Tuesday, February 28

Are Golf Spectators Becoming Too Rowdy?


Bubba at the noisy 16th hole in 2014.

THERE WAS TROUBLE ON THE 17TH hole at the Honda Classic, according to at least two PGA Tour players, Billy Horschel and Sergio Garcia.

This wasn't the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where mammoth crowds and a raucous atmosphere on the 16th hole are part of the deal, both expected and even celebrated. But what if this becomes the norm on the PGA Tour?

Billy Horschel talked to GolfChannel.com about his Honda concerns.

"I said to myself, this isn't Scottsdale. This is ridiculous."

Apparently heckled all week, Sergio Garcia also shared his thoughts.

"Imagine if you're trying to write an article and somebody's shouting things that aren't very nice in your ears?" he told GolfChannel.com. "How would that make you feel?

"The Honda Classic is a great tournament. I love the tournament, and I love the golf course. I think it's an amazing golf course, but it is what it is. Unfortunately, this happens a lot of weeks now in the United States. You have to deal with it the best way possible."

Honda Classic executive director Ken Kennerly added three police officers, making a total of eight, to the 17th hole after hearing player complaints. Kennerly also increased the number of marshals, but perhaps (as Garcia also noted) it doesn't make a lot of difference if there's alcohol flowing and the golf setting has turned into a party atmosphere.

My hunch is that this will continue to be a problem at more and more events.

Monday, February 27

Rickie Fowler: 'My Putter Saved Me'



RICKIE FOWLER WON THE HONDA CLASSIC by four shots on Sunday, finishing 12 under on the Champion Course at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens. It was Fowler's fourth PGA Tour victory and his first win since the 2015 Deutsche Championship.

"My putter saved me. I made some good putts," Fowler told Golf Channel's Steve Sands.

"It was tough out there today. Fought as hard as I could. I felt like I hit a lot of good shots, or shots that I thought were going to turn out good. The wind was tough today. It was heavy. It was blowing pretty good, so it kept us on our toes. A few of those putts I made on 8, and the two birdies I made on 12 and 13… If I don't make those putts, I've got a pretty tight race."

For some of those who watched such as NBC golf analyst Johnny Miller, the final round was a struggle.

"Obviously a win is a win," Miller said. "But you've got to learn to finish off Sundays like a true champion. But the bottom line, he just made the putts."

Jack Nicklaus called Fowler "one of the greatest kids I've ever met."

"This kind of lets us chill out in a way," Fowler added. "There’s less pressure, less stress. Just keep doing what we're doing. Get in the gym. Keep working on stuff with Butch [Harmon] and moving forward. I think this is something we needed going into Augusta, and I definitely like the spot where we’re at right now."

Friday, February 24

Thursday, February 23

Golf on TV: Honda Classic, Honda LPGA Thailand, Joburg Open



From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 22, 2017) – The PGA TOUR moves east this week for The Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., the first of six straight TOUR events airing exclusively on Golf Channel and NBC leading up to the Masters. Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn lead the field at the Honda LPGA Thailand, as Lexi Thompson defends her 2016 title.

PGA TOUR

The Honda Classic
Dates: Feb. 23-26
Venue: PGA National Resort & Spa (Champion Course), Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         2-6 p.m. (Live) / 7-11 p.m. (Replay)
Friday              2-6 p.m. (Live) / 7-11 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          1-3 p.m. (Live) / 7 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)
Sunday            1-3 p.m. (Live) / 7 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern):
Saturday          3-6 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            3-6 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Scott defends: Adam Scott finished one shot ahead of Sergio Garcia to claim his 12th career PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Adam Scott, Justin Thomas, Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson, Thomas Pieters, Jimmy Walker, Brooks Koepka, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

* * *

LPGA TOUR

Honda LPGA Thailand
Dates: Feb. 23-26
Venue: Siam Country Club Pattaya (Old Course), Chonburi, Thailand

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         1-5 a.m. (Live)
Friday              1-5 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          1-5 a.m. (Live)
Sunday            1-5 a.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Park to compete for first time since Olympics: 2016 Olympic gold medalist, Inbee Park, is set to make her first official LPGA Tour start since the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship last June.
Thompson defends: Lexi Thompson finished six strokes clear of the field to earn her seventh career LPGA Tour win.
Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn, Brooke Henderson, Lexi Thompson, Ha Na Jang, Brittany Lincicome, Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis, Gerina Piller and In Gee Chun.

* * *

EUROPEAN TOUR

Joburg Open
Dates: Feb. 23-26
Venue: Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club (East & West Courses), Gauteng, South Africa

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         5-7 a.m. (Tape delay) / 7-9 a.m. (Live)
Friday              5-7 a.m. (Tape delay) / 7-9 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          5-9:30 a.m. (Live)
Sunday            5-9:30 a.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Porteous defends: Haydn Porteous won by two shots over Zander Lombard for his first career European Tour win.
Headlining the field: Haydn Porteous, Darren Clarke, Trevor Immelman, Y.E. Yang, Thomas Detry, Haotong Li and Brandon Stone.

Wednesday, February 22

An Odd Florida Swing, Masters in Six Weeks

THERE'S STILL ANOTHER WEEK IN FEBRUARY, but I guess we're all looking ahead to the Masters. That's what we do at this time of year. And it's only six weeks away.

Meanwhile, the Florida Swing of the PGA Tour starts tomorrow with The Honda Classic. It's a bit strange this time around with a stop in Mexico City instead of Doral.

Here are the tournaments leading up to Augusta:

The Honda Classic (February 23-26)
WGC-Mexico (March 2-5)
Valspar Championship (March 9-12)
Arnold Palmer Invitational (March 16-19)
WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play (March 22-26)
Shell Houston Open (March 30-April 2)

From the AP via USA Today, here's a preview of top players and their schedules leading up to the Masters:
The Florida Swing — it's more of a stutter step with the tour going to Mexico instead of Doral — has a tough act to follow. 
For starters, none of the top six in the world will be at the Honda Classic this week in Palm Beach Gardens. The highest-ranked player is Scott, who can't move higher than his No. 7 spot in the ranking even if he were to successfully defend his title at PGA National. 
Johnson is expected to play in Mexico, the Match Play and the Houston Open. Day will be in Mexico, Bay Hill and the Match Play. Spieth will be in Mexico, Innisbrook, the Match Play and most likely Houston. Throw in Matsuyama, McIlroy and Henrik Stenson, and there will be plenty of occasions for them to mix it up ahead of the Masters.
According to one sportsbook, current Masters favorites are Spieth (13-2) and Johnson (8-1), followed by Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama.

Tuesday, February 21

'Jack' Coming in April from Golf Channel



IF YOU'RE A FAN OF JACK NICKLAUS, or you just want to know about his life, career and greatness, this three-part Golf Channel production on the Golden Bear airing in April should be worth your time.

Here's information from Golf Channel:
The product of nearly 100 interviews and hundreds of hours of archived film, Jack blends recollections from Nicklaus, as well as his playing competitors, family members, sports legends, business partners, and childhood friends, along with golf and sports media. Also included are signature moments from a storied career to capture the essence of an individual who forged a permanent mark as the most accomplished golfer of all-time. Additionally, Jack will feature other "Greats of All-Time" in their respective sport, each weighing in on Nicklaus’ impact on the larger sporting landscape, including Wayne Gretzky, Richard Petty, Jerry Rice, Annika Sorenstam and Kelly Slater. 
The three parts are segmented chronologically: 
· Prodigy (Sunday, April 9 – 9 p.m. ET) – Beginning with Nicklaus' childhood upbringing, highlighted by the Golden Bear’s relationship with his father (Charlie), meeting his wife (Barbara) in college at Ohio State, and his early successes as a professional golfer. 
· Prime (Monday, April 10 – 9 p.m. ET) – The bulk of his on-course career accolades inside the ropes, led by his record 18 professional major championships and 73 PGA TOUR victories. 
· Pinnacle (Tuesday, April 11 – 9 p.m. ET) – Focusing on his lasting legacy as an ambassador to the sport, the priority he placed on family, and his business and philanthropic endeavors, including global golf course design, and the hospitals bearing the Nicklaus name.

Monday, February 20

DJ Conquers LA and the World



DUSTIN JOHNSON IS THE MAN. No longer an underachiever, DJ has checked off another accomplishment on the list, even if it wasn't a goal but rather a byproduct of winning. With a dominant victory at Riviera yesterday in the Genesis Open, Johnson has moved to the top of the golf world.

From Karen Crouse of the New York Times:
LOS ANGELES — Nineteen golfers, including the Genesis Open's nonplaying host, Tiger Woods, have ascended to the men's No. 1 spot since the rankings were introduced in 1986. On Monday, Dustin Johnson will become the 20th. 
Johnson, the reigning United States Open champion and PGA Tour player of the year, closed with rounds of seven-under-par 64 and 71 at a soggy Riviera Country Club on Sunday for a five-stroke victory. The win, his 13th on the PGA Tour, will vault him past Jason Day, the No. 1 player for the past 47 weeks, and the former No. 1 Rory McIlroy in the new rankings.
Johnson said: "If you look at even the top 10 guys in the world, all of them are very, very good. I'm going to have to keep working hard and keep playing well if I want to stay there."

DJ has won 13 times on the PGA Tour, including at least one victory in each calendar year since 2008.

What's next? I don't know, but I expect high on his list is a Green Jacket.

Friday, February 17

Skratch TV Presents 'Prison Golf '



THIS IS SOMETHING DIFFERENT. This is Adventures in Golf (Season 1) from Skratch TV.

Documentary filmmaker Erik Anders Lang takes viewers on a tour around the globe searching for the craziest, most intriguing stories in golf.

I hope you enjoy the next episode, "Prison Golf."

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