Friday, May 6

Oakmont, the Poster, Not Quite as Scary

By golf artist Lee Wybranski.
AT RIGHT IS THE OFFICIAL POSTER for the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club. It's the ninth consecutive U.S. Open poster painted by golf artist Lee Wybranski.

More information from the news release:

For Oakmont Country Club in western Pennsylvania, the 116th U.S. Open—to be held June 16-19—will be its ninth men's Open since 1927. For Wybranski—a native of the Philadelphia area who now makes his home in northern Arizona—this year he has painted his ninth consecutive U.S. Open poster, a string that began in 2008 when the championship was held at Torrey Pines.

The poster will be sold in the merchandise tents at Oakmont for $32 unframed, as well as on the websites of the USGA and Wybranski, www.leewybranski.com. It will be available unframed, framed and autographed.

Wybranski's work on the new poster began last fall when he spent a couple of days at Oakmont, walking the grounds and talking with the superintendent and others about changes made by the club to bring its famed course back to the vision of its founders, Henry Clay Fownes and his son William, at the beginning of the 20th century.

"The biggest change is that the club has been taking out trees," Wybranski said. "I was there in 2010 to paint the poster for the U.S. Women's Open, and by then they'd already removed thousands of trees. But the contrast from then to now is even more stark: It's really changed!"

Thursday, May 5

Golf on TV: Wells Fargo Championship, Insperity Invitational, Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic, Trophee Hassan II


By Golf Channel Communications

PGA TOUR

World No. 3 Rory McIlroy will defend his title at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, with Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson and Adam Scott in the field as well. Jim Furyk also is scheduled to return to the PGA TOUR for the first time since last September after being sidelined with a wrist injury. 

Wells Fargo Championship
Dates: May 5-8
Venue: Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, N.C.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         4-7 p.m. (Live) / 8-11 p.m. (Replay)
Friday              4-7 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday          1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday            1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on CBS (Eastern):
Saturday 3-6 p.m.
Sunday 3-6 p.m.
  
McIlroy defends: In last year’s event, Rory McIlroy separated himself from the field to win by seven strokes for his 11th career PGA TOUR win.

Headlining the field: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Branden Grace, Justin Rose, Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson.

* * *

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

Two-time major champion John Daly will make his PGA TOUR Champions debut at the Insperity Invitational, after celebrating his 50th birthday last week.

Insperity Invitational
Dates: May 6-8                                                                      
Venue: The Woodlands Country Club (Tournament Course), The Woodlands, Texas

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday              7-10 p.m. (Tape delay) / 3:15-6:15 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)
Saturday          5-7 p.m. (Live) / 1:30-3:30 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            5-7 p.m. (Live) / 1:30-3:30 a.m. (Monday replay)

Woosnam defends: Ian Woosnam defeated Tom Lehman and Kenny Perry with a birdie on the first playoff hole for his first PGA TOUR Champions win.

Headlining the field: John Daly, Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Tom Lehman, Jeff Maggert, Woody Austin, Mark O’Meara, Fuzzy Zoeller, Peter Jacobsen and John Cook.

* * *

LPGA TOUR

Stacy Lewis headlines the field at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic in Alabama, along with Brooke Henderson and Gerina Piller. 

Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic
Dates: May 5-8                                                                           
Venue: RTJ Golf Trail at Capitol Hill (Senator Course), Prattville, Ala.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         12:30-3:30 p.m. (Live) / 2-4 a.m. (Friday replay)
Friday              12:30-3:30 p.m. (Live) / 4:30-6 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          3-5 p.m. (Live) / 3:30-5:30 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            3-5 p.m. (Live) / 3:30-5:30 a.m. (Monday replay)

Tamulis defends: Kris Tamulis finished one shot ahead of Yani Tseng and Austin Ernst for her first LPGA Tour win.

Headlining the field: Stacy Lewis, Brooke Henderson, Amy Yang, So Yeon Ryu, Minjee Lee, Gerina Piller, Anna Nordqvist, Brittany Lincicome, Jessica Korda, Charley Hull and Michelle Wie.

* * *

EUROPEAN TOUR

Trophee Hassan II
Dates: May 5-8                                                                           
Venue: Royal Golf Dar Es Salam (Red Course), Rabat, Morocco    

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         6:30-8:30 a.m. / 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Live)
Friday              6:30-8:30 a.m. / 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Live)
Saturday          10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. (Live)

Event returning to familiar venue: After being played for five years at the Royal Palace at Agadir in 2011-2015, the Trophee Hassan II returns to its longtime home at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat for the first time since 2010.

Headlining the field: Tommy Fleetwood, Alexander Levy, Paul Dunne, Matteo Manassero, Alvaro Quiros, David Horsey, Arjun Atwal, Dean Burmester and Javier Ballesteros.

Stewart Cink Steps Away as Wife Fights Cancer


STEWART CINK WITHDREW FROM the Wells Fargo Championship on Tuesday. The 2009 British Open champion announced on Twitter that his wife Lisa has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Here's the (above) note Cink tweeted:
Last week my wife, Lisa, and I received some unfortunate news. Lisa has been diagnosed with breast cancer -- a startling and unexpected revelation for everyone in our family. 
We are still in the process of figuring out exactly what she is fighting, and the uncertainty continues to be very difficult. However, we serve a great God, and our friends and family have been and will be by her side every step of the way. 
In order to assist Lisa in meeting this challenge, I will be stepping away from competitive golf until circumstances improve for her. Hopefully that day will come quickly for her. 
Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers as we move forward.
I interviewed Stewart Cink in 2011. He was candid and personable. Read those conversations here.

Tuesday, May 3

Mr. Grinder Returns to the PGA Tour

LOOK WHO IS BACK ON the PGA Tour. It's Jim Furyk.

The tour veteran returns this week in the Wells Fargo Championship after a long layoff due to an injured left wrist that required surgery. Furyk's last appearance was at the 2015 Deutsche Bank Championship.

"My wife joked it was kind of the first day of school," Furyk said. "She wanted to know if I had my best outfit on." 
Furyk admitted to being rusty following a nine-hole practice round with Davis Love III n Tuesday at Quail Hollow, but said his wrist is healthy enough to withstand Tour conditions. 
He was encouraged by his abbreviated practice round on Tuesday where he tested the injury by playing shots from Quail Hollow's thick rough. 
"I know I can't hit 100 balls every day and go out and play 18 holes and then go practice again," Furyk said. "I've got to pace myself a little bit."
Maybe going around Quail Hollow with Love made Furyk, soon to be 46, feel like a youngster. The U.S. Ryder Cup team captain who won in Greensboro last summer is 52.

Furyk hopes to play four of the next five tour events, and then head to Oakmont for the U.S. Open, where he nearly won his second national title in 2007.

Monday, May 2

Are Golf and the Olympics a Good Match?

Much has been written about marquee golfers dropping out of the Olympics, including at this blog last week. Irish golf writer and author Kevin Markham offers additional perspective on the controversial topic.

By Kevin Markham

Copyright © Kevin Markham. Used with permission.

Kevin Markham has played every
18-hole golf course in Ireland.
ON AUGUST 11, 2016, THE BATTLE for golf's Olympic gold medals will begin. The re-introduction of golf is widely seen as a blessing for the sport but not everyone agrees on its inclusion or its format. 

Is the Olympics good for golf?

Four billion people watched some part of the London Olympics. What an enormous audience for golf to reach, influence and inspire. As the biggest sporting spectacle on earth the Olympics is an unprecedented opportunity for golf to grow on a global scale and golfing bodies are falling over themselves to tell us about it.

Paul McGinley, who will lead the Irish golf team, says "It is the biggest sporting event in the world and to have a seat at the top table in sport is a big deal for golf."

That's very true, but the recent withdrawals of Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Vijah Singh signals that not all is as peachy as it seems.

Consider this: Of the billions who tuned in to the 2012 Olympics, how many people who watched the water polo were inspired to take up the sport?

A more relevant comparison is Tiger Woods' success in the 1990s and 2000s. Figures for African-American kids taking up golf show little improvement as a result of Tiger's phenomenal success. In other words, success and exposure do not equate to an uptake at the grassroots level.

Is golf good for the Olympics?

When golf was offered a place at the Olympics table, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) specified that competitors must be professional golfers. The IOC hopes and expects golf to reach a vast audience including underdeveloped parts of the world.

It clearly – and cynically – shows why the field will comprise many of the richest sports personalities on the planet, because golf's superstars mean more people will watch, which will mean more sponsors… and more money for the IOC. So yes, golf is good for the Olympics, but there is an elephant in the room.

Is a professional strokeplay event the right format?

Do we really need another 72-hole strokeplay tournament? This was a massive opportunity to make Olympic golf a riveting event. If you want non-golfers to watch a sport that takes five hours to complete, you need a matchplay format that makes every individual hole a battle, every putt a possible victory. There will also be a winner after each match… not after four days. That's what creates excitement. Just look at the Ryder Cup. 

"To grow the game of golf we need to invite amateurs to compete at the Olympics, instead of the current format of 60 (edited) top professionals," Adam Scott said last year.

For those who agree with Scott, consider who non-golfers want to watch: leading amateurs or McIlroy and Spieth? How many of us took up the game because we saw Seve, Jack or Tiger playing so many magical shots? If the Olympics is to be a showpiece for golf, then shouldn't those players who youngsters aspire to be, be the ones who play?

And finally, there's the issue of whether golf should even be in the Olympics when a gold medal is not the absolute pinnacle of a golfer's career?

Graeme McDowell has said that the Olympics is the pinnacle of sport. But is it the pinnacle of golf? A gold medal or a Green Jacket?  

The arguments regarding golf's inclusion, who should play and in what format will rage on, but for now golf and the Olympics are entwined. By the end of August that relationship might have tightened, or simply snapped. And given baseball's exclusion in 2016, we know how severe that snap can be.

Kevin Markham is the author of Hooked: An Amateur's Guide to the Golf Courses of Ireland and writes about Irish golf courses and other golf topics at his blog.

Friday, April 29

Oops! Armchair Golf Misquotes Thomas Jefferson

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Golf.
– (not written by) Thomas Jefferson

Historical note:
Thomas Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States.

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

Thursday, April 28

Golf on TV: Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Volunteers of America Texas Shootout, Volvo China Open


By Golf Channel Communications

PGA TOUR

Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Dates: April 28-May 1
Venue: TPC Louisiana, Avondale, La.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         3-6 p.m. (Live) / 8:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday              3-6 p.m. (Live) / 8:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday            1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)

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

Rose defends: Justin Rose finished one shot ahead of Cameron Tringale to earn his seventh career PGA TOUR win.

Headlining the field: Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Charley Hoffman, Billy Horschel, Smylie Kaufman, Steve Stricker, Patrick Rodgers, Daniel Berger and Byeong Hun An.

* * *

LPGA TOUR

Volunteers of America Texas Shootout
Dates: April 28-May 1                                                               
Venue: Las Colinas Country Club, Irving, Texas

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         Noon-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 2:30-5 a.m. (Friday replay)
Friday              Noon-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 3-5:30 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          3-6 p.m. (Live) / 2:30-5 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            3-6 p.m. (Live) / 2:30-5 a.m. (Monday replay)

Format: This week’s event is unique in that while there is a cut to low-70 players (and ties) following 36 holes on Friday, there is an additional cut to low-50 players (and ties) after 54 holes on Saturday.

Headlining the field: Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis, Brooke Henderson, Sei Young Kim, In Gee Chun, Amy Yang, So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng, Hyo Joo Kim, Minjee Lee and Suzann Pettersen.

* * *

EUROPEAN TOUR

Volvo China Open
Dates: April 28-May 1                                                               
Venue: Topwin Golf & Country Club, Beijing, China          

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         12:30-2:30 a.m. (Tape delay) / 2:30-5:30 a.m. (Live) / 6-10 a.m. (Replay)
Friday              5-10 a.m. (Tape delay)
Saturday          6-10 a.m. (Tape delay)
Sunday            6-10 a.m. (Tape delay)

Ashun defends: Wu Ashun defeated David Howell by one stroke to earn his first European Tour victory, becoming the first Chinese player to win a European Tour event in his home country.

Headlining the field: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Thorbjorn Olesen, Peter Uihlein, Bernd Wiesberger, Tommy Fleetwood, Alexander Levy, Y.E. Yang and Joost Luiten.

Wednesday, April 27

Miguel Angel Jimenez Flushes an Iron Off Great Wall of China


THE MOST INTERESTING GOLFER in the world hit yesterday's most interesting golf shot in the world. Maybe the unusual scene gave Pete Dye some diabolical new design ideas.