Wednesday, July 30

Golf on TV: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Barracuda Championship, 3M Championship

The following edited content was supplied by Golf Channel in a news release.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy headline the field at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, where Woods defends as an eight-time champion. Golf Channel will air live, primetime coverage of all four rounds of the Barracuda Championship (Reno-Tahoe Open formerly), while Paul Goydos makes his Champions Tour debut at the 3M Championship in Minnesota.

WGC-BRIDGESTONE INVITATIONAL
(PGA Tour)
Dates: July 31 – August 3
Venue: Firestone Country Club (South Course), Akron, Ohio

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 1:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 9:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay)
Friday 1:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 9:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday Noon-1:30 p.m. (Live) / 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday Noon-1:30 p.m. (Live) / 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)

On CBS (Eastern):
Saturday 2-6 p.m.
Sunday 2-6 p.m.

Event Notes

Rory returns after Open triumph: Two weeks removed from winning his third career major in the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, Rory McIlroy returns to competition this week at Firestone.

Woods defends: Tiger Woods collected his fifth victory of the season here in 2013, winning in commanding fashion and finishing seven shots clear from the field. Woods set a new course record with a second-round 61, equaling his lowest-round-ever on the PGA Tour.

Headlining the field: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk and Jason Day.

* * *

BARRACUDA CHAMPIONSHIP
(PGA Tour)
Dates: July 31 – August 3
Venue: Montreux Golf and Country Club, Reno, Nev.

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 6:30-9 p.m. (Live) / 2:30-5 a.m. (Replay)
Friday 6:30-9 p.m. (Live) / 2:30-4:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday 6:30-9:30 p.m. (Live) / 2-4 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday 7-9:30 p.m. (Live) / 2-4 a.m. (Replay)

Event Notes

PGA Championship exemption up for grabs: The winner of the Barracuda Championship will receive an exemption into next week’s PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.

Headlining the field: Nick Watney, Johnson Wagner, Aaron Baddeley, Lucas Glover, Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington, Davis Love III, Brendan Steele, John Daly and David Duval.

* * *

3M CHAMPIONSHIP
(Champions Tour)
Dates: August 1 – 3
Venue: TPC Twin Cities, Blaine, Minn.

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday Noon-1:30 p.m. (Live) / 4:30-6 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday 3-6 p.m. (Live) / 4-5:30 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday 3-6 p.m. (Live) / 4-6 a.m. (Monday replay)

Event Notes

Goydos to make Champions Tour debut: Two-time PGA Tour winner Paul Goydos turned 50 on June 20 and will make his Champions Tour debut this week.

Greats of Golf Competition: Saturday’s second-round coverage of the 3M Championship will feature a competition with several legends of the game participating including: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Annika Sorenstam, Nancy Lopez and Pat Bradley.

Major field: Winners of all five Champions Tour majors this season are in the field this week: Bernhard Langer (Senior PLAYERS, Senior British Open), Colin Montgomerie (Senior PGA Championship, U.S. Senior Open), and Kenny Perry (Regions Tradition).

Pernice Jr. defends: Tom Pernice Jr. birdied his final two holes during last year’s final round to defeat Cory Pavin and Jeff Sluman by one stroke for his second career Champions Tour victory. Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Kenny Perry, Tom Lehman, Rocco Mediate, Nick Price, John Cook, Jay Haas, Russ Cochran, Paul Goydos and Tom Pernice Jr.

Rory McIlroy: 'Becoming a Champion at Charming Fans'

Rory
IT'S NOT JUST HIS GOLF. What also makes Rory McIlroy so appealing is his refreshing candor, as the New York Times' Karen Crouse wrote in "Becoming a Champion at Charming the Fans":
In the autumn of Tiger Woods, what more could golf ask for than a marquee player like [Rory] McIlroy, who has Arnold Palmer’s aggression, Jack Nicklaus's competitiveness and Barbara Nicklaus's honesty? 
In his first news conference since leaving Hoylake, England, with the claret jug from the British Open riding shotgun in his Range Rover, McIlroy, 25, rolled down the windows to himself instead of using pat answers to erect a wall of tinted glass.
Among other non-pat answers, Rory offered this:

"I'm not afraid of my inconsistencies. It's something that I actually quite welcome, and I know that my good is very good and my bad can sometimes be very bad. At the end of the day, it all levels out."

Tuesday, July 29

Bad Boy Bobby Locke, Part 6: A Prickly Personality

I asked John Coyne why he called Bobby Locke a "bad boy." Coyne said, "Locke wasn't liked on the PGA Tour. They blackballed him. Also, he was fired from his first pro job in Johannesburg." In this series, read how the South African golf legend made enemies by beating America's best. Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

By John Coyne

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

THE PERSONALITY OF BOBBY LOCKE that got the most attention off the course, and it comes through in his book, On Golf, was his prickliness with the pros and the press. While he was good friends with some, especially Sam Snead and Ed Oliver, he was not a happy tourist.

And he had good reason.

For example, Locke was asked about his winnings by the press and refused to discuss them. The next day the headline in the paper blasted him for refusing to discuss it. In his book, he writes: “The Americans are, of course, intensely interested in dollars; perhaps intensely is not quite a strong enough word.”

He also adds, when summing up his experiences in the U.S.: “There are people who regard me as off-hand, even surly, when I am playing golf. But golf is my business. When I am playing I must concentrate to the utmost.”

He was not, what you might call a generous person in personality or in behavior. In 1947, Time magazine wanted to feature Locke on its cover, but he turned them down because they wouldn’t pay him. Locke would only do interviews he got paid for; he typically charged $100.

I remember another incident when Locke played at Midlothian Country Club in the Victory Open in 1948. He was invited to stay at the home of a member, who happened to be British, and who thought, I guess, that it would be a nice gesture to invite the South African to his home. The man’s name was Bradshaw. Bradshaw’s son, John, then about fourteen, carried the score board for four rounds of the tournament in the Locke twosome. Afterwards, young John wanted an autograph and his father asked his houseguest for one. Locke agreed, and charged Bradshaw Sr. $5.

There might be a reason for that hostile attitude. He might have had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Locke never spoke about the 1,800 hours he spent in World War II flying a B-24 Liberator bomber in the Mediterranean, or if the memories of the damage that his bombs did to the monastery at Monte Cassino in Italy changed him. Nor did he ever display his aviator´s medals. He did come back from Europe a changed man, everyone said. In prewar days, he was tall and rangy; after 1945 he weighed over 200 pounds.

Car Accident and Gun Incident

In 1959 Locke was in a terrible automobile accident. He was traveling with Maurice Bodmer, the home professional at Cape Town’s Clovelly Golf Club, when he stopped at a railway crossing. There were two tracks and after a train passed, he started across and a second train from the opposite direction slammed into the rear of his car, throwing him out the back window. The accident ruined his eyesight and balance and gave him migraines. He never played top-flight tournament golf again.

Twenty years later, at the age of 61, he got into an argument with a laborer in a dispute over money and pulled a shotgun on the man. For that he received a three-month suspended prison sentence. That incident changed South Africa’s opinion of their first great golfer. Now all eyes shifted to Gary Player.

Locke´s fade-out from the public view was nearly complete.

Perhaps South Africa’s greatest golfer, and perhaps the game’s greatest putter, allegedly relying on assistance from benefactors, died of spinal meningitis at age 69 in 1987, totally forgotten by the golfing community. Tragically there was more sorrow for his family. He had married Mary Fenton from Rutland, Vermont, and she and their daughter Caroline, now alone and desperately poor, would follow him to his grave in 2000, drinking poison-laced champagne in a suicide pact.

TO BE CONTINUED.

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

Saturday, July 26

Man Intentionally Loses 3,000 Golf Balls in Desert

(From the ARMCHAIR GOLF archives.)

The scene of a bizarre golf-related act.
(Tammy Green/Flickr)
GROWING UP PLAYING GOLF in the California desert, I hit my share of wayward shots into the sandy dirt, Joshua trees and tumbleweed. Some of my golf balls dove into gopher holes and many disappeared elsewhere in the desert landscapes that adjoined the fairways of my youth.

I lost countless Top-Flites, Maxflis, Titleists, Wilson Staffs and Golden Rams. Yes, Golden Rams. It was that long ago.

But I was no Douglas Jones.

Jones, a 57-year-old La Quinta, California, man, deposited an estimated 3,000 golf balls into Joshua Tree National Park over a year’s time. He was cited by park rangers a month ago for abandoning property, littering and feeding wildlife.

Joshua Tree National Park is not a golf course. It’s not like Bethpage State Park on Long Island where the U.S. Open was played. There’s no reason anyone should spot a Titleist Pro V1 in Joshua Tree National Park—unless someone in Indio hit a shot 20 miles off line.

Jones will soon be explaining his actions to a federal magistrate. According to an Associated Press story, Jones said it was his way of honoring deceased golfers. I think he better take a mulligan on that explanation.

Another troubling aspect to this story: Jones tossed the 3,000 golf balls into the national park. There were no clubs involved. He simply heaved the dimpled spheres into the desert.

What a waste. Besides facing a fine and possible jail time, Jones missed out on an incredible practice opportunity. He could be one heckuva of a sand player by now. But he threw away that chance.

Friday, July 25

Bernhard Langer Leads Senior British Open

BERNHARD LANGER FIRED AN OPENING 65 at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club in Wales for a two-shot lead over Bob Tway in the Senior British Open.

"Six under is very satisfying," Langer said. "I played smart, some good, some great. I didn't make many mistakes and that's what it comes down to at the end."

Langer got off to a fast start with four birdies on the outgoing nine, good for a 31.

"I kept it out of the bunkers and out of the hay, and gave myself some opportunities," Langer added. "And I'm pleased with a birdie-birdie finish."

U.S. Senior Open winner Colin Montgomerie shot a 1-over 72.

Wednesday, July 23

U.S. Ryder Cup Standings: Tiger and Phil Not Automatic

TIGER WOODS AND PHIL MICKELSON are not shoo-ins for the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team, although Mickelson is a lot closer to the promised land than Woods. Lefty is 11th in the standings. Tiger is 70th.

The top nine players will automatically qualify for the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Captain Tom Watson has three discretionary picks.

Woods would appear to need a minor miracle to make the team on points. Tiger needs at least a third-place finish at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship, according to Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press. Or he would need to be one of Captain Watson's three picks.

After completing the British Open, Tiger more or less said he felt he would be ready for the Ryder Cup and would pick himself. "I hope I'm on that team," he said.

Would you burn a pick on Tiger?

U.S. Ryder Cup Standings
(Through the 2014 British Open)

1. Bubba WATSON 6,828.138
2. Jimmy WALKER 5,510.205
3. Rickie FOWLER 5,403.253
4. Jim FURYK 5,259.594
5. Dustin JOHNSON 5,133.807
6. Jordan SPIETH 4,781.827
7. Matt KUCHAR 4,764.065
8. Jason DUFNER 3,516.345
9. Zach JOHNSON 3,450.894
-----------------------------------------
10. Patrick REED 3,301.393
11. Phil MICKELSON 3,252.838
12. Brendon TODD 3,250.483
13. Chris KIRK 3,226.883
14. Ryan MOORE 3,118.872
15. Webb SIMPSON 3,086.070
16. Keegan BRADLEY 3,016.698
17. Harris ENGLISH 2,966.569
18. Kevin NA 2,878.818
19. Matt EVERY 2,471.806
20. Erik COMPTON 2,458.793

Tuesday, July 22

Bad Boy Bobby Locke, Part 5: Trouble at Home and Abroad

I asked John Coyne why he called Bobby Locke a "bad boy." Coyne said, "Locke wasn't liked on the PGA Tour. They blackballed him. Also, he was fired from his first pro job in Johannesburg." In this series, read how the South African golf legend made enemies by beating America's best. Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

By John Coyne

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

FROM HIS FIRST DAYS AS A PROFESSIONAL, Bobby Locke had difficulty with the golfing establishment, on both sides of the ocean.

He turned pro in 1938 and immediately ran into trouble with professional golf associations. The South African Transvaal PGA turned him down for membership, saying that he had to be a professional for two years before being eligible. He applied to the British PGA and they turned him down, saying he had to be a professional for five years.

Golf legend Bobby Locke got sacked
after winning his first South African Open.
This was despite Locke winning tournaments in South Africa and Great Britain, and receiving money to play in exhibitions tours in Australia. Also, he took the professional position at the Maccauvlei Golf Club in 1939. (Today, Maccauvlei is the home club of Masters winner, Charl Schwartzel.)

Locke did not last long as the pro at Maccauvlei. He had just won his first South Africa Open held at Maccauvlei when he got the job, and immediately he ran into trouble. In the history of the club, written by member Derek Mocke, it appears that Locke was "forced out" of his position.

Mocke writes: "Problems immediately arose with regard to his appointment. On the 24th February 1940, the committee discussed the proposed arrangement that Locke had with African Theatres whereby he was proposing to tour the country giving a series of golfing demonstrations. The Chairman said that he was strongly opposed to such an arrangement being made by Locke during his period of service to the club, unless he did this during his leave periods. The committee further did not like Locke giving non-members lessons whilst playing with him on the course in preference to merely using the practice tee. In order to curb this, the club instituted a green fee of two shillings and six pence per round.

"At a special meeting hastily arranged and held on the 5th May 1940, Bobby Locke was questioned as to the terms of his employment. In his letter of appointment he was told that if he wanted to play in outside competitions he had to ask permission. Locke never applied for leave of absence but merely advised the Secretary when he had to fulfill his obligations. He also intimated that he proposed making a quick trip to America to play the US Open.

"Locke pleaded forgetfulness when questioned. It was said that Locke was using the Club to suit his own convenience and personal interest, and that the Club would not be used as a stepping stone for Locke to travel around the country, playing exhibition matches purely for his own benefit, at the Club's expense. Locke did not like the arrangement, and after eight months, resigned from the Club by letter to the committee dated 26th July 1940. The rest is history."

Derek Mocke joined Maccauvlei Golf Club years later, in 1967, and has been an active member ever since. He has held every office of the club, having been Captain, Chairman and President.

In 1982, the year of his captaincy, Dereck invited Bobby Locke to play with him at Maccauvlei. Locke arrived with his chaperone, Pine Pienaar, a retired Boeing pilot, who transported Locke everywhere he was invited to go. When they were on the 4th hole, Locke knocked his second just on the green. Walking down towards the green with him, Derek remarked that the putt should be in his compass. Next thing he felt was a mighty kick up his "backside."

"Not knowing what was going on," Derek wrote me, "I later asked Pine Pienaar why he kicked me. The only explanation that Pine could give me was that in his days that would have been an easy putt for him, and nowadays he feels frustrated as his putting touch has deserted him. At the prize giving that evening I mentioned the fact that Bobby had only 30 putts in his round, not bad for someone who felt his better days had deserted him."

Also at that evening's dinner celebrating Locke's return to Maccauvlei, Derek Mocke was to present to Bobby a "club tie" but when he went down to the pro shop to get one the pro told him Locke had already "nicked" one out of the shop without paying. (There was already a rumor in Joburg that Locke was a kleptomaniac.)

Back in the ballroom, another club tie was presented to the former club pro by Derek Mocke. Derek, having been told by his father that Locke loved playing the ukulele, had gotten an instrument from the local music shop and "after a few drinks," handed Bobby the ukulele and they were treated to a singing show.

It was, Derek writes, "an evening that I will never ever forget spending a day of golf and song with a South African legend."

TO BE CONTINUED.

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

Monday, July 21

Rory Sets Sights on Career Grand Slam

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 DEDICATED THE OPEN to his mum Rosie but set his sights on the daddy of them all--completing the career Grand Slam at the Masters next year.

By carding a 71 to win by two shots from Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler at Hoylake, the Holywood star became only the third player after legends Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods to win three of the four majors by the age of 25. He also ended all speculation about his ability to prepare well and execute on a links course.

Now the little boy who used to wake his mother up by banging her on the head with a plastic club wants to go on and complete the set by winning the Masters next April. Not only that, he wants to take up the mantle of Tiger Woods and become golf’s next dominant player.

Dedicating his win to his mother, who saw him win a major for the first time. Rory said: “My mum hasn't been at the previous two major wins. It was just my dad. And it was just great to see her on the back of the 18th there and how much it meant to her. I was trying not to cry at the time because she was bawling her eyes out. The support of my parents has been incredible with the sacrifices that they made for me growing up.

“They're there for me at the worst of times, like this time last year after missing the cut at Muirfield, or the best of times walking off as the champion golfer of the year this year.”

The first wire to wire winner of the Open since Woods in 2005, McIlroy now looks set to become the game’s next dominant figure.

Winning a green jacket would make him that man and he's up for the challenge, declaring: “Golf is looking to someone to put their hand up and I want to be that person. I want be to be the guy that goes on and wins majors and wins majors regularly.

“I've had chances before to kick on as I did after my second major at Kiawah. I kicked on for another six months and played really well. I just want to think ahead and go forward and try and win as many tournaments and as many majors as I can, because I feel like there's a lot more left in me.”

As for Augusta, where he led by four shots going into the final round in 2011 but blew up with a closing 80, he said: “I've always been comfortable from tee to green at Augusta. And it's just taken me a few years to figure out the greens.

“I’ll be going into Augusta next year pretty confident.”

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, July 18

Open Leader Rory McIlroy By the Numbers

EXCEPT FOR A SLIGHT MISSTEP out of the gate on Friday, 36-hole Open leader Rory McIlory has played near-flawless golf.

McIlroy bogeyed the 1st hole of his second round. The Northern Irishman then played the next 17 holes in 7 under par to card his second consecutive 66 and open a 4-shot lead on American Dustin Johnson at the halfway point of the major championship at Hoylake.

So much for the Friday curse.

"My second rounds this year have been terrible and there isn't really any explanation," McIlroy said. "Hopefully I put it to bed today. It was just another solid a round of golf."

Rory by the numbers through two rounds:
  • 66-66-132 (-12)
  • 13 birdies (T1)
  • 16 fairways hit (57.14%)
  • 27 greens in regulation (75%)
  • 19 one putts (T2)

Thursday, July 17

Remembering Tony Lema 50 Years After Open Triumph



USING ARNOLD PALMER'S CADDIE AND PUTTER, and after playing just one full practice round, Tony Lema won the 1964 British Open at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland. It was his first appearance in golf's oldest major championship. Lema's 279 total was five shots better than runner-up Jack Nicklaus. He famously served champagne to the press after his victories, thus becoming "Champagne Tony."

Lema's career and life were cut short in the summer of 1966 when he and his wife died in a small plane crash on the way to an exhibition near Chicago. Lema had planned to give his fee to a charity that benefited kids. He was 32.

A native of Oakland, California, Tony Lema won 12 times on the PGA Tour, including the one major. According to the above Golf Channel profile, George Clooney is considering a movie project about Lema.

Wednesday, July 16

Freaky Fridays Are Messing With Rory's Head

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 has never felt more prepared for The Open Championship but he admits his freaky Friday form is getting into his head. The former world No 1 has had seven nightmares this season when he’s shot 40 or more for nine holes.

But with six of those seven disasters coming on Friday--the most recent of them just last week when he followed an opening 64 in the Scottish Open with a horrific 78--he admits he’s got a major mental problem to tackle. Asked if his Friday scoring trend is starting to mess with his head, he said: “Yes, I think it is. And it’s a trend I’d like to stop this week.

“I think I just got it into my head and I may be putting a bit too much pressure on myself, going out on Fridays and trying to back up a score. I have no problem shooting a low one on Thursday, so there should be no reason I have any problem shooting a low one on Friday.

“As I say, I think I just got into my head and I need to go out and pretend like it's a Thursday again.”

McIlroy has the best first round record in golf, averaging 68.15 this year. But his second-round scoring average of 72.23 is one of the worst of anyone on the major tours.

Last week’s disaster in Scotland was not his first reverse of the year. He followed a 63 with a 78 in the Memorial Tournament and adding that 78 to his course record 64 just last week was not what he needed coming into The Open.

To put his performances in perspective, McIlroy is 51 under par in the first round this year, 19 under in the third round and 20 under on the final day. But in the second round he’s an eye-popping nine over par.

At a loss to explain how he can halt the freaky Friday syndrome, he said: “I don't know, but it's more going out and not thinking about it and really trying to get off it to a solid start. You’ve got to just play a few solid holes and get your round underway that way.

“So hopefully this week I can start to turn that second-round thing around and start shooting some better scores.”

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, July 15

Open Championship Odds: Rose and McIlroy 14-1 Favorites

TIGER WOODS IS NOT FAVORED to win a major in which he is entered for the first time since, well, eons ago. And yet, as you might expect, he is playing to win.

When asked today about his goal this week at Hoylake, Tiger replied, "First," adding, "That's always the case."

We've heard that many times before. Speaking of "first," I'd say first Tiger needs to make the cut. I expect he will unless the rust is still thick like it was at Congressional.

Here are the 2014 Open Championship odds courtesy of Bovada.

The Open Championship 2014 -
Outright Winner
Co-favorite Justin Rose won the Scottish Open.
(DGW-6455 / Flickr Creative Commons)
Justin Rose 14/1
Rory McIlroy 14/1
Adam Scott 16/1
Henrik Stenson 16/1
Tiger Woods 18/1
Martin Kaymer 20/1
Phil Mickelson 20/1
Graeme McDowell 25/1
Sergio Garcia 25/1
Dustin Johnson 33/1
Jason Day 33/1
Jordan Spieth 33/1
Rickie Fowler 33/1
Bubba Watson 40/1
Lee Westwood 40/1
Luke Donald 40/1
Matt Kuchar 40/1
Angel Cabrera 50/1
Brandt Snedeker 50/1
Hideki Matsuyama 50/1
Ian Poulter 50/1
Paul Casey 50/1
Thomas Bjørn 50/1
Zach Johnson 50/1
Charl Schwartzel 66/1
Ernie Els 66/1
Jamie Donaldson 66/1
Jason Dufner 66/1
Jim Furyk 66/1
Francesco Molinari 80/1
Hunter Mahan 80/1
Keegan Bradley 80/1
Louis Oosthuizen 80/1
Miguel Angel Jimenez 80/1
Mikko Ilonen 80/1
Robert Karlsson 80/1
Stephen Gallacher 80/1
Webb Simpson 80/1
Jimmy Walker 80/1

The rest: Bill Haas 100/1 Brendon Todd 100/1 Graham De Laet 100/1 Harris English 100/1 Jonas Blixt 100/1 Joost Luiten 100/1 Kevin Na 100/1 Matteo Manassero 100/1 Nick Watney 100/1 Patrick Reed 100/1 Shane Lowry 100/1 Victor Dubuisson 100/1 Billy Horschel 125/1 Branden Grace 125/1 Chris Wood 125/1 Danny Willett 125/1 Gary Woodland 125/1 Pablo Larrazabal 125/1 Padraig Harrington 125/1 Ross Fisher 125/1 Ryan Moore 125/1 Thongchai Jaidee 125/1 Bernd Wiesberger 150/1 Brooks Koepka 150/1 Charley Hoffman 150/1 Chris Kirk 150/1 Edoardo Molinari 150/1 Fredrik Jacobson 150/1 Gonzalo Fdez-Castaño 150/1 John Senden 150/1 KJ Choi 150/1 Marc Leishman 150/1 Marc Warren 150/1 Michael Hoey 150/1 Paul Lawrie 150/1 Rafa Cabrera Bello 150/1 Richard Sterne 150/1 Thorbjorn Olesen 150/1 Brendon De Jonge 200/1 Darren Clarke 200/1 George Coetzee 200/1 Gregory Bourdy 200/1 J B Holmes 200/1 Kevin Stadler 200/1 Kevin Streelman 200/1 Russell Henley 200/1 Ryan Palmer 200/1 Ryo Ishikawa 200/1 Stewart Cink 200/1 Tommy Fleetwood 200/1 Ben Curtis 250/1 Ben Martin 250/1 Boo Weekley 250/1 Brendan Steele 250/1 Chris Stroud 250/1 Erik Compton 250/1 Justin Leonard 250/1 Matt Every 250/1 Matt Jones 250/1 Matthew Baldwin 250/1 Oliver Fisher 250/1 Peter Uihlein 250/1 Yong Eun Yang 250/1 Cameron Tringale 300/1 Chesson Hadley 300/1 David Howell 300/1 George McNeil 300/1 Roberto Castro 300/1 Scott Stallings 300/1 Shawn Stefani 300/1 Anirban Lahiri 400/1 Brett Rumford 400/1 Kiradech Aphibarnrat 400/1 Billy Hurley III 500/1 Bradley Neil 500/1 Byeong-Hun An 500/1 D.A. Points 500/1 Hyung-Sung Kim 500/1 Justin Walters 500/1 Tom Watson 500/1 Victor Riu 500/1 Jin Jeong 500/1 Ashun Wu 750/1 Chris Hanson 750/1 David Duval 750/1 Dawie Van Der Walt 750/1 Juvic Pagunsan 750/1 Mark Calcavecchia 750/1 Oscar Floren 750/1 John Daly 750/1 Nick Faldo 1000/1 Sandy Lyle 1000/1

Monday, July 14

Feel-Good Weekend Concludes With Bad Senior Moment

"Mighty Mo" Martin
THEY CALL HER "MIGHTY MO." American Mo Martin was the 99th ranked women's golfer who had never won on the LPGA Tour. Nor had she ever led an LPGA event. But that dramatically changed on a windy Sunday afternoon at Royal Birkdale in northwest England.

On the 72nd hole, Martin smashed a 3 wood that rode the wind to the 18th green. The ball bounded onto the putting surface and struck the flagstick, stopping six feet from the hole. In the dream, you make the eagle putt, and that's exactly what Mighty Mo did.

Martin finished 1 under for the tournament and was the clubhouse leader, a new role for the 31-year-old. She would have to wait 75 minutes as heralded players such as Inbee Park, Suzann Pettersen and Shanshan Feng played the closing holes. With birdie opportunities at 17 and 18, both par-5 holes, surely one of them would catch the smallish leader living her biggest golf moment. One by one, they all fell away, their chances disappearing in the windswept dunes.

"Is this real life?" Martin asked when told she had won. A short while later after being sprayed with champagne, she added, "This is just unbelievable. It's literally a dream come true."

Mighty Mo, major winner.

TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois, proved to be a field of dreams for Brian Harman. The 54-hole leader of the John Deere Classic held off veteran Zach Johnson to capture his first PGA Tour victory and earn a spot in this week's British Open at Hoylake.

Johnson shot a Sunday-best 64, but Harman's 66 and 22-under total nipped the Iowan by a stroke.

"It was very hard, probably one of the hardest things I've ever tried to do in my life," Harman said. "Just trying not to let your mind run wild is the hardest part out there."

Gene Sauers
Gene Sauers, the man who quit the game and nearly died from a rare disease that blackened his skin, was set to make it a threesome of feel-good stories, his arguably being the most inspirational. Nothing against the Hall of Famer Colin Montgomerie, but you wanted Sauers to persevere and clutch the U.S. Senior Open trophy in the end.

Well, I did.

Sauers, the 54-hole leader at Oak Tree National, gamely hung on to the final hole, needing to sink a 5-foot par putt to clinch the most important victory of his life. It rimmed out, and there wasn't enough left in his tank to outlast Monty in the three-hole playoff.

"I'm glad to be here and I'm coming back," Sauers said. "I feel good about my game, and there's always next week."

Anyone might say that afterward, but it definitely sounded better and more sincere from a player who got his life back and was grateful to return to tournament golf.

Friday, July 11

Feherty: Padraig Harrington on Yips, Grooves and More

The Feherty interveiw with Padraig Harrington airs Monday at 10 p.m. ET on Golf Channel. (Golf Channel image)
THIS SHOULD BE A GOOD ONE. Here's the preview from Golf Channel, including a short clip at bottom:
David Feherty engages Irishman and three-time major championship winner Padraig Harrington in, arguably, his series’ most insightful and candid interview to date on the next episode of Feherty, Monday at 10 p.m. ET on Golf Channel. 
Feherty was fascinated by Harrington’s vast knowledge and articulation on a range of subjects from his golf swing to statistics, the yips, the Olympics, Irish politics and the perfect cup of hot tea. 
A scratch golfer by the age of 16, Harrington turned pro at 24 after graduating from college with a degree in accounting (he correctly calculated the withholding from his first winning check at the 1996 Spanish Open). He was one of the hottest players of the last decade, having won back-to-back Open Championships and the PGA Championship in 2007-08. But his game has since declined, which he discusses in detail with Feherty, saying much of the attrition has been due to the USGA’s change to the groove rule. Harrington tells Feherty, “What’s changed my game was 2010, when everything went downhill. The groove rule changed. I used the old groove rule to the absolute limit.” 
Other topics Harrington covers on the show include his major championship victories and how winning majors is a double-edged sword; his view that sports psychologists prey on the vulnerability of golfers; his thoughts about golf’s return to the Olympics in 2016; and how he isn’t happy unless he’s torturing himself to get better.

Thursday, July 10

Rory Manhandles Royal Aberdeen



FROM THE THESE GUYS ARE GOOD FILE: Rory McIlroy drove the green on the par-4 13th hole at Royal Aberdeen en route to a course-record 64 and a 1-shot lead after the opening round of the Scottish Open.

Just how far did Rory hit that drive?

399 meters.

(That's 436 yards for my American friends.)

McIlroy carded eight birdies against one bogey on his record-setting trip.

"[I]n these blustery conditions," McIlroy said, "I thought anything in the 60s was going to be a good score, so to shoot anything better than that is very pleasing.

"Just the way I controlled my ball flight out there, I was really pleased with [it]. That's a real key for me to play well on links courses and I was able to do that really well."

Swede Kristoffer Broberg and Argentine Ricardo Gonzalez are one behind after 65s.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson opened with a respectable 68.

Uehara Leads Women's British

Ayako Uehara is the clubhouse leader of the RICOH Women's British Open at Royal Birkdale. Uehara shot a 68, one of only two players that cracked 70 in the opening round.

World No. 1 Stacy Lewis had a 71. U.S. Women's Open champion Michelle Wie struggled to a 75.

Wednesday, July 9

Golf Digest: 13 Old Guys Who Nearly Won Majors

GOLF DIGEST PUBLISHED A GALLERY of old guys who barely missed glory. With the exception of six-time Open champion Harry Vardon, "13 Graying Golfers Who Nearly Won Majors" features players from the Sam Snead-Ben Hogan era to the present day.

Perhaps not surprisingly, most of the near misses came at the Masters, the one major played at the same course each year and where experience and wiliness probably count the most. I remember a handful of these, from No. 8 on. In fact, last night I watched a Golf Channel replay of the 2009 British Open at Turnberry. It's still hard to watch, especially the playoff (but I turned it off before then).

Jimmy Demaret and Ben Hogan (USGA Museum)
I've written about Ben Hogan at Cherry Hills in 1960 (No. 2 on below list) in my book THE LONGEST SHOT. Thinking he needed a birdie on the 71st hole, Hogan famously spun his little wedge shot into the water that fronted the 17th green. Hall of Fame golf writer Dan Jenkins told me at this year's U.S. Open that Hogan hit that shot slightly fat. (I doubt that Hogan ever said so or would even admit it.) Jenkins, who was close to Hogan, insisted that's the way it was. Jenkins was there.

Jenkins cleared up a few other things, too, but I'll save them for another time.

1. Harry Vardon, age 50, 1920 U.S. Open
Finish: runner-up
Vardon shot 42 on the final nine and missed a playoff with Ted Ray by one stroke.

2. Ben Hogan, age 47, 1960 U.S. Open
Finish: T9
Hogan was tied for the lead with a few holes left, but finished bogey, triple bogey.

3. Jimmy Demaret, age 51, 1962 Masters
Finish: T5
The three-time winner shot 71-70 on the weekend.

4. Sam Snead, age 51, 1963 Masters
Finish: T3
Sam was tied with three holes left.

5. Ben Hogan, age 54, 1967 Masters
Finish: T10
Shot a back-nine 30 on Saturday to get within two of the 54-hole lead.

6. Julius Boros, age 52, 1973 U.S. Open
Finish: T7
Tied for 54-hole lead.

7. Sam Snead, age 62, 1974 PGA Championship
Finish: T3
Three shots in arrears to winner Lee Trevino.

8. Raymond Floyd, age 49, 1992 Masters
Finish: runner-up
Tied for the lead after 62 holes before losing to Fred Couples.

9. Jack Nicklaus, age 58, 1998 Masters
Finish: T6
Jack closed with a 68 and was within two of the lead at one point on Sunday.

10. Greg Norman, age 53, 2008 British Open
Finish: T3
Took a two-shot lead into final round.

11. Kenny Perry, age 49, 2009 Masters
Finish: runner-up
Bogeyed the last two holes and lost in a playoff to Angel Cabrera.

12. Tom Watson, age 59, 2009 British Open
Finish: runner-up
You probably remember this painful one.

13. Miguel Angel Jimenez, age 50, 2014 Masters
Finish: 4th
Fired 66-72 on the weekend.

Tuesday, July 8

2014 RICOH Women's British Open TV Schedule and Notes

IT'S THE "YEAR OF THE WOMEN," reports GolfChannel.com, citing the marquee winners on the LPGA circuit during the 2014 season. All but three victors have been ranked within the top 16 in the Rolex Rankings. And one of the others, Lydia Ko, is a rising star. The young New Zealander has already won twice this year.

"Perhaps not even Mike Whan could have envisioned a dream season quite like this," Ryan Lavner writes about the tour that has produced excitement and winners such as Stacy Lewis (three times), Michelle Wie (U.S. Women's Open), Lexi Thompson (Kraft Nabisco Championship), Ko, last year's heroine Inbee Park, Karrie Webb, Paula Creamer, Jessica Korda and others.

The year's third major, the RICOH Women's British Open, tees off on Thursday at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England.

Last year Lewis posted a winning total of 8-under 280 at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland. She comes into this week in top form after winning her last event, the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.

 * * *


RICOH Women's British Open
Royal Birkdale Golf Club
Southport, Lancashire, UK

Field: 127
Par: 72
Yardage: 6,458
Purse: $3 million
Winner: $300,000
Defending Champion: Stacy Lewis

TV Schedule
All U.S. TV coverage on ESPN.
Thu, July 10: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET
Fri, July 11: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET
Sat, July 12: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET
Sun, July 13: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET

Monday, July 7

French Double for Graeme McDowell

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.

G-Mac triumphs near Paris.
GRAEME MCDOWELL PREDICTED IT MIGHT just be possible. "All I can do is go try to shoot 66, 67... there's a 75, 76 waiting for anyone on this golf course." He was spot on as he shot the joint best round of the day--67--to capture his second consecutive French Open and 10th European Tour title and put himself back in the Ryder Cup reckoning with a superb putting performance at Le Golf National.

On a day when early rainstorms caused havoc, he bogeyed the last but his four under effort set the clubhouse target of five under par in the Alstom Open de France and asked a question that overnight leader Kevin Stadler could not answer, completing a nightmare day by missing a two foot par putt at the last that would have forced a playoff.

Confessing that the bad weather played into his hands, given his Irish upbringing, McDowell said: "I think the chasing pack needed that. If Kevin Stadler had sunshine and flat calm weather today, I think he might have been tough to catch. But the tough conditions today made it really difficult for everyone.

"Yesterday was hard but the rain went away yesterday and it was playable. Today, the rain was there. The wind switched. It got cold and it got pretty miserable out there. It was tough for everyone....

"I didn't expect to win so I feel very fortunate, and very happy, to be sitting here with the trophy."

Stadler carded a 76 to share second on four under with Thongchai Jaidee as Michael Hoey's 72 alongside McDowell for seventh place earned him one of the spots in The Open at Hoylake with fourth place finisher Robert Karlsson (69) and Victor Riu of France (76) who was eighth.

"It was tough and I drove it terrible today," Stadler said. "If you miss the fairway, you're going to get punished out here. That's just the way it is. Played great for a couple of days and had tons of chances and spent all day in the knee-deep stuff today and the score showed it.

"It was so miserable on the front nine today, I was practically expecting to bogey every hole. It was virtually impossible. Just hung in there and obviously made a couple of birdies late to have a chance. It was unfortunate on the last, played a little safe second shot and I felt good over the putt, and just whiffed it unfortunately."

McDowell's decision to play a light early spring and summer schedule looked to have put him behind the proverbial eight-ball as far as the Ryder Cup goes but a cheque for €500,000 and a big haul of world ranking points now puts him in position to make Paul McGinley's European team on merit.

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, July 4

Playing Golf With a Neurological Handicap



GOLF IS HARD ENOUGH WITHOUT INVOLUNTARY trembles, shaking and other difficult symptoms. But that doesn't stop the people in this video from playing golf and enjoying the game.

The video was made by the Colorado Neurological Institute (CNI) to raise awareness about neurological conditions such as Parkinson's Disease, stroke, brain and spinal tumor, head pain and multiple sclerosis. Folks afflicted with these conditions bravely manage to lead fulfilling lives, whether it's playing golf or doing some other activity that most of us take for granted.

(My mom suffers from Parkinson's. Maybe someone you know does too.)

The 15th CNI Golf Classic will be held on Monday, July 14 at the Golf Club at Bear Dance in Larkspur, Colorado. Last year's tournament raised more than $40,000 to help people with neurological conditions.

Thursday, July 3

VIDEO: Tom Weiskopf and Big Horn Sheep



THE ABOVE CLIP FROM FEHERTY landed in my email inbox this morning, courtesy of Golf Channel. Tom Weiskopf is the special guest on the next episode of Feherty that airs Monday, July 7. In this snippet, Weiskopf talks about what he was doing in September 1977 rather than playing on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. You may already know this: Tom was hunting big horn sheep in the Yukon.

As Golf Channel teases, Weiskopf "also clears up any misconceptions about turning down a spot on the 1977 U.S. Ryder Cup team." He had attempted to manage the situation well ahead of time, but it still kind of blew up in his face. You'll understand when you watch the clip.

There's a personal reason I'm passing along this Weiskopf anecdote. In an odd coincidence, my new book on the 1969 Ryder Cup (at right) briefly mentions Weiskopf's 1977 absence.

Earlier this week I received an email from Bob Denney, a senior writer for the PGA of America. Bob was kind enough to read a galley copy of my soon-to-be-published book (September 9) that includes a foreword by Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin. Bob's keen eye spotted an error on page 265, where I wrote, "... while his teammates were playing for points in England, Weiskopf was hunting for bear in Alaska."

Wrong. It was big horn sheep. My mistake. I picked up "bear" from a published source. It's too late to correct for the first printing.

So, before my new book is even out, I confess and concede the first known mistake. I apologize in advance, but I do hope you'll still discover a highly accurate and thoroughly compelling Ryder Cup story. It has been polished, edited, fact-checked, proofed and otherwise scrubbed by yours truly and a crack editorial team at St. Martin's Press.

If and when you do read DRAW IN THE DUNES, I welcome your comments at armchairgolfer@gmail.com. And that includes any corrections.

Wednesday, July 2

My Q&A With Errie Ball

Errie Ball, the last surviving player of the inaugural Masters, died today at the age of 103. Following is a Q&A I published three years ago when Ball turned 100.

First Masters (left to right): G. Sargent, Errie Ball,
Charlie Yates, Bobby Jones.
TALKING TO ERRIE BALL IS LIKE stepping into a time machine. Ball, who recently turned 100, was befriended by Bobby Jones at the 1930 British Open, the year Jones completed the Grand Slam. The Wales native came to America at Jones’s urging and took an assistant job at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. Jones later invited him to play in the first Masters in 1934. Ball is the only surviving player from that inaugural tournament at Augusta National.

Errie Ball has seen and/or played with all the greats of the last 80 years, from Harry Vardon to Bobby Jones to Ben Hogan. I talked to Errie three years ago when he was only 97. He is a treasure. Following is an excerpt from our conversation.

ARMCHAIR GOLF: What was it like playing in that first Masters?

ERRIE BALL: The first Masters, they were having a lot of trouble getting it off to a good start. It was like a friendly deal. I didn’t feel too scared or nervous at all in the first one because it was more relaxed. Bob Jones made it that way. There was a lot of liquor floating around. Of course, in those days, I didn’t drink anyway. But it was more relaxing. When I played it again in 1957 it was a different story. It was really big time.

ARMCHAIR GOLF: Bobby Jones was very instrumental in your coming to America and in your golf career.

ERRIE BALL: He was. I played in the British Open the year he won at Hoylake in England. Hoylake is my family’s course where they played, and they played Hoylake and my father played there. I played quite a bit at Hoylake. I think I played two British Opens on Hoylake. But the last time was about 1936.

ARMCHAIR GOLF: Did you ever meet Harry Vardon?

ERRIE BALL: No. I saw him in the distance and watched him. My father was a good friend of Harry Vardon. He had a beautiful swing. I know that.

ARMCHAIR GOLF: Some of the more recent golf stories that have been written like The Greatest Game Ever Played are helping people understand what a great champion he was. Most people barely know of Bobby Jones but Vardon was quite something.

ERRIE BALL: He was. It’s an entirely different game today compared to those days. They played all kinds of shots. There weren’t any 150-yard markers at all and they had to just play by sight.

ARMCHAIR GOLF: Back in those early days, like you said, the pros made their own clubs. I think I read Ted Ray only carried seven or eight sticks on the golf course. So it wasn’t at all like it is now.

ERRIE BALL: You could take a five iron and play all kinds of shots with it. Go down the shaft, play the little chip shots, or shots into the wind. You could play several shots with it. It was called a mashie in those days.

ARMCHAIR GOLF: I read you were the youngest person to compete in the British Open. In 1926, I read you were either 15 or 16 years old when you played in the British Open. Is that true?

ERRIE BALL: I’m not sure about that myself. The press wrote it up that I was the youngest, but I really actually don’t remember that. I know I played in it as a boy. I must have been about 16 or 17, something like that.

ARMCHAIR GOLF: Was that in the ’26 Open or 1930?

ERRIE BALL: 1930. I played one time in the 20s in the Open, because Hoylake was fairly close to where I lived, where my family lived anyway, so we’d go over there and play.

ARMCHAIR GOLF: The first British Open you played in was 1930?

ERRIE BALL: That’s the one I remember the most. That’s the one Jones played in on the way to his Grand Slam.

ARMCHAIR GOLF: Are you still playing golf?

ERRIE BALL: I’ve had a couple of operations, double bypass, which has taken me off the golf course and I haven’t really played 18 holes in two years. But I’ve hit a lot of balls on the practice tee and still give a few lessons. I’m feeling a lot better now but I think I’ll probably start playing soon.

Related:
Last Man Standing From First Masters

Tuesday, July 1

'Seve' Now Showing in UK Cinemas


ABOVE: José Luis Gutiérrez, a 4 handicap, plays young Seve Ballesteros.

I REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME I saw Seve Ballesteros in person. In fact, it might have been the only time I saw Seve play tournament golf, other than on television. It was the PGA Championship at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California. The year was 1983. I was with my dad and brother.

I watched Seve tee off on a par 4 using a 3-wood. I may have followed him for a few holes. I can't remember the details. What I do remember is that Seve was fascinating to watch. Every move, every little thing. Putting on his golf glove. It didn't matter. He radiated charisma.

Of course, Seve is gone now, and way too soon, but the memories linger.

A movie about his life (Seve the Movie) has just been released in the UK and Ireland. No dates are set for the United States, but surely Seve will again come to America. When that happens, I will gladly buy a ticket, find a seat and watch Europe's all-time greatest golfer.

Bad Boy Bobby Locke, Part 4: The Ban and Return

I asked John Coyne why he called Bobby Locke a "bad boy." Coyne said, "Locke wasn't liked on the PGA Tour. They blackballed him. Also, he was fired from his first pro job in Johannesburg." In this series, read how the South African golf legend made enemies by beating America's best. Read Part 1Part 2 and Part 3.

By John Coyne

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

Bobby Locke putting out at Midlothian Country Club.
IN 1949, A YEAR AFTER HE WON the Chicago Victory Open at Midlothian Country Club by 16 strokes, which remains a PGA record margin of victory, Bobby Locke was banned from playing golf on the American tour. The reason given by the PGA was because he had failed to show up at tournaments and exhibitions without giving any explanations. However, many people thought that he was banned because he was simply winning too many tournaments, making too much money.

Claude Harmon, winner of the Masters in '49, and longtime head pro at Winged Foot Country Club, allegedly commented as much, saying, "Locke was simply too good. They had to ban him."

The ban was lifted in '50 and the first U.S. tournament he played in was the '50 All American at Tam O'Shanter. Locke had already won at Tam, in 1947, and George S. May called Locke in London and offered him a guarantee to come back to Chicago for the All American and The World Championship.

In his book, On Golf, Locke writes in his wry, understated, way: "He made me an offer of a guarantee if I would appear in this event. Frankly he did not offer enough, but after some conversation he agreed to my terms and once more I set out for America."

What pleased Locke even more was winning the '50 All American tournament in a play-off against Lloyd Mangrum. Again, Locke added expressionlessly, "Lloyd Mangrum and I have little in common."

However, Lloyd Mangrum, like Bobby Locke, was another WWII veteran. Mangrum was a staff sergeant in the Army. He was wounded twice in the Battle of the Bulge and spent part of his convalescent period at St. Andrews, where he won a GI tournament in 1945. Mangrum was a good looking man, who with a thin mustache and black hair parted in the middle had the looks of a river-boat gambler. He put the rivalry with Bobby another way.

"That son-of-a-bitch Locke was able to hole a putt over 60 feet of peanut brittle."

Writing about Locke's triumphal return to the U.S. tour, Henry Longhurst quoted Locke's sly comment in a piece for Golf Mixture as "I just can't say how nice it is to be back in the States."

Indeed it would be hard to top his return, even if there were no welcome-home signs from the American touring professionals.

TO BE CONTINUED.

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