Thursday, January 30

Facebook and PGA TOUR Forge Global Content Agreement

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA – The PGA TOUR announced an expansive agreement with Facebook to distribute daily highlight packages globally on Facebook Watch in 2020 starting at the Farmers Insurance Open.

The PGA TOUR will publish daily round recaps and player-specific highlights from more than 30 events, including THE PLAYERS Championship and FedExCup Playoffs.

These expanded highlights will feature content from the TOUR's core telecasts, along with content from PGA TOUR LIVE, the TOUR's OTT service featuring more than 1,200 hours of exclusive Featured Groups coverage in 2020.

"We're excited to expand our partnership with Facebook by delivering additional content for our fans," said Chris Wandell, Vice President Media Business Development at the PGA TOUR. "This is in response to our fans' appetite for additional coverage packaged in a way that is convenient for them to consume."

The TOUR will create a robust and timely highlights experience for PGA TOUR fans around the world on Facebook Watch. Fans can stay up to date with the latest highlights by following the PGA TOUR Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/PGATour. Content will be posted daily at the completion of each tournament round. As part of the agreement, the TOUR will also engage fans in its Facebook Group, The Gallery, with interactive elements such as Facebook Lives and Facebook Watch Parties.

Monday, January 20

Lee Westwood Claims 25th Win on European Tour, Proves 'That I've Still Got It'

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LEE WESTWOOD, 45, WON IN ABU DHABI on Sunday. That's 25 wins on the European Tour and 44 victories worldwide for the Englishman.

As Golfworld's John Huggan wrote, Westwood's resurgence began about 18 months ago. His focus changed around the same time his girlfriend Helen took over bag duties.

"I think it helps having all the responsibility and not listening to another opinion," Westwood said as quoted by Golfworld. "I've been out here 26 years. I ought to know how far it is, what club to hit, how to judge the wind and where not to miss greens. I feel like there is a lot more clarity to my head when I'm stood over the ball. There's only one opinion and it's mine. Even if I am wrong it is better to go with what I think rather than have a doubt in my mind."

Now the aging Westwood dreams of another Ryder Cup. As a player.

"I've been on losing Ryder Cup teams, and I've been on seven winning ones," he said.

"It's a big honor to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup. And I would love to play another as long as I'm good enough. I wouldn't want a pick, but if I qualified I would definitely play.

"So I'll be trying my hardest. But you can't control qualifying for a Ryder Cup team. I'll just be trying to do the small things right and it will lead on to the big things, like qualifying for the side. For now, it's just nice to come out and keep proving that I've still got it."

Happy 25th Birthday to GOLF Channel

By GOLF Channel Communications

ORLANDO, Fla.  – GOLF Channel celebrated its 25th anniversary on Friday, Jan. 17, when in 1995 it launched as the first single-sport cable network, co-founded by Arnold Palmer and cable entrepreneur Joe Gibbs. GOLF Channel has grown to become the tentpole of NBC Sports Group’s GOLF portfolio of businesses with more live tournament coverage than all other U.S. networks combined, and high-quality news, instruction and entertainment programming dedicated to showcasing the global sport of golf.

"Arnold Palmer was so proud of the role GOLF Channel plays in connecting the world to golf and we take great pride in carrying forward his legacy as we forge a path for the next quarter century," said Mike McCarley, president, GOLF, NBC Sports.

"A prime example of how much GOLF Channel has grown – from just 15 hours of live programming the network's first week 25 years ago to more than 100 live hours this week from three U.S. time zones and five countries. As we look ahead to 2020, GOLF Channel will be on the ground at all of the men's and women's major championships, The Players, Tokyo Olympics, FedExCup Playoffs, UL International Crown and Ryder Cup."

GOLF Channel has grown from 10,000 U.S. households in 1995 to reaching nearly 500 million golf fans around the globe in more than 70 countries and nine languages. Since joining the NBC Sports Group in 2011, GOLF Channel has been one of the fastest-growing cable networks in television (2011-2013) and in 2019, golf fans streamed nearly 1 billion minutes of live and VOD content.

Monday, January 13

Actor Don Cheadle's New Role: U.S. Open Brand Ambassador

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DON CHEADLE TO THE RESCUE. The award-winning actor has joined with the USGA to boost public golf.

From the news release:

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J – The United States Golf Association (USGA) has teamed up with Academy Award-nominated actor and United Nations Environment Program Global Goodwill Ambassador Don Cheadle in an effort to increase the value of public golf to golfers, courses and communities throughout America.

Cheadle, an avid golfer with a passion for the game, recognizes that the long-term viability of the sport depends on strengthening the health of public golf, while finding ways for the game to operate in a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly manner.

"Growing up, I used to play public courses with my father, and I have some great memories of those rounds," said Cheadle, a veteran of dozens of acclaimed movies and TV shows. "I want to make sure that future generations of golfers are able to have access to the same opportunities that I was able to benefit from."

Cheadle will also serve as a U.S. Open brand ambassador, lending his esteemed voice and stature to showcase what makes the championship truly special.

Monday, January 6

PHOTO: Jack Fleck Warming Up Before 18-Hole Playoff With Ben Hogan at the 1955 U.S. Open

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HERE'S A FAVORITE PICTURE of Jack Fleck (1921-2014), who I wrote about in my 2012 book THE LONGEST SHOT.

This is moments before the start of an 18-hole playoff with four-time U.S. Open champion Ben Hogan to decide the 1955 U.S. Open. During warm-up, Jack liked to hit a few shots with the short and long clubs, focusing on tempo.

One of the most remarkable things Jack told me in our seven-year relationship (that became a friendship) was that he wasn't afraid of playing Ben Hogan, head to head. I asked him about this on numerous occasions. If anything, it was an honor for Jack to face Hogan, because Hogan was his idol.

But, no, Jack wasn't nervous or afraid. He was a confident ball-striker and tended to play his best on tough golf courses.

For one week in June 1955, Fleck played sublime golf on a brutal, rough-infested layout, the Olympic Club in San Francisco. He even putted well (his persistent weakness).

The virtually unknown Fleck stunned the great Hogan (and the wider world) with a three-shot victory in that playoff, still one of the greatest upsets in golf and sports.

It changed Jack's life, a lot of it good and some bad. I had the privilege to learn all about it during multiple conversations over several years. Now, as the years fly by, it's sometimes hard to believe I had that incredible opportunity.