What you missed: Schauffele's comeback win, Rose back to World No.1, New Rules, Blicks clubs returned and an Amateur investigated by the USGA
We're only a week in to 2019 and there's already plenty of stories you might have missed out on.
On Tour there were mixed reaction to the new rules and Schauffele's 11-under 62 to win the first tournament of 2019. And then there's the online petition which has surfaced, bidding to get Japan Tour star Ho-sung Choi in to the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Elsewhere, Cody Blick was finally reunited with his golf clubs after they ended up being in a homeless man's tent and the 16-year Amateur golfer being investigated by the USGA for appearing in a 15 second Apple watch video.
Plus Ariya Jutanugarn's new caddie, the five-time Web.Com winner who has quit after 17 years and the new deal between Twitter and the PGA Tour.
Xander Schauffele comes from behind to win 4th PGA Tour title
Xander Schauffele may think of himself as an underdog, but the 2017 rookie of the year carded a final-round (course-record-tying) 11-under-par 62 to win a by one shot at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. And that’s with an opening-hole bogey.
But Schauffele once again proved that he excels as the underdog, gaining his fourth PGA Tour title by coming from behind to win - as he has done in all his previous victories - and also achieving the largest final round comeback in the history of the tournament.
He followed up that opening bogey with a birdie on the third, and added three in a row from the fifth before he chipped in for eagle on the 9th hole to card a front-nine 31. A second eagle of the day came just three holes later, holing out from 106yards on the 12th hole to move to 19-under par.
Tied with overnight leader Gary Woodland heading to the final hole, Schauffele put his appraoch shot to the par-five 18th to 11 feet and his eagle putt just slid by the hole. A birdie was enough though, making him the first multiple winner of the 2018-19 season.
"You kind of look around and realize you have nothing to lose," Schauffele said, who is now the first multiple winner of the 2018-19 season.
"All of my wins have been from behind. This was in sort of dramatic fashion and it turned into a birdie fest coming down the stretch."
Rose moves back to World No.1
A new week, a new World No.1.
Brooks Koepka began 2019 at the top of the world rankings, but needed to finish tied eighth or better in Kapalua. Instead, Koepka ended up 24th in the 33-person Tournament of Champions field, giving back the mantle back to Justin Rose, who was just one of three eligible players to skip the event.
Rose, who held the No.1 spot for four weeks in 2018 (in three different spells), officially replaced Koepka when the new standings were released on Monday.
New Rule: Putting with the flag in
It didn’t take long for pros to test out the new putting rules which allows players to putt with the pin in the hole. Bryson DeChambeau was the trailblazer and most consistent user of the rule that came in to effect on Jan 1, but he wasn’t the only one. And judging by some of the results below, we expect you’ll be seeing a lot more of this in 2019.
New Rule: Dropping from knee height
As big a fan as DeChambeau seemed to be of the new putting rules, the new ‘dropping from knee height’ rule was one even he couldn’t get on board with, going as far to call it 'absurd'.
"I think the knee drop one (intrigues me most). That you have to drop it from knee height is a bit absurd, unfortunately. I think that you should be able to go from knee height to shoulder height. There should be no issue with that, whatever you want to do, honestly.
But Bryson wasn't the only one to talk about the change, with McIlroy saying some shorter players may have an advantage - although he was quick to concede he's a fan of simplifying the rules.
“(With dropping from knee height), we’re saying that Brian Harman has got a big advantage, he can basically place it," McIlroy said. "Where you got someone like Tony Finau who is dropping it probably from like waist high for me. But I think that they’re trying to simplify the rules which I think is a great thing for the game."
It’s a topic that is causing some debate in the office. Let us know what you think!
There's an online petition to get Ho-sung Choi into the Waste Management Phoenix Open
Yes, you read that correctly.
Ho-sung Choi is the multiple Japan Tour winner who hit the headlines and became a social media sensation on several occasions last year thanks to his unorthodox golf swing.
And now it transpires that there is currently an online petition , launched by Derek Deminsky, which aims to have Choi compete in the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Currently at World No. 198 Choi has no status on the PGA Tour and would need a sponsors excemption to compete.
The peitition is simple in its aim: They believe 'greatest show on earth' also needs the 'greatest showman in the game'
The petiton, which is only a couple of hundred shy of the 5000 signatures it is asking for, reads:
Dear PGA Tour/Phoenix Thunderbirds/Whom it may concern,
Once in a generation golfer, Hosung Choi, has BURST out onto the scene and into our hearts this past 2018. Being arguably the most entertaining golfer to watch, I and many others strongly feel he deserves a sponsors exemption into the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open. The "greatest show on grass" NEEDS to have the greatest showman in the game. We are politely asking that you would extend one of your sponsors exemptions to Hosung Choi, so that we can see his greatness up close.
Cody Blick FINALLY has golf clubs returned
Remember Cody Blick? He had his clubs stolen before the end of the Web.Com Tour Finals, put out an appeal on social media and ended up shooting a 63 with a cobbled together set to earn conditional PGA Tour status.
Well, the mystery has finally been solved! Blick took to social media on the 4th of January to tell the story.
"The story has it they were in a homeless man's tent under an overpass for a couple weeks and although there is some considerable damage to the clubs/bag it is so nice to have them back. 12/9/18-1/3/19. Big thanks to @taylor_bromley for retrieving them!"
Blick's mum had contacted him to tell him a woman from Arizona told her she had encountered a man who had was asking for money and had asked if he had anything to sell. The man came back with Blick's golf clubs and bag, which the woman paid $75 for.
She then googled his name and saw the story, so contacted Blick's mum through Whitepages.
"I was pretty excited, but I was also pretty skeptical," Blick told Golf Channel on Friday, before confirming his friend eventually met the woman at an In-N-Out Burger in California and paid $300 to get them back.
"It's a cool story and everything, but the fact that they were in some dude's tent kinda creeps me out."
As for whether he will be using them, that's a negative, as Titleist provided him with a new set after Q-School, but he is still happy to get them back.
Amateur Star being investigated by USGA
If you’ve watched Netflix’s new film ‘The Amateur’ or even watched the late-night comedy ‘Blue Mountain State’, you’ll be familiar with the rules surrounding Amateur sports stars being paid in the U.S: It’s banned across all sports. And the USGA are pretty clear about their rules, too.
Unfortunately, 16-year-old Lucy Li, who made headlines as an 11-year-old when she qualified for the US. Women’s Open in 2014, is now the subject of a USGA investigation after appearing in a 15 second video promoting an Apple Watch.
“The USGA was made aware of this and we’ve reached out to Lucy’s family to learn more about her participation in these videos," the USGA said in a statement sent to GolfChannel.com. "We are at the beginning of the fact-finding stage, and it’s premature at this point to discuss more. Lucy’s family has been fully cooperative and we are thankful for the dialogue.”
Li, who is the ninth ranked amateur in the world, is being investigated as the video could potentially be a violation of her amateur status. The rules state that even if she was not paid, which Golf Digest have reported she wasn’t, she could still have breached the rule. There are however exceptions, whereby golfers can apply for an exception provided it is a special individual circumstance and the contract is non-renewable and not longer than 12 months.
Rule 6.b states: “An amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation must not use that skill or reputation to obtain payment, compensation, personal benefit or any financial gain, directly or indirectly, for (i) promoting, advertising or selling anything, or (ii) allowing his name or likeness to be used by a third party for the promotion, advertisement or sale of anything.
“In the context of this Rule, even if no payment or compensation is received, an amateur golfer is deemed to receive a personal benefit by promoting, advertising or selling anything, or allowing his name or likeness to be used by a third party for the promotion, advertisement or sale of anything.”
Rule 6-2 of the USGA's Rules of Amateur Status addresses the use of golf skill or reputation for promotion, advertising and sales:
"An amateur golfer may enter into a contract and/or agreement with a third party (including but not limited to a professional agent or a sponsor), provided(i) the golfer is at least 18 years of age, (ii) the contract or agreement is solely in relation to the golfer's future as a professional golfer and does not stipulate playing in certain amateur or professional events as an amateur golfer, and (iii) except as otherwise provided in the Rules, the amateur golfer does not obtain payment, compensation or any financial gain, directly or indirectly, while still an amateur golfer."
Tour Pro quits and starts new job after nearly two decades on Tour
Tour pro Karl Thompson has five professional wins on the Web.Com Tour and competed on the PGA Tour three of his 17 years as a pro: In 2008, 2012 and 2018. But after making just one cut on Tour last year, Thompson decided after the Wyndham Championship that it was time for him to get a 'real job'.
"For some reason I haven't had nearly the monetary success of some other guys," the five-time Web.com Tour winner told the Greenville News the week of the Wyndham. "If you get one or two good years on the PGA Tour, it can set you up for years."
Instead, Thompson struggled to make the step-up from his success on the Web.Com, and decided at 39-years-old that it was time to start a new way of making money.
"39 years old and today I'm headed in to my first day of work in a "real job." " Thompson wrote on twitter.
"Golf has been a roller coaster of a career and I'm very excited about my life's next chapter with Arthur J. Gallagher! Great team & company and I'm ready to get after it! http://Ajg.com"
World No.1 Ariya Jutanargarn has a new caddie, who left fiance Pernilla Lindberg's bag to carry for her
Despite a historic year for Ariya Jutanugarn, she has decided to begin 2019 with a brand new caddie on her bag. In 2018 her and now former caddie Les Luark achieved three wins, a major title and a historic sweep of the season-ending awards, but have since decided to end the three year on-and-off partnership.
Daniel Taylor, who previously caddied for fiancé Pernilla Lindberg, is leaving Lindberg's bag for Jutanugarn on a trial basis.
Lindberg, who won for the first time at the 2018 ANA Inspiration, will instead have Roy Clarke on her bag, who previously worked with the likes of Se Ri Pak, Jenny Shin and Sandra Gal.
Both players will tee up for their first start in 2019 at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.
PGA Tour's new agreement to broadcast PGA TOUR LIVE on Twitter
The PGA TOUR announced a renewed and expanded agreement with Twitter to distribute, on a free basis, nearly 140 hours of live competition from PGA TOUR LIVE across 28 tournaments during the 2018-19 PGA TOUR Season.
The multi-year agreement will stream on Twitter the first 60 to 90 minutes from the morning hours of all four rounds of PGA TOUR LIVE's Over-The-Top (OTT) subscription window, on a global basis. The addition of Saturday and Sunday morning coverage will result in the most live PGA TOUR content ever offered on Twitter.
In a nod to the PGA TOUR's Fans' First initiative, the TOUR is launching Fan Vote Fridays, giving fans the chance to vote, via Twitter to determine one of the two Featured Groups that will be showcased during Friday's coverage, for each tournament streamed on Twitter. Fans will also have pre-tournament access with live streams from the driving range each week.
Twitter will begin live streaming at the Desert Classic in Palm Springs, California, on January 17-18. The four-round coverage on Twitter will begin at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego and conclude in August at the season-ending TOUR Championship in Atlanta, where the FedExCup Champion will be crowned.
The live coverage will be available globally on Twitter and can be found via @PGATOUR, with promotional support and additional content via @GOLFTV, the PGA TOUR's newly launched media partnership with Discovery Communications.