Friday, January 31

First Set: Adoring Her Lady Ben Hogans

Julie Crichton proudly owns a vintage set
of Ben Hogan Princess model clubs
similar to these offered on eBay.
I HAD THE GOOD FORTUNE TO MEET Julie Crichton recently. Julie is a writer, editor and webmaster for Virginia Tech. She is also a golf enthusiast. During a conference call on another topic, Julie couldn't resist bringing up golf.

"What do you think of Seve Ballesteros?" she asked me when it was her turn to pop a question.

In the last few days Julie told me about her first set of golf clubs. They were Hogans. Her brother reminded her of that fact the other day when they talked on the phone.

"He began to tease me," Julie said. "'Sister, your first set of clubs were Lady Ben Hogan Princesses in a baby-blue bag.'"

It didn't bother her a bit, though.

"I had to remind him that the clubs were hand-me-downs from my grandmother," Julie said.

"I adored the Lady Ben Hogans and used them well past their prime into the '80s, though of course I had them all regripped and replaced the miserable blade putter with a Bullseye. I still have them in my closet as a keepsake of sortsmy grandmother did, after all, win a few Emporia Country Club ladies championships with them back when the greens were sand. Unbelievable."

Julie also reminded her brother that she wasn't the only one to inherit a set of used clubs.

"His first clubs were hand-me-downs from our uncle, who played golf for University of Virginia in the late 1950s."

Obviously, sister and brother received clubs with very good history.

Thursday, January 30

Golf on TV: Waste Management Phoenix Open and Omega Dubai Desert Classic

By Golf Channel News

The following tournament lineup, TV schedule and other information were supplied by Golf Channel in a news release.

WASTE MANAGEMENT PHOENIX OPEN
(PGA Tour)
Dates: January 30 – February 2
Venue: Stadium Course, TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 p.m.-3 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 p.m.-3 a.m. (Replay)

Event Notes

Largest Gallery on TOUR: Attracting the largest crowds on the TOUR schedule, the 2013 tournament drew an attendance of more than 525,000 for the week, and a single-day record of nearly 180,000 on Saturday alone.

Mickelson defends: Phil Mickelson went wire-to-wire to win last year’s event, sparked by an opening round of 60 that included a lip-out for a 59 on his final hole, en route to winning the event for the third time in his career.

Headlining The Field: Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker, Lee Westwood, Bubba Watson, Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler, Ian Poulter, Nick Watney and Bill Haas.

* * *

OMEGA DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC
(European Tour)
Dates: January 30 – February 2
Venue: Majlis Course, Emirates Golf Club, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday Midnight-4 a.m. / 5:30-8:30 a.m. (Live) / 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday 1-8:30 a.m. (Live) / 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday 4-8 a.m. (Live) / 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Replay) / 6:30-10:30 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday 4-8 a.m. (Live) / 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Replay) / 6:30-10:30 p.m. (Replay)

Event Notes

Woods, McIlroy Grouped Together: Tiger Woods makes his first appearance in Dubai since 2011 and will be grouped with Rory McIlroy and Stephen Gallacher, winner of last year’s event for the opening two rounds of competition.

Headlining The Field: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Ernie Els, Fred Couples, John Daly, Matteo Manassero, Thomas Bjorn, Stephen Gallacher and Mark O’Meara.

Wednesday, January 29

Survey: Pebble Beach, Old Course Top Many Bucket Lists

Finally made it to Pebble Beach! Yours truly on the 18th fairway on a sunny December day.
IT TOOK ME A LONG TIME to get to Pebble Beach Golf Links. Too long. But I made it in December 2012. I still need to get to the Old Course (the Home of Golf) in St. Andrews, Scotland.

Not surprisingly, a recent survey revealed that UK and Irish golfers highly covet a round at Pebble Beach and the Old Course.

From yourgolftravel.com:
Caddie Mike and me.
Your Golf Travel surveyed more than 8,000 golfers from across the UK and Ireland in December to find the most desirable destinations for a round in 2014. 
More than half of those petitioned named either California’s Pebble Beach Golf Links (29%) or The Old Course at St Andrews (25%) as their dream golfing destination. Other popular locations included Mauritius (14%), Spain’s Valderrama Golf Club (13%) and host of this year’s Ryder Cup, Gleneagles (11%). 
For single figure golfers Pebble Beach had an even greater pull with the 2010 US Open venue attracting more than 37% of the votes. 
The Old Course is still a must play, even for those based at the Home of Golf; nearly 20% of Scottish golfers who took part in the survey picked St Andrews as their dream destination for 2014. Conversely for those living on the "Island of Golf", more than 34% of Irish golfers named the Old Course as their favourite.

Tuesday, January 28

Tim Rosaforte Wins PGA Lifetime Achievement Award

By PGA of America

(The following edited content was supplied by the PGA in a news release.)

Tim Rosaforte
TIM ROSAFORTE HAS BEEN NAMED the recipient of the 2014 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism. Rosaforte, 58, a senior writer for Golf World/Golf Digest and insider/analyst for Golf Channel/NBC, will be honored April 9, at the 42nd Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) Annual Spring Dinner and Awards ceremony at Savannah Rapids Pavilion in Augusta, Ga.

“Tim Rosaforte is one of the most knowledgeable and trusted sources in all of golf. It is no mistake that he always seems to have the story first,” said PGA of America President Ted Bishop. “His attention to detail when reporting makes him one of the most credible people in sports. No one delivers the close-up insight on the various personalities in golf like Tim, and it is with great pleasure that we recognize him with the 2014 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism.”

Rosaforte is the 25th recipient of the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism, which honors members of the media for their steadfast promotion of golf, both locally and nationally.

“I’d like to think I haven’t peaked yet and thanks to Golf Digest and Golf Channel, I have platforms to continue writing and reporting on television at the two most respected voices in golf media,” said Rosaforte, a native of Brewster, N.Y. “It’s all about telling a story, whether it’s 15 seconds on TV or in 2,000 printed words. I’ve found the two careers complement each other.”

From Football to Journalism

The son of a mechanic for the highway department in Bedford, N.Y., Rosaforte received discarded wooden clubs from his father and later took lessons at age 6 from a caddie with an inspirational name, Billy Graham. Rosaforte excelled in football and baseball in high school and attended the University of Bridgeport (Conn.) before transferring his junior year to the University of Rhode Island, where he started his senior season as an outside linebacker and on special teams. He was a two-time member of the dean’s list and graduated with a degree in journalism in 1977.

Rosaforte credited Wilbur Doctor, a former Providence (R.I.) Journal editor turned University of Rhode Island professor, who was “as blunt as any position coach in football,” for “turning me around in my attempt to build a writing career.”

Taking Up Golf

Rosaforte’s journalism career began with the former Tampa Times in 1977, where he was mentored by Tampa Tribune Sports Editor Tom McEwen. “Tom recommended that I start playing golf to help my work because, he said, ‘You can learn far more about someone in a span of five hours on a course,’” Rosaforte said. “That was an epiphany for me.”

Monday, January 27

Putting Remark Helps Stallings Get Third Win

THE SOUTH COURSE AT TORREY PINES was a brute, which made for a crowded leaderboard at the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday. No one could get any separation. I wondered if there was going to be a five-, six-, or seven-man playoff. It was a scrum.

Stallings
But then a guy who had trouble finding the fairway (and has won twice on the PGA Tour) slipped into the lead, the sole player to finish at 9 under. We have a winner. His name is Scott Stallings.

According to the Monday Finish column by D.J. Piehowski at PGATour.com, a putting tip made the difference. If you can call it a tip. It was actually a caddie (David Robinson) sharing an observation about the greens during lunch. Not the winner's caddie either. Robinson carries for Blake Adams.

"[Robinson] actually didn't watch me hit a single putt this week," Stallings said.

"We were eating lunch in the middle of the day and he said, 'Man, you cannot release the putter too much, especially on these greens.' He said, 'Almost feel like you're trying to just over release every single time, I promise you won't putt bad.' That's all I really thought about coming down the stretch."

It worked. The 28-year-old hit only four of 14 fairways in the final round, but his putter kept him in contention. Stallings dropped birdies at 11, 13 and 14. At 15, he holed a 15-foot par putt to maintain his momentum. He survived a bogey at the par-3 16th, and not long after reached the par-5 18th in two pokes and two-putted for a birdie to seal the victory.

So many players had a chance during the final round, including Gary Woodland, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Marc Leishman, K.J. Choi, Pat Perez and Graham DeLaet. Stallings didn't particularly stand out; he simply hung in there, kept grinding and got the win. Hats off to him.

By the way, Stallings' total of 279 was the tournament's highest winning score since 1979.

Thursday, January 23

Golf on TV: Farmers Insurance Open and Qatar Masters

By Golf Channel News

The following tournament lineup, TV schedule and other information were supplied by Golf Channel in a news release.

FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN
(PGA Tour)
Dates: January 23-26
Venue: Torrey Pines Golf Course (North & South courses), La Jolla, Calif.

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-11 p.m. (Golf Channel and CBS Replay)
Sunday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 7 p.m.-Midnight (Golf Channel and CBS Replay)

Event Notes

World number one Tiger Woods makes his first PGA TOUR start of 2014. He has had remarkable success at Torrey Pines, a seven-time winner of the Farmers Insurance Open including a victory last year, along with his 2008 U.S. Open victory in a playoff over Rocco Mediate.

Headlining The Field: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson and Jimmy Walker.

* * *

COMMERCIALBANK QATAR MASTERS
(European Tour)
Dates: January 22-25
Venue: Doha Golf Club, Doha, Qatar

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday 5-8 a.m. (Live) / Noon-2 p.m. (Replay)
Thursday 5-8 a.m. (Live)
Friday 4:30-8:30 a.m. (Live)
Saturday 4:30-8:30 a.m. (Live) / 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Replay)

Event Notes

Saturday Finish: The tournament will begin on Wednesday, and therefore provide a Saturday finish barring any weather delays. Live coverage will be broadcast on Golf Channel in the early morning hours Wednesday-Saturday.

Wood Defends: Chris Wood won the event last year by one shot over Segio Garcia and George Coetzee, earning his first European Tour victory in the process.

Headlining The Field: Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Jason Dufner, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Martin Kaymer, Thomas Bjorn, Migueal Angel Jimenez, Branden Grace and Alvaro Quiros.

Wednesday, January 22

2014 LPGA Season Kicks Off in the Bahamas

THE PURE SILK BAHAMAS LPGA CLASSIC, the first of 32 tournaments on the 2014 LPGA Tour schedule, tees off on Thursday in Paradise Island, Bahamas. Last year's inaugural edition of the tournament was marred by extreme weather that resulted in the oddest winning score I can ever recall.

Ilhee Lee posted 41, 43 and 42 on a rain-damaged golf course and collected the winner's check of $195,000. This year should be much different.

Th 2014 LPGA schedule includes four additional tournaments (including three new events in North America), more than $56 million in prize money and over 350 hours of TV coverage, all of which pleased LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan last November.

"There's no doubt that our schedule has a little something for everyone," Whan said, "but most importantly, it creates more opportunities for our players, more coverage for our fans and more exposure for the world's best female golfers."

EVENT INFORMATION

Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic
Purse: $1.3 million
Defending champion: Ilhee Lee
Format: 72 holes

Ocean Club Golf Course
Paradise Island, Bahamas
Par: 73
Yardage: 6,644

TV Schedule
(Golf Channel)
Thursday, Jan 23 - 11:30 AM-2:30 PM ET
Friday, Jan 24 - 11:30 AM-2:30 PM ET
Saturday, Jan 25 - 3:00 PM-5:00 PM ET
Sunday, Jan 26 - 3:00 PM-5:00 PM ET

Tuesday, January 21

PGA Merchandise Show and Historical Photo Gallery

1969 PGA Merchandise Show. That looks like Jack Fleck beside Spalding display. (Credit: The PGA of America)
THE 2014 PGA MERCHANDISE SHOW began today at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, although Demo Day activities are temporarily suspended due to weather. The PGA show is the largest trade event in golf. It runs through Friday.

The show has a long history. Check out the cool gallery of 59 historical images:

2014 PGA SHOW HISTORICAL GALLERY

Here's this year's schedule.

PGA Show Demo Day:
Tuesday January 21: 9:00am – 5:00pm

PGA Show Days & Conference:
Wednesday, January 22: 8:00am – 5:30pm
Thursday, January 23: 8:00am – 5:30pm
Friday, January 24: 8:00am – 3:00pm

For more information, visit http://www.pga.com/merchandise/.

Monday, January 20

Rory McIlroy Wrong to Rail Against 'Stupid' Rule

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
RORY MCILROY WAS UNDERSTANDABLY UPSET to throw away two strokes but to say that Rule 25-1 is "stupid" is plainly wide of the mark.

"There are a lot of stupid rules in golf,” McIlroy said after a third-round incident at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, "and this is one of them."

(McIlroy went on to finish in a second-place tie with Phil Mickelson, a shot behind winner Pablo Larrazabal.)

In case you missed it, McIlroy was informed by his playing partner's caddie, David Renwick, of his possible infringement on the second hole as they walked off the 18th green.

European Tour Chief Referee John Paramor summed it all up:
"Rory's ball came to rest in a marked gallery crosswalk to the left of the second fairway from which relief is available under the rules, as if it’s a piece of ground under repair. He found what he thought to be his nearest point of relief where the ball was outside and when he dropped the ball within a club's length, when he actually stood to the ball, his left foot was standing on or just over the line demarking the area of ground under repair which is treated as part of the ground under repair. Therefore he has not taken full relief and he is in breach of the Rule 25/1, the penalty for which is two strokes."
"It's disappointing because I didn't gain any advantage by my foot being on a bit of white paint," said McIlroy, who fell three shots off the lead and into a tie for fourth place.

One can understand why some might call the infraction excessively nit-picking. But there's a reason why you are required to take full relief under this rule. Without this requirement, it would be possible to continually seek free relief from the interference and therefore re-drop the ball until you get the most favourable lie.

McIlroy knows this as well as anyone, as he revealed in his post round comments.

"The thing is, if I had realised or if I had known that my foot was on the line, I would have said, 'hold on a minute here, I need to take full relief. It's a bad lie anyway, drop it again I might get a better one.'"

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, January 17

Cameron Morfit: 'Best Advice' From Golf World

That's me finishing at Pebble Beach. Don't leave it short!
WHAT'S THE BEST ADVICE YOU'VE received about (or related to) golf? Cameron Morfit, a senior writer for Golf Magazine, wrote a column on the topic. It's worth a look.

There are "pearls of wisdom" from Steve Stricker, Sean Foley, Johnny Miller, Jim McLean, Bo Van Pelt, Annika Sorenstam, Jason Day, Graeme McDowell, Rickie Fowler, Keegan Bradley, Stewart Cink, Larry Mize, Joe LaCava, John Cook, Bubba Watson, Erik Compton, Ken Green, Chubby Chandler, Deane Beman, Alison Lee, Hunter Mahan, Hal Sutton, Jim Nantz, Sandy Tatum and more.

Here's a tidbit from Lee, an 18-year-old  golfer at UCLA who was 2013 AJGA Rolex Player of the Year:
The game itself has taught me that golf doesn't define you. Good or bad, you can't let what happens on the course consume you. All you can do is your best. Play your hardest. There's much more to life than golf, and no matter what you shoot, there's much more to you.
I've received a lot of good advice through the years. If only I could've followed more of it. Ha!

I remember a tip my dad gave me when I played tournament golf in high school and community college. I wasn't the straightest driver of the golf ball. Dad told me to not fight my ball flight on any given day. If during my warm-up on the range the golf ball was fading, play for it that day. If a draw, start it down the right side.

I know that sounds pretty simple, but it was needed wisdom. On many occasions I'd fought a shot shape all the way around the course. I'd witnessed many others with that same struggle. But there are days when you have to post the best score possible, so you better give yourself every opportunity to put your golf ball in play.

Thursday, January 16

Golf on TV: Humana Challenge, Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and Mitsubishi Electric Championship

By Golf Channel News

The following tournament lineup, TV schedule and other information were supplied by Golf Channel in a news release.

HUMANA CHALLENGE
(PGA Tour)
Dates: January 16-19'
Venues: Palmer Private Course, PGA West; Nicklaus Private Course, PGA West; La Quinta Country Club (all three courses in La Quinta, Calif.)

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay) / Midnight-4 a.m. (Replay)
Friday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay)

Event Notes

Presidential Treatment: The Humana Challenge is one of the more unique events on TOUR, with former President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation taking on a lead role throughout the week.

New Amateur Format: One of two PGA TOUR events to feature amateurs competing alongside professional golfers during the competition (AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am), the Humana Challenge is incorporating a change in the format from years past. Foursomes will be made up of two professionals and two amateurs, with the low six amateurs after 54 holes competing on Sunday during the final round.

Gay Defends: Brian Gay needed a 63 in the final round of last year’s event to force a playoff that he eventually won for his fourth PGA TOUR title. He looks to defend his title this week, coming off a T-32 at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Headlining The Field: Brandt Snedeker, Rickie Fowler, Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Brian Gay, Billy Horschel, John Daly and Harris English.

* * *

ABU DHABI HSBC GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
(European Tour)
Dates: January 16-19
Venue: Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 4-8 a.m. (Live) / 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday 4-8 a.m. (Live) / 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday 4-8 a.m. (Live) / 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday 4-8 a.m. (Live) / 10:30 a.m.-2:30 pm. (Replay)

Event Notes

Mickelson and McIlroy Share Spotlight: Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy headline a strong field that includes four of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Donaldson Defends: Jamie Donaldson won last year’s event by a single shot over Justin Rose and Thorbjorn Olesen and will try and defend this week.

Headlining The Field: Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Matteo Manassero, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jamie Donaldson.

* * *

MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CHAMPIONSHIP
(Champions Tour)
Dates: January 17-19
Venue: Hualalai Resort Golf Club, Ka’upulehu-Kona, Hawaii

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday 7-10 p.m. (Live / 2-4 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday 7-10 p.m. (Live) / 2-4 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday 7-10 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Replay)

Event Notes

Season Opener: 41 players will tee it up this week when the Champions Tour kicks off its 2014 season and the quest for the Charles Schwab Cup. The field is comprised of players having won a Champions Tour major in the previous five seasons, or any Champions Tour victory in the previous two seasons.

Cook Defends: John Cook needed to hole a 16-foot birdie putt on the final hole last year to force a playoff with David Frost, and Cook made birdie on the second playoff hole to earn the victory.

Headlining The Field: Fred Couples, Tom Watson, Bernhard Langer, Nick Price, Kenny Perry, Rocco Mediate, Tom Lehman, Jay Haas, Fred Funk, John Cook and Mark Calcavecchia.

Wednesday, January 15

Book Excerpt: 'Perfect Swing, Imperfect Lies' By John Christensen

Used with permission. Copyright © 2013 John Christensen.

In 1974, 64-year-old journeyman pro Mike Austin set a world record by driving a golf ball 515 yards. Although he had celebrity clients, appeared in Hollywood films and was called "a real-world Indiana Jones," Austin died in 2005 bitter and virtually unknown. Now, however, he has a cult following on the internet and a brotherhood of instructors around the world who teach his unconventional swing. Following is an excerpt from Perfect Swing, Imperfect Lies: The Legacy of Golf's Longest Hitter, an ebook by John Christensen. It's available from Amazon, Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble and Sony.

* * *

Available at Amazon and elsewhere.
The last time he saw Mike Austin, John Anselmo was giving a clinic at the Navy Golf Course in Cypress, California, about 20 miles southeast of Los Angeles. It was early 2004. Anselmo was 81; Austin was 89.

“I was doing a little clinic about Tiger Woods,” Anselmo said, “and I look over and there’s Mike with his wife, Tanya, who was a very beautiful woman and a wonderful person. I went over to say hello, and Mike was in a wheelchair. That was a shock.”

Anselmo didn’t remember much about what was said that afternoon. They hadn’t seen each other in years, and their memories were refracted through the astonishment at what time had done to them. An eye injury had ended Anselmo’s dreams of playing professionally when he was young, and his 60-year career as a teaching pro had been interrupted by colon cancer. But when he was interviewed for this book, he was 89, healthy and in Beijing where he and his son, Dan, had opened an Anselmo Golf Academy similar to ones they operated in Huntington Beach and Irvine.

Austin, once powerful and movie-star handsome, had suffered a stroke in 1988 that left the right side of his body paralyzed. A broken hip from a fall in 2003 had so dispirited him that friends feared he would die. Although somewhat recovered, his hands shook and he drooled from the corner of his mouth, but seeing Anselmo warmed his heart.

“John,” he said, “they haven’t given you enough credit for teaching Tiger.”

Anselmo coached Tiger Woods between the ages of 10 and 20, although his involvement began to decline after he was diagnosed with cancer when Woods was 18.

But Tiger wasn’t Anselmo’s only notable student. Roger Cleveland, an Anselmo student, created Cleveland Golf and then sold it to Rossignol. Scotty Cameron proved more adept at making putters than using them, and his creations are now used by more Tour players than any other. Cameron sold his company to Acushnet, which also owns Titleist and FootJoy.

Kim Saiki, another Anselmo student, won eight times on regional, European and Asian tours and played 16 years on the LPGA Tour. And in 2010, 14-year-old Jim Liu of Smithtown, Long Island, announced himself as the latest Anselmo protege when he surpassed Woods to become the youngest winner of the U.S. Junior Amateur championship.

Anselmo and Austin met in the 1940s and often competed against each other in tournaments at Fox Hills Golf Club, a 36-hole facility in Culver City, and at the Sunset Fields Golf Club in Brentwood.

“We had three big tournaments in those days,” Anselmo said, “the Montebello Open, the Western Avenue Open and the Culver City Open, and a lot of the other pros came out to play in those tournaments to qualify for the Los Angeles Open. Mike and I were paired together a lot because our last names started with the same letter, and a lot of times Willie Barber played with us, too.

“I had gotten to know Mike and understood his emotions, and we got along real well together. He was never quiet during a round, and there were times when we had problems with him. If he missed a short putt, he would rave on and on, and Willie and I would have to calm him. I remember one time he hit a beautiful iron three feet past the hole and missed the putt and, my God, you’d think the whole world came to an end. I was afraid he was going to throw his club and hit someone with it. He was very excitable.”

After playing a casual round one day, Austin and Anselmo were at lunch when Austin commented, “You’re walking your swing.”

“I said, ‘What?’” Anselmo said. “And he said, ‘You’re walking your swing,’ and he gets up and demonstrates. By walking the swing, he meant that you were keeping the spine centered and staying balanced. It’s hard to understand that when you express it in the golf swing, but you don’t sway. You stay in balance. He’s the only one I’ve ever heard say that, and I’ve used it for years in my teaching.”

John Christensen is an author and award-winning freelance writer whose work has appeared in numerous books, magazines, newspapers and websites.

Tuesday, January 14

Finchem Named 2014 World Golf Foundation Chair

By Buffalo Communications

(The following edited content was supplied by Buffalo Communications in a news release.)

Tim Finchem
TIM FINCHEM, COMMISSIONER OF THE PGA TOUR, has been named Chairman of the World Golf Foundation's Board of Directors for 2014. Finchem succeeds Mike Whan, the Commissioner of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), who served as the 2013 Board Chairman.

Tim Finchem began his 20th year as commissioner of the PGA TOUR in June 2013. From the time Finchem joined the TOUR management team, he has played a key role in strengthening the PGA TOUR's position as one of the most successful, well-respected sports organizations in the world, and his leadership has helped foster the growth of the game, both domestically and internationally.

Finchem has also been instrumental in the formation of the World Golf Foundation. His personal dedication to the success of the World Golf Foundation's The First Tee initiative has meant that, in just 15 years, The First Tee has grown to include close to 200 chapters that have reached more than 7.6 million young people.

"It is an honor to be selected as Chairman and I'm looking forward to working closely with our game's leaders to address issues of global importance," said Finchem. "Golf has never been healthier worldwide and it is our responsibility to ensure its continued vitality."

In addition to Finchem and Whan, the other World Golf Foundation Board members are Pete Bevacqua, Chief Executive Officer of the PGA of America; Mike Davis, Executive Director of the United States Golf Association; Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A; Will Jones, Executive Director of The Masters Tournament Foundation and George O'Grady, Chief Executive of the PGA European Tour. Chris Normyle, Manager, Sponsorships and Events of the Shell Oil Company, also serves on the WGF Board as a representative of the WGF's Founding Partner.

Monday, January 13

Jimmy Walker: 'I've Always Felt Like I Belonged'



JIMMY WALKER, A GUY WHO NEEDED 188 events to record his first PGA Tour win at the Frys.com Open last fall, has now grabbed his second win in six starts. Walker carded seven birdies at Waialae Country Club en route to a final-round 63 and a one-shot victory over Chris Kirk at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

It was tight coming down the stretch. Five players were tied for the lead on the final nine. Four players, including Walker, Kirk, and Harris English, were still fighting it out with about an hour to go. The long-hitting Walker got the upper hand with three consecutive birdies at 15, 16 and 17. A huge par save at 14 preceded the birdie run.

With rounds of 66, 67, 67 and 63, Walker finished at 17 under, which was also his winning total at the Frys.com Open.

"I've always felt like I belonged, and you need affirmation every now and then," Walker said in an AP story. "The other win was like, 'Yeah, OK, I can do it.' I did it, and I was supposed to be able to do it. Everybody told me I was supposed to do it, and I finally did it. And then it's, `Well, are you going to be the guy that won that you never hear from again?' It's nice to get it done and do it again today."

Thanks to the new wraparound schedule and his two victories, Walker leads the FedEx Cup points race. That's not all. The 34-year-old Texan sits atop the U.S. Ryder Cup points list. Pretty heady stuff. He also has moved up to 32nd in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Walker would be quick to admit that there's a long way to go this season, but it's not a moment too soon to enjoy his position and newfound success. It's been a long, slow climb to the top for the journeyman. Now he can savor it, at least for a while.

Friday, January 10

Friday Photo: Gene Sarazen at Wollaston Golf Club

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection. (Flickr Creative Commons)







HERE IS GENE SARAZEN practicing at Wollaston Golf Club in Milton, Massachusetts.

Nicknamed "The Squire," Sarazen was affiliated with the Lakeville Golf and Country Club on Long Island at the time, circa 1930. The course no longer exists.

Sarazen was self-taught and an innovator. He used an interlocking grip (uncommon then) and invented the modern sand wedge, which he debuted at the 1932 British Open. Thanks in part to "the shot heard 'round the world," immortalized by sports writer Grantland Rice, Sarazen won the 1935 Masters. Winner of 39 PGA Tour titles, including seven majors, Sarazen was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.

Related:
Friday Photo: Bobby Jones at Oyster Harbors

Thursday, January 9

Golf on TV: Sony Open and Volvo Golf Champions

By Golf Channel News

The following tournament lineup, TV schedule and other information were supplied by Golf Channel in a news release.

SONY OPEN IN HAWAII
Dates: January 9-12'
Venue: Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, Hawaii

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 7-10:30 p.m. (Live) / 11 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay) / 3-6 a.m. (Replay)
Friday 7-10:30 p.m. (Live) / 11 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay) / 3-6 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday 7-10:30 p.m. (Live) / 11 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay) / 3-6 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday 7-10 p.m. (Live) / 11 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay) / 3-6 a.m. (Replay)

Event Notes

Full Field: This week marks the first full-field tournament of 2014 on the PGA TOUR.

Henley Defends: Russell Henley made his first career event as a professional memorable last year, breaking the Sony Open 72-hole scoring record by four shots en route to winning.

New Breed Of Talent: 24 of the 25 graduates from the 2013 Web.com Tour season will tee it up this week, along with all but two of those earning their cards by way of the Web.com Tour Finals.

Headlining The Field: Adam Scott, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar, Tommy Gainey, Harris English, Russell Henley, Vijay Singh, Bo Van Pelt, Stewart Cink and Guan Tianlang.

* * *

VOLVO GOLF CHAMPIONS
Dates: January 9-12
Venue: Durban Country Club, Durban, South Africa

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (Tape Delay)
Friday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (Tape Delay)
Saturday 7-11 a.m. (Tape Delay)
Sunday 7-11 a.m. (Tape Delay)

Event Notes

Winner's Circle: The 36-man field includes 31 winners from 2013, along with five 10-time winners on the European Tour.

Headlining The Field: Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Paul Casey, Thomas Bjorn, Matteo Manassero, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Darren Clarke, Branden Grace and Padraig Harrington.

Wednesday, January 8

Media Friendly Graeme McDowell Recognised by US Writers

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.

Graeme McDowell (Allison)
No matter how much you might have irritated him during the year, Graeme McDowell will invariably put any lingering ill-feeling aside to offer another revealing insight into his world. It's no surprise then that he has been named by the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) as the recipient of the ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award for being accommodating to the media.

Ken Duke and Rhonda Glenn were also recognised by the GWAA for their achievements.

Duke, who made it to the PGA Tour at age 35—20 years after a metal rod was inserted in his back to treat scoliosis—won the Ben Hogan Award Presented by ISPS Handa for remaining active in golf despite a physical disability.

Glenn, considered the foremost authority on women's golf in America, was named winner of the William D. Richardson Award for consistently making outstanding contributions to golf.

Duke, Glenn and McDowell will be honoured at the annual GWAA Awards Dinner in Augusta, Ga., on April 9.

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, January 7

Post-Round Interview: Zach Johnson, 'Hawaii King'

Another win for Zach Johnson. (Allison)
ZACH JOHNSON FIRED A CLOSING 66 to win the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua's Plantation Course with a 19-under total (67, 66, 74, 66). Jordan Spieth finished second. It was Johnson's second win in a month and his third victory in his last six starts.

Here's what Zach said immediately after his final round.

Q. Eleven victories now on the PGA TOUR. We've talked about this before the final round. How are you that your game is able to handle a golf course of this size?

ZACH JOHNSON: I just picked it apart. I didn't deviate away from anything that I typically do on the golf course. It's fairways and greens for me. I'm trying to give myself an aggressive look and trusting what I'm doing, remaining patient was the big thing. Especially after yesterday, it was remaining patient. The one thing I prayed about this morning was just to have peace out here regardless of the situation, whether I was 5 down or 5 up. I'm just thankful that I had my family with me. Thankful that the Lord was with me, and once again, my prayers are certainly going to the Tesoris. That's where my heart was today and my mind was a lot today. I just had that perspective.

Q. We talked about the 11 victories on the PGA TOUR, and 8 have come from come‑from‑behind fashion. What gives you the belief when you're not the frontrunner to get it done on this day?

ZACH JOHNSON: I was just comfortable out there. I don't know what it was. I was comfortable yesterday frankly. I didn't play that bad. I didn't score terrible. I was probably a little too analytical on the putting green, but today I just tried to be athletic, tried to stay unemotional and remain athletic over my putts. As a result, you saw a lot go in. But I had some breaks too. I would have, could have, should have on a couple. But you know, today was a grind. But yet it was also I felt very relaxed. I felt at ease. And just that peace that I was telling you about. I felt just every shot, the outcome was irrelevant.

Q. I asked you on Friday if you could attack this course with your wedge, and that's just what you did on the last nine holes, birdies at 12, 14, 15, 16?

ZACH JOHNSON: That's exactly right. I remember making the turn, and turned at 3‑under, I believe. Frankly, I missed a couple putts. I had some opportunities coming down the stretch; I just didn't capitalize on. So I knew if I kept getting the ball on the fairway and giving my wedges an opportunity, that my putter could heat up and fortunately it did.

Q. This may sound strange, but I thought this final round was set up by your patience in the third round. Where you didn't play badly, but you kept in and trusted the process and kept patience out there to give yourself a chance in the final round.

ZACH JOHNSON: That's just I can't sit up here and try to bomb it over the green or bomb it on in two on some of these par‑5s like a lot of the guys can. So I'm picking it apart. I'm just remaining patient and trying to stick to my wedges. Trying to get my putter an opportunity to make a putt. I think today was a day of opportunity. I missed some, which was very comforting, actually.

Q. You're the Hawaii King. You've pulled off the doubleheader, Sony Open winner, along with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions winner.

ZACH JOHNSON: Aloha.

(FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports)

Monday, January 6

VIDEO: World's Most Interesting Golfer Turns 50



CIGARS WANT TO BE SMOKED BY HIM. Television networks interrupt their broadcasts to cover his stretching. Boaters tie up along golf courses just to watch him stroll the fairways.

He is the most interesting golfer in the world.

Lover of cigars, wine, cars and golf, Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez turned 50 on January 5. If you want to be like Miguel, you can start by imitating his warm-up routine, which he demonstrates in the above video.

Jimenez does not appear to be slowing down as he reaches the half century mark, at least not on the golf course. He has won 20 tournaments on the European Tour. Thirteen of those titles have come after turning 40. "The Mechanic" has eight top tens in the majors and has played on four Ryder Cup teams.

"It just gets better and better," Jimenez said after his most recent victory a month ago at the Hong Kong Open. "I love Hong Kong and this course."

(H/T: GolfChannel.com)

Friday, January 3

Golf on TV: Hyundai Tournament of Champions

By Golf Channel News

The following tournament lineup, TV schedule and other information were supplied by Golf Channel in a news release.

HYUNDAI TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Dates: January 3-6
Venue: Plantation Course at Kapalua, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday 4:30-10 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 p.m.-4 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday 2:30-7 p.m. (Live) / 7:30 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)
Sunday 4-10 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 p.m.-5:30 a.m. (Replay)
Monday 4-8 p.m. (Live) / 9 p.m.-1 a.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes On NBC (Eastern):
Sunday 3-4 p.m. (Live)

Golf Central Airtimes (On-site at Kapalua, Eastern):
Thursday 6-8 p.m. (Live)
Friday 3-4:30 p.m. (Live) / 10-10:30 p.m. (Live)
Saturday 1:30-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 7-7:30 p.m. (Live)
Sunday 2-3 p.m. (Live) / 10-10:30 p.m. (Live)
Monday 3-4 p.m. (Live) / 8-9 p.m. (Live)

Event Notes

Elite Field: The field is comprised of winners from the 2013 PGA TOUR season, along with those who have won so far in the 2013-14 wraparound season. The field includes 13 first-time winners.

Headlining The Field: Woody Austin, Sang-Moon Bae, Jonas Blixt, Scott Brown, Jason Dufner, Ken Duke, Harris English, Derek Ernst, Brian Gay, Bill Haas, Russell Henley, Billy Horschel, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Chris Kirk, Matt Kuchar, Martin Laird, John Merrick, Ryan Moore, D.A. Points, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Jordan Spieth, Kevin Streelman, Michael Thompson, Jimmy Walker, Boo Weekley and Gary Woodland.

Thursday, January 2

Johnny Miller: Tiger's Masters Drought and Modern TV Commentary

The network's new logo goes
into effect in May 2014.
GOLF CHANNEL AND NBC SPORTS HOSTED a media conference call on Monday. Analysts Johnny Miller, Frank Nobilo and Mark Rolfing previewed this week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions and kicked around 2014 golf story lines such as the Ryder Cup, possible first-time major winners, Tiger's and Phil's chances in the majors and more.

With a lot to choose from in the 12-page transcript, following are a couple of exchanges with Miller that you might enjoy or hate, depending on how you feel about the NBC analyst.
Q. What is it about Augusta that's kept Tiger from winning since '05 do you think?
JOHNNY MILLER: I think you guys hit it on the head. I think he just wants it so badly, and he knows Augusta was made to order for him. He's such a phenomenal putter. Again, back to Mark's and Frank's comments, his irons came in so high, that the first bounce was more up than out, so he was able to stop it. He was able to hit it longer, he was able to stop it better, his chipping was phenomenal, and of course his choke factor was off the charts. He had all those things going for him, but now he's getting shorter every year, I think he's hitting it 293, which doesn't sound like it's short, but he's not able to get three, four clubs less into holes like 15 like he used to when he was a young guy. 
So the playing field is a little bit more level than it ever was before between guys like a Dustin Johnson, who's like I hit it past Tiger. He's lost a lot of the fear factors. He needs to finish strong at Augusta on the weekend, and of course he had the rules brouhaha, and all those things, they knock your confidence down. Golf is about your psyche and your confidence, and I had about 10 minutes where I was probably the best player in the world, but it was a very interesting time, and the confidence was sky high. That's one reason why I was able to do so well. 
Q. Do you sense at all that the players today are more sensitive about what's said about them on television than they were during your era, and when you were playing did anybody on TV ever say anything that annoyed you?

JOHNNY MILLER: You have to know in my era nobody said anything. Nobody ever said anything that would make you upset. As Dave Marr said, we were just gilding the rose back then, just about making everybody look good, which is not all about, you know, and I think there's a certain amount of announcing that you do want to compliment them. But golf has gotten to be a bigger sport, it's not just a cute little sport or an awesome game, now it's sort of a world sport, and in the public view they want more than that was a fantastic wedge shot 30 feet right of the hole. That's not what they want to hear. We saw it. Great shot. He hit it there. Don't tell me that. 
I hate to say it, but I'm probably the guy that got announcing a little bit more real, sort of an X Games type of announcer, and sometimes I wish I wasn't the way I am, but that's the way I talk about my own game, so it's just the way I viewed it. I wasn't trying to rip anybody, but I have a high standard, and I feel like the best players in the world should perform, and if they don't, I'm not going to just say, oh, that was a bad break or something.
I think Johnny's analysis about Tiger at Augusta is solid. No matter what Tiger says, his confidence and psyche can't be the same. It's been a long dry spell.