Thursday, February 22

Golf on TV: The Honda Classic, Honda LPGA Thailand, Commercial Bank Qatar Masters



From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The PGA TOUR shifts to Florida this week for The Honda Classic, as Rickie Fowler defends his 2017 title alongside Justin Thomas, Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods. The European Tour stages the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters this week, with Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma leading the field.

PGA TOUR

The Honda Classic
Dates: Feb. 22-25
Venue: PGA National Resort & Spa (Champion Course), Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         2-6 p.m. (Live) / 7-11 p.m. (Replay)
Friday             2-6 p.m. (Live) / 7-11 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          1-2:45 p.m. (Live) / 7-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday            1-2:45 p.m. (Live) / 7-11:30 p.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on CBS (Eastern)
Saturday          3-6 p.m.
Sunday            3-6 p.m.

Broadcast Notes:
Fowler defends: Rickie Fowler finished four shots clear of Morgan Hoffmann and Gary Woodland to claim his fourth PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Justin Thomas, Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Tiger Woods, Tommy Fleetwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, Patton Kizzire, Jim Furyk and Jimmy Walker.

LPGA TOUR

Honda LPGA Thailand
Dates: Feb. 22-25
Venue: Siam Country Club Pattaya (Old Course), Chonburi, Thailand

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         1-5 a.m. (Live) / 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Replay)
Friday             1-5 a.m. (Live) / 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          1-5 a.m. (Live) / 3-6 p.m. (Replay)              
Sunday            1-5 a.m. (Live) / 3-6 p.m. (Replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Yang defends: Amy Yang finished five shots ahead of So Yeon Ryu to earn her third LPGA win.
Headlining the field: Shanshan Feng, Sung Hyun Park, So Yeon Ryu, Lexi Thompson, Anna Nordqvist, In Gee Chun, Ariya Jutanugarn, Cristie Kerr, Lydia Ko, Sei Young Kim and Brooke Henderson.

EUROPEAN TOUR

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters
Dates: Feb. 22-25
Venue: Doha Golf Club, Doha, Qatar

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         5-9 a.m. (Tape delay) / 2:30-4:30 a.m. (Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Friday             5-9 a.m. (Tape delay) / 2:30-4:30 a.m. (Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Saturday          5-8:30 a.m. (Live)
Sunday            5-8:30 a.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Wang defends: Jeunghun Wang birdied the first playoff hole to win his third European Tour event.
Headlining the field: Shubhankar Sharma, Thongchai Jaidee, Thorbjorn Olesen, Hideto Tanihara, Nicolas Colsaerts, Mikko Ilonen, George Coetzee and David Horsey.

VIDEO: Padraig 'Happy Gilmore' Harrington Says Hit the Driver as Hard as You Can



NO, REALLY. PADRAIG SAID IT. Watch the above clip of "Best Lessons Ever Driver." Harrington says work on speed once a week, hitting 20 golf balls as hard as humanly possible. He demonstrates.

The Irishman also imitates Happy Gilmore and says he is tempted to play that way. Really.

Wednesday, February 21

USGA and R&A Announce World Handicap System

By USGA

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. -  The USGA and The R&A announce key features of the proposed new World Handicap System (WHS), designed to provide all golfers with a consistent measure of playing ability globally.     

The idea for a new, unified system was conceived by the USGA and The R&A and developed following an extensive review of systems administered by six existing handicapping authorities: Golf Australia, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) in Great Britain and Ireland, the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA), the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) and the USGA.

The new system will feature the following: 

     •  Flexibility in formats of play, allowing both competitive and recreational rounds to count for handicap purposes and ensuring that a golfer’s handicap is more reflective of potential ability

     •  A minimal number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap; a recommendation that the number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap be 54 holes from any combination of 18-hole and 9-hole rounds, but with some discretion available for handicapping authorities or national associations to set a different minimum within their own jurisdiction

     •  A consistent handicap that is portable from course to course and country to country through worldwide use of the USGA Course and Slope Rating System, already successfully used in more than 80 countries

     •  An average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best eight out of the last 20 scores and factoring in memory of demonstrated ability for better responsiveness and control 

     •  A calculation that considers the impact that abnormal course and weather conditions might have on a player’s performance each day

     •  Daily handicap revisions, taking account of the course and weather condition calculation 

     •  A limit of Net Double Bogey on the maximum hole score (for handicapping purposes only) 

     •  A maximum handicap limit of 54.0, regardless of gender, to encourage more golfers to measure and track their performance to increase their enjoyment of the game

Quantitative research was conducted in 15 countries around the world, through which 76 percent of the 52,000 respondents voiced their support for a World Handicap System, 22 percent were willing to consider its benefits, and only 2 percent were opposed. This was followed by a series of focus groups, in which more than 300 golf administrators and golfers from regions around the world offered extensive feedback on the features of the proposed new system.

This feedback has helped shape the WHS, which has been developed by the USGA and The R&A with support from each handicapping authority as well as the Japan Golf Association and Golf Canada.

Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA, commented, "For some time, we've heard golfers say, 'I'm not good enough to have a handicap,' or I don't play enough to have a handicap.' We want to make the right decisions now to encourage a more welcoming and social game. We're excited to be taking another important step – along with modernizing golf's Rules – to provide a pathway into the sport, making golf easier to understand and more approachable and enjoyable for everyone to play."

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, "We are working with our partners and national associations to make golf more modern, more accessible and more enjoyable as a sport and the new World Handicap System represents a huge opportunity in this regard.

"We want to make it more attractive to golfers to obtain a handicap and strip away some of the complexity and variation which can be off-putting for newcomers. Having a handicap, which is easier to understand and is truly portable around the world, can make golf much more enjoyable and is one of the unique selling points of our sport."

The tenets of the new system focus on three main objectives: to encourage as many golfers as possible to obtain and maintain a handicap; to enable golfers of differing abilities, genders and nationalities to transport their handicap to any course globally and compete on a fair and equitable basis; and to indicate with sufficient accuracy the score a golfer is reasonably capable of achieving on any course around the world, playing under normal conditions.

Given worldwide alignment towards a single system, all parties will now embark on a two-year transition period targeting implementation in 2020.  When adopted, the World Handicap System will be governed by the USGA and The R&A and administered locally by the six existing authorities and national associations around the world, with safeguards included to ensure consistency as well as adaptability to differing golf cultures.

The six handicapping authorities represent approximately 15 million golfers in 80 countries who currently maintain a golf handicap. 

Thursday, February 15

Golf on TV: Genesis Open, ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open, Chubb Classic, Oman Open



From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. – World No. 1 Dustin Johnson will look to defend his 2017 title at the Genesis Open this week in Southern California, alongside Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods. Golf Channel will carry live coverage of the LPGA Tour in primetime Wednesday-Saturday – from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open – with So Yeon Ryu, Ariya Jutanugarn, Cristie Kerr and Lydia Ko in the field. Bernhard Langer leads the field at the Chubb Classic in Florida, along with Scott McCarron, Steve Stricker and Miguel Angel Jimenez. The European Tour will stage the inaugural Oman Open this week, featuring Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma.

PGA TOUR

Genesis Open
Dates: Feb. 15-18
Venue: Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         2-6 p.m. (Live) / 7-10 p.m. (Replay)
Friday             4-8 p.m. (Live) / 8:30-10 p.m. (Replay)       
Saturday          2-3:30 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-10 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            1-2:45 p.m. (Live) / 7:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on CBS (Eastern)       
Saturday          4-7 p.m.
Sunday            3-6:30 p.m.

Broadcast Notes:
Woods returns to familiar spot for first time in more than a decade: Tiger Woods made his PGA Tour debut in this event as a 16-year-old amateur in 1992, and returns this week for the first time since 2006.
Johnson defends: Dustin Johnson finished five shots ahead of Scott Brown and Thomas Pieters to claim his 13th PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Martin Kaymer, Thomas Pieters and Patrick Cantlay.

LPGA TOUR

ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open
Dates: Feb. 15-18
Venue: Kooyonga Golf Club, Adelaide, Australia

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Wednesday     9 p.m.-2 a.m. (Live) / 2-5 a.m. (Thursday replay)
Thursday         10 p.m.-2 a.m. (Live) 
Friday             10 p.m.-2 a.m. (Live) / 5:30-7 p.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          9 p.m.-2 a.m. (Live) / 5-6:30 p.m. (Sunday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Jang defends: Ha Na Jang won by three shots over Nanna Koerstz Madsen to earn her fourth LPGA Tour win.
Headlining the field: So Yeon Ryu, Ariya Jutanugarn, Cristie Kerr, Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson, Minjee Lee, Jin-Young Ko, Moriya Jutanugarn, Jiyai Shin and Charley Hull.

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

Chubb Classic
Dates: Feb. 16-18
Venue: TwinEagles Club (Talon Course)

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Friday             Noon-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 2-4 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          3:30-5:30 p.m. (Live) / 2-4 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            3-5 p.m. (Live) / 12:30-2:30 a.m. (Monday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Scott McCarron, Steve Stricker, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Colin Montgomerie, Jerry Kelly, David Toms, Jose Maria Olazabel, John Daly and Mark O’Meara.

EUROPEAN TOUR

Oman Open
Dates: Feb. 15-18
Venue: Al Mouj Golf, Muscat, Oman

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         5-8 a.m. (Live)
Friday             5-8 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          4-7:30 a.m. (Live)
Sunday            4-7:30 a.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Inaugural event: This is the inaugural playing of the Oman Open. Previously, Al Mouj Golf has hosted the Challenge Tour’s season-culminating event for the past three seasons.
Headlining the field: Shubhankar Sharma, Thomas Bjorn, Thongchai Jaidee, Andrew Johnston, Chris Wood, Andy Sullivan, Darren Clarke and Sean Crocker.

Wednesday, February 14

Ted Potter Jr.: 'I Have Never Been a Hard Worker'



TED POTTER JR. COLLECTED HIS SECOND PGA TOUR title last weekend at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. And, despite being paired in the final round with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, he made it look rather easy.

Potter blistered Monterey Peninsula Country Club on Saturday. His 62 gave him a share of the 54-hole lead with Johnson. Then Potter went out on Sunday and shot a 69 to win by three strokes over Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day and Chez Reavie. Ho-hum.

The guy was nonplussed. He did everything right. He played smart. He got up and down. He handled his nerves. Heck, I don't think he had any nerves.

"What do I got to lose, really? Just go out there and play the best golf I could today and see what happens," Potter said.

The journeyman had missed five of his last eight cuts. Two weeks ago at the Farmers Insurance Open, Potter opened with a 66. Then he shot 74, 75, 82 to finish 73rd.

This Potter quote caught my attention:

"I have never been a hard worker, I guess, at it. I mean I'm probably better than what I think I am, but I'm not a person that likes to go hit a bunch of balls on the range or just work as hard as I probably should. When I start working on it, I'll get results like this that happen. But then I'll probably back away from it a little bit and have to regroup again and force myself to work hard at it again."

That means Potter could miss the cut next week. He could miss his next three cuts. Or he might win again.

Golf Channel's Tim Rosaforte reported that Potter is nicknamed "The Wizard." It has nothing to do with Harry Potter, Rosaforte noted. It's because of Ted Potter's skill around the greens. It was definitely on display on the Monterey Peninsula.

Monday, February 12

PGA TOUR VIDEO: Inside the Mind of Putting Artist Jordan Spieth

IF YOU'VE WATCHED THE PGA TOUR and major championships in recent years, then surely you've seen major champion and world No. 3 Jordan Spieth roll in putts from everywhere.

Those Spieth putts go in from all distances, on all varieties of greens and grasses, and in all types of course conditions and pressure situations.

How does Jordan Spieth do it? What is he thinking?

In the above video, Spieth explains a lot in 3:26 about his approach to putting and his mindset on lightning fast, sloping greens. (I took notes.)

"It's kind of like a magic time for me," Spieth says about preparing to putt.

"It's speed, speed, speed," he adds. "I'm really good on longer putts at picking a midpoint, like an apex of a line."

(Yes, we've noticed.)

"You have to have so much of an imagination when you get on fast greens with slopes," he says. "In order for me to shoot the lowest score possible, I may as well trust this. And if I'm thinking with that attitude, I'm playing my best golf.

"I don't have anything to lose. What do I have to lose in golf? I've accomplished probably more than I ever could have imagined," he says.

"I'm seeing the movie of the putt. The artistry of the putt. And I find so much fun in that, that it allows me to want to practice it more and more."

OK, so we'll never putt like Jordan Spieth. But maybe we can adopt something from his unique approach and attitude on the greens. That could make a real difference. As he says, there's nothing to lose.

Thursday, February 8

Golf on TV: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, World Super 6 Perth, Boca Raton Championship



From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The PGA TOUR shifts to the Monterey Peninsula for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The current top-three players in the world -- Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth (defending champion) -- lead the field of professionals who will be joined by celebrity amateur golfers including Carson Daly, Tony Romo, Toby Keith, Larry Fitzgerald and Justin Verlander. The European Tour will stage the second edition of the World Super 6 Perth. The PGA TOUR Champions are in south Florida for the Boca Raton Championship, with Bernhard Langer and defending champion Scott McCarron leading the field.

PGA TOUR

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Dates: Feb. 8-11
Venues: Pebble Beach Golf Links; Spyglass Hill Golf Course; Monterey Peninsula Country Club, Pebble Beach, Calif.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         3-6 p.m. (Live) / 7-9 p.m. (Replay)
Friday             3-6 p.m. (Live) / 7-9 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          2-3:30 p.m. (Live) / 8-10 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday            1-2:45 p.m. (Live) / 7:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on CBS (Eastern)
Saturday          4-7 p.m.
Sunday            3-6:30 p.m.

Broadcast Notes:
Course rotation & format: The field of 156 professionals and 156 amateurs will play one round at each of the three course venues over the first three days. The top-60 professionals (and ties) along with the top-25 pro-am teams after 54 holes will advance to the final round at Pebble Beach.
Spieth defends: Jordan Spieth finished four shots clear of the field to earn his ninth PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Paul Casey, Patrick Reed, Gary Woodland, Patrick Cantlay, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott.

EUROPEAN TOUR

World Super 6 Perth
Dates: Feb. 8-11
Venue: Lake Karrinyup Country Club, Perth, Australia

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Wednesday     11 p.m.-4 a.m. (Live, Wednesday overnight)
Thursday         11 p.m.-4 a.m. (Live, Thursday overnight)
Friday             11 p.m.-4 a.m. (Live, Friday overnight)
Saturday          10 p.m.-4 a.m. (Live, Saturday overnight)

Broadcast Notes:
Rumford defends: Brett Rumford defeated Phachara Khongwatmai 2&1 to claim his sixth European Tour victory.
Headlining the field: Lee Westwood, Danny Willett, Thorbjorn Olesen, Andrew “Beef” Johnston, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Brett Rumford, David Lipsky and Chase Koepka.

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

Boca Raton Championship
Dates: Feb. 9-11
Venue: Broken Sound Club (Old Course), Boca Raton, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Friday             Noon-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 4-6 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          3:30-5:30 p.m. (Live) / 4-6 p.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            3-5 p.m. (Live) / 12:30-2:30 a.m. (Monday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
McCarron defends: Scott McCarron finished one shot ahead of Kenny Perry and Carlos Franco to win his third title on the PGA TOUR Champions.
Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Scott McCarron, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Colin Montgomerie, Kevin Sutherland, Tom Lehman, Mark O’Meara, John Daly and Jose Maria Olazabal.

Wednesday, February 7

REOPENING: The Oasis at Death Valley (Formerly the Furnace Creek Resort)


A RESORT IN DEATH VALLEY that opened on February 1, 1927 (91 years ago) is reopening after a multi-million dollar renovation.

The Oasis at Death Valley (formerly Furnace Creek Resort) has date palm trees, lush gardens, pools and, yes, a golf course.

This resort in one of the most unusual landscapes on earth is ideal for that winter checklist:
  • It's sunny.
  • The water (large natural spring-fed pools) is always 85 degrees.
  • It's warm (average high is 73 in February, 82 degrees in March, 90 in April).
  • Rain is rare.
  • It's one of the only sanctioned Dark Skies in the U.S., where you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye.
  • It has a USGA golf course (the lowest on earth).
  • It's a great outdoor destination (bike, horseback, Jeep tours, photography, ghost towns, etc.).
  • It's not crowded, only two hours from Las Vegas and four hours from LA.
  • It's historical, beautiful and home to some of the original Star Wars locations, filmed down the road.
Xanterra Travel Collection has wrapped up a multi-million-dollar renovation of the 1920s inn, ranch and golf course.

The 66-room inn officially reopened on February 1, 2018, exactly 91 years to the day it originally opened. Its dining room working fireplaces are adorned with some of the owner's renowned paintings of the era, and the outdoor terraces with sweeping views are shaded and furnished to provide an inside/outside experience. The rooms have been redone, including all new bathrooms. The historic pool with natural spring fed 85-degree water features cabanas, a pool bar and café, and is next door to a new spa overlooking the Oasis Gardens.

(I used to live in the Mojave Desert. This makes me want to return, especially in February.)

Tuesday, February 6

PGA TOUR: 'Hey, It Can Happen to Anyone' (Including Ollie Schneiderjans)


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, Ollie Schneiderjans hit an eagle putt on the 17th hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open that kept rolling until it was wet. So, yeah, "it can happen to anyone," as the PGA TOUR said.

Schneiderjans got up and down for a bogey and went on to shoot 68 in the first round. No, that couldn't happen to anyone.

Yes, these guys are good. Even when they're bad.

Thursday, February 1

Golf on TV: Waste Management Phoenix Open and Maybank Championship



From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Four of the top-5 in the world are in Arizona this week for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, including defending champion (and world No. 5) Hideki Matsuyama. On the European Tour, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood headline the field at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia.

PGA TOUR

Waste Management Phoenix Open
Dates: Feb. 1-4
Venue: TPC Scottsdale (Stadium Course), Scottsdale, Ariz.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         3-7 p.m. (Live) / 8-10:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday             3-7 p.m. (Live) / 8-10 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          2-3:45 p.m. (Live) / 8-9:30 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday            1-2:45 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-11 p.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on CBS (Eastern)
Saturday          3-6 p.m.
Sunday            3-6 p.m.

Broadcast Notes:
Matsuyama defends: Hideki Matsuyama outlasted Webb Simpson with a birdie on the fourth playoff hole to earn his fourth PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Alex Noren, Xander Schauffele, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar and Tony Finau.

EUROPEAN TOUR

Maybank Championship
Dates: Feb. 1-4
Venue: Saujana Golf & Country Club (Palm Course), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Wednesday     10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. / 2:30-5:30 a.m. (Live, Wednesday overnight)
Thursday         10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. / 2:30-5:30 a.m. (Live, Thursday overnight)
Friday             10 p.m.-2 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Zanotti defends: Fabrizio Zanotti finished one stroke ahead of David Lipsky to claim his second European Tour victory.
Headlining the field: Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood, Danny Willett, Haotong Li, Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke, Gavin Green, Ryo Ishikawa, Yuxin Lin (a), and Fabrizio Zanotti.