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May 25, 2016 | 09:10 am

Oakmont Bound

Players in the top 60 in the world ranking on Monday earned exemptions into the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont, most notably Sergio Garcia, who moved up to No. 12 after his win at the Byron Nelson and was the higest-ranked player not previously exempt. Twenty-six others also earned a spot, including Billy Horschel, Lee Westwood, and Jamie Donaldson, who made it right on the number. Some prominent players who just missed out and will now have to go to Sectional Qualifying on June 6 include Gary Woodland, Luke Donald, and Ian Poulter. To see the fully exmempt list, click here.

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May 24, 2016 | 08:45 am

Fox Golf... Take 2

After a less than stellar first season in broadcast golf, Fox Sports has made some changes for year two, notably the firing of lead analyst Greg Norman and hiring of Paul Azinger as his replacement. Anchor Joe Buck remains, and the Buck-Azinger duo will make an under-the-radar debut today and tomorrow with the broadcast of the USGA’s newest and least notable event, the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. Also joining the Fox team this week is Curtis Strange as on-course commentator along with reporter Shane Bacon while Brad Faxon will return, joining Buck and Azinger in the tower. While the competitors in the Four-Ball may be unknown to all but their friends and family, the site is a big one, at Winged Foot, host of five U.S. Opens with a sixth scheduled for 2020. Coverage of the quarterfinal matches begins today at 3 pm EST on Fox Sports 1 with the finals on tomorrow at 3. Of course, the real test for Fox will come in three weeks when the U.S. Open tees off at Oakmont. 

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May 23, 2016 | 06:35 am

McIlroy On Men's-Only Clubs: "These Things Have To Change"

If you think last week’s announcement by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers—otherwise known as Muirfield—that the club will not admit women, thereby losing its spot as an Open Championship venue, is the end of the affair, think again. For one thing, the R&A made it clear that should the club change its policy in the future, the course would be considered for rota reinstatement. Also, some notables are speaking out in favor of admitting women, including Rory McIlroy, who after last week’s news said Muirfield’s members should “see sense and realize it’s 2016.” He said this during the Irish Open, which he consequently won, and also strongly suggested that another notable course open its doors to women. That would be Ireland’s Portmarnock, which used to occasionally hold the Irish Open but lost that right due to its men-only policy. Said McIlroy, “We’ve had conversations about it and they are in the process of maybe taking the first steps to changing that rule. I’m going to put as much pressure as I can on them and not just because I’d love to see the Irish Open there. It is 2016, and these things have to change.”

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May 20, 2016 | 06:27 am

Phil To Pay Back $931,000

After months of rumors and allegations, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced yesterday that Phil Mickelson was part of an insider trading case. The good news is that as a “relief defendant,” Mickelson isn’t accused of having done anything illegal. The bad news? He has to pay the SEC the $931,000 he made from the deal. Charged in the federal indictment were Billy Walters, an investor and well-known Las Vegas gambler, and Thomas Davis, former chairman of Dean Foods. In July 2012, Walters told Mickelson something about Dean Foods, information Walters obtained from Davis; Mickelson quickly invested $2.4 million in the company’s stock and sold it a few days later for the near-million-dollar profit. As part of the lawsuit details, it was reported that Mickelson had been placing bets with Walters for years and owed him money when the tip was given. In announcing that he’d return the money, Mickelson noted that his sponsors are sticking by him and that “He takes full responsibility for the decisions and associations that led him to becoming part of this investigation.” Most financial websites and such have noted that Mickelson has nearly $80 million in lifetime earnings, plus many millions more from his endorsements: According to Forbes, in 2015 his off-course income totaled $48 million.

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