Monday, June 24, 2024

Different Strokes: McIntyre announces his return to golf by handing out Scottish chocolate bars

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Bob MacIntyre announced his arrival back to tournament play at Pinehurst No. 2 with a down-to-earth statement of his own … by handing out Tunnock chocolate caramel bars to some lucky players, among them past champion Matt Fitzpatrick who wasted no time in chomping into the Scottish bar.

And the Scot – winner of the recent RBC Canadian Open, who then took a week out in skipping the Memorial to return home for a bit of a party, hence having the chocolate bars readily to hand – also had an old face back on the bag with.

Mike Burrow had caddied for MacIntyre at the recent PGA in Valhalla, before the player’s dad Dougie carried the bag in that emotional win in Canada.

Dougie has since returned to the day job of greenkeeping, with Burrow installed as the new full time caddie. MacIntyre has had a number of caddies, including Waterfordman Greg Milne who served two stints, Scott Carmichael and Mike Thomas, in recent seasons in something of a bag carrying merry-go-round. Burrow looked like the cat who got the cream – if not a Tunnocks – on walking on to the range with MacIntyre.

Adam Scott’s streak of consecutive Majors continues

Poignantly, Adam Scott’s streak of consecutive Majors – which will reach 92 at this week’s 124th US Open at Pinehurst No. 2 – will be extended, after the late Grayson Murray’s name was removed from the exemptions and, as a result, the Australian slipped into the category of those eligible from the top-60 off the world’s ranking.

Murray, who took his own life two weeks ago, was 59th and Scott 61st in the official world rankings for Monday’s final cut-off point. Scott, who had missed out at US Open qualifying, moved to the 60th eligible player to get a late place in the 156-man field.

Scott will be competing in his 23rd consecutive US Open, with his best finish being a tied for fourth in 2015 at Chambers Bay. He has played the last two US Opens at Pinehurst: he was tied-28th in 2005 and tied-ninth in 2014. His only career Major win came in the 2013 Masters.

Four alternates from US Open qualifying – Sergio Garcia, amateur Brendan Valdes, Otto Black and Maxwell Modovan – were also brought in to complete the field.

Word of Mouth

“See you in a week!” – Wyndham Clark on returning the US Open trophy to the USGA, with hopes of getting it back come Sunday. Clark claimed a breakthrough Major success in last year’s championship at Los Angeles Country Club, where he was a one-stroke winner over Rory McIlroy. But the American’s form has dipped of late, including missed cuts at the Masters and the US PGA.

By the Numbers: 1

World number one Scottie Scheffler is the first player to head into the US Open with five-plus PGA Tour wins including a Major that season since Arnold Palmer in 1961 (hat tip @JustinRayGolf).

On this day: June 11th, 1989

Wayne Grady, a globe-trotting Australian who’d won on the European Tour and the Australasian circuits, had pretty much given up on his PGA Tour dreams … until a breakthrough win in the Westchester Classic in New York.

After rounds of 69-65-71-72 for a total of seven-under-par 277, the wisecracking Grady found himself in a playoff with Ronnie Black, which the 31-year-old won to secure victory and prolong his career stateside.

“Now you’re stuck with me, fellow,” quipped Grady to Black after winning, a reference to how, after spending five years on the US circuit with little success to the point where he was considering returning to Europe as his main tour.

“You can make a lot of money playing in Europe and Asia now, playing the same calibre of golf you do here and not getting your head kicked in,” Grady had remarked before the victory – and a $180,000 pay-day – changed his plans.

Grady birdied the 72nd hole to get into the sudden-death playoff and then won at the first extra hole. “I won’t be saying goodbye now,” said Grady, who of course went on to win the following year’s PGA Championship.

X-Twitter Twaddle

Made it. I wasn’t ready to break 25 years of playing in the US Open just yet. Great feeling to be headed to Pinehurst #usopen – Sergio Garcia on getting a late exemption.

Good luck to all those playing in the US Open this week. The US Open is one of golf’s most gruelling challenges and tests your physical and mental ability in almost equal measure. The US Open was a special victory for me and help me clinch the Grand Slam, something I am still incredibly proud of to this day – Gary Player, still finding the spotlight.

Crazy to think where I was 11 months ago with a broke foot let alone 17 months ago not having played golf for over a decade & in rehab with multiple issues #mentalhealth included. Proud of myself & so much #gratitude 4 @livgolf_league – Anthony Kim on getting his life together. Once ranked sixth in the world rankings, Kim – now 4,424th – is back playing golf on LIV Golf. Kim, however, doesn’t make it into the field at Pinehurst. He last played in a US Open back in 2011.

Know the Rules

Q What happens if you hit a ball while it is moving?

A Ah, this brings to mind the incident involving Phil Mickelson in the 2008 US Open at Shinnecock Hills. That was the time when the greens dried out to the point where greenstaff had to water the surfaces between groups. On the 13th hole of the final round, Mickelson’s frustration got the better of him when he raced a putt by the hole and, as it looked as if the ball would roll off the green, then hit it again while it was still in motion (in breach of Rule 14.5). He was accessed a two strokes penalty (for a 10), although there was a belief he should have been disqualified for his action.

In the Bag

Scottie Scheffler – Memorial tournament

Driver – TaylorMade Qi10 (8 degrees)

3-wood – TaylorMade Qi10 (15 degrees)

Irons – Srixon ZU85 (3,4); TaylorMade P7TW (5-pW)

Wedges – Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (50, 56 degrees); Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks Proto (60 degrees)

Putter – TaylorMade Spider Tour X

Ball – Titleist ProV1

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