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


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

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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


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

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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."

Thursday, October 3

The Legendary George S. May and 28 Remarkable Memories of a 1950s Caddie

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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.

ANYONE WHO GREW UP CADDYING (or playing golf) in greater Chicago in the 1940s and 1950s knew of Tam O'Shanter Country Club and its owner, George May.

May's great gift to professional golf was a cluster of tournaments he hosted: the All-American Open (1941–57), World Championship of Golf (1946–57), LPGA All-American Open (1943–57) and the World Championship (1948–57).

In 1953, television, for the first time, broadcasted for one hour the World Championship of Golf. The broadcast drew approximately two million viewers, and when Chandler Harper was being declared the winner for the television audience, they also saw Lew Worsham sink a wedge shot to win the championship. 

From that day on television changed professional golf and the lives of touring pros. George May led the way. He turned golf into a TV spectator sport. 

He also changed the amount of prize money on the PGA Tour. First prize for the 1953 World Championship was larger than the total prize money offered at any other tour event. May added to that prize 25 $ $1,000 golf exhibitions that promoted golf as well as his company and gave touring golf pros a living wage.

Today May is listed as one of the 100 most influential persons of the game because he was the first to broadcast golf, and to welcome African-Americans golfers to the pro circuit. Joe Louis, for one, played as an amateur in a Tam O'Shanter tournament.

While researching George May's history, I received a letter from a former caddie at the club, Ted Born, who eventually left the caddie shack at Tam and moved to Colorado where he caddied into his sixties at Castle Pines and Cherry Hills country clubs.

Ted Born recently sent me the following recollections of looping in the 1950s. 

1. A one-half hour bike ride from home, all day long, nonstop golf for the hardworking caddie who wanted to carry two bags, 36-45 holes, and take home 20 or more dollars a day.

2. At first you were a badge number and later a name: 425 to 249 to 96 to 1 in two summers. Number 1 was voted in by all the caddies at the end of season caddie party.

3. Very first loop for a Western Golf Association (WGA) director who wanted his caddie to put sun tan lotion on his legs; he couldn't get it on his hands because he was playing golf. I was trying to earn a WGA Evans Scholarship so I thought, "Why not?"

4. Standing outside the caddie shack at 5:00 a.m., watching a former pro football player married member drop off the cute blonde waitress who lived in a dorm above the half-way house. No loose lips here!

5. Diving into a Chicago mafioso's golf bag pocket to get a replacement ball and coming up with a handgun.

6. Learning later from an Evans Scholars alum that his caddie brother had joined the mafia as a result of his Tam O'Shanter associations.

7. Sliding down the side of a green on an early spring day, thereby filling the two bags I was caddying with wet slush.

8. Carrying the heaviest double I would ever drag around 18 holes and then finding out in a "locker room weigh-in" that the two trunks together were 85 pounds.

9. Getting sun-fried daily (no hat) before zinc oxide, SPF, or skin cancer had even been invented.

10. Caddying for pros in big money tournaments before there were tour caddies.

11. Helping Arnold Palmer win $1500 in the 1957 World Championship of Golf before there were pin sheets, yardage books or marked sprinkler heads.

12. Watching Harold Henning's eyes get very big as I tossed a water-soaked, five-pound divot back to who I thought was a fellow caddie coming up behind me. (Henning was dressed all in white from head to tie.) He successfully dodged the missile.

13. Listening to a very young and very self-confident new pro from South Africa on the practice range and wondering who he thought he was. (He thought he was Gary Player.)

14. Shagging balls on the practice range with dozens of other caddies with no helmet or flak gear. This was obviously pre-OSHA.

15. Caddying in a practice round for Lloyd Mangrum in 1956 and empathetically watching Sam Snead, an impeccable tee to green player, struggling to get the ball in the hole with a flat blade.

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16. Carrying Patty Berg's bag in a casual round at Tam O'Shanter and marveling at how hard and long a relatively small woman could hit a golf ball. Patty won 16 women's majors in her long, illustrious career.

17. Having to listen to a leading European pro, for whom I had caddied, try to console me about how little he could pay me after two weeks of hard faithful work. George S. May, the tournament sponsor, had covered all his travel expenses across the Atlantic and back. (Bobby Locke, I'm sure.)

18. Modeling with Dick Mayer, 1957 U.S. Open and World Championship winner, for a Golfcraft ad and actually getting paid twenty dollars for my trouble.

19. Living on hot dogs, relish, catsup and soft drinks day after day, until the relish made my tongue raw and I had to nuke it form my diet.

20. Playing horse for quarters on the caddie shack basketball court between loops. I won more than I lost but haven't gambled since.

21. Knowing the course so well you could actually caddie in an early morning fog for three or four holes and not lose a ball. One hundred feet of takeoff flight and you could visualize within a few yards where it would land.

22. Watching Martin Stanovich, the fat man of golf hustlers, work his magic on the fairways and around the greens of Tam. He would take on anyone but Moe Norman.

23. Thrilling to the arrival of the first golf carts and hoping someday to actually be able to drive one.

24. Waking up one morning in the late 1950s at the Northwestern University Evans Scholars house and finding a Chicago Tribune article on the bulletin board stating that George S. May had sent all the caddies down the road and that his members now would be riding carts if they wanted to play golf at his club. The article bore a hand-written caption, "the beginning of the end."

25. Meeting and talking with the legendary amateur Chick Evans at that same Evans Scholars house. Chick, the first man to win both the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open in the same year (1916), established the caddie scholarship program that has sent over seven thousand caddies through college since 1930.

26. Playing golf every Monday morning when Tam O'Shanter closed to members. Why shouldn't the caddies be able to play the course they worked so hard on the rest of the week?

27. Going around Tam O'Shanter almost one thousand times and never seeing a hole-in-one.

28. Lasting memories of Swede, Taylor, Jackson, Speedy and the other venerable pro caddies who literally earned their daily room and food from their daily rounds at Tam O'Shanter. Their patience and tutelage with young learning caddies is unforgettable.

I hope that God is tipping them well on that beautiful eternal golf course in the sky.

Tuesday, October 1

USAGA to Host Golf Clinic for Disabled Children From 23 Shriners Hospitals

BURR RIDGE, Ill. – The United States Adaptive Golf Alliance (USAGA), a 501©(3) nonprofit organization comprised of 37 adaptive golf organizations across the United States, will conduct its third straight adaptive golf clinic for disabled youth ‘Ambassadors’ from twenty-three Shriners Hospitals for Children throughout the country. The clinic will take place on Friday, October 4 at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open PGA TOUR event at TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, on their practice range from 2:00-3:30pm.

The instructors are: Jonathan Snyder, a left-handed amputee, Dir. of Adaptive Golf Operations, Freedom Golf Association (FGA), ranked No. 74 in the world; Tracy Ramin, a below-the-knee amputee, ranked No. 25 in the world; John Bell, a below-the-knee amputee, ranked No. 110 in the world; Alan Gentry, an arm- above- elbow amputee with a world ranking of 151; Isaac Leos, an arm-below-elbow amputee, ranked No 145 and Brandon Canesi, born without hands, ranked No. 225 and is an Assistant Golf Professional at Trump National Doral.

"The exchange of golf instruction and the joy of the game shines brightly as members of the USAGA Para-Golf team lend their golfing skills and love of the game to these young disabled individuals," said Edmund "EQ" Sylvester, Chairman, USAGA. "The instructors not only talk about golf, but they also share experiences about their disabilities. It is heartwarming to watch."

Sylvester added: “The clinic is held on the same practice range where the PGA TOUR players practice. The tournament pros frequently come over and say 'hello' which is icing on the cake for all those who take part in the clinic. It makes everyone smile."

Korean Tour Player Slapped With Three-Year Suspension for Making Obscene Gesture

BIO KIM, A FORMER PGA TOUR PLAYER, won the Korean Tour's DGB Financial Group Volvik Daegu Gyeongbuk Open this past weekend. Kim also topped the Korean Tour money list.

No matter.

Now Kim is suspended until 2022 for a bad moment during that final round. According to media reports (and as seen above), Kim waved his middle finger in the direction of the gallery after a cellphone chirped during his downswing.

By unanimous vote, the Korean Tour's action was swift and severe.

The tour said in a statement: "Kim Bi-o damaged the dignity of a golfer with etiquette violation and inappropriate behavior."

Here's Kim's act of contrition in front of the media, before the suspension was announced:

Thursday, September 26

Golfworld: 'C.T. Pan's Hard Road From Taiwan to the PGA Tour'

LEARN THE INSPIRING GOLF STORY of C.T. Pan, the two-time first-team All-American from University of Washington who won the 2019 RBC Heritage, his first victory on the PGA Tour.

Carrying Pan's byline, the story is written as a first-person account. It begins in Taiwan:
We didn't have much when I was a kid. I was the youngest of six, and we had cousins living with us, too. There was so little room that I shared a bed with my parents and other siblings until I was a teenager. The only way I could play golf was by sneaking on our local course. I'd wake up before 4 a.m. and get in nine before the clubhouse opened, and another nine after it closed. I didn't know until later that the golf shop knew—they always know, right?—but looked the other way. Especially when they found out I was good.
Pan is 27 and has been on tour for three seasons. In 25 starts during the 2018-19 season, he captured that first win and two top-ten finishes.

Read more.

Monday, September 23

USGA Opens Nominations for 2020 Bob Jones Award

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By USGA Communications

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J.  The USGA is seeking nominations from the global golf community for the 2020 Bob Jones Award, the highest honor annually bestowed by the organization.

Presented since 1955, the Bob Jones Award highlights the most noteworthy demonstrations of sportsmanship in golf, and celebrates those individuals who, in the spirit of its namesake, have displayed character, integrity and respect while playing the game. Beyond his playing career – with a record-tying nine USGA championship titles – Jones embodied the game's values throughout his life.

Nomination letters can be sent to the USGA via email to bobjonesaward@usga.org. The correspondence should include support for the submission that references the above award criteria. The deadline for receipt is Friday, Oct. 25, 2019 at 5 p.m. EDT.

The USGA is opening nominations to the entire golf community for the first time in an effort to elevate deserving candidates who might otherwise have gone unrecognized and to draw greater awareness of the process.

Notable past recipients of the Bob Jones Award include Francis Ouimet, Babe Zaharias, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Peggy Kirk Bell, Nancy Lopez, Nick Price, Payne Stewart, Annika Sorenstam and Lee Elder. A complete list can be found here.

The 2020 recipient will be announced in January and will be formally honored during the week of the 120th U.S. Open Championship, June 15-21, at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

Sunday, September 22

50th Anniversary of 'The Concession': Peter Busby's Memories of the 1969 Ryder Cup

Peter Busby contacted me earlier this year about Draw in the Dunes, my 2014 book on the 1969 Ryder Cup and the famous concession that linked Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin. Peter graciously shared his memories of that event, published below.

By Peter Busby

Peter Busby is the Captain of Royal Birkdale Golf Club.

IN 1969 I WAS A 'RUNNY NOSED' 21 year old articled clerk training to be a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in my home town of Birmingham.

I recall in the summer of '69 that the British publics' interest in the Ryder Cup was most certainly buoyed by Tony Jacklin's win at Lytham St Annes in The Open after many years of not having a British winner. I had recently taken up the game and can remember the tv coverage and commentary on BBC TV that afternoon delivered by the great Henry Longhurst.

The last British PGA event prior to the Ryder Cup in '69, The Dunlop Masters, was held at Little Aston Golf Club in my City of Birmingham. The professional at my golf club Harborne, a few miles across the city, was Peter J Butler, so my father and I attended. Professional golfers in those days were affiliated to golf clubs and were not independent as they are today, for their main job was 'keeping the shop' and if they were good enough playing the limited tournament circuit as it was then.

My what a host of professionals I saw in action. There was the great Peter Thompson, who won his first and last of five Open wins at Royal Birkdale, among others.

Interestingly returning to Little Aston I think that only one member of the USA Team played being Billy Casper. I recall standing with my father on the practice area at Little Aston watching Casper practice, his accuracy with his irons was so good most of the time his caddie, who has been dispatched half way down the practice area, was collecting his shots with the minimum of movement left or right into a large ball bag 'on the bounce'! Then at the end of the practice session Casper pulled out his driver, unfortunately the practice area was not long enough so Casper's strikes were to disappear deep into the woods, but with a heavy American accent and to the delight of the crowd that had gathered, he yelled 'watch out squirrels these ain't no nuts'.

I also remember as an aside that at the end of the tournament an American trick-shot golfer by the name of Paul Hahn put on his show. Halfway through he noticed that Tony Jacklin was in the crowd watching and he invited Jacklin to come over and hit a golf ball from the top of a three foot high tee peg. You guessed it, he failed on the first attempt but managed to hit it on the second attempt!

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Now turning to the Ryder Cup match itself and my memories
of my day there.

It was Friday night September 19th, my father had returned home from his week's work and as usual he immediately sat down in his armchair, he picked up the Birmingham Evening Mail newspaper and turned immediately to the back page because that's where he could read the latest news about his favourite football team (soccer in the US) Aston Villa. After a few minutes he said to me 'your man Butler is not doing so well in this 'ere Ryder Cup'. Butler had indeed had a bad day on the Friday losing his afternoon fourball match to Casper and Frank Beard, this following on from his foursome defeat on Thursday afternoon to Nicklaus and Sikes. I said, 'I know Dad'.

It was at this moment that Dad suggested that we travel to Royal Birkdale on the Saturday morning in order to support him.

What a wonderful day we had on the majestic links course of Royal Birkdale. There are three distinct memories that I hold, in addition to the main one, that of Jack Nicklaus' concession which has to be the greatest act of sportsmanship ever known in golf if not sport the world over.

The first was reading in the Saturday morning press, on our way north, that it was felt that because of the constant drubbing of the GB&I team by the USA that time may be being called on the event as public interest was on the wane in Great Britain. Oh how important that gesture of Nicklaus was in saving it!

The second was watching the Irish golfer Christy O'Connor Snr putt out. He had attracted a group of six Irish priests in support and if on a count of 1,2,3 all sxi Priests in unison crossed themselves, no doubt seeking godly intervention! It was rather like watching a string of dancing girls in an American burlesque show lined up across the front of the stage demonstrating their 'kicks' in unison!

The third was standing at the 18th hole waiting for the final match of the competition to come down the fairway. Such was the state of the Ryder Cup competition in those days that there were no stands around the 18th, just a picket fence. 

Suddenly there was a terrific roar from the 17th hole and the crowd sensed that Jacklin had won that hole and drawn level with Nicklaus. A few seconds after the roar I felt a sharp tap on my shoulder and in a deep Texan drawl I was asked  'what's going on bud?' It was the young USA team member Ray Floyd who had drifted out of the changing rooms, standing alongside us, in with the crowd, again such was the competition in those days.

What happened to Butler: He won both of his Saturday singles matches defeating Floyd and Dale Douglass, and for my father he dined out for many months to come on the fact that he had assisted in GB&I's 'draw in the dunes'!

And what happened to that 'runny nosed' articled clerk?

Well, I am proud to tell you that on 23rd February 2019 at the AGM of Royal Birkdale Golf Club I become Captain of the Club for 2019.

Who would have guessed that on my fleeting visit from Birmingham to Royal Birkdale all of those years ago in 1969!

What a quirk of fate and luck.

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Tuesday, September 17

MORNING DRIVE VIDEO: Solheim Cup Hero Suzann Pettersen on Her Fairy Tale Finish, Retirement and Fan Appreciation

THIS IS GOOD STUFF, 14 minutes long but definitely worth watching. Suzann Pettersen, known as a fiery competitor, is on top of the world.

What a way to go out.

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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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.


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.