Saturday, July 11

PGA TOUR: Tiger Woods Headlines Field at the Memorial Tournament

TIGER WOODS RETURNS TO THE PGA TOUR next week at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio.

More from PGATOUR.COM:
The 133-player field includes five-time tournament champion and 82-time PGA TOUR winner Tiger Woods, who will be making his first start on the PGA TOUR since The Genesis Invitational in February, as well as each of the top five players in the Official World Golf Ranking. 
Woods is making his third attempt at breaking the PGA TOUR record for all-time victories since tying Sam Snead's mark of 82 at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP in October. In his previous two attempts, Woods finished T9 at the Farmers Insurance Open and 68th at The Genesis Invitational. He has won the Memorial Tournament five times, most recently in 2012, when he tied tournament founder and host Jack Nicklaus for second on the all-time PGA TOUR wins list (73). Woods, who finished T9 at the 2019 Memorial Tournament, will make his 18th start in the event.

Friday, July 10

Golf Digest's Jerry Tarde: Lee Elder as an Honorary Starter at the Masters

GOLF DIGEST EDITOR-IN-CHIEF JERRY TARDE wrote about being inspired by honorary starters at the Masters, beginning with Jock Hutchison.

It was 1976. Tarde was a college student. He drove his Gremlin to a nursing home in suburban Chicago to meet the 1921 British Open champion. Hutchison and Fred McLeod were the original honorary starters at the Masters.

Lee Elder won the 1974 Monsanto Open.
Now Tarde has a new inspiration:
I expect to be inspired again this year, when the Masters is played off-kilter in November. I have no inside information, none at all, operating only in the belief that the Augusta National Golf Club does the right thing. In my imagination, I'm rushing to the plantation clubhouse on a crisp autumnal morning to see Jack and Gary on the first tee with Lee Elder, 86, celebrating the 45th anniversary of breaking the color barrier at the 1975 Masters and doing it again as the first Black honorary starter.
He's not a past champion, you say? Neither were Hutchison, McLeod or [Ken] Venturi. But what's Elder's connection? He won the Bob Jones Award for sportsmanship last year—reflecting the virtue of Augusta's founder is enough for me....

"I had a close association with the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who introduced me to Dr. King in 1967," Elder says. "I met the Rev. Ralph Abernathy and Dr. Walter Fauntroy and John Lewis. I was inspired by their work and the fight they carried on. I wanted to be a part of it, which wasn't easy for a golfer because we played on weekends."

Now, he's too old to walk in protests, yet still strong enough to walk to the first tee. Would he accept if asked? "In a heartbeat," he says.

In my mind, I see Nicklaus and Player welcoming Elder, the way old friends and warriors do.

Wednesday, July 8

PGA of America News: Ryder Cup Rescheduled to 2021, Presidents Cup Moves to 2022

As expected, the 2020 Ryder Cup will become the 2021 Ryder Cup because of health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. Following is a portion of today's official announcement.

PALM BEACH GARDENS and PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla, - The PGA of America, Ryder Cup Europe and the PGA TOUR jointly announced today that both the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup have been rescheduled and will now be played one year later than originally planned.

The 43rd Ryder Cup, scheduled for September 22-27, at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, has been rescheduled for September 21-26, 2021.

Likewise, the Presidents Cup, initially slated for September 30-October 3, 2021, at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, will now be played September 19-25, 2022.

The decision to reschedule the Ryder Cup was based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in conjunction with the state of Wisconsin and Sheboygan County, with the health and well-being of all involved as the top priority.

"Unlike other major sporting events that are played in existing stadiums, we had to make a decision now about building facilities to host the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits," said PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh.

"It became clear that as of today, our medical experts and the public authorities in Wisconsin could not give us certainty that conducting an event responsibly with thousands of spectators in September would be possible. Given that uncertainty, we knew rescheduling was the right call. We are grateful to PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan and our partners at the TOUR for their flexibility and generosity in the complex task of shifting the global golf calendar."

Tuesday, July 7

The Memorial Tournament Won't Have Fans After All, Strong Prospect of No Galleries for Weeks

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MUIRFIELD VILLAGE GOLF CLUB in Dublin, Ohio, will host back-to-back PGA Tour events: this week's Workday Charity Open and the Memorial Tournament next week.

The Memorial was set to be the first event to welcome fans since the restart of the PGA Tour. But that won't happen now because of a nationwide spike in COVID-19 cases.

"While we embraced the opportunity to be the first PGA Tour event to welcome the return of on-site fans—and be a part of our nation's collective reemergence from the COVID-19 crisis—we recognize the current increase in positive COVID-19 cases across the country and our ultimate responsibility," said tournament director Dan Sullivan in a statement.

"It's disappointing to the many who have tirelessly worked to create a plan for on-site patrons, but I'm confident the learnings from these efforts will contribute to golf's continued success, and we're excited to showcase Muirfield Village Golf Club—and ultimately, the Memorial Tournament—to our fans over the next two weeks."

So, when will fans be allowed to attend a PGA Tour event?

No one can say with certainty. But not for a while.

The 3M Championship in Minnesota and Barricuda Championship in Nevada won't have fans. The WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational is "cautiously optimistic" about having fans.

The PGA Championship, the year's first major, tees off in early August at TPC Harding in San Francisco. They don't expect galleries.

Monday, July 6

PGA TOUR HIGHLIGHTS: Final-Round 65 Propels Bryson DeChambeau to Victory at the Rocket Mortgage Classic

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU FIRED A 7-UNDER 65 on Sunday to win the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club. It was the low round of the day. DeChambeau finished 23 under for the tournament. Runner-up Matthew Wolff was three shots back.

The bulked-up DeChambeau has been getting a lot of attention in the golf world. He said the win was "a little emotional."

The 26-year-old added, "[I] changed my body, I changed my mindset in the game, and was able to accomplish a win while playing a completely different style of golf."

It was Bryson's sixth win on the PGA Tour, and the first since November 2018. With the victory, he moved from 10th to 7th in the world rankings.

This week's event is the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Ohio.

Friday, July 3

Golfworld: Charlie Rymer's 'Very Scary' Bout With COVID-19

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JOHN FEINSTEIN WROTE A GOLFWORLD STORY about former Golf Channel analyst Charlie Rymer and his recent illness with COVID-19 that put him in the hospital.

In June Rymer traveled to Chattanooga to do promotional work for a new golf course. Two days earlier he was at Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. Rymer, 52, took precautions.
"I was very careful both places," he said. "Did the social distancing, wore a mask most of the time. I followed all the protocols. But I felt bad enough driving home that I pulled off the Interstate to a Walgreens to get some meds and buy a thermometer. I had a low-grade fever, but my first thought was I just had a bad cold or I was exhausted."
Things quickly went downhill, and with the urging of his wife, a nurse, Rymer headed to the hospital. He spent five days there.
"I'd be lying if I said there weren't nights where I lay there alone in the dark thinking some pretty depressing thoughts," he said. "I mean, I'm 52, and even though I've always been, let's say, a big guy, I've always been healthy. I'd never faced anything like this before. 
"I knew all the statistics. I knew that only 1.5 percent of people who contract the disease die. That sounds like pretty good odds until you're lying in a hospital bed all by yourself and you wonder if you're ever going to go home again. I was absolutely scared. There were a couple of times when I thought it might be time to call the boys and get them to come home."
Rymer is home, 20 pounds lighter and still weak, but very thankful.

Thursday, July 2

PGA of America Board Votes to Rename the Horton Smith Award, 'Taking Ownership of a Failed Chapter in Our History'

HORTON SMITH WAS A HALL OF FAME GOLFER who won the Masters twice and a total of 30 titles on the PGA Tour. Smith also served as the PGA President from 1952 to 1954.

Today, the PGA of America said it will retire Smith's name from a longtime award:
The PGA Board of Directors announced renaming the Horton Smith Award, which had been presented annually since 1965, based upon review of its namesake. Horton Smith, a two-time Masters Champion who served as PGA President from 1952-54, was a defender of the "Caucasian-only" membership clause, which was regrettably included in the PGA Bylaws from 1934-61.
The PGA Professional Development Award retains the previous criteria that showcases individuals who have demonstrated achievements in professional education. 
"In renaming the Horton Smith Award, the PGA of America is taking ownership of a failed chapter in our history that resulted in excluding many from achieving their dreams of earning the coveted PGA Member badge and advancing the game of golf," said PGA President Suzy Whaley. 
"We need to do all we can to ensure the PGA of America is defined by inclusion. Part of our mission to grow the game is about welcoming all and bringing diversity to the sport."

Tuesday, June 30

USGA Announces New Media Rights Partnership With NBCUniversal, FOX Sports Exits Agreement

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LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. – The United States Golf Association (USGA) announced that the United States media rights for its championships have been transferred to NBCUniversal (NBCU), effective immediately.   

With the COVID-19 pandemic leading to the shift in dates for the U.S. Open from June to September, finding the necessary broadcast hours presented a challenge for FOX Sports, given their commitments to the National Football League, Major League Baseball and college football. What started as an exploration of how FOX Sports and NBC/Golf Channel could work together [during] this unique year led to a broader conversation and eventual agreement for NBCU to take over the USGA media rights.  

As a result, NBCUniversal will broadcast the four championships the USGA will conduct in 2020: the 120th U.S. Women's Amateur (Aug. 3-9 at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md.); the 120th U.S. Amateur (Aug. 10-16 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Ore.), the 120th U.S. Open (Sept. 17-20 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.) and the 75th U.S. Women's Open (Dec. 10-13 at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas).  

"We are thrilled to acquire the remainder of FOX Sports' USGA agreement, and will carry the designated USGA events, including the U.S. Open, through 2026," said Pete Bevacqua, president of NBC Sports Group.  

"Partnering with NBCUniversal, including Golf Channel, gives us an unparalleled opportunity to connect and engage with the core golf audience more directly and routinely, and as a nonprofit, to continue to have a significant and lasting impact on the game," said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA.  

While the details are confidential, the term of the agreement between NBCUniversal and the USGA will be the same as the previous agreement with FOX Sports, carrying through December 31, 2026, and the financial remuneration for the USGA will remain the same for the duration of the agreement. This allows the USGA, as a nonprofit, to continue to fulfill its mission to champion and advance the game of golf, which includes conducting 14 annual Open and Amateur championships, serving golfers and golf courses and providing pathways into the game.  

Starting in 2021, when the USGA's full championship schedule will be played, the agreement with NBCU will allow the USGA to continue the uninterrupted coverage it provides to television fans thanks to its longstanding partnership with Rolex. In 2021, that means eight of the USGA's televised championships will be completely uninterrupted, including the U.S. Women's Open and the Walker Cup. For the U.S. Open, thanks again to Rolex, NBCU will continue the tradition of showing the last hour of the final round uninterrupted.

"FOX Sports has cherished its time as home to the USGA championships for the past six years. This is a relationship and partnership that has been second to none," said Eric Shanks, CEO and executive producer of FOX Sports. "Recent events calling for the shift of the U.S. Open created scheduling challenges that were difficult to overcome. While we are proud of the success we've built over these years, this is a win for golf fans everywhere, a win for the USGA and a win for FOX and NBC Sports."

Saturday, June 27

Golfweek: The $100,000 Stipend for PGA Tour Players Who Test Positive for COVID-19

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GOLFWEEK'S ADAM SCHUPAK REPORTED about what appears to be a very generous sick leave program for PGA Tour players:
During his press conference on Wednesday, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan referenced the Tour's "stipend program." 
Apparently, players who test positive for coronavirus are eligible to receive as much as $100,000 as long as they follow the [PGA] Tour's health and safety guidelines during the 10-14 day self-isolation process. 
"We have developed a program, a stipend program, for players on our tours, if they were to test positive during the week or during competition, and to be able to be eligible for those protocols, we've just reconfirmed for our players, you must follow our protocols in order to qualify for the stipend," [PGA Tour Commissioner] Monahan said.
Schupak added that caddies who test positive are eligible for up to $10,000, according to a Golf Channel report.

And this:
PGA Tour players love to tout how they are independent contractors, but receiving a $100,000 stipend for effectively not playing sounds a lot like something only an employer might do.
That's pretty good money for sitting out two weeks.


Thursday, June 25

PGA TOUR COVID-19 Testing Summary: 2757 Tournament Tests, 7 Positives in Three-Week Period

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PGA TOUR News Release (June 24, 2020)

We have been working since March to develop a comprehensive health and safety plan that would be considered a best practice among professional sports leagues. While we have been thorough in building and implementing a program that mitigates as much risk as possible, we knew it would be impossible to eliminate all risk – as evidenced by the three positive tests this week.

We need to use these developments as a stark reminder for everyone involved as we continue to learn from an operational standpoint; we are making several adjustments to our health and safety plan, as noted in the memo sent to players this morning, and we will continuously reinforce to all players, caddies, staff members and support personnel on property at PGA TOUR events to adhere to social distancing and other safety protocols that further minimize risk.

Positive COVID-19 cases with arrival testing complete (2,757 total in-market tournament tests over three weeks; 7 positives):

This week:

Travelers Championship

Cameron Champ (PGA TOUR player)
Ken Comboy (caddie for Graeme McDowell)
Ricky Elliott (caddie for Brooks Koepka)

Overview of withdrawals from the Travelers Championship field (chronological order):

Cameron Champ

Withdrew after testing positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

"I feel great physically and I was obviously surprised and disappointed to learn of the test result," said Champ. "It's important now to take the necessary steps and measures to protect others, including my loved ones."

Graeme McDowell

Withdrew out of an abundance of caution after his caddie, Ken Comboy, tested positive for COVID-19.

"When I look at the last four to five days, I have experienced some fatigue and muscle soreness myself," said McDowell. "I didn't think of it as COVID related, but rather just the effect of being back on the road, back practicing, back playing and just a little tired after having a few months off. But now that Kenny has tested positive – and we've spent a lot of time together the last 10 days – I have to take those symptoms more seriously. That is why I am withdrawing this week. I want to do the responsible thing.

"I've had two negative tests this week – Monday and Wednesday – but if there's any chance that I could have it, I am not keen on risking the possibility that I could pass it onto anyone else this week in Hartford. I decided to drive back to Orlando today, versus flying and those risks as well. I'm just going to take the scenic route down the east coast of the USA for 17 hours and increase my knowledge of U.S. geography a bit."

Brooks Koepka

Withdrew out of an abundance of caution after his caddie, Ricky Elliott, tested positive for COVID-19.

"I haven't tested positive for COVID-19, but as I've said all along, I'm taking this very seriously," said Brooks Koepka. "I don't want to do anything that might jeopardize the health of any player in the field or his ability to compete. I was planning to take the next two weeks off anyway, so the right thing to do right now is get home, support Ricky and feel confident that I'm doing what I can do protecting my fellow TOUR members, my PGA TOUR friends and everyone associated with the Travelers Championship this week."

Webb Simpson

Withdrew out of an abundance of caution; has been tested twice and has not tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

"In the last 24 hours, I had a family member test positive for COVID-19," said Simpson. "While my tests this week were negative, I feel like it is my responsibility to take care of my family and protect my peers in the field by withdrawing from the Travelers Championship. I am going to return home to Charlotte and quarantine under CDC guidelines, and I look forward to returning to competition after that time period."

Chase Koepka

Withdrew out of an abundance of caution; neither he nor his caddie, Dan Gambil, have tested positive for COVID-19, but they played a practice round with McDowell (caddie positive) and Brooks Koepka (caddie positive).

"Despite being very excited about playing the Travelers Championship, I am electing to withdraw," said Koepka. "My team and I have all tested negative for COVID-19; however, I was in close contact with someone who tested positive. I feel as if this is the best decision to keep all other players, caddies and volunteers safe. I wish everyone the best of luck this week."

Utah Championship:  No positives as of 2:50 p.m. ET

Tuesday, June 23

The Guardian: 'Ryder Cup Will Be Pushed Back to 2021 Over Coronavirus Concerns'

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THE GUARDIAN REPORTED THE RYDER CUP won't be played this year:
Confirmation that the Ryder Cup, due to be held in September at Whistling Straits, will be postponed until 2021 is expected next week....
With health and safety concerns to the fore – playing the biennial competition without spectators has never been a serious option – postponement is now seen as the most responsible solution. As recently as last month hopes had been raised that the Ryder Cup could take place. The relevant parties have considered the US and Europe facing off in front of reduced numbers, with around 25,000 per day mooted, but that is not now thought viable amid coronavirus concerns. Ongoing travel restrictions – such as quarantine – are also a factor.
The Ryder Cup will remain in "odd" years following the switch, as was the case before 9/11 led to a 12-month delay to its 2001 version.
This is another disappointment, but it's the right decision given the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

Thursday, June 18

USGA Celebrates 2020 Bob Jones Award Honoree Se Ri Pak

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LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. – As part of its celebration during the original week of the 120th U.S. Open Championship, the USGA will honor 2020 Bob Jones Award recipient Se Ri Pak with a variety of specialized content on its digital channels.

The champion of the 1998 U.S. Women's Open and a World Golf Hall of Famer, Pak was named the recipient of the Bob Jones Award, the USGA's highest honor, in January. The award has been presented annually since 1955 to an individual who demonstrates the spirit, personal character and respect for the game exhibited by Jones, winner of nine USGA championships.

Pak, 42, a native of the Republic of Korea, is being featured throughout the week on through a dedicated landing page that chronicles her historic career and broader influence on the game. Specific content includes an in-depth recap of her thrilling 1998 championship victory, a look at her final U.S. Women's Open round in 2016 and a video that celebrates her award and her significant impact on the game.

Additionally, a pair of films highlighting the 1998 U.S. Women's Open, as well as the last two hours of the playoff telecast, will be featured on demand on the USGA streaming app, available free on Amazon Fire, Roku and Apple TV.

As one of the most influential pioneers in golf, Pak inspired an entire generation of Korean golfers during her 20-year professional career, which included five major victories among her 39 wins. She burst onto the LPGA Tour at age 20 in 1998, and her playoff victory in the U.S. Women's Open at Blackwolf Run, where she became the youngest winner in the history of the championship to that point, became a defining moment in the game.

Despite carrying the attention of an entire country, Pak maintained a friendly attitude and humble demeanor that elevated her status beyond the LPGA Tour and inspired golfers of all genders and ethnicities across the world.

Pak was originally slated to receive her award on Wednesday during a ceremony at the U.S. Open. A new date will be announced in the coming months.

Industry reaction to Pak's Bob Jones Award honor includes:

Michael Whan
"When you look at that company, it's where she belongs. It's the people who have left the game different in so many ways, and on so many continents, and have changed the way young and old feel about the sport of golf… If Bob Jones were here today, he'd be the first one to say, 'That’s someone who deserves to be the Bob Jones Award winner.'"

Michelle Wie
"Being Korean, being a minority, seeing a minority win, I remember watching like, 'Wow, that's what I want to do' She really paved the way for all of us."

Stacy Lewis
"She didn't just come over here for five or six years and win a bunch of tournaments and leave. She really made an impact and taught the girls that they needed to learn the language and be part of the tour and give back, and that's what you see in this current generation."

Judy Rankin
"She has led an entire nation into golf… I don't think any of us will ever completely know or understand what she went through to become the champion she became… I don't know how you could be more deserving."

Wednesday, June 17

VIDEO: Ian Poulter Assesses Next Shot and Nearby Alligator at RBC Heritage

WOULD YOU HIT THIS SHOT? Or would you wait for that gallery of one to back away?

The RBC Heritage tees off on Thursday at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Cheng Tsung Pan is the defending champion in a field of 155 players. There will be no spectators.

PGA Tour Live, Golf Channel and CBS will provide streaming and broadcast coverage.

Tuesday, June 16

VIDEO: Bryson DeChambeau Is Applying Brute Force to His PGA Tour-Leading Drives

DANIEL BERGER WON THE CHARLES SCHWAB CHALLENGE at Colonial Country Club on Sunday with a par on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff with Collin Morikawa.

It was the first PGA Tour event since the coronavirus forced a shutdown of the sports world. There were no spectators.

One surprise (at least for me) was Bryson DeChambeau, who has transformed himself into the PGA Tour's "Incredible Hulk."

As you can see above and below, brawny Bryson is going at the tee ball like Arnold Palmer in his prime. Except that Bryson is physically huge compared to Arnie and he's hitting his drives into the next zip code.

On average, DeChambeau's drives are going 20 yards farther this year. And yes, at 323 and change he's leading the PGA Tour in driving distance. Long ball seems to be working for him. Bryson finished in a tie for third in Fort Worth.

So, what's the deal?

"My ultimate goal is to get as strong as I can," DeChambeau said, "applying some force and speed to the swing to see what it can handle."

(H//T Geoff Shackelford)

Thursday, June 11

PGA Tour Returns With No Gallery at Colonial; 3 on Korn Ferry Tour Test Positive for Coronavirus

THE PGA TOUR IS BACK. The Charles Schwab Challenge is underway at Colonial in Forth Worth, Texas. Justin Rose and Harold Varner III are the first-round co-leaders after 63s.

I watched some of the telecast, and while it was a little strange with no gallery, it also wasn't. There often aren't many people along the fairways or circling the greens during the first round of PGA Tour events. It didn't seem terribly different in that respect.

The traveling circus that is the pro tours is doing its utmost to protect the health of players as they resume tournament competition.

To that end, Golfworld's Joel Beall reported the extent of testing, including three positive tests on the Korn Ferry Tour:
While the PGA Tour did not register a single positive coronavirus test upon its return at Colonial, its developmental circuit was not as fortuitous. One player and three caddies on the Korn Ferry Tour had to withdraw from its season re-opening event due to COVID-19 concerns.... 
The PGA Tour announced Wednesday it conducted nearly 1,600 tests for the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas and the Korn Ferry Challenge at tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach. The tests were administered at both home and tournament venues, with nearly 900 tests coming at tournament sites. The player and caddies [who] tested positive for coronavirus came through home results.
The Charles Schwab Challenge continues through Sunday and will be televised on Golf Channel and CBS.

Tuesday, June 9

U.S. Women's Open to Celebrate 75th Anniversary; Annika Sorenstam Named Ambassador and Will Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Three-time champion Annika Sorenstam named ambassador
of milestone celebration; in December Sorenstam will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. – The United States Golf Association (USGA) announced a number of exciting initiatives connected to the milestone 75th anniversary U.S. Women's Open Championship, which was originally slated for this week but will now be contested Dec. 10-13, 2020 at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas.

"The U.S. Women's Open has played a significant role in the advancement of the women's game for the last 75 years," said Mike Davis, USGA CEO. "As we reach this monumental occasion, we want to thank and honor everyone who has been involved in the championship from the start – from the fans, volunteers and staff to the champions and players themselves, by reliving memorable moments and celebrating in Houston this December."

In support of the historic milestone, the USGA has named three-time U.S. Women's Open champion Annika Sorenstam ambassador of the championship. Her wins in 1995 and 1996 made her the first international player to win back-to-back titles, and she added a third victory with her playoff win in 2006. Sorenstam is one of six players to have won three or more Women's Open titles, and the only one to achieve the feat in the last 35 years. In 2012, she received the USGA's Bob Jones Award, the Association's highest honor. Prior to the U.S. Women's Open in December, Sorenstam will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

"I am proud to represent the U.S. Women's Open as their ambassador during this historic year," said Sorenstam, a native of Sweden. "The championship means a lot to me and my career, and I look forward to celebrating and reliving moments that have meant so much not only to me, but the sport of golf as a whole. It’s truly a special occasion for so many of us."

To further commemorate this landmark, the USGA, in association with Rolex, has launched the U.S. Women's Open History Experience, a fully immersive timeline that brings the first 74 years of U.S. Women's Open Championships to life on

Through original broadcast footage, archival photos and interviews with champions, fans will have the opportunity to relive moments that are not only significant to the game, but also hold personal and sentimental meaning. From Babe Didrikson Zaharias' emotional comeback from cancer in 1954 to Se Ri Pak's victory in 1998 that inspired a new generation of champions, the Women's Open Timeline chronicles the championship's history and impact since its founding in 1946.

Monday, June 8

MORNING READ: Golf Writer Farrell Evans on Golf and Race in America

FARRELL EVANS WROTE ABOUT GOLF for Sports Illustrated and More recently, Evans co-founded two organizations that use the game of golf to help underserved youth.

via @FarrellEvans75
In MORNING READ last week, Evans reflected on golf and race, including his own experience entering country clubs and other golf spaces as a black man.
In my own career as a golf writer, race always has been a central theme in my work. From the time I started the game as a 9-year-old growing up in Georgia, I understood the sport's racial legacy. I knew there were places that I couldn't play because of the color of my skin. I also knew that black people had built their own professional tour, golf clubs and associations. As an adult, I would learn as a black male that my mere presence at certain country clubs as a guest could elicit stares and questions from members and staff.
I was surprised recently when Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour's commissioner, said he struggled with what his role should be in addressing some of the hardships and injustices faced by black Americans. Monahan said that he had conversations with members of the black community to "better understand the current crisis and the systemic racism that they grapple with on a daily basis." He went on to say that this was the time for "listening and making a commitment to understand." 
What country has he been living in all of his life? 
How can you live in America without having a basic understanding of the pernicious legacy of slavery and Jim Crow? What does he think Martin Luther King Jr. was speaking about at the March on Washington or fighting for during the civil-rights movement? Where was he during the L.A. riots in 1992? 
He need not look further for understanding than the history of the PGA Tour and the travails of Charlie Sifford to break the PGA of America's "Caucasians only" clause in 1961. Surely, he knows the stories of Sifford, Lee Elder and other black golfing pioneers who systematically were excluded from the game because of their skin color.
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Thursday, June 4

Golf Channel's Damon Hack: 'Can I Be Both Thankful and Horrified?'

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DAMON HACK IS CO-ANCHOR of Morning Drive on Golf Channel. This week Hack, 48, published a short piece in the midst of worldwide protests related to the murder of George Floyd.

Here's an excerpt:
Can I be a smiling face on your TV and a somber soul when the camera is off?
Can I have laughter in the morning and tightness in my chest at night?
Can I talk Tiger and also talk about being pulled over on a California highway and the Jersey Turnpike, speeding neither time? ("Do you have drugs or weapons in your vehicle?" "No, sir. I'm just driving home from my summer internship." "Why am I being stopped, officer?" "Uh, there was a dog loose on the turnpike.")
In the below podcast (Episode 14), Hack told Geoff Shackelford the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Tuesday, June 2

The PGA TOUR Announces Debut of PGA TOUR University

Inaugural Class of 2021 to be awarded pathway to
Korn Ferry and International Tours

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida РThe PGA TOUR announced a new program designed to strengthen and elevate the path to the PGA TOUR through the Korn Ferry Tour, Mackenzie Tour РPGA TOUR Canada, PGA TOUR Latinoam̩rica and PGA TOUR Series РChina. PGA TOUR University will reward elite collegiate play with varying levels of playing access to Tours operated under the PGA TOUR umbrella, while upholding the principles and virtues of collegiate athletics.

Players eligible for the PGA TOUR University Ranking List will be NCAA Division I golfers who complete a minimum of four years in college.

"With the level of immediate success from the top collegiate players in the last decade, our team has done extensive research over time and developed a plan to provide a pathway for those players as they begin their journeys into the professional ranks," said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. "By focusing our efforts on players who have completed a minimum of four years, PGA TOUR University will not deter from the college game while ensuring its graduates benefit from their maturity and experience."

The top 15 finishers from the final Official PGA TOUR University Ranking List at the conclusion of each NCAA collegiate spring season (defined by the conclusion of the NCAA Men's Division I Golf Championship) will be awarded exempt status to the Korn Ferry Tour, PGA TOUR Latinoam̩rica, Mackenzie Tour РPGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR Series РChina, based on their respective finish.

The top five finishers from the final Official PGA TOUR University Ranking List will receive Korn Ferry Tour membership and will be exempt into all open, full-field events beginning the week following the conclusion of the NCAA Division I Men's National Championship through the conclusion of the Korn Ferry Tour regular season. The top five finishers will also be exempt into the Final Stage of that year’s Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament.

Finishers Nos. 6-15 will secure membership on one of the International Tours for the current season and a spot in the Second Stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament (if necessary). At that point, these players will have their choice of which International Tour their exempt status applies to.

The eligibility for each respective Tour will begin the week following the conclusion of the NCAA Men's Division I Golf Championship. The 2021 NCAA Men’'s Championship is scheduled to be held at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, from May 28 – June 2.

The PGA TOUR will partner with the World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR®), which is administered by The R&A and the USGA, to create the PGA TOUR University Ranking List. The WAGR system ranks the top amateurs on the basis of their average performance in counting events on a rolling cycle over the previous 104 weeks. The list will be filtered to include those players and results meeting the PGA TOUR University eligibility criteria.

Events which will count towards the Official PGA TOUR University Ranking List include NCAA Division I Men's Golf events and official PGA TOUR events, including the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

The first Official PGA TOUR University Ranking List will be unveiled this summer leading into the start of the 2020-21 Division I season, with the Ranking List updated each week during the season.

PGA TOUR University will partner with GOLF Channel to provide extensive coverage of NCAA Division I golf to complement the Ranking List and showcase the race to the top 15. GOLF Channel is the television home for college golf, televising six college golf championships, including the men's NCAA Championships since 2014.

Thursday, May 28

VIDEO: The Famous Burger Dog at the Olympic Club #NationalHamburgerDay

GOLF.COM: '7 Course-Management Strategies to Use When Your Game Is Rusty'

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THIS IS A GOOD PIECE by Zephyr Melton at I like all seven tips.

Read the entire article here.

Here's a sample:
5. Write down a swing thought that works 
When you get a swing thought in your head that's producing results, grab a pen and write it down. In the middle of struggles, it can be difficult to quiet your mind and figure out what you need to do to produce solid contact, but if you have it written down it could save your round. Keep a log of a few checkpoints so next time you have a long layoff you won't be searching for those old results.
I'd take the tips in this article a step further.

They're not just good when you're rusty. I'd use them anytime. (Unless you're a low single-digit handicapper or a pro.)

Maybe one or two of them will help me tomorrow. That's when I'm heading out to the golf course for the first time this season.

Tuesday, May 26

VIDEO: Recap of Capital One's The Match With Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady Raising $2 Million for Covid-19 Relief

ABOVE IS A FULL RECAP of Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning's 1-up victory over Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in the 2020 Capital One's The Match at Medalist Golf Club.

It was a huge succes because, if nothing else, the event featuring the four Hall of Famers raised $20 million for charity at a time when it's sorely needed.

Tiger and Peyton played some fine golf. Woods looked especially sharp. I expect some of that came from being on his home course. Meanwhile, Phil and Tom struggled but hung around until the end.

The rain was relentless as the foursome soldiered on. They had no choice with a window of live coverage on TNT and millions of fans desperate to see a sporting event of any kind.

Peyton Manning is both fun-loving and funny. And the QB can play. His irons were talking at Medalist.

Tom Brady couldn't get through a shot on the front nine. I actually felt sorry for him. That's a first. Then No. 12 found a little something and played OK coming in.

Phil's banter is entertaining ... until it's tiresome. As Tiger said, "Now you see what I have to deal with."

Saturday, May 23

The PGA TOUR Champions Announces Combined 2020-21 Season

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida – PGA TOUR Champions has announced that its tournaments in 2020 and 2021 will combine to form one season, and the next Charles Schwab Cup champion will be crowned in November 2021 at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Due to the circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, eight PGA TOUR Champions tournaments have been canceled from the original 27-tournament schedule. A number of other events have been rescheduled to later in the calendar year and a decision on The Senior Open presented by Rolex will be forthcoming.

In an effort to uphold the competitive integrity of the Charles Schwab Cup, PGA TOUR Champions will combine the 2020 and 2021 seasons and form a singular 2020-21 season. In addition, other measures are being taken to offset some of the impact made by the cancellation of tournaments.

In 2020, the field size of tournaments will increase from 78 to 81 players. In 2020, the three Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs events will be converted into 81-player fields. The Charles Schwab Cup Championship will be reduced from 72 to 54 holes.

"While we won't have a Charles Schwab Cup champion in 2020, we feel that the combined schedule for 2020-21 is the best solution for everyone associated with PGA TOUR Champions," said PGA TOUR Champions President Miller Brady. "The wonderful support from the tournaments, title sponsors, Charles Schwab and the Player Advisory Council has helped us address some of the schedule complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result we have created solutions that best serve our members and our tournament communities."

Players will retain their 2020 eligibility in 2021, except for the five players in the Q-School category, who will play their guaranteed events. Additionally, the 2020 PGA TOUR Champions Qualifying Tournament will not be conducted, and player awards will not be presented at the end of 2020.

Five events have been completed and 13 tournaments remain on the 2020 schedule, beginning with The Ally Challenge at Warwick Hills in Grand Blanc, Michigan (July 31 – August 2). PGA TOUR Champions events to be contested in 2021 as part of the combined 2020-21 schedule will be announced later this year.

PGA TOUR Champions will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and follow the recommendations of local and state authorities in order to determine the most appropriate on-site access in each market. Decisions on fan attendance at all events will be dependent on available protocols that could be implemented to ensure the health and well-being for all involved.

Thursday, May 21

Golfer Sidney Beckwith Dies at 101; He Shot Below His Age 1,464 Times

SIDNEY BECKWITH CHEATED DEATH MANY TIMES in his 101 years. This remembrance by Adam Schupak for Golfweek is worth a full read.

Sidney Beckwith
Beckwith died on May 9 after a bout with cancer and complications that followed, but a photo in Schupak's story shows him putting at Greenwood Valley Country Club on March 5.

Beckwith's longevity produced an enviable record on the golf course, according to Schupak:
Beckwith was 72 when he first broke his age at Green Valley. When he did it for the 100th time at age 85, his golf buddies took him out for a celebratory dinner. It only took three more years to get to 200 rounds at which time his friends at Gardiner's Bay gave him a plaque that proclaimed his "the guiding light of all golfers." (The club later renamed its annual Silver Bowl tournament the Beckwith Bowl.) 
At age 98, he broke his age more than 100 times. When he surpassed 1,000 rounds, a reporter from the Orlando Sentinel had to see it to believe it. Beckwith saved every scorecard, signed, attested and dated by his fellow competitors. Stacks of them lined the window sill of his bedroom and boxes filled to the gills secured the proof, each numbered, 1,464 in all, and telling a story of his age-defying feats.
Beckwith's is a story of luck, love and staying active for more than a century.

For perspective, his first car was a 1929 Ford Coupe. More recently, at age 100, Sidney drove his Hyundai Elantra on regular trips to the grocery store.

His first golf club was a wooden mashie. More recently, the centenarian teed off with a Callaway Epic driver. And his golf ball was in the air before 8 a.m. six days a week.

Tuesday, May 19

USGA: Four Championships in 2020, Deep Regret About No Qualifying

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THE USGA WILL CONDUCT ONLY FOUR championships in 2020, and that's only if public health and safety allow them. There's no certainty during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The USGA will thus conduct four championships in 2020," the organization reported at, "all at their originally scheduled sites.

"In early April, the USGA announced that the 120th U.S. Open will be played at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., from Sept. 17-20, and the 75th U.S. Women’s Open will be played at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas, from Dec. 10-13. Testing and robust health and safety protocols will be in place at each of the four championships."

The other two will be the men and women's amateur championships, both with August dates.

None of the fields of the four championships will include qualifiers. All qualifying events have been canceled.

"[T]he fields will be filled entirely through exemptions," the USGA said.

This is a major disappointment, even during these difficult times, because it goes against what these "open" events are about, their very identity.

"[T]his was an incredibly difficult decision, as qualifying is a cornerstone of USGA championships," said John Bodenhamer, the USGA's senior managing director of Championships. "We take great pride in the fact that many thousands typically enter to pursue their dream of qualifying for a USGA championship and we deeply regret that they will not have that opportunity this year. But this structure provides the best path forward for us to conduct these championships in 2020."

Come late summer and fall, I'm sure I'll be glad to watch some golf, including these championships. But this situation reminds me of the war years when championships were canceled or fielded under different banners and sponsorships.

These 2020 USGA championships, if they are played, are a sad substitute for the real thing.

Friday, May 15

If You Need a Sports Fix: 'NBC Sports From the Vault' Continues on May 18

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STAMFORD, Conn. – The second week of NBC Sports From the Vault begins Monday, May 18 on NBCSN, replaying nearly 55 hours of classic sports events from the past 40 years, featuring Notre Dame Football, the Orange Bowl, MLB classics, Wimbledon, French Open, PGA TOUR and Ryder Cup.

From Monday, May 18, through Friday, May 22 (starting at 7 p.m. ET), and Saturday, May 23, through Sunday, May 24 (starting at 8 p.m. ET), NBCSN will present nightly primetime programming from NBC Sports' vault of historic games, spanning four sports across four decades.

Iconic athletes that will be featured over the course of the week include Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Phil Mickelson, and John McEnroe, as well as legendary postseason matchups featuring the Boston Red Sox-New York Mets 1986 World Series Game 6, Oakland A's-Los Angeles Dodgers 1988 World Series Game 1, and the 1990s Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. the Colorado Buffaloes.

Throughout the week, former athletes will provide commentary on the classic games, including a pair of former Notre Dame standouts – Heisman Trophy runner-up Rocket Ismail and All-American Reggie Brooks – former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher and 1988 World Series MVP Orel Hershiser, former New York Mets pitcher Ron Darling, GOLF Channel analyst and 12-time PGA TOUR winner Justin Leonard, and 12-time European Tour (and three-time PGA TOUR) winner Ian Poulter.

Game presentations will include a specialized ticker featuring live tweets. Fans can tweet #NBCSNVault for the chance to see their tweets live on air.

Following is each night's From the Vault content:

Monday, May 18: "Breakfast at Wimbledon"
Tuesday, May 19: "Breakfast at Wimbledon"
Wednesday, May 20: French Open
Thursday, May 21: Notre Dame Football
Friday, May 22: MLB Classics
Saturday, May 23: PGA TOUR (Arnold Palmer Invitational) and Ryder Cup
Sunday, May 24: PGA TOUR (THE PLAYERS Championship) and Ryder Cup

Programming will also stream on and the NBC Sports app.
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Thursday, May 14

Single Mom Laura Baugh Played the LPGA Tour With Seven Kids Tagging Along

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LAURA BAUGH TURNED PRO IN 1973 and won Rookie of the Year.

In a Mother's Day story by Golfweek writer Beth Ann Nichols, Baugh tallked about the challenges of being a single mom of seven children while playing the LPGA Tour:
I was really in love with being a mom. We traveled in a large van and had great times, saw the Smithsonian. But my golf definitely suffered. A single mom with seven kids playing the LPGA tour sounds bizarre, but at the same time, we had great times.... 
Then, as the children got older, I thought, you don't want to homeschool and play professional golf and travel. I did everything. At one point there, I hired a nanny.... In the summertime, they all came out. Even when I went to Sweden and different places, I would take the bottom two with me. I was very much a hands-on mom. I always had children with me. It was a gift and a blessing that I didn’t expect to experience in life.
Now 64, Baugh lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, and stays in shape by running "a lot."

Baugh said she gets a rush by hitting long drives. In the Senior Women's Open, she "hit it plenty long," probably 260. It was like, "My god, how did you bomb it so far?"

Tuesday, May 12

PGA Tour's Joel Dahmen Shoots 58 on Home Course; Chicago Cubs' Ian Happ Cards 69

JOEL DAHMEN WAS "ONLY" 2 UNDER through seven holes. Then the PGA Tour pro went crazy. That is, 12-under-for-the-next-11-holes crazy.

Dahmen's 58 included a 26 on the second nine. The University of Washington product set a new course record at Mesa Country Club in Arizona. (Good luck trying to break it.)

"That was FUN!" tweeted Dahmen, also seen with his five golf partners in a photo. (As Alex Myers noted for Golf Digest, not much evidence of social distancing.)

Chicago Cubs infielder Ian Happ also has game, sporting a two handicap. Happ turned in a tidy 69.

That's solid on any day, but it might not have felt quite as good on a day when his golf-pro buddy bettered him by 11.

Dahmen is playing in this week's Scottsdale AZ Open, a 54-hole event. He opened with a 65.

Saturday, May 9

MORNING READ: 'The European Tour Is in Deep Trouble'; Speculation About Merger With PGA Tour

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THIS WEEK IN MORNING READ Mike Purkey wrote, "The European Tour is in deep trouble, and it appears that the PGA Tour will come riding to the rescue. But at a price."

The European Tour has canceled 16 events due to the coronavirus pandemic, including The Open Championship, its first cancellation since World War II. They still hope to play a 26-event schedule that begins (hopefully) on July 30.

The Europeans don't have PGA Tour-level resources. Survival is the goal.

Purkey quoted an April memo from European Tour CEO Keith Pelley:
"Our tour has enjoyed a significant period of growth in recent years, in terms of prize funds, playing opportunities and the overall standard of our events, as well as our broadcast product. The impact of the coronavirus has stopped this rapid momentum in its tracks, and it will, in fact, require us to reassess many elements. You should therefore be prepared that when we do resume playing, the schedule and the infrastructure of tournaments could look radically different from what you have been used to. 
"Prize funds will also most likely be different. … The reality is, the pandemic is going to have a profound impact on the tour financially, as well as many of our partners, both in sponsorship and broadcast areas."
The merger mill has been noisy.

Purkey added: "[A]ccording to reports, both men [Pelley and Jay Monahan] are talking daily about forging some sort of arrangement – perhaps a partnership or an outright merger – in which the European Tour would receive at the very least significant financial help to remain afloat and viable. At most, it is speculated that the Euro Tour would become a subsidiary of the PGA Tour."

Like so many industries, organizations and sports profoundly impacted by the pandemic, golf won't be the same on the other side. The strong will survive. The weak may die or be swallowed up by the strong.

Thursday, May 7

VIDEO: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning Talk (and Trash Talk) With TNT's Ernie Johnson About Their Upcoming Televised Charity Match

LET THE TRASH TALKING BEGIN. And it does, if you listen.

This promo was actually pretty funny in spots. It sounds as if Tom and Peyton will bring plenty of golf balls to make sure they have enough to get all the way around the course.

Following are the essentials.

Turner Sports will exclusively present "Capital One's The Match: Champions for Charity," featuring Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and joined by Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. (It's Woods/Manning vs. Mickelson/Brady.)

The live event will be on Sunday, May 24, at 3 p.m. ET. It's a simulcast across TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN.

The match will be played at Medalist Golf Club in Florida (Tiger's home course).

There will be a $10 million charitable donation for COVID-19 relief. Additional fundraising will include on-course challenges and partnership with ALL IN Challenge.

(H/T Geoff Shackelford)

Tuesday, May 5

Reopening Golf: Industry Stakeholders Release CDC-Reviewed 'Back2Golf' Plan

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Three-Phase National Framework Aligned with
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – As part of an industry-wide collaboration to lead the responsible return of golf in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the game's allied organizations have established "Back2Golf," a plan outlining operational guidelines for golf]s 16,000-plus facilities that adhere to nationally established protocols and best practices.

[Visit BACK2GOLF for three-phased approach and guidelines]

After review from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), golf leaders and medical experts, the game's national organizations have adopted a three-phase approach for golf's careful reopening, focused on prolonged social distancing and enhanced sanitization practices. Using measures set by the CDC and The White House "Guidelines for Opening Up America Again" plan, the recommendations will progress at various paces depending on geographic location.

"The Back2Golf Playbook and Guidelines that the PGA of America and golf's allied organizations have put together are both comprehensive in nature and, most importantly, lay out a responsible way to get back on the golf course," said Dr. Bradley Connor, clinical professor of medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College and an attending physician at the New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell campus. "The guidelines emphasize social distancing and other preventative measures in alignment with the plan established by The White House and CDC. Golf is a terrific recreational outlet that offers a number of physical and mental health benefits.

 "While we all must remain vigilant and continue to take precautions, this plan allows golf to be played in keeping with social distancing best practices," Dr. Connor continued. "I applaud the golf industry for helping to be part of the solution to get us back outdoors in a healthy and responsible manner."

This industry-wide initiative has been primarily focused on ensuring golf courses that have remained operational or will reopen soon, do so responsibly to protect golfers, employees and all members of the community. Each organization has distributed "Back2Golf Guidelines" and the corresponding "Operations Playbook" to its respective audiences to implement and administer. Updates will be made as interim guidance on COVID-19 is issued by the CDC.

Back2Golf is driven by key stakeholders of WE ARE GOLF, a division of the World Golf Foundation created in 2010 to spearhead initiatives on behalf of the game. Organizations include PGA of America, USGA, PGA TOUR, LPGA, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA), and Club Management Association of America (CMAA), among others.

Thursday, April 30

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Resuming Major Sports: 'Safety [Is] Everything'

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DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, THE DIRECTOR of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and the point man on the coronavirus task force, loves sports like many of the rest of us.

Dr. Fauci played basketball and baseball growing up. He still runs at the age of 79. A baseball fan, the Brooklyn-born doctor said he roots for the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees.

But as a public health expert Dr. Fauci urged caution as the country eases through the first wave of the pandemic.

"Safety," Dr. Fauci said in a New York Times interview, "for the players and for the fans, trumps everything. If you can't guarantee safety, then unfortunately you're going to have to bite the bullet and say, 'We may have to go without this sport for this season.'"

"Broad access" to testing will be required for major sports to resume, according to Dr. Fauci. Manufacturers have made progress. They still have a ways to go before America can play ball.

He added: "If we let our desire to prematurely get back to normal, we can only get ourselves right back in the same hole we were in a few weeks ago."

Wednesday, April 29

The Match, Part 2: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson Renew Rivalry, With Peyton Manning and Tom Brady Alongside

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By Jacob Smalley

Jacob Smalley is an avid golfer and a junior at Ohio University.

IN LATE 2018 THE GOLF WORLD was fixated on a pay-per-view golf match between two of the most popular players of all time. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson squared off at Shadow Creek Golf Course.

Jacob Smalley
The winner, Phil Mickelson, took home the $9 million purse.

Now there is a rematch brewing, and it might be our best bet for live golf during the pandemic.

The event is called The Match: Champions for Charity, and, in addition to Tiger and Phil, will feature football greats Peyton Manning (paired with Tiger) and Tom Brady (paired with Phil). All donations and fundraising from the event will benefit COVID-19 relief efforts.

The match will air live on TNT and is expected to be played in May, coming before the restart of the PGA Tour in June. Social distancing and group limits will still be in place. But there won't be a need for spectators for this charity match because everyone can watch from the comfort of home.

I think another Tiger versus Phil match is exactly what sports fans need at this time. Everyone has been cooped up in their homes and there have been no live sports in weeks. With two legendary quarterbacks added into the mix, I think this event will exceed expectations.

What are your thoughts about a rematch between these two golf legends?

Saturday, April 25

PGA TOUR VIDEO: Golf's Version of Field Goals

I ALWAYS ENJOY WATCHING a good recovery shot. Here are a bunch of them from the best players in the world.

Do you ever try to thread a shot between two trees (or other objects)?

It ain't easy. (Unless you're these guys.)

I'll try it on occasion. Once I line up to hit the shot, I try to forget the small window and just keep my head down.

Friday, April 24

That Time in 1948 Jack Fleck Won the Baker Park Labor Day Tournament and $200 in Kewanee, Illinois

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I STILL RECEIVE GOOGLE ALERTS about Jack Fleck, who I befriended in 2007 and wrote about in THE LONGEST SHOT, which published in May 2012. Jack won the 1955 U.S. Open in an 18-hole playoff against Ben Hogan, pulling off one of the greatest upsets in golf or any sport.

Jack died in 2014 at the age of 92 in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Jack Fleck in 2010.
Occasionally, I learn something new about Jack, some small anecdote that didn't materialize in my extensive research and countless hours of conversations with him.

While not particularly important or newsworthy, I'll admit these tidbits are interesting to me, another point on the golf path of an obscure tour pro who seemingly came out of nowhere to win the National Open.

This item appeared in today's Star Courier of Kewanee, Illinois:
The [Baker Park] Labor Day tournament is still a major attraction every Hog Days. In 1948, it was the fourth time it had been held. 
In 1948, [Jack] Fleck was a 27-year-old golf pro at a Davenport, Iowa, municipal golf course who was competing for the second time in the Baker Park tourney. He shot rounds of 66 and 69 (135 total) to beat second place by five shots. 
His 66 tied the course record that had been set two months earlier by Kewanee's Don Sckrabulis. Schrabulis was in the junior class at Kewanee High School and he would later capture the high school state championship and win his share of local tournaments before becoming a golf club professional. 
For defeating 11 other professional golfers, Fleck won a prize of $200.
I knew Jack honed his game in small tournaments all over the Midwest. I'm sure he shot more low scores and won more small events than I'll ever know.

Wednesday, April 22

My 3 Biggest Lessons in Year One of Golf

By Jacob Smalley

Jacob Smalley is an avid golfer and a junior at Ohio University.

GOLF IS A SPORT WITH a pretty steep learning curve, and that leads to a ton of lessons.

Jacob Smalley
I started to avidly play golf in my teenage years. What a great challenge! I am so happy I stuck with the game and became a student of it to this day. I could go on and on about all of the lessons I have learned through golf, but I have narrowed it down to three.

1. Ask for Help

The first huge lesson was that it's okay to ask for help. Being a bull-headed 14-year-old, I figured that I could just hit hundreds of balls on the driving range and eventually something would click. I was right to some extent. I mean, there was really nowhere to go but up and to improve.

But after a while, I eventually hit a plateau and needed an expert's opinion. After receiving tips and feedback from a local club pro, I was set on the right path. The situation was even a life lesson for me because it showed me that asking for help is the easiest way to improve at something.

2. Consistency

Another incredible thing I learned is that consistency is a key to success in golf and everything in life.

Consistency can mean many things in relation to golf, but I am talking about the pre-shot routine. Too many golfers walk up to the ball and do something different every time. Sometimes they will take two practice swings, and other times they will just waggle their club and proceed to hit the golf ball.

After watching professionals, it struck me that they do the same thing every time to increase focus and get in the zone before a shot. I always overlooked this aspect of the game. Remaining consistent in your routines will improve your concentration and help you improve in the long run.

3. Stay Positive

Staying positive at all times was the biggest takeaway during my first year of golf.

At the end of the day, we are enjoying nature, being social with friends, and playing an incredible game. Competitively, there are going to be bad days. It is inevitable. But I (and you) can always choose to enjoy the game no matter the score or outcome.

Just having fun is actually a great way to improve scores because positive thoughts can translate to better scores.  I noticed that when I was relaxed and not putting so much pressure on myself to play well, I actually played my best!

Our minds are our greatest asset and our greatest liability. Once I fully realized that truth, it raised my golf game to new heights.

Fast forward to today, and I am still a student of golf who is trying to learn as much as possible.