Friday, October 31

HSBC Golf Video: 'It's Anyone's Game'



FUN VIDEO RELEASED THE OTHER DAY.

From HSBC Golf: "Welcome to the Club! Golf is changing, with a new wave of players, fans and locations changing the shape of the game."

HSBC hosts the WGC-HSBC Champions (coming in early November) and the HSBC Women's Champions (March).

Thursday, October 30

Golf on TV: CIMB Classic, Charles Schwab Cup Championship, BMW Masters, Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship

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

The PGA TOUR is in Malaysia this week for the CIMB Classic at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, with Sergio Garcia, Billy Horschel and Patrick Reed headlining the field.

The Champions Tour holds its season-culminating Charles Schwab Cup Championship, with Bernhard Langer holding an 845 point lead in the Schwab Cup standings over Colin Montgomerie, clinching the title last week at the AT&T Championship.

The European Tour’s Final Series begins this week at the BMW Championship, in the first of four consecutive events that will conclude with the DP World Tour Championship next month.

Suzann Pettersen will defend her title in the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship for a second consecutive year, looking to win the event for a third straight time this week.

* * *

PGA TOUR

CIMB Classic Dates: Oct. 29-Nov. 1
Venue: Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (West Course), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday     11 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live) / Noon-4 p.m. (Thursday replay)
Thursday         11 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live) / Noon-4 p.m. (Friday replay)
Friday              11 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live) / Noon-4 p.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday**      11 p.m.-2 a.m. (Live) / Noon-3 p.m. (Sunday) 
**4 hour telecast (Daylight Savings Time)

Event Notes

Moore defends: Ryan Moore defeated Gary Woodland with a birdie on the first playoff hole last year for his third career PGA TOUR win.

Headlining the field: Sergio Garcia, Billy Horschel, Patrick Reed, Jason Dufner, Charl Schwartzel, Lee Westwood, Hideki Matsuyama, Chesson Hadley and Ryan Moore.

* * *

CHAMPIONS TOUR

Charles Schwab Cup Championship
Dates: Oct. 30-Nov. 2
Venue: Desert Mountain Club (Cochise Course), Scottsdale, Ariz.

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         4:30-7 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-10 p.m. (Replay)
Friday              4:30-7 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-10 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          4:30-7 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-10 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday            3:30-6 p.m. (Live) / 7-9:30 p.m. (Replay)

Event Notes

Langer set to grab Schwab Cup prize: With last week’s T-6 finish at the AT&T Championship, Bernhard Langer clinched the Charles Schwab Cup, holding an 845 point lead over Colin Montgomerie heading into this week. If Montgomerie were to win this week and Langer to finish in 30th (last place), Langer would still win the Schwab Cup and the $1 million first place prize.

Charles Schwab Cup Championship field: Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Jay Haas, Kenny Perry, Kirk Triplett, Jeff Sluman, Fred Couples, Michael Allen, Tom Pernice Jr., Gene Sauers, David Frost, Scott Dunlap, Tom Lehman, Marco Dawson, Woody Austin, Joe Durant, Russ Cochran, Fred Funk, Jeff Maggert, John Cook, Paul Goydos, Wes Short Jr., Bart Bryant, Mark Brooks, Billy Andrade, Olin Browne, Doug Garwood, Mark O’Meara, Duffy Waldorf and Esteban Toledo.

* * *

EUROPEAN TOUR

BMW Masters
Dates: Oct. 30-Nov. 2
Venue: Lake Malaren Golf Club, Shanghai, China

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         6-11 a.m. (Tape delay)
Friday              6-11 a.m. (Tape delay)
Saturday          6-11 a.m. (Tape delay)
Sunday            6-11 a.m. (Tape delay)

Event Notes

Final Series kicks off: The BMW Masters is the first of four consecutive events that make up the European Tour’s Final Series. Each tournament will have no more than 78 players in the field, and will feature no cut. Players in the field also are vying for the Race to Dubai, with the top-15 at the end of the DP World Tour Championship receiving a portion of the $5 million bonus pool, and $1.25 million going to the eventual winner.

Fernandez-Castano defends: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano finished one stroke ahead of Francesco Molinari and Thongchai Jaidee for his seventh career European Tour victory.

Headlining the field: Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell, Chris Kirk, Victor Dubuisson, Thomas Bjorn, Jamie Donaldson, Stephen Gallacher, Ian Poulter and Miguel Angel Jimenez.

* * *
                                                                                                                 
LPGA TOUR

Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship
Dates: Oct. 30-Nov. 2
Venue: Miramar Golf Club, Tapei, Taiwan

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         3-6 a.m. (Tape Delay) / 11:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m. 
Friday              3-6 a.m. (Tape Delay) / 11:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m. 
Saturday          3-6 a.m. (Tape Delay) / 11:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m. 
Sunday            2-6 a.m. (Tape Delay) / 11:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m. 

Event Notes

Park in the field, back at No. 1: Although she did not play in last week’s Blue Bay LPGA, Inbee Park regained the No. 1 position in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and returns to competition this week for the first time since returning to No. 1 in the world.

Pettersen defends: Suzann Pettersen finished five shots clear of the field in 2013 to successfully defend her title, earning her 14th career LPGA victory, and her fourth in 2013.

Headlining the field: Inbee Park, Michelle Wie, Stacy Lewis, Suzann Pettersen, Lydia Ko, Shanshan Feng, Na Yeon Choi, Anna Nordqvist, So Yeon Ryu, and Azahara Munoz.

Wednesday, October 29

Playing With Hogan: Fred Hawkins, Part 2

Fred Hawkins often practiced with the most feared player on the circuit—Ben Hogan. “I played a number of practice rounds with [Hogan],” Hawkins told me. “[H]e’d always ask me to come down to Fort Worth a couple of days early so he’d get a little competition [and] practice that way.” In the continuation of this series, you'll learn about Hawkins and his Hogan stories. Read Part 1.

Fred Hawkins and Ben Hogan
prior to their 1959 playoff.
FRED HAWKINS MADE HIS ONLY Ryder Cup appearance in 1957, a rare loss for the Americans during an era when they dominated the matches against Great Britain and Ireland.

“I’ve always felt that was one of the things I enjoyed the most,” he said.

That year, Hawkins was the only man on his side to win in singles, a 2 and 1 victory over Peter Alliss.

“The Ryder Cup in those years was played just two days. The first day was a 36-hole match of alternate shot and then the second day was 36 holes singles. That was all there was to it. In later years they put in more days of play and the better-ball events, too, which I think is a good improvement.

“In those days you could play either ball you wanted. I played the small ball over there [in Great Britain] because I could drive it so much farther. It sat down in the grass a little, and I like the way it putted, too.”

Hawkins missed out two years later when the matches were played at Eldorado Country Club in Palm Desert, California. “I would have been on the Ryder Cup team again in ‘59, I believe, if they had counted [the Colonial National Invitational Tournament] where Hogan beat me in the playoff,” he said.

“But at that time the tour officials were squabbling with the people at Colonial. It was not called an official tournament. Ryder Cup points didn’t count.”

* * *

Hawkins was on the losing end of what turned out to be Ben Hogan’s last PGA Tour victory and his fifth win in his hometown tournament at Colonial. It was the Hawk’s 64th title. He was 47. The two players were tied after the regulation 72 holes.

“It was an 18-hole playoff the next day,” Hawkins said, “and the wind blew about 40 miles per hour. He shot 69. I shot 73, which is a pretty good score. But he said it was the best round he ever played under those conditions.”

Colonial was one of the toughest tracks on the circuit at the time.

“It was always very narrow. It wasn’t all that long. You had to stay straight. Some of the greens were protected by trees on each side and so on. It required that you had to be very straight off the tee.”

TO BE CONTINUED.

Other Installments:
Playing With Hogan: Fred Hawkins, Part 1

Tuesday, October 28

VIDEO: Ted Bishop on Golf Channel Morning Drive

FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING the tragic end to Ted Bishop's PGA of America presidency and the aftermath, Tuesday's extended Golf Channel Morning Drive interview conducted by host Gary Williams might be of interest. Had we heard these comments from Bishop four days ago I expect things would have turned out differently for the former PGA president. Bishop explains why that didn't happen and a lot more.

Ted Bishop Part 1



Ted Bishop Part 2

Friday, October 24

2015 HOF Class Notes: Mark O'Meara



Laura Davies, David Graham, Mark O’Meara and A.W. Tillinghast will be enshrined into the World Golf Hall of Fame as the Class of 2015. Following is a profile of O'Meara.

By World Golf Hall of Fame Communications

Mark O'Meara
Golf fans will remember 1998 as the year Mark O’Meara established himself as one of the game’s greats, when he captured both the Masters and Open Championship. That season, when he birdied the final two holes at Augusta National to defeat Fred Couples and David Duval by one shot, then outlasted Brian Watts in a four-hole playoff to win at Royal Birkdale, made him, at age 41, the oldest player ever to win two majors in one year. It was no surprise when he was named the 1998 PGA TOUR Player of the Year.

His myriad career highlights go beyond those two victories, starting in 1979 when he won the U.S. Amateur at Canterbury Golf Club in Cleveland. O’Meara has more than 20 victories worldwide, and has represented the United States in five Ryder Cups and two Presidents Cups.

“Thanks go out to my family and friends on this incredible day,” O’Meara said. “To have the great honor of being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame is a dream come true.”

Ted Bishop Authors a Bad Golf Story

Ted Bishop
IT SEEMS TO HAPPEN DAILY. A tweet or a Facebook post or other social media message enters the digital world and wreaks unnecessary havoc.

Yesterday's social media fail was authored by PGA of America President Ted Bishop. Bishop, who was spending time with golf great and former European Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo, took exception to comments written about Faldo in Ian Poulter's new book, NO LIMITS.

Bishop tweeted to Poulter: "Faldo's record stands by itself. Six majors and all-time RC points. Yours vs. His? Lil Girl."

Then the PGA leader took to Facebook:
"Used to be athletes who had lesser records or accomplishment in a sport never criticized the icons. Tom Watson (8 majors and 10-3-1 Ryder Cup record) and Nick Faldo (6 majors and all-time Ryder Cup points leader) get bashed by Ian Poulter. Really? Sounds like a school girl squealing during recess. C'MON MAN!"
In a statement released to Golf Channel, Poulter said:
"Is being called a 'lil girl' meant to be derogatory or a put down? That's pretty shocking and disappointing, especially coming from the leader of the PGA of America. No further comment."
Bishop deleted the tweet and post and the PGA of America called the messages "inappropriate."

This is no way to lead a sport that seeks to be more inclusive. "When will the struggling golf industry realize its sexism is terrible for business?" tweeted USA Today columnist Christine Brennan. Besides that, it's just plain silly to direct post-Ryder Cup frustrations at an opposing player for all the world to see.

Bishop has made himself the story. And that story is bad for golf.

Thursday, October 23

PGA Tour Drives of More Than 400 Yards

Shawn Stefani
AT LAST WEEK'S FRYS.COM OPEN, Shawn Stefani hit a 401-yard drive on a 410-yard hole. There was a caveat: Stefani's smash was a cart-path-aided drive.

"There's no way I could have hit one of those without the help of concrete," Stefani told PGATour.com.

Another thing: "I made par," Stefani commented. "So it is what it is."

These guys who are good are also long off the tee. How long? The tour published the following chart showing drives of 400-plus yards in recent seasons.

SeasonDrives of 400+LeaderEventDistance
2013-141Bubba WatsonWGC-Bridgestone424
201319Phil MickelsonWGC-Cadillac450
201267Gary WoodlandHyundai TOC450
20119Dustin JohnsonDeutsche Bank463
201016Steve StrickerHyundai TOC424
200947Charley HoffmanValero Texas Open467
200812Bob HeintzReno-Tahoe Open435
200726Brett WetterichHyundai TOC437
200630Jason GoreHyundai TOC427
200518D.A. PointsBuick Championship442
200483Davis Love IIIHyundai TOC476