Golf notebook: Broken club causes Howell's DQ

Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

--Charles Howell III, trying to move up in the FedEx Cup standings by playing last week in the Wyndham Championship, opened with 66-68 and was tied for 10th five strokes behind leader and eventual winner Patrick Reed.
However, Howell was disqualified before the start of the third round because a weight port cover fell off his driver before the start of the second round, making the club non-conforming under golf rules.
"The idea that the club would no longer be conforming, because of the missing toe-cap, never entered my mind," said Howell, who dropped one spot to 27th in the FedEx Cup standings heading into the PGA Tour playoff opener, the Barclays, this week at Liberty National.
Howell said the weight port cap came off his driver while he was hitting balls on the driving range before the start of the second round at Sedgefield Country Club.
Taylor-Made officials assured him that it would not affect the performance of the driver.
However, when PGA Tour officials were told by a United States Golf Association official that Howell played without the weight port cover on the driver on Friday, he was disqualified.
There was no word on who informed the USGA of the situation.
"What that little port cover coming off did was made the club non-conforming because there's a little hole under that cover that they use to put a hot wax weight in the club, and without that cover on there, the club has a hole through it which you cannot have," PGA Tour rules official Tony Wallin said.
"You cannot have a hole that's uncovered into the club or going through the club. So that's what made the club non-conforming."
Had the cover come off the driver during Howell's round, he would not have been disqualified, as long as the problem was corrected before the start of the third round.
--Annika Sorenstam of Sweden, one of the greatest women golfers of all time, has been selected to receive 2014 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.
Sorenstam, 42, will receive the award on Feb. 5 during the opening session of the 2014 GCSAA Education Conference in Orlando, Fla.
"Annika thrilled us as a champion golfer and has inspired us through her compassion in giving back to others in a variety of charitable endeavors," GCSAA president Patrick R. Finlen said. "We are honored that she will be joining us to accept the award and share her message with us. Undoubtedly she is a popular choice among our members to be recognized."
Sorenstam claimed 89 victories around the world during her 15-year-career, including 72 on the PGA Tour, and was enshrined in the World Golf Hall of Fame at St. Augustine, Fla., in 2003.
Among her victories were 10 majors. She earned eight LPGA Tour player of the year awards, and she was selected Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year from 2003-05.
Sorenstam became the only female to break 60 in an official event, carding a 59 in the second round of the Standard Register PING, and she became the first woman in 58 years to compete on the PGA Tour when she played in the 2003 Colonial Invitational.
Sorenstam retired from competitive golf in 2008 to start a family, but she has remained close to the game through her various business and philanthropic endeavors, specifically the ANNIKA Foundation and the ANNIKA Academy.
Previous winners of the Old Tom Morris Award include Arnold Palmer, Bob Hope, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Nancy Lopez, Nick Price and Peter Jacobsen.
The Old Tom Morris Award is presented each year to an individual who "through a continuing lifetime commitment to the game of golf has helped to mold the welfare of the game in a manner and style exemplified by Old Tom Morris."
Morris (1821-1908) was greenskeeper and golf professional at the St. Andrews Links Trust Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland, and captured the Open Championship in 1861, '62, '64 and '67.
--Tiger Woods put up $4 million of his own money to keep the World Challenge going last year, but Northwestern Mutual announced that it would be the title sponsor of the event for the 15th annual tournament on Dec. 5-8.
The World Challenge, which benefits the college-access programs of the Tiger Woods Foundation, has been played at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., since 2000. Tom Lehman won the inaugural event in 1999 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
"Northwestern Mutual has been an excellent partner over the years and we are pleased that they will be the title sponsor of the World Challenge," said tournament host Woods, who has won the tournament a record five times.
"I'm really looking forward to competing this year. This event welcomes a fantastic field and it's always fun to come home and play in front of the Southern California fans."
Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland won the tournament for the second time last year, when Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual served as presenting sponsor.
McDowell also won the title in 2010, beating Woods in a playoff.
--Sam Torrance of Scotland was selected to captain Great Britain and Ireland in the eighth Seve Trophy, and Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain was picked to lead Continental Europe.
Paul McGinley, the European Ryder Cup Captain, made the selections for the matches, which will be played for the third consecutive time at St-Nom-La Breteche Golf Club in Yvelines, France, from Oct. 3-6.
The tournament is named in honor of the late Seve Ballesteros, who founded the tournament as a team competition for European players in seasons when the biennial Ryder Cup is not played.
"(Torrance and Olazabal) are two men I have the utmost respect for and who I've benefited from over the years," said McGinley, who will oversee the tournament as he prepares to caption the European team for the Ryder Cup next year at Gleneagles Resort in Scotland. "I know they will do a fine job.
"I have shared many special moments with both of them but obviously, having Sam as captain for my Ryder Cup debut in 2002 was particularly memorable, as was being one of Jose Maria's vice-captains for that extraordinary week at Medinah last year."
Olazabal, who also captained of the Continental Europe team for the 2005 Seve Trophy, was captain of the European team for last year's dramatic comeback victory over the United States in the Ryder Cup at Medinah.
The Euros overcame a 10-6 deficit entering singles play to win 14 1/2-13 1/2.
"Everyone knows how much I love team golf such as this and therefore it was a big honor when I got the call," said Olazabal. "Everyone knew my relationship with Seve, through both the Ryder Cup and this contest, and therefore to be part again of team golf again will be great.
"It's always good to see players in a match play format and it is a great experience for them. It benefited my Ryder Cup team and we will have a group of players in France with the potential to play in the next Ryder Cup and beyond."
Torrance, 59, played on eight Ryder Cup teams and was captain of the European team that claimed a 15 1/2-12 1/2 victory over the Americans in 2002 at the Belfry.
This will be his first captaincy in the Seve Trophy.
"It's been 11 years since I took charge of the Ryder Cup team, and so you can imagine I'm really looking forward to this," said Torrance, who has won 43 times in his professional career and lately has been involved in the game as a television analyst. "It's tremendous.
"I've been keeping an eye on what has been going on, and so it will be a real privilege to be involved at the helm once again. It will also be special to go up against Ollie, as I've known him all my golfing life."
Continental Europe captured the first Seve Trophy in 2000 at Sunningdale Golf Club in England, but the Great Britain and Ireland team has won the last six competitions.
--Jarrod Lyle of Australia, who has not played on the PGA Tour since he returned home last year to successfully fight off leukemia for the second time in his life, has targeted the Australian Masters at Royal Melbourne in mid-November for his return to competitive golf.
The 31-year-old Lyle, said he is motivated by his 18-month-old daughter, Lusi, who was born right before he began chemotherapy treatments.
"For me, that's probably going to be the biggest thing, having her there at a golf tournament, watching her dad try to play some golf again," Lyle said. "You always sit there and watch other guys win and their kids run onto the green to give them a big hug. It'd be nice for Lusi to be there and just run onto the green and catch me before I fall over."
Lyle, who is on a major medical exemption with the PGA Tour, still plans to return to United States circuit, but he concedes that he's at least a year away from that.
His practice sessions have been limited, and he plays no more than two days in a row at the Sands Resort in Torquay, Victoria, where he lives with Lusi and his wife, Bri.
"It's just hard, because I still get very tired," said Lyle, who won the Mexican Open and the Knoxville Open on what was the Nationwide Tour in 2008, when he finished fourth on the money list and earned his PGA Tour card. "I don't want to push myself too much in a way. My doctors have said you have to listen to your body and the minute you start getting tired then you have to stop. ...
"I'm not able to travel, I'm not able to do a lot of things yet. I've got a lot of things that need to happen before I can go back over there. This time last year, I didn't know what was going on. I didn't know if I'd ever be playing golf again. So I'm sort of using the (Australian) Masters as a bit of a gauge."
Lyle's best finish on the PGA Tour was a tie for fourth in the 2012 Northern Trust Open, a few weeks before he returned home and received the diagnosis that the acute myeloid leukemia he beat at age 17 had returned.
--The Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, N.Y., which has hosted U.S. Opens won by Tiger Woods (2002) and Lucas Glover (2009), is very much in the plans of the PGA of America.
Ted Bishop, president of the PGA, indicated that his organization's two biggest events probably are headed for Bethpage Black.
"The PGA is highly interested in having a Ryder Cup and a PGA Championship there," Bishop said. "We feel it's a golf course that's worthy of both.
"We've been interested in Bethpage going back to 2009."
Golfweek magazine reported that the 2019 PGA Championship will be played on the public course on Long Island, followed by the Ryder Cup in 2024.
When pressed, Bishop would only say that the PGA of America is "very close to a deal" with Bethpage Black.
Phil Mickelson finished second to Woods and Glover in both those U.S. Opens at Bethpage Black, and he is thrilled that the PGA of America has the course in its plans.
"That's an incredible idea," Mickelson said of the Ryder Cup being played there. "I love it. I've been quietly hoping it would go there for years. It's a perfect site."
Mickelson will be 54 in 2024 and perhaps wouldn't be a candidate for the United States team, but do you think he might be interested in the captain's job?

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