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March 23, 2014 | 11:10 a.m.

Hunter Mahan (back) withdraws from Bay Hill

Golfweek Staff
Hunter Mahan withdrew from Bay Hill on Sunday, citing a sore back.
Hunter Mahan withdrew from Bay Hill on Sunday, citing a sore back.

Hunter Mahan withdrew Sunday from the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Fla., citing a back injury.

Mahan had bogeyed his first hole, then hit his tee shot at the second hole when he determined he could not continue; he headed to a fitness trailer. Mahan was 4 over and near the back of the field when he withdrew.

Apparently Mahan also felt some soreness in his back at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral (Fla.), where he finished T-9. Mahan said he expects to play in the Shell Houston Open in two weeks ...

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Golfweek Staff
Former USGA executive director Frank Hannigan passed away at the age of 82.
Former USGA executive director Frank Hannigan passed away at the age of 82.

Former U.S. Golf Association executive director Frank Hannigan has died at age 82.

The USGA announced Saturday via its Twitter account, @USGA: "We mourn the loss of Frank Hannigan, who passed away today. Frank served as USGA Executive Director from 1983 to 1989."

Hannigan was succeeded by David Fay and earned mention from Mike Davis when he took the post in 2011 as someone with whom he kept in touch. Past USGA presidents control the makeup of the Executive Committee, which consists of 15 members who make all decisions for the organization. NBC reported Hannigan was a week away ...

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Adam Schupak
Kevin Na had to request security to follow his group after an unruly member of the gallery heckled him on several occasions Friday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Kevin Na had to request security to follow his group after an unruly member of the gallery heckled him on several occasions Friday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

A week after earning a warning for slow play, Kevin Na was heckled by an unruly member of the gallery on several occasions Friday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and requested security follow his group.

After the round, he danced around the subject in a televised interview with Golf Channel and told reporters, "Can I go? I really had a long day."

Scott Stallings, who played in Na's group said, "He did the best he possibly could do. There never once was a time during the two days where I was saying, 'He's got to go faster.' "

Na ...

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Brentley Romine
Keegan Bradley hits a shot at No. 16 during Round 2 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Lodge and Club.
Keegan Bradley hits a shot at No. 16 during Round 2 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Lodge and Club.

When Keegan Bradley finished up play Friday afternoon at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he had the round of the day, a 5-under 67 that included six birdies and one bogey.

"The putter was the difference," said Bradley, who totaled 25 putts Friday after 30 in the first round. "Finally made a few putts. (It) felt so good.

"I feel like I've got some good mojo going into the weekend."

Bradley, who is 6 under overall, had nine one-putts in Round 2 and made three putts of 11 feet or more, including a 45-footer for birdie at the 11th.

"Went ...

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Brentley Romine
Bubba Watson withdrew from play citing allergies at the Arnold Palmer Invitational during Round 1 at Bay Hill Lodge and Club.
Bubba Watson withdrew from play citing allergies at the Arnold Palmer Invitational during Round 1 at Bay Hill Lodge and Club.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Bubba Watson withdrew shortly after his first round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational Thursday at Bay Hill, citing allergies.

Watson, who lives in nearby Isleworth in Windermere, shot 11-over 83, a round that included one birdie, a triple bogey at the par-4 18th and an 11 at the par-5 sixth hole.

"Just wanted to tell my fans I'm sorry I had to withdraw from @APinv this week. My allergies have taken over!" Watson tweeted via his Twitter account, @BubbaWatson.

At the sixth, Watson put three tee balls into the water left. He then found the right rough ...

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Brentley Romine
Matthew Fitzpatrick during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
Matthew Fitzpatrick during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

It's been eight months or so since Matthew Fitzpatrick made major headlines as the low amateur at the Open Championship at Muirfield. So the 19-year-old amateur, making his second PGA Tour start this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, didn't really expect anyone to remember him.

He was wrong.

"It's been quite surreal this week, people who i played with in the Open, I don't mean to be rude to them, I almost expected them to forget who i was, and they were saying hi," Fitzpatrick said.

Even those who he had yet to meet recognized ...

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Beth Ann Nichols
A view of hole No. 5 from a little less than 300 yards out on Pinehurst's No. 2 course, host of the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open in 2014.
A view of hole No. 5 from a little less than 300 yards out on Pinehurst's No. 2 course, host of the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open in 2014.

PHOENIX –– Natalie Gulbis has one of the best marketing minds on the LPGA. So it comes as no surprise that she’s giddy about the idea of back-to-back majors. The U.S. Women’s Open hasn’t received this kind of pre-tournament buzz since, well, ever.

But, in this case, Gulbis doesn’t represent what the majority of marquee players think about playing No. 2. after the men. Which is why LPGA commissioner Mike Whan invited USGA executive director Mike Davis to an LPGA player meeting this week at the JTBC Founders Cup to answer questions and ease concerns.

The ...

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Jim McCabe
Tiger Woods withdrew, citing a back injury that has plagued him during the PGA Tour's Florida Swing, from the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill -- creating questions about his preparation for the 2014 Masters.
Tiger Woods withdrew, citing a back injury that has plagued him during the PGA Tour's Florida Swing, from the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill -- creating questions about his preparation for the 2014 Masters.

Missing the Arnold Palmer Invitational for just the second time since turning professional, Tiger Woods is in a precarious position regarding his Masters prep work.

Should he sit out the Valero Texas Open and Shell Houston Open, as expected, in the next two weeks, he would have only 14 competitive rounds under his belt headed into Augusta. Woods withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando, Fla., two days before it began.

Not what he would have planned, but for the Woods of this era – the version who, at 38, is older and more cautious of injury ...

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Beth Ann Nichols
Former Arizona State players gather for a reunion prior to the Founders Cup.
Former Arizona State players gather for a reunion prior to the Founders Cup.

PHOENIX –– With so many former Arizona State players in the field at this week’s JTBC Founders Cup – seven to be exact – the Sun Devil coaches organized a mini-reunion on Sunday at Modern Margarita to kick off the week.

Associate coach Missy Farr-Kaye, a 1990 ASU grad, said 18 former players attended the reunion and four brought babies. Emilee Klein-Gille, the 1994 NCAA champ and a three-time winner on the LPGA, is pregnant with her second child.

“One of our tenets at ASU is that we are a Sun Devil family,” said Farr-Kaye, who was out by the putting green ...

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Jim McCabe
The PGA Tour promoted Jay Monahan to deputy commissioner on Tuesday.
The PGA Tour promoted Jay Monahan to deputy commissioner on Tuesday.

It was a few weeks ago when two friends with ties to the inner workings of the PGA Tour got together for lunch, and the conversation turned to a possible successor to commissioner Tim Finchem. One of them, a former Tour vice president, asked, “When are they going to make the move? What’s taking them so long?”

The query was relative to making public who was being groomed for the post. Almost as if that former vice president were prescient, that answer was revealed Tuesday morning when Jay Monahan, 43, was promoted to deputy commissioner of the PGA Tour ...

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Bill Zimmerman
Jason Day during the finals of the 2014 WGC-Accenture Match Play at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz.
Jason Day during the finals of the 2014 WGC-Accenture Match Play at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz.

Jason Day withdrew Monday from this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, a thumb injury preventing the Australian from taking the course.

Our David Dusek spotted Day trying to make a go of things before he put in for a WD.

@Golfweek_Dusek: "Just saw Jason Day here at Bay Hill. His left thumb is heavily taped. It can't be comfortable. #Golfweek"

In a statement issued when he withdrew from the WGC-Cadillac Championship two weeks ago, Day said he endured pain in the thumb while winning the WGC-Accenture Match Play.

Day represents one of six field changes listed by the PGA ...

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Brentley Romine
Tiger Woods heads to the Arnold Palmer Invitational 40th in U.S. Ryder Cup points, having last played at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
Tiger Woods heads to the Arnold Palmer Invitational 40th in U.S. Ryder Cup points, having last played at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

Tiger Woods will enter this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill not only looking for his first victory of the season, but also trying to move up in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings.

Woods is 40th, having played through back pain in recent event. While he would likely receive one of three captain's picks should he not qualify, it's still worth noting that we're three weeks away from the Masters and the world No. 1 is ranked behind such names as Jason Bohn, George McNeill and Justin Leonard.

The top nine will qualify automatically ...

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March 17, 2014 | 3:14 p.m.

Monday musings: Golfers' day via Twitter

Golfweek Staff
Charley Hull, with an LET win in Morocco recently, has continued her strong play since last year's Solheim Cup (shown here).
Charley Hull, with an LET win in Morocco recently, has continued her strong play since last year's Solheim Cup (shown here).

Monday's musings from the world of golf were varied – and creative. Here are a few highlights from the Twitter feeds of top pros and figures of the game:

• • •

The NCAA men's basketball tournament and its trademark March Madness seeped into notable golfers' Twitter timelines:

Dustin Johnson, @DJohnsonPGA: "So cool to see my CCU Chants headed to the Big Dance!! Playing Virginia won't be easy but Coach Ellis has a great squad!!! #MarchMadness14"

JJ Henry, @jjhenrygolf: "Who else on the Wich St Shockers bandwagon? Select Committee did them no favors but I'm all about the "little engine ...

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Adam Schupak
Rory Sabbatini fired a 7-over 78 on Sunday at the Valspar Championship.
Rory Sabbatini fired a 7-over 78 on Sunday at the Valspar Championship.

PALM HARBOR, Fla. – A rib injury is nothing to sneeze at, just ask Rory Sabbatini.

The South African native injured a rib when he sneezed on the 14th tee. A PGA Tour physical therapist applied a bag of ice to his right shoulder and Sabbatini limped to the finish, shooting a 78 to finish at 8 over (T-70).

When asked why he gutted it out, Sabbatini, who to his credit stopped to sign a few autographs, said, “Because I needed the FedEx Cup points. If you don’t finish, you don’t get FedEx points.”

Stephen Ames, who played in ...

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Jeff Rude
Mark Calcavecchia
Mark Calcavecchia

PALM HARBOR, Fla. – A pale-looking Mark Calcavecchia, 53, withdrew from the Valspar Championship after a front-nine 40 in the final round because of a virus. As his wife Brenda sanitized their motorhome a while after that, she said he hadn’t had much to eat or drink the previous 26 hours and couldn’t “keep anything down.”

“I thought he was going down on 9,” she said. “We got a bag of saline in him and he looks a touch better.”

Calcavecchia was carted to a medical tent, where she said medics led them to believe he has a “norovirus ...

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