Thursday, October 17

'Hero' Step Curry Featured on Cover of GOLF Magazine's 60th Anniversary Edition

PUTTING BASKETBALL GREAT STEPH CURRY on a cover is highly unusual, noted GOLF Magazine.

"It’s been 10 years since we last had a non-golf personality on the cover of GOLF," David DeNunzio, Editor-In-Chief of GOLF, said. "It's extremely rare that someone the caliber of Steph Curry, known for his greatness in an area other than golf, actually moves the needle in our game. He is such a great ambassador for the sport of golf, and we're thrilled to feature him on our 60th anniversary cover."

Also from the news release:

Over the last few years, Curry—who played competitively on his high school’s golf team—has diligently given back the game that has had such a big influence on his life. Earlier this year, when Curry learned that a Howard University student had been working to try to resurrect their golf program, Curry pledged to fund the men’s and women’s programs for their first six years. If that wasn’t enough, he is also helping to hire coaches and design team uniforms at the historically black university. Acts like these, along with Curry’s commitment to such worthy programs as the PGA Jr. League and PGA REACH, make Curry one of the most prominent ambassadors for the modern game of golf – in the words of GOLF Magazine… a hero.

Curry's love of golf was passed on from his dad, former NBA standout Dell Curry. The younger Curry readily acknowledges that the lessons he learned on the course as a child, about accountability and integrity, serve as the foundation for his success as a basketball player.

Tiger Woods's Memoir Titled 'BACK' Is Eerily Familiar to This Blogger

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Did I predict the title of Tiger's forthcoming memoir seven years ago? You be the judge. The following is my spoof from the March 2012 archives.

MERRIAM-WEBSTER, AN ENCYCLOPEDIA Britannica Company, today announced that Tiger Woods, the former No. 1 golfer in the world, has been officially added as the fourth entry in the definition of the word "back." The surprising move by one of the world's most respected dictionaries comes on the heels of Woods's win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his first official victory in more than 30 months on the PGA Tour.

It's highly unusual for a proper name to be used in a definition for a common word. Consequently, there was a swift negative reaction from some etymologists who suggested that Merriam-Webster was unduly influenced by the public outpouring of support and the titanic media onslaught that followed the golfer's long-awaited win.

But the dictionary defended its action, saying in a statement, "We believe, along with everyone else, that Tiger is back. All we've done is to document that known fact, to say that 'back' is Tiger Woods."

The dictionary added that, in recognition of Woods, "back" would soon be featured as word of the day at its popular website.

Following is the newly released definition by Merriam-Webster.

back noun \ˈbak\

Definition of BACK

1 a (1) : the rear part of the human body especially from the neck to the end of the spine (2) : the body considered as the wearer of clothes (3) : capacity for labor, effort, or endurance (4) : the back considered as the seat of one’s awareness of duty or failings 
(5) : the back considered as an area of vulnerability
b : the part of a lower animal (as a quadruped) corresponding to the human back
c : spinal column
d : spine 1c

2 a : the side or surface opposite the front or face : the rear part; also : the farther or reverse side
b : something at or on the back for support

c : a place away from the front

3: a position in some games (as football or soccer) behind the front line of players; also : a player in this position

4: Tiger Woods

A Merriam-Webster representative would not comment on the rumor that Woods would move up to the second definition of "back" if he wins the Masters in two weeks.

Tuesday, October 15

Tiger Woods Is Writing 'BACK,' a Memoir That Tells His Story in His Words, Coming From HarperCollins

TIGER WOODS WILL PUBLISH A MEMOIR called BACK, his website announced today.
BACK is a candid and intimate narrative of an outsize American life: from growing up a celebrated golfing prodigy to shattering centuries-old racial barriers as a young pro; from rising to unprecedented fame and global icon status to battling devastating injuries and personal issues; from enduring years of physical anguish to mounting an astonishing comeback at 43 years old, culminating with the 2019 Masters, where his thrillingly impossible victory captured the imagination and hearts of people around the world. 
This memoir is the first and only account directly from [Tiger] Woods, with the full cooperation of his friends, family, and inner circle.
Woods said, "I've been in the spotlight for a long time, and because of that, there have been books and articles and TV shows about me, most filled with errors, speculative and wrong. This book is my definitive story. It's in my words and expresses my thoughts. It describes how I feel and what's happened in my life. I've been working at it steadily, and I'm looking forward to continuing the process and creating a book that people will want to read."
No release date was given.

Thursday, October 10

VIDEO: Montana Boys Finish in Snow to Decide State 2A Golf Championship

THE MONTANA BOYS 2A  HIGH SCHOOL GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP had some extra drama -- snow. As you can see above, the boys kept playing as the Meadow Lark Country Club in Great Falls went from green to white. Due to the snowy conditions, some chipped on the green. Others cleared a path to attempt a putt.

Richard Ecke shot the above footage that's making the rounds on social media and golf sites. (I saw the above clip on my Twitter feed.)

More from Ecke:

"I filmed it at 3:15 pm MDT Tuesday at the close of a two-day golf tournament at Meadow Lark Country Club, Gt Falls MT. The weather was fine Monday and mild until about 11 am Tuesday when the snow began. The late players were losing balls in the snow. COLD!"

And if you're wonder why they're playing Montana high school golf in October, here you go:

Tuesday, October 8

Journeyman Kevin Na: From 'Just Bear With Me' to 'Catching Up on My Wins'

BACK IN 2012 KEVIN NA was grinding on the golf course in the worst way. He was stuck. Na would stand over the ball and couldn't pull the trigger.

All the golf world witnessed it when Na found himself leading the 2012 Players Championship. It was excruciating to watch.

"[T]rust me ... I get ripped," Na said at the time. "A lot. I know ... TV, Twitter and fans are tired of me backing off. I understand people being frustrated with me backing off, but all I can tell you guys is, honestly, I'm trying. And it's hard for me, too. Just bear with me."

In 2014 Steve Williams, Adam Scott's caddie, approached Na and said, "I never want to see you play again."

But as ESPN's Bob Harig wrote, Na sped up his routine and "practically sprinted to his golf ball." He chased putts on their way to the hole. Things improved for Na on the golf course, the demons quieter if not silenced, but he still threw away wins.

Now that's changed, including this past weekend when Na, 36, prevailed in a playoff with Patrick Cantlay to win the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. During the tournament, he made nearly 560 feet of putts, a PGA Tour record.

Na is like a new man.

"I'm catching up on my wins. Three seasons in a row, win No. 4 here, so let's keep going.''

The Big Four Venues of U.S. Open Golf

IN A RECENT GOLFWORLD STORY, John Feinstein unpacked rumors about the future of U.S. Open venues and revealed the four American courses that are expected to host the U.S. Open once a decade or so.

"It's pretty clear that we love Pebble Beach, Pinehurst, Oakmont and Shinnecock," United States Golf Association CEO Mike Davis said in the article.

"Those four meet all our criteria: They're great tests of golf, they set up logistically either very well or well enough, and—being honest—we're going to make money when we go there. We're a nonprofit, but the U.S. Open financially supports everything else we do—all our other championships and all the golf programs we sponsor—among other things."

The U.S. Open will return to Pinehurst in 2024, Oakmont in 2025, Shinnecock in 2026 and Pebble Beach in 2027.

But Davis shot down the rumors that the USGA would pursue a rota of four or five courses (the fifth would be Winged Foot) for its marquee championship or have an ongoing business arrangement with the famous golf clubs.

"Let me be honest," Davis explained. "We don't have to go into business with anyone. We want to play the Open on the best possible golf courses, but there are very few places that might turn us away. We will always have options."

Thursday, October 3

The Legendary George S. May and 28 Remarkable Memories of a 1950s Caddie

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By John Coyne

Bestselling author John Coyne became a caddie at Midlothian Country Club near Chicago when he was 10 and oversaw the caddie yard as a teenager. Learn about his golf novels at

ANYONE WHO GREW UP CADDYING (or playing golf) in greater Chicago in the 1940s and 1950s knew of Tam O'Shanter Country Club and its owner, George May.

May's great gift to professional golf was a cluster of tournaments he hosted: the All-American Open (1941–57), World Championship of Golf (1946–57), LPGA All-American Open (1943–57) and the World Championship (1948–57).

In 1953, television, for the first time, broadcasted for one hour the World Championship of Golf. The broadcast drew approximately two million viewers, and when Chandler Harper was being declared the winner for the television audience, they also saw Lew Worsham sink a wedge shot to win the championship. 

From that day on television changed professional golf and the lives of touring pros. George May led the way. He turned golf into a TV spectator sport. 

He also changed the amount of prize money on the PGA Tour. First prize for the 1953 World Championship was larger than the total prize money offered at any other tour event. May added to that prize 25 $ $1,000 golf exhibitions that promoted golf as well as his company and gave touring golf pros a living wage.

Today May is listed as one of the 100 most influential persons of the game because he was the first to broadcast golf, and to welcome African-Americans golfers to the pro circuit. Joe Louis, for one, played as an amateur in a Tam O'Shanter tournament.

While researching George May's history, I received a letter from a former caddie at the club, Ted Born, who eventually left the caddie shack at Tam and moved to Colorado where he caddied into his sixties at Castle Pines and Cherry Hills country clubs.

Ted Born recently sent me the following recollections of looping in the 1950s. 

1. A one-half hour bike ride from home, all day long, nonstop golf for the hardworking caddie who wanted to carry two bags, 36-45 holes, and take home 20 or more dollars a day.

2. At first you were a badge number and later a name: 425 to 249 to 96 to 1 in two summers. Number 1 was voted in by all the caddies at the end of season caddie party.

3. Very first loop for a Western Golf Association (WGA) director who wanted his caddie to put sun tan lotion on his legs; he couldn't get it on his hands because he was playing golf. I was trying to earn a WGA Evans Scholarship so I thought, "Why not?"

4. Standing outside the caddie shack at 5:00 a.m., watching a former pro football player married member drop off the cute blonde waitress who lived in a dorm above the half-way house. No loose lips here!

5. Diving into a Chicago mafioso's golf bag pocket to get a replacement ball and coming up with a handgun.

6. Learning later from an Evans Scholars alum that his caddie brother had joined the mafia as a result of his Tam O'Shanter associations.

7. Sliding down the side of a green on an early spring day, thereby filling the two bags I was caddying with wet slush.

8. Carrying the heaviest double I would ever drag around 18 holes and then finding out in a "locker room weigh-in" that the two trunks together were 85 pounds.

9. Getting sun-fried daily (no hat) before zinc oxide, SPF, or skin cancer had even been invented.

10. Caddying for pros in big money tournaments before there were tour caddies.

11. Helping Arnold Palmer win $1500 in the 1957 World Championship of Golf before there were pin sheets, yardage books or marked sprinkler heads.

12. Watching Harold Henning's eyes get very big as I tossed a water-soaked, five-pound divot back to who I thought was a fellow caddie coming up behind me. (Henning was dressed all in white from head to tie.) He successfully dodged the missile.

13. Listening to a very young and very self-confident new pro from South Africa on the practice range and wondering who he thought he was. (He thought he was Gary Player.)

14. Shagging balls on the practice range with dozens of other caddies with no helmet or flak gear. This was obviously pre-OSHA.

15. Caddying in a practice round for Lloyd Mangrum in 1956 and empathetically watching Sam Snead, an impeccable tee to green player, struggling to get the ball in the hole with a flat blade.

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16. Carrying Patty Berg's bag in a casual round at Tam O'Shanter and marveling at how hard and long a relatively small woman could hit a golf ball. Patty won 16 women's majors in her long, illustrious career.

17. Having to listen to a leading European pro, for whom I had caddied, try to console me about how little he could pay me after two weeks of hard faithful work. George S. May, the tournament sponsor, had covered all his travel expenses across the Atlantic and back. (Bobby Locke, I'm sure.)

18. Modeling with Dick Mayer, 1957 U.S. Open and World Championship winner, for a Golfcraft ad and actually getting paid twenty dollars for my trouble.

19. Living on hot dogs, relish, catsup and soft drinks day after day, until the relish made my tongue raw and I had to nuke it form my diet.

20. Playing horse for quarters on the caddie shack basketball court between loops. I won more than I lost but haven't gambled since.

21. Knowing the course so well you could actually caddie in an early morning fog for three or four holes and not lose a ball. One hundred feet of takeoff flight and you could visualize within a few yards where it would land.

22. Watching Martin Stanovich, the fat man of golf hustlers, work his magic on the fairways and around the greens of Tam. He would take on anyone but Moe Norman.

23. Thrilling to the arrival of the first golf carts and hoping someday to actually be able to drive one.

24. Waking up one morning in the late 1950s at the Northwestern University Evans Scholars house and finding a Chicago Tribune article on the bulletin board stating that George S. May had sent all the caddies down the road and that his members now would be riding carts if they wanted to play golf at his club. The article bore a hand-written caption, "the beginning of the end."

25. Meeting and talking with the legendary amateur Chick Evans at that same Evans Scholars house. Chick, the first man to win both the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open in the same year (1916), established the caddie scholarship program that has sent over seven thousand caddies through college since 1930.

26. Playing golf every Monday morning when Tam O'Shanter closed to members. Why shouldn't the caddies be able to play the course they worked so hard on the rest of the week?

27. Going around Tam O'Shanter almost one thousand times and never seeing a hole-in-one.

28. Lasting memories of Swede, Taylor, Jackson, Speedy and the other venerable pro caddies who literally earned their daily room and food from their daily rounds at Tam O'Shanter. Their patience and tutelage with young learning caddies is unforgettable.

I hope that God is tipping them well on that beautiful eternal golf course in the sky.

Tuesday, October 1

USAGA to Host Golf Clinic for Disabled Children From 23 Shriners Hospitals

BURR RIDGE, Ill. – The United States Adaptive Golf Alliance (USAGA), a 501©(3) nonprofit organization comprised of 37 adaptive golf organizations across the United States, will conduct its third straight adaptive golf clinic for disabled youth ‘Ambassadors’ from twenty-three Shriners Hospitals for Children throughout the country. The clinic will take place on Friday, October 4 at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open PGA TOUR event at TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, on their practice range from 2:00-3:30pm.

The instructors are: Jonathan Snyder, a left-handed amputee, Dir. of Adaptive Golf Operations, Freedom Golf Association (FGA), ranked No. 74 in the world; Tracy Ramin, a below-the-knee amputee, ranked No. 25 in the world; John Bell, a below-the-knee amputee, ranked No. 110 in the world; Alan Gentry, an arm- above- elbow amputee with a world ranking of 151; Isaac Leos, an arm-below-elbow amputee, ranked No 145 and Brandon Canesi, born without hands, ranked No. 225 and is an Assistant Golf Professional at Trump National Doral.

"The exchange of golf instruction and the joy of the game shines brightly as members of the USAGA Para-Golf team lend their golfing skills and love of the game to these young disabled individuals," said Edmund "EQ" Sylvester, Chairman, USAGA. "The instructors not only talk about golf, but they also share experiences about their disabilities. It is heartwarming to watch."

Sylvester added: “The clinic is held on the same practice range where the PGA TOUR players practice. The tournament pros frequently come over and say 'hello' which is icing on the cake for all those who take part in the clinic. It makes everyone smile."