Monday, January 13

Actor Don Cheadle's New Role: U.S. Open Brand Ambassador

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DON CHEADLE TO THE RESCUE. The award-winning actor has joined with the USGA to boost public golf.

From the news release:

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J – The United States Golf Association (USGA) has teamed up with Academy Award-nominated actor and United Nations Environment Program Global Goodwill Ambassador Don Cheadle in an effort to increase the value of public golf to golfers, courses and communities throughout America.

Cheadle, an avid golfer with a passion for the game, recognizes that the long-term viability of the sport depends on strengthening the health of public golf, while finding ways for the game to operate in a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly manner.

"Growing up, I used to play public courses with my father, and I have some great memories of those rounds," said Cheadle, a veteran of dozens of acclaimed movies and TV shows. "I want to make sure that future generations of golfers are able to have access to the same opportunities that I was able to benefit from."

Cheadle will also serve as a U.S. Open brand ambassador, lending his esteemed voice and stature to showcase what makes the championship truly special.

Monday, January 6

PHOTO: Jack Fleck Warming Up Before 18-Hole Playoff With Ben Hogan at the 1955 U.S. Open

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HERE'S A FAVORITE PICTURE of Jack Fleck (1921-2014), who I wrote about in my 2012 book THE LONGEST SHOT.

This is moments before the start of an 18-hole playoff with four-time U.S. Open champion Ben Hogan to decide the 1955 U.S. Open. During warm-up, Jack liked to hit a few shots with the short and long clubs, focusing on tempo.

One of the most remarkable things Jack told me in our seven-year relationship (that became a friendship) was that he wasn't afraid of playing Ben Hogan, head to head. I asked him about this on numerous occasions. If anything, it was an honor for Jack to face Hogan, because Hogan was his idol.

But, no, Jack wasn't nervous or afraid. He was a confident ball-striker and tended to play his best on tough golf courses.

For one week in June 1955, Fleck played sublime golf on a brutal, rough-infested layout, the Olympic Club in San Francisco. He even putted well (his persistent weakness).

The virtually unknown Fleck stunned the great Hogan (and the wider world) with a three-shot victory in that playoff, still one of the greatest upsets in golf and sports.

It changed Jack's life, a lot of it good and some bad. I had the privilege to learn all about it during multiple conversations over several years. Now, as the years fly by, it's sometimes hard to believe I had that incredible opportunity.

Friday, December 27

PGA TOUR VIDEO: Most Ridiculous Lies of the Decade (2010-2019)

HERE ARE SOME TOUGH SPOTS. And incredible shots.

The PGA Tour presents the most difficult lies faced by tour players from 2010 to 2019 ... and how they escaped.

Featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia (in a tree), among others. This compilation excludes major championships.

Tuesday, December 24

ICYMI: Adam Scott Wins at Home for First Time in 2,226 Days

ADAM SCOTT WON THE AUSTRALIAN PGA Championship on Sunday. That next victory in his homeland was a very long time coming.

John Huggan of Golfworld wrote:
It had been a while since Adam Scott had won a tournament in his native Australia, 2,226 days to be exact. But that wait is over. With a three-under 69 on Sunday at the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the country's Gold Coast, the World No. 18 is now a two-time Australian PGA champion. Scott's 13-under-par 275 total was two shots better than New Zealand’s Michael Hendry....
"I’m pretty stoked," said an emotional Scott on earning his 11th career European Tour title.
"I grinned it out this week, and I feel like I outsmarted the course a little bit. Which feels good, and it was good enough to beat everyone. It's been a long time between drinks for me. Maybe once or twice it has crossed my mind that I might not win again. So it feels good to win here, especially to finish off the year at home."

Saturday, December 21

PGA TOUR 'Must-See Moments of the Decade' to Air on NBC Sports on December 22

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA – NBC Sports will air an hour-long special titled PGA TOUR 2019: Must-See Moments of the Decade that will look back on incredible shots and storylines that shaped the decade.

The NBC Sports feature, produced by PGA TOUR Entertainment, will air on Sunday, December 22 at 1 p.m. ET.

The 2010s have been an incredible era on the PGA TOUR as players have thrilled audiences and impacted fans worldwide. "Must-See Moments of the Decade" will take an extended look at some of the most memorable stories from the decade through in-depth interviews with players and analysts who experienced them first-hand.

Along with highlighting key storylines and themes of the decade, the special will relive the drama of Rickie Fowler's heroics on the famed Island Green at THE PLAYERS Championship, Billy Horschel's improbable path to a FedExCup title, Jonathan Byrd's incredible playoff-winning hole-in-one amidst darkness at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, as well as Tiger Woods' growing legacy.

European Tour's Chase the Ace, Episode 3: Andy Sullivan (VIDEO)

HOW MANY BALLS WOULD IT TAKE a pro golfer to make a hole-in-one?

The odds of an average golfer making an ace are roughly one in 100,000. Stats suggest a European Tour pro's chances are closer to one in 2,500.

Meet Englishman Andy Sullivan.

With a day and 500 balls to play with on the 171-yard par three 11th hole on the Heritage Course at London Golf Club, the European Tour challenged the three-time tour winner to defy the odds.

Could Sullivan succeed where Italian Edoardo Molinari and South African Brandon Stone could not? Did he find that one perfect shot?

Watch and see.

Wednesday, December 18

Hank Haney Sues PGA Tour: Claims Tour Role in His Firing From Radio Show and Ongoing Attempts to Disrupt His Business Interests

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AS BOB HARIG REPORTED AT ESPN.COM, Hank Haney, the former golf coach for Tiger Woods, has filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour in U.S. District Court.

The suit claims the PGA Tour "improperly intimidated, enticed and threatened SiriusXM Radio to suspend and ultimately terminate" Haney from his golf show that aired on SiriusXM. The lawsuit also says the tour "wanted to settle an old score relating to professional golfer Tiger Woods."

Haney was suspended from his show in May for "insensitive comments about women's golf," Harig noted. Namely, comments about the LPGA Tour and who would win the U.S. Women's Open.

About Haney's suspension, Woods said at the time, "He deserved it. Just can't look at life like that."

Haney was later fired.

Haney's lawsuit also says the PGA Tour has "long attempted to disrupt and interfere in Haney's business" after Haney published his Tiger tell-all book, The Big Miss, in 2012.

The PGA Tour declined to comment.

Tuesday, December 17

The Presidents Cup Aftermath: 'Tiger, You Got Me' —Ernie Els

POOR ERNIE ELS. IN IMPORTANT WAYS, the Big Easy's career, an era that included many other would-be winners, is defined by coming up short against Tiger Woods.

That was also the case at the recent Presidents Cup contested at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, where the United States slipped by the Internationals on Sunday, 16-14.

As Karen Crouse wrote for the New York Times, Captain Els gave it his all:
The United States' opponents, the Internationals, also had a first-time captain, Ernie Els, a PGA Tour member who turned the appointment into another full-time job. He devoted the past year to studying statistics as if they were tea leaves. And he left no team-bonding exercise undone, so great was his obsession with finding a way to turn around the fortunes of his team, which had only one victory in the 12 previous competitions.
Els, 50, gave his players wings, but he couldn't make them soar.
After jumping out to a 6-1 lead, the Internationals won only eight of the final 23 points, including four of the 12 available in Sunday's deciding singles.
For Els, the loss was especially difficult to digest because he has spent the better part of his professional playing career running headlong into the wall that is Woods. He finished second to him seven times in his career, including four times in majors.
The 13th edition of the Presidents Cup was going to be where Els's luck turned. But in the end, the Americans, led on and off the course by Woods, were too good.
"Tiger, you got me," Els said ruefully during the trophy presentation.
For Els, those four rueful words also sum up the Hall of Fame career of the man who is second only to Gary Player as the greatest golfer from South Africa.

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