Saturday, November 28

EXTENDED TRAILER: 'Tiger Woods: America's Son' to Air November 29 on ESPN


THE UNDEFEATED WILL PRESENT "Tiger Woods: America's Son" on Sunday, November 29 at 7 ET on ESPN.

Here's their description of the film:

"The one-hour documentary will examine Tiger Woods' complex racial identity and the meaning of the golfer's success in America.

"Additionally, the program will explore how Woods' historic win at The Masters in 1997 – becoming the first African-American golfer to win a major tournament – influenced perceptions of the golfer across racial and ethnic lines.

"'Tiger Woods: America's Son' will also chronicle Woods' legacy as a pioneer in a sport where it is historically more difficult for Black Americans to break through."

The Little-Known Englishman Who Invented the Modern Golf Swing (Part 2 of 2)

 By John Coyne

James Douglas Edgar was an undertalented English golf pro who won the admiration of his famous peers: Tommy Armour, Harry Vardon and Bobby Jones, to name a few. This is the conclusion of a two-part series about how Edgar created the golf swing still being used a century after his death. (Read Part 1.)

WHAT CHANGED DOUG EDGAR'S LIFE was marriage and a child. He came to realize he couldn't drift along as a home pro, not without improving his game. And he focused on how to outplay the great Open champion Harry Vardon. And he did.

James Douglas Edgar
Even Vardon agreed, saying of Doug Edgar at the peak of their careers, "This is a man who will one day be the greatest of us all."

While both Vardon and Edgar were alike as poor kids, that's where the similarities ended. Vardon was big and strong; Edgar was short and physically handicapped. Vardon's forearms were the size of Doug's calves. His shoulders as wide as a doorway. 

Watching Vardon play in a match at the Northumberland course, Edgar was left in awe. He would never be as big and strong as Vardon. He could not overpower the Northumberland course with 200-yard drives in the age of hickory. If he was going to be the best golfer in the world, there had to be another way for Doug Edgar. And there was.

It was not until 1910 that he discovered "The Movement" while hitting mashies around a gate, hitting one curving to the left, landing the other to the right. His hip was giving him trouble, so he didn't take full swings. In fact, he didn't move his hips on the backswing. Distance wasn't an issue. He only wanted to catch the ball solidly on the clubface without collapsing in pain.

On a lark, Edgar decided to take an abbreviated swing, locking his upper arms against the muscles in his chest. He wanted to see how well he could hit it without turning his ailing hip on the backswing at all.

The moment the club clicked, Doug knew it was solid. What he didn't know until a second later was just how remarkably he had hit it. Not only did the ball fly exactly as he had intended, it went farther than any shot he'd hit in a year. 

Doug tried the shorter, tighter swing again, and again, and again. 

The restricted hip turn was not a detriment: it was the catalyst, the Rosetta stone that had finally decoded the golf swing for him.

A bad hip led to the birth of the modern golf swing, a swing so out of place in its day that the nicest thing people called it was "unusual."

Today it is the swing seen on every tournament driving range in the world, the swing that has been taught by every top-shelf pro since World War II. It has been called "the coil" and "the X factor," the "swing connection" and the one-plane swing. Doug called it "The Movement."

"The Movement," as Steve Eubanks writes in his book To Win and Die in Dixie: The Birth of of the Modern Golf Swing and the Mysterious Death of Its Creator, "was actually an elimination of movement from the conventional swing. By cutting down on the hip turn and restricting the length the club traveled on the backswing, he was able to store energy like a wound catapult; energy that would be unleashed at the moment, as he put it, 'when the clubhead meets the ball.'

"To help restrict the hips, he widened his stance a few inches beyond shoulder width, well beyond normal for the day, and splayed his left boot counterclockwise. Such simple adjustments caused the ball to spring off the club with jarring velocity."

The rest is history. Golf history.

Epitaph


"J Douglas Edgar is buried in Westview Cemetery, Atlanta. His epitaph was quite an accolade from his peers in the world of professional golf."
















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 aet JohnCoyneBooks.com.

Thursday, November 26

The Little-Known Englishman Who Invented the Modern Golf Swing (Part 1 of 2)

By John Coyne

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

I HAD NEVER HEARD OF DOUG EDGAR and I have been following golf all my life. I'm not the only one who never heard of him. Former PGA Tour pro and U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger never heard of him.

John Feinstein, sportswriter and commentator, wrote, "An English professional [James Douglas Edgar] of whom a great majority of British golfers have never heard was a player who might have been the greatest of the twenties, greater than Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen."

What?

Well, thanks to an old college buddy and player, Bill Vicars, I now know it was Doug Edgar who gave me the golf swing I have. Yes, and Doug Edgar gave you the swing you have. None of us have heard of him or know that he created the golf swing that was first called the "Edgar Movement."

A few weeks ago my friend sent me Steve Eubanks' To Win and Die in Dixie: the Birth of the Modern Golf Swing and the Mysterious Death of Its Creator.

It is a biography of J. Douglas Edgar, telling his story from being the first pro at Northumberland Country Club in England, to his mysterious and tragic death after midnight on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, Georgia.

It is the story of the man who invented the modern swing, coached the great Bobby Jones and Alexa Stirling, the finest female player of her day.

It is the story of a player Tommy Armour said was "the greatest of them all, and taught me the most."

It is also the story of a golfer who could drink you under the table and pick up any woman in the bar. And that, not his innovative golf swing, led to his death in America.

In his book, author and journalist Steve Eubanks tells how Edgar was born in 1884, a poor kid in the northeastern edge of England, and discovered golf when he was a precocious thirteen-year-old watching players at the Northumberland Golf Club.

Eubanks writes, "It never occurred to him that he would ever be any good. He had from birth a bad right hip and the game did not come easy. Standing close to him, you could hear his joints pop whenever he bent over to take his ball out of the hole. He felt pangs with every backswing, and the rotation of the backswing was like propping his right leg against a grinding wheel."

Nevertheless, by the age of fifteen, working as a caddie at Northumberland, golf had become his obsession, and to him, even with the pain of looping double, working at the country club was a better life than life on his family farm.

In the spring of 1904, the club members at Northumberland hired eighteen-year-old Doug as their first home pro, assuring him, Eubanks writes, of second-class citizenship in England,= and giving Doug the chance to play golf for the rest of his life.

"He saw the game," Eubanks writes, "as his way to stay off the farm and out of the mines. A chance to achieve glory and riches."

By eighteen, he already had a reputation, not for golf, but for being charming, charismatic and a bit mischievous. Members liked him, and he was especially popular with the women at the club and in town. The only place where he wasn't successful was with his golf game. While he was a great instructor, he wasn't much of a player. 

At the time, the most famous golf pro in England was Harry Vardon (you've heard of the Vardon grip), who like Doug was a poor kid who came out of the caddie ranks to become, by 1903, the most important player in England.

Vardon revolutionized golf by changing the mechanics of the game. Prior to him, players gripped the club with all ten fingers, often splitting their hands apart as if holding an ax.

Through experimentation, Vardon realized that moving his thumbs down the shaft, gripping the club more in his fingers than his palms, and overlapping the pinky finger of the right hand with the index finger of the left, his big hands could work as a single unit, and he could generate a tremendous amount of clubhead speed with a light grip pressure. The "Vardon grip" changed the game forever.

Next time, in the conclusion: What changed Edgar? And how did he, like Vardon, change the game of golf forever?

Thursday, November 19

A Life in Pictures: Remembering Legendary Golf Photographer Leonard Kamsler


EARLIER THIS YEAR LEONARD KAMSLER became the first recipient of the PGA of America Lifetime Achievement Award in Photojournalism. Kamsler died on Tuesday. He was 85.

Kamsler's contributions were vast. From Sam Snead and Ben Hogan, to Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, to Tiger Woods and more, this man brought golf to life with a sharp eye and steady camera.

The above video is a worthwhile tribute.

Tuesday, November 17

SPECIAL OFFER: My 1969 Ryder Cup Book Featuring Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin Can Be Yours for a Small Price

THE HOLIDAYS ARE COMING. Do you need a golf-related gift for yourself or someone on your list?

I'd like you to have my book, DRAW IN THE DUNES: The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish That Shocked the World. And I'll make you a special offer only available here:

Only $15 for a signed (or unsigned) hardcover edition. That includes postage.*

Here's a little about the book.

DRAW IN THE DUNES
tells the dramatic story of the 1969 Ryder Cup, which ended in the first tie in the 42-year history of the biennial matches between the United States and Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I). The Americans were the overwhelming favorites, but GB&I, led by new Open champion Tony Jacklin, were youthful and bold. They were determined to win back the Cup even when few people (including their own countrymen) thought they had any chance. This tense Ryder Cup came down to the last singles match between Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin. It ended with a famous act of sportsmanship.

DRAW IN THE DUNES was nominated for The Herbert Warren Wind Book Award, an annual USGA award that recognizes outstanding contributions to golf literature. Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin contributed the foreword.

"Neil Sagebiel brings the memorable tournament to life…Mr. Sagebiel's narrative is strongest when he reports the hole-to-hole proceedings, which is all the more remarkable since only three minutes of television footage were archived. He teases out drama and puts the reader on the green." Wall Street Journal

"Draw in the Dunes recounts the times, the circumstances and perhaps best of all, the background needed for readers to put the 1969 Cup and Nicklaus' concession into perspective….Bottom line--if you are interested in golf, the Ryder Cup, its history and its personalities, you will enjoy this book and give it a permanent spot on the shelf." ―New England Golf Monthly

Interested? Contact me at armchairgolfer@gmail.com.

*While supplies last. I have a small surplus I'd like to share with readers and friends.

Monday, November 16

Masters Champion Dustin Johnson: 'I Dream of Winning a Lot of Majors'


IT'S HARD TO WIN A MAJOR, even when you're as talented as world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. And especially when the major is the Masters, the one Dustin wanted the most.

On Sunday, Johnson finally got a monkey off his back and a Green Jacket draped over his broad shoulders.

Going into the final round with at least a 4-shot lead over a handful of players lacking Masters experience, DJ was 0 for 4 as a 54-hole leader at a major. (He won his one major championship, the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont, coming from behind.)

After a couple early hiccups, this time Johnson got it done with a closing 68 and set the Masters scoring record in the process -- 20 under par -- shattering the 18-under mark set by Tiger Woods in 1997 and matched by Jordan Spieth in 2015.

"No one wants to be perceived as the player who can't hold a lead," Doug Ferguson wrote for the Associated Press. "Johnson could sense that was the reputation he was developing. He said as much in his news conference when he began with, 'I'm sure a lot of you all think' before he switched gears to say 'there were doubts in my mind, just because I had been there.'"

Now Johnson is part of that heady Green Jacket club for life, ending the possibility of being one of those tragic marquee players who never won at Augusta National: Greg Norman, Ernie Els, Lee Trevino, Nick Price, Johnny Miller, Davis Love III.

Part of an athletic family that excelled in multiple sports, Johnson grew up in neighboring South Carolina, just an hour from Augusta, Georgia. Winning the Masters was his dream. But the distance between him and a Green Jacket seemed too far at times, despite an easygoing demeanor and the raw power and shotmaking that produced more than 20 titles on the PGA Tour.

Today, Johnson has silenced some of those doubting voices, both in the golf world and in his head. The future looks better when you're wearing a Green Jacket.

"I dream of winning a lot of majors," he said. "Just hasn't quite happened yet. Hopefully, this one will help give me a little spring."

Saturday, November 14

Tiger Woods at the Masters: 'I Can Walk All Day. The Hard Part Is Bending and Twisting'

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TIGER WOODS' REIGN AS DEFENDING Masters champion will end on Sunday when he slips the Green Jacket over the shoulders of ... ?

On Saturday night, it sure looks like it will be Dustin Johnson, who shot a 65 on moving day to open up a 4-shot lead on three talented non-major winners named Im, Ancer and Smith.

Johnson showed his world No. 1 prowess on Saturday. Frankly, DJ made it look rather easy. November Masters is a poor substitute for April Masters, especially after so much rain.

Meanwhile, Tiger's Masters title defense stalled in a third round that added up to a lackluster 72.


While [Tiger Woods] looked limber and fit while completing the second round under overcast skies and in brisk temperatures, Woods looked stiff and troubled starting late on the front nine of his third round. He looked to be in pain as he removed balls from the holes and picked up tees after letting loose with his tee shots. He grimaced on occasion. Toward the end of the round, however, Woods looked a tad better.

"These are long days," said Woods, who won his fifth green jacket and 15th major championship last year at Augusta National. "I had my day off yesterday, which was nice. Today was not the case. We've been at it for quite some time. It's just part of the deal. If you have long days like this, I'm going to get a little bit sore, which I definitely am.

"I can walk all day. The hard part is bending and twisting. I think that's part of the game, though, and so that's always been the challenge with my back issues and I guess will always continue to be."

The Masters will conclude earlier than usual on Sunday. Beginning at 7:50 a.m. Eastern time, threesomes will go off both 1 and 10. The last groups tee off at 9:30 a.m.

Will DJ finally don the Green Jacket?

Tuesday, November 10

2020 Masters: Thursday and Friday Tee Times

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THE 2020 MASTERS TEES OFF THURSDAY at Augusta National Golf Club. The field of 91 men that includes six amateurs will play for the green jacket on the storied course that measures about 7,500 yards and plays to a par of 72.

Tiger Woods is the defending champion.

Following are tee times for Thursday and Friday.

THURSDAY, ROUND 1, FIRST TEE
7 am: Lucas Glover, Corey Conners, C.T. Pan
7:11 am: Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Jazz Janewattananond
7:22 am: Larry Mize, Andrew Landry, Lukas Michel
7:33 am: Matt Kuchar, Lee Westwood, Kevin Na
7:44 am: Xander Schauffele, Jason Kokrak, Henrik Stenson
7:55 am: Charl Schwartzel, Jason Day, Abel Gallegos
8:06 am: Vijay Singh, Lanto Griffin, Tyler Duncan
8:17 am: Mike Weir, Rafael Cabrera Bello, Matt Wallace
11:05 am: Sung Kang, Erik van Rooyen
11:16 am: Danny Willett, Rickie Fowler, John Augenstein
11:27 am: Phil Mickelson, Abraham Ancer, Bernd Wiesberger
11:38 am: Adam Scott, Collin Morikawa, Tyrrell Hatton
11:49 am: Justin Thomas, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Brooks Koepka
Noon: Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy
12:11 pm: Zach Johnson, Justin Rose, Cameron Champ
12:22 pm: Victor Perez, Sungjae Im, Brendon Todd

THURSDAY, ROUND 1, 10TH TEE                
7 am: Sandy Lyle, Jimmy Walker, Yuxin Lin
7:11 am: Webb Simpson, Marc Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama
7:22 am: Kevin Kisner, Adam Hadwin, Scottie Scheffler
7:33 am: Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen
7:44 am: Patrick Reed, Paul Casey, Tony Finau
7:55 am: Tiger Woods, Shane Lowry, Andy Ogletree
8:06 am: Jordan Spieth, Gary Woodland, Ian Poulter
8:17 am: Graeme McDowell, Si Woo Kim, Nate Lashley
11:05 am: Justin Harding, Shugo Imahira, Nick Taylor
11:16 am: Chez Reavie, Sebastian Munoz, Byeong Hun An
11:27 am: Bubba Watson, Matthew Wolff, Tommy Fleetwood
11:38 am: Francesco Molinari, Billy Horschel, Cameron Smith
11:49 am: Bernhard Langer, J.T. Poston, Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Noon: Fred Couples, Max Homa, Dylan Frittelli
12:11 pm: Jose Maria Olazabal, Andrew Putnam, James Sugrue

FRIDAY, ROUND 2, FIRST TEE
7 am: Justin Harding, Shugo Imahira, Nick Taylor
7:11 am: Chez Reavie, Sebastian Munoz, Byeong Hun An
7:22 am: Bubba Watson, Matthew Wolff, Tommy Fleetwood
7:33 am: Francesco Molinari, Billy Horschel, Cameron Smith
7:44 am: Bernhard Langer, J.T. Poston, Christiaan Bezuidenhout
7:55 am: Fred Couples, Max Homa, Dylan Frittelli
8:06 am: Jose Maria Olazabal, Andrew Putnam, James Sugrue
11:05 am: Sandy Lyle, Jimmy Walker, Yuxin Lin
11:16 am: Webb Simpson, Marc Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama
11:27 am: Kevin Kisner, Adam Hadwin, Scottie Scheffler
11:38 am: Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen
11:49 am: Patrick Reed, Paul Casey, Tony Finau
Noon: Tiger Woods, Shane Lowry, Andy Ogletree
12:11 pm: Jordan Spieth, Gary Woodland, Ian Poulter
12:22 pm: Graeme McDowell, Si Woo Kim, Nate Lashley

FRIDAY, ROUND 2, 10TH TEE
7 am: Sung Kang, Erik van Rooyen
7:11 am: Danny Willett, Rickie Fowler, John Augenstein
7:22 am: Phil Mickelson, Abraham Ancer, Bernd Wiesberger
7:33 am: Adam Scott, Collin Morikawa, Tyrrell Hatton
7:44 am: Justin Thomas, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Brooks Koepka
7:55 am: Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy
8:06 am: Zach Johnson, Justin Rose, Cameron Champ
8:17 am: Victor Perez, Sungjae Im, Brendon Todd
11:05 am: Lucas Glover, Corey Conners, C.T. Pan
11:16 am: Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Jazz Janewattananond
11:27 am: Larry Mize, Andrew Landry, Lukas Michel
11:38 am: Matt Kuchar, Lee Westwood, Kevin Na
11:49 am: Xander Schauffele, Jason Kokrak, Henrik Stenson
Noon: Charl Schwartzel, Jason Day, Abel Gallegos
12:11 pm: Vijay Singh, Lanto Griffin, Tyler Duncan
12:22 pm: Mike Weir, Rafael Cabrera Bello, Matt Wallace

Monday, November 9

Lee Elder, the First Black Man to Compete in the Masters 45 Years Ago, Will Join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as Honorary Starters


LEE ELDER WILL JOIN JACK NICKLAUS and Gary Player as Honorary Starters for the 2021 Masters, which begins next April at Augusta National Golf Club.

Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, announced Monday that Lee Elder, the first Black man to compete in the Masters Tournament 45 years ago, will be honored by establishing scholarships in his name and inviting him to be an Honorary Starter for the 2021 Masters.

At a press conference at Augusta National, Ridley revealed the creation of the Lee Elder Scholarships at Paine College, a Historically Black College and University located in Augusta. Two scholarships will be awarded annually, one each to a student athlete who competes on the men’s and women's golf team. 

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Saturday, November 7

'Rise and Shine' VIDEO: Ladies European Tour Pro Inci Mehmet Inspires Twin Sisters and Highlights Women's Game in Dubai


LADIES EUROPEAN TOUR PRO Inci Mehmet met twin sisters Salma and Latifa to emphasize the importance of female role models in inspiring more young girls to take up the game. 

Thursday, November 5

Golfworld: 'The Critical Ways Augusta Will Play Differently in November Versus April'

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THE 2020 MASTERS BEGINS IN A WEEK. How will Augusta National Golf Club play in November?


Here's a snippet:

The most fundamental question will be: How will Augusta's notoriously fast greens play compared to a normal springtime Masters?

The answer, barring an extreme rain event, is they'll play the same.

Here's why: Bentgrass greens, like those at Augusta National, thrive in cooler weather.

Fall already provides ideal growing conditions, but the club has the added ability to control each green's climate and moisture content via sub-surface air systems. The systems can vacuum water from the greens if they're too moist, and they can also adjust the temperature of the root zone, cooling the grass during excessively hot days and warming it to promote growth during cold (morning) periods.

The ability to manipulate temperature and moisture levels is critical at Augusta National because the greens are located in vastly different microclimates. Think of the disparity between the small 12th green, located along a shaded creek at the lowest section of the property, and the large 18th green, exposed and situated at its highest point. The incredible range of temperatures, sunlight, size and contour throughout the course means that each green needs an individual program, which they receive whether it's April or November.

Tuesday, November 3

When War, Not a Virus, Kept Pros Off the Tour

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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.

THE COVID-19 VIRUS HAS THROWN a tough hazard at the PGA Tour this year, having to play a short season without spectators. But it is nothing like what World War II golf professionals had to deal with when they were on the tour.

Here is a short list of some professionals and their experiences playing golf and fighting in a war.

Ben Hogan. Ben's prime years were from 1938 through 1959. He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces from March 1943 to June 1945, stationed at Fort Worth, and became a utility pilot with the rank of lieutenant.

Lloyd Mangrum. Lloyd joined the tour in 1937 and won 36 events. He might have won more but for his tour being interrupted by WWII. While training for the D-Day landings, Mangrum was offered the professional's job at the army's Fort Meade golf course, which would have kept him out of combat, but he declined. He was awarded two Purple Hearts and was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge.

Jack Fleck. Jack worked as an assistant golf pro before WWII. During the war, he served in the Navy and participated in the D-Day invasion from a British rocket-firing ship off Utah Beach. Within two weeks after separation from the Navy, Fleck was on the PGA's winter golf tour. He is best known for winning the 1955 U.S. Open in an 18-hole playoff against Ben Hogan.

Ed "Porky" Oliver. Porky won eight times on the PGA Tour in the 1940s and 1950s. He lost several years of playing time while serving in the Army during WWII.

Jay Hebert. Jay won seven times on the PGA Tour, including the 1960 PGA Championship. He served in the Marines in WWII, rising to the rank of captain. He was wounded in the leg at the Battle of Iwo Jima and received a Purple Heart.

Herman Keiser. Herman won five times on the PGA Tour, including the 1946 Masters. In 1942, he joined the U.S. Navy and served aboard the USS Cincinnati during WWII.

Ted Kroll. Ted won eight times in his 34-year PGA Tour. In WWII was awarded three Purple Hearts and was wounded four times.

Walter Burkemo. Walter won his first PGA Tour event at the 1938 Southern Florida Open. After that he was drafted into WWII and served as an infantry sergeant in the European Theatre. He was seriously wounded twice during the war; the second time during the Battle of the Bulge. His best years on tour were in the 1950s. He won the 1953 PGA Championship and finished as runner-up in 1951 and 1954.