Friday, February 5

Rick Bragg: How to Grovel

(This is the first of what may be an occasional off-golf-topic piece because I want to share my other nonfiction writing with more readers. Thanks as always for following this blog.)

Rick Bragg
One afternoon I saw my wife reading Southern Living.

"Hey, can I see that when you're done?" I asked.

Not because I wanted to read about porches and gardens, easy bedroom upgrades, or the South's hottest food towns. (Actually, I did take a peek at the food towns.) No, I wanted to read Rick Bragg's Southern Journal, on the last page.

I love Rick Bragg. The former New York Times reporter wrote a series of memoirs about his family and growing up poor in Alabama and Georgia. Bragg is a wonderful storyteller. Read his books, if you haven't already.

In his Southern Living essay, Bragg tackled groveling. He got help.

"A few months ago, I asked readers for advice on how to grovel," he began. "The alternative -- to do right in the first place -- I rejected from self-awareness."

Bragg shared some of the advice in the column. It was good. A woman named Susan told Bragg not to worry about groveling. As Bragg noted, Susan seemed to imply that he shouldn't expect too much of himself, "being a man."

There was plenty more, including a funny anecdote about Bragg's dog (Woody Bo) eating his favorite shirt. He spilled crab soup on the shirt during a trip to Louisiana and dropped it on the bedroom floor when he returned home.

I was impressed by the groveling advice offered by David of North Carolina. He gave Bragg a three-point plan:
1. Grovel often. It's expected. 2. Admit you're wrong. It's quicker. 3. Don't worry about being sincere. They know.
By the way, asking for reader input is a shrewd strategy for generating essays, columns and blogs. So, if you're a writer, be like Rick. And, if you're a man, grovel often and without shame.

Thursday, February 4

Golf on TV: Waste Management Phoenix Open, Coates Golf Championship, Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Allianz Championship

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

PGA TOUR

NBC Sports Group will feature more than 25 hours of live programming from TPC Scottsdale surrounding the Waste Management Phoenix Open, including tournament coverage on Golf Channel and NBC. David Feherty is set to make his NBC Sports Group live tournament debut as lead analyst during Thursday-Friday first and second round coverage on Golf Channel.

Waste Management Phoenix Open
Dates: Feb. 4-7
Venue: TPC Scottsdale (Stadium Course), Scottsdale, Ariz.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         3-7 p.m. (Live) / 8 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)
Friday              3-7 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday          1-3 p.m. (Live) / 8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday            1-3 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)    

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

Broadcast Notes

Largest crowds on PGA TOUR: The event attracts the largest galleries on the PGA TOUR, with a record 564,000 in attendance throughout the week in 2015, including nearly 160,000 during Saturday's third round alone.

Koepka defends: Brooks Koepka finished one shot ahead of Hideki Matsuyama, Ryan Palmer and Bubba Watson for his first career PGA TOUR win.

Headlining the field: Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson, Kevin Kisner, Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka.

* * *

LPGA TOUR

World No. 1 Lydia Ko is set to make her first start of 2016 on the LGPA Tour at the Coates Golf Championship, airing on Golf Channel. Alison Lee and Suzann Pettersen are paired together for the first two rounds, which will be the first time the two will complete alongside one another since their controversial match at the 2015 Solheim Cup.

Coates Golf Championship
Dates: Feb. 3-6
Venue: Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, Ocala, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday     2-5:30 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-10 p.m. (Replay)
Thursday         11 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live) 
Friday              8-10 p.m. (Tape delay) / 3-5 pm. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)
Saturday          3-5 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes

Choi defends: Na Yeon Choi defeated Lydia Ko, Ha Na Jang and Jessica Korda by one stroke for her eighth LPGA Tour win.

Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson, So Yeon Ryu, Sei Young Kim, Cristie Kerr, Suzann Pettersen, Anna Nordqvist, Brooke Henderson, Charley Hull and Alison Lee.

* * *

EUROPEAN TOUR

World No. 3 Rory McIlroy will look to defend his title at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, an event he has won twice in his career.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Dates: Feb. 4-7
Venue: Emirates Golf Club (Majlis Course), Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         11 p.m.-4 a.m. (Live, Wednesday Overnight) / 6:30-8:30 a.m. (Live)
Friday              2:30-8:30 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          4-8 a.m. (Live) / 10 a.m.-Noon (Replay)        
Sunday            3:30-8 a.m. (Live) / 10 a.m.-Noon (Replay)

Broadcast Notes

McIlroy defends: Rory McIlroy won by three shots over Alex Noren to earn his 10th career European Tour victory, and his second time winning the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Headlining the field: Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Ernie Els, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Martin Kaymer, Bryson DeChambeau (a), Danny Willett and Lee Westwood.

* * *

CHAMPIONS TOUR

Allianz Championship
Dates: Feb. 5-7
Venue: Broken Sound Club (Old Course), Boca Raton, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday              11 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live)
Saturday          5-7 p.m. (Tape delay) / 3-5 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)
Sunday            3-5 p.m. (Tape delay) / 2-4 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)

Broadcast Notes

Goydos defends: Paul Goydos finished one stroke ahead of Gene Sauers for his second career PGA TOUR Champions win.

Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Jeff Maggert, Jay Haas, Kenny Perry, Tom Lehman, Duffy Waldorf, Mark O’Meara, Jesper Parnevik and Nick Price.

Wednesday, February 3

Portugal, an Idyllic Golf Destination and Lifestyle

IN THE SOUTH OF THE SMALL COUNTRY of Portugal, situated in a corner of Europe, is the region of Algarve.

Image courtesy of 360 Golf Holidays.
This paradise is considered to be among the best golf destinations in the world, according to various magazines and international associations. It has marvelous golf courses with breathtaking sceneries and pleasant architecture, both near the sea and the mountains. It is also possible to play golf under sunny skies for nearly the entire year.

Nowadays, Algarve is visited by golf lovers from around the world, including some who come every year. Those who share this passion might want to consider making Portugal their residence and enjoy the great benefits the Portuguese tax system has recently created. 

A Tax Friendly Lifestyle

This tax sets out a new income tax regime for non-usual residents within the scope of personal income tax (IRS). This regime offers a number of benefits and extremely favorable conditions to anyone wishing to settle in Portugal, and is also appropriate for emigrants wishing to return to Portugal. The measure is principally aimed at attracting foreign investments and investors. 

The new arrangement also makes Portugal a tax-free jurisdiction for individuals with pensions. And individuals can also benefit from income obtained through business, professional activity, interest and dividends.

These benefits cover high value-added activities, which can receive a special rate of 20%. The only requirement is to become a Portuguese tax resident.

Investors and retired people from around the world have, in Portugal, the opportunity to create a quality lifestyle for the whole family and also benefit from this new measure, which could allow them to live almost without paying taxes.

To learn more, visit the website of Sandra Gomes Pinto, an attorney with 20 years of national and international experience helping a wide range of clients.

This is a sponsored post for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal, tax, or financial counsel.

Tuesday, February 2

Do Walter Hagen's Words Apply to Donald Trump?

I JUST SAW THIS DONALD TRUMP golf tweet from December 2013 at USA Today Golf.


"It's increasingly hard to figure out if Walter Hagen actually said this at all," wrote Luke Kerr-Dineen, "but regardless: It's a sentiment that has been uttered by many great athletes over the course of human history."

Maybe The Donald will find solace in another golf saying: "One shot (or state?) at a time."

Monday, February 1

Mother Nature Dominates at Farmers Insurance Open

THEY COULDN'T FINISH THE FARMERS Insurance Open at Torrey Pines yesterday because the weather showed up and battered the field. The players who finished their final rounds averaged higher than 78.

Meanwhile, Brandt Snedeker put together a 69 in the wet and windy (up to 40 m.p.h.) conditions. "It will stand as one of the best rounds of the year when things are done," wrote Mike Purkey in Global Golf Post.

Sneds is the clubhouse leader at 6 under, but Jimmy Walker is currently ahead by a shot, among a group of Monday finishers. Due to dangerous conditions with high winds, there are no spectators at Torrey today.

Patrick Reed withdrew after an 81 in the third round. Something about his ankle. Hmmm. Graham DeLaet was not sympathetic.

"Does anyone have Pat Reed's #?" DeLaet tweeted. "I need to call him for WD'ing and leaving us as a twosome in the final group off 10 in brutal weather."

Someone responded to the tweet, and DeLaet added, "No I shot 82 because I missed 13 greens and couldn't chip or putt. I'm still playing (Sunday) though."

Finally, below is Colt Knost, who didn't want to hit this putt because his ball was oscillating. Watch what happened.

Friday, January 29

Lining Up at 4 a.m. to Play Torrey Pines

The long par-4 12th hole on the South Course at Torrey Pines. (Courtesy of D. Hilgart)
The Farmers Insurance Open is underway at Torrey Pines in La Jolla. From the archives, the following piece is another memory of playing Torrey Pines three decades ago.

IN 2006 A GOLFER WHO GREW UP in San Diego asked if Torrey Pines still had the custom of lining up golf bags by the starter's window to determine the order of securing an early morning tee time. I didn't know. I'd been away for a long time. But they used a system very similar to that back in the mid 1980s when I played Torrey. Let me tell you about it.

First of all, it was tough to get a tee time on the weekend. You could start calling on a certain day -- Monday, for instance -- to get a tee time for Saturday. The phone line was constantly busy. In fact, it was virtually impossible to get through, especially if you didn't have automatic redial, not a widespread phone feature at the time. (I told you it was a long time ago.)

My golf buddies and I gave up on that approach. But there was another way.

The reserved tee times didn't start until 7:30 or 8 a.m., which left anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half of daylight for people to tee off both the North and South courses. The starter would arrive around 5:15 a.m. and take down the names of the groups that were already there. Then he would start sending them off at the crack of dawn. You would be surprised how many groups would already be out on both courses before the reserved tee time groups started going off.

But back to the early morning system. It was an honor system. When you showed up, you would find the last person to arrive near the starter's window. He would tell you what number he was –- 15th, for example –- and then he would be free to wander back to his car or the coffee shop (if it was open). Then you would wait for the next person to come along. And so on.

It worked surprisingly well. When the starter arrived, everyone (one representative of each group) lined up in perfect order and got their name down on the sheet.

Each person in our regular foursome would take a turn getting to Torrey early to claim our spot. How early? When it was my turn, I would leave the house at around 3:30 a.m. (usually after going to bed around midnight) and arrive at Torrey at 4:15 a.m. I don't think I ever cracked the top ten in the order. 


One guy used to pull his camper into the parking lot the night before. Not surprisingly, his group always went off first, probably on the South.

The coffee shop opened early –- I think around 4:30 –- and it would be jam-packed with guys stumbling around in search of some bad coffee and a stale donut. If you got there early enough, you grabbed a booth for your group where you could hang until it was light enough to go out and hit some putts.

The truth is, it was a lot of fun. The camaraderie and setting were great even when the golf suffered. I miss those days.

Thursday, January 28

My 18th Hole at Torrey Pines in the Moonlight

The Farmers Insurance Open starts today. The following piece is from the archives.

AT RIGHT AND BELOW IS TORREY PINES Golf Course on a sunny day. But the Torrey Pines golf story I'm going to tell you happened in the moonlight.

Torrey Pines and the La Jolla coastline.
All of us at one time or another have played golf until dark. I was out one day after work with two or three golf buddies on Torrey Pines South Course when we ran out of daylight. (It was 30 years ago when I lived in the San Diego area.) We were in the middle of the back nine, so we started walking in.

The sky was clear and there was a full moon. You could see your shadow in the moonlight.

When we got to the 18th -- the par five you might have seen on TV with the pond in front -- I decided to tee it up just for yucks. I made my swing, it felt good, and we continued to walk in.

I wasn't going to look too hard for the ball -- after all, it was dark -- but there it was right in the middle of the fairway.

I pulled my three wood, aimed a bit right to avoid the pond, and took my swing. Again, it felt good, but I had no idea where it went.

Admittedly, this was a difficult shot to execute in the daylight with the pond in full view. I normally bailed out right. In this particular situation, I had no such concerns. I just kept my head down and made a smooth swing. We kept walking.

I walked on the line that I hoped my ball had traveled, but I had no expectation of finding it. There it was! It was on the fringe in two, a first for me. Now I'm definitely playing out.

I could barely make out the flag, so I walked on to the middle of the green to gauge slope and distance. I returned to my bag and pulled my 8-iron. I aimed right, knowing the chip would swing left. It was a total guess in the dark, but I hit a solid chip.

Maybe you have already guessed what happened. Yes, I chipped in for a 3. I eagled number 18 on Torrey South in the moonlight!

Unbelievable, I know. And absolutely true.

Wednesday, January 27

The Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic, Paul Azinger and Jim Nantz

A roundup of golf news.

Golf Channel Communications: Start to 2016 LPGA Season

The Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic begins a series of eight LPGA tournaments airing live on Golf Channel over the next 10 weeks leading into golf's first major championship of 2016, the ANA Inspiration.

Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson, Nos. 2-4 in the Rolex Rankings, headline an international field in the Bahamas that also includes Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Alison Lee, Gerina Piller, Yani Tseng, Michelle Wie and 2017 U.S. Solheim Cup Captain Juli Inkster. Eventual 2015 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Sei Young Kim captured the 2015 event in a playoff for her first of three LPGA wins in 2015.

Live coverage of the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic will air on Golf Channel Thursday and Friday from 11:30 am-2:30 p.m. ET, and will continue on Saturday and Sunday from 3-5 p.m. ET.

FOX Sports: Azinger in Analyst Seat

Paul Azinger, winner of the 1993 PGA Championship and veteran broadcaster, has joined FOX Sports as lead analyst for its golf coverage, beginning in 2016. Azinger joins seven-time Emmy Award-winning announcer Joe Buck and analyst Brad Faxon in the 18th Tower for FOX Sports' USGA Championship telecasts. The announcement was made today by John Entz, President, Production and Executive Producer, FOX Sports and Mark Loomis, Coordinating Producer, USGA Studio and Event Production.

"Paul is a respected and trusted voice in the golf community, and he has the credibility of being a major champion with a strong track record of experience in the broadcast booth," Entz said. "He has been one of golf's most candid and thoughtful analysts and we are excited to add him to our team."

"I am honored to partner with FOX Sports and the USGA to provide analysis for the compelling slate of USGA Championships," Azinger said. "It will especially be an honor to call our nation's national championship, the U.S. Open, beginning in June at storied Oakmont Country Club."

In his new role at FOX Sports, Azinger is scheduled to broadcast the 116th U.S. Open Championship at Oakmont Country Club, the U.S. Women’s Open at Cordevalle and the U.S. Senior Open at Scioto Country Club. He will also broadcast the 116th U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club and the 2017 Walker Cup Match at Los Angeles Country Club.

Jim Nantz: "I Wish Fox Well"

In an SI interview, broadcaster Jim Nantz said:

"I wish Fox well. Unlike the NFL where everyone is broadcasting at the same time during the regular season, the golf season you hand it off. Yes, we [at CBS] have it for the most weeks but we truly want everyone to do well because when it is your week, you are in charge of trying to make the game sound interesting and advance the sport and document it. It is not the competitive craziness that people want to talk about it. I watch other people call golf events and cheer them on and text them and congratulate them when they do good work, which is all the time. It is a different vibe than you might think."

(H/T Bernard Daily, Geoff Shackelford)