Off The Fringe—Tiger’s Pinehurst Invite

Tiger_042924Tiger’s Exemption
For almost four decades Tiger Woods has been able to play in the U.S. Open but since his career is winding down his exemptions into our national championship have expired, the most recent a five-year invitation for winning the 2019 Masters.

In a move that has preceded the potential controversial invitations to LIV circuit players the USGA asked Woods to be in the field at Pinehurst No.2 for the 124th playing starting June 13. Woods has 15 major championships including three U.S. Open titles, the last in 2008.

Norman Not Invited to British Open
Speaking of Opens the R&A, who run what Americans call the British Open not The Open as our friends on the east side of the pond do, have not invited two-time champion Greg Norman. Norman can be looked at as the primary cause of professional golf’s rupture and is the CEO of LIV Golf so presumably he has contacts that will sell him a ticket as someone did for the Masters.

The 152nd Open Championship July 18-21 will be played over the Royal Troon Golf Club course and the 250,000 tickets are sold out. Troon also is boasting its sixth hole will be the longest ever for an Open at 623 yards. Those who have played there will instantly recognize that two holes further on is the shortest hole in the Championship’s history at 123 yards.

54-hole Pro Circuit get Ranking Points
The Clutch Pro Tour founded four years ago has applied for and been granted Official World Ranking Points, the first less than 72-hole circuit to be recognized. Clutch plays solely in the United Kingdom and is a feeder tour to the DP World Tour.

In contrast LIV Golf was rejected for World Ranking Points last October due to their events being 54-holes with no cut unlike Clutch which has a 36-hole cut. LIV despite the multi-millions paid to attract major champions like Dustin Johnson, Bruce Koepka, Jon Rahm, and Bryson DeChambeau has its format incorporating team play and was judged by the OWGR to not be able to be ranked equitably.

Short Putts
World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla. has been bought by St. Johns County for $5.5 million including the World Golf Hall of Fame and the IMAX Theater. The Hall of Fame has moved and will occupy a new facility on the USGA campus in Pinehurst, N.C. It is due to open before the U.S. Open contested over Pinehurst No. 2 in June.

Patriot Golf Day returns Memorial Day Weekend for the 17th year. Begun by Lt Col Dan Rooney, a PGA Golf Professional and former F-16 pilot, they partner with the Folds of Honor to raise funds for academic scholarships to families of fallen or disabled members of the military and first responders. PGA Professionals in all 50 states will ask golfers to add $1 to their green fees as a donation.

Jordan Spieth got a couple of lucky bounces but still missed the cut at his hometown CJ Byron Nelson tournament. The likeable Texan is still struggling with a wrist injury from last year and says, “It’s a come and go thing.”

In the category “it catches up with us all eventually,” 83-year-old Jack Nicklaus played Augusta National after the Masters and shot rounds of 88, 90 and 91 citing the course is too long for his 190-yard tee shots. On the other end of the spectrum 16-year-old Kris Kim made the cut at the CJ Byron Nelson with a birdie on the last hole. He is the youngest to make a PGAT cut in 11 years. And speaking of age-related items, Phil Mickelson age 53 confessed in a Bloomberg interview he was thinking about retiring. Of course, he has no need to play with the supposed $200 million signing bonus he received from LIV Golf in 2022.

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