Golf Buzz

Rickie Fowler, Kevin Tway and Chesson Hadley
Rickie Fowler/Twitter
Rickie Fowler, Kevin Tway and Chesson Hadley get ready to fly Sunday via private jet to Pinehurst.

When you absolutely, positively have to get to Pinehurst, N.C., overnight, why not hop on a FedEx plane?

According to a tweet from Rickie Fowler, that's what he, Kevin Tway and Chesson Hadley apparently did Sunday after the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis. Check out the selfie:

 

 

 

And Ian Poulter is apparently getting a lift as well.

 

 

 

Memphis is FedEx's world headquarters, so the company provided a private jet for the PGA Tour pros to make their journey just that much easier. Certainly beats driving a rental car the 700-plus miles from western Tennessee to the Sandhills of North Carolina.

At least they didn't have to ride in the cargo hold.

 

June 8, 2014 - 11:38am
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Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick
USA Today Images
Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick putt and chip around on the green during a Masters practice round.

After you've finished a hole during a normal round of golf, are you allowed to drop the ball on the green and putt it again for practice? While waiting on the tee for the fairway ahead to clear, can you hit short chips to pass the time? Yes, according to our rules expert, but there are limitations.

It has to do with Rule 7-2, according to Bryan Jones, co-vice chairman of the PGA Rules Committee. Here's the specific language from the rulebook:

"Between the play of two holes a player must not make a practice stroke, except that he may practice putting or chipping on or near:

a. the putting green of the hole last played,
b. any practice putting green, or
c. the teeing ground of the next hole to be played in the round, provided a practice stroke is not made from a hazard and does not unduly delay play (Rule 6-7)."

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So the rule involves two types of practice swings at three possible locations. And even then, Jones said the rule is open to interpretation in some ways.

"We know what a putt is but an interesting aspect is, what does a chip mean?" Jones said. "It is not defined, so does a full swing flop shot count? I think it means a very short shot based on the limitations of the rest of the rule."

Jones said if you or a member of your foursome wants another chance to check the break or speed of a green only after you've completed the hole, that's OK. Or if you're making the turn and there's a chance to hit a couple of balls on the practice green, you can do that while the rest of your group is getting snacks or taking a bathroom break.

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But like everything, there are a couple of exceptions to Rule 7-2. One involves tournament play.

"Note No. 2 at the end of this rule allows the [rules] committee to prohibit practice on or near the putting green of the hole last played," Jones said. "This allows the committee to address potential pace of play issues with excess practice, and the PGA of America and the PGA Tour both do so. The USGA does not utilize this note."

The other deals with the definition of "teeing ground," especially on courses where there are multiple tee areas.

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"I do not recall the specifics but a player was penalized two strokes in a championship when she dropped and chipped a couple of balls from a 'tee pad' behind where the teeing ground was located," Jones said. "The definition of teeing ground is critical in understanding what 'on or near' actually relates to."

So remember, it's OK the next time somebody in your group takes another crack at the hole -- as long as they're not holding up the group behind and more importantly, they record their first attempt on the scorecard. In golf, like in life, you don't get a do-over.

 

Brad Fritsch
Brad Fritsch makes par from a very wet stance on No. 18 Saturday.

Brad Fritsch knew he needed an eagle on the 18th hole Saturday to make the cut at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. But there was a problem. His tee shot landed just inches from the edge of the lake on the left side of the fairway, leaving him a 130-yard shot to the green with no stance -- at least not on dry ground.

So with that in mind, Fritsch took off his socks and shoes, rolled up his pants legs and here's what happened next:

 

It didn't go in the hole, but it landed on the green. And Fritsch was able to two-putt from there to save par.

 

Carly Booth and Jeremy Dale
Carly Booth via Instagram
Carly Booth puts just the right touch on this flop shot over Jeremy Dale's head.
Many golf fans became aware of Carly Booth when she appeared wearing not a whole lot in the 2013 "Bodies We Want" edition of ESPN the Magazine, but the 21-year-old Scot has been an accomplished golfer for almost a decade.
 
She won her first women's title at age 11, was ranked as Europe's top female junior in 2007, became Britain and Ireland's youngest Curtis Cup player at 16 in 2008, and twice played in the Junior Ryder Cup. She turned professional at 18 in 2010, and already owns two Ladies European Tour titles.
 
And, it turns out, she's got a flop shot that even Phil Mickelson might covet. She showed it off the other day during an appearance with Jeremy Dale, a British instructor and trick-shot artist in his own right. 
 
 
As you can see in the Instagram video that Booth posted, she positioned Dale just a few feet in front of her, then took a full cut with a wedge – she gently lofted the ball directly over his head and it came to rest just a few feet behind him. 
 
Dale flinched a little bit, but I give him serious credit for remaining as steady as he did – no disrespect to Booth, but I don't think I could hang in there with any golfer in the world taking such a big swing so close to me.
 
And while you enjoy Carly's video, here's a bit of trivia for you: Her father, Wally Booth, was a prominent amateur wrestler and a bouncer/doorman at the Cavern Club in Liverpool when the Beatles were getting started. The Fab Four asked him to accompany them on their first trip to the United States, but he turned them down because he was training for the 1964 Olympics. He won the British championship, but an injury kept him out of the Olympics.
 
 
 
 
Jason Millard
USA Today Images
Jason Millard called a penalty on a shot he attempted a week ago, resulting in disqualification from the U.S. Open.

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.

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.

John Daly
As Peter Kostis noted Saturday, John Daly's power comes from his wide arc, not because he swings hard.

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?