CHASKA, Minn. (AP) — The PGA Tour set the standard for scoring systems in golf when it developed Shotlink, which uses lasers to chart every shot by every player in every round of every tournament. Such data is not available at the four majors, because those are run by different organizations.
The PGA Championship is debating whether to be the first.
The PGA of America had to scramble for a scoring replacement when Unisys ended its partnership. With only four months before the final major of the year, officials opted for a bare-bones version of the tour’s program.
Birdies and bogeys. Driving accuracy and greens in regulation. Just no lasers.
So why the bells and no whistles?
Kerry Haigh, who runs the PGA of America’s championship, cited a $250,000 cost, short notice and concerns over spectator viewing.
“We already have an awful lot of towers built on the greens, and there were challenges in that regard for spectator enjoyment,” Haigh said Tuesday.
Still, he said the PGA of America will consider upgrading to the full package for next year at Whistling Straits.
“Going forward, our hope is to offset some of those costs … and work out a way to do it without the towers,” Haigh said. “The information is what we would like to get, but doing it in a way that it doesn’t affect the feel and look of a major. We’d love to be able to provide that.”
The PGA Tour typically shares the cost with each tournament it runs. The PGA Championship would have to be a different arrangement because the tour has no stake in the television revenue. One way for the PGA Championship to cover the cost would be to find a sponsor when promoting data during the telecast.
“When we made the presentation, we showed them everything we can do,” said Steve Evans, the tour’s senior vice president of information systems. “I truly believe they were impressed with it. I think from their perspective, everything is brand new and they had been with Unisys for so long. I think they needed a couple of events under their belt.”
CAPTAIN COUPLES: Fred Couples is playing the next two weeks, and not just so he can scout possible captain’s picks for the Presidents Cup. Couples had two brushes with winning this year and is 90th in the FedEx Cup standings.
Trouble is, he has only played 12 events and needs 15 to keep up his membership.
He will at least qualify for The Barclays, the opening playoff event. If he doesn’t make it to the second round, Couples would have to add a tournament during the Fall Series.
That led to a question that sent PGA Tour officials searching through board documents.
The Presidents Cup counts as a tournament entered for the players. Why not the captain? After all, Couples is an active player who will be spending just as much time at Harding Park as anyone else, probably more.
Andy Pazder, the senior vice president of tour administration, went back to the 1994 policy board resolution to study the language, and found “no doubt about the way it was written” that it doesn’t apply to captains.
Bad news for Couples, good news for the tournaments he plays.
STARTING FROM SCRATCH: The golf ball war between Titleist and Callaway is headed back to the first tee.
In a big victory for the parent company of Titleist, a federal appeals court last week ordered a new trial in its contentious golf ball patent dispute with Callaway. Acushnet Co. said the three-judge panel found inconsistencies in the jury’s verdict, and that the trial court erred by not allowing a defense and the evidence to support it.
The decision also means Titleist can sell golf balls that were at issue in the lawsuit.
Callaway sued in June 2007, claiming that Titleist’s popular Pro V1 line of balls infringed on several of its patents. Since then both companies have filed patent infringement lawsuits against each other.
“This very positive Court of Appeals ruling affirms our contention that we were not allowed to argue our full case before the jury, and that the resulting verdict was inconsistent and not sustainable,” said Joe Nauman, the executive vice president in charge of legal and corporate matters at Acushnet.
FASHION STATEMENT: Tim Herron, the only PGA Tour player who lives in Minnesota, had to wait around the parking lot at Hazeltine for eight hours Thursday as the first alternate into the PGA Championship.
Former PGA champion John Daly walked by on his way to the tee, and Lumpy knew his hopes were gone. Making it tougher was learning that Daly, claiming an old rib injury, swatted at putts in making double bogey on the last two holes and withdrew after a 78.
Chances are, Herron would have treated that spot a little differently.
Lumpy showed up at his home course, Wayzata Country Club, on Saturday morning for a casual round. He was wearing blue-and-white checkered shorts made by Loudmouth Golf, the same shorts Daly wore this year at U.S. Open qualifying.
Coincidence? Think again.
“I would have loved to play,” Herron said. “Hey, John’s a friend of mine. I can’t blame him.”
MAJOR CUTS: Kevin Sutherland didn’t think much of it until he walked out of the scoring trailer Friday afternoon after signing his card. He was among a dozen players to make the cut in all four majors.
The list does not include Tiger Woods, who missed the cut at Turnberry; Phil Mickelson, who did not play at Turnberry; and Sergio Garcia, who made double bogey on the last hole at Hazeltine to miss by one. Kenny Perry, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood were the only players in the top 10 to make the cut in all four majors.
The others were Angel Cabrera, Sean O’Hair, Jim Furyk, Camilo Villegas, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Ross Fisher and Vijay Singh.
On the flip side were the four players who competed in every major without making a single cut – Briny Baird, Brandt Snedeker and Michael Campbell.
DIVOTS: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson each have been runner-up six times in the majors. … Juli Inkster has received an exemption to play in the Samsung World Championship on Sept. 17-20 at Torrey Pines. She is a three-time winner of the event. … The FBR Open outside Phoenix, which is looking for a new title sponsor after 2010, raised nearly $4.3 million for local charities through The Thunderbirds, the civic organization that runs the tournament.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Six players won multiple majors this decade, the fewest since four players with multiple majors in the 1960s.
FINAL WORD: “If I tried to lift a golf bag, all my clubs would fall out the other side.” – Michelle Wie, on Y.E. Yang celebrating his PGA Championship victory by hoisting his golf bag over his head.