January 3, 2012
DeLaet back in the swing
By JON McCARTHY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - “Anyone know how to watch the World Jrs in the US?”
That was the question Canadian golfer Graham DeLaet was asking his Twitter followers last week as he celebrated the holidays with his wife Ruby and her family in Washington state.
Nothing brings a Canadian golfer and his fans together like hockey.
If interesting tweets aren’t reason enough to follow DeLaet this season, keep in mind he is on a very short list of Canadians set to play a full full PGA schedule in 2012.
After starting just two events last season coming off back surgery, the 29-year-old will have 26 starts on a major medical extension to try to bank $657,694 needed to keep his status for the rest of the year.
The big-hitting DeLaet was poised to breakthrough in 2011 after a solid rookie season but his back injury put an end to that. Because he finished in the top-100 on the money list in 2010, Delaet won’t be subject to the reshuffle list that plagues lower-ranked PGA Tour members and will have much more stability with his 2012 schedule.
DeLaet confirmed via Twitter that he will tee it up next week in Hawaii at the Sony Open, which is the first full-field event of the year.
This week’s season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions is reserved for 2010 PGA winners — so we know there won’t be any Canadians there.
No story on injured Canadian golfers is complete without an update on Mike Weir and his troublesome elbow.
The 2003 Masters winner announced on his website that he is continuing his rehab and is targeting February’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am to make his return.
Given his status on the career earnings list, Weir has two full-year exemptions at his disposal but has chosen not to use one and begins the season on a non-exempt medical extension.
Between his medical extension and sponsor’s exemptions, Weir was looking to piece together a 2012 PGA schedule until he recently realized that his Masters win qualifies him for the European Tour and took up membership there. Weir plans to use the European Tour to fill out his schedule, assuming he is healthy.
Don’t feel bad if you have a difficult time keeping track of how all the assorted exemptions, extensions and reshuffles work ... apparently, even Mike Weir does.
I THINK IT MOVED
The powers that be in golf could be the only people that do more navel-gazing at a sport than Canadians and hockey.
After a four-year (yes, four year) review the USGA and the R&A announced several rules changes in the off-season. The most notable change could come into play in Hawaii should the trade winds start gusting.
Seinfeld fans probably remember this classic exchange:
George: I think it moved.
George: It may have moved, I don’t know.
Jerry: I’m sure it didn’t move.
George: It moved!
Now, George and Jerry were talking about an unfortunate experience with a male massage therapist but this exchange just as easily could have been between a player and a caddie talking about rule 18-2b — Ball Moving After Address.
One thing you could count on during every golf telecast featuring heavy gusts of wind was an extreme closeup of an oscillating golf ball as everyone waited to see if the ball would move.
If the ball did move after a player addressed it, a one-stroke penalty would be assessed.
Webb Simpson suffered this fate late on Sunday at the Zurich Open last year and the penalty likely cost him his first PGA Tour victory.
Even though it made for thrilling television, from now on a player will not face a penalty if he knows, or is virtually certain, that he did not make the ball move. The player will play the ball from the new position without adding a stroke.
In total, nine rules were changed. The only other one that isn’t mind-numbingly boring is that a player is no longer disqualified for being late for his tee time. As long as you aren’t more than five minutes late for the first tee you will suffer a two-stroke penalty instead of a DQ.
This rule is two years too late for Jim Furyk who was disqualified from the first event of the 2010 Fedex Cup playoffs after he missed his time for the Wednesday Pro-Am when his cell phone and his alarm didn’t go off.
There is no 2012 change to the headshot rule, golfers are still expected to yell “Fore!” after hitting errant shots.
TEES AND BALL-MARKERS
The legend of Bubba Watson grew a little over the holidays. The big-swinging lefty shot a 58 on Dec. 29 at his home course, Estancia, in Scottsdale, Ariz. He shot the record-setting score from the 7,314 yard gold tees. A photo he tweeted of the course record plaque shows that he also owns the course record from the black (61) and blue (62) tees … Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are both set to make their 2012 season debut in Abu Dhabi at the HSBC Championship Jan. 26-29 … Phil Mickelson is expected to make his season opener at the Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open, also being held Jan. 26-29. Mickelson has won the event three times … A soon-to-be-retired-to-golf-every-day member of the Toronto Sun sports department, Al Maffei, recently pointed out that the Hyundai Tournament of Champions had a better ring to it when it was the Mercedes Championships — and it definitely had a better hole-in-one prize, too.