Golf notebook: Grant Snedeker making most of time with Ryder Cup

By Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange  |  May 8, 2017 at 5:36 PM
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Brandt Snedeker, who helped the United States regain the Ryder Cup last year at Hazeltine, had fun with the trophy when he had it for a week recently.

Among other things, the Nashville native took the Ryder Cup to an NHL playoff game between the Nashville Predators and the St. Louis Blues.

"Taking the @RyderCupUSA on the ice tonight before @PredsNHL playoff game tonight was crazy!!! #Smashville," Snedeker, a graduate of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, said in a post on Twitter.

Snedeker received a standing ovation when he took the trophy onto the ice before the game at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, and he posed for pictures with fans and also country music star Vince Gill while holding the Ryder Cup.

In addition, Snedeker took the trophy to his daughter Mandy's school to show it to students, and also posted a picture of his children drinking soda out of the Ryder Cup with straws.

Snedeker was a star for the U.S. team at Hazeltine, posting a 3-0 record.

Brian Gay keeps Tour card

Brian Gay, playing on a major medical extension because of a back injury he suffered last season, had 10 events to regain his PGA Tour card, but he made it easily when he recorded ties for sixth in the RBC Heritage and the Valero Texas Open last month.

Gay also hoped to qualify for the Players Championship, but he was told by PGA Tour officials that he was 28 FedExCup points short, although he wasn't so sure.

So Gay began investigating and remembered that the tour changed its points distribution this year to reflect the breakdown of awarding of money and points, so he looked up the old points distribution.

"I immediately found 30 points and thought, 'OK, now we're getting somewhere,'" Gay said. "And that point, I thought I had to bring that up."

So Gay phoned Andy Pazder, the PGA Tour's chief of operations, and after a short discussion, it was agreed that players should be judged by the rules that were in place when their major medical extension began. Thus, Gay will be in the Players field this week.

During televised events in recent weeks, analysts mentioned several times that Ian Poulter of England, coming back from a foot injury, was trying to regain his card and that eventually, he fell barely short.

"(Pazder) called me and mentioned Ian, and I thought, 'I just got Ian his tour card back,'" Gay said. "For me, it was just about getting in the Players. For Ian, it was about getting his status back."

Gay said he sent Poulter a text that said: "How happy are you?"

Poulter, who also got into the Players Championship, replied: "I friggin' love you," followed by three red hearts.

Dottie Pepper says goodbye to Twitter

CBS golf analyst Dottie Pepper said she has quit her Twitter account because the backlash she received from people she called "trolls" after she made an error while interviewing Scott Brown during the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Pepper said Brown had not been in a position to win on the PGA Tour, even though he captured the 2013 Puerto Rico Open, an alternate-field event.

"(The Twitter account) is suspended by my own doing; can stay in that status for a year," Pepper told SBNation. "I'll re-evaluate at some point, but I'm just tired of the toxic nature of most social media."

Pepper later corrected her mistake on the air, but the reaction on Twitter was harsh. According to SBNation's Emily Kay, Pepper says she was "tired of the idiots."

Pepper's move to drop off Twitter came after two-time PGA Tour winner Pat Perez also quit Twitter because of the reaction from fans after he said Tiger Woods "knows he can't beat anybody."

"I'm tired of the trolls and people not having the facts," Perez told Golf Digest in February. "I'm worn out."

Other golfers who have had issues with fans on Twitter include Stacy Lewis, Lee Westwood of England, Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie.

LPGA documentary moving to big screen

Mighty Fine Pictures, Level 33 Entertainment and GATHR Films have joined with the LPGA Tour to transfer the award-winning documentary, "The Founders," from the festival circuit to the big screen.

"The Founders," which tells the story of the 13 women who founded the LPGA Tour, has been popular with audiences across the globe. The 13 players battled the prejudices of the time to start the women's professional golf tour in 1950.

"(They) were not supposed to be athletes, they were not supposed to get paid to play, they were not supposed to call the shots," the filmmakers said in a press release for "The Founders" when it launched as a documentary.

"They staged tournaments in small, far-flung towns that questioned whether female golfers were even worth watching. Together, they logged thousands of miles a week just for the opportunity to tee off on courses they also had to groom."

The feature-length documentary, directed by Charlene Fisk and Carrie Schrader, includes rare, archival footage, historical re-enactments and interviews with the surviving founding members.

Among the athletes featured in the film are Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb and Babe Didrikson Zaharias, while Arnold Palmer and Billie Jean King make brief appearances.

"I am extremely excited that the Founders Film is finished and this story is finally being told," said Webb, a seven-time major championship winner who helped fund "The Founders" film project and is an executive producer.

"I thank Charlie (Fisk) and her film-making team for their perseverance and I love and share the passion of these 13 amazing women. All past, present and future LPGA players, women golfers, and all women athletes should thank them and appreciate all they have done for women's golf and women's sport. I am extremely proud and sincerely honored to be a part of this film."

The 13 founding members of the LPGA Tour were Alice Bauer, Patty Berg, Bettye Danoff, Helen Dettweiler, Marlene Bauer Hagge, Helen Hicks, Opal Hill, Betty Jameson, Sally Sessions, Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork, Louise Suggs and Zaharias.

All in the family event

Chase Koepka received a sponsor's exemption to team with his brother, Brooks, a member of the PGA Tour, in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the first two-man team stroke-play event on the circuit since 1981.

Chase, playing his first PGA Tour event, and Brooks birdied the last three holes and to shoot 10-under-par 62 in the final round and finish in a tie for fifth.

By finishing in the top 10, Chase Koepka earned a spot in the Wells Fargo Championship last week, where he shot 75-74--149 and missed the cut by four strokes.

Chase Koepka, 23, hopes to qualify for the Tour Finals, where he could earn his PGA Tour card for next season.

"It was a good experience," Chase Koepka said after the New Orleans tournament. "I felt like I have a little bit to improve on if I want to be here week in and week out with these guys.

"I knew we could get into contention. If it wasn't for that bad stretch of holes late in the third round and early in the fourth (when they were 5 over in six holes), we could have won.

"I had a couple hiccups in the final round, but I kept grinding."

Chase Koepka, who graduated from the University of South Florida last spring after becoming the program's all-time leader with four victories, has status this season on the European Challenge Tour.

Presidents Cup to be played at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in 2019

The Presidents Cup will be played for the third time at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Victoria, Australia, in 2019, the PGA Tour announced.

The event matches the United States team against the International team, which is comprised of players from all countries not eligible for the European team in the Ryder Cup.

Royal Melbourne also was the site of the Presidents Cup in 1998 and 2011 and is the only international venue to host the event more than once.

"We're thrilled to once again be returning to the prestigious and storied Royal Melbourne Golf Club," PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said. "Our history there speaks volumes about not only the course and its ability to host world-class competitions but also the surrounding area in Melbourne as a destination for our fans and players.

"With so many great courses in the Sandbelt (region), we were not short on choice when it came to selecting a championship-tested venue. Returning to such a storied course for this event, especially as both teams have been victorious there, is a special privilege and sets both teams up for an even playing field to break the tie."

The United States has dominated the series, 9-1-1. The only International victory came at Royal Melbourne in 1998, when the team led by captain Peter Thomson of Australia defeated the American team guided by captain Jack Nicklaus, 20 1/2 to 11 1/2.

In 2011, Fred Couples' U.S. team recorded a 19-15 victory over the International team of captain Greg Norman of Australia.

The oldest golf club in Australia, Royal Melbourne Golf Club was founded in 1891 and moved to its current location in 1926.

Royal Melbourne has two courses, both designed by the legendary Alister MacKenzie.

In 1959, 12 holes of the West Course and six from the East Course were combined to create what is known as the Composite Course, which hosts major competitions at the club.

Aussies Jason Day and Adam Scott captured the 2013 World Cup of Golf on the Composite Course.

The 2017 Presidents Cup will be played from Sept. 28-Oct. 1 at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J.

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