ICYMI: Struggling to break 120, Willett 'sacked', and a new home for the PGA Championship?

The Scoop

In NCG's latest round-up of news you may have missed this week, a golfer gets it horribly wrong at a US Open qualifier...

#NeverGiveUp

Did you hear the one about the assistant pro who tried to qualify for the US Open only to shoot a 55-over-par 127?

Starting on the 10th at Silver Lakes in Alabama, Clifton McDonald began double, quadruple, triple, double, double to find himself 14-over through five holes. McDonald would have been delighted with his first bogey of the day at 15, only to spoil it with a 14 (fourteen) at the next hole. He made it into double digits again before the turn with an 11 on the par-4 18th to go out in 68.

But did he give up? Not our Clifton. He managed to come home nine shots better off to walk into the locker room with his head held high.

McDonald’s scorecard was tweeted by Lee McCoy who, despite playing in the group behind, managed to finish second in the regional qualifier.

BBC Sport spoke to the Alabama Golf Association’s Andy Priest, who told them it was “the highest score we’ve had in any qualifying event”.

He added: “The guy was really nice. It’s just you could tell he was in over his head. It was a beautiful sunny day, it wasn’t breezy at all. It’s just a tough golf course.

“We got his scorecard and he confirmed what he had shot, but we didn’t speak to him for very long. You could tell he had had a long day.

“But it I will say one thing, the gentleman played it out.”

We salute you, sir.

Willett “sacked” by caddie Smart

Danny Willett and caddie Jonathan Smart have parted ways a little more than a year after winning the Masters.

Who could forget the pair’s embrace in the scorer’s hut at Augusta when it became apparent the Englishman had clinched his first major championship.

Smart felt he was mistreated by childhood friend Willett after a disagreement during the RBC Heritage in April, where the 29-year-old missed the cut.

“Things are a bit stale and kind of fizzled out,” Willett said, despite it apparently being Smart’s decision to end the partnership.

“It is a shame. But things happen and change, everything happens for a reason.”

Sam Haywood, Willett’s best man at his wedding, was on his bag at the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, where he withdrew after nine holes of the second round.

Before the PGA Tour’s flagship tournament got underway, Willett said: “Sam knows my game really well. We’ve played a lot of golf together over the last 10 or 15 years. It’s nice having someone who you can speak frankly with. He knows where my game is and when it’s good. I think it’s going to be good.”

FedEx to deliver PGA Tour shake-up?

The PGA Tour announced this week that they have extended their partnership with FedEx for season-long money list.

According to the tour’s commissioner, Jay Monahan, pictured above, could see the winner’s jackpot for the end-of-season play-offs “increase significantly”. Because $10 million clearly isn’t enough.

Monahan also revealed that other factors are being considered, like decreasing the number of FedEx Cup play-off events from four to three, while moving the PGA Championship to May and the Players to March.

The main reason cited for ending the PGA Tour season earlier is so it doesn’t clash with the beginning of the NFL season over in the US. That and it would create a nice monthly run of Players, Masters, PGA Championship, US Open and Open Championship from March to July.

Enter Sandman

Jordan Spieth wasn’t a happy bunny on Thursday at the Players.

After hoiking his ball out of a bunker on the par-4 first hole – his 10th of the day – he took a photo of the poorly-raked sand that he said led to his double-bogey so he could show it to PGA Tour staff.

“It was a bunker that was raked to where it just kind of looked like somebody didn’t really care much to do it or were rushing off the green,” Spieth said after his opening round of 73. “I was in worse than a plugged lie when the ball had just trickled in it.”

He added: “I probably overreacted a bit.”

Probably?

Anyway, Twitter users were, as you’d expect, less than willing to allow Spieth a break

And finally…

Away from the tour, a video of a set of golf clubs being stolen from outside a home in Alabama went viral this week after it was shared on Facebook by victim Kieren Rouse.

***UPDATE*** 5/10/2017Last I heard, the two people in this video have been arrested and my clubs were found. A huge thank you to everyone for helping spread the word. This is one of those crazy instances where you helped serve justice to two individuals that have probably stolen things far more valuable than my dinky golf clubs from people that don't deserve to be robbed. Through this all… I do want to challenge you to, instead of jumping to anger and attacking these two people, pray for them. Every single one of us in this life make poor choices and every single one of us have things we wouldn't want others to know about. I'd hope that these two people would pray for me if the tables were turned. Life is already hard enough without complete strangers tearing you down even more. Be light when you see darkness! —————————————-Need some help making somebody Facebook famous… I'm the idiot who forgot to put my golf clubs inside when I got home, but I need help finding out who the thief is. If anyone recognizes this vehicle or this woman, please message me. We are reporting it to the police. I know it's not something extremely valuable, but it was still mine, and not only did this woman steal, but she trespassed on my property. Please share. Thanks. Description:Green & White Adidas golf bagNike NDS PW-3 ironTaylor Made driverTitleist DriverCleveland DriverKing Cobra 3 WoodWilson SandwedgeWilson Putter

Posted by Kieren Rouse on Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Well, good news, because the thieves have been caught and, as it turns out, are wanted in three states – though we are unsure if the other crimes are golf related.

NCG at the Players Championship

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