Wednesday, March 22

Golf on TV: WGC Dell Technologies Match Play, Kia Classic, Puerto Rico Open



From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 21, 2017) – 64 of the top players in the world gather in Austin this week for golf’s version of a March bracket event with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. World No. 3 Jason Day will defend his 2016 title, alongside Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, with nearly 35 hours of live tournament coverage scheduled to air across Golf Channel and NBC. The LPGA Tour is in southern California for the Kia Classic, where world No. 1 Lydia Ko will defend among a field that includes every single player from the LPGA top-100 money list in 2016. And the PGA TOUR will stage the Puerto Rico Open, featuring a field led by Bryson DeChambeau, Ian Poulter and Andrew Johnston, along with former major champions, including Graeme McDowell, Angel Cabrera, Retief Goosen and Y.E. Yang.

PGA TOUR

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
Dates: March 22-26
Venue: Austin Country Club, Austin, Texas

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday     2-8 p.m. (Live) / 9 p.m.-3 a.m. (Replay)
Thursday         2-8 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 p.m.-4:30 a.m. (Replay)
Friday              2-8 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 p.m.-4:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday          10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday            10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern):
Saturday          2-6 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            3-7 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Event format: The 64-player field is divided into 16 four-player groups competing in a round-robin format over the first three days on Wednesday through Friday. The player in each group with the most points (1 point for a win, ½ point for a halved match) advances to single elimination match play with the Round of 16 and quarterfinals scheduled for Saturday and the semifinals and final scheduled for Sunday. The top-16 seeded players in Pool A are the top seeds of their respective groups and the rest of the players in each group were determined through a blind draw on Monday, March 20. Those other 48 players were randomly assigned to their group of four based on three pools: seeds 17-32 in Pool B, seeds 33-48 in Pool C, and seeds 49-64 in Pool D.
Day defends: Jason Day defeated Louis Oosthuizen 5&4 in the finals to claim his ninth career PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Sergio Garcia, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed, Tyrrell Hatten and Danny Willett.

LPGA TOUR

Kia Classic
Dates: March 23-26
Venue: Park Hyatt Aviara Golf Club, Carlsbad, Calif.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         8:30-10:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 7-9 p.m. (Live Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Friday              8:30-10:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 7-9 p.m. (Live Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Saturday          5:30-9 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            5:30-9 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Ko defends: Lydia Ko finished four shots ahead of Inbee Park to earn her 11th LPGA victory.
Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn, In Gee Chun, Shanshan Feng, So Yeon Ryu, Ha Na Jang, Inbee Park, Amy Yang, Lexi Thompson, Anna Nordqvist and Michelle Wie.

PGA TOUR

Puerto Rico Open
Dates: March 23-26
Venue: Coco Beach Golf & Country Club (Championship Course), Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live) / 4:30-7 a.m. (Friday replay)
Friday              10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live) / 4:30-7 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          2-5:30 p.m. (Live) / 2-5 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            2:30-5:30 p.m. (Live) / 2-5 a.m. (Monday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Headlining the field: Bryson DeChambeau, Andrew Johnston, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell, Thorbjorn Olesen, Retief Goosen, Angel Cabrera, K.J. Choi, Y.E. Yang and Sam Saunders.

Tuesday, March 21

Sports Economist Study: Second Shot Gamble Fails to Pay Off at Masters

The following press release comes from Wake Forest University. And I'm sure it will have no bearing on Phil Mickelson in the upcoming Masters.

That tee shot lost in the rough or hit in the water at Augusta is likely to be followed by a risky, aggressive second shot — a decision you might expect from a recreational golfer, not a pro. 

Research by Wake Forest University sports economist Todd McFall suggests that a faction of players beginning holes with penalty strokes will regularly take greater risks in their subsequent shots to avoid any additional strokes — a decision predicted by behavioral economics that can lead to disastrous consequences for golfers’ performances. 

"Our findings support the basic tenants of prospect theory  top players have a hard time sticking to their game plan, even after a setback," said McFall.

"When players try to do too much to compensate for a poor prior shot, we found it has few benefits and often sets them back even further. Even for top professionals, it's important to find a way to avoid making mental errors. Think about Zach Johnson's 2007 Masters win where he didn't try to reach a green with his second shot all week, yet birdied 11 of 16 holes. He never tried to overreach."

The study presents a rare glimpse into the decision-making patterns of professional golfers by using real data from more than 10 years of U.S. PGA Tour events. For this research, McFall had access to the PGA Tour's ShotLink database, which contains a record of every shot a professional player takes on the tour.

McFall studied golfers playing on par five holes, comparing the behaviors of players in three categories: those penalized for a lateral water hazard tee shot, those penalized for an out-of-bounds tee shot, and those with no penalties on their first shot. The data showed that golfers with an out-of-bounds penalty or a lateral water hazard penalty were much more likely to adapt riskier approaches compared with their non-penalized rivals.

"Loss aversion leads penalized golfers to violate not only basic economic principles regarding efficient decision making, but also golf orthodoxy, which is to play one shot at a time regardless of previous outcomes." McFall said. "The cost they suffer for this is inefficient performance and ultimately, higher scores."

Monday, March 20

Marc Leishman: 'Today was the Day'



AUSTRALIAN MARC LEISHMAN SHOT A 69 on Sunday to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by one shot over Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman. Leishman's second PGA Tour title gives him a three-year exemption and also means he'll be back at the Masters.

"I've been playing well all year," Leishman told Golf Channel.

"I've been driving it better than I ever have. It's funny, this game's a lot easier out of the fairway. That's been probably the biggest difference. Then the putter. The putter has been amazing this year. The stats probably show that, especially this week. But I feel like all year it's been really close and I just haven't quite played how I wanted to on Sundays, but today was the day."

Leishman continued an Aussie streak at Arnie's place. Jason Day won at Bay Hill in 2016.

"Mr. Palmer was an awesome guy who I was lucky enough to meet a few times at this tournament. So obviously to honor him was huge," Leishman added.

"Another reason why it was so special this week is this is the first time I've won a tournament with my family here… It all came together, and to do it here, especially on a Presidents Cup year as well. I was outside those standings, so to get back inside those is really good. And I guess the Masters too; I wasn't in there. It's just an unbelievable day."

Friday, March 17

VIDEO: Cody Gribble: 'The Gator Looked Like He Needed Some Exercise'



CODY GRIBBLE HAD AN ALLIGATOR ENCOUNTER in the opening round of the 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

"The gator looked like he needed some exercise," Gribble said. "If you think that's crazy, you should meet my father, Bill Gribble."

Thursday, March 16

Golf on TV: Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bank of Hope Founders Cup, Tucson Conquistadores Classic



From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 14, 2017)  NBC Sports Group this week will celebrate Arnold Palmer’s legacy through a series of dedicated tributes and remembrances surrounding its coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard from Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Fla. With nearly 50 live hours of on-site news and live tournament coverage across Golf Channel and NBC, the field includes four of the top-5 players in the world in Jason Day (No. 2), Rory McIlroy (No. 3), Hideki Matsuyama (No. 4) and Henrik Stenson (No. 5), along with Rickie Fowler (No. 9). The LPGA returns to the United States with the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Arizona, featuring a strong field led by World Nos. 1 and 2, Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn. The PGA TOUR Champions also are in Arizona this week, with Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples leading the field at the Tucson Conquistadores Classic, along with Steve Stricker and Bob Estes, who are both set to make their PGA TOUR Champions debut.

PGA TOUR

Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
Dates: March 16-19
Venue: Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         2-6 p.m. (Live) / 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)
Friday              2-6 p.m. (Live) / 11:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday          12:30-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday            12:30-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Replay)

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

Broadcast Notes:
Mike Tirico to serve as tournament host on Golf Channel, NBC: NBC Sports personality Mike Tirico will host live tournament coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Golf Channel and NBC, marking the first time Tirico will cover the event on-air after initially joining NBC Sports Group last summer ahead of The Open.
Day defends: Jason Day finished one stroke ahead of Kevin Chappell to earn his eighth PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Henrik Stenson, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Hadwin.
                                                                                                                                         
NBC Sports Broadcast Team:
Host: Mike Tirico
Play by Play: Rich Lerner (Golf Channel) / Dan Hicks (NBC)
Analyst: Frank Nobilo (Golf Channel) / Johnny Miller (NBC)
Tower: Gary Koch / Peter Jacobsen / David Feherty / Steve Sands / Jimmy Roberts
On-Course: Roger Maltbie (Weekend only) / Mark Rolfing / Notah Begay
Interviews: Steve Sands / Todd Lewis (Golf Channel, Saturday-Sunday)
Essays: Jimmy Roberts (Weekend only)

* * *        

LPGA TOUR

Bank of Hope Founders Cup
Dates: March 16-19
Venue: Wildfire Golf Club, Phoenix, Ariz.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         6-9 p.m. (Live)
Friday              6-9 p.m. (Live)
Saturday          7-9 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            7-9 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Kim defends: Sei Young Kim finished five shots ahead of the field to claim her fourth LPGA victory.
Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn, In Gee Chun, Ha Na Jang, Lexi Thompson, Amy Yang, Inbee Park, Sei Young Kim, Brooke Henderson and Brittany Lincicome.

* * *

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

Tucson Conquistadores Classic
Dates: March 17-19
Venue: Omni Tucson National Resort (Catalina Course), Tucson, Ariz.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday              9:30-11:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 6-8 p.m. (Live Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Saturday          4:30-7 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            4:30-7 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Monday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Stricker, Estes making PGA TOUR Champions debut: Steve Stricker and Bob Estes are both making their PGA TOUR Champions debut this week.
Austin defends: Woody Austin finished one shot ahead of Jim Carter to earn his first PGA TOUR Champions victory.                      
Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples, Steve Stricker, Bob Estes, Jerry Kelly, Mark O’Meara, Tom Lehman, David Toms, Paul McGinley, Woody Austin and Lee Janzen.

Wednesday, March 15

'Womankind Arise!': No More Men-Only at Muirfield



MUIRFIELD HAS JOINED THE 21ST CENTURY. Women will now be eligible for membership at the ancient Scottish links designed by Old Tom Morris. They really had no chance to continue the men-only tradition, at least not if they ever wanted to again host the Open Championship.

"Muirfield takes mulligan, votes in women," reported Global Golf Post. You can read Lewine Mair's story by clicking below.

Global Golf Post March 13, 2017

page 2 Table of Contents

Tuesday, March 14

VIDEO: #ArnieWould Is a Credit to Mastercard


THIS WEEK IS ABOUT ARNOLD PALMER. Mastercard hits the sweet spot with its above #ArnieWould spot.

Due to scheduling issues as a result of WGC events and the Masters in a few weeks, many top players will be absent from Bay Hill this week. Some are taking heat for that decision. In addition, the future of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in terms of quality of the field is uncertain. (Some of you might recall the drop-off at the Nelson after Byron passed.)

All that said, this is still Arnold Palmer's week. The golf world, and hopefully the wider sports world, will pause to remember "The King" and his many contributions to the game, to communities and charities and even to America.

Arnie loved people. And the people loved him back.

Monday, March 13

Tahiti Can Wait: Adam Hadwin Is Masters Bound



ADAM HADWIN STUMBLED ON THE 16TH hole on Sunday but steadied himself with two pars to claim his first PGA Tour victory at the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida. The Canadian edged Patrick Cantlay by a single shot and earned a spot in the Masters. The 29-year-old Hadwin finished with a 71 for a 14-under total of 270.

That's very good scoring on the tough Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club.

"I don’t know what to say right now," Hadwin told Golf Channel. "I fully expected Patrick to make that putt. As I said yesterday, I just wanted a chance to win coming up at the last. And I had that chance. I thought we were going to have to make birdies to win it. I'm just lucky that 1-footer wasn't 1.5 feet."

Cantlay hit his approach shot on the final hole into a bunker and made bogey. It was a disappointing finish to a surprising week. He was one of the last men to earn a spot into the Valspar field and made a courageous run at the title.

Hadwin will get married a week from Friday and adjust his honeymoon trip to Tahiti in order to make his first appearance in the Masters. I expect his new bride will understand.