Friday, August 30

2013 Deutsche Bank Championship TV Schedule and Tournament Notes



THE 2013 DEUTSCHE BANK CHAMPIONSHIP, the second event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, is under way at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts. The BMW Championship and Tour Championship will follow. Tiger Woods is the current points leader.

Purse: $8 million
Winner's share: $1.44 million
Defending champion: Rory McIlroy

2013 Deutsche Bank Championship Leaderboard

Field
Tee times
Course
Tournament overview
Tour report
Tournament news
FedEx Cup Standings

TV SCHEDULE

TV coverage of the 2013 Deutsche Bank Championship is on Golf Channel and NBC.
All times Eastern.

Fri, 8/30
3-6 PM GOLF

Sat, 8/31
3-6 PM GOLF

Sun, 9/1
1-2:30 PM GOLF
2:30-6 PM NBC

Mon, 9/2
1-2:30 PM GOLF
2:30-6 PM NBC

PGA Tour Radio coverage

Thursday, August 29

PGA's Bob Denney Helped Preserve MLK 'Dream' Speech



The above CBS story tells how George Raveling ended up with one of America's most-famous speeches. And how Bob Denney came to hold the speech in his hands and have it placed in a protective frame.

BOB DENNEY, A SENIOR WRITER for the PGA of America, is passionate about golf history. I know this firsthand. I've read his stories and tweets. I also had lunch with Bob in early May near PGA headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. We talked about the legends of the game and other historical topics. It was great fun.

But Bob's love of history began long before he arrived at the PGA of America.

A few decades ago when he was an Iowa sports writer, Bob unwittingly became a part of American history. He interviewed George Raveling, the men's basketball coach for University of Iowa, and in the process learned that Raveling possessed Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech.

Here's an excerpt of the Raveling-Denney story at PGA.com:
[Raveling] volunteered to assist in the March on Washington back in 1963, and was assigned to help with security on the podium during the speeches. That put him very close to Dr. King and, when King finished speaking, Raveling asked if he could have the speech.

King gave it to him. Raveling took it home, tucked it into an autobiography of Harry S. Truman, and eventually forgot about it.

Fast forward a couple of decades to 1984, and Denneythen a newspaper reporter in Iowainterviewed Raveling on the significance of becoming the first African-American head hoops coach for the Hawkeyes. He asked Raveling whether he'd been involved in the Civil Rights movement, and Raveling told him the story.

Denney asked if he still had the speech. "And I said, 'Yeah.' And even at that point, it still didn't dawn on me there was anything unusual about it," Raveling told [CBS' James] Brown. "And so he got all excited, he said, 'Well, where is it?'" 
Raveling retrieved the book out of his basementand there was the speech, folded in half, slightly discolored but still in good shape.

Denney borrowed the speech, and wrote his articleand, as a gift, had the speech framed for Raveling. It remains in that same frame today.
The above CBS video featuring George Raveling and the speech is definitely worth a look. Bob Denney appears at the five-minute mark.

Wednesday, August 28

LPGA's Safeway Classic Returns to Columbia Edgewater in Portland

I LOVE PORTLAND. OREGON, THAT IS. (Although I also enjoyed Portland, Maine, on my one brief visit.) The Safeway Classic, which tees off tomorrow, has been a Portland-area fixture for four decades.

This year's tournament will be played at the Columbia Edgewater Country Club. Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in the suburb of North Plains hosted the 2012 event won by Mika Miyazato.

The women have played Columbia Edgewater many times before. So have the men, for that matter, about a half century ago. Jack Nicklaus won the Portland Open in 1962, despite being penalized for slow play. That's right. Read on.

Notes from LPGA's Ward Clayton:
There will be something new and familiar about this week's Safeway Classic. The venue is Columbia Edgewater Country Club, which has been the site 20 times, the most in the 40-year history of the tournament. The new feature is a 72-hole format for the first time the tournament debuted in 1972 at Portland Country Club.

An American hasn't won the tournament since it was last played at Columbia Edgewater in 2008 when Cristie Kerr defeated Helen Aldredsson and Sophie Gufstafson in a playoff.

The venue was also the home of the Portland Open on the PGA Tour from 1961-63 and in 1966. The winners included, in order, Billy Casper, Jack Nicklaus, George Knudsen and Bert Yancey. Nicklaus' 1962 victory included a first-round 64 and a streak of six consecutive birdies. He was also assessed a two-stroke, slow-play penalty during the tournament.
Hey, Jack. While we're ... nevermind. Fifty-one years too late.

TV SCHEDULE

TV coverage of the Safeway Classic is on Golf Channel. All times Eastern.

Thu, Aug 29
5:30 PM-8:30 PM

Fri, Aug 30
6:30 PM-8:30 PM

Sat, Aug 31
6:30 PM-8:30 PM

Sun, Sep 1
7:00 PM-9:30 PM

Tuesday, August 27

John Riegger: 'I Didn't Look at the Board'

John Riegger
JOHN RIEGGER IS A 50-YEAR-OLD ROOKIE on the Champions Tour. On Sunday at the Boeing Classic, Riegger kept his mind on his business. Why look up when you already know who's chasing? Fred Couples. John Cook. Those guys.

"I didn't look at the board," Riegger said.

"The only person to put pressure on you is yourself. I knew these guys were great players their whole careers. Still are. I knew they were going to come out and throw some birdies at me early. I was going to play my game and I knew if I played the way I was capable of playing, things would take care of themselves."

It worked. Riegger birdied three of the last four holes, including a 20-footer that found the cup on the 18 green, to shoot a 68 for a two-stroke victory over Cook. It was the best win and biggest check ($300,000) of his career.

Haven't heard much about Riegger? Join the club.

"It's been a long, crazy career," said the journeyman who has bounced around the golf world playing the PGA Tour, European Tour and Web.com Tour, where he won twice. Riegger played 224 events on the PGA Tour and had three top-10 finishes.

"For [Riegger] to come out and not have that much experience, to do what he did down the stretch is very commendable," said Cook, who closed with a 65.

Riegger's favorite movies are "Tin Cup" and "Follow the Sun." Lee Trevino is his favorite player. And he likes a good rib-eye steak.

Monday, August 26

Adam Scott Capitalizes on Player Calamities



By Brian Keogh

Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.

RORY MCILROY FINISHED SIX SHOTS BEHIND Masters champion Adam Scott in The Barclays but wasn't the only one left to regret what might have been. The young Ulster native will no doubt reflect on four double bogeys and six bogeys that ultimately proved to be too much of a disadvantage to overcome at Liberty National.

As Scott took advantage of a series of calamities by others to post an immaculate, five-under 66 and sneak away with a one-shot win over Graham DeLaet, Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Gary Woodland, McIlroy was joint 19th on five under after a 72. The 24-year old world No 3 was one over for his last two rounds and while he showed more than a few sparks of brilliance, especially in his six-under 65 in the second round, he knows he needs to cut out the mistakes that led to three double bogeys in an opening 71 and another in yesterday's one over par closing round.

There was a silver lining to the cloud for McIlroy, however, as he moved up 13 places to 36th in the FedEx Cup standings—just outside the top 30 who qualify for the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

As for the first playoff event, Woods succumbed to a back spasm on the par-five 13th hole. According to agency reports, he hooked a fairway metal so far left that it landed in a swamp on the other side of the 15th fairway, leading to bogey. He dropped another shot at the 15th but somehow birdied the 16th and 17th to go to the last needing a birdie to force a playoff only to see his 25 footer from the fringe came up a roll and a half short.

Woods broke 70 in all four rounds for the first time this season but his presence on the first tee for the opening round of the Deutsche Bank Championship next Friday remains to be seen.

"I felt great until that tee shot at the 12th," Woods said of his lower back pain, which he blamed on a sort hotel bed.

Scott was shocked his 11-under par total was good enough.

"I can't believe it, to be honest. I just played a good round today and I came in and really didn't think it had a chance. But obviously, things went my way a lot out there."

Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.

Friday, August 23

Bobby Jones, Robert Trent Jones and Peachtree Golf Club

By John Coyne

Copyright © John Coyne. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

(Another installment in a series on Hall of Fame golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr.)

Robert Trent Jones, Sr.
BOBBY JONES CALLED UP ROBERT TRENT JONES, SR. after World War II and asked Trent Jones to design a golf course for the wealthy businessmen of Atlanta.

"I told Bobby," Trent Jones related to me, "that because it was him, we had to have an outstanding course, suitable for tournament play, and because this was a country club for limited membership, men in their forties and fifties, we needed a course playable for the average game."

In designing Peachtree, Trent Jones developed one of his architectural trademarks, a flexible course. He enlarged the tee area, lengthening them on some holes to 100 yards. This permitted an unlimited number of tee placements, making the hole short or long, depending on the challenge desired. Peachtree varies in length from 6,300 to 7,400 yards because of these flexible tees.

Jones then built large, undulating greens that had five or six definite pin positions, of which at least four were of such quality as to be ideal for tournament play. These pin positions represented the target area for the better golfer, whereas the whole green represented the target area for the average player.

Besides making every hole flexible in the size of its tees and greens, Jones also planned for the emotional and psychological aspects of each hole.

"In the dune type of green mounding, the surface itself is given a receptivity that inspires confidence in the golfer as he plays to the green. This type of design also gives the hole a feeling of isolation from any adjacent holes since the construction of the mounds builds up a third dimension, blocking off part of the view around the green."

Trent Jones believed that a great golf hole must touch one's emotions.

"It should offer a golfer," he explained, "a shotmaking challenge of heroic demands coupled with a multiplicity of emotions: anticipation, excitement, suspense, and, eventually felicity or frustration. A great hole has beauty, but it should above all else have great playing values. To me, the two are inextricably linked."

In the changing face of golf architecture, styles have evolved from the penal to the strategic and then the heroic. More than any other contemporary architect, Robert Trent Jones, Sr. perfected the heroic school of golf architecture and changed how the game of golf is played in America.

Related:
The College-Educated Golf Course Architect
PGA Returns to Home of Robert Trent Jones, Sr.

John Coyne is a bestselling author whose latest novel is The Caddie Who Won the Masters. Learn more at John Coyne Books

Thursday, August 22

2013 Barclays TV Schedule and Tournament Notes


ABOVE: Nick Watney defends this week. Watney has struggled on the greens in 2013.

THE 2013 BARCLAYS, THE FIRST EVENT of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, is under way at Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City, New Jersey. The Deutsche Bank Championship, BMW Championship and Tour Championship will follow. Tiger Woods is the points leader as the playoffs begin.

Purse: $8 million
Winner's share: $1.44 million
Defending champion: Nick Watney

2013 Barclays Leaderboard

Field
Tee times
Course
Tournament overview
Tour report
Tournament news
FedEx Cup Standings

TV SCHEDULE

TV coverage of the 2013 Barclays is on Golf Channel and CBS. All times Eastern.

Thurs, 8/22
3:00-6:00PM GOLF

Fri, 8/23
3:00-6:00PM GOLF

Sat, 8/24
1:00-2:30PM GOLF
3:00-6:00PM CBS

Sun, 8/25
12:00-1:30PM GOLF
2:00-6:00PM CBS

PGA Tour Radio coverage

Wednesday, August 21

Harrington Replaces Mickelson at PGA Grand Slam

Padraig Harrington at the Irish Open. (DUP Photos)


By Brian Keogh

Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.

OPEN CHAMPION PHIL MICKELSON HAS HANDED Pádraig Harrington the chance to win another PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda. The left-hander has pulled out of October's $1.35m clash of the season's four major winners because of "an end-of-season scheduling conflict."

That means that Harrington will step in as a replacement for the second year running after taking the $600,000 top prize as a stand-in for the injured Ernie Els last year.

The three-time major winner will take on Masters champion Adam Scott, US Open champion Justin Rose and US PGA Champion Jason Dufner at Port Royal Golf Course from October 14-16.

The Dubliner, 42 later this month, made up for runner up finishes in 2007 and 2007 when he beat Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson and Keegan Bradley over 36 holes last year.

Despite a nightmare season, he gets another chance because the defending PGA Grand Slam of Golf champion gets first refusal if a current major champion is unable to compete. If there are other withdrawals the Major Champions Points list—which charts the performance throughout the year of active major champions—is used to complete the field.

Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.

Tuesday, August 20

A Michelle Wie Debate on 'Morning Drive'



GOLF CHANNEL'S KELLY TILGHMAN GIVES MICHELLE WIE this week's "game ball" during Tuesday's Game Ball segment on "Morning Drive." Panelist and golf instructor Billy Harmon strongly disagrees.

The fun begins, eight minutes of pointed debate on Wie's behavior at the Solheim Cup that Europe handily won. Also discussion on Wie's career to date and future prospects.

(Visor tip: Geoff Shackelford blog)

Monday, August 19

BBC Sport: 'Europe Thrash US to Retain Solheim Cup'

Caroline Hedwall (lpga.com)
I COULDN'T WATCH THE FINAL DAY of the 2013 Solheim Cup. Our cable was out, so I periodically checked the status of the matches online.

With Europe building a five-point lead, it was more or less over on Saturday night. A historic U.S. rally was not to be. Instead, it was a historic European victory, an 18-10 rout, Europe's first win on U.S. soil.

The coverage I've read includes verbs like "thrash" and "thump." Understandably so. Europe was dominant.

BBC Sport reported:
As well as a first win on foreign soil, it was the first time Europe have retained the trophy since the competition was first played in 1990. 
Swede [Caroline] Hedwall, so impressive in the 2011 victory at Killeen Castle in Ireland, became the first player in the history of the trophy to win all five of her matches when she beat Michelle Wie with a birdie on the 18th to give Europe an unassailable 14-7 lead. 
[Catriona] Matthew secured a par on the 18th to tie her match with Gerina Piller to earn an outright win. 
She told Sky Sports: "I was shaking. My knees were shaking. I knew if I got a half we would win it outright. 
"It beats [winning the Open in 2009]. Any time you can celebrate with your 11 team-mates it makes it more exciting, more fun."
More entertaining are the article comments at BBC Sport. A sampling:

richakn: "It's the first time I've watched women's golf and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Great skill level, passion and drama. Nice to see the Americans sulking and moaning when beaten, just like the men's game. It would however be nice if the American fans could think up something other than the monotonous 'USA' chants every 2 minutes.....my wife is still convinced I'm watching for the outfits."

Peter Moran: "The European team were fantastic; great swings, loads of skill and nerves of steel. Congrats to all of them, it was great entertainment watching them thrash the Americans."

bigbird6160: "Well done ladies. That showed the yanks. Better in both men's and women's golf."

Friday, August 16

The College-Educated Golf Course Architect

By John Coyne

Copyright © John Coyne. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

(Another installment in a series on Hall of Fame golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr.)

Robert Trent Jones, Sr.
ROBERT TRENT JONES, SR. WENT TO CORNELL University to become a golf course architect, at a time when no one in golf saw a connection between golf and higher education. He spent three and a half years studying in Cornell’s various undergraduate and graduate schools. His special curriculum in “golf architecture” was made up of courses in surveying, hydraulics, landscape architecture, horticulture, agronomy, economics, chemistry, public speaking and journalism.

After he graduated from Cornell in 1930, Jones spent another year studying sketching at Rochester School of Art before teaming up with a Canadian golf architect, Stanley Thompson. Their first clients were members of a club in Rochester, New York, but the country club went bankrupt before they finished construction. Three more clients in those first years of the Great Depression followed into bankruptcy, and Jones and Thompson had to go as far away as Rio de Janeiro to find solvent clients.

In 1935 Trent Jones decided the new Works Progress Administration might be a good paying customer.

“If the W.P.A. could spend its money,” he told me, “to put the unemployed to work raking leaves, then I didn’t see why a golf course wasn’t a legitimate relief project. Also, you’ll have a beauty spot that everyone in the community is going to enjoy for years to come.”

Over the next four years Jones designed six public courses in Illinois and New York and began to experiment with the type of course layouts that would put his mark on modern golf course architecture. For the heavy traffic of public courses, Jones came up with the innovative notion of duplicate par-3 holes to keep play moving on short holes. The duplicates were adjacent and identical in length, grade, hazards and greens.

But it was only after the war, when money was again available to build private clubs, that Jones’ real genius for golf architecture began to flourish. He dissolved his partnership with Stanley Thompson and struck out on his own and began to change the design of golf courses in America and around the world.

Related:
PGA Returns to Home of Robert Trent Jones, Sr.

John Coyne is a bestselling author whose latest novel is The Caddie Who Won the Masters. Learn more at John Coyne Books.

Thursday, August 15

2013 Solheim Cup TV Schedule and Information

THE 2013 SOLHEIM CUP begins on Friday at Colorado Golf Club with four foursomes matches in the morning and four fourball matches in the afternoon. The same number and format of matches will be played on Saturday. The Cup concludes with 12 singles matches on Sunday.

The Opening Ceremony is Thursday at 6 p.m. ET.

Europe won in 2011 at Killeen Castle Golf Resort in Ireland by the score of 15 to 13. The United States has the overall edge in the Cup series that began in 1990.

TEAMS

United States

Meg Mallon, Captain
Dottie Pepper, Assistant Captain
Laura Diaz, Assistant Captain
Paula Creamer
Stacy Lewis
Cristie Kerr
Angela Stanford
Brittany Lincicome
Lexi Thompson
Jessica Korda
Brittany Lang
Lizette Salas
Morgan Pressel
Gerina Piller
Michelle Wie

Europe

Liselotte Neumann, Captain
Annika Sorenstam, Vice Captain
Carin Koch, Vice Captain
Suzann Pettersen
Carlota Ciganda
Catriona Mattew
Caroline Masson
Beatriz Recari
Anna Nordqvist
Karine Icher
Azahara Munoz
Caroline Hedwall
Jodi Ewart-Shadoff
Giulia Sergas
Charley Hull

TV SCHEDULE

TV coverage is on Golf Channel. All times ET.

Fri, Aug 16
9:30 am - 3 pm
5 - 9 pm

Sat, Aug 17
9:30 am - 9 pm

Sun, Aug 18
2:30 - 8:30 pm

Wednesday, August 14

VIDEO: PGA Champion Jason Dufner on 'Morning Drive'



DAMON HACK INTERVIEWS PGA CHAMPION Jason Dufner on "Morning Drive." Duf doesn't look, talk, or act like a lot of other tour pros. People and the media tend to focus on those differences, which can be kind of funny and quirky.

But if you get past all of that, Dufner definitely knows what's going on and delivers some interesting answers in this 10-minute segment. The guy has paid his dues. It's no wonder he looks up to Ben Hogan.

Tuesday, August 13

Ohio Baby on Pace With Nicklaus' Majors Record

Courtesy of etsy.com
WITH TIGER WOODS MIRED IN A FIVE-YEAR majors slump and youthful Rory McIlroy shut out in this year's majors, a fresh new face has emerged to challenge the record 18 professional major victories of Jack Nicklaus. It's a baby boy who, coincidentally, lives in the Columbus, Ohio, suburbs. (Nicklaus grew up in Upper Arlington.) The boy's identity is being guarded to avoid undue attention.

The boy's parents claimed to have discovered their son's acute golf interest when he was an infant. The mother said his first eye movements were toward their giant flat screen TV during the Masters telecast in April. Two months later, their baby boy spit up when Phil Mickelson airmailed Merion's 13th green with a pitching wedge during the final round of the U.S. Open.

The parents grew defensive when it was suggested that this type of behavior didn't necessarily mean their first child is the next Jack Nicklaus. The father is an insurance salesman and a weekend golfer with a handicap index of 24. The mother is the assistant director of a small daycare center.

The so-called golf prodigy has yet to hold a golf club, but the father insists that it's only a matter of time before his son is putting heat on the Golden Bear.

"He's right on pace, maybe a little ahead," the father said. "Nicklaus also had zero majors until the age of 22 years and five months, give or take a few days."

If nothing else, the baby boy does look like a little golfer.

"He absolutely loves wearing his flat cap," the father said, "sort of in the style of Ben Hogan. No offense to Jack, of course."

(This is an ARMCHAIR GOLF spoof.)

Monday, August 12

Late-Bloomer Dufner Puts on Ball-Striking Clinic at Oak Hill



JASON DUFNER IS A LATE BLOOMER. But the thing about late bloomers is they bloom nonetheless. Dufner didn't take up golf until the age of 15. And the Auburn grad didn't win a major until yesterday, the 95th PGA Championship, at the age of 36. Two years after a heartbreaking playoff loss to Keegan Bradley, good ol' Duf got it done on a rough-infested Oak Hill Country Club that rewarded his splendid ball striking.

Fifty-four-hole leader Jim Furyk put up a good fight but couldn't keep up.

I sort of understand the Ben Hogan references I've heard and read, especially since Hogan is Dufner's hero. But Jason Dufner is not Ben Hogan.

I even consider it to be a stretch to call him Hogan-like. Their swings don't look much alike to me. Yes, Dufner was striping it down the middle of Oak Hill's pinched fairways and hitting it close to the hole on the final day in the year's final major. But many of those laser approach shots were in the 100-130 yard (wedge) range, with room for massive backspin on receptive greens. A half century ago, Hogan would have been hitting medium and long irons into many of Oak Hill's greens. The Hawk set the standard for precision.

Hogan comparisons aside, Dufner was outstanding and held up under pressure like a champion to win the Wanamaker Trophy. He proved that old golf adage, fairways and greens. It works extremely well in majors on tough tracks like Oak Hill. Look at the numbers. For the week, Dufner hit more than 60 percent of the fairways. Greens in regulation: 75 percent.

That explains a lot, including a clutch final-round 68. Dufner could even afford a bogey-bogey finish. That's how you come away with your first major title.

"For me to be competitive on this type of golf course," Dufner said, "I felt like I had to have a great week ball-striking and I was able to do it.

"I hit a lot of fairways. If I did miss the fairways, I wasn't in the thick, thick stuff, so I could manage to get it up by the greens. When I did hit the fairways, I hit a ton of greens, and that was the difference for me."

Those fairways-and-greens guys have fared well in the majors this year. Adam Scott. Justin Rose. And now Jason Dufner.

With the exception of Phil Mickelson at Muirfield, all 2013 major winners are first-timers. Who will be next?

Saturday, August 10

PGA Championship: Nearly 100K Fans Pick Sunday's 15th Hole Position

By PGA of America

[M]ORE THAN 92,000 VOTES WERE CAST on PGA.com, Facebook and Twitter over the past 19 days in the "PGA Championship Pick the Hole Location Challenge Hosted by Jack Nicklaus." The fans selected "Hole Location C" from among the four options for the official location of the 15th hole at Oak Hill Country Club during Sunday's final round of the season's final major.

As a result, Sunday's hole location on No. 15 will be placed 25 yards from the front of the green, and just 4 yards from both the right side of the green and the lake that borders the right edge of the green. The selection by the fans means that the water hazard will almost certainly come into play, setting up a dramatic, risk-reward decision for the world's best players on the final par 3 of the 95th PGA Championship. During Sunday's final-round coverage on TNT and CBS, fans will be able to see the winning hole position live.

"The PGA of America is excited by the extremely positive response we have received for the PGA Championship Pick the Hole Challenge Hosted by Jack Nicklaus," said PGA President Ted Bishop.

"Our goal was to ensure that golf fans worldwide were more engaged with the 95th PGA Championship than ever before, and we are delighted with the results. Just as important, the players have been very complimentary about the interactive nature of the initiative and the innovative opportunity for fan participation."

The recently redesigned 15th hole at Oak Hill is a difficult downhill 181-yard par 3 that requires a mid-iron to a narrow green. The picturesque lake along the right side of the green is the big concern for players, especially when the prevailing wind is blowing toward the hazard. A steep drop-off also lurks on the backside of the green and three bunkers accentuate the left side.

Friday, August 9

Golf in The Azores: Best-Kept Secret in Europe?



FRIDAY IS A GOOD DAY TO FANTASIZE about an island paradise, a place where you can play golf year round in shirt sleeves and have the course to yourself. I've never been to The Azores, have hardly heard of them, but tourism pitches are always landing in my email inbox, and I thought I'd share this one.

The Azores are a string of volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean about 900 miles off the coast of Portugal (a four-hour flight from Great Britain). They certainly look inviting to me, uncrowded, peaceful.

The above video features former Olympic javelin thrower turned golf coach, Andre Medeiros. The narrator says The Azores "could be the best-kept golfing secret in Europe."

Might be true, might be tourism marketing, or both.

Anyone care to send me? I'd be glad to report on that claim.

Thursday, August 8

2013 PGA Championship TV Schedule and Notes



THE 2013 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP IS UNDER WAY at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York. Jim Furyk is the clubhouse leader after shooting a 5-under 65. Furyk hit 15 greens in regulation and "felt good with the putter." Canada's David Hearn carded a 66. Tiger Woods had a 71. The first round is still in progress.

Purse: $8 million
Winner's share: $1.445 million
Defending champion: Rory McIlroy

2013 PGA Championship Leaderboard

Field
Tee times
Course
Interviews
Tournament overview
Tour Report
Tournament news
Past winners

TV SCHEDULE

TV coverage of the 2013 PGA Championship is on TNT and CBS.

Thursday, 8/8
1-7 pm ET, TNT

Friday, 8/9
1-7 pm ET, TNT

Saturday, 8/10
11 am-2 pm ET, TNT
2-7 pm ET, CBS

Sunday, 8/11
11 am-2 pm ET, TNT
2-7 pm ET, CBS

Wednesday, August 7

PGA Returns to Home of Robert Trent Jones, Sr.

By John Coyne

Copyright © John Coyne. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Robert Trent Jones, Sr.
HE WAS SHORT AND STOUT AND LANGUID. His voice was high and soft. His manner was gentle. He walked slowly and was unobtrusive in a crowd. He shunned attention and recognition. Yet when he spoke about his unique and special profession—golf architecture—everyone connected with the game listened.

Robert Trent Jones, Sr. for many years was America's leading authority on golf architecture. Sixteen of his courses are among what Golf Digest calls the greatest courses in America. Another four are the best in Europe.

Jones was a golf course architect who designed about 500 golf courses in at least 42 states and 35 other countries around the world. He said with a shy smile and some pride, "The sun never sets on a Robert Trent Jones golf course." Jones passed away in 2000, but his legacy, and his immense contribution to golf, lives on.

Jones was born in 1906 in Ince, England, the only child of Welsh parents, who moved to East Rochester, New York, when he was four. Jones caddied, worked with green keeper crews, and played golf on a nine-hole course in East Rochester. By the time Jones was sixteen, he was playing par golf and patterning his golf swing and life after another Jones, the legendary Bobby Tyre Jones of Atlanta.

Trent Jones might have been the second great golfing Jones, but at sixteen he developed a duodenal ulcer which made competitive golf impossible for him.

"I finished high school and worked for two years as a draftsman," he told me when I interviewed him at his office in Montclair, New Jersey, "but that type of work was too frustrating. I wanted to be more creative and I wanted to stay with golf."

Jones thought that building golf courses might be the answer.

"Someone built them. They weren't born. But I didn't know how anyone went about learning the business. There weren't any technical schools for it."

At the time, Donald Ross, a Scottish architect, was building two courses in Rochester, the East and West Courses of Oak Hill Country Club. Jones talked to him about a career in golf architecture.

"Ross told me what I needed to know to build golf courses and then the head of the engineering department where I worked suggested Cornell University as a school that had all the subjects I needed."

Jones was off to college and a golf architecture career that would bring him back to Rochester and Oak Hill Country Club in the early 1960s, and twice more in the '80s and '90s, to add his own creative genius to Oak Hill and prepare the course for the 1989 U.S. Open and the 2003 PGA Championship.

Now the tour is back again to Oak Hill Country Club and playing the 2013 PGA Championship in the hometown of Robert Trent Jones, Sr.

John Coyne is a bestselling author whose latest novel is The Caddie Who Won the Masters. Learn more at John Coyne Books.

Tuesday, August 6

Putting Woes End Park's Grand Slam Bid


CONGRATULATIONS TO STACY LEWIS, WHO BIRDIED the final two holes at The Old Course to win the Ricoh Women's British Open, her second major. Just great stuff.

Who birdies the famous Road Hole (the 17th) to rally for a come-from-behind victory? Um, no one. Well, now Lewis has. Her second shot into that sliver of a green was magnificent. And so was her two-putt from 40 yards for a closing birdie at the home hole.

As for World No. 1 and Grand Slam chaser Inbee Park, a fourth consecutive major was too much to ask, I suppose. But then so was three in a row, and she pulled that off. LPGA.com's Ward Clayton explained Park's downfall. It was the putter. (It always comes down to the putter, doesn't it?)

During her majors win streak, Park had a total of 114 putts at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, 109 putts at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, and 114 putts at the U.S. Women's Open. Add them all up and it's an average of 28 putts per round.

It was a different story at The Old Course, though. Park needed 143 putts over the four rounds. Forty of them came in the final round. As Clayton pointed out, the most putts Park had taken in any tournament this year was 122 at the HSBC Women's Champions back in March. She had no chance in St. Andrews, and finished T42.

"I left a lot of shots on the greens," Park said, "but the greens were just really tough to judge the speed. They were great one minute, and one minute they were slow. It was a tough tournament, tough greens to read, tough greens to judge."

So ends the Grand Slam talk, including what constitutes a Grand Slam. It was an incredible and historic run by Park. She surprised everyone, especially herself.

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Monday, August 5

PGA Favorite Tiger Woods Never Tires of Bridgestone

Tiger Woods (McAlpine)
DID YOU CATCH THAT? TIGER NEVER "tires" of Bridgestone (as in Bridgestone Invitational). You know, Bridgestone tires. Yes, GROAN. That was bad. A real smelly one.

There's more than a slight tread of truth in the stupid headline, though.

Tiger actually never does tire of playing and winning at Akron's Firestone Country Club. Woods peeled out (sorry) and away from the field with a second-round 61. After Sunday's cruise (sorry) to a seven-shot victory, Woods notched his eighth win at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. That's a lot of traction (sorry) at one tournament.

Sam Snead is the only PGA Tour player besides Tiger to win eight times at one event. (Snead owned the Greater Greensboro Open.)

Tiger's 79th PGA Tour victory moves him within three of Snead's all-time wins record of 82. Now Woods looks ahead to this week's PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club, where he'll be the favorite despite a five-year major wins drought.

"Do I want it any more?" Tiger said.

"No, it's the same. Each and every major, I always want them. I've been successful 14 times, and hopefully next week will be 15."

Following are the current odds for the year's final major, courtesy of Bovada.

PGA Championship - Outright Winner

Tiger Woods 7/2
Phil Mickelson 12/1
Adam Scott 18/1
Brandt Snedeker 25/1
Henrik Stenson 25/1
Justin Rose 25/1
Lee Westwood 28/1
Rory McIlroy 28/1
Charl Schwartzel 33/1
Dustin Johnson 33/1
Hunter Mahan 33/1
Keegan Bradley 33/1
Luke Donald 33/1
Matt Kuchar 33/1
Graeme McDowell 40/1
Jason Day 40/1
Jason Dufner 40/1
Sergio Garcia 40/1
Bill Haas 50/1
Bubba Watson 50/1
Ian Poulter 50/1
Rickie Fowler 50/1
Steve Stricker 50/1
Zach Johnson 50/1
Ernie Els 66/1
Jim Furyk 66/1
Martin Kaymer 66/1
Webb Simpson 66/1
Angel Cabrera 80/1
Hideki Matsuyama 80/1
Jordan Spieth 80/1
Billy Horschel 100/1
Francesco Molinari 100/1
Matteo Manassero 100/1
Nick Watney 100/1
Nicolas Colsaerts 100/1
Paul Casey 100/1
Ryan Moore 100/1

Saturday, August 3

High Winds Halt Women's British Open

IT'S WINDY AT THE OLD COURSE in St. Andrews. So windy that play was suspended during Saturday's third round. Winds gusted to 40 mph and golf balls were moving without being hit. Some unfortunate players had to complete their rounds in the difficult conditions. Cristie Kerr, for example, finished with a 75, a good score under the circumstances.

GolfChannel.com's Randall Mell reported:
Notably, play was halted about five minutes after Inbee Park had an issue with high winds as she stood up to a putt at the fourth green. She called an official to inquire if she had to play the ball from where it moved or whether she should replace it. LPGA official Brad Alexander informed her that she should play it from where it moved. There was no penalty. Play was then halted after Park hit her tee shot at the fifth. Park is chasing history, trying to overcome an eight-shot deficit to become the first man or woman to win four majors in a single season. She was 1 under through four holes when play was suspended.

Fourteen players had yet to tee off when play was stopped as wind gusts reached 40 mph. The leader, Na Yeon Choi, was among them.
One commenter at GolfChannel.com thought the situation was bogus:

"It's bad enough that virtually nobody cares about this women's Major, but when the officials and the LPGA make a joke out of the scores by forcing part of the field to accept scores in 40 mile an hour winds and the others don't have to. Hardly seems like a fair test of golf. Making this MAJOR seems like a joke in a circuit that lacks respect in this first place."

Others said suck it up and play on.

Thursday, August 1

2013 Ricoh Women's British Open TV Schedule and Tournament Notes

Gulbis co-leads at Old Course.
THE 2013 RICOH WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN is under way at The Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland. Camilla Lennarth of Sweden and Natalie Gulbis of the United States share the first-round lead after both carded 6-under 66. Chasing her fourth straight major and the fabled Grand Slam, Inbee Park of South Korea opened with a 69.

Purse: $2.75 million
Defending champion: Jiyai Shin

2013 Ricoh Women's British Open Leaderboard

The field
Tee times
Tournament overview
Tournament news
Ricoh Women's British Open website

TV SCHEDULE

TV coverage of the 2013 Ricoh Women's British Open is on ESPN2. All times ET.

Thu, Aug 1
9:00 AM-12:00 PM

Fri, Aug 2
9:00 AM-12:00 PM

Sat, Aug 3
10:00 AM-1:00 PM

Sun, Aug 4
10:00 AM-1:00 PM