Thursday, October 27

Skratch TV Presents 'Tiger Withdrawal Support Group'



"If you were saddened by Tiger Woods's decision to withdraw from the Safeway Open," Skratch TV wrote, "we invite you to share your feelings at the Tiger Withdrawal Support Group."

You know who you are. And you'll get through this. Hang tough.

Wednesday, October 26

Golf on TV: Powershares QQQ Championship, WGC-HSBC Champions, Sanderson Farms Championship, Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia


By Golf Channel Communications

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

The PGA TOUR Champions will stage the Powershares QQQ Championship this week, the first of three events making up the inaugural Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs. Bernhard Langer and Miguel Angel Jimenez are atop the current standings leading a field of 71, with 54 advancing to the second leg of the playoffs at the Dominion Charity Classic in Virginia.

Powershares QQQ Championship
Dates: Oct. 28-30
Venue: Sherwood Country Club, Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday              5:30-8 p.m. (Live) / 4-6 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          5:30-8 p.m. (Live) / 4-6 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            5:30-8 p.m. (Live) / Midnight-2 a.m. (Monday replay)

Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Joe Durant, Colin Montgomerie, Woody Austin, Kevin Sutherland, Gene Sauers, Scott McCarron and Billy Andrade.

* * *

PGA TOUR

Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson headline an elite field at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, featuring 16 of the top-20 players in the world. 

WGC-HSBC Champions
Dates: Oct. 27-30
Venue: Sheshan International Golf Club, Shanghai, China

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Wednesday     11 p.m.-4 a.m. (Live) / 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Thursday replay)
Thursday         11 p.m.-4 a.m. (Live) / 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Friday replay)
Friday              11 p.m.-4 a.m. (Live) / 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          11 p.m.-4 a.m. (Live) / 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Sunday replay)

Knox defends: Russell Knox defeated Kevin Kisner by two shots to claim his first career PGA TOUR win.

Headlining the field: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Henrik Stenson, Justin Thomas and Andrew Johnston.

* * *

PGA TOUR

Sanderson Farms Championship
Dates: Oct. 27-30
Venue: Country Club of Jackson, Jackson, Miss.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         2:30-5:30 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-10:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday              2:30-5:30 p.m. (Live) / 8:30-10:30 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          2:30-5:30 p.m. (Live) / 8:30-10:30 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday            2:30-5:30 p.m. (Live) / 9 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)

Malnati defends: Peter Malnati finished one stroke ahead of William McGirt and David Toms for his first PGA TOUR victory.

Headlining the field: Chris Kirk, Ian Poulter, Patton Kizzire, Sam Saunders, Retief Goosen, Angel Cabrera, Geoff Ogilvy, David Duval, David Toms, Robby Shelton and Charlie Danielson.

* * *

LPGA TOUR

World No. 1 Lydia Ko leads the field at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, along with World No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn.

Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia
Dates: Oct. 27-30
Venue: TPC Kuala Lumpur (East Course), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         4-8 a.m. (Tape delay)
Friday              4-8 a.m. (Tape delay)
Saturday          6-8 a.m. (Tape delay)
Sunday            6-8 a.m. (Tape delay)

Korda defends: Jessica Korda finishes four strokes ahead of Lydia Ko, Stacy Lewis and Shanshan Feng to earn her fourth career LPGA Tour win.

Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn, Brooke Henderson, Ha Na Jang, Amy Yang, Shanshan Feng, Stacy Lewis, So Yeon Ryu, Anna Nordqvist, Gerina Piller and Suzann Pettersen.

Playing Clinic: Bobby Nichols

(Courtesy of azquotes.com)
By John Coyne

Copyright © John Coyne. Used with permission.

While interviewing golf legends for my book Playing with the Pros: Golf Lessons from the Senior Tour (1990), I arranged some of their answers into a separate chapter I called "Playing Clinic." Following are words of wisdom from some of the best players.


Bobby Nichols won 12 times on the PGA Tour, including the 1964 PGA Championship and the 1974 Canadian Open.

Q: What’s the best way of getting the correct grip on a club?

NICHOLS: Put the left hand on the club first so that you can lift it with just the index finger and thumb. Close the fingers of the left hand around the club and place the left thumb slightly to the right side of the shaft, as you look down on it. You should now be able to see two knuckles on the back of the left hand. The V formed by the thumb and the index finger is pointing to your right shoulder. Next, position the right hand with the palm facing the target. The right-hand grip is kept in the fingers, not the palm. The right hand overlaps the left hand, and the right little finger fits into the groove between the left index finger and middle finger. The right thumb folds over to the left side of the shaft as you look down on it.

Q: How do I keep from topping the ball?

NICHOLS: Make sure your knees are flexed; that will keep you down on the ball.

Q: How can I calculate distance?

NICHOLS: All professionals walk the course before they play. Or their caddie does it for them. Today, almost every course has a 150-yard marker to the green. Learn what to hit from that distance, and you'll develop your feel of what to hit from other distances. And naturally, if you play the same course, you'll quickly learn all the distances and which club to hit.

More Playing Clinic:

John Coyne is a bestselling author of three golf novels and more than 20 other books. Pay him a visit at John Coyne Books.

Monday, October 24

Padraig Harrington: 'I Was in a Nice Place Mentally'



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.


FEW PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT PADRAIG HARRINGTON can win a fourth major, but after averaging 25 putts per day and shooting the lowest winning aggregate of his 21-year professional career to claim the Portugal Masters, writing him off now would be the height of folly.

The 45-year old Dubliner insisted just minutes after the Ryder Cup ended three weeks ago that he wants to play in 2018 in Paris rather than captain Europe.

He clearly has unfinished business on tour and after carding a six under par 65 that featured a devastating display of short game brilliance and an eye-popping performance with the putter, it may be some time before he's ready to hang up the spikes and reach for the keys to the captain's buggy.

Three up-and-downs on the last three holes gave Harrington a one-shot win over current Ryder Cup player Andy Sullivan, the defending champion, on 23 under par.

And he insisted afterwards that while the course was right up his street — light rough and receptive greens allowing him the freedom to shoot at every pin with impunity given his short game sharpness — it was the mental game that made the difference.

"I was in a nice place mentally," Harrington insisted. "I've been reading Dave Alred's 'The Pressure Principle' and it gave me a few pointers that maybe I'd been missing out on and I stuck to those all week.

"It was a big plus for me. I just realised how poor my own language is about myself and my game. So I was very focused on my self-talk this week and what I was saying to myself and very focused on my posture walking around on the golf course and it was a tremendous help."

Brian Keogh contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.

Friday, October 21

VIDEO: Mickelson's Bag Man on Caddying Basics and More



By VICE Sports

VICE Sports' Fernando Perez had the chance to meet with Jim "Bones" Mackay, Phil Mickelson's caddie for the last two and a half decades. Mackay, who has been a significant part of one of the era's top golfers, gives his unique perspective on Phil's career.

Perez had a chance to play a quick round with "Bones" in Arizona and learns the technical side of the business from the caddy. During their time on the course, Bones shows Perez the basics of caddying, including how to not put anything negative in a golfer's head.

Bones also recounts the time when Phil was starving at the 1995 U.S. Open that still haunts him and tells what it was like being next to Mickelson when he won his first Masters in 2004.

Thursday, October 20

Golf on TV: CIMB Classic, Portugal Masters, Blue Bay LPGA



By Golf Channel Communications

PGA TOUR

The PGA TOUR is in Malaysia for the CIMB Classic, featuring a 78-man field which includes five of the top-15 players in the world with Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, Paul Casey, Hideki Matsuyama and Sergio Garcia. 

CIMB Classic
Dates: Oct. 19-23
Venue: TPC Kuala Lumpur (West Course), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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

Thomas defends: Justin Thomas finished one shot ahead of Adam Scott for his first career PGA TOUR victory.

Headlining the field: Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, Paul Casey, Hideki Matsuyama, Sergio Garcia, Branden Grace, Emiliano Grillo, Russell Knox, Ernie Els, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Ian Poulter.

* * *

EUROPEAN TOUR

The European Tour stages its penultimate event ahead of the Final Series with the Portugal Masters, where Andy Sullivan is set to defend. 

Portugal Masters
Dates: Oct. 20-23
Venue: Victoria Golf Club, Vilamoura, Portugal

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         6:30-8:30 a.m. / 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (Live)
Friday              6:30-8:30 a.m. / 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (Live)
Saturday          9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Live)

Sullivan defends: Andy Sullivan finished nine strokes clear of the field to claim his third European Tour win in dominating fashion.

Headlining the field: Thomas Pieters, Padraig Harrington, Alex Noren, Andy Sullivan, Thongchai Jaidee, Jose Maria Olazabal and Thorbjorn Olesen.

* * *

LPGA TOUR

The LPGA Tour is in China for the Blue Bay LPGA, with world No. 5 Brooke Henderson headlining the field.

Blue Bay LPGA
Dates: Oct. 20-23
Venue: Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Course, Hainan Island, China

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         2:30-6:30 a.m. (Tape delay) / 2-6 p.m. (Replay)
Thursday         2:30-6:30 a.m. (Tape delay) / 2-6 p.m. (Replay)
Friday              3-7 a.m. (Tape delay) / 2-6 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          3-7 a.m. (Tape delay) / 2:30-6 p.m. (Replay)

Kim defends: Sei Young Kim finished one shot ahead of Stacy Lewis, Candie Kung and Kim Kaufman for her third LPGA Tour victory.

Headlining the field: Brooke Henderson, Charley Hull, Ariya Jutanugarn, Sei Young Kim, Gerina Piller, Brittany Lang, Azahara Munoz, Yani Tseng, Michelle Wie and Cheyenne Woods.

Wednesday, October 19

WGHOF 2017 Induction Class Includes Davis Love III

By World Golf Hall of Fame

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (October 18, 2016) – The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum today announced its 2017 Induction Class: Henry Longhurst, Davis Love III, Meg Mallon, Lorena Ochoa and Ian Woosnam. 

These five new members will be enshrined at the World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City the week of the Presidents Cup. 

Following is a brief bio on each new inductee: 

Henry Longhurst, United Kingdom 

A weekly columnist for the London Sunday Times for 40 years. He was also considered to be the first golf TV personality providing coverage for the BBC from the 1950s until his death in 1978.

"Henry Longhurst did something that no other journalist has done. He proved to be as apt, succinct, colorful, informative and compelling to listen to as he had been to read. He captivated people. He has influenced golf in the same way as many Hall of Fame members. I'm really pleased that we have recognized his achievements."
- John Hopkins

Davis Love III, United States 

In a career that has spanned four decades on the PGA TOUR, Love has notched 22 victories including the 1997 PGA Championship and two victories at The PLAYERS Championship in 1992 and 2003. His quality of play has earned him a place on six U.S. Ryder Cup teams and six Presidents Cup teams. He has captained two Ryder Cup teams, including the victorious 2016 team. Love is a recipient of both the Payne Stewart and Bob Jones Awards.

"Davis is a fixture on the PGA TOUR and has been for decades. He has contributed so much to the image of the game because of who he is, and the way he handles himself. Love is extremely well-respected by the other players, so having him contribute his time and energy to making the organization work better has been a very impactful thing. It makes us all smile to see him get the recognition he deserves and be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame."
-PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem

"Davis has an outstanding record not only as a player but as a gentleman. He's been a tremendous contributor and has been an all-around man for golf. It's terrific to see him in the World Golf Hall of Fame."
-Gary Player

Meg Mallon, United States 

Her 18 career LPGA Tour victories and four Major Championships are just part of Mallon's winning make-up. A member of nine Solheim Cup teams (captain in 2013), Mallon was recognized during the LPGA's 50th Anniversary as one of the LPGA's top-50 players and teachers. She also earned the Golf Writers Association of America Female Player of the Year award in 1991.

"Meg Mallon has been a great player and a great contributor. She has been involved heavily in the game of golf. Everybody likes her; everybody knows what her talent is. She's just an amazing gal, a fellow Buckeye and great member of the Class of 2017."
-Jack Nicklaus

Lorena Ochoa, Mexico 

In her first full season on the LPGA Tour, Ochoa had eight top-10 finishes, finished ninth on the LPGA Tour’'s money list and was named Rookie of the Year. She finished with 27 victories on the LPGA Tour, including two major championships. She was ranked World Number One for 158 consecutive weeks (2007-2010). In a three-year stretch (2006-2008), she won 21 tournaments, including the two majors and in 2008, she dominated with wins by as many as 11 strokes on more than one occasion. Ochoa will be the first Mexican-born golfer to enter into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

"Being Mexican myself but being born in the United States, I've always been very proud of Lorena Ochoa, what she’s accomplished and the way she's accomplished it with class and style. She is a role model for Mexican children. They can look at her and say, 'She did it. Why can’t we?'"
-Nancy Lopez

"Lorena's record speaks for itself. In addition to her wins on the LPGA, she also won Player of the Year numerous times. She has so many awards, which just shows how much she contributed to the game. She has reached a demographic that we didn't see before."
-Annika Sorenstam

Ian Woosnam, United Kingdom 

"Woosie," winner of the 1991 Masters Tournament, sat atop the Official World Golf Rankings for 50 weeks throughout 1991 and 1992. His sterling play led him to represent Europe in eight consecutive Ryder Cup teams from 1983 to 1997. Woosnam won the Order of Merit as the leading money winner on the European Tour and named European Player of the Year in 1987 and 1990. In recognition of his contributions to golf, he was awarded the Queen's honor of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2006. 

"Woosie got a lot out of his game. He was a great competitor and handled himself very well. He's been on a lot of Ryder Cup teams and captained quite a bit. He's been a great contributor to golf from the European side, and I'm delighted to have him inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame."
-Jack Nicklaus

These five Inductees will bring the total number of World Golf Hall of Fame Members to 155.  

The Class of 2017 was elected by the Hall of Fame's Selection Commission, which debated a group of 16 Finalists. The five members of the Class of 2017 each passed the required 75 percent voting threshold – approval by at least 12 of the 16 members. 

The Selection Commission was co-chaired by Hall of Fame Members Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam and included the Members of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors and a mix of institutional and at-large seats. 

The Commission elected the Class of 2017 from 16 Finalists, which were vetted by the Hall of Fame’s Selection Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee vetted every candidate that met the qualifications of the Hall of Fame's four Induction categories. It presented the following group of Finalists to the Commission: 

Candidates 
Susie Berning 
Johnny Farrell 
Max Faulkner 
Peggy Kirk Bell 
Catherine Lacoste 
Henry Longhurst 
Davis Love III 
Meg Mallon 
Graham Marsh 
Lorena Ochoa 
Sandra Palmer 
Calvin Peete 
Samuel Ryder 
Macdonald Smith 
Jan Stephenson 
Ian Woosnam 

Tuesday, October 18

Golf Digest: 'The World's Most Avid Golfer'

YOU MIGHT THINK YOU'RE AN AVID GOLFER. You might even play a lot. But friend, you're no Barry Gibbons.

Golf Digest's Alex Myers caught up with Gibbons, who plays more golf  than anyone and walks every hole.

"The golf isn't the hardest part," Gibbons said. "It's the walking."

When you read how many rounds Gibbons has played, you'll understand why. Here's an excerpt:
The retired Gibbons, 57, hasn’t just played more rounds of golf in 2016 than anyone in the world. He’s on pace to play more rounds of golf than anyone in the world has EVER played in a year. 
Gibbons is in the process of obliterating the record of walking rounds (611) set by Richard Lewis of Texas in 2010. What’s Gibbons' target? 850. Yes, that’s eight HUNDRED and fifty. Think about that for a minute. That’s the equivalent of playing more than 40 times a year for 20 years. Or, playing 20 times a year for 40 years. That's a lifetime worth of golf in ONE year. And you thought you loved playing the game. 
"People are either envious or they think I'm nuts," Gibbons says.
 Read the entire article.

NPR (Audio): Se Ri Pak's 'Impact on Golf Has Never Been Stronger'

Today NPR aired a story about the impact of Se Ri Pak on golf and the LPGA Tour. It's worth a listen.

"Golfer Se Ri Pak's rise in the late 1990s inspired young women like Tiffany Joh," said NPR on its website, "one of many Korean LPGA golfers who trace their interest in the sport to seeing Pak play on TV."

Pak recently retired. But what she helped start is in full swing.

Friday, October 14

Skratch TV Presents 'St. Andrews and the Legend of Tom Morris'



THIS IS SOMETHING DIFFERENT. This is Adventures in Golf (Season 1) from Skratch TV.

Documentary filmmaker Erik Anders Lang takes viewers on a tour around the globe searching for the craziest, most intriguing stories in golf.

I hope you enjoy the next episode, "St. Andrews and the Legend of Tom Morris."

Related:

Golf Outta Compton
24 Hours in Dubai
Slum Golf in Mumbai

Thursday, October 13

Golf on TV: Safeway Open, British Masters, LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, SAS Championship


By Golf Channel Communications

PGA TOUR

The PGA TOUR kicks off its 2016-17 wraparound season this week in Napa, Calif., with the Safeway Open, where Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar headline the field.

Safeway Open
Dates: Oct. 13-16
Venue: Silverado Resort & Spa (North Course)

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         4-8 p.m. (Live) / 8:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday              4-8 p.m. (Live) / 8:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          5-8 p.m. (Live) / 8:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday            5-8 p.m. (Live) / 9 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)

Headlining the field: Phil Mickelson, Wesley Bryan, Paul Casey, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Emiliano Grillo, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Na, John Rahm, Patrick Rodgers, Ollie Schniederjans and Justin Thomas.

* * *

EUROPEAN TOUR

The European Tour is in England for the British Masters, hosted by former World No. 1 Luke Donald. 

British Masters
Dates: Oct. 13-16
Venue: The Grove – Chandler's Cross, England

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         4:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Live)
Friday              4:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Live)
Saturday          7 a.m.-Noon (Live)
Sunday            7 a.m.-Noon (Live)

Fitzpatrick defends: Matthew Fitzpatrick defeated Shane Lowry, Soren Kjeldsen and Fabrizio Zanotti by two strokes in 2015 to earn his first career European Tour win.

Headlining the field: Luke Donald, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Trevor Immelman, Andrew Johnston, Shane Lowry, Graeme McDowell, Alex Noren, Jose Maria Olazabal, Andy Sullivan, Lee Westwood, Danny Willett and Chris Wood.

* * *

LPGA TOUR

The LPGA Tour is in South Korea this week for the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, where Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak will make her final start in her native country.

LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship
Dates: Oct. 13-16
Venue: Sky 72 Golf Club (Ocean Course) – Incheon, South Korea

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         12:30-3 p.m. (Tape Delay)
Thursday         11:30 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live)
Friday              11:30 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          11:30 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live)

Thompson defends: Lexi Thompson defeated Yani Tseng and Sung Hyun Park by one stroke to earn her sixth career LPGA win in 2015.

Headlining the field: Se Ri Pak, In Gee Chun, Shanshan Feng, Brooke Henderson, Ha Na Jang, Ariya Juganugarn, Cristie Kerr, In-Kyung Kim, Sei Young Kim, Lydia Ko, Haru Nomura, Anna Nordqvist, Suzann Pettersen, Gerina Piller, Lexi Thompson, Amy Yang.

* * *

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

The PGA TOUR Champions hosts its final regular season event for the 2016 season this week at the SAS Championship, where the leading 72 players on the money list at the end of the week will advance to the three-event Charles Schwab Cup playoffs.

SAS Championship
Dates: Oct. 14-16
Venues: Prestonwood Country Club, Cary, N.C.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday              1:30-4 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          2:30-5 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            2:30-5 p.m. (Live) / 1-3 a.m. (Monday replay)

Headlining the field: Woody Austin, Brad Faxon, Jay Haas, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Bernhard Langer, Tom Lehman, Rocco Mediate, Colin Montgomerie, Jesper Parnevik, Craig Parry, Hal Sutton, Ian Woosnam.

Peter Kessler on Ryder Cup: 'The Tide Has Turned'

Peter Kessler shared the following commentary on Facebook and granted permission to publish it here.

By Peter Kessler

THE EUROPEAN RYDER CUP TEAM is in a state of deep transition. Players like Luke Donald, who is out of form, and Ian Poulter, who saves his best golf for the Cup, is injured.

How can a guy like Ian, who has never like Colin Montgomerie won a stroke-play event on the PGA TOUR, be so deadly in international competition? He was missed.

Peter Kessler
The pick of Lee Westwood, which seems so horrible in hindsight,  was understandable. The Euro side was top heavy with players new to the competition and Lee has been there many times. There is no such thing as a rookie. These are 24 of the best 35 players in the world. But Lee is a horrible putter by pro standards and his closing record on the PGA TOUR is gruesome. All of the pins were set in the middle of the greens on flat spots and that's why it seemed every putt was holed by both sides except for Lee, who missed critical putts all week.

Phil Mickelson made ten birdies in the singles against Sergio Garcia and not one of the putts had any break in it. If Sergio putted in majors like he does in the Ryder Cup, he would have a few of them.

I don't understand the whole business about the way the U.S. team was going to be picked to set the tone for the future. The reality was that the U.S. team was picked like it always has been. Davis Love III said he wanted to save his four picks and set the template accordingly. Not only was he predictable in his picks, but Phil let on the decisions, except for Ryan Moore, were made weeks before the playoffs and that Moore was only picked when he made the last putt against Rory the week before.

The rumor was that he wanted to pick Furyk and Davis said he was considering picking a final player who wasn't even playing the last two weeks of the playoffs. Furyk. Seriously? With the worst Cup record ever? With a number of good picks to choose from at the Tour Championship? 

The U.S. side won because they had better players at numbers seven through twelve. Look for this to continue next time they play. The U.S. squad is set for years with a load of great young players now and up and coming.

The Euro side doesn't have a group of fine young players to take the place of Donald and Poulter and Westwood and Paul Casey, who gave up European Tour membership. But Thomas Pieters was great and Russell Knox was missing and Danny Willett was disappointing, as was his brother.

The next U.S. captain could be picked out of a hat and find it impossible to screw up. The tide has turned, but not because of the silly task force and all the hand wringing and attempt at doing things a different way. It was business as usual. And this time business was good.

Peter Kessler is a longtime sports broadcaster and host who has worked for HBO Sports, Golf Channel and Sirius XM.

Tuesday, October 11

Tiger Woods: 'I'm Close, and I Won't Stop Until I Get There'

Yesterday Tiger Woods put his comeback on hold, withdrawing from this week's Safeway Open and the Turkish Airlines Open in early November. Following is his full statement.

Tiger Woods (Allison)
After a lot of soul searching and honest reflection, I know that I am not yet ready to play on the PGA TOUR or compete in Turkey. My health is good, and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be.

When I announced last week I was going to Safeway, I had every intention of playing, or I wouldn't have committed. I spent a week with the U.S. Ryder Cup Team, an honor and experience that inspired me even more to play. I practiced the last several days in California, but after a lot of hours, I knew I wasn't ready to compete against the best golfers in the world. I will continue to work hard, and plan to play at my foundation's event, the Hero World Challenge, in Albany.

I would like to apologize and send my regrets to Safeway, the Turkish Airlines Open, the fans in California and Turkey and those that had hoped to watch me compete on TV. This isn't what I wanted to happen, but I will continue to strive to be able to play tournament golf. I'm close, and I won't stop until I get there.

Monday, October 10

Aching Backs on the PGA Tour

OH, THEIR ACHING BACKS!

The PGA Tour is not the National Football League (not even close), where the league continually updates an extensive injury list. That said, professional golf does have its walking wounded, many of which are suffering with compromised backs.

The most famous example is Tiger Woods. There is good news this week: Tiger will return to the PGA Tour after more than a year off from tournament competition.

There is also bad news. Top-ranked players Jason Day, 28, and Justin Rose, 36, are nursing back injuries and out of action.

GolfChannel.com reported:
Jason Day's back injury will cause him to miss two tournaments in his native Australia next month. Day announced on Thursday that he will miss the Emirates Australian Open Nov. 17-20 at Royal Sydney and the World Cup of Golf Nov. 24-27 at Kingston Heath in Melbourne.
"I regret that I will be unable to come home to Australia this year," Day said.

Rose, the Olympic gold medal winner, is suffering with a herniated disc. He explained his situation last week on Twitter.


I don't know that we've learned anything new. Golf is hard on backs. Especially the backs of modern PGA Tour pros who swing with maximum speed and force. They pound golf balls all day long. And they fly and drive millions of miles and sleep in different beds and hotels around the world.

Their backs are bound to revolt.

Friday, October 7

Flashback Friday: 'First-Tee Jitters'

This one is from the archives. In fact, the below verbiage is the first entry of what was originally called "The Armchair Golfer," this golf blog, which shortly after became ARMCHAIR GOLF BLOG. (But I continued to call myself The Armchair Golfer.) I wrote this first post on September 28, 2005.

An early logo.
Well, here goes. I hope I don't top it.

Entering the first post at The Armchair Golfer is a little like teeing off on the first hole. You want to be confident ... but you're not sure at all where it's going. At least there's not a lot of you standing around, watching, like sometimes happens on the first tee.

When Chris DiMarco was lining up his winning putt on the 18th hole at the Presidents Cup on Sunday, Jack Nicklaus turned to Fred Couples, who had holed a putt on a similar line to win his match against Vijay Singh.

"Freddy, what does it do?" Jack asked.


"I don't know," Fred replied. "I just closed my eyes and hit it."

I think that's what I'll do here. Just close my eyes and hit it.

Thursday, October 6

Golf on TV: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship, Toshiba Classic, Fiji International



By Golf Channel Communications

EUROPEAN TOUR

The birthplace of golf will be on display at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, where a strong contingent of European players headline the field, including six of the 12 members of the 2016 European Ryder Cup team. 

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Dates: Oct. 6-9
Venues: St. Andrews Links (Old Course); Carnoustie Golf Links (Championship Course); Kingsbarns Golf Links; St. Andrew Scotland

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday        8 a.m.-Noon (Live) / 4-6 a.m. (Friday replay)
Friday             8 a.m.-Noon (Live)
Saturday         8 a.m.-Noon (Live)
Sunday      7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Live)  / 9 p.m.- 12:30 a.m. (Replay)

Format: The format is based on the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am as 168 professionals and 168 amateurs pair up as two-man teams, playing one round each at St. Andrews, Carnoustie, and Kingsbarns. A cut will be made after 54 holes for the low 60 professionals (and ties), and the low 20 teams, with the final round contested at St. Andrews.

Olesen defends: Thorbjorn Olesen finished two shots ahead of Brooks Koepka and Chris Stroud to earn his third career European Tour win.

Headlining the field: Thomas Pieters, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Martin Kaymer,  Branden Grace, Padraig Harrington, Shane Lowry, Andrew "Beef" Johnston and Louis Oosthuizen.

* * *

LPGA TOUR

The LPGA Tour is in Asia for the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship, where world No. 1 Lydia Ko will defend her 2015 title. 

Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship
Dates: Oct. 6-9
Venue: Miramar Golf & Country Club, New Taipei City, Taiwan

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday        1-4 a.m. (Live) / Noon-3 p.m. (Replay) 
Friday             1-4 a.m. (Live) / Noon-3p.m. (Replay)
Saturday         Midnight-4 a.m. (Live) / Noon-3 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday           Midnight-4 a.m. (Live) / 12:30-3 p.m. (Replay)

Ko defends: Lydia Ko finished nine shots clear of the field to earn her 10th LPGA TOUR win.

Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson, Na Yeon Choi, Shanshan Feng, Anna Nordqvist, So Yeon Ryu, Brittany Lang, Cristie Kerr, Minjee Lee, Hyo Joo Kim and Ha Na Jang.

* * *

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

Toshiba Classic
Dates: Oct. 7-9
Venues: Newport Beach Country Club, Newport Beach, Calif.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday              6-9 p.m. (Live) / 4-6:30 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          6-8:30 p.m. (Live) / 4-6:30 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            6-8:30 p.m. (Live) / 12:30-3 a.m. (Monday replay)

Waldorf defends: Duffy Waldorf finished two shots ahead of Joe Durant for his first career PGA TOUR Champions victory.

Headlining the field: Colin Montgomerie, Paul Broadhurst, Hale Irwin, Woody Austin, John Daly, Tom Lehman, Rocco Mediate, Mark O’Meara, Duffy Waldorf, John Cook and Peter Jacobsen.

* * *

EUROPEAN TOUR

Fiji International
Dates: Oct. 6-9
Venue: Natadola Bay Golf Course, Natadola Beach, Fiji

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday        9:30 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live)  
Friday             9:30 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live)
Saturday         9 p.m.-Midnight (Live)
Sunday           9 p.m.-Midnight (Live)

Headlining the field: Brandt Snedeker, Vijay Singh, Robert Allenby, Steven Bowditch, Jarrod Lyle, Heath Slocum, Boo Weekley, Krishna Singh and Antonio Murdaca.

Wednesday, October 5

Playing Clinic: Billy Casper

"Billy has the greatest pair of hands God ever gave a human being," said Johnny Miller.


By John Coyne

Copyright © John Coyne. Used with permission.

While interviewing golf legends for my book Playing with the Pros: Golf Lessons from the Senior Tour (1990), I arranged some of their answers into a separate chapter I called "Playing Clinic." Following are words of wisdom from some of the best players.


Next up is Billy Casper (June 24, 1931 - February 7, 2015). Casper won 51 PGA Tour titles, including three majors, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1978. He also made eight Ryder Cup appearances as a player and won a total of 23 1/2 points, which is the U.S. record.

Q: Should I have the same swing for all clubs?

CASPER: I do. I use basically a three-quarter swing on my woods and irons. And I place the ball more or less from the same position in my stance.

Q: What happens when you lose your feel for the golf swing?

CASPER: We all do that. You just have to go back out onto the practice tee and search for it. You'll find it.

Q: Besides the fundamentals, what else should you take into consideration when you are about to hit a shot?

CASPER: The wind, hazards and the next shot. I want to position this shot so that I have a chance of scoring with the next one. That's simple golf-course management.

Q: Do I need to buy all the clubs I see in a professional's bag?

CASPER: Perhaps not every one. Also, many pros play with clubs that are less than standard, and that's one reason they go farther than the average player's. But to be serious about golf, you need a full set. At least four woods, 11 irons, including a sand wedge and a pitching wedge. And, of course, a putter.

Q: How far should I take the long irons back at the top of the swing?

CASPER: I still use my three-quarter swing, and I think that works best for the average golfer as well.

Q: How long do you think all of these seniors will keep playing golf?

CASPER: For as long as they can keep teeing it up, and as long as anyone wants to come watch us play. We could go on forever.

More Playing Clinic:

John Coyne is a bestselling author of three golf novels and more than 20 other books. Pay him a visit at John Coyne Books.

Tuesday, October 4

VIDEO: Arnie's Warehouse



THE MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR ARNOLD PALMER is underway in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Most of us can't attend. Some of us might be watching the coverage on Golf Channel. Meanwhile, I invite you to take the above video tour of Arnold Palmer's warehouse in Latrobe. I do think you'll enjoy it.

Monday, October 3

America Is Great Again in Ryder Cup

I WAS A YOUNGER MAN the last time the United States gripped the Ryder Cup trophy and sprayed champagne, way back in 2008 in the state of Kentucky. In fact, I was there at Valhalla early in that week. Kenny Perry was on that U.S. team. And Chad Campbell. And Ben Curtis. And Anthony Kim. (Remember him?) That's how long ago it was.

It was an ancient season during which Paul Azinger was the U.S. captain and there was giddiness about a player grouping system called "pods."

Now, thankfully, American fans won't have to hearken back to those Ryder Cup days of old. Instead, we can hearken back to yesterday -- USA's 17-11 romp at Hazeltine in the upper Midwest. From top to bottom, from young (Patrick Reed) to old (Phil Mickelson), the U.S. squad was brilliant when it counted, and in all formats: foursomes, fourballs and singles.

Putts rolled into the hole from everywhere, in every session. The boys closed out matches. They manhandled the pressure. They were a team in the best sense of the word. They had fun.

I cannot recall a better Ryder Cup performance by either side. But I admit my memory is fading and that I was dazzled by so many putts rolling into the cup on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The European dominance of the Ryder Cup is over, or at least interrupted until Paris in 2018.

***

Patrick Reed played and strutted as if powered by rocket fuel. "I knew today was going to be tough going against a guy like Rory," he said after winning his singles match 1 up, "especially with how he was playing earlier this week."

Shaky at times, captain's picks Rickie Fowler and Ryan Moore came through on Sunday. "This is unbelievable right now to actually get the point that clinched it for us," Moore said.

Rookie Brooks Koepka went 3-1-0. Brandt Snedeker was undefeated, going 3-0. Every U.S. player won at least one match.

Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia played what must have been the greatest singles match in the history of the Ryder Cup. After a total of 19 birdies, they halved their match, both shooting 63.

Why the U.S. turnaround?

The United States played at home and fielded a strong team, no doubt. And they were a team, or a "family," as the players, captain and vice captains constantly said. They have always wanted to win, but I don't ever recall seeing them more committed to the Ryder Cup and each other.

This time it apparently meant more to them, especially to Phil Mickelson, who assumed a lion's share of leadership after so many past Ryder Cup disappointments and after unleashing harsh criticism toward Captain Tom Watson and the PGA of America in the wake of another bitter loss in 2014. Lefty and his teammates were certainly tired of losing and cataloging their excuses every two years.

Whatever the reasons for the reversal, this time it was the Americans who played better, as European Captain Darren Clarke pointed out. Hopefully, Captain Clarke, who had six rookies and two subpar picks (Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer), will not be lambasted like Nick Faldo in 2008. Of course, I wouldn't bet on it. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that you don't want to be the losing Ryder Cup captain.

Lastly, I am very pleased for Captain Davis Love III, who was at the helm at Medinah in 2012 when his U.S. team collapsed after building a 10-6 lead. I've always believed that Love was a very good captain whose 2012 team should have won the Cup.

"I'm just proud of these guys," Love said on Sunday. "They had a lot of pressure on them for the last two years."

So did Love, a victorious Ryder Cup captain at last.