Monday, September 16

Europe Wins Solheim Cup With Dramatic Birdie by Suzann Pettersen, Who Promptly Retires

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SUZANN PETTERSEN SANK A CLUTCH 7-foot birdie putt on the final hole to clinch the Solheim Cup for Europe. And then Pettersen retired, on the spot.

That's how you do it.

Here's part of the CNN report:
Norway's Pettersen embraced opponent Marina Alex before falling into the arms of her European teammates on the 18th green at Gleneagles, Scotland, after her winning putt gave Europe a 14.5-13.5 win in the biennial team competition. 
It was Europe's first win since 2013 and sixth in the 16 matches that have been held since the competition -- similar to the men's Ryder Cup between Europe and USA -- began in 1990. 
The 38-year-old Pettersen, a two-time major champion, later announced her retirement from professional golf. 
"This is it, I'm completely done," Pettersen -- a controversial wildcard pick -- told reporters at a jovial a news conference with her victorious teammates. 
"I think this is the perfect end for my professional career, it doesn't get any better and to do it with these girls is amazing."

Wednesday, September 11

Rory McIlroy Voted 2019 PGA Tour Player of the Year, Receives Jack Nicklaus Award

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AND THE WINNER IS ... RORY MCILROY.

Here's the announcement from tour headquarters:
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The PGA TOUR announced today that Rory McIlroy has been named the 2019 PGA TOUR Player of the Year as voted by the TOUR’s membership for the 2018-19 season. McIlroy will receive the Jack Nicklaus Award for winning PGA TOUR Player of the Year for the third time in his career (2012, 2014, 2019). 
PGA TOUR members who played at least 15 official FedExCup events during the 2018-19 season were eligible to vote. The balloting process ended on Sept. 6. 
McIlroy, 30, of Holywood, Northern Ireland, won the FedExCup for the second time (2016, 2019), becoming just the second player to win the season-long race multiple times (Tiger Woods), and the first player to win THE PLAYERS Championship and the FedExCup in the same season. With three wins on the season (THE PLAYERS, RBC Canadian Open, TOUR Championship), McIlroy matched Brooks Koepka for the most on TOUR, and marked the third time he collected three or more victories in a single season. McIlroy also won the Byron Nelson Award for Adjusted Scoring Average (69.057) for the third time in his career and led the PGA TOUR in Top-10s (14) and Strokes Gained: Total (2.551).

Monday, September 9

European Ryder Cup Hero Sam Torrance Quit Playing Golf Two Years Ago: 'I've Kind of Lost the Love for It'

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SAM TORRANCE IS A RYDER CUP HERO who has played eight times for the European side and captained his team to victory in 2002. The Scot has also won 21 times on the European Tour (10th all time) and another 11 on the European senior circuit.

Despite this enviable record -- or perhaps because of it -- the 66-year-old golf legend has put down his sticks.

"I've kind of lost the love for it," Torrance told BBC Radio 5 Live. "I'm not very good. The hardest thing … is I'm mediocre compared to what I was."

Torrance decided to quit two years ago after reviewing his tournament results with his manager. His best finish was 35th. And he was an aggregate 200 over par.

"So it was time," he said.

Torrance added: "Even with my mates I'm struggling to find the impetus to get up there and do it."

Torrance made the putt that clinched the 1985 Ryder Cup, which was the first victory for Europe in 28 years. Since then Europe has pretty much owned the Americans, winning 12 of the last 17 contests.

VIDEO: Another Bad Look for Matt Kuchar



MOVING "LOOSE IMPEDIMENTS" IN A WASTE BUNKER. This was the most recent questionable act of Matt Kuchar. I wonder if he even cares.

Apparently, it's within the rules (which I don't get). But as Geoff Shackelford commented at his site, that's a whole different topic.

Nonetheless, how does it look when Kuchar pulls this stuff? Not good to me. In fact, it looks bad, silly, both.

Just step up and hit the ball, Matt. Play it as it lies. Because you did hit your golf ball in that waste bunker. Kuchar went on to miss the cut at the Porsche European Open.

I might need to start a new category at this blog called, "Really, Kooch?"

Friday, September 6

Golf Swing Friday: Curving the Golf Ball


HERE ARE BUBBA WATSON, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed and others, all working the golf ball.

Which way does your ball curve? Is it intentional?

Thursday, September 5

Tiger Woods and Jon Rahm Highlighted in Report on Age in Six Sports

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A NEW REPORT CALLED FINISHING ON A HIGH looks at six sports since 2000 to determine the perfect age to prosper as a sports star and whether age is just a number.

In the section called "Title Winners Beyond Average Age of Retirement," the report mentioned Tiger Woods:
Tiger Woods, golf - An improbable comeback at the Masters was a true sporting fairytale considering everything that had happened in Woods' life. At the age of 43, he proved he can still mix it with the best and since the turn of the century only Phil Mickelson has won a major at the same age. Only five players have won titles in their 40s in the last 20 years so it may be unlikely that we see Tiger win a big one again.
"Already, the age for being at peak is getting older," commented Jacky Forsyth, Associate Professor of Exercise Physiology at Staffordshire University. "Maybe this is more to do with a societal change than a technological/treatment change.

"There have been medical advancements and we have a better understanding of how the body responds and adapts to training. There is also the idea that, for endurance sports, an older age is preferable since, with aging, the body responds more to endurance training in terms of muscle tissue and cellular adaptation."

Don't be surprised if the world's next big golf star is Jon Rahm, according to the report:
John Rahm, golf - Statistics show that male golfers begin to peak at the age of 25 and can enjoy success for around 10 years before slipping away at 35. Rahm turns 25 later this year and has impressed in recent majors without breaking his duck. Expect the big-hitting Spaniard to go on a run of success in the coming years.

Tuesday, September 3

First-Time European Tour Winner Sebastian Soderberg: 'I Was Shaking the Last Few Holes'



A WILD OMEGA EUROPEAN MASTERS in the Swiss Alps ended with a playoff. It was a fivesome. And it included World No. 2 and FedEx king Rory McIlroy.

The other four who tied at 14-under 266 weren't exactly the usual suspects. Their names and rankings were Kalle Samooja (300), Andres Romero (735), Lorenzo Gagli (513) and Sebastian Soderberg (287).

Soderberg of Sweden won with a birdie on the first playoff hole. It was his maiden victory on the European Tour.

Judging from his comments, the Swede might still be in shock.

"This is tough to describe," Soderberg said. "I was shaking the last few holes.

"I calmed down a bit for the playoff, but now I don't know what to say. I actually didn't play my best today, but my chipping and putting was unbelievable. And it was so exciting to play with Rory. This really hasn’t sunk in yet.

"All I really tried to do was just keep going. I didn't really watch the leader board until the last tee. I hit the first putt on 17 too firm, but I'm proud of myself being able to play good when I was shaking so much. On the 18th, I just tried to focus on hitting two more good shots. There was not as much pressure in the playoff. I had nothing to lose. I was way more calm then I was over the last few holes."

Soderberg, now exempt through 2021, called his new status "life-changing."

Friday, August 30

Brandt Snedeker Didn't Miss a 3-Foot Putt The Entire PGA Tour Season


ABOVE: There was a lot of this in 2018-19.

BRANDT SNEDEKER IS A VERY GOOD PUTTER.

This is not a new idea for many of us who have followed the PGA Tour through the years. But this stat, reported by GolfDigest.com, is startling nonetheless. Especially for amateurs who are known to tremble over those short putts.

Snedeker made every 3-foot putt during the 2018-19 season on the PGA Tour. He converted 834 of 834.

Yes, his name is on his bag. But this still impresses me. You know there had to be some tricky ones among those 800-plus short putts. And yet "Sneds" was perfect.

This isn't new. Snedeker's is "the fifth-highest total this decade for players who finished a season 100 percent from that distance." The others are Greg Chalmers (2019), Gary Woodland (2013), Daniel Summerhays (2015) and Beau Hossler (2018).

For more stats, read "The 21 best stats of the 2018-19 PGA Tour season."

Wednesday, August 28

The Beauty of Golf: When Shane's Captain's Prize Equals Rory's FedEx Cup

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By Michael Kilcourse

Guest contributor Michael Kilcourse is a member of Castlebar Golf Club in Co. Mayo, Ireland.

SO RORY MCILROY, THE SUPERSTAR, wins $15 million and caps off what was a very consistent year of golf. I wonder, though, if you could get him to tell you the absolute truth about how much the FedEx Cup really did mean to him.

After all, it's no secret he wants majors above all else and, let's face it, he doesn't need the millions or billions or whatever unrelatable amount it was.

Just hours before Rory was winning the FedEx Cup, I stood on the patio of my local clubhouse and watched what I considered to be a far more exciting conclusion to a golf tournament, our club's premier competition of the year, the Captain's Prize.

Two hundred and ten golfers started on the first weekend. Eighty-three qualified for weekend two, which eventually came down to a shootout between two guys having the round of their lives.

If, like me, you love your golf and play it at every available opportunity, then very often the €5 taken from your playing partners after winning the fourball can mean more to the club golfer than the $15 million did to Rory. Not sure who once wrote that real pressure was playing golf for a tenner with nothing in your pocket. 

Final round, a 15 handicap knocks it six over for a net 62 and looks certain of victory until the screens in our clubhouse, with live scoring from the course, start to show us the numbers from the round of a nine handicap who has 13 holes played and is still level par. He reaches the 16th, a par 3 right outside the clubhouse. Another par (150 people now watching on with me), still no dropped shots. Pars on 17 and 18 would give a victory of two shots, but a bogey on 17 and the clubhouse holds its breath.

The new challenger emerges over the hill on 18, 100 yards short of the par 5 in two. Unfazed by the large crowd watching on, he knocks it in to 15 feet and holes the putt for a second net 62 on the day, a 36-hole total of 133 and an unassailable lead.



Which meant more:
Rory's FedEx Cup or Shane's Captain’s Prize?

Perhaps that's an unfair comparison or question to ask but let me put it like this. Imagine if Rory finally wins the Masters, his Holy Grail, the one he wants more than anything now in his career. Well, I watched my friend win his Masters, his Holy Grail, last Sunday.

Golf is a game for all abilities, all shapes, makes and sizes, but, more importantly, it is a game that can be watched with equal enthusiasm on the television or out the window of your local clubhouse. 

That's what makes our game so beautiful. It's the only game in the world where €5 can equal $15 million.

Tuesday, August 27

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Rory McIlroy Takes It to Brooks Koepka and Elite Field to Win Second FedEx Cup



RORY MCILROY REMINDED US of his greatness when all the cylinders are firing, as they were at East Lake Golf Club on Sunday in the FedEx Cup finale. Even World No. 1 Brooks Koepka admitted he gets caught up watching Rory when the Northern Irishman is on a tear.

From my vantage point on the couch, McIlroy looked like the only player with his foot on the gas in the final round. He drove the ball magnificently. Everything was clicking.

In the final round McIlroy shot a 4-under 66 to finish 18-under in the Tour Championship and claim a four-stroke win over Xander Schauffele. He collected his 17th PGA Tour victory and won the FedEx Cup for the second time, joining Tiger Woods, the only other repeat winner. McIlroy's payday was a record $15 million.

"I thought a lot about that," McIlroy said about playing with Koepka, who won their recent WGC duel in Memphis. "I really wanted to go out there and play well and really take it to him."

The win vaulted Rory to No. 2 in the world rankings.

Friday, August 23

Top Male Amateur Cole Hammer Wins Mark H. McCormack Medal

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By USGA Communications

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. and ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND – Cole Hammer, 19, of Houston, Texas, has won the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading men's player in the 2019 World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR). As the McCormack Medal recipient, Hammer earns exemptions into the 2020 U.S. Open Championship and 2020 Open Championship, conducted by The R&A, provided he remains an amateur.

Hammer, a sophomore at the University of Texas, has spent eight weeks as the world's No. 1-ranked amateur golfer. His standout freshman year included victories at the Southern Highlands Collegiate, Lamkin Grips SD Classic and the NCAA Austin Regional. He also achieved top-five finishes in the Amer Ari Invitational, Augusta Haskins Award Invitational, ASU Thunderbird Invitational, Big 12 Championship and the Northeast Amateur. He was the recipient of the 2019 Phil Mickelson Award as college golf's Freshman of the Year and helped Texas to a runner-up finish in the 2019 NCAA Championship.

Hammer, who made his debut in the U.S. Open in 2015 at Chambers Bay at the age of 15, was also among the finalists for the Haskins Award and Ben Hogan Award this year.

In 2018, Hammer won the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship with partner Garrett Barber, as well as the Western Amateur and Azalea Amateur championships. He was also a semifinalist in both the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach and U.S. Junior Amateur at Baltusrol Golf Club.

Hammer will represent the USA in the Walker Cup Match on Sept. 7-8 at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

He was previously selected to represent the USA in the World Amateur Team Championship and the Arnold Palmer Cup.

"This has been an incredible year and I am honored to be recognized with the McCormack Medal," said Hammer. "I am grateful to everyone who has helped me get to this level and thankful for my family and friends who continue to support me."

The USGA and The R&A co-award the McCormack Medal annually. It is named after Mark H. McCormack, who founded sports marketing company IMG and was a great supporter of amateur golf. On Aug. 14, Andrea Lee, 20, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., won the McCormack Medal as the leading women's player in 2019.

The World Amateur Golf Ranking, which is supported by Rolex, was established in 2007 when the men's ranking was launched. The men's ranking encompasses more than 2,700 counting events, ranking 6,200 players from 106 countries. The women's ranking was launched in 2011 and has a calendar of more than 1,850 counting events with more than 2,850 ranked players from 78 countries.

Thursday, August 22

Rory McIlroy on FedEx Cup Finale: 'Is [This] the Best Way to Do It?'



THE 30 HORSES ARE OUT OF THE GATE at East Lake Golf Club in the Tour Championship, the finale of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The winner will take home the Cup and $15 million.

OK, so they're actually elite golfers, not racehorses. But imagine for a moment they are thoroughbreds. Let's pretend we're watching the Kentucky Derby and horses are spotted a lead, even a rather larger lead, over other horses.

In effect, that's the situation this week at East Lake in these revamped playoffs.

Rory McIlroy shared this thought with the media:
"If the FedEx Cup really wants to have this legacy in the game, like some of these other championships do, is people starting the tournament on different numbers the best way to do it?"
And Rory said this about the money:
"One of the things that I've talked about over the past couple of years is I don't think the money needs to be front and center, because I don't think that's what the fans care about. Players might care about it, and we want to be rewarded and paid for what we do. But at the same time, competitively, it's not about that. It’s about trying to win golf tournaments."
Meanwhile, FedEx Cup leader Justin Thomas, who started the Tour Championship with the lead at 10 under, still holds the lead, currently 11 under.

Other players are moving up from the pack, while some are falling off the pace. But there's still a long way to go before they reach the home stretch.

(H/T Geoff Shackelford)

Tuesday, August 20

NBA All-Star Steph Curry Helps Howard University Start Golf Program



[W]hen you hear about these passionate student athletes who have the talent but don't have a fair shot at the game, it's tough. I feel really honored to play a small role in the rich history of Howard University, and look forward to building their first men's and women's golf teams with them.
—Steph Curry

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a historic stride forward to grow the game of golf, six-time NBA All-Star and Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation co-founder, Stephen Curry, announced his commitment to Howard University [on Monday], with a pledge to support the establishment of the university's first NCAA Division 1 golf program for the next six years.

Inspired by Howard senior and golfer, Otis Ferguson IV, whom Curry met during a campus visit earlier this year, Curry was compelled to act when Ferguson shared that his impassioned solo crusade to get a golf team at Howard proved unsuccessful.

An avid golfer himself, Curry tapped into what is increasingly becoming his defining trait— the distinctive ability to connect and empathize with anyone, anywhere, and made the unprecedented decision to help bridge the gap between talent and opportunity. Utilizing his unique position, Curry will introduce and increase access to elite golf at a historically black college, furthermore calling on sport and community giants like Under Armour, Callaway, Eat. Learn. Play., among others, for help with equipment, uniforms, and more.

"Golf is a sport that has changed my life in ways that are less tangible, but just as impactful," said the NBA star. Adding, "It’s a discipline that challenges your mental wherewithal from patience to focus, and is impossible to truly master, so when you hear about these passionate student athletes who have the talent but don't have a fair shot at the game, it's tough. I feel really honored to play a small role in the rich history of Howard University, and look forward to building their first men's and women's golf teams with them."

Howard University aims to debut the first men's and women's golf teams in the 2020/2021 academic year, with resources strategically allocated for talent scouting and training to have a competitive Division 1 team in place for its inaugural season, joining Howard's other 19 Division 1 teams. The university previously had a Division 2 golf team and various intercollegiate and intramural club teams.

"Howard University is honored to partner with NBA Champion Stephen Curry to launch what is sure to become one of the best golf programs in the country," said President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA. "This program will expose the campus to a game with numerous benefits. Golf is unique because it can be played through various ages of life. Grandfathers can play with granddaughters. Expanding the competitive opportunities for student athletes, especially in arenas where they are underrepresented, is consistent with the university's strategic plan."

Curry [was] joined by Howard University's President, Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, Athletic Director, Kery Davis, CEO of Callaway, Chip Brewer, and Howard student, Otis Ferguson IV, in a historic tee-off [Monday] in Washington, D.C. 

Monday, August 19

FedEx Cup Playoffs: Justin Thomas Collects 10th PGA Tour Win at BMW Championship



JUSTIN THOMAS CARDED A BLISTERING 61 at Medinah Country Club on Saturday (highlights above) en route to a 3-shot victory at the BMW Championship, the second of three legs in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Thomas finished 25-under for the tournament, with rounds of 65, 69, 61 and 68. Patrick Cantlay finished second.

"Patrick played unbelievably, put a lot of heat on me," Thomas said. "In the end, it could have been good for me. It kept me focused, kept my head down."

He added: "I was really nervous going into today. I remembered that it's really hard to win a golf tournament, and I'm glad that I was able to do so."

Now it's on to East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta for the playoff finale, the Tour Championship, where a field of 30 will battle to be the FedEx Cup champion.

As part of the new playoff format, Thomas will step foot on East Lake as the No. 1 seed, and will be spotted a 2-shot advantage over the No. 2 seed. He will be 10-under on the leaderboard before he hits his opening shot.

"I can certainly say I never slept on a Wednesday lead," Thomas noted.

Thursday, August 15

FedEx Cup Playoffs: BMW Championship Live Coverage and Tournament Information



By GOLF Channel Public Relations

THEN NEWLY-ENHANCED FEDEXCUP PLAYOFFS continues this week, bringing the 2018-19 PGA TOUR season to a thrilling conclusion for the first time in the month of August. Coverage of the final two events will air exclusively on GOLF Channel and NBC with the BMW Championship and the TOUR Championship.

Following Patrick Reed's victory at THE NORTHERN TRUST, the FedExCup Playoffs have been narrowed to the top-70 players for this week's event, The BMW Championship, being staged at Medinah Country Club (No. 3) outside of Chicago and taking place Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 15-18. Complementing NBC Sports' linear live tournament coverage of the Playoffs, PGA TOUR LIVE coverage on NBC Sports Gold on Thursday and Friday morning will lead into live coverage on GOLF Channel (3-7 p.m. ET). GOLF Channel and NBC will combine to air live weekend coverage from Noon-6 p.m. ET on both Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 17-18).

The top-30 in the standings will advance to East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta the following week (Aug. 22-25) for the TOUR Championship, with a $15 million first-place prize on the line at week's end. PGA TOUR LIVE coverage will precede GOLF Channel's live tournament coverage on Thursday-Friday (1-6 p.m. ET), while GOLF Channel and NBC will combine to air six hours of live coverage on both Saturday-Sunday (Aug. 24-25). NBC Sports' tournament coverage also will feature an enhanced graphics package for the FedExCup Playoffs as well as new theme music during the telecasts.

FEDEXCUP PLAYOFFS LIVE TOURNAMENT COVERAGE (ET):

BMW Championship (Aug. 15-18)

Thursday, Aug. 15                 
9:45 a.m.-3 p.m. (Featured Groups)   PGA TOUR LIVE
3-7 p.m. (Live)                                    GOLF Channel
Friday, Aug. 16                       
9:45 a.m.-3 p.m. (Featured Groups)   PGA TOUR LIVE
3-7 p.m. (Live)                                    GOLF Channel
Saturday, Aug. 17                  
Noon-3 p.m. (Live)                             GOLF Channel
3-6 p.m. (Live)                                    NBC
Sunday, Aug. 18                    
Noon-2 p.m. (Live)                             GOLF Channel
2-6 p.m. (Live)                                    NBC

Wednesday, August 14

The Wall Street Caddy: The Lammas Cup at the Old Course in St. Andrews



By Mark Vigil

Guest contributor Mark Vigil is The Wall Street Caddy.

LAMMAS IS A PAGAN FESTIVAL that was once celebrated throughout Ireland and Great Britain in early August to mark the harvest of the season's first wheat crop. It is also referred to as the Gule of August.

Shakespeare understood the importance of the pagan festival. In Romeo and Juliet (1.3.19) he says "come Lammas Eve at night she (Juliet) be fourteen" — a strong symbolic reference given Juliet's ultimate destiny.

Over time, the Catholic church recognized the holiday, and somehow on the liturgical calendar it coincided with the feast of St. Peter in chains, which recognizes Peter's deliverance from prison.

In medieval times it was customary for the congregation to bake fresh loaves of bread from the new wheat harvest and bring them to the church to be blessed by the priests. The loaves of bread were broken into four pieces and each piece was placed in one of the four corners of the farmer's barn to protect the new crop.

Today, the festival is largely forgotten; however, it is still celebrated in St. Andrews with a week-long festival.

Birth of The Lammas Cup

In the mid 1970s a group of local high school students, all free spirited and passionate golfers, decided to establish their own traditions to celebrate this important pagan holiday. They organized a golf tournament to be played on the Old Course. Following the golf was a day of pub crawling throughout the town. The Keys bar, one of the two remaining independent pubs in St. Andrews, supported the young lads by donating the Lammas Cup.

The Lammas Cup is held on Lammas Tuesday (August 13 this year), and the players have held the first six tee times on the Old Course since the inaugural event in 1977, excluding a year when they played the tournament on the Jubilee Course.

The traditions include mandatory drinks the night before the event. Absence from the pre-tournament bacchanalian festivities results in a harsh penalty, a 5-stroke reduction to your handicap. The winner not only gets his name on the trophy, but also earns the right to wear the loud tartan coat, and for the next two years loses 10 strokes and 5 strokes, respectively, to his handicap (a nice tradition to make the Tartan jacket accessible to players of all levels). There's also a raucous closing award ceremony at the Keys pub, where the lads will toast each other until the wee hours of the morning.

The Lammas tournament is the only non-sanctioned annual competition for which the Old Course provides tee times, subject to appropriate annual renewal of the cherished tee time application forms. 

The Lammas Cup is an example of another rich tradition that makes St. Andrews special. A group of high school golfers wove themselves into the fabric of golfing societies of St. Andrews, and, 42 years later, they still hold court at the Old Course with the first six tee times on Lammas Tuesday.

So here's to the modern-day combatants who yesterday played for the right to wear the tartan coat and have his name engraved on the Lammas Cup.

PGA TOUR Video: 'When Tiger Woods Met Sam Snead'


FUN ANECDOTE FROM TIGER WOODS.

If Sam Snead told any other five-year-old to do something, I'd bet that he would do it. But not Tiger Woods.

Another thing: Playing the ball down on every course, no matter what, is pretty smart if you want to get better. It's too late for me, though. I'm rolling it over. And half the time I'm not keeping score.

Saturday, August 10

FedEx Cup Playoffs: DJ Leads Northern Trust, Tiger Withdraws With Oblique Strain



DUSTIN JOHNSON FOLLOWED AN OPENING 63 with a 67 on Friday to take a 1-stroke lead at the halfway point of The Northern Trust, the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Jordan Spieth is in second at 11 under after rounds of 67 and 64.

"I'm in a good position heading into the weekend," Johnson said, "and if I can keep swinging the way I am, I think it's going to be a good weekend."

Woods exited Liberty National on Friday after shooting 75 in the first round.

"Due to a mild oblique strain that led to pain and stiffness, I have to withdraw from The Northern Trust," Woods said in a statement. "I went for treatment early Friday morning, but unfortunately I'm still unable to compete."

Tiger's participation at next week's BMW Championship is in doubt, although he is "hopeful" he can play the event at Medinah, where he has won two PGA Championships.

"Woods had played only 17 official tournaments after his first back surgery in April 2014," reported the Associated Press, "and the fusion surgery was as much about quality of life as golf."

Thursday, August 8

MORNING READ: 'It's Koepka's World, and Players Know It'



WRITING FOR MORNING READ, veteran golf scribe Mike Purkey says "not since Tiger Woods was at his peak has there been this clear of a delineation – both in world-ranking points and nearly everyone's perception – between the best player in the world and everyone else."

Purkey explains why Koepka has a clear path to the FedEx Cup trophy and, at the moment, a peaceful reign as the king of golf:
Brooks Koepka holds a commanding lead of nearly 3½ points in the Official World Golf Ranking and a margin of 562 points in the FedEx Cup standings heading into this week’s first playoff event, the Northern Trust at Liberty National in New Jersey, across the Hudson River from New York. 
And no one appears to have the slightest bit of interest in catching and overtaking him. 
Koepka is the odds-on favorite to win the FedEx Cup championship, listed at 2-1 by Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. Rory McIlroy was the second choice at 13-2, and Dustin Johnson was a 10-1 pick. Given the favorites' recent performance, why would you bet on anyone else unless you’re just taking a flier? 
So, now the question becomes: Who is up to the task of taking on Koepka – on his turf and on his terms? 
It's going to take someone or a couple of someones with muscle, brains and fearlessness and – most of all – an unwavering self-belief that is at least equal to Koepka's.
To review, Koepka, 29, has won seven times in a little more than two years. Four of them were majors and one was the recent WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis.

Tuesday, August 6

Now 13, FedEx Cup Playoffs Are Still Awkward and In Search of Identity

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THE FEDEX CUP PLAYOFFS ARE still kind of odd, right? They're constantly changing, and I wonder if it's in a good way. Sort of like those awkward teen years, which the playoffs have just begun. It's the 13th season. Where has the time gone?

This month of August it's goodbye PGA Championship, hello FedEx Cup Playoffs. Not a bad idea, I suppose, if you're hellbent on finishing before the NFL kicks off.

There are three playoff tournaments instead of four: this week's Northern Trust, then the BMW Championship, then the finale, the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta. Also probably a good thing.

There's more money (from $35 million to $60 million) and only one winner at the Tour Championship, the FedEx Cup champion. (No individual tournament winner.)

I won't attempt to explain the points system, but I'll instead refer you to the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup Playoffs Primer, here.

At PGATOUR.COM Mike McAllister wrote about one of the biggest changes:
Instead of a points reset used in the previous format, the new format for East Lake [at the Tour Championship] starting this season involves a strokes-based bonus system called FedExCup Starting Strokes. Each player will start with a score (relative to par) corresponding to his position in FedExCup points after the BMW Championship. Here’s the breakdown:

FedExCup rank
entering East Lake
Starting
Strokes
No. 110 under
No. 28 under
No. 37 under
No. 46 under
No. 55 under
Nos. 6-104 under
Nos. 11-153 under
Nos. 16-202 under
Nos. 21-251 under
Nos. 26-30Even par

How we feel about this when it's all over is hard to say. Teenagers can sorely disappoint or pleasantly surprise us, or a little bit of both.

Saturday, August 3

Wednesday, July 31

VIDEO: Inside the Trophy-Filled House of a Smiling Bernhard Langer


BERNHARD LANGER NEEDS A BIG HOUSE to display his numerous trophies.

The German golf legend won the Senior British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes last weekend. It was a record fourth win in the event.

"It's always special to walk down 18 in a major," Langer said, "but especially over here. The people are so knowledgeable about golf, and it's tremendous how they even came out in these conditions and cheered us on in the rain."

Langer now has 11 senior major titles and a total of 40 victories on the Champions Tour.

Tuesday, July 30

PGA Tour Rookie Collin Morikawa Is Moving Up

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WHILE BIG NAMES IN GOLF make headlines (Brooks Koepka, Bernhard Langer, Lexi Thompson), a new name is emerging in the final weeks of the PGA Tour season.

Collin Morikawa, 22, graduated from University of California in May with a degree in business. Since then Morikawa has made golf his business, and business has been good.

The top-ranked collegiate and amateur golfer turned professional and made his debut at the Canadian Open, where he tied for 14th. That put Morikawa at 1039 in the world golf rankings. From there, it's just gotten better and better.

The Southern California native finished T-2 at the 3M Championship and T-4 at the John Deere Classic.

This past weekend Morikawa won the Barracuda Championship in Reno, his sixth start on the tour.

The young man is now ranked 90th in the world and has earned $1,672,904, as well as a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour that includes a spot in the Masters.

As the AP said, it's been a "dream summer" for Morikawa.

"I think I'm ready," Morikawa said. "This proves that I'm ready. To get this first win off my back means a lot. It's going to open just a lot more confidence and doors for me, obviously."

Thursday, July 25

The Man Who Has Played All 119 Major Championship Venues



JOEY HINES, THE GOLF DIRECTOR at Cape Fear Country Club in Wilmington, North Carolina, has played them all. Now 60, it took nearly half his life and cost an estimated $100,000 (or a bit more). It was worth it, Hines said.

Here's the opening of the story by Josh Sens:
In the 159 years between the 1860 British Open at Prestwick Golf, in Scotland, and the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush, in Northern Ireland, 119 different courses have played host to what we now consider to be golf's four major championships: the Masters, the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open and the Open Championship. You could fact-check this on Google. Or you could confirm it with Joey Hines.... 
The quest began for Hines in 1990, when he landed a job at Northwood Club in Dallas. Knowing that Northwood had hosted the 1952 U.S. Open (winner: Julius Boros), Hines got to thinking, which gave way to an inkling that he was onto something, which evolved into a goal. As a junior, he had played Pinehurst No. 2, unaware that it had held the 1936 PGA Championship. Still, Pinehurst counted, so Hines had that going for him. Two major championship venues down. Only 117 to go.
Read more at Golf.com.

Wednesday, July 24

Detroit Free Press Investigated Pollution Caused by Golfers Hitting Thousands of Golf Balls Into Lake Michigan



AS REPORTED BY THE DETROIT FREE PRESS, a premier Michigan golf course encouraged golfers to whack golf balls into Lake Michigan. They've obliged for 20 years, sending thousands of balls into the expansive waters.
"Go ahead and do it, everyone does," the prestigious Arcadia Bluffs golf course urged on its website as recently as last Tuesday, in its description of the 12th hole on its Bluffs Course, on a cliff overlooking Lake Michigan. 
"Once you've launched a ball into Lake Michigan, on purpose, turn your attention to the native bunker on the right side of the fairway as it is your aiming point on the tee shot."
This is plastics pollution, cried environmental advocates. They used words like "shocking," "ridiculous" and "frivolous" to voice their disappointment.

"Golf balls are made out of plastic and rubber," said an environmental law expert. "You are basically putting plastic waste into a Great Lake. That's illegal. You're not supposed to do that."

Arcadia Bluffs has since removed the Lake Michigan language from its website.

This is not a good look for a golf course whose mission statement says it will "maintain the highest environmental respect for the entire property."

I imagine they are not alone.

It also makes one think about the millions of lost golf balls scattered across America and the entire planet. They will not be decomposing anytime soon.

Tuesday, July 23

Open Champion Shane Lowry Credits Caddie Brian 'Bo' Martin

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SHANE LOWRY HAS BEEN GRINNING from ear-to-ear since capturing the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush on Sunday evening. The big, bearded Irishman might be wearing that smile for a very long time after his historic Open victory.

Lowry tipped his cap to the man who was at his side every step of the way: bag man Brian "Bo" Martin. Bo began working for Shane last September.

"There's no doubt that my golf has improved since he started caddying for me so I owe a lot to him," Lowry said at BBC.com/sport/golf.

"We're similar people, very happy-go-lucky -- we just said let's enjoy it, play some golf, have some craic along the way and make a few quid."

Lowry made more than a few quid at Royal Portrush, earning nearly $2 million for his first major win. He joins fellow Irish major winners Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrrington and Graeme McDowell.

Saturday, July 20

Tiger Woods Is Sounding Like the Rest of Us: 'Just Trying to Scrape It Around'

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TIGER WOODS MISSED THE CUT at Royal Portrush Golf Club in The Open Championship and sounded resigned in the process. His body was off. His shot shapes were off. And now he's taking more time off.

We're not anything like Tiger, even in his diminished 43-year-old form. But after reading his quotes more than once, I realized that he and the rest of us are sounding more and more alike.

Look at what Tiger said. I'll bet you've heard it before, whether out of the mouths of your golf pals or out of your own mouth.

"I'm just not moving as well as I'd like."

"Unfortunately, you've got to be able to move, and especially under these conditions, shape the golf ball. And I didn't do it. I didn't shape the golf ball at all."

"Everything was left-to-right."

"And [I] wasn't hitting [it] very solidly."

"I didn't do much out there today."

"I hit a lot of missed shots."

"Everything was off the heel. Just trying to scrape it around.”

This sure sounds like other aging golfers, guys I might play with. And yes, me.

Thursday, July 18

Favorite Son Rory McIlroy Opens With 79 at Royal Portrush in The Open Championship

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RORY MCILROY'S FIRST SHOT of the 148th Open Championship hooked out of bounds and led to a quadruple bogey 8 on the opening hole. Teeing off with an iron, feeling those first-tee jitters or whatever one experiences in those major moments, McIlroy couldn't keep his ball in play. It set the tone for a "disappointing" round.

He finished 8 over on Thursday carding a 79.

McIlroy was thrilled The Open returned to Royal Portrush Golf Club in his home country of Northern Ireland. Now it may be over far too soon for the favorite son and major champion.

"It was obviously a disappointing day,'' McIlroy said, as quoted by ESPN.com. "I didn't put it in the fairway enough to play. I kept saying that in the press conference [on Wednesday], you need to put the ball in the fairway here if you want to do well. I didn't do that enough [in Thursday's first round] to create enough scoring opportunities.''

The internal out of bounds at the 1st hole is controversial, but McIlroy didn't criticize the setup or make excuses about his start.

"Look, I was nervous on the first tee,'' he said. "But not nervous because of that. Nervous because it's an Open Championship. I usually get nervous on the first tee anyway, regardless of where it is. So maybe a little more so [on Thursday] than other places."

Wednesday, July 17

The Wall Street Caddy: The Open at Royal Portrush and the Legacy of Allan Robertson

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By Mark Vigil

Guest contributor Mark Vigil is The Wall Street Caddy.


FOR ONLY THE SECOND TIME, The Open Championship, often referred to as the British Open, will be held outside of Great Britain. This year the tournament will be played in Northern Ireland at Royal Portrush, the host in 1951.

The fact that the tournament is being hosted at a venue outside of Great Britain has flamed the annual debate in the golf world, and the related teeth gnashing and Imperial pride as to the tournament's proper name.

Is it the British Open or The Open Championship? A London sportswriter is so aghast the event is not being hosted in Great Britain that he called it the United Kingdom Open!

Royal Portrush originally opened for play in 1891 and was christened a "Royal" in 1895 by the Prince of Wales. The current routing, the Dunluce Links, bears little resemblance to the original layout. From 1929-1932 Harry Colt re-designed the course, bringing to life a classic links challenge which meanders amongst the dunes and is populated with jaw-dropping views of the Antrim coastline.

Harry Colt was the first true golf course designer who was not a golfer; he was a lawyer by trade. In 1919 Colt worked with George Crump to design Pine Valley Golf Club in America, and in 1928 he partnered with Charles Alison, John Morrison and Alister MacKenzie to form Colt, Alison & Morrison Ltd., working their magic on over 300 golf courses worldwide.

Portrush is a quant seaside village located in County Antrim, and home to the Giant's Causeway, a geological wonder comprised of over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. Despite Colt's gem at the Dunluce Links, it is the Giant's Causeway that brings visitors to Portrush.

According to Irish mythology, the Giant's Causeway was built by two giants, the Irish hero Fion Mac Fionn and the Scottish giant Benandonner. Apparently, Benandonner challenged Fion to a duel and each giant built part of the Causeway over the northern channel to wage battle. Legend has it that Fion defeated Benandonner, and as Benandonner retreated to Scotland, he smashed the Causeway to prevent Fion from pursuing him. There is an identical matching causeway located in Scotland on the Isle of Staffa at Fingal's Cave formed by the same geological lava flow.

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The first time outside of Great Britain was in 1951 when the R&A hosted the Open at Royal Portrush. Max Faulkner hoisted the Claret Jug that year with a winning score of 285.

An interesting side note is the Claret Jug is not the original trophy. Nope, a Challenge Belt was awarded to the winner who was deemed the champion golfer of the year. Upon the tournament's inception, it was agreed that if anyone won the event three times in a row, they could keep the Challenge Belt.

In 1870 Young Tom Morris accomplished this feat (he won four times in a row!) and a new trophy was needed. The three clubs in the Open rota, Preswick, the R&A, and the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, each contributed £10 to fund the cost of a new trophy, the Claret Jug, which is inscribed "The Golf Champion Trophy." It was made by Mackay Cunningham & Company of Edinburgh, and it was first awarded in 1873.

The Open tournament and the Challenge Belt's genesis are due to the unexpected death of Allan Robertson in 1859 at 43 from an attack of jaundice.

His death left unanswered as to who was the best golfer in the land. As such, in 1860 an "Open" tournament was organized and held at Prestwick, a 12-hole gem designed by Old Tom Morris, to crown Allan Robertson's heir as the Champion Golfer of the Year.

Twelve combatants played three rounds. Willie Park Sr. prevailed with a winning score of 174.

Allan Robertson (1815-1859) was Custodian of the Green at the Links of St. Andrews (only called the Old Course after 1895 when the New Course opened for play). Robertson was the preeminent feathery golf ball maker of his day, and without a doubt he was the best golfer of his era.

Allan Robertson
In 1843 Robertson famously defeated Willie Dunn Sr. in a challenge match played over 20 rounds in 10 days. Oral history tells us Robertson never lost a challenge match. For many years he teamed with Old Tom Morris, defeating all comers in foursomes. They were known as "The Invincibles." This partnership enabled both Robertson and Morris to elevate their financial status from near poverty into the Victorian middle class, another amazing feat! Robertson was also the first golfer to break 80 on the Links at St. Andrews.

Unfortunately, many golfers have never heard of Allan Robertson, nor do they appreciate his contributions to the grand game. Thankfully, the R&A has appropriately honored Allan Robertson by naming its new, state-of-the-art research and design center the Allan Robertson House.

However, it is the Open Championship which represents Allan Robertson's true legacy. So, is it the United Kingdom Open this year, the British Open, or The Open Championship?

Personally, I believe it does not matter. If it was up to me, I would call it the Allan Robertson Classic.

Mark Vigil is founder of Class 5 Advisors LLC, an advisory firm. He is a master caddy, and he is also a passionate links golf enthusiast who has traveled extensively throughout Scotland seeking out links courses. He is currently writing a book entitled, Searching for the Spirit of Old Tom Morris. You can follow Mark on Instagram at #golfbyrails

Tuesday, July 16

The 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club: Tee Times, History, Course Preview



THE 148TH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP tees off on Thursday at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland. The only other time the Open was played at Royal Portrush was 68 years ago when Englishman Max Faulkner prevailed. A field of 156 professionals and amateurs will compete this time. Francesco Molinari is the defending champion.

Watch the video to learn more and preview the championship layout.

Following are tee times for the first two rounds. All times Eastern.

THURSDAY, ROUND 1

1:35 a.m. Darren Clarke, James Sugrue (a), Charley Hoffman

1:46 a.m. Emiliano Grillo, Sung Kang, Thomas Thurloway (a)

1:57 a.m. Andy Sullivan, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Alexander Levy

2:08 a.m. Chan Kim, Zander Lombard, Brandon Wu (a)

2:19 a.m. Richard Sterne, Romain Langasque, Matthias Schmid (a)

2:30 a.m. Padraig Harrington, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Andrew Putnam

2:41 a.m. Bubba Watson, Eddie Pepperell, Rafa Cabrera-Bello

2:52 a.m. Phil Mickelson, Shane Lowry, Branden Grace

3:03 a.m. Alex Noren, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Sam Locke

3:14 a.m. Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, C.T. Pan

3:25 a.m. Ryan Palmer, Andrea Pavan, Dylan Frittelli

3:36 a.m. Kyle Stanley, Robert MacIntyre, Andrew "Beef" Johnston

3:47 a.m. Mikko Korhonen, Oliver Wilson, Curtis Knipes (a)

4:03 a.m. Ian Poulter, Sungjae Im, Kiradech Aphibarnrat

4:14 a.m. Henrik Stenson, Xander Schauffele, Graeme McDowell

4:25 a.m. Haotong Li, Russell Knox, Bernd Weisberger

4:36 a.m. Jason Kokrak, Connor Syme, Austin Connelly

4:47 a.m. Zach Johnson, David Duval, Corey Conners

4:58 a.m. Francesco Molinari, Bryson DeChambeau, Adam Scott

5:09 a.m. Rory McIlroy, Gary Woodland, Paul Casey

5:20 a.m. Rickie Fowler, Kevin Kisner, Hideki Matsuyama

5:31 a.m. Jim Furyk, Si-Woo Kim, Jimmy Walker

5:42 a.m. Luke Lista, Alexander Bjork, Paul Waring

5:53 a.m. Shugo Imahira, Nate Lashley, Benjamin Herbert

6:04 a.m. Mikumu Horikawa, Callum Shinkwin, Garrick Porteous

6:15 a.m. Prom Messawat, Matthew Baldwin, Jack Senior

6:36 a.m. Tom Lehman, Joaquin Niemann, Miguel Angel Jimenez

6:47 a.m. Byeong Hun An, Jorge Campillo, Chris Wood

6:58 a.m. Joel Dahmen, Adri Arnaus, Dimitrios Papadatos

7:09 a.m. Stewart Cink, Rory Sabbatini, Innchoon Hwang

7:20 a.m. Erik Van Rooyen, Kurt Kitayama, Jake McLeod

7:31 a.m. Ryan Fox, Shaun Norris, Dongkyu Jang

7:42 a.m. Tyrrell Hatton, Keith Mitchell, Thomas Pieters

7:53 a.m. Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Thorbjorn Olesen

8:04 a.m. Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Shubhankar Sharma

8:15 a.m. Billy Horschel, Jazz Janewattananond, Aaron Wise

8:26 a.m. Jordan Spieth, Marc Leishman, Danny Willett

8:37 a.m. Cameron Smith, Adam Hadwin, David Lipsky

8:48 a.m. Paul Lawrie, Chez Reavie, Justin Harding

9:04 a.m. Takumi Kanaya (a), Tom Lewis, Brandon Stone

9:15 a.m. Lucas Glover, Joost Luiten, Nino Bertasio

9:26 a.m. Ernie Els, J.B. Holmes, Abraham Ancer

9:37 a.m. Brandt Snedeker, Lee Westwood, Brian Harman

9:48 a.m. Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Lucas Bjerregaard

9:59 a.m. Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley

10:10 a.m. Tiger Woods, Matt Wallace, Patrick Reed

10:21 a.m. Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, Matt Kuchar

10:32 a.m. Kevin Streelman, Doc Redman, Robert Rock

10:43 a.m. Adrian Otaegui, Yuta Ikeda, Isidro Benitez

10:54 a.m. Patton Kizzire, Sang Hyun Park, Yuki Inamori

11:05 a.m. Yoshinori Fujimoto, Doyeob Mun, Andrew Wilson

11:16 a.m. Gunn Charoenkul, Yosuke Asaji, Ashton Turner

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FRIDAY, ROUND 2

1:35 a.m. Tom Lehman, Joaquin Niemann, Miguel Angel Jimenez

1:46 a.m. Byeong Hun An, Jorge Campillo, Chris Wood

1:57 a.m. Joel Dahmen, Adri Arnaus, Dimitrios Papadatos

2:08 a.m. Stewart Cink, Rory Sabbatini, Innchoon Hwang

2:19 a.m. Erik Van Rooyen, Kurt Kitayama, Jake McLeod

2:30 a.m. Ryan Fox, Shaun Norris, Dongkyu Jang

2:41 a.m. Tyrrell Hatton, Keith Mitchell, Thomas Pieters

2:52 a.m. Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Thorbjorn Olesen

3:03 a.m. Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Shubhankar Sharma

3:14 a.m. Billy Horschel, Jazz Janewattananond, Aaron Wise

3:25 a.m. Jordan Spieth, Marc Leishman, Danny Willett

3:36 a.m. Cameron Smith, Adam Hadwin, David Lipsky

3:47 a.m. Paul Lawrie, Chez Reavie, Justin Harding

4:03 a.m. Takumi Kanaya (a), Tom Lewis, Brandon Stone

4:14 a.m. Lucas Glover, Joost Luiten, Nino Bertasio

4:25 a.m. Ernie Els, J.B. Holmes, Abraham Ancer

4:36 a.m Brandt Snedeker, Lee Westwood, Brian Harman

4:47 a.m Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Lucas Bjerregaard

4:58 a.m. Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley

5:09 a.m. Tiger Woods, Matt Wallace, Patrick Reed

5:20 a.m. Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, Matt Kuchar

5:31 a.m. Kevin Streelman, Doc Redman, Robert Rock

5:42 a.m. Adrian Otaegui, Yuta Ikeda, Isidro Benitez

5:53 a.m. Patton Kizzire, Sang Hyun Park, Yuki Inamori

6:04 a.m. Yoshinori Fujimoto, Doyeob Mun, Andrew Wilson

6:15 a.m. Gunn Charoenkul, Yosuke Asaji, Ashton Tur

6:36 a.m. Darren Clarke, James Sugrue (a), Charley Hoffman

6:47 a.m. Emiliano Grillo, Sung Kang, Thomas Thurloway (a)

6:58 a.m. Andy Sullivan, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Alexander Levy

7:09 a.m. Chan Kim, Zander Lombard, Brandon Wu (a)

7:20 a.m. Richard Sterne, Romain Langasque, Matthias Schmid (a)

7:31 a.m. Padraig Harrington, Matthew Fitzpatrick Andrew Putnam

7:42 a.m. Bubba Watson, Eddie Pepperell, Rafa Cabrera-Bello

7:53 a.m. Phil Mickelson, Shane Lowry, Branden Grace

8:04 a.m. Alex Noren, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Sam Locke

8:15 a.m. Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, C.T. Pan

8:26 a.m. Ryan Palmer, Andrea Pavan, Dylan Frittelli

8:37 a.m. Kyle Stanley, Robert MacIntyre, Andrew 'Beef' Johnston

8:48 a.m. Mikko Korhonen, Oliver Wilson, Curtis Knipes (a)

9:04 a.m. Ian Poulter, Sungjae Im, Kiradech Aphibarnrat

9:15 a.m. Henrik Stenson, Xander Schauffele, Graeme McDowell

9:26 a.m. Haotong Li, Russell Knox, Bernd Weisberger

9:37 a.m. Jason Kokrak, Connor Syme, Austin Connelly

9:48 a.m. Zach Johnson, David Duval, Corey Conners

9:59 a.m. Francesco Molinari, Bryson DeChambeau, Adam Scott

10:10 a.m. Rory McIlroy, Gary Woodland, Paul Casey

10:21 a.m. Rickie Fowler, Kevin Kisner, Hideki Matsuyama

10:32 a.m. Jim Furyk, Si-Woo Kim, Jimmy Walker

10:43 a.m. Luke Lista, Alexander Bjork, Paul Waring

10:54 a.m. Shugo Imahira, Nate Lashley, Benjamin Herbert

11:05 a.m. Mikumu Horikawa, Callum Shinkwin, Garrick Porteous

11:16 a.m. Prom Messawat, Matthew Baldwin, Jack Senior

Saturday, July 13

Matt Kuchar on Difficult Year: 'An Opportunity to Learn to Be More Generous'

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AS JOEL BEALL WRITES AT GOLFDIGEST.COM, it's been a hard year for Matt Kuchar, despite two wins for the 41-year-old tour veteran and current leader in the FedEx Cup standings.

Kuchar's reputation as a perpetually smiling good guy took a nosedive beginning in January when "Kooch" paid local caddie David Ortiz a pittance after his victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. The situation festered until Kuchar eventually wrote a much larger check to Ortiz and issued a public apology.

There were a couple more incidents during this season that challenged the perception of Kuchar as "Mr. Nice Guy."

Kuchar, who isn't on social media, knew things were in a new phase of bad when he started hearing from his grandmother. "Just the fact that she had called me to say, 'I can’t believe what they're saying' was hard," he said, as quoted by Beall.

Beall also quoted Kuchar on the takeaway:

"You know, whether it's home with the family, with the kids, with the wife, with the fans, with you name it, there's just so many opportunities to be more generous," Kuchar said, "and that's one of the things you learn. Sometimes the setbacks are hard, but those are the lessons that you tend to learn from and come out better from.

"You don't learn from victories very often; you learn from your setbacks. And I look at all this as an opportunity to learn to be more generous across the board."

Thursday, July 11

Review: 'Loopers: The Caddie's Long Walk'

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By John Coyne

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

CADDIES HAVE FEATURED IN A surprising number of movies, including funny ones (Caddyshack), pretentious ones (The Legend of Bagger Vance), and even sexy ones (Tin Cup, although arguably the golfer in that one, Kevin Costner, is way sexier than the caddy, Cheech Marin).

But there has never been such a serious film about the second most important role in golf as a new documentary, Loopers: The Caddie's Long Walk.

Narrated by Bill Murray, who caddied as a teenager on the west side of Chicago, the film tells the story of golf from the caddie's point of view, beginning with the first royal golfer, Mary Queen of Scots, who is often credited with coining the term caddie.

The role of caddies has changed dramatically over the centuries as reflected in their growing importance. Loopers' director, Jason Baffa, and writer, Carl Cramer, trace this development against the backdrop of the world's legendary courses, including St. Andrews in Scotland, Ballybunion in Ireland, Canterbury in Ohio, Pebble Beach in California and, of course, Augusta National in Georgia.

So the scenery is great, but the focus is on tales of the generations of men, boys and girls who've caddied for a living, starting with Old Tom Morris at St. Andrews and ending with Michael Greller, Jordan Spieth's tour caddie.

Their funny, sometimes heartbreaking stories explain how a gig that once brought in just enough cash to buy another drink became a seven-figure career.

Case in point: Greller. In 2012, as a young, married middle-school math teacher, he took a risky leap and started looping for Spieth. Since then he has earned an estimated $5 million, between his cut of Spieth's winnings and his own lucrative endorsement deals.

Caddies, of course, serve at the pleasure of their players, and the film corrals a number of major ones.

Tom Watson speaks movingly about his longtime caddie, the late Bruce Edwards (what the two-time Masters champion doesn't say: that when Edwards became seriously ill, Watson paid all his medical expenses). Nick Faldo tells the story of how he sought out and hired Fanny Sunesson, the first woman caddie on the PGA Tour.

The film also tips a hat to Chick Evans. While never a caddie, Evans did change the lives of many caddies, young men and women, by creating the Evans Scholars Foundation in 1930. Now supported by private country clubs across the nation, the Foundation has sent more than 10,000 caddies to college.

The caddie creed was always, "Show up. Keep up. Shut up." While that is still good advice, this film illuminates how much the club carrier's role has changed as the social gulf between caddies and players has narrowed since the first days of the feathery balls. It also shows that caddies still have a lot of good advice to give their players, and a lot to say after the round about the game of golf and the players who play.

Country clubs and golf organizations can rent the film for private showings as it makes its theatrical conclusion at: www.loopersmovie.com/request-a-screening

The film can also be preordered on iTunes now at: apple.co/2z5i7aV

DVDs are due for delivery in late summer.

Tuesday, July 9

'Never Three-Putt Again!' and Other Golf Marketing Hype

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MAYBE THEY THINK WE ARE FOOLS. Maybe we should be insulted.

I'm referring to the golf equipment and instruction industry and its relentless marketing machine. We're fools if we believe the constant hype, such as more distance, more forgiveness, more whatever.

Perhaps the silliest one  and dare I say an insult to any golfer's intelligence  "Never three-putt again!"

Really?

I can name nearly 50 players on the PGA Tour who have three-putted this year. WITHIN FIVE FEET OF THE HOLE. See for yourself.

Several on the list have three-putted two dozen times or more during the current season.

So go ahead. Buy that putter, that gadget, that lesson. But please don't buy that ridiculous promise. Don't be a fool.

Thursday, July 4

Kids Play Golf Free in Myrtle Beach

By Kingfish Communications

THE MYRTLE BEACH GOLF COMMUNITY is offering families a reason to pack golf clubs along with sunscreen and surfboards when they head to the beach. More than 50 Grand Strand courses, including some of the area’s most prominent, are again allowing kids to play for free when accompanied by a paying adult.

While the Kids Play Free program is in effect throughout the year, area courses see a surge in junior golfers during the summer months when families flock the beach. While the sand and surf continue to the be the primary attraction, parents enjoy the opportunity to play a morning round with their kids, leaving plenty of time to hit the beach in the afternoon.

"Kids Play Free is a 12-month program that allows families to spend vacation time on the golf course, creating memories that last a lifetime," said Bill Golden, CEO of Golf Tourism Solutions. "The Kids Play Free program is one of our most rewarding initiatives because it enhances the vacation experience, and it introduces golf’s next generation of players to Myrtle Beach."

Among the courses participating in the Kids Play Free program are the four layouts at Barefoot Resort, Tidewater Golf Club, King’s North at Myrtle Beach National and Heritage Club, all among the area's most acclaimed layouts. Numerous Myrtle Beach area courses have junior tees, allowing new players to enjoy an introduction to the game without being overwhelmed by the challenge.

A complete list of participating courses is available online.