Thursday, September 18

BBC Sport: Greatest Ryder Cup Moments

A photograph of the 1969 Great Britain Ryder Cup team, including autograph of Peter Alliss (second from left).
Others from left to right: Christy O'Connor Sr. Alex Caygill, Brian Barnes, Captain Eric Brown, Peter Townsend,
Bernard Gallacher, Bernard Hunt, Tony Jacklin, Brian Huggett, Peter Butler and Neil Coles. (Uniquely Sporting)

ON WEDNESDAY BBC SPORT PUBLISHED "Ryder Cup: Pick your greatest moment from our top 10." BBC Sport wrote:
Tense, thrilling, fun, frenetic, sometimes controversial, always absorbing, the Ryder Cup throws up some of sport's most iconic and enduring memories. 
The biennial tussle between Europe and the USA has a back catalogue of classic moments and BBC Sport have selected 10 of the greatest.
Topping BBC Sport's list was the 1969 Ryder Cup and "The Concession" featuring Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin, which is chronicled in my new book, DRAW IN THE DUNES: The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish That Shocked the World.

Nicklaus and Jacklin collaborated on a foreword for DRAW IN THE DUNES in which they explain their friendship and the compelling circumstances that led to the iconic moment.

The 1969 Ryder Cup was the closest competition in Cup history, with 17 of 32 matches finishing on the final hole, and five more at the 17th. There was controversy, acrimony, a little bit of everything, including a "shocking" conclusion. The 32 matches at Royal Birkdale ended in the first draw in Ryder Cup history.

In the third edition of his classic book The Story of American Golf, legendary golf writer Herbert Warren Wind wrote, "Many people felt this was the best Ryder Cup Match of all time, and no doubt it was."

Wednesday, September 17 Tour Championship: 25 PGA Tour Cards at Stake

By Golf Channel Communications

ORLANDO, Fla. (September 16, 2014) – Twenty-five 2014-15 PGA TOUR cards are on the line at week’s end as the 2014 Tour season concludes at TPC Sawgrass’ Dye’s Valley course with the Tour Championship. Players will receive cards based on their cumulative play in the four Tour Finals events. An additional 25 cards will be awarded on Sunday to “The 25”those Tour players already having secured their PGA TOUR cards for 2014-15 during the Tour regular season.

20-time PGA TOUR winner Davis Love III makes his Champions Tour debut at the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship, which will air live and in primetime on Golf Channel Friday-Sunday.

Stacy Lewis defends her 2012 title (no event in 2013) at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic, where she finished two shots ahead of Lexi Thompson for her second career victory in the state of Alabama.

European Ryder Cup team members Lee Westwood, Thomas Bjorn, Jamie Donaldson and Stephen Gallacher are in the field at the ISPS Handa Wales Open as a final tune up before next week’s Ryder Cup at Gleaneagles in Scotland. Third and final round coverage of the Asian Tour’s Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters in Malaysia also will air on Golf Channel on Saturday and Sunday morning.

Golf Auction of Jack Fleck Collection (631 Items)

JACK FLECK DIED ON MARCH 21. At times it still doesn't seem real to me.

Jack called me a lot when I was working on my first book, THE LONGEST SHOT: Jack Fleck, Ben Hogan, and Pro Golf's Greatest Upset at the 1955 U.S. Open. We had great conversations. He told me a lot, some of which was not for publication. I'm glad he reached the point where he trusted me. I also usually saw Jack a couple of times a year at Champions Tour events.

Fleck's Ben Hogan 3 and 4 woods
and Tommy Armour driver.
Jack collected a lot of neat golf stuff during his 70-plus years as a golf professional. Now it's up for auction, including the two Ben Hogan fairway woods and the Tommy Armour driver he used in the 1955 U.S. Open, where he stunned four-time Open champion Ben Hogan in an 18-hole playoff. (In a strange twist, Jack was the first player to win with Hogan clubs, beating the legend himself.) I held those clubs in my hands at Jack's Fort Smith, Arkansas, home. Considering their age, they were in very good condition.

The current bid for the three woods at right is $1,650.

Of course, there's a lot more: Jack's contestant pin for the 1950 U.S. Open at Merion (where Hogan won after the near-fatal automobile accident), a signed letter to Jack from President Dwight Eisenhower, photos, various golf clubs, trophies and a plethora of other golf memorabilia.

The auction closes in 11 days.

UPDATE: Not all 631 items of the Jack Fleck Collection are available in this auction. There will be a total of four auctions leading up to the 2015 Masters. This is the first one.

Tuesday, September 16

Ultra Competitive and Courteous: Explaining Jack Nicklaus

WITH A NEW BOOK ON THE 1969 RYDER CUP and that famous last-hole concession by Jack Nicklaus, I set up Google alerts for the appropriate topics. An article popped up in July that I believe captures the essence of Nicklaus, who I consider to be the greatest golfer of all time.

I've always been fascinated by Nicklaus's dual qualities of extreme competitiveness that led to 18 major championship wins and his unfailing graciousness in the heat of the battle, and just after, whether he won or narrowly lost. His outward appearance and behavior were the same in either situationexemplary.

In an article in The Australian about the win-at-all-costs mentality of footballer Luis Suarez, Matthew Syed shared an anecdote about Jack Nicklaus that explains his greatness. I believe it also explains how a 29-year-old Nicklaus was able to concede a missable putt to Tony Jacklin that decided the outcome of the 1969 Ryder Cup.
I WAS once invited for tea with Jack Nicklaus at a hotel next to St Andrews. He greeted me with courtesy, showed me to a seat, and then poured. He was kind, discursive and humane. Almost old-worldly. This sense of decency characterised the way he played the game, too. He respected the rules, respected his opponents and generally conducted himself with honour. At the 1969 Ryder Cup, he conceded a crucial putt to Tony Jacklin on the final green, an act that has, to many, become synonymous with the elusive spirit of golf. 
Now, here is something else about Nicklaus that is, perhaps, even more striking: he was a winner. In the way he swung his clubs, he was ruthless. He nailed important putts and he rarely missed the green when a major championship was approaching its climax. He ended up winning 18, a record that may not be surpassed for some time. 
Do you see the distinction, here? 
Nicklaus, like Tom Watson and others, was vindictive, but in a wonderfully limited sense. He was ruthless with his clubs rather than with his manner. He wanted to win, but never tried to punch anyone who got the better of him. He was ultra-driven, but grasped the subtle truth that ambition can never be an excuse for betraying one’s values.

Monday, September 15

Weary Rory Regrets Not Taking a Week Off

By Brian Keogh

Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.

RORY MCILROY'S BRILLIANT US SEASON did not get the fairytale finish he'd hope for as he produced a tired final round performance in the Tour Championship in Atlanta that cost him a chance to win the FedEx Cup and a $10m bonus. Regretting his decision to play all four playoff events rather than take a break last week, five dropped shots in a mid-round six-hole stretch fatally holed McIlroy's title bid below the waterline.

While he birdied three of his last four holes to camouflage the result somewhat and salvage some pride with a one over 71 that left him tied for second with Jim Furyk, it will gall McIlroy that he wasn't a factor coming down the stretch.

Back-to-Back Billy

A brilliant Billy Horschel won in back to back weeks to claim the FedEx Cup and an $11.44m payday — perfect timing for him and his expectant wife Brittany but bad timing for US Ryder Cup skipper Tom Watson in terms of the captain's picks that went to Webb Simpson, Hunter Mahan and Keegan Bradley. Horschel, or Chris Kirk, who was second in the FedEx Cup final standings ahead of McIlroy and fourth in Atlanta, will be watching the action at Gleneagles on TV, if at all.

"It's been a long four weeks. You know, if I had to do it all over again, I probably would have taken a week off somewhere in this stretch of tournaments," McIlroy said after finishIng three shots behind Horschel, who shot a 68 to win on 11 under. He has now earned $13.48m in three weeks.

Still, the double bogey on the sixth and the bogeys at the ninth, 10th and 11th will leave a sour taste for a few days even if he did finish third in the FedEx Cup standings in the end.

"I just got really frustrated and just couldn’t muster the energy to try and get something going again," McIlroy said. "And even when I was hitting good shots, I was hitting bad putts. I’m happy I made those three birdies coming in. It jumped me up the leaderboard a little bit and at least finished the day respectably."

He admitted on Saturday night that he was "weary" coming into the week but while not playing with his A game, he somehow managed to battle his way into a share of the lead with Horschel with a round to go. After 10 holes, he confessed afterwards, his chance of winning the tournament or the FedEx Cup had gone.

Having won the BMW Championship in Denver last week and finishing runner-up in the Deutsche Bank Championship the week before, 27-year old Horschel turned a modest season into a sensational one in the space of three weeks. He'd had just two top-10s all season as McIlroy swept all before him and even missed the cut in The Barclays, the first of the four consecutive FedEx Cup playoff events.

A putting tip from his coach turned things around and he was an impressive and deserving winner.

Asked about his season overall, McIlroy added: "To win two majors, my first WGC event and give it a real good run in these FedEx events, I'm really proud of myself the way I hung in there and dug deep the last few weeks. When I look back on the year as a whole it's been my best year to date so I can't complain."

Resting for Ryder Cup

"I’m looking forward to a few days off and not seeing my golf clubs for a little while. I've been in the gym every day this week and that’s fine, but mentally I’m a little fatigued. Billy deserved it, he played the best golf all week."

McIlroy should be physically perfect for the Ryder Cup but how sharp he will be remains to be seen after the most successful summer of the is career, FedEx Cup disappointment notwithstanding.

"There's a few guys I'm glad I'm not going to see at Gleneagles: him (Horschel), Ryan Palmer, Chris Kirk. There's a few guys that are playing well that aren't on this U.S. team that obviously had a great chance to make it."

As for FedEx Cup fatigue being a factor in Scotland, he said: "I think a week off will do a lot of us a world of good. It really will."

Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.

Sunday, September 14

'DRAW IN THE DUNES' Reviews: Wall Street Journal and Tampa Bay Tribune

The 1969 Ryder Cup Dinner menu.
Jack Nicklaus's autograph is top right.
(Paul Trevillion)
HERE ARE MORE REVIEWS of my new Ryder Cup book, DRAW IN THE DUNES: The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish That Shocked the World. The book, which includes a foreword by Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin, is in bookstores and also available online at the usual places in hardcover and ebook editions.

The Wall Street Journal (September 13):
"Many fans are drawn to sports for excitement, the twists and turns. Some favor the moral underpinnings, the virtues of grit and determination, teamwork and sportsmanship. Still others are inspired by passion, whether for the stakes or for the game itself. The 1969 Ryder Cup, the 18th installment of the biennial competition between the best golfers from the United States and Great Britain, had it all. In 'Draw in the Dunes,' Neil Sagebiel brings the memorable tournament to life." Read entire review

The Tampa Bay Tribune (Bob D'Angelo):
"As he demonstrated in 'The Longest Shot,' Sagebiel is a marvelous story teller, who uses the right pace to build drama. It helps that he had some great characters to work with....Sagebiel takes the reader through every match, and builds to the final climax, in which Nicklaus and Jacklin battled to the final hole....'Draw in the Dunes' is a lively, interesting look at the Ryder Cup, chock full of insight and anecdotes." Read entire review

Other Reviews and Mentions

(Click the below links.)

"A Few of Our Favorite Things" Pick by Sports Illustrated Golf+ Digital

San Jose Examiner, The A Position, Ruthless Golf and Valley Business FRONT

Friday, September 12

Golf Digest: Billy Horschel Swing Sequence

BILLY HORSCHEL IS THE HOT PLAYER on the PGA Tour at the moment. The winner of last week's BMW Championship, Horschel has charged ahead at East Lake Golf Club, where he holds the halfway lead at the season-ending TOUR Championship.

Horschel has posted a pair of 66s to stand at 8 under par, two shots ahead of Rory McIlroy, Chris Kirk and Jason Day.

Golf Digest published a swing sequence of Horschel in October 2013. "Mr. Intensity: Billy Horschel's aggressive action has led to a breakout year," wrote the magazine.

There are two dozen images of Horschel's swing, starting here.

Thursday, September 11

Golf on TV: TOUR Championship, Evian Championship, KLM Open

The following edited content was supplied by Golf Channel in a news release.

The 45-event 2013-2014 PGA TOUR season will culminate on Sunday, as the 29-man TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola field competes for the FedExCup Playoffs $10 million first-place prize, and the title of 2014 FedExCup champion. NBC Sports Group will air 22 hours of live tournament coverage from East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

Golf Channel will carry live coverage of the first three rounds of the final LPGA Tour major in 2014, and the final round will air on both Golf Channel and NBC (tape delay), as well as streaming live through Golf Live Extra beginning at 6:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.

The European Tour is in Netherlands for the KLM Open.

(PGA Tour)
Dates: Sept. 11-14
Venue: East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Ga.

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 1-6 p.m. (Live) / 8:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)
Friday 1-6 p.m. (Live) / 8:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday Noon-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 6:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday Noon-1:30 p.m. (Live) / 7 p.m.-1 a.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes On NBC (Eastern):
Saturday 2:30-6 p.m. (Live)
Sunday 1:30-6 p.m. (Live)

Event Notes

FedExCup contenders: Every player in the field this week has a mathematical chance at winning the FedExCup. However, the current top-5 in the FedExCup standings (Chris Kirk, Billy Horschel, Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy and Hunter Mahan) are the only ones guaranteed to win the FedExCup with a TOUR Championship victory on Sunday. Mahan also is the only player in the field to have competed in all eight TOUR Championships since the FedExCup was established in 2007. Players in the field this week earn automatic invitations to the 2015 Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship. The last place finisher (29th) is guaranteed a little more than $300,000 and the ultimate winner could earn as much as $11.44 million (by winning both the TOUR Championship and the FedExCup).

Headlining the field: Chris Kirk, Billy Horschel, Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, Hunter Mahan, Jimmy Walker, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas, John Senden, Patrick Reed, Cameron Tringale, Russell Henley, Morgan Hoffmann, Webb Simpson, Ryan Palmer, Kevin Na, Geoff Ogilvy, Justin Rose, Brendon Todd, Hideki Matsuyama and Gary Woodland.

* * *

(LPGA Tour)
Dates: Sept. 11-14
Venue: Route du Golf (The Evian Resort Golf Club), Evian-les Bains, France Tournament

Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Live) / 2-5 a.m. (Friday replay)
Friday 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Live) / 2-5 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday 6:30-11:30 a.m. (Live) / 1-3 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday 8 a.m.-Noon (Tape Delay) / Live streaming on Golf Live Extra (6:30 a.m.-Noon) 

Tournament Airtimes On NBC (Eastern):
Sunday Noon-1:30 p.m. (Tape Delay) / Live streaming on Golf Live Extra (6:30 a.m.-Noon) 

Event Notes

NBC to air conclusion of The Evian Championship final round on Sunday: Immediately following Golf Channel’s coverage (8 a.m.-Noon ET) of Sunday’s final round of The Evian Championship, NBC will air the conclusion of the event, beginning at Noon ET.

Headlining the field: Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park, Lydia Ko, Suzann Pettersen, So Yeon Ryu, Michelle Wie, Lexi Thompson, Shanshan Feng, Karrie Webb, Anna Nordqvist and Cristie Kerr.

* * *

(European Tour)
Dates: Sept. 11-14
Venue: Kennemer Golf & Country Club, Zandvoort, Netherlands

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 5:30-7:30 a.m. (Live)
Friday 5:30-7:30 a.m. (Live) Saturday 4:30-6 p.m. (Tape Delay) / Live streaming on Golf Live Extra (7-11 a.m.)
Sunday 4:30-6 p.m. (Tape Delay) / Live streaming on Golf Live Extra (5:30-10 a.m.)

Event Notes

Luiten defends: Joost Luiten defeated Miguel Angel Jimenez on the first playoff hole for his third career European Tour win, and his second of the 2013 season. In doing so, Luiten also became the first Dutch player in European Tour history to win twice in the same season.

Headlining the field: Thomas Bjorn, Jonas Blixt, Paul Casey, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Brooks Koepka, Padraig Harrington, Matteo Manassero, Jose Maria Olazabel and Joost Luiten.