Friday, December 27

PGA TOUR VIDEO: Most Ridiculous Lies of the Decade (2010-2019)



HERE ARE SOME TOUGH SPOTS. And incredible shots.

The PGA Tour presents the most difficult lies faced by tour players from 2010 to 2019 ... and how they escaped.

Featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia (in a tree), among others. This compilation excludes major championships.

Tuesday, December 24

ICYMI: Adam Scott Wins at Home for First Time in 2,226 Days



ADAM SCOTT WON THE AUSTRALIAN PGA Championship on Sunday. That next victory in his homeland was a very long time coming.

John Huggan of Golfworld wrote:
It had been a while since Adam Scott had won a tournament in his native Australia, 2,226 days to be exact. But that wait is over. With a three-under 69 on Sunday at the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the country's Gold Coast, the World No. 18 is now a two-time Australian PGA champion. Scott's 13-under-par 275 total was two shots better than New Zealand’s Michael Hendry....
"I’m pretty stoked," said an emotional Scott on earning his 11th career European Tour title.
"I grinned it out this week, and I feel like I outsmarted the course a little bit. Which feels good, and it was good enough to beat everyone. It's been a long time between drinks for me. Maybe once or twice it has crossed my mind that I might not win again. So it feels good to win here, especially to finish off the year at home."

Saturday, December 21

PGA TOUR 'Must-See Moments of the Decade' to Air on NBC Sports on December 22

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA – NBC Sports will air an hour-long special titled PGA TOUR 2019: Must-See Moments of the Decade that will look back on incredible shots and storylines that shaped the decade.

The NBC Sports feature, produced by PGA TOUR Entertainment, will air on Sunday, December 22 at 1 p.m. ET.

The 2010s have been an incredible era on the PGA TOUR as players have thrilled audiences and impacted fans worldwide. "Must-See Moments of the Decade" will take an extended look at some of the most memorable stories from the decade through in-depth interviews with players and analysts who experienced them first-hand.

Along with highlighting key storylines and themes of the decade, the special will relive the drama of Rickie Fowler's heroics on the famed Island Green at THE PLAYERS Championship, Billy Horschel's improbable path to a FedExCup title, Jonathan Byrd's incredible playoff-winning hole-in-one amidst darkness at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, as well as Tiger Woods' growing legacy.

European Tour's Chase the Ace, Episode 3: Andy Sullivan (VIDEO)



HOW MANY BALLS WOULD IT TAKE a pro golfer to make a hole-in-one?

The odds of an average golfer making an ace are roughly one in 100,000. Stats suggest a European Tour pro's chances are closer to one in 2,500.

Meet Englishman Andy Sullivan.

With a day and 500 balls to play with on the 171-yard par three 11th hole on the Heritage Course at London Golf Club, the European Tour challenged the three-time tour winner to defy the odds.

Could Sullivan succeed where Italian Edoardo Molinari and South African Brandon Stone could not? Did he find that one perfect shot?

Watch and see.

Wednesday, December 18

Hank Haney Sues PGA Tour: Claims Tour Role in His Firing From Radio Show and Ongoing Attempts to Disrupt His Business Interests

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AS BOB HARIG REPORTED AT ESPN.COM, Hank Haney, the former golf coach for Tiger Woods, has filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour in U.S. District Court.

The suit claims the PGA Tour "improperly intimidated, enticed and threatened SiriusXM Radio to suspend and ultimately terminate" Haney from his golf show that aired on SiriusXM. The lawsuit also says the tour "wanted to settle an old score relating to professional golfer Tiger Woods."

Haney was suspended from his show in May for "insensitive comments about women's golf," Harig noted. Namely, comments about the LPGA Tour and who would win the U.S. Women's Open.

About Haney's suspension, Woods said at the time, "He deserved it. Just can't look at life like that."

Haney was later fired.

Haney's lawsuit also says the PGA Tour has "long attempted to disrupt and interfere in Haney's business" after Haney published his Tiger tell-all book, The Big Miss, in 2012.

The PGA Tour declined to comment.

Tuesday, December 17

The Presidents Cup Aftermath: 'Tiger, You Got Me' —Ernie Els



POOR ERNIE ELS. IN IMPORTANT WAYS, the Big Easy's career, an era that included many other would-be winners, is defined by coming up short against Tiger Woods.

That was also the case at the recent Presidents Cup contested at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, where the United States slipped by the Internationals on Sunday, 16-14.

As Karen Crouse wrote for the New York Times, Captain Els gave it his all:
The United States' opponents, the Internationals, also had a first-time captain, Ernie Els, a PGA Tour member who turned the appointment into another full-time job. He devoted the past year to studying statistics as if they were tea leaves. And he left no team-bonding exercise undone, so great was his obsession with finding a way to turn around the fortunes of his team, which had only one victory in the 12 previous competitions.
Els, 50, gave his players wings, but he couldn't make them soar.
After jumping out to a 6-1 lead, the Internationals won only eight of the final 23 points, including four of the 12 available in Sunday's deciding singles.
For Els, the loss was especially difficult to digest because he has spent the better part of his professional playing career running headlong into the wall that is Woods. He finished second to him seven times in his career, including four times in majors.
The 13th edition of the Presidents Cup was going to be where Els's luck turned. But in the end, the Americans, led on and off the course by Woods, were too good.
"Tiger, you got me," Els said ruefully during the trophy presentation.
For Els, those four rueful words also sum up the Hall of Fame career of the man who is second only to Gary Player as the greatest golfer from South Africa.

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Thursday, December 12

Tribute to Alfred 'Rabbit' Dyer, Hall of Fame Caddie for Gary Player and Others, Dead at 82

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By John Coyne

Bestselling author John Coyne became a caddie at Midlothian Country Club near Chicago when he was 10 and oversaw the caddie yard as a teenager. Learn about his golf novels at JohnCoyneBooks.com.

LAST NOVEMBER 11TH, ALFRED "BIG RABBIT" DYER, the legendary PGA Tour caddie, died from natural causes while traveling by car from Ft. Pierce, Florida to New Orleans. He was 82.

Dyer was one of the last of the big-name traveling caddies  on the PGA Tour; men like Angelo Argea who caddied for Jack Nicklaus and Creamy Carolan, Arnold Palmer's looper. Dyer was also the first black caddie to work at Arizona's Thunderbird Country Club and the first black caddie on the bag of a winner in 1974 when Gary Player triumphed. Caddying for Player, he was also the first American black caddie to carry a bag in South Africa.

Gary Player and "Rabbit" Dyer.
I'll miss Rabbit dearly. He caddied for me for over 20 years and we traveled the world together. Like me he had such a great sense of humor, and in this sense he always reminded me of Muhammad Ali in that he was always ready to laugh, crack a joke or give an hilarious one liner. He had tons of charisma. During our time together we were able to put his son through Princeton University, and which I know made him immensely proud as a father. I'll miss him so much and hope that when we meet again in heaven, he'll be there with a laugh and a smile and then go out and our first round there together.
Gary Player

At the age of 9 Rabbit began to caddie at Metairie Country Club in New Orleans, Louisiana. Coming from a poor family of eight children, caddying was his way of helping his parents.

Today, Dyer is listed by Golfworld magazine as one of the 36 Greatest Caddies of all times.

His first loop for a touring professional was Ben Hogan. Hogan had come to Metairie for an exhibition with Sam Snead and Freddie Haas. At the time Haas was the home pro and Haas assigned Rabbit to Bantam Ben. From then on Dyer caddied for "The Hawk" whenever he came to Metairie.

(It was a priest at Dyer's high school—Saint Joan of Arc Catholic School in Birmingham, Alabamawho nicknamed him "Rabbit" for his ability playing center on the school's basketball team.)

Rabbit's father was also a caddie at Metairie and caddied in 1960 for Gary Player in the New Orleans Open. Two years later, in 1962, Rabbit would caddie for Player when he finished fifth in the tournament. Player gave Rabbit $500.

"I had never seen so much money," Rabbit would tell me, years later.

While Player was Rabbit's first PGA Tour player (after Hogan) that he caddied for, there were other players before he became Gary's regular caddie.

"I worked for Tony Lema when he won his first tournament, the Hesperia Open. I worked for Arnold Palmer, Homero Blancas, Dan Sikes on the regular and senior tours, and Dave Stockton," Rabbit explained on CaddyBytes.

In 1972, when working for ABC television at Oakland Hills Country Club, he talked with Gary about working for him the next week in the World Series of Golf.

"Gary told me that his regular caddie had gone back to South Africa, and if he were to win the PGA that week I would have the bag."

Gary won and Rabbit worked for Player the following week at the World Series, which Gary also won. For the next twenty years, Rabbit had a full-time job as Player's man on the bag.

In his long career as a professional caddie on the PGA Tour, Dyer would bring home over 55 winners. Gary won in South Africa, the British Open, the Swiss Open, the Irish Open. 

Rabbit caddied for Player from 1972 up to 1990, traveling to 10 different countries.

As he says, "If it wasn't for Gary Player I wouldn't have gotten to do all that. Because of him and caddying I was able to put my son through Princeton University. I tell all the young kids today to caddie. Caddying was a great way to grow up, learn the game, stay out of trouble."

After his touring caddie career, Dyer became a founding Professional Caddie Association (PCA) member and first PCA Caddie Ambassador and 2000 Caddie Hall of Fame Inductee.

"Rabbit" Dyer and Dennis Cone.
According to Dennis Cone, founding CEO of the World Caddies Association, "Rabbit was the Caddies' 'caddie.' The last of the big-name traveling caddies from the 1950s. His positive spirit and support for ALL caddies, kids and the game will live forever in the Fairways of Heaven."

To honor Rabbit and all caddies: The Professional Caddie Association (PCA), a 501-C-3 foundation, is starting a scholarship fund in Alfred "Rabbit" Dyer's name for in perpetuity. Donate to the Western Golf Association (WGA) and Caddie Hall of Fame (caddiehalloffame.org).

Donate today and receive a FREE PCA book! 

Wednesday, December 11

PREVIEW: The Presidents Cup Returns to Royal Melbourne Golf Club

The following preview and images were provided by Rolex, a Presidents Cup partner.

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The Presidents Cup returns to Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia from 12–15 December when some of the world's finest golfers, representing teams from the United States and the rest of the world excluding Europe, will compete head-to-head under match play conditions.

U.S. team member Justin Thomas.
This will be the third time Royal Melbourne has staged the event since its inception in 1994. One of the city's renowned sandbelt courses – built on sandy bayside soil that allows bunkers to be distinctively cut right to the edge of greens – it hosted proceedings in 1998 when the competition first ventured outside the United States.

The International team won that encounter, but 13 years later, the U.S. team led by captain and Rolex Testimonee Fred Couples leveled the scores at the venue.

THE U.S. TEAM

The 13th edition of the event marks the first time that both captains have used four wild card selections to complete their teams of 12. Following a remarkable 13-month period, World No. 7 and U.S. captain Tiger Woods has awarded himself one of those wild cards, becoming only the second playing captain in the 25-year history of the Presidents Cup.

Since being appointed captain in March 2018, Woods has enjoyed a career renaissance with three victories, including his 15th major win at the Masters Tournament in April this year. This triumph was book-ended by the 2018 TOUR Championship and, most recently, his record-equalling 82nd PGA TOUR victory at the ZOZO Championship in Japan in October.

The 43-year-old has won more points (24.5) than any other player in the Presidents Cup, one of countless accolades that highlight his sustained excellence over more than two decades and underline his status as one of the greatest ever golfers.

Woods is joined on the U.S. team by three fellow Rolex Testimonees: Bryson DeChambeau and Rickie Fowler, both five-time PGA TOUR winners; and Justin Thomas, a former World No. 1 and Major winner.

The entire U.S. team: Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Patrick Reed, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Justin Thomas, Gary Woodland and Tiger Woods.

THE INTERNATIONAL TEAM

Captained by Ernie Els, the International team features two members of the Rolex New Guard: China's Haotong Li, and Joaquín Niemann, the third youngest International team member in the event's history and the first from Chile.

Also representing the International team will be 27-year-old Hideki Matsuyama from Japan, a five-time PGA TOUR winner.

Tiger Woods and Adam Scott.

Among the three Australians who will tee off on home soil is the former World No. 1 golfer and Rolex Testimonee Adam Scott, who was part of the International team when the Presidents Cup was last held at Royal Melbourne in 2011.

Scott said the competition was sure to be embraced by the local population, whose support would be crucial to the International team's hopes of adding to its sole victory in the 12 previous encounters.

"Melbourne is a great sporting city and they're going to love seeing the best players in the world there. Twenty-one years ago, it was in Melbourne that we won the Presidents Cup. I think if there's a time to turn it around, it's this year in Melbourne."
Adam Scott

Rolex Testimonees K.J. Choi, from South Korea, and Trevor Immelman, from South Africa, will also lend their knowledge and expertise to the International team as assistant captains.

The entire International team: Ben An, Abraham Ancer, Adam Hadwin, Sungjae Im, Marc Leishman, Haotong Li, Hideki Matsuyama, Joaquín Niemann, Louis Oosthuizen, C.T. Pan, Adam Scott and Cameron Smith.

Thursday, December 5

Michelle Wie Joins CBS Golf Broadcast Team; She Will Be a Contributor at the 2020 Masters

LOTS OF CHANGES AT CBS GOLF.

The broadcast team has been largely overhauled, including this announcement mentioned near the end of a CBS Sports press release on Tuesday:
Additionally, Michelle Wie, the five-time LPGA TOUR winner, will contribute to CBS Sports' multimedia golf coverage this season, including the Masters.
Wie should be a good addition.

Wie left the LPGA Tour in June to deal with a chronic left-wrist injury. Her first experience in the broadcast booth was working for Golf Channel at the 2019 Solheim Cup.

Tuesday, December 3

MORNING DRIVE: Tiger Woods Previews Hero World Challenge and Highlights One Bahamas Fund for Hurricane Dorian Relief



THE HERO WORLD CHALLENGE TEES OFF ON WEDNESDAY at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas. The field of 18 includes most of the U.S. Presidents Cup team that will face the International team next week in Australia.

Above Tiger Woods talks to the Golf Channel's Lisa Cornwell about this week's tournament and supporting relief efforts related to Hurricane Dorian.

Spain's Jon Rahm Named 2019 European Tour Golfer of the Year

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JON RAHM, WHO RECENTLY WON the European Tour's Race to Dubai, is the golfer of the year on the European Tour.

More from EuropeanTour.com:
Rahm was selected by a panel comprising members of the golfing media as the winner of the prestigious annual award after a superb season in which he won two Rolex Series events, defended his national Open title and became the first Spaniard since Severiano Ballesteros to finish the year as European Number One after sealing the Race to Dubai title in a dramatic finale to the 2019 campaign. 
The 25-year-old finished tied ninth at The Masters, tied third in the U.S. Open and was runner-up at the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Valderrama Masters before securing his first European Tour title of the year at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open – his third Rolex Series victory in the space of three years.
Rahm went on to successfully defend his title at the Open de Espana (Spain Open) and completed the season with a victory at the DP World Tour Championship.

Rahm said: "It is a huge honor for me to be named the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year. To emulate another of Seve's achievements in winning this award is very humbling, and I'm so proud of what I have achieved this year."

Saturday, November 30

Davis Love III: 'I Think If [Tiger's] Healthy, He Goes to 100 Wins'

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Davis Love III, host of the RSM Classic and new CBS Golf guy, made a bold statement about Tiger Woods, as quoted at GolfDigest.com.

"I think if he's healthy, he goes to 100 wins," Love said.

And this:

"He hasn't really gotten going good. See, I think he's different than Jack [Nicklaus]. He won the Masters at, what, 46, right? But he wasnt' really playing full time. If he was playing good he could win any time. And Greg [Norman] was sort of the same way and he just kind of stopped playing.

"Tiger Woods isn't going to sit around. I think he's going to go for 100. But if he gets hurt again … every time he gets hurt it"s just going to get harder and harder. But if he stays healthy. ..."

And also this:

"My same old argument, and I've told him this, is if he just played a couple more tournaments and got in a rhythm when he's healthy, he could win [more]. I've watched him more from the inside the last few years, and he doesn't let up on anything."

Wow. That's a big number, even for Tiger.

I'm not seeing it. I'm not sure Tiger can physically compete enough to have the number of opportunities he'd need to win another 18 PGA Tour events. And, unless he plays the PGA Tour well into his fifties, time is running out.

But I've doubted Tiger before and he has done the unimaginable. Namely, win the 2019 Masters to end an 11-year drought in the majors and recently draw even with Sam Snead at 82 tour victories.

Back to the leftovers.

Wednesday, November 27

Golf Is Hard Example #13,479: The Golf Retail Store Clerk (VIDEO)


I HAVE NOTHING TO ADD.

Well, except for Happy Thanksgiving!

MORNING READ: The PGA Tour Money List Is Dead

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FOR MORNING READ, JOHN HAWKINS writes about the demise of the PGA Tour money list:
The money list is dead. 
Actually, it died more than 10 years ago, but it can take a while to notice such things, and most people have more important things to lie awake about, anyway. 
Although there was no funeral, the money list definitely was buried. You can find it in a faraway corner of the PGA Tour website, where it rests in peace with a bunch of picayune statistical data.
There was a time when the dollar tally basically governed the pro game, not only determining exempt status but who got to play where. 
A victory still earns a man 18 percent of the total purse on any given week, but since the advent of the FedEx Cup in 2007, players officially are ranked by points accumulated, not nickels collected. 
In fact, the Tour doesn't even publish individual earnings on its final leaderboards, which is a bit like buying a Rolls-Royce, then hiding it in your attic. Read more
(Psst. If you want to see the PGA Tour money list, go here.)

Friday, November 22

Caddie Movie Is Story of All Loopers, for All Times

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By John Coyne

Bestselling author John Coyne became a caddie at Midlothian Country Club near Chicago when he was 10 and oversaw the caddie yard as a teenager. Learn about his golf novels at JohnCoyneBooks.com.

I WATCHED (AGAIN) LOOPERS: THE CADDIE'S LONG WALK on a flight returning to New York from London. It was on this Delta flight that I got to view the film "up close and personal."

I must say it had a real affect, bringing me to misty tears as I remembered my own caddie days at Midlothian Country Club, south of Chicago. starting at the age of ten to when I was made caddie master at 16. I had my last "loop" at 21, the summer after graduating from St. Louis University and just before I headed off to Texas and basic training with the Air Force.

Having written three novels all entitled "The Caddie…" I am, of course, attached to the role of the caddie in golf. I have seen what an enriching experience it is for anyone who has looped at one time or another. It changed our lives, whether we realize it now or not. Growing up as a caddie is an education about life and this film touches on that role. 

The film includes all types of caddies, from girls and boys' first jobs, to the ageless professional caddies. In doing so, it also tells how the caddie role has changed over time.

My first experience with professional caddies was in 1949 when I was too young to caddie in the last Victory Open held at Midlothian won by Bobby Locke. Locke's caddie, Kenny Burke, was a year older than me, and he earned $75 from Locke.

It was at this tournament that I met a few pro caddies working the tour, such as it was in those days. 

These men wandered into the caddie yard from wherever they had last been in the world. Old guys, grown men, who lived on the edge of society, earning what they could to make it through the day. They kept us kids enthralled with stories about legendary players like Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and Jimmy Demaret.

Years later, writing an occasional article for a golf magazine, I got to interview the new professional caddies, guys like Angelo Argea who looped for Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player's Rabbit Dyer, and Tom Watson's caddie, Bruce Edwards. From Edwards I learned he was from an upper class family in Connecticut who decided he wanted to caddie for a living. Bruce met Tom, the year he turned pro, at a St. Louis PGA event. Edwards was told by another part-time caddie, a lawyer from Philly, to try and grab the bag of this new player on tour, Tom Watson.

The movie goes into that chance meeting and the beginning of their long career together, their friendship, and how Watson helped Bruce, financially and in other ways, during the last years of Edwards' life. 

The film does much more than just tell one story. It is the story of all loopers, for all times, and how professional (and amateur) caddies' lives have changed, as have the lives of their pros. Television and players like Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods brought real money into professional golf. 

We tend to forget that until the late 1950s there were only a few pros who could make a living playing full-time on the tour (and no caddie could). The majority of pros were "home pros" who "followed the sun" only by working at one private country club up north over the summer, then having a second job down south in the winter. Some pros got help from their club members who financed them money (for a percentage of their wins) to play events on the winter tour.

Golf money winnings, as we know, are still a long way from what baseball and basketball and other sports pros earn in a season. But the game has enough money in it today for players and their loopers in that televised roadshow that is the pro tour. It's a career. It's a way of life. 

And for caddies, regardless of their ages or place of employment, on the tour or at the club, it still means: Show up. Keep up. Shut up.

Yet, as we know from hanging around any caddie shack, and for having seen this film, loopers still have a lot to say.  

Wednesday, November 20

The Hong Kong Open Is Postponed Due to Ongoing Unrest

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AS THE ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORTED, The Hong Kong Open scheduled to begin November 28 at Hong Kong Golf Club is postponed.

Organizers hope to reschedule the tournament early next year.

Here's the statement from TheHongKongOpen.com:
Hong Kong Open Postponed 
Regrettably, the European Tour, in conjunction with tournament co-sanctioning partner the Asian Tour, has taken the decision to postpone next week’s Hong Kong Open, scheduled to take place at Hong Kong Golf Club, Fanling from November 28 to December 1. 
Organisers are hoping to reschedule the tournament to early 2020. 
Thank you for your support and understanding.
European Tour CEO Kevin Pelley said: ''We feel this is the correct but unfortunate course of action.''

2019 LPGA Tour Season Concludes With The CME Group Tour Championship on NBC Sports

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By GOLF Channel Communications

ORLANDO, Fla.  – Tiburon Golf Club in Naples sets the stage this week for the season-ending event on the LPGA Tour, the CME Group Tour Championship, taking place Thursday-Sunday, Nov. 21-24. GOLF Channel will air the first three days of coverage, with the final round airing on NBC Sports for the first time in tournament history.

The international field will feature the top-60 players in the Race to the CME Globe, all competing for the largest first-place prize in the history of women’s golf: $1.5 million.

BROADCAST TEAM: Terry Gannon and Hall-of-Famer Judy Rankin will serve as play-by-play host and analyst, respectively for GOLF Channel and NBC's tournament coverage. Tom Abbott will report from a tower position, with Jerry Foltz and Karen Stupples reporting from the course. Lisa Cornwell will conduct pre- and post-round interviews for GOLF Channel, with Steve Sands conducting interviews for NBC's final round coverage.

COMPREHENSIVE WRAPAROUND NEWS COVERAGE: Thursday-Sunday, GOLF Channel's franchise news programs – Morning Drive and Golf Central – will provide wraparound news coverage with highlights and analysis. Cornwell will report on-site throughout the week. On Wednesday from 5-6 p.m. ET, GOLF Channel will air pre-tournament news conferences from Tiburon Golf Club.

CME Group Tour Championship Airtimes (all times Eastern)

Thursday, Nov. 21 First Round 4-7 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 22 Second Round 4-7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 23 Third Round 4-7 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 24 Final Round (NBC) 1-4 p.m.

Thursday, November 14

Two Long Island Guys Win 2019 'Golf Is Great' Video Contest Sponsored By PlayGolfMyrtleBeach.com



GREG PADDEN OF FARMINGDALE, N.Y. and Zain Nadeem of Hicksville, N.Y. have been named the winners of the 2019 "Golf is Great" Video Contest sponsored by PlayGolfMyrtleBeach.com.

The grand prize was $10,000 and a golf trip to Myrtle Beach.

Padden and Nadeem's video was one of 10 finalists that received the highest totals of more than 143,000 total votes cast, and was selected as the winner by a panel of judges.

The winning submission chronicles the plight of one (Padden) fighting the workday doldrums while the other (Nadeem) tries to get through a day of household tasks.

Tuesday, November 12

Mexican Club Caddie David Ortiz: '[Matt] Kuchar Is a Good Person. I'm Not Angry'

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THE MAYAKOBA GOLF CLASSIC TEES OFF on Thursday at the El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Matt Kuchar is the defending champion.

That 2018 victory turned sour for Kuchar when it was learned the veteran paid local caddie David Ortiz a pittance compared to the customary amount on the PGA Tour. The controversy played out on social and other media in the weeks that followed.

Eventually, Kuchar wrote a much larger check (an additional $45,000) to Ortiz and issued a public apology.

According to a New York Post story, the caddie doesn't hold a grudge.

"Kuchar is a good person. I'm not angry," Ortiz said. "Everything is good. Not paying was not good. But I have no anger."

Ortiz planned to use the money to build a laundromat but changed his mind after anticipating that local workers might overcharge because of his windfall. The caddie is more in demand at the resort since carrying Kuchar's bag to victory.

The hard-to-get money from Kuchar was life-changing.

"Fifty thousand dollars, for me, is big," Ortiz added. "It's everything to me and not much to [Kuchar]. The $50,000 I needed for my business and to fix my kitchen and bathroom at home and to buy a new cell phone."

(H/T GolfChannel.com)

ICYMI: Jeff Maggert Holes Out to Win the Charles Schwab Cup Championship (VIDEO)


THIS IS ABOUT AS EXCITED as you'll ever see mild-mannered Jeff Maggert.

The tour veteran holed out on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff to outlast Retief Goosen and win the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, the season finale on the PGA Tour Champions.

The playoff loss had extra sting for Goosen. Had the South African prevailed he would also have won the season-long points race known as the Charles Schwab Cup.

Instead, Scott McCarron, sipping wine in the clubhouse and Maggert's new best friend, learned he won the Cup after hearing a roar in the distance.

"Jeff Maggert, my favorite player on PGA Tour Champions, holes out!" exclaimed McCarron. "I can't believe it!"

"I think he owes me some good red wine or something," Maggert said.

Yeah, or something.

Friday, November 8

DP World Tour Championship to Welcome Europe's Top 50 for Rolex Series 2019 Finale Beginning November 21

Tournament news from European Tour sponsor Rolex.

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The 50 elite players atop the European Tour's Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex will compete in the last Rolex Series event of 2019, the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai at Jumeirah Golf Estates from 21–24 November.

An increase in the ranking points available at the final three Rolex Series events – including the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai – gives the winner of that tournament an increased chance of claiming the title in the European Tour's season-long Race to Dubai.

Launched in 2017 on the 20th anniversary of Rolex's partnership with the European Tour, the Rolex Series showcases the highest quality golf and the international spirit of the game.

Jon Rahm

That same year, in his first full season as a professional, Rolex Testimonee Jon Rahm won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, prestigious events that were part of the inaugural Rolex Series.

After winning the Irish Open again earlier this year, the No. 2 in the Race to Dubai Rankings has an opportunity to repeat his twin successes from two years ago and capture a first Race to Dubai title.

The Spaniard said: "Rolex Series events are the most prestigious tournaments on  the European Tour, and the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai is one of the biggest of those, so I am especially proud to be a former champion here and I am excited to return in 2019 with a chance to repeat history."

With enhanced ranking points available from the two Rolex Series events immediately preceding the DP World Tour Championship, all players in the top 70 have a chance to qualify for the season finale.

U.S. Presidents Cup Captain Tiger Woods Talks About Himself in Third Person as the Final Captain's Pick


U.S. PRESIDENTS CUP CAPTAIN TIGER WOODS announced his four captain's picks late on Thursday. They are: Tony Finau, Patrick Reed, Gary Woodland and Tiger Woods.

"It was a difficult process," Woods said in Golfweek. "I wanted to see some form from the guys in the U.S. and over in Asia, wanted to see guys play a little bit and play well. And that included me."

Here's the captain explaining that final pick:


"As captain," Woods said, "I'm going to choose Tiger Woods as the last player on the team. He's made, what, nine Cups and he's played in Australia twice in the Presidents Cup, so this will be his third appearance as a player."

It's a legit pick, especially after Tiger's recent historic win at the ZOZO Championship in Japan, which tied him with record-holder Sam Snead at 82 PGA Tour victories.

United States Team

Patrick Cantlay
Bryson DeChambeau
Tony Finau
Dustin Johnson
Brooks Koepka
Matt Kuchar
Patrick Reed
Xander Schauffele
Webb Simpson
Justin Thomas
Gary Woodland
Tiger Woods*

*Woods is the second playing captain. Hale Irwin was the first in 1994.

The U.S. assistant captains are Fred Couples, Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson.

The 13th Presidents Cup will be played at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club on December 9 through 15.

Tuesday, November 5

USGA and The R&A to Launch World Handicap System in 2020

The following news release is edited for length. Read the entire release here.

By USGA Communications

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J., and ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – The World Handicap System (WHS) is ready to be launched in January 2020 and will provide golfers with a unified and more inclusive handicapping system for the first time.

Though many countries are planning to adopt the new system in January, the system will go live in other parts of the world throughout the year to accommodate different implementation plans and variations in the golf calendar.

Developed by the USGA and The R&A in close coordination with existing handicapping authorities, the WHS will provide all golfers with a consistent measure of playing ability, with handicaps calculated in the same way wherever they are in the world.

A key objective of the initiative was to develop a modern system, enabling as many golfers as possible to obtain and maintain a Handicap Index.

Golfers will be able to transport their Handicap Index globally and compete or play a casual round with players from other regions on a fair basis. It will also indicate the score a golfer is reasonably capable of achieving the next time they go out to play.

The WHS has two main components – the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System. The Rules of Handicapping are encompassed within seven Rules to inform administrators and golfers on how an official Handicap Index is calculated and administered, with some flexibility given to national associations based on how the sport is played and enjoyed in their region. The Course Rating System, based on the USGA Course Rating System first adopted nearly 50 years ago and already adopted on nearly every continent, sets out a consistent method of determining a course's difficulty. Together, these components become the foundational elements in determining a golfer's Handicap Index.

In preparation for the launch of the WHS, more than 3,000 golf courses have been rated for the first time and an extensive education program has been delivered. By the end of 2019, more than 90 National Associations will have attended an educational seminar and a robust library of resources is hosted on WHS.com to support regional education.

Rules of Handicapping books are being produced and will be translated and delivered through national associations.

In addition, the USGA and The R&A have developed a series of golfer-focused materials, including videos, infographics and posters, which can be used by national associations and shared with golf clubs for the benefit of golfers. 

This includes a promotional video featuring Annika Sorenstam, Gary Player and voices of recreational golfers from around the world to encourage as many golfers as possible to obtain and maintain a handicap.

To learn more about the World Handicap System, please visit usga.org/WHS. For WHS information specific to a country, use the Association Finder for further information.

Monday, November 4

Rory McIlroy: 'I Produced Two of the Best Shots of the Day When I Needed It'



THE PGA TOUR'S ASIA SWING CONCLUDED on Sunday with the 15th edition of the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, where Rory McIlroy picked up his fourth title of the calendar year.

McIlroy finished 19 under after rounds of 67, 67, 67 and 68. But the Northern Irishman had to work overtime when 2018 champion Xander Schauffele tied with a birdie on the 72nd hole. Rory closed out the win with a birdie on the first playoff hole.

"Xander pushed me the whole way," McIlroy said, "or all 73 holes we played together this week. We played every round. He played great. He was battling a flu all week, wasn't feeling his best, and so the caliber of golf he played this week, it takes some doing. He birdied the last to get into the playoff, and then I produced two of the best shots of the day when I needed it, which was really cool."

South African Louis Oosthuizen finished third. Five of the last six winners at the WGC-HSBC Champions were in the field.

McIlroy will take two weeks off and then head to Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship.

Thursday, October 31

CBS Golf Shakeup: McCord, Kostis Are Gone; Love Is On the Air


GARY MCCORD IS FUMING, ACCORDING TO MEDIA REPORTS.

The 33-year broadcast veteran was axed by CBS Sports last weekend. So was on-course reporter Peter Kostis, who spent 27 years with CBS.

A CBS spokesperson said: "Gary and Peter have been an important part of our golf coverage for three decades. They were both outstanding teammates and we thank them for their significant contributions throughout the years. We wish them both all the best."

Meanwhile, McCord was caught off guard and unhappy about how it went down, according to a Golfworld report by David Shedloski:

"He [Sean McManus] tells me, and he told Peter the same thing, that 'We think CBS golf is getting a little stale, and we need to go in another direction,'" McCord said. "I've been called a lot of things, but one thing I've never been called is stale."

McCord was also quoted as saying: "You just don't do something like this. You shouldn't do it this way. No chance to say thanks to the viewers, to all my CBS friends? That's what you get for 35 years?"

That new direction for the CBS golf team will include Davis Love III, who will climb into the booth as a full-time golf analyst for PGA Tour events and two majors, the Masters and PGA Championship. Love is a buddy of CBS golf producer Lance Barrow.

ICYMI: Korean Tour's Bio Kim Gets Suspension Reduced to One Year



BIO KIM CAN RESUME HIS LIVELIHOOD in 2021, according to a Korean news site:
Golfer Kim Bi-o was handed a one-year suspension for raising his middle finger to the gallery at a tournament in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province last month. 
Kim was initially given a three-year ban, but it was whittled down to one year by the disciplinary committee of the Korea Professional Golfers' Association on Wednesday.
Kim also has to perform 120 hours of community service and pay a fine. No change there.

PGA Tour veteran Kevin Na defended Kim, as did others, or they at least opposed a three-year suspension.

(H/T Brian Wacker, Golfworld)

Wednesday, October 30

'I'm Going to Try My Very Best to Beat Him' and Other Life Lessons From the Caddie Yard

Embed from Getty Images

By Tom Coyne

Tom Coyne is a former boyhood caddie at Midlothian Country Club and was a longtime university vice president.

CERTAIN HOLES AT A COUNTRY CLUB bring back special memories — and not always for their beauty or complexity.

For me, one such hole was the 6th at the Midlothian Country Club, about 30 miles south of Chicago, where my brothers and I caddied, starting with me in the mid 1940s and with them to the late 1950s.

As a golf test it wasn't anything special, a 433-yard par 4. The tee box was nestled back in a corner where the club's entrance road met 147th Street. The players hit over a deep valley (well, deep in memory) uphill to a rolling surface past the forecaddie station. The second shot was the tough one, down to a postage stamp green surrounded by three small bunkers. A metal chain link fence, sparsely covered with vines, separated the 6th fairway from the former country road.

Caddying for Mrs. Bradshaw one Sunday afternoon, a car went speeding down the road and from it a voice, surely a current or former caddie, called out "Hi Madge." The not-so-young Madge Bradshaw smiled gleefully and waved. She always was a classy lady.

But the area was less a golf hole than a meeting place. The nearby 7th and 17th tee boxes were side by side, slightly askew and separated by a refreshment stand. Adding to the mix was the path bringing the players off the 16th green.

Adding to the mix was the path bringing the players off the  green. With that many members around, there was lots for caddies to see and hear.

Golfers don't usually realize it, and they certainly haven't signed up for the job, but they are, in fact, teachers, especially for young caddies.

They aren't teaching the secrets of the game. They are teaching life and how one lives it. Caddies, consciously or unconsciously, are always observing and absorbing how adults act and talk. Perhaps even more than from their parents, they are learning from their players how to move into adulthood.

"He treats everybody with friendliness, courtesy and respect; his kids, other members, me, the refreshment girl."

"He really swears a lot. I guess that is the kind of language grownups use, regardless of what the nuns say."

"What a stupid mistake I made…and it cost her. It was really nice the way she explained what I had done wrong and how to fix it."

"She talks a lot about what other people do. It must be OK for me to talk about the other guys."

"He really has a lot of bad things to say about (name your group). So that is what those people are like."

In the late 1940s and early 1950s there were only young boys to hear these comments. We didn't have female caddies then. However, I don't doubt the observations of the young ladies now would be much the same, with the obvious addition:

"Wow! I wouldn't want to be married to him."

Other life lessons were sometimes more direct, not just overheard.

To this day I remember when I caddied for Norbert Shanahan in the First Flight finals of the club championship. We were playing Pat Shea. Pat was a World War II vet and missing a right foot. He walked around the course on crutches, hitting the ball and putting while standing on one leg. And he did those very well indeed.

Before the match started, I asked Mr. Shanahan, "You are going to take it easy on Pat, aren't you, Mr. Shanahan?"

“No, Tom," he said. "I'm going to try my very best to beat him. He deserves that respect."

I have never had a better example on how to relate to people with handicaps, treating them with equality. Mr. Shanahan won the match, but I got far more from him that day than a good tip.

Monday, October 28

VIDEO: Tiger Woods Captures PGA Tour Record-Tying 82nd Win at ZOZO Championship in Japan



TIGER WOODS IS THE KING OF COMEBACKS.

The latest is his surprising victory at the inaugural ZOZO Championship in Japan. It's that magical win No. 82 on the PGA Tour, tying Woods with the longtime record holder, golf legend Sam Snead.

At the moment, it's hard to believe Tiger won't win No. 83 to break Snead's record. He has been down and counted out more than any major sports figure I can recall. Some of the valleys have been especially low and long, but Tiger has climbed out each time.

During a week that had the appearance of a corporate obligation, as one golf writer observed, Woods jumped to the top of the leaderboard with a pair of 64s and then finished off a three-stroke victory over Hideki Matsuyama with rounds of 66 and 67.


Here are the highlights of the historic final round:


Thursday, October 24

GOLF CENTRAL: Brooks Koepka and the Sad Fate of Left Knees in the Modern Golf Era



WORLD NO. 1 BROOKS KOEPKA is considering knee surgery, which may cause him to sit out the Presidents Cup. (Koepka re-injured his left knee at the recent CJ Cup.)

"[W]e're just waiting on what the surgeon says and what Brooks is going to do," U.S. Presidents Cup Captain Tiger Woods said in Golfweek. "He is getting other opinions on what are his options. You want to go through as many different opinions as you possibly can before you decide what you are going to do."

In the above "Alternate Shot" segment, Geoff Shackelford and Tripp Isenhour discuss the modern golf moves and fitness that ravage left knees.

(H/T Geoff Shackelford)

Tuesday, October 22

U.S. Postal Service Unveils Arnold Palmer Stamp

WASHINGTON — With 2020 rapidly approaching, the U.S. Postal Service today revealed several of the new Forever stamps and others to be issued next year.

Since 1847, the Postal Service stamp program has celebrated the people, events and cultural milestones unique to the history of the United States. The 2020 stamp subjects continue this rich tradition. The stamp designs being shown today are preliminary and subject to change.

"These miniature works of art offer something for everyone interested in American history and culture," said U.S. Postal Service Stamp Services Acting Executive Director William Gicker. "From notable figures such as golf legend Arnold Palmer and esteemed journalist Gwen Ifill to the cultural phenomenon of hip hop to a celebration of the great outdoors, this program is wide-ranging and adds to the history of our great nation as recorded through the U.S. stamp program."

Arnold Palmer
This stamp honors champion golfer Arnold Palmer (1929–2016). With drive and charisma, he helped transform a game once seen as a pastime for the elite into a sport enjoyed by the masses. The stamp features James Drake's action photograph of Palmer at the 1964 United States Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD. Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamp.

The Asia Swing Is a Big Money Thing



WRITING FOR MORNING READ, veteran golf journalist Gary Van Sickle described the PGA Tour's pot of gold in the Far East.
You might be wondering, as a fan and not a cynical media observer such as myself, why the PGA Tour needs tournaments in South Korea last week (CJ Cup), Japan this week (Zozo Championship) and China next week (HSBC Champions, a World Golf Championships event). 
This should clarify things: The purses for the three events are, respectively, $9.75 million, $9.75 million and $10.25 million. That's nearly $30 million in three weeks. Suddenly, the $50 million FedEx Cup payroll seems a little less gigantic than it did back in August. 
I hadn't thought much (or at all) about there being an Asia Swing. But obviously it's a pretty big deal as the worldwide golf tours compete for top sponsors and players. The PGA Tour wants a slice, a hefty one at that, please and thank you.

"The PGA Tour is a global organization," PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in the story. "We've got a global membership, and we are an important part of a global sport."

(Cha-ching, cha-ching.)

Van Sickle also wrote, "The money helps make the Asia Swing the third most significant swing on the PGA Tour."

How about that?

First is the West Coast Swing. Its seven events total more than $50 million. Next is the Florida Swing and its four tournaments worth nearly $36 million.

The old Texas Swing is no longer a swing since the events in the Lone Star state are no longer played consecutively.

Now, it's go east, young man. And instead of (or in addition to) "follow the sun," it's follow the money, which this week leads to Japan and the inaugural Zozo Championship.

Thursday, October 17

'Hero' Step Curry Featured on Cover of GOLF Magazine's 60th Anniversary Edition

PUTTING BASKETBALL GREAT STEPH CURRY on a cover is highly unusual, noted GOLF Magazine.

"It’s been 10 years since we last had a non-golf personality on the cover of GOLF," David DeNunzio, Editor-In-Chief of GOLF, said. "It's extremely rare that someone the caliber of Steph Curry, known for his greatness in an area other than golf, actually moves the needle in our game. He is such a great ambassador for the sport of golf, and we're thrilled to feature him on our 60th anniversary cover."

Also from the news release:

Over the last few years, Curry—who played competitively on his high school’s golf team—has diligently given back the game that has had such a big influence on his life. Earlier this year, when Curry learned that a Howard University student had been working to try to resurrect their golf program, Curry pledged to fund the men’s and women’s programs for their first six years. If that wasn’t enough, he is also helping to hire coaches and design team uniforms at the historically black university. Acts like these, along with Curry’s commitment to such worthy programs as the PGA Jr. League and PGA REACH, make Curry one of the most prominent ambassadors for the modern game of golf – in the words of GOLF Magazine… a hero.

Curry's love of golf was passed on from his dad, former NBA standout Dell Curry. The younger Curry readily acknowledges that the lessons he learned on the course as a child, about accountability and integrity, serve as the foundation for his success as a basketball player.

Tiger Woods's Memoir Titled 'BACK' Is Eerily Familiar to This Blogger

Embed from Getty Images

Did I predict the title of Tiger's forthcoming memoir seven years ago? You be the judge. The following is my spoof from the March 2012 archives.

MERRIAM-WEBSTER, AN ENCYCLOPEDIA Britannica Company, today announced that Tiger Woods, the former No. 1 golfer in the world, has been officially added as the fourth entry in the definition of the word "back." The surprising move by one of the world's most respected dictionaries comes on the heels of Woods's win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his first official victory in more than 30 months on the PGA Tour.

It's highly unusual for a proper name to be used in a definition for a common word. Consequently, there was a swift negative reaction from some etymologists who suggested that Merriam-Webster was unduly influenced by the public outpouring of support and the titanic media onslaught that followed the golfer's long-awaited win.

But the dictionary defended its action, saying in a statement, "We believe, along with everyone else, that Tiger is back. All we've done is to document that known fact, to say that 'back' is Tiger Woods."

The dictionary added that, in recognition of Woods, "back" would soon be featured as word of the day at its popular website.

Following is the newly released definition by Merriam-Webster.
_____________________________________________________________

back noun \ˈbak\

Definition of BACK

1 a (1) : the rear part of the human body especially from the neck to the end of the spine (2) : the body considered as the wearer of clothes (3) : capacity for labor, effort, or endurance (4) : the back considered as the seat of one’s awareness of duty or failings 
(5) : the back considered as an area of vulnerability
b : the part of a lower animal (as a quadruped) corresponding to the human back
c : spinal column
d : spine 1c

2 a : the side or surface opposite the front or face : the rear part; also : the farther or reverse side
b : something at or on the back for support

c : a place away from the front


3: a position in some games (as football or soccer) behind the front line of players; also : a player in this position

4: Tiger Woods
_____________________________________________________________

A Merriam-Webster representative would not comment on the rumor that Woods would move up to the second definition of "back" if he wins the Masters in two weeks.

Tuesday, October 15

Tiger Woods Is Writing 'BACK,' a Memoir That Tells His Story in His Words, Coming From HarperCollins


TIGER WOODS WILL PUBLISH A MEMOIR called BACK, his website announced today.
BACK is a candid and intimate narrative of an outsize American life: from growing up a celebrated golfing prodigy to shattering centuries-old racial barriers as a young pro; from rising to unprecedented fame and global icon status to battling devastating injuries and personal issues; from enduring years of physical anguish to mounting an astonishing comeback at 43 years old, culminating with the 2019 Masters, where his thrillingly impossible victory captured the imagination and hearts of people around the world. 
This memoir is the first and only account directly from [Tiger] Woods, with the full cooperation of his friends, family, and inner circle.
Woods said, "I've been in the spotlight for a long time, and because of that, there have been books and articles and TV shows about me, most filled with errors, speculative and wrong. This book is my definitive story. It's in my words and expresses my thoughts. It describes how I feel and what's happened in my life. I've been working at it steadily, and I'm looking forward to continuing the process and creating a book that people will want to read."
No release date was given.

Thursday, October 10

VIDEO: Montana Boys Finish in Snow to Decide State 2A Golf Championship


THE MONTANA BOYS 2A  HIGH SCHOOL GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP had some extra drama -- snow. As you can see above, the boys kept playing as the Meadow Lark Country Club in Great Falls went from green to white. Due to the snowy conditions, some chipped on the green. Others cleared a path to attempt a putt.

Richard Ecke shot the above footage that's making the rounds on social media and golf sites. (I saw the above clip on my Twitter feed.)

More from Ecke:

"I filmed it at 3:15 pm MDT Tuesday at the close of a two-day golf tournament at Meadow Lark Country Club, Gt Falls MT. The weather was fine Monday and mild until about 11 am Tuesday when the snow began. The late players were losing balls in the snow. COLD!"

And if you're wonder why they're playing Montana high school golf in October, here you go:

Tuesday, October 8

Journeyman Kevin Na: From 'Just Bear With Me' to 'Catching Up on My Wins'



BACK IN 2012 KEVIN NA was grinding on the golf course in the worst way. He was stuck. Na would stand over the ball and couldn't pull the trigger.

All the golf world witnessed it when Na found himself leading the 2012 Players Championship. It was excruciating to watch.

"[T]rust me ... I get ripped," Na said at the time. "A lot. I know ... TV, Twitter and fans are tired of me backing off. I understand people being frustrated with me backing off, but all I can tell you guys is, honestly, I'm trying. And it's hard for me, too. Just bear with me."

In 2014 Steve Williams, Adam Scott's caddie, approached Na and said, "I never want to see you play again."

But as ESPN's Bob Harig wrote, Na sped up his routine and "practically sprinted to his golf ball." He chased putts on their way to the hole. Things improved for Na on the golf course, the demons quieter if not silenced, but he still threw away wins.

Now that's changed, including this past weekend when Na, 36, prevailed in a playoff with Patrick Cantlay to win the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. During the tournament, he made nearly 560 feet of putts, a PGA Tour record.

Na is like a new man.

"I'm catching up on my wins. Three seasons in a row, win No. 4 here, so let's keep going.''

The Big Four Venues of U.S. Open Golf

IN A RECENT GOLFWORLD STORY, John Feinstein unpacked rumors about the future of U.S. Open venues and revealed the four American courses that are expected to host the U.S. Open once a decade or so.

"It's pretty clear that we love Pebble Beach, Pinehurst, Oakmont and Shinnecock," United States Golf Association CEO Mike Davis said in the article.

"Those four meet all our criteria: They're great tests of golf, they set up logistically either very well or well enough, and—being honest—we're going to make money when we go there. We're a nonprofit, but the U.S. Open financially supports everything else we do—all our other championships and all the golf programs we sponsor—among other things."

The U.S. Open will return to Pinehurst in 2024, Oakmont in 2025, Shinnecock in 2026 and Pebble Beach in 2027.

But Davis shot down the rumors that the USGA would pursue a rota of four or five courses (the fifth would be Winged Foot) for its marquee championship or have an ongoing business arrangement with the famous golf clubs.

"Let me be honest," Davis explained. "We don't have to go into business with anyone. We want to play the Open on the best possible golf courses, but there are very few places that might turn us away. We will always have options."