Monday Scorecard: USGA feud resurfaces during busy week in golf

"Monday Scorecard" is a look back at the biggest stories from the golf world over the past seven days.

Players vs. USGA feud resurfaces

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The seemingly neverending conflict between PGA Tour players and the United States Golf Association reached another level with the 2019 U.S. Open less than two weeks away.

The catalyst was last Monday's Golf Digest article by John Huggan and Brian Wacker containing dozens of anonymous quotes from players, coaches, and caddies with a variety of complaints regarding the USGA and past U.S. Open venues.

The animosity arguably reached its peak at last year's U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills when Phil Mickelson deliberately ran on the green to hit a moving ball. But the anonymous quotes are evidence that the complaints are deep-rooted, widespread, and have been festering for years.

"Every player should have walked off," one former U.S. Open champion said of the 2018 tournament. "I wouldn't have disqualified Phil; I'd have given him a medal."

A multiple PGA Tour winner revealed: "We had about 10-15 guys who were willing to sit out after 2016. Some of them were big names. Dustin (Johnson) was one, Rory (McIlroy) was another."

Big-name players were willing to boycott a major championship!

After the quotes generated buzz, players at the Memorial Tournament were asked to comment on the USGA again.

“I think we should give (the USGA) the chance to redeem themselves," McIlroy said last Wednesday. "If they can't redeem themselves at Pebble Beach, then there could be a problem.”

Mickelson took another jab at the USGA, saying that every year it doesn't rain, they mess it up.

However, the anonymous quotes weren't all bad. Some actually praised the USGA for their decisions, and those sources don't seem to be American.

One European Tour winner who's played in three U.S. Opens thought the USGA did a "fantastic job." Another winner in Europe recounted his experience playing with two "leading Americans" at Shinnecock Hills, saying one called it "clown golf" and the other whined the entire time. According to a third European Tour winner, "The U.S. Open should be a test of temperament as well as execution and technique."

Score: Eagle. This type of dispute is exactly what golf needs and the USGA should continue to test the coddled PGA Tour players. On the surface, sure, U.S. Opens of the past have been extremely difficult and borderline unfair. But when golfers are competing for the second-largest purse in the game and everyone is competing on the same track, why does the course's setup matter so much? If anything, the best players in the world have an advantage when the venue is incredibly difficult.

Cantlay finally breaks through

Keyur Khamar / US PGA TOUR / Getty

It was only a matter of time before Patrick Cantlay claimed a marquee PGA Tour title. The 27-year-old destroyed Muirfield Village with an 8-under 64 to erase a four-shot deficit on Sunday and defeat Adam Scott by two. His win comes during a streak of impressive golf - he also finished T-9 at the Masters, T-3 at the RBC Heritage, and T-3 at the PGA Championship. Cantlay moved to No. 8 in the Official World Golf Ranking with his victory.

Score: Eagle. Despite showing very little emotion on the course, Cantlay is easy to root for and one of golf's most exciting young talents. Once the world's best amateur player, he had to overcome a serious back injury during his journey back to the top. He also suffered one of life's worst hardships. In 2016, he witnessed the death of his best friend and caddie, Chris Roth, who was struck by a car while crossing the street only a few feet in front of Cantlay.

Now Cantlay's a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, and he's threatened at the last two major championships. Get used to seeing his name at the top of leaderboards for years to come - perhaps as soon as the U.S. Open in two weeks.

Haney detracts from U.S. Women's Open

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In the same week the USGA announced it would pay the winner of the U.S. Women's Open $1 million for the first time ever, Hank Haney used his platform on SiriusXM to belittle women's golf with poorly thought-out comments.

For some reason, Haney was asked who he thought would win the event, despite clearly having done no research. He didn't know when or where the major championship was being played, let alone who the contenders would be.

He started by picking a Korean while admitting he couldn't name six players on the LPGA Tour, then added: "Maybe I could. Well, I'd go with Lee. If I didn't have to name a first name, I'd get a bunch of them right."

SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio suspended him at the instruction of the PGA Tour, and Haney accepted the punishment and apologized. Then South Korea's Jeongeun Lee6 won the tournament in her rookie season. The numeral was added to the 23-year-old's name to distinguish her on the LPGA of Korea tour, and she's fully embraced it while moving to the next level.

After Lee6's win, Haney appeared to feel vindicated and proceeded to make his apology seem a lot less sincere.


He then spelled her name wrong ... twice.


Score: Triple-bogey. Beyond the fact that he's Tiger Woods' former swing coach, it's mind-blowing that Haney has a platform to comment on golf. If his prediction was based on "statistics and facts," he would have at least known when and where the tournament was being played (the Country Club of Charleston, by the way). Haney would have also been able to name more than six players on the LPGA Tour. Instead, he offered ignorant comments that showed no signs of appreciation for women's golf, and now he's taking a victory lap because Lee6 won.

The LPGA Tour has a number of elite players who are not American. But the fact it is a worldwide Tour should be celebrated rather than used to mock the state of the women's game.

Tiger's ready for Pebble Beach

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Any concerns regarding Tiger Woods' game after his missed cut at the PGA Championship should be non-existent now. Woods put on a ball-striking clinic during the final round at the Memorial Tournament, his last round before the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He fired a 5-under 67 where he hit 12 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens in regulation.

Score: Birdie. It wasn't just Tiger's final-round score that was impressive; he nearly played a flawless round Sunday and was hitting piercing, pin-seeking shots all day long. If his ball-striking shows up at Pebble, the same venue where he won the 2000 U.S. Open by 15 strokes, another major Sunday with Woods in the hunt is nearly guaranteed.

Heart-breaking NCAA championship

Jack Dempsey / NCAA Photos / Getty

The Stanford Cardinal won the 2019 D-I men's golf championship last Wednesday, defeating the Texas Longhorns in the final.

With no disrespect to Woods' alma mater, the week's big story was the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who entered the tournament as heavy favorites to defend their national championship title.

In the stroke-play portion of the event, which determines the individual champion as well as seeding for the two-day match-play segment, the Cowboys won by a whopping 31 strokes. Collegiate standout Matthew Wolff won by five shots to take home individual honors and the team had four players inside the top 15.

The Cowboys looked poised to cruise to another national title, but disaster struck in the match-play stage.

Taking on the Longhorns and fighting darkness, the Cowboys' Zach Bauchou held a 1-up lead on the final hole. Steven Chervony of Texas drilled a birdie putt on No. 18 to force a playoff, and after the Longhorn tapped in for par, Bauchou needed this putt to extend the match.

Score: Birdie for entertainment purposes, but double-bogey for the gut-wrenching way Oklahoma State's historic season ended. The Cowboys, winners of 14 NCAA regional events, rostered the individual champ Wolff and Viktor Hovland, 2018's U.S. Amateur champion and low amateur at the 2019 Masters. They were clearly the best team in the country and displayed it throughout the year, but the best team doesn't always win.

Monday Scorecard: USGA feud resurfaces during busy week in golf
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