Thompson matched Bolt’s two-round score, finishing with a 1-over 71 today. Thompson drained a 15-footer for birdie on the opening hole and didn’t see another until fifteen when he hit his 6-iron tee shot on the 206 yard par-three fifteenth to within two feet. One hole away from being the second round leader, Thompson had to hit out of the right trees on eighteen, got on in three and had to settle for a bogey five.
Also at one-over was Skee Riegel who posted a steady, even par 70, as a bogey on two, as his approach shot was knocked down by the wind, was canceled out by his lone birdie on eleven where the wind again made him came up short on his approach on the 482-yard par four. But this time Riegel holed out from 45 yards for the three. He had a chance to post a 69, which would have been only the fourth sub-par round today, as his 4-iron approach on eighteen from 204 landed four feet from the pin. But he couldn’t convert and finished with a disappointing par.
The three sub-par rounds were led by Peter Thomson’s 68. Thomson did manage to get it to 1-over with birdies on four, seven and eleven. But a three-putt bogey on the last saw him finish one back at 2-over.
Tom Lehman’s 69 saw him finish at two-over with Jimmy Demaret’s 69 putting him another shot behind that.
Top 70 and ties made the cut. No surprise there. The two surprises were that the cut line was so high at 11-over and that 110 golfers made the cut. Fortunately, in this Chairman-run tour, darkness will not be a factor.
SECOND EVENT PINEHURST STAFFA TOUR – THIRD ROUND
With the wind having died down for the moment, the golfers left the course after this round feeling as if they hadn’t been beaten up THAT badly.
Pinehurst is a bear, but it was noticeably tamer today as 34 golfers broke par after only three yesterday.
Denny Shute, two back of the leaders starting today, finished with a four-under 66 to make it to the top of the leaderboard. Joining him was one of the gentlemen to break par yesterday, Leonard Thompson, whose 67 finished the third round at 1-under par.
Shute was a bit streaky today, but good streaky. He had birdies on three of the first four holes, putting his approach shots on one and three to within seven feet and reaching the par-five fourth in two, two-putting for the four. Unfortunately, a poor approach on two led to a bogey. Shute started another streak on twelve, running off three straight birdies, with two approaches landing within eight feet. Unfortunately, Shute misjudged his approach on sixteen and had to settle for bogey. Pars on seventeen and eighteen closed out his 66.
Thompson had three birdies on the front nine, getting up and down from 78 yards on the par-five fourth for a four and knocking home a pair of 13-footers on seven and nine for two more birdies. A bogey on the long par-four eighth as his approach came up short was his only blemish, going out in 33. A birdie on ten followed by eight pars closed out an impressive 67.
Low round of the day went to a pair of golfers as Chick Harbert and Jock Hutchinson each posted a 65. Harbert’s was especially impressive as he closed out birdie-birdie, hitting his tee shot on seventeen to within eight feet, the second time he’s birdied that par three, and knocking in a 35-footer on eighteen. The eighteenth was kind to Hutchinson as well, as he knocked a seven iron stiff stopping his ball within three feet of the target.
One of yesterday’s co-leaders, Tommy Bolt, also finished his round with a birdie on eighteen and a one-under 69. At even par 210, he’s one shot back of the leaders.
The other co-leader, Skee Riegel, couldn’t cash in on the favorable conditions with three bogeys and no red numbers dropping him into an eight-way tie for 19th at 4-over.
SHOT OF THE DAY:
Hale Irwin on the seventeenth. 185-yard par three. He had to clear the trap at 165 with not a lot of room in front of the green to stop his ball. Pulling a 6-iron out of his bag, he took aim. Landing a few feet on the green, the ball took two hops and a roll, landing right in the hole.
SECOND EVENT PINEHURST STAFFA TOUR – FINAL ROUND
Shades of the 1973 US Ope . . .
Johnny Miller, three-over starting play today and four back of the leaders, started about an hour and a half before the leaders and smoked them, shooting a blistering seven-under par 63. And, though others came close, nobody could match his four-under score and the provisional Staffa Tour member will now graduate to a permanent slot on the Gerney Tour to go along with a hefty $540,000 payday.
Miller moved up the leaderboard quickly, going out in 30. He set the tone on the third hole, as he played a five-iron safely on the short par four then holed out a 126-yard sand wedge for an eagle two. He got up and down from 39 yards for a birdie on the par-five next hole. A 29-foot putt on seven added another birdie and a spot-on 7-iron at the par three ninth left a short putt for still another birdie.
Not done yet, he got up and down from 85 yards to make four on the par five tenth. Miller was derailed temporarily as his putter failed him for one of the only two times in the round, three-putting from 40 feet on the par four twelfth. All told, Miller putted only 21 times today. The birdie machine restarted on the next hole, as his wedge from 102 checked up two feet from the hole. An 18-foot putt on the par-three seventeenth was his final birdie of the day, though he had a chance for one more on eighteen but missed a short five-footer on a hole he had birdied the previous three rounds.
Had his putter not taken two breaks, he could have walked off with 61. As it was, the 63 was just enough.
CLOSE, BUT NOT QUITE:
Yesterday’s co-leader Denny Shute, playing in the final group (obviously), made a run with birdies on fifteen and seventeen, the two par threes, to get within one. Unfortunately, his 5-iron approach at the last didn’t get near the tough back right hole location and his 34-foot put came up just short.
Tom Lehman made an early run with a sensational 31 on the front side with five birdies and a bogey. But he couldn’t sustain that, doing himself in with a double and three bogeys on the back nine, along with two birdies, to finish up in 38 and even-par for the tournament.
Yesterday’s other co-leader, Peter Thomson, was the guy the TV people somehow managed to avoid, even though he was playing in the final group. By the end, it appeared as if Shute was playing alone. A double and a bogey to close out the front nine and bogeys on sixteen and seventeen, after birdies on the previous two holes and Thomson walked off dejectedly with a 73 and a tied for tenth place finish. Though a win would have been nice, the top-ten finish guarantees him a spot on next week’s Gerney Tour.
MOVING BACK TO THE TOUR:
Bobby Jones, with an excellent finishing kick, his 65 shooting him up into a tie for third. Finishing kick, indeed, as his three consecutive birdie run on fourteen through sixteen saw him play the back nine in 31.
Joining Miller, Shute, Jones, Lehman and Thomson in their move up to the Gerney next week are: Chick Harbert (-2), Ian Woosnam and Bob (“Death to Flying Things”) Ferguson (E), Jack White and Tommy Bolt (+1) and James Braid and Jimmy Demaret (+2) as there was a three-way tie for tenth.
SECOND EVENT PINEHURST GERNEY TOUR – FIRST ROUND
Unlike in the first round of the Staffa Tour event here, this opening round was played in benign conditions. 43 players of the 122 players broke par with the scoring average about three-quarters of a stroke over the par of 70.
BYRD IS THE WORD:
Sam Byrd is all alone at the top of the leaderboard after shooting a six-under 64, two strokes clear of twelve other golfers.
Byrd got out to a very fast start with birdies on four of the first five holes.
His first tee shot gave every indication that it would be a rough start, heading way left off the tee and into the pine straw. But he had a good look at the green and stopped his second shot nine feet from the pin, dropping the putt. A 6-iron from 194 followed by a 13-foot putt made it two-under in as many holes. It could have been three-for-three as he missed a four-footer on the third. A drive way right on the par-five fourth turned into an up and down from 123 for birdie there while a 6-iron to five feet on five ran his score to four-under. Four birdies and two bogeys on the back, including birdies on the final two holes, making an 18-footer on the par three seventeenth and a 9-iron from 155 which stopped within eight feet and Byrd had an impressive opening round 64.
Of the twelve golfers tied for second at four-under, only Corey Pavin was able to get it to seven under par before falling back.
Six birdies on the front side sent him to the turn in a blistering 30. His approach shots were pretty much spot on coming with nine feet on one and three and six feet on seven, converting all three. He stopped his tee shot on the 175-yard par three ninth at four feet and made that putt too. Not known for being a heavy hitter, Pavin unloaded his tee shot on ten 312 yards. A 252 yard three wood still left him about 50 yards on the over 600-yard hole, getting up and down for a birdie. Another approach on the par-four thirteenth stopped within four feet to run his score to seven under.
Then the wheels came off as a flyer on the par-three fifteenth led to his first bogey. He followed that with a short tee shot which landed in the waste sand on sixteen. A short approach, a chip shot hit fat, followed by another which landed on the green but nowhere close to the flag and two putts and that cost him two more shots, falling back to four-over.
Last week’s winner, Tiger Woods, was all over the place and in danger of missing the cut as he finished with a 75, leaving him tied for 109th place.
Woods’ front nine was a smorgasbord, with two birdies, four pars and three bogeys. Birdies on ten and eleven actually got him to one-under. Then he played the next five holes at seven-over turning him from a contender to an also-ran in the space of a bit more than an hour (about ten seconds in Chairman time).
A tee shot way left on twelve led to a bogie and dropped Woods back to even. He did make a two-putt par on thirteen but took five shots from within 30 yards on fourteen, mis-hitting a chip then not holding the green with his next then three-putting from just off, finishing with a triple bogey seven. Totally flustered, his tee shot on the 211-yard fifteenth landed in the deep bunker on the right. He ended up with a double there and a poor lie on his next tee shot led to a bogey on sixteen.
Among other notables (the Chairman constantly reminds the press that all golfers on all three tours are notable) in the logjam at four-under are Bernhard Langer, Jesper Parnevik, Bobby Locke, Greg Norman and Lee Trevino. Al Geiberger, the week one winner on the Staffa Tour, who earned his full-time privileges on the Gerney Tour with the victory, shot a one-under 69 and is in a sixteen-way tie at that score.
SECOND EVENT PINEHURST GERNEY TOUR – SECOND ROUND
With this level of talent, every golfer can be rest assured that there’ll a bunch of others willing to shove him out of the way. Sometimes a golfer needs no help. Let’s take first round leader Sam Byrd.
After a six-under 64 yesterday, Byrd ballooned to a 73. The conditions were about the same, with not much wind and the greens, though always treacherous, holding well-struck approach shots. Unlike yesterday, where Byrd birdied four of the first five holes, he bogeyed five after his tee shot ended up in a rotten lie. That’s already five shots worse than yesterday.
A par on nine and Byrd went out in an even-par 35.
Fourteen, fifteen and sixteen were Byrd’s undoing. His approach on fourteen was short and he rolled back off the green. A chip and two putts later and he had a bogey five. He missed right on the par three fifteenth and couldn’t get up and down. That was another bogey. A poor lie after his tee shot on sixteen and that made it three bogeys in a row. With nothing else except pars, that led to a 38 back nine and a 36-hole total of three-under 137. First yesterday, he’s in a five-way tie for tenth now. If he can land somewhere between those two scores in the final two rounds, he should pick up a hefty paycheck.
At the top of the leaderboard, each shooting their second consecutive 66, were Rik Massengale and Dow Finsterwald.
Massengale has been remarkably consistent over the first two rounds. Twelve of fourteen fairways both days, thirteen of eighteen greens and 27 putts. Can’t ask for more consistent than that. Not a long hitter, Massengale did well on the two par-fives. On four, after hitting his drive into the sand on the left, he got up and down from 190 for birdie and, on ten, he did likewise from half that distance.
As for Finsterwald, he exhibited about the same level of consistency, hitting the same number of fairways but one more green and taking one more putt today. He started out well, with birdies on three of his first four holes, making putts from long distance on all three (19, 22, 19). Out in 32, he knocked in a 13-footer for birdie on the par-three seventeenth. Throw in exactly no bogeys and Finsterwald had his second consecutive 66.
George Archer got it to eight-under after nine, but gave one back on twelve and got it back on the next hole before missing the green on the par-three fifteenth ending up with bogey. He’s all alone in third at 7-under.
THE THREESOME WITH THE BIGGEST GALLERY:
Greg Norman, Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus. Always entertaining, especially Trevino, and all business with a club in their hands. Nicklaus struggled early on, not seeing his first par until the sixth hole (two birdies, three bogeys). After that, pars the rest of the way except for dropping a 15-footer for birdie on the seventeenth to finish with even-par 70. Norman bested that by a stroke and Trevino by one more. All three will be collecting a payday this weekend with Trevino (-6) and Norman (-5) in line for some big money in this $10 million event. Nicklaus, with a pair of 70s, is in a thirteen-way tie for 25th.
THANK YOU FOR PLAYING OUR GAME:
The cut line is at +4. Not around for the weekend: Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Lew Worsham (all +5), Gary Player, last week’s winner Tiger Woods (didn’t recover after an abysmal 75 yesterday), Gene Sarazen and Lee Westwood (+6), Willie Anderson (+7), Sam Snead, Walter Hagen, Harry Vardon (+8) and Padraig Harrington (+10).
SECOND EVENT PINEHURST GERNEY TOUR – THIRD ROUND
A VOICE FROM THE PAST:
Five-time British Open champ J. H. Taylor, noted for his accuracy to the point where he’d ask for the directional posts on holes with blind tee shots to be removed just in case he might hit them and bounce off the fairway, had his worst driving day of the tourney (only nine of fourteen fairways) but countered that with his best putting of the first three days (only 22 putts) and posted the best round of the day with a 64. That effort moved him into first place at 12-under and he’ll be playing in the final pairing tomorrow with yesterday’s co-leader, Dow Finsterwald (67 today, -11 overall).
Taylor started out quickly enough with birdies on the first three holes, the first two thanks to dandy approach shots which landed within two feet of the hole.
But that quick start was tempered by bogeys on five (an errant tee shot) and six (flew the green on the par three).
Taylor saved his best work for the back nine, as six birdies led to a five-under 30.
His approaches were right on target, as he left himself short putts of 12, 5 and 8 feet on eleven, twelve and thirteen, converting them all. A rotten tee shot on sixteen and a two-iron hit left of the green on sixteen and Taylor still made birdie as he holed out his chip. He birdied the par-three seventeenth for the third day in a row, parking a 7-iron to within eight feet. A tee shot well into the left rough on eighteen became yet another birdie as Taylor hit the green with his second and he drained the 22-foot putt. His only blemish came on the par-three fifteenth, as he missed the green left off the tee, mis-hit his chip but, on his second attempt, got up and down.
As for Finsterwald, he kept it in the fairway most of the day and hit 13 greens in regulation, ending his day with a workmanlike 67. The highlights of the day for Finsterwald included dropping a 39-foot putt for birdie on the long par-four eighth and another of nearly equal distance on the par-three seventeenth. Like Taylor, that made it birdies on three consecutive days on the seventeenth. His only blemish came on the par-four eleventh as he came up short on his approach, landing in the front left bunker from which he couldn’t get up and down.
SHOT OF THE DAY:
Yesterday’s co-leader, Rik Massengale, had a rotten day, with five bogeys and all but one of the other holes pars. But that other hole, the par-three sixth, playing at 226… He stepped up to the tee with a 3-wood, which looked like a bit too much club. But Massengale didn’t take a full cut and hit the ball a little left of where he was aiming, landing it on the fringe on the left side of the green about halfway back. With the pin tucked into the back left, it was a bounce on the fringe and another on the green before hitting the flagstick flush, the ball, which could have easily bounced backwards, falling into the hole. His 73 today dropped him into a tie with Lee Trevino for eighth.
Among the rest of the top ten, George Archer, third yesterday, remained at -7 with an even-par 70. Young Tom Morris and Bernhard Langer joined him as they shot up the leaderboard with 66 and 65, respectively. Greg Norman (69) and Bobby Locke (67) are tied for sixth at six-under while Jesper Parnevik (70) and Paul Azinger (69) are tied for tenth at -4.
SECOND EVENT PINEHURST GERNEY TOUR – FINAL ROUND
J. H. Taylor couldn’t sustain his effort of yesterday, dropping nine shots from his sizzling 64. 73 on the final day can never be a help and Taylor dropped back into third place, two back of Young Tom Morris, with his second consecutive 66, and Dow Finsterwald, with an even-par 70.
That means we’re not quite done yet as Morris and Finsterwald will have a playoff starting at 18.
Taylor never could get his engine started, with two bogeys and a par on the front side dropping a stroke from where he started the day at 12-under. A three-putt on the par-five tenth dropped another stroke. He got that right back with a 16-foot birdie putt on eleven, but went into the tank with bogeys on fourteen, two-putting from four feet after a stray second shot, and sixteen, flying his approach and two-putting from eight feet.
As for young Mr. Morris, after an even-par 35 for the front side, he turned it up on the back nine.
He almost holed out his approach on the 600-yard, par-five eleventh, the ball stopping on the rim of the hole, Morris tapping in for birdie. Putts from 12 and 8 feet on twelve and thirteen got it to ten-under. He got it 11-under with his first birdie of the four days on the par-three seventeenth, draining a 13-foot putt. He had a putt for birdie from about the same distance on the final hole, which might have made the difference between winning in regulation and playing more golf, but just missed.
Finsterwald finished the day where he started, though he took a roller coaster ride to get there.
He didn’t see his first par until the seventh, opening with four bogeys and two birdies to drop two shots. It looked good from the get-go as he nailed a 12-foot putt on the opening hole. But he dropped two shots by missing the green on two and three-putting on three. Finsterwald got back on track on four, nailing a 20-footer on the par-five fourth for a birdie before giving that back plus one with bogeys on five (an approach shot into the left bunker) and six (flying the green on the par-three, chipping to within four feet but then two-putting).
Seven turned out to be Finsterwald’s only par on the front side as he birdied the eighth but followed that by flying the green on the par-three ninth, missing the green with his chip but managing to get up and down for bogey.
A hot dog and a beer at the turn and Finsterwald was a new man on the back nine.
He got up and down from 100 yards for birdie on the par-five tenth and from 176 on the next hole, holing a 14-foot putt. A three-putt bogey on fourteen was canceled out by his fourth consecutive birdie on the seventeenth, this time nailing a 20-foot putt.
Faced with a 25-foot birdie putt on eighteen, Finsterwald had a chance to win in regulation. But he put his putt past the hole, settling for par.
Rounding out the top ten were George Archer (69, -8 for the tourney), Bobby Locke (69, -7), Greg Norman (70, -6), Bernhard Langer (72, -5) and, in a three-way tie for eighth at 4-under, second round co-leader Rik Massengale (71), Hubert Green (69) and Nick Faldo (67). First round leader Sam Byrd fell off the radar screen, going eight-under the rest of the way (73, 73, 72) and finished in a tie for 30th.
The playoff is upcoming.
SECOND EVENT PINEHURST GERNEY TOUR – PLAYOFF
Morris was first on the tee on the slightly uphill par-four eighteenth and smoked his drive–310 down the left side leaving a short iron approach. The Chairman did say he could keep the clubs after The Tour was over, didn’t he? Finsterwald also tagged his drive and also left himself a good approach line from the left fairway but found himself 25 yards behind Morris.
Finsterwald was first with his second shot. At 172 yards out, he settled on a 7-iron. He hit it on a line right at the stick, located at the almost inaccessible back right of the green. But Finsterwald got there anyway, watching his shot check up five feet from the pin.
Morris, most impressed by Finsterwald’s effort, took out a nine-iron and bested Finsterwald’s effort, bouncing over the hole and checking up within a foot of what would have been a winning eagle. Both made their putts and they moved to the second playoff hole, number ten.
Again, Morris was first to hit and wondered where those graphite shafts and Pro-Vs were back in his day as he smoked another drive, this time 330 yards on the par-five. It made Finsterwald’s just under 300-yard effort look paltry by comparison.
First to go again for his second shot, Finsterwald knew he couldn’t reach the 600-yard hole in two but hit all he could, putting a 3-wood within 60 yards. Morris, 271 out, went for broke, trying to finish the playoff right here and he figured both he and Finsterwald had a sure chance for five and a decent chance to get up and down from inside of 60 yards. But Morris put his second shot in the front right bunker, leaving a testy long bunker shot of nearly 30 yards.
First to go, Morris hit a sensational sand shot, stopping his ball seven feet from the hole. Needing to get up and down, Finsterwald put his half wedge to within 10 feet.
Finsterwald took a long look at his putt. As Jim Kaat said, “You think long and you think wrong” and Finsterwald missed his putt badly, leaving four feet. But he never got a chance to redeem himself and carry the playoff another hole as Morris drained his putt and collected his $1.8 million in winnings.
MOVING UP AND DOWN:
Losing their Gerney Tour card (a few, anyway): Westwood, Ballesteros, Anderson, Sam Snead, Love, Elkington, Guldahl and Vardon.
Moving up to the Gerney Tour: Johnny Miller (gets a full card with his win) plus the remainder of the top ten and ties (all get provisional memberships): Shute, Harbert, Jones, Ferguson, Lehman, Woosnam, Bolt, Jack White, Braid, Demaret and Peter Thomson
Moving up to the Staffa Tour: Goggin (full member with his win), Sikes and Frederik Jacobson. Unlike last week, there’s not enough room for everyone who survived the first hole to move up, so only the survivors of the first two holes will move up. Sikes and Jacobson get provisional Staffa memberships and can stick around as long as they continue to make the cut. Should they be fortunate enough to win, they’ll get a full Gerney card.
Heading to the first circle of hell (golfers losing their Staffa card and heading to the dreaded Ruckhaus Tour–also a few names): Lyle, Casey, Frost, Garcia, two Dalys (Fred and John), Rinker and Poulter.
NEXT WEEK’S TOURNAMENT:
The Chairman realized that Pinehurst beat up many of the golfers, including most on the Staffa Tour as they had to deal with nasty wind during the first two rounds. And so he made his announcement:
“The object is to test your golf skills over different types of courses and in different conditions. I realize that Pinehurst, as true a test of golf as there is, was also debilitating for many of you. My object is to see good golf and not to see you get beaten up.
“So, for next week, you’ll get a bit of a breather. Though it’s not an easy course, by any means, there are still many places where you can spray a driver and not get hurt and where the par-fives, two of them anyway, are reachable in two and a well-struck approach shot will hold the green. Though it’s configured for its US Open par of 71, I’ll make sure the rough is at what many of you know to be PGA height. It’s also one of the most breathtaking courses on the planet, at least until uber course designer Gerney-san and his most capable partner Hanna-san decide to get its neighbor, Cypress Point, and another halfway around the world from those two, Old Head, into the rotation.
“Gentlemen, tomorrow you will wake up at Pebble Beach. In the meantime, I suggest you have a wonderful dinner. Try the 1895 Grille or The Carolina Dining Room here. Or just head over to The Tavern for some lighter fare. All you have to do is mention my name and you be exquisitely be taken care of. Remember, as long as I’m running The Tour, it’s always top shelf. Enjoy!”
The Chairman invited all the golfers on The Tour to the grandstand surrounding the 18th green at Pebble Beach. On a normal day, other than the course workers getting the place in shape, not much would happen on this part of the course until maybe eleven o’clock in the morning. Right now, as the morning sun was reflecting off the ocean but hadn’t hit the green as of yet, so almost everyone was wearing their cool weather fleeces in the shadows, The Chairman had two announcements.
“The first announcement concerns the Ruckhaus Tour,” began The Chairman. As many of you play only one or two holes in the tournament, starting out on the first hole doesn’t give you the opportunity to enjoy some of the finest holes in the world. So, beginning this week, I will choose which holes on a given course will be played. They will be selected based both on beauty and challenge. For this week, the Ruckhaus Tour will begin on the famed 18th hole. Those who advance will then play seven, eight, nine, ten and seventeen–until they’re eliminated, of course. Should it take more than six holes to decide a winner, I will select other holes, to be announced on an ‘as needed’ basis.”
The Chairman continued. “My other announcement concerns all three tours. In the first two events, there have been players with full Gerney and Staffa privileges who have yet to make a cut, as well as Ruckhaus Tour members who have lasted but one hole in each of the first two events before being eliminated. I realize that these tours are very competitive; some players are slow starters while others seem to thrive on certain courses and falter on others. So I’ll say this: After five tournaments have been completed, if a full Gerney member has yet to make a cut, he will be bumped down to the Staffa Tour. Should he be successful there, he can re-earn his Gerney rights. If a full Staffa member has yet to make a cut, he will be bumped down to the Ruckhaus Tour. Again, such players can earn their way back. Any members of the Ruckhaus Tour who have been eliminated on the first hole of the first five events will no longer be playing on The Tour. As a reminder, many of you have already fulfilled your requirement, so there’s no need to worry. For the rest of you, consider it the impetus to bring up your games.
“I consider it an honor to provide the resources for all of you across nearly 150 years to compete together playing on the nicest courses with the finest equipment and for huge sums of money while providing you with the best food and nicest accommodations. In return, I ask that all of you earn at least part of your way by making the occasional cut or, in the case of the Ruckhaus Tour, getting past the first hole once in five tries. I think you’ll all agree that’s fair.”
In a sport run on the honor system where players called penalties on themselves, there was a unanimous nodding of heads in understanding. They also knew that, though uber-competitive, it wasn’t unreasonable to ask this level of talent to make but one cut in five tries. The Chairman was a rich man. But he wasn’t a bottomless pit.
“Gentlemen on the Ruckhaus Tour, please make your way to the 18th tee. As for the rest of you, the action starts on one. Good luck!”
And with that, amid a general murmur of indistinguishable conversation, the players made their way to their appropriate starting point.