Poulter keeps card thanks to Gay intervention

Last week Ian Poulter appeared set for the scrapheap, if we cosily ignored all the invites he would have received, having just missed out on retaining his PGA Tour card.

Now, without so much as a FedEx Cup point being added, he has it back.

The move came about after the Tour explained in a less-than-straightforward press release that those players on a medical exemption, like Poulter, had been unfairly penalised.

“Last year the Policy Board approved a modification to the FedExCup Points Curve for the 2016-’17 season to more accurately reflect the longstanding money breakdown used on the PGA Tour,” the release said. “This was done following the Policy Board’s elimination of the top-125 money category and minimised some significant discrepancies between the two lists, primarily in the region of 30th to 50th places (i.e., under the old FEC points curve, two 31st-place finishes equalled a ninth-place finish and a missed cut).”

No, me neither. But the good news is that Poulter will now have his playing privileges for this season, as he would have done under the old system, as will Brian Gay who initially alerted the Tour and to whom Poulter now owes a big thank you. Both will now be eligible for Sawgrass.

The statement added: “The spirit of the medical extension has always been to provide the same opportunity a player would have had if he had not been injured to retain his card and in this case the bar was moved significantly.”

Poulter had this to say… “I can concentrate on the golf I have left in front of me, and hopefully it might quiet down some of the interesting people on social media and I won’t have to block so many different people.”

Cowen might be looking for a new workplace

This wouldn’t happen to Butch Harmon. Pete Cowen, coach to two 2016 major winners in Henrik Stenson and Danny Willett, as well as his usual host of annual winners, might have to close his academy in Rotherham due to the possibility of a tip being reopened nearby.

The tip contains toxic waste which would also be a huge concern to a nearby junior football club.

Cowen told the Daily Telegraph: “You just can’t put something that is toxic next to a golf club. If this goes ahead there is a good chance that I will have to close. It is a sad situation.

“We had half the Ryder Cup team here last year and if this happens that will have to change, I’ll have to find a field in the middle of nowhere. People don’t want to stand and breathe in dust and waste from a tip that is 50 yards away.”

The tip opened in the 1950s but was shut down in the 90s.

The world has officially gone mad – The PGA Tour hands out slow-play penalty

For the first time since 1995, so 22 years, a one-shot penalty was dished out by the Tour.

Brian Campbell and Miguel Angel Carballo were given a bad time at the Zurich Classic and their foursomes effort of 73 was upped to a 74.

And as always it was someone else’s fault. The pair were out last with local club pros Kyle Ramey and Phil Schmitt and their supposed poor play got things off to a bad start.

“I hate to say it,” Campbell said, “but they were struggling through the first five holes and we got way out of position.

“On 14, my caddy had to run up to the tee box because we were behind (and had already had one bad time), and we were running all over the place. I had to go back to the green to tap in because Carballo missed the putt. In normal cases, we all get to the tee at the same time, but because my caddy was already up at the tee, I think the clock may have started a little sooner than I felt like it should have.”

Crane pays out.. months later

In these days of social media if you make a bet then you better pay it off if it goes wrong.

Last week former PGA Tour player Tom Gillis ‘called out’, as the Americans would say, Ben Crane accusing him of not paying six big ones from a putting contest between Crane and a friend of Gillis. Who later turned out to be Daniel Berger.

Charley Hoffman then joined in the fun with this Instagram post.

Charley Hoffman

And what do you know, it’s all now sorted.

“It’s handled. I don’t really think there’s much to comment on. We took care of it. I wish it didn’t come to that, but it’s all taken care of. It’s crazy how powerful social media can be,” explained Berger who shares the same coach as Gillis.

Crane unsurprisingly played down Gillis’ knowledge of the whole thing.

“It’s all good. One thing was said and another thing was said. It was miscommunicated. But we’re all good. We had a great conversation about it.

“He (Gillis) wasn’t there. He has no idea what happened. There’s no reason for me to defend myself. Daniel and I had our conversation and that was it so we’re all good.”

Stricker misses out on Erin Hills

The last time the US Open gave an exemption to a non major winner was Aaron Baddeley, then a 19-year-old amateur, at Pebble Beach in 2000.

Presidents Cup captain Steve Stricker was hoping to become the latest lucky recipient from the USGA, after requesting a start in this year’s US Open at Erin Hills which is an hour from his home. It is the first major to be held in Wisconsin.

But the former No 2 in the world was politely declined. Last year two-time champion Retief Goosen got the nod, before that Vijay Singh and Tom Watson were also invited in 2010 to Pebble Beach.

Stricker, who now splits his time between the PGA and Champions Tours, has entered sectional qualifying in Tennessee where he missed out by a shot last year. Otherwise he will need to jump into the world’s top 60, he currently stands at 94.

Lexi speaks out (sort of)

There were more tears from Lexi Thompson but this time in her pre-tournament press conference three and a half weeks after her four-shot penalty cost her the ANA Inspiration title.

“It was kind of a nightmare. It’s been an interesting three weeks,” Thompson said. “It’s been really hard on me, especially the first week back. A little less sleep than usual, but I’ve just been spending a lot of time with my family and friends and working out a bunch, and just taking time for myself just to regroup myself and get back to practising a lot.”

The American was asked if she thought she had done something wrong on the 17th green at Mission Hills when she marked her ball. A TV viewer then alerted the authorities and Thompson was told of the penalty during her back nine on Sunday.

“I have seen the video, and I can see where they’re coming from with it,” Thompson said. “It might have been, I guess, me rotating the ball, but like I’ve said, I always played by the Rules of Golf. Growing up with older brothers, they were always on me for playing the Rules of Golf.

“There’s no need for me to improve anything. Those greens were absolutely perfect and the whole week there was absolutely nothing in my line to be moving it from anything. So, I have no reason behind it. I did not mean it at all.”