You want a prime example of the "honor code" in professional golf? Check out what Jason Millard did Saturday, just five days before the start of the 2014 U.S. Open.
A week after shooting two rounds of 68 during the Memphis sectional, Millard reported a self-imposed penalty for grounding his club in a bunker on the 18th hole at the Colonial Country Club's North Course -- which results in a disqualification from playing at Pinehurst No. 2.
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"I'm pretty sure I grounded my club in the bunker," Millard was quoting as saying in an Associated Press brief. "I didn't see anything for sure, but I felt something and I saw a small indentation. It happened so fast, I really don't know 100 percent, but deep down, I believe I did. I couldn't find peace about it. For five days, I practiced and I couldn't get it off my mind. It's heart-breaking, but what I was feeling in my heart didn't feel right. It's the right decision and I am sticking with it."
"We commend Jason for bringing this matter to our attention," said Daniel B. Burton, USGA vice president and chairman of the championship committee. "At this time, we have no recourse but to disqualify him under the Rules of Golf and specifically Rule 34-1b."
Most of the reaction around the golf world was first one of shock, then respect and admiration.
American Jason Millard calls USGA to say he thinks he grounded club in bunker in #USOpen qualifier. Been bothering him all week. DQ. Classy.
— Paul Mahoney (@paulmahoneygolf) June 7, 2014
Wow. Jason Millard says he might have grounded his club in a bunker during Monday's US Open qualifier. Turns himself in to USGA. Gets DQd.
— Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) June 7, 2014
Jason Millard DQ'd from U.S. Open after violation at sectional qualifier. "I’m pretty sure I grounded my club in the bunker,” he said.
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) June 7, 2014
Millard, who turned pro in 2011, was replaced in the field by Sam Love, the second alternate from the Memphis qualifier. Millard missed the cut in the Honda Classic in March, his only PGA Tour start of the season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Swinging harder rarely helps your ball go farther, unless you're trying to hit it farther out of bounds.
Peter Kostis analyzed John Daly's swing on the practice range Saturday between the second and third rounds of the FedEx St. Jude Classic during the CBS broadcast, and you might be surprised to learn how balanced it really is, despite Daly's imposing frame.
As Kostis notes, Daly's power is generated from the large arc of his swing, so he doesn't have to speed up the club to create additional clubspeed. All he's trying to do is make clean contact.
That's a great observation, as most amateurs think if they swing harder, they can generate more clubhead speed. That may be true, but it also creates additional issues with timing and getting the club square at impact. PGA professionals will agree: What good is extra distance if you can't control it?
There are some tremendous tools available for those serious about improving their respective golf games. One such gadget is GAME GOLF.
GAME GOLF is a small, light weight device worn on the player's belt with individual sensor tags that attach to the butt end cap of each club. The tags -- when tapped against the device on your belt -- records every shot played during a round of golf using GPS and motion sensing technology. By simply tapping the GAME GOLF sensor tag to the device worn on the waist, the GAME GOLF device automatically records course, location on the hole, club used and club distance. After the round, you simply uploads the data via computer to GAMEGOLF.com for post-round analysis, which can also be viewed via a mobile app or web platform.
This week it was announced that the product has been officially approved as "Allowable under The Rules of Golf," which means it can now be used in competition.
The GAME GOLF web platform and the mobile app recreates your round of golf for the purposes of allowing you to see, share, compete and compare data with a PGA Professional or your group of friends.
"We designed GAME GOLF specifically to allow golfers to capture their round of golf automatically without disrupting the pace of play or interrupting the golfer's focus," said John McGuire, GAME GOLF CEO. "GAME GOLF's unique 'tag-and-go' process becomes part of the golfer's pre-shot routine and is designed to be a performance trigger. The tags were designed under 2 grams of weight, as anything above that effects the performance of the club in a negative way. Following the round, golfers can go to GAMEGOLF.com and re-live each shot, view stats and data, and have the ability to share in a fun, socially driven way."
A tool aimed at growing the game of golf, GAME GOLF is for the golfer who wants to improve using technology that will allow them to learn the true distances of each of their clubs and gather stats like fairways hit, greens in regulation, number of putts and more. GAME GOLF is a fun, interactive system that can connect golfers in any geographic locations to compete and share their round.
GAME GOLF is currently available in golf specialty stores, online at www.GAMEGOLF.com and exclusively at Apple retail stores in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Ireland, with plans to continue growth across the globe. Retail Price is $249.
For more information, visit www.GAMEGOLF.com.
Phil was being the Thrill again on Thursday at the FedEx St. Jude Classic – and that meant he executed one of his trademark flop shots. No matter how many times I see him do this, it never ceases to amaze me.
Mickelson hit his tee shot pure on the 198-yard, par-3 fourth hole at TPC Southwind – only to see his ball land hard and bounce way into the thick stuff over the green. That left him with an almost impossible recovery – a downhill lie, 62 feet from the flag with not a lot of green to work with.
For you and me? Forget it. For Phil? A full wind-up, a mighty swing, an audible swoosh as his club swept through the grass and a gorgeous shot popped almost straight up and finished a few feet from the hole. One putt later, Mickelson walked off with a well-deserved par en route to his opening 3-under 67.
At the Pinehurst Resort, everybody is focused on the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open doubleheader coming up in the next two weeks. But clearly somebody is multi-tasking.
Pinehurst has purchased the National Golf Club, which is also in the Village of Pinehurst, for a price tag that wasn't disclosed, and is christening it Pinehurst No. 9.
The most noteworthy aspect of the purchase is that it adds the only Jack Nicklaus-designed course in the Sandhills region to the Pinehurst portfolio, which also includes courses designed by, or restored by, some of the game's most recognized names, including Donald Ross, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, Tom Fazio, Rees Jones and Ellis Maples.
PGA of America Championships
Benton Harbor, Mich.
Sahalee Country Club
Baltusrol Golf Club
Hazeltine National Golf Club