Thursday, December 18

Golf Channel to Re-Air Year's Biggest Events and Moments

By Golf Channel Communications

Rory McIlroy winning the Open Championship wire-to-wire. Paula Creamer’s dramatic 75-foot eagle-winning putt at the HSBC Women’s Champions. Team Europe dominating Team U.S.A. in the Ryder Cup matches. Billy Horschel winning two of four FedExCup Playoff events en-route to winning the $10 million season-long FedExCup. Golf Channel will showcase these storylines and more when the network airs some of the most compelling golf of 2014 during the final two weeks of December. In addition, Golf Channel will feature its original programming from 2014, highlighted by the critically acclaimed Arnie and Payne on Christmas and New Years’ Day.

Programming Schedule (all times Eastern)

Saturday, Dec. 20
3-4 p.m., NBC                        RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship Finals

Sunday, Dec. 21
Noon-2 p.m., Golf Channel    RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship Finals

Monday, Dec. 22
Noon-2 p.m.                            HSBC Women’s Champions Final Round
2-6 p.m.                                   WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Final Round
7-11 p.m.                                 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship – Finals

Tuesday, Dec. 23
Noon-2 p.m.                            JTBC Founders Cup Final Round
2-6 p.m.                                   The Barclays Final Round
7-11 p.m.                                 WGC-Cadillac Championship Final Round

Wednesday, Dec. 24
Noon-2 p.m.                            LPGA LOTTE Championship Final Round
2-6 p.m.                                   Drive, Chip and Putt Championship National Finals

Thursday, Dec. 25
7-8 p.m.                                   Payne
8-11 p.m.                                 Arnie

Friday, Dec. 26
9 a.m.-6 p.m.                           Ryder Cup, Day 1
7-11 p.m.                                 Deutsche Bank Championship Final Round

Saturday, Dec. 27
9 a.m.-6 p.m.                           Ryder Cup, Day 2
7-11 p.m.                                 BMW Championship Final Round

Sunday, Dec. 28
11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.               Ryder Cup, Final Day
5:30-6 p.m.                              Golf Central Special: Post Ryder Cup Press Conference
7-11 p.m.                                 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, Final Round

Monday, Dec. 29
7-11 p.m.                                 U.S. Open Final Round

Tuesday, Dec. 30
7-9 p.m.                                   U.S. Senior Open Final Round
9-11 p.m.                                 U.S. Women’s Open Final Round

Wednesday, Dec. 31
7-11 p.m.                                 Kraft Nabisco Championship Final Round

Thursday, Jan. 1
7-8 p.m. (Noon-1 p.m.)           Payne
8-11 p.m. (9 a.m.-Noon)         Arnie

Friday, Jan. 2
2-4 p.m.                                   Regions Tradition Final Round
4-6 p.m.                                   Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship Final Round
7-11 p.m.                                 Open Championship Final Round

Saturday, Jan. 3
2-4 p.m.                                   Evian Championship Final Round
4-6 p.m.                                   Senior PGA Championship Final Round
7-11 p.m.                                 PGA Championship Final Round

Sunday, Jan. 4
2-6 p.m.                                   Wegmans LPGA Championship Final Round
7-9:30 p.m.                              PGA Grand Slam of Golf Day 1

MondayJan. 5
7-11 p.m.                                 PGA Grand Slam of Golf Final Day

Golf.com Gallery: Being Tiger in Younger Days

Tiger Woods in 2000.
TIGER WOODS TURNS 39 ON December 30. It seems like an old 39 to me, but I realize that 39 isn't that old. It's just that Tiger has been around forever, in a sense. He broke into the professional golf ranks at age 20, and it's not like we didn't know about him before that.

Tiger didn't play much golf in 2014, but that didn't stop the media mill from churning out copious material on the greatest golfer of this era. I've lost track of the comebacks from injuries, the swing coaches (four?), the controversies, the rumors, the uncomfortable press conferences and the "is what it is's."

But Golf.com reminded me of the kid who picked up a golf club when he first started walking around in Cypress, California. Their photo gallery shows a Tiger that I can barely remember. He was young. He was skinny. And he had a big smile on his face much of the time.

Remember those days?

Since turning pro Tiger has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated 22 times. As the above SI cover said, he was "one cool cat."

Why kind of cat will he be at 39?

View the Golf.com photo gallery of Tiger Woods in younger days.

Wednesday, December 17

2014 USGA Tribute to Payne Stewart



2014 was the year the U.S. Open returned to Pinehurst No. 2, evoking memories of the late Payne Stewart, who captured his second U.S. Open title at Pinehurst in 1999. The USGA selected Stewart as the recipient of the 2014 Bob Jones Award and produced the above profile, which features family members and fellow PGA Tour pros such as Paul Azinger and Peter Jacobsen.

By USGA

Payne Stewart tragically passed away in an airplane accident on October 25, 1999. Earlier this year, the two-time U.S. Open champion was named the 2014 Bob Jones Award honoree. Presented annually since 1955, the Bob Jones Award is the USGA's highest honor, recognizing an individual who demonstrates the utmost spirit, personal character and respect for the game. Known for his passion for golf, sportsmanship and philanthropy, Payne Stewart won 11 professional events during an 18-year PGA Tour career.

Tuesday, December 16

Remembering Harry Vardon: The Isle of Jersey Caddie Who Mastered the Game

HARRY VARDON WON THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP a record six times. Only one other player has won a major golf championship six times. His name is Jack Nicklaus. There's the famous Vardon grip. Trophies that bear Vardon's name are awarded each year by the PGA Tour and European Tour.

Harry the Great
The influence of a man whose prime was a century ago lives on.

In a New York Times feature that published in July, Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter Dave Anderson asked, "Who knows how many more [Opens] Vardon might have won if, two weeks after his sixth, World War I had not been sparked by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. The Open would not be played again until 1920, when Vardon was 50."

The only major championships during the early 20th century were The Open Championship and the U.S. Open. That's just two cracks per year. Vardon won seven majors, including one U.S. Open in 1900. His last victory in the Open Championship came 100 years ago, in 1914. As Anderson reported, Vardon, by his own count, won 62 golf tournaments in a long career.

"I'm the best and I'll thank you to remember that," Vardon once said.

It's true. He was. Vardon is still one of the all-time greats.

Following is an excerpt from Anderson's story on Harry Vardon:
Vardon grew up as a caddie on the Isle of Jersey off the southern coast of England. He was to British golf at the turn of the last century what Bobby Jones would be to American golf in the Roaring Twenties. In the years after the first British Open in 1860 at Prestwick on Scotland’s western shore, Old Tom Morris and his son, Young Tom, from St. Andrews on the eastern shore, dominated the tournament, each winning four times. But in the 1890s, the handsome, trim Englishman named Vardon arrived. 
After winning the British Open in 1896 at Muirfield (in a 36-hole playoff with Taylor), in 1898 at Prestwick (as the first with four rounds in the 70s) and 1899 at Royal St. George’s (first prize paid 90 pounds), he sailed to the United States as golf’s first international ambassador. During his 1900 tour of 65 exhibition matches (he won 50, lost 13 and halved 2), he won that year’s United States Open while promoting a Spalding gutta-percha golf ball known as the Vardon Flyer.
Vardon also designed golf courses, coached youth and penned golf instruction articles and books. He died in 1937 at the age of 66.

Read the entire Times article.

Monday, December 15

Chalmers Outlasts Scott to Win Aussie PGA

Greg Chalmers
GREG CHALMERS PUT IN A LONG day at the office on Sunday. But it was a very good day for the 41-year-old western Australian.

Chalmers outlasted Wade Ormsby and Masters champion Adam Scott in a seven-hole playoff to win the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast. The southpaw also won the Aussie PGA title in 2011.

After ho-hum play that left him seven shots off the pace coming into Sunday, Chalmers got red hot on his final trip around Royal Pines. The veteran carded eight birdies, including one on the final hole that earned him a spot in the playoff, to post a 64.

Ormsby and Scott both shot 71 on the final 18. Ormsby dropped out of the playoff on the third extra hole.

''Just phenomenal, I'm worn out,'' Chalmers said. ''I was all over the place ... really excited and thrilled.''

Defending champion Scott lamented a lost opportunity.

''I didn't hit it close enough today to the hole,'' he said.

''It wasn't like I missed 10 footers today all day long. When you hit it outside 25 feet, there is almost the same chance you are going to three-putt as two-putt on tour. You have to hit it closer.''

Friday, December 12

Fox Sports Debuts Golf Coverage at Franklin Templeton Shootout

MOVE OVER CBS, NBC AND GOLF CHANNEL. Or at least make room.

With its mega deal to telecast the U.S. Open, Fox Sports is jumping into golf in a big way. A trial run begins this week with the network's coverage of the Franklin Templeton Shootout.

The AP's Greg Handel reported:
For the first time, Fox Sports is getting into the golf business. Norman will join Joe Buck in the broadcast booth. They also will work the U.S. Open this summer. 
Fox will employ 73 microphones, 24 cameras, 10 replay machines, seven broadcasters and five audio mixers for the tournament. 
"I come at this as a guy who just loves the game and loves to play and loves to be out with friends and try to get better at this game," Buck said. "I've been doing this for a long time now and I've gone from being the kid and trying to prove myself in baseball and football to somebody who's done it for a long time and I think I understand TV. 
"Greg knows the golf part of it I think together we'll make this thing work."
Norman called the broadcast opportunity "one of the top five things he has done in his life."

Thursday, December 11

PGA Tour Tweaks Playoffs Points

THE PGA TOUR ANNOUNCED A CHANGE to the points awarded during the FedEx Cup Playoffs. PGATour.com reported:
Beginning in 2015, The Barclays, Deutsche Bank Championship, BMW Championship and TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola will award 2,000 points for a victory (down from 2,500) with all other places being reduced by the same proportion. The intent, Finchem said, is to place a greater emphasis on season-long excellence while still maintaining the element of volatility and movement throughout the Playoffs. 
"Every year since the FedExCup was introduced in 2007, we have reviewed the points structure with the Player Advisory Council and four Player Directors who sit on the Policy Board," Finchem said. 
"We believe this slight modification will add greater significance to players having an outstanding season leading into the Playoffs, while still allowing for the excitement of volatility and movement during the Playoffs, particularly as players vie to make the final 30 for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola."

Wednesday, December 10

My New Glasses From Golf Rx

Thanks Golf Rx for my new glasses.
AT LEFT ARE MY NEW GLASSES that were custom made by Golf Rx, a division of Sports Optical based in Denver, Colorado. They are everyday glasses that include transition lenses, although Golf Rx specializes in custom prescription sunglasses for golfers.

Optician and marketing director Kyle Ross initially reached out to me in September.

"We're a prescription lenscrafter in Denver, CO specializing in custom, handmade prescription golf eyewear," Kyle said in an email. "Long story short, crafting a prescription into curved, sport-format lenses is a delicate, highly-refined process and we do it quite well."

Kyle went on to say that his company would like to make a pair of glasses for me. That sounded great to me, so we got started.

Golf Rx has a wide range of choices,
including this style by Oakley.
Kyle asked me several questions about my preferences. As it turned out, I was more interested in a pair of everyday glasses rather than a pair of prescription sunglasses, whether Oakley, Mt. Falcon, Numa Optics or other frame choices (all available from Golf Rx).

After learning my preferences, Kyle shipped some frames for me to see, handle and try on. I made my selection, including lenses (progressive lenses with tinting). I provided my prescription, marked the lenses per Kyle's instructions and provided my pupillary distance (PD) measurement. It all went smoothly.

I'm not exaggerating when I say I really, really like my new glasses. The frames are lightweight and my eyes quickly adjusted to my new prescription and new progressive lenses. The world looks better to me today.

Sponsored by Golf Rx.