Tuesday, September 27

2016 Ryder Cup Odds: United States Is Heavy Favorite

2016 RYDER CUP ODDS courtesy of Bovada.

Odds to win the 2016 Ryder Cup
2016 Ryder Cup Odds
USA                 -190     (10/19)
Europe             +150     (3/2)

Margin of Victory Props
Overall Correct Points Score
USA to Win 14.5 - 13.5                          10/1
USA to Win 15 - 13                                9/1
USA to Win 15.5 - 12.5                          9/1
USA to Win 16 - 12                                10/1
USA to Win 16.5 - 11.5                          12/1
USA to Win 17 - 11                                14/1
USA to Win 17.5 - 10.5                          22/1
USA to Win 18 - 10                                20/1
USA to Win 18.5 - 9.5                            35/1
USA to Win 19 - 9                                  35/1
USA to Win 19.5 - 8.5                            66/1
USA to Win 20 - 8                                  50/1
USA to Win 20.5 - 7.5                            100/1
USA to Win 21 - 7                                  80/1
USA to Win 21.5 - 6.5                            175/1
USA to Win 22 - 6 or Better                    25/1
Tie 14 -14                                              10/1
Europe to Win 14.5 - 13.5                      10/1
Europe to Win 15 - 13                            11/1
Europe to Win 15 - 12.5                         18/1
Europe to Win 16 - 12                            20/1
Europe to Win 16.5 - 11.5                      28/1
Europe to Win 17 - 11                            33/1
Europe to Win 17.5 - 10.5                      55/1
Europe to Win 18 - 10                            50/1
Europe to Win 18.5 - 9.5                        100/1
Europe to Win 19 - 9                              80/1
Europe to Win 19.5 - 8.5                        160/1
Europe to Win 20 – 8                             200/1
Europe to Win 20.5 - 7.5                        300/1
Europe to Win 21 - 7                             275/1
Europe to Win 21.5 - 6.5                        400/1
Europe to Win 22 - 6 or Better                400/1

Margin of Victory
USA by 1-3 points                     11/4
USA by 4-6 points                     7/2
USA by 7+ points                      4/1
Europe by 1-3 points                 7/2
Europe by 4-6 points                 11/1
Europe by 7+ points                  14/1
Tie                                            11/1

Sports Illustrated Puts Arnold Palmer on Cover for 12th Time

By SI Communications

THIS WEEK'S NATIONAL COVER OF Sports Illustrated features the late Arnold Palmer, with the cover line, "KING OF KINGS." This marks the 12th time that the iconic professional golfer has graced the cover of Sports Illustrated.

[See all 12 of Arnold Palmer's SI covers here: http://bit.ly/2dxjpaD]

SI senior writer Michael Bamberger writes an ode to "The King" and his legendary career, during which he won 62 times on the PGA Tour, 10 times on the senior tour and put the sport of golf on the map. Palmer passed away last Sunday at the age of 87.

Monday, September 26

Rory McIlroy Roars at East Lake

RORY MCILROY DEFEATED RYAN MOORE on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff to win the 2016 Tour Championship. And it was dramatic. The Northern Irishman holed out his second shot on the par-4 16th hole for an eagle, climbing the leaderboard and crashing the playoff.

"It was incredible," McIlroy told Golf Channel's Steve Sands. "As I said at the start of the day, all I wanted to do was concentrate on winning the Tour Championship. I couldn't control what anyone else did. I just needed to come out here and play a really good round of golf. I somehow was able to tie it up in regulation."

Firing a final-round 64, McIlroy also won the 2016 FedEx Cup and the $10 million bonus.

"I just wanted to go out here and play the way I've been playing," Rory added. "I've played really well this week and feel like my game is coming together at the right time. Two wins in the last three feels pretty nice."

Kevin Chappell, who tied McIlroy and Moore at 12-under par, was eliminated on the first playoff hole.

Meanwhile, the strong play of Ryan Moore at the Tour Championship and of late earned the Washington native a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Although U.S. Captain Davis Love III was looking at others, he couldn't pass up Moore, making him the final pick to round out the American squad.

"Ryan fits so well with what we have in place," Love said.

Sunday, September 25

Arnold Palmer Transcended the Game of Golf


Arnold Palmer, aka "The King."
"Arnold Palmer will always be a champion, in every sense of the word," the United States Golf Association said in a statement. "He inspired generations to love golf by sharing his competitive spirit, displaying sportsmanship, caring for golfers and golf fans, and serving as a lifelong ambassador for the sport. Our stories of him not only fill the pages of golf’s history books and the walls of the museum, but also our own personal golf memories. The game is indeed better because of him, and in so many ways, will never be the same."

"Arnold transcended the game of golf," Jack Nicklaus said. "He was more than a golfer or even great golfer. He was an icon. He was a legend. Arnold was someone who was a pioneer in his sport. He took the game from one level to a higher level, virtually by himself. Along the way, he had millions of adoring fans—Barbara and I among them. We were great competitors, who loved competing against each other, but we were always great friends along the way. Arnold always had my back, and I had his. We were always there for each other. That never changed.

"He was the king of our sport and always will be."

When I interviewed Arnold in 2010, I asked him about his stirring, come-from-behind victory at the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills. He made up seven shots in the final round to claim his first and only national title. 

"Do you think you were a little bit more focused and a better player when you played from behind?" I asked.

"Let's just say I never ruled out the possibility of winning," Arnold said. "Until it was figuratively impossible, I always thought I had a shot."

That was always Arnold's style, and it took him a long way in golf and life and won him legions of fans.

Palmer won seven major championships: four Masters, one U.S. Open and two British Opens. He collected 62 PGA Tour titles and made seven Ryder Cup appearances. He also won five senior majors. "The King" is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2004) and the Congressional Gold Medal (2009).

Friday, September 23

Oops! ARMCHAIR GOLF Misquotes Ernest Shackleton

We had seen golf in all its splendors, heard the text that nature renders. We had reached the naked soul of man.
– (not said by) Sir Ernest Shackleton

Biographical note: 
Ernest Shackleton was an Irish explorer who, along with his crew, survived a famous ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic.

This misquote brought to you by The Armchair Golfer.
Getting it wrong for the love of the game.

Thursday, September 22

2016 TOUR Championship TV Schedule and Broadcast Notes

By Golf Channel Communications

The PGA TOUR season will culminate at the TOUR Championship in Atlanta, with each of the top-5 players in the current FedEx Cup standings guaranteed to claim the FedEx Cup and accompanying $10 million bonus with a victory this week. NBC Sports Group will provide more than 20 hours of live tournament coverage from East Lake Golf Club, and once the final pairing makes the turn to the back nine on Sunday, NBC will present the duration of its final round coverage free of national advertisements.


TOUR Championship
Dates: Sept. 22-25
Venue: East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Ga.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         1-6 p.m. (Live) / 7 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)
Friday              1-6 p.m. (Live) / 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday          10 a.m.-Noon (Live) / 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday            Noon-1:30 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)
Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern):                                                              
Saturday          Noon-3:30 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            1:30-6 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes

Reversal of nines at East Lake: For the first time, the traditional nines at East Lake will be reversed and, instead of the final hole being played as a par-3 as it has in the past, the 18th hole will be a par-5 (previously played as the 9th hole.)

Top-5 in FedEx Cup Standings have clear path to winning FedEx Cup: With points reset ahead of the TOUR Championship, every player in the field has a mathematical chance of winning the FedExCup. However, the top-5 in the standings are guaranteed to win the FedEx Cup and $10 million first place bonus with a victory this week. The top-5 in the standings include: Dustin Johnson (1), Patrick Reed (2), Adam Scott (3), Jason Day (4) and Paul Casey (5).

Final U.S. Ryder Cup team captain's pick to be announcedFollowing the conclusion of the TOUR Championship on Sunday, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III will announce his final captain's pick during halftime of NBC’s Sunday Night Football game between the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys.

Spieth defends: Jordan Spieth finished four shots clear of the field in 2015 to win his fifth event of the season, along with the FedEx Cup.

TOUR Championship field: Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Russell Knox, Emiliano Grillo, Jimmy Walker, Brandt Snedeker, Justin Thomas, Phil Mickelson, Ryan Moore, Kevin Chappell, Matt Kuchar, Hideki Matsuyama, Si Woo Kim, Kevin Kisner, Gary Woodland, Roberto Castro, Kevin Na, William McGirt, Bubba Watson, Sean O’Hair, Daniel Berger, Jason Dufner, J.B. Holmes, Jhonattan Vegas and Charl Schwartzel.
Golf Channel / NBC Broadcast Team:
Play by Play: Terry Gannon (Golf Channel) / Dan Hicks (NBC)
Analyst: Frank Nobilo (Golf Channel) / Johnny Miller (NBC)
Tower: Gary Koch / Peter Jacobsen
On-Course: Roger Maltbie / Notah Begay / Billy Ray Brown
Interviews: Steve Sands
Essays: Jimmy Roberts

Wednesday, September 21

Playing Clinic: Harry Cooper

By John Coyne

Copyright © John Coyne. Used with permission.

While interviewing golf legends for my book Playing with the Pros: Golf Lessons from the Senior Tour (1990), I arranged some of their answers into a separate chapter I called "Playing Clinic." Following are words of wisdom from some of the best players.

Next up is Harry Cooper (August 4, 1904 - October 17, 2000). Nicknamed "Lighthorse Harry," Cooper won 30 PGA Tour titles and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1992. He also was awarded the inaugural Vardon Trophy in 1937, a year in which he won seven times on tour.

Q. Do you ever master the game of golf?

COOPER: No. I don't think so. I'm 85 years old and have been a professional since I was 18, and I'm still trying to get it right.

Q. Is there more than one good golf swing?

COOPER: Of course. Just look at the likes of Lee Trevino, Walter Hagen, or Jack Nicklaus. There is no perfect swing. All that matters is the grip and the address. Make your own swing as simple a physical movement as you can. Then go practice that swing.

Q. How much time should I spend practicing?

COOPER: Go to the practice tee to develop a swing you can trust. Go to the golf course to develop the confidence you need to play. If you are a good player already, spend more time on the golf course than on the practice tee. However, always loosen up before you play.

Q. How can an average golfer improve his game?

COOPER: Take some lessons from a PGA professional. He'll get your score down.

Q. How far away from the ball should I stand?

COOPER: Make sure your arms are extended but you're not stretching for the ball.

Q.  What's the most important part of any golf swing?

COOPER: The first 10 inches. The greatest player in the world is Jack Nicklaus, and he establishes his tremendous swing in the first foot. It all happens there: the club head speed, timing, and tempo.


More Playing Clinic:
Bruce Crampton

John Coyne is a bestselling author of three golf novels and more than 20 other books. Pay him a visit at John Coyne Books.

Tuesday, September 20

How 1969 Changed a Boy's Life and the Ryder Cup

This originally published at this blog on September 1, 2014, and also on The History Reader by St. Martin's Press. During the run-up to the 2016 Ryder Cup, you might hear about the 1969 Ryder Cup and Jack Nicklaus's famous act of sportsmanship. I wrote the book on it.

By Neil Sagebiel

1969 was a big year in my life and the life of my family. Natives of Indiana, we moved from the Hoosier state to "The Golden State."

California, here we come!

A cross-country move is a significant life event for anyone, and especially for a boy of 11. I said goodbye to my friends and traveled 2,000 miles to a strange new world in the back seat of our blue 1965 Plymouth Belvedere, my older brother alongside.

The changes were extreme: from the Ohio River Valley to the Mojave Desert, from a brick house with a walk-out basement to a one-level home made of stucco painted yellow, from neighborhood buddies to the new kid on the block who, I later found out, was supposed to get beat up not long after arriving in Palmdale. I somehow dodged that fight.

My few memories of the summer of '69 are blurred. They include a trip to Disneyland in Anaheim. The third week of July also stands out. That was when Neil Armstrong became the first man to step onto the surface of the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission. My family watched the historic moment in black and white on our Zenith television.

Armstrong famously said, "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." The "a" wasn't audible, but an audio analysis nearly four decades later confirmed that he did, in fact, say the "a."

The astronaut with whom I shared a first name also was quoted as saying, "It's good country for golf up here...you could drive a ball 2,000 feet."

I don't recall any of Armstrong's words from that long-ago summer.


That was a game my dad sometimes played on his day off. My sports were basketball and baseball. But within two years of moving to California, I was playing golf with my dad and brother. And now, 45 years later, I've written a golf story that took place during the summer of '69 and involved Hall of Fame players such as Jack Nicklaus, Tony Jacklin, Lee Trevino, Peter Alliss, Raymond Floyd, Neil Coles and Billy Casper.

That would have seemed far-fetched to the 11-year-old boy, but so did a moon walk until that other Neil visited the lunar surface on July 20, 1969.

Eight days before Armstrong walked on the moon, Tony Jacklin, a 25-year-old from the industrial town of Scunthorpe in northern England, became the first British golfer to win the British Open since Max Faulkner in 1951.

It changed his life and it changed golf, for Jacklin would go on to lead his British teammates that September against the mighty Americans in the 1969 Ryder Cup at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England.  

Great Britain had lost 14 of 17 Ryder Cups dating back to the official beginning in 1927 when English seeds tycoon Samuel Ryder donated the gold trophy. In September 1969, few people, British included, held out much hope for the 12 men playing for Great Britain, even though they were the home team playing a familiar style of golf on a seaside links course.

Just like America was first to the moon, it was also first in golf. In fact, at the time, the United States was seemingly first in everything.

This time, however, led by new Open champion Jacklin and fiery Captain Eric Brown, the British players didn't bow to American supremacy. What followed, according to many who witnessed it, was the most controversial and compelling Ryder Cup ever played.

Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin on September 20, 1969.
(Bob Thomas/Bob Thomas Sports Photography/Getty Images)
All tied up after three days and 31 matches, the 1969 Ryder Cup came down to the last two men in the last match putting out on the last green. The matter would be decided by Jacklin and Nicklaus. That's when one of the most famous moments in golf occurred, a rare act of sportsmanship that sealed the first tie in the 42-year history of the Ryder Cup.

Great Britain rejoiced, for a draw was nearly as sweet as a victory. The United States was far from enthusiastic about the stunning outcome. Yet, in the ensuing years and decades, most would agree the 1969 Ryder Cup had a perfect ending.

Eight players from those two 1969 teams went on to become Ryder Cup captains, including Jacklin (four times) and Nicklaus (twice).

The summer of '69 that changed one boy's life also forever changed the Ryder Cup.

The epic battle at Royal Birkdale breathed life into the matches during a period when they were struggling to survive. It also helped make the Ryder Cup what it is today--the biggest event in golf and a biennial sports event that attracts worldwide attention.

Neil Sagebiel is the author of DRAW IN THE DUNES: The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish That Shocked the World. It includes a foreword by Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin. Sagebiel is also the founder and editor of Armchair Golf Blog.