Saturday, January 30

San Diego’s Homegrown Pro Golfers

“Gene the Machine” Littler.

WHEN I RECENTLY WROTE about LPGA great Mickey Wright, it occurred to me there are several past and present professional golfers who have hailed from San Diego. They include three current Hall of Famers, and at least one more, Phil Mickelson, who is a lock.

With the PGA Tour at the Farmers Insurance Open in nearby La Jolla, it’s an opportune time to recognize the many pros who grew up, live, or once resided in San Diego.

Mickey Wright (Hall of Famer)

With 82 LPGA victories, including 13 majors, Mickey Wright is arguably the best female golfer of all time. Only Kathy Whitworth has more lifetime wins. Wright will accept the 2010 Bob Jones Award at Pinehurst next week.

Billy Casper (Hall of Famer)
Billy Casper notched 51 wins on the PGA Tour, including three majors. He beat Arnold Palmer in a playoff to claim the 1966 U.S. Open. I had an unplanned visit with Billy last September.

Phil Mickelson
Lefty’s 37 tour wins and three majors are Hall-of-Fame numbers. I’ve had one close encounter with Phil. We nearly bumped into each other in St. Louis during the 2008 BMW Championship. He was exiting a hotel elevator with his large Callaway golf bag slung over his shoulder. After nearly colliding, we exchanged greetings.

Gene Littler (Hall of Famer)
Nicknamed “Gene the Machine,” Littler collected 29 PGA Tour wins, including one major, the 1961 U.S. Open. When I saw Gene last year, I mentioned that we both attended San Diego State. He said, “Yeah, but I didn’t graduate.” Things worked out OK for him nonetheless.

Craig Stadler
Craig “Walrus” Stadler was born in San Diego and attended La Jolla High School. His 29 PGA Tour titles, including a Green Jacket, should get him into the Hall someday.

Scott Simpson
A San Diego native, Scott Simpson attended USC and was a two-time medalist in the NCAA Championship. He had seven wins on the PGA Tour, including the 1987 U.S. Open. Both Simpson and Casper won their U.S. Opens at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.

Phil Rodgers
Born in San Diego, Phil Rodgers was the 1958 NCAA champion while playing for University of Houston. Rodgers won five events on the PGA Tour and lost to Bob Charles in a 36-hole playoff in the 1963 British Open. In later years, Rogers was known as a short-game guru. His most famous pupil was Jack Nicklaus.

Pat Perez
Pat Perez is a PGA Tour veteran and winner of the 2009 Bob Hope Classic. He graduated from Torrey Pines High School.

Chris Riley
Born in San Diego, Chris Riley has one PGA Tour win and a victory on the Nationwide Tour. He played on the 2004 U.S. Ryder Cup Team and is a pal of Tiger Woods.

Jill McGill
A San Diego resident, Jill McGill is an LPGA veteran who has one tour win and is a former Women’s U.S. Amateur champion.

Dennis Paulson and Lenny Clements
Both San Diego State products, Paulson and Clements played on the PGA Tour.

−The Armchair Golfer

Friday, January 29

King of Golf Cartoons: ‘Kiss’

Copyright © Jerry King. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Do you ever get crazy excited on the golf course? Do you have a special way you celebrate your best shots?

−The Armchair Golfer

Jerry King is an award-winning cartoonist whose credits and clients include Golf Digest, United States Golf Association and Disney. His golf cartoons are a regular feature at ARMCHAIR GOLF.

Thursday, January 28

2010 Farmers Insurance Open TV Schedule and Tournament Notes

UPDATE: Click here for 2011 tournament

THE 2010 FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN is underway at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California.

Purse: $5.3 million
Winner’s share: $954,000
Defending champion: Nick Watney

Inside the field
Inside the courses
Tee times
Full tournament news
The live report

2010 Farmers Insurance Open Leaderboard


More than 12 hours of TV coverage are on tap for the 2010 Farmers Insurance Open.

Thu, 1/28:
GOLF 3p - 6p ET

Fri, 1/29:
GOLF 3p - 6p ET

Sat, 1/30:
CBS 3p - 6p ET

Sun, 1/31:
CBS 3p - 6:30p ET

PGA Tour radio coverage

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: D. Hilgart/Flickr)

Wednesday, January 27

Tom on Tour: Bob Hope Classic

The media fly. Tom drives. The media sleep in hotels. Tom sleeps in his car. The media sit in the media center. Tom walks the course. It’s the PGA Tour, seen and written differently. Following is an excerpt from Tom’s e-book on the 2010 Bob Hope Classic.

By Tom Collins

SO HERE WE ARE Wednesday morning. As excited as I was for this moment, I’m exhausted. I’ve been staying at a campsite right around the corner from PGA West. Fortunately, they have wireless, and if you buy a week-long pass, it costs less than $15 a night. I’m sleeping in a tent, sure, but you really can’t beat that price around this area.

Last night I experienced 40 to 50 mph winds that ripped my tent out of the ground while I was trying to write. I ended up wrestling the tent to the ground while the wind tried to yank it away from me, and I wedged it underneath a picnic table and slept in my car. At first, I tried to sleep in my tent, but the wind wrapped the tent around my body like a cannoli and I was almost unable to escape.

After setting up my workstation this morning, I decided I would head over to watch groups play at Silver Rock, because that was where all the celebrities would be playing and as far as I was concerned, La Quinta Country Club does not exist.

As I walked up to the driving range, I watched Pat Perez hit what looked like 7-irons while Jason Dufner leaned on an iron and joked around with him. I had listened to Perez in an interview the day before, and until that point I had no idea how funny he is. When asked if he had any stories to share about Jack Nicklaus—as Jack is turning 70—Perez gave a shotgun from the hip response saying something to the effect of:

“You know, I doubt Jack even knows who the hell I am. I love his tournament [the Memorial], but out of 102 players I’m usually number 100. Jack came over to me after I had just shot a 78 in the first round and asked me how I was doing. I told him that I would be leaving tomorrow, and Jack looked at me like I was crazy because he just assumed that I was going to try to make the cut. But he just didn’t understand...I’ve played in that tournament for six years now and 78 is actually pretty average for me there.”

Aside from being incredibly funny, Perez also commented that the new grooves are really screwing up his game because he can’t seem to figure out when his wedges are going to stop. But as I watched him hit balls at the range, I thought about the wind and the links-style layout of Silver Rock and couldn’t help but feel that dulled grooves might really be helpful. The last thing you want on a links course is a lot of spin, so I thought that despite his skepticism, Perez might actually do pretty well today.

Bo Van Pelt was playing with Kurt Russell, and they started on the 10th tee. Following them were players like Justin Rose and Alice Cooper, Justin Leonard and Bruce Smith, Tim Petrovic and Ron White, and Dr. Phil and Kevin Nealon. So I thought it would be a good idea to start on the 10th hole, follow Van Pelt around for a while, and then start dropping back every so often to catch some of the other players and celebrities.

After looking at the 10th tee, I realized that Justin Rose was on deck, so I needed to jump ahead to catch up to Mr. Van Pelt. On my way, I ran into Rickie Fowler, who was playing with that guy who played Mr. Peterman on Seinfeld. I think he was also on Dancing with the Stars, but I could be wrong, because I think I’d rather shoot myself than watch that show.

Recently, Puma announced they will be creating a clothing line with Rickie Fowler as the main figurehead, and today I would say the color Rickie was wearing was “manly peach.” To be honest, I couldn’t really figure out what color it was, so I turned to a younger guy and asked him what he thought.

“Maybe he’s colorblind.”

Perhaps. But I don’t blame the wee Fowler, because if I was on the PGA Tour, I’d be wearing clown pants I’d be so happy.

Tom Collins is a former caddie who is following the PGA Tour in 2010. Learn more about his original e-books at

Tuesday, January 26

Lefty Comes Out to Play

THIS YOUNG LEFTY has a nice finish. Weight on right side. Tummy pointing down the fairway. I’ll bet he hit a good one. Or did he lose it left, the dreaded shot of that famous Lefty, perhaps his idol?

Phil Mickelson gets back to the office this week. He’ll tee it up in his hometown tournament, the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, a Bubba Watson drive and 5-iron from San Diego.

I read that Phil has been in full tune-up mode, with his trio of coaches at his side. They would be swing coach Butch Harmon, short-game guru Dave Pelz and putting wizard Dave Stockton. Contrary to popular belief, you can find good help. (At least you can if you’re World No. 2.)

Lefty turns 40 in June. I’m guessing the U.S. Open would be the perfect birthday present. I’ll say it: This could be a big year for Phil. You can put me down on January 26. (I think everyone else has already said it. It’s an annual golf tradition.)

Quiz question:
Can you name the three southpaws who have won professional majors? (I’ve already spotted you one.)

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: cobonepo/Flickr)

Monday, January 25

The Troubling Case of Doug Barron

Doug Barron on Golf Channel in November.

I DIDN’T KNOW OF Doug Barron before he was suspended by the PGA Tour in November for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. The 40-year-old journeyman hasn’t made much of a ripple on the Tour, especially in the last few years.

I was reminded of Barron when Ryan Ballengee of Waggle Room alerted me to his interview with Barron last week. Barron has an upcoming court date in his civil suit against the PGA Tour. He is suspended for one year from the PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour and will compete on the eGolf Tour in 2010 to try to keep his game sharp.

Barron has been talking—to Ballengee and others, such as the Golf Channel early on. And what he says makes a lot of sense to me.

Barron tested positive for testosterone, something he has been taking for a few years because his testosterone levels are far below normal for a man his age. Barron has explained that, without treatments, it can be difficult to get out of bed. The treatments, according to Barron, weren’t to enhance performance. Rather, the testosterone injections were to bring him into a normal range so he could lead a healthy life.

If that’s true, then it sounds reasonable to me. Barron isn’t Mark McGwire jacking home runs with a beefed-up physique. He’s a journeyman who was making zero noise on the PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour. It’s hard for me to imagine how his testosterone treatments were giving him an advantage on the golf course.

Nor did Barron try to hide his testosterone usage. In fact, he twice applied for a Therapeutic Use Exemption with the PGA Tour. He was turned down both times. PGA Tour player Shaun Micheel, however, was granted an exemption in 2005 for the same condition. Barron told Waggle Room that other players have also received an exemption from the Tour for treatments to reverse low testosterone levels, although he didn’t name names.

So, why Micheel and possibly others, but not Barron?

Don’t know. While Barron has been talking, the PGA Tour has been mostly silent. They’ll probably remain quiet with litigation pending. I don’t see how a civil suit and perception of unfairness can be good for anyone involved.

Barron did violate the policy. In his only PGA Tour appearance in 2009, the St. Jude Classic, he was subjected to random drug testing. Out of desperation, he received an injection a few weeks earlier, which produced a positive test result. Now he is paying the consequences.

In November, I wrote that I feel sorry for Doug Barron. I still feel sorry for him, and also can’t help but wonder if, in golf parlance, he got a bad ruling.

−The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, January 23


Assorted news items sent to ARMCHAIR GOLF. Endorsement is not implied. No consideration or compensation was received.


(The PGA Merchandise Show is this week in Orlando.)

Cobra will participate in the Outdoor Demo Day at the Orange County National Golf Center on January 27.

FOURTEEN GOLF will introduce its new professionally inspired TC-910 Forged Irons at the show.

aboutGolf will provide its 3Trak ball and club tracking technology to PING for use in PING’s display at the show.

Izzo Golf announced the launch of the next generation SWAMI 1500 Golf GPS. (Booth 1119.)

Graphite Design, maker of premium shafts played on the PGA Tour, announced that it will unveil the new Tour AD DI – DEEP IMPACT shaft at the show.

Fujikura Golf has formed a strategic partnership with Vicon Motion Systems and biomechanical sports performance company Bentley 3 to produce breakthrough and proprietary 3D golf clubfitting technologies that will be introduced at the show.

OBAN Composites, a maker of shafts, will exhibit at the show, Booth 1501.

PUMA Golf North America will participate within a PGA Merchandise Show exhibit in a meeting room just off the show floor to introduce its latest footwear, apparel and accessories.

RoboCup, winner of best new product in 2009, will exhibit at Booth 973.

• Clubmaker John Letters of Scotland will exhibit at the show for the first time.


STX has expanded its ProFIT Series with the addition of the new ProFIT 6 Mallet Putter.

• A New York Times bestseller in hardcover, A Course Called Ireland (Gotham Books) by Tom Coyne will be available in paperback on February 2.

Polo Ralph Lauren announced that professional golfer Webb Simpson has signed a multi-year contract to represent its Polo Golf collection.

E-Z-GO introduced the TXT 48 fleet golf car, the next generation of the classic E-Z-GO TXT vehicle.

Fujikura, the #1 Driver Shaft Brand in professional golf for the past nine years, has introduced its next generation of performance shafts for the 2010 golf season.

• The Divot Mat ( is a new practice tool that records ball striking.


• The Kodak Challenge, a competition for PGA Tour players and fans, visits hole No. 17 at the Palmer Private Course of PGA West during the Bob Hope Classic on January 20-24.

• Los Angeles has been transformed into a miniature golf course, where in an 18-day countdown to the Northern Trust Open 18 golfers—including celebrities, pro-golfers and notable Angelenos—will putt, chip and drive their way through iconic Los Angeles locations (for example, a celebrity attempting to chip through the O in the Hollywood sign, a pro golfer driving a ball across Santa Monica Beach and more).


• The Canadian Rockies golf-and-resort-lifestyle consortium (CRG)—six properties offering 135 holes of mountain golf and amenities—has garnered honors from Golf Odyssey and WHERE Canada.

Red Ledges (, a golf and recreational community located near Park City, was named the No. 1 Best New Private Golf Course in 2009 by Golf Magazine.

Fairmont Scottsdale (, host resort of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, is offering special packages.

• The World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida, has a new, museum-wide audio tour, “Voices from the Hall,” that features over two-and-a-half hours of exclusive content from more than 35 Hall of Fame members.

• The Millennium Resort Scottsdale McCormick Ranch is offering the Dine, Stay and Play Package for a Valentine’s Day escape.

• The newly renovated Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club in Southwest Florida is offering special “Spring Value Rates” with many value-added components.

Innisbrook, a Salamander Golf & Spa Resort, is offering its best golf package ever. The Tampa Bay area resort, which hosts the PGA TOUR Transitions Championship at its Copperhead Course every March, is welcoming snowbirds to the Sunshine State with a special rate.

• The Fairmont St Andrews, a 5-star cliff-top resort in St Andrews, Scotland, the Home of Golf, will offer a stay-and-play package during the 2010 Open Championship.


• LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame member Judy Rankin and PGA Tour professional Billy Andrade have joined Golf Channel’s live tournaments broadcast team.


His Majesty King Juan Carlos, Honorary President of the 2018 Ryder Cup Bid Committee, has offered his support to the community of Madrid in its bid to bring the Ryder Cup to the people of Spain at the 30th anniversary of the FITUR Tourism Trade Fair.

Golf Datatech (, an independent research firm for consumer, trade and retail golf trends and performance, has unveiled the first-ever Golf Apparel Market Reports.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: Josh V-R/Flickr )

Friday, January 22

Yes Sir! Jack Turns 70

THERE HAVE BEEN MANY tributes this week to Jack Nicklaus, who turned 70 on Thursday. Jack was the guy when I took up the game and tuned in to televised golf in those ancient days before cable and the Golf Channel.

Jack won his first major, the 1962 U.S. Open in a playoff with Arnold Palmer, at the precocious age of 22. He won his 18th and last major, the 1986 Masters, at the over-the-hill (or so they said) age of 46.

I found the above 10-minute highlight package of that sixth Green Jacket. It was pure joy reliving those amazing images from nearly 24 years ago.

Tingles: Verne Lundquist’s call at the 17th green, one of the great moments and great calls in golf. (It begins at the 7:30 mark in the video.) It was wonderfully simple:

“Maybe. Yes sir!”

Happy birthday, Jack.

−The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, January 21

2010 Bob Hope Classic TV Schedule and Tournament Notes

THE 2010 BOB HOPE CLASSIC started on Wednesday at four courses in La Quinta, California. Thursday’s second round was postponed due to rain. Shane Bertsch leads after the opening round at 10 under.

Purse: $5 million
Winner’s share: $918,000
Defending champion: Pat Perez

Inside the field
Inside the course
Tee times
Full tournament news
The live report

2010 Bob Hope Classic Leaderboard


Fifteen hours of TV coverage are on tap for the 2010 Bob Hope Classic. (And, apparently, a lot of rain.)

Wed, 1/20:

GOLF 3p - 6p ET

Thu, 1/21:
GOLF 3p - 6p ET

Fri, 1/22:
GOLF 3p - 6p ET

Sat, 1/23:
GOLF 4p - 7p ET

Sun, 1/24:
GOLF 4p - 7p ET

PGA Tour radio coverage

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: caribb/Flickr)

Wednesday, January 20

What Does Golf Reveal About You?

By Pam Swensen, CEO, Executive Women’s Golf Association

MUCH LIKE THE MYERS-BRIGGS or Rorschach Inkblot personality tests, the game of golf can reveal much about you. It has been said that golf brings out the best and worst in people. The game allows you to know your playing partners’ personalities and they will learn equally as much about you.

This is why so many business leaders play golf with important clients, suppliers and potential hires. Many of the rules of golf apply to the business world and being successful at any endeavor—being prepared, paying attention, assessing situations quickly and maintaining ones’ composure. Situations created on the golf course reveal how you respond to success or failure, performance under pressure, and how well you abide by the rules and ethics of the game.

Golf, with its metaphorical symbolism, mirrors the lessons needed for effective leadership. There are 27 million Americans, 1.8 million Canadians and millions worldwide who play the game of golf regularly. And many of these individuals are successful business leaders who are used to closing deals on the golf course.

One top CEO was quoted as saying, “If you can’t close in four hours, you can’t sell,” of the opportunities afforded by the game.

In every round of golf there is something extraordinary that happens and something that’s not perfect. It’s humbling and a good test of character. Some scenarios to consider on the golf course:

How do you handle sudden changing conditions that require quick decisions? Are you indecisive and consistently spend too much time choosing a club or standing over a putt? Or are you prepared and always thinking ahead, taking several clubs to your ball in case the conditions are different when viewed up close?

Do you make lots of excuses—there was noise in my back swing, a gust of wind? Or do you accept the outcome of a missed shot and move on to the next task at hand?

How do you perform under pressure? Do you have a temper? Have you ever thrown a club in anger? Or kicked sand in a trap after a poor shot? Outbursts of frustration reveal much about your temperament that would seldom happen in a job interview.

How well do you concentrate? Are you easily distracted or even distracting? (Turn your Blackberry off!)

What’s your capacity for fun? Can you laugh at yourself?

Are you positive and helpful? Or only focused on your own game?

Do you count all of your strokes? How ethical are you?

Golf is a marvelous test of skill, competition and character, the quest for continuous improvement, moments of great exultation, and sometimes huge disappointment. These characteristics are all key aspects in understanding business relationships, assessing leadership acumen and influencing how clients and colleagues regard each other and, ultimately, if they want to do business together.

What does your golf game reveal about you?

Headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, the Executive Women’s Golf Association was founded in 1991 and has 18,000 members. Learn more at

(Image: Vanneste/Flickr)

Tuesday, January 19

Billy Casper on Putting

YESTERDAY I WAS RUMMAGING through my golf stacks when I ran across a 2005 Golf Digest article on Billy Casper. Recently, I ranked Billy at No. 5 on my list of all-time greatest putters. I believe the three-time major winner had one of the best strokes the game has ever seen.

In the Golf Digest piece, Billy tells an anecdote about a time he played with Ben Hogan. Billy and Fred Hawkins (also splendid with the flatstick) took on Hogan and Dow Finsterwald in a practice round. Well, Billy and Fred got on a roll (pun intended). Hogan was steamed.

“If you two guys couldn’t putt, I’d be buying hot dogs from you on the 10th tee,” Hogan said after watching them hole everything. Then Billy shared what happened the following day.

“The next morning, Mr. Hogan called me over. He looked around to make sure no one was within earshot. Then he whispered, ‘Billy tell me: How do you putt?’”

By then, Hogan was plagued with the yips.

From the same article, a gem from Casper: If your putting sours, practice your chipping. His reasoning: “When you chip, you pay a lot of attention to making the ball roll perfectly end over end. Practicing that will make your putting stroke come back overnight.”

Lastly, a secret to Billy’s greatness on the greens: putting at night. “Putting in the dark is the best thing I ever did for my game,” he said. “You develop a feel for everything. I got more out of those nights on the putting green than I ever did on the practice tee in broad daylight.”

−The Armchair Golfer

20 Greatest Putters of All Time

An Unplanned Visit with Hall of Famer Billy Casper

Monday, January 18

It’s a Sony for Ryan Palmer

2010 Sony Open Recap
Winner: Ryan Palmer
Score: 15 under, 265 (65, 66, 68, 66)
Quote: “Fortunately, I got the good break.”
Fact: Finished 150th on 2009 money list. Now exempt through 2012.
Thought: Was Ryan Palmer channeling Arnold Palmer?

YOU CAN PLAY GREAT and still not win on the PGA Tour. You often need a timely break to win a title, and 33-year-old Ryan Palmer got one on the 72nd hole that led to a birdie and a one-stroke victory over Robert Allenby at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

I only saw parts of the coverage, but I did see the finish. Palmer and Allenby came to the final hole tied at 14 under, a dogleg-left par-5 that’s easily reachable in two shots. Both men were looking for a birdie or better. Palmer got his when a 50-foot chip shot slammed into the pin and stopped inches from the cup. Allenby missed his 10-foot birdie putt, Palmer tapped in, and that was that.

“It was a good chip,” Palmer told the Associated Press. “The grain was running against me. I was either going to hit it fat or do what I did. Fortunately, I got the good break.”

It was the third PGA Tour win for Palmer, who is not related to Arnold Palmer, although he said he gets asked about it all the time. Palmer will play in the Masters for the first time in five years and is now exempt through 2012, after finishing 150th on the money list last season.

“What I got out of this is beyond words,” he said.

For runner-up Allenby, it was a heartbreaker. The Aussie had been playing very well of late, with two wins at the close of 2009. A win at Waialae Country Club would have been Allenby’s first PGA Tour title since the Marconi Pennsylvania Classic in 2001.

“I needed to make a birdie at the last,” admitted Allenby, who is using a new claw-style putting grip that served him well for much of the week in Honolulu.

Steve Stricker (65) and Retief Goosen (62) also gave chase before coming up two and three shots short, respectively. The PGA Tour now moves to the U.S. mainland for the West Coast Swing.

Tour Notes

• PGA Tour: Next up is the Bob Hope Classic in the Palm Springs area.
• European Tour: Charl Schwartzel won for the second week in a row at the Joburg Open.
• Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson won the Champions Skins Game.
• Doug Barron, suspended for a drug violation, will play on a mini tour.

−The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, January 16

King of Golf Cartoons: ‘Blue in the Face’

Copyright © Jerry King. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

What’s the longest you’ve held your breath in order to receive permission to play golf? Seriously, do you have an understanding spouse, significant other, parent, or best friend when it comes to your golf habit? Do you ever feel guilty for making the choice to golf rather than spending time with others?

I’ve never gotten any grief from my wife for my interest in golf. She grew up with a father who played golf every weekend, unless he was hunting or fishing. Sometimes her pop took the whole family along for a golf outing, something she didn’t enjoy much. To this day, she is not a golfer (although she knows the game pretty well).

Compared to her father, I play very little. I don’t usually disappear for days or long hours, honing my game at Great Oaks, our local club. But I do watch my share of golf on the tube, and, well, there’s this blog thing.

−The Armchair Golfer

Jerry King is an award-winning cartoonist whose credits and clients include Golf Digest, United States Golf Association and Disney. His golf cartoons are a regular feature at ARMCHAIR GOLF.

Friday, January 15

From the Archives: Golf’s Greatest Swings: Sam Snead

(Editor’s note: This first appeared at ARMCHAIR GOLF in January 2008.)

THE GREATEST GOLF SWINGS of all time. Who’s on your list? How do you even determine such a thing? Beauty? Effectiveness? Wins? Majors?

It’s subjective, a matter of opinion, which I think will make it a fun subject to explore as an occasional series.

Here’s a quick list off the top of my head: Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Harry Vardon, Mickey Wright, Gene Littler, Moe Norman, Gene Sarazen, Annika Sorenstam, Johnny Miller, Vijay Singh, Lee Trevino, Steve Elkington and today’s subject, Sam Snead.

The graceful, athletic Snead had a drop-dead gorgeous golf swing and was a splendid ball-striker. Wrote Al Barkow in Sam, “The sound heard when Sam Snead hit an iron shot was like the door of a Rolls-Royce slamming shut.”

“I know many of us pros would go out and watch Sam hit balls,” Jack Fleck said. “It would help our rhythm, timing and balance immediately.”

“He is, in a word, an athletic wonder,” wrote Herbert Warren Wind when Snead was in his 60s.

As for getting any clues from the man himself, Snead once said, “Golf is played with the arms.”

The File on Sam Snead
Nickname(s): Slammin’ Sam
Era: Late 1930s through 1960s
Tour wins: 82
Major wins: 7
Other: In World Golf Hall of Fame. Played on seven Ryder Cup teams. Won Greensboro Open eight times. Honorary Masters starter. Never won the U.S. Open. Balky putter throughout his career.
Case for swing greatness: Power, grace, tempo, balance and longevity. Snead’s first Tour win came in 1937; his last in 1965.

−The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, January 14

2010 Sony Open TV Schedule and Tournament Notes


John Daly shot 73 on Thursday. (Limey/Flickr)

THE 2010 SONY OPEN is underway at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Purse: $5.5 million
Winner’s share: $990,000
Defending champion: Zach Johnson

Inside the field
Inside the course
The live report

2010 Sony Open Leaderboard


More than 16 hours of TV coverage are on tap for the 2010 Sony Open.

Thu, 1/14:
GOLF 7p - 10:30p ET 

Fri, 1/15:
GOLF 7p - 10:30p ET 

Sat, 1/16:
GOLF 7p - 10:30p ET 

Sun, 1/17:
GOLF 7p - 10p ET

PGA Tour radio coverage

−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, January 13

6 Nations Vie for 2018 Ryder Cup

GOLF HAS A FUTURE, with or without Tiger Woods. I believe that because a group of men gathered in a Sheraton near Heathrow on the outskirts of London to talk about golf eight years hence.

The 2018 Ryder Cup Symposium convened to review the bidding criteria for hosting the event. Delegates from six nations—France, Germany, Holland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden—showed up to hear presentations on a range of subjects. They were briefed on the bidding process, the Ryder Cup structure, commercial and brand development, infrastructure, media and environmental issues.

“It speaks volumes for the global interest in the Ryder Cup that we have six nations eager to host the 2018 match,” European Ryder Cup Director Richard Hills said at

“Today’s symposium has been an enormously successful exercise for Ryder Cup Europe and these six nations who have expressed a deep desire to stage the second Ryder Cup on Continental Europe,” Hills added.

How does one measure up in the bidding process? Here, in large part, is what the decision-makers will be looking for:

• A world-class golf facility
• Infrastructure and ancillary facilities to host an international sporting event
• Government and private sector support
• Commercial opportunities
• Development of golf

There are four Ryder Cups to be played before the 2018 matches. So they have some time on this. Still, it’s never too early to plan golf’s future. I’m glad they’re working on it.

Gee, I wonder who the captains will be.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Brought to you by and ARMCHAIR GOLF STORE.)

Tuesday, January 12

Golf Pet Peeve: The Shot Jinxer

(Editor’s note: Robert Bruce of Game Under Repair has something he needs to get off his chest. Maybe you can relate.)

By Robert Bruce

AH, THE SHOT JINXER. This guy just pisses me off.

The shot jinxer’s method is quite simple. And, usually, he employs it on putts. Here’s how it works. You have struck your 15-foot putt dead solid. It’s following the right-to-left line, breaking just like you envisioned. Your putt is inching closer and closer, honing in on the center of the hole. But it’s not in yet. As you prepare to pump your fist and celebrate a well-earned birdie, you hear the shot jinxer from 20 feet behind you: “Great putt!”

Suddenly, the ball makes an other-worldly shift to the left, horseshoes around the hole, and rests on the edge of the cup. Par.

The shot jinxer only makes matters worse at this point. “Oh wow!” he says. “I really thought that was dead center. Tough break.”

You’re fuming. Or at least you should be.

Harry Potter of the Links has struck again, itching for any opportunity to fire his verbal hexes at your unsuspecting and defenseless Titleist.

Now, some shot-jinxers mean well. They are simply nice guys who really want to congratulate you on a solid shot; they just do it too soon. These guys, while irritating, are just not as versed in the congratulatory etiquette of the game. Help them along. Teach them. Guide them.

But the plotting, conspiring, pre-meditative shot-jinxers? Drop ’em from your foursome like a bad habit.

Rumor has it that former PGA Tour veteran Bruce Lietzke was a legendary shot-jinxer. So much so that my friends and I coined our own term for the jinx. We called it a “Bruce.” For example, “Man, that dude totally just Bruced my birdie putt. I can’t believe that.”

The moral of the story: Weed out the shot-jinxers in your group—the “Brucers.” Or at least Bruce them back.

Two can play this game.

Robert Bruce is a full-time writer and part-time golf blogger in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit his golf blog at


Monday, January 11

Geoff Ogilvy Enjoys Golf on the Plantation

2010 SBS Championship Recap
Winner: Geoff Ogilvy
Score: 22 under, 270 (69, 66, 68, 67)
Quote: “I like the golf course, I think it’s fair to say.”
Fact: Won with clean-shaven look instead of last year’s stubble.
Thought: Will Geoff win his second major in 2010?

YOU CAN CHANGE the name of the tournament from the Mercedes-Benz Championship to the SBS Championship. But it was still the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort in early January. And it was still Geoff Ogilvy feasting on birdies in a winners-only field to repeat as champion of the PGA Tour season-opener.

What a groovy way to start the year. Play in a field of 28. (Odds wise, that’s as good as it gets.) Spend a week at Kapalua on Maui. Get a win in your first event. Who cares if no one is watching?

(Just the idea of playing golf in January would be exciting for me. Actually, I’d be thrilled to walk outside and see the ground instead of snow and ice.)

Although third-round leader Lucas Glover stumbled home with a 76, it was not an easy stroll to the trophy presentation for Ogilvy. The Aussie had to make up two shots over the last 10 holes to fend off hard-charging Rory Sabbatini, who rang up five consecutive birdies on his way to a final-round 63 and a second-place finish. Matt Kuchar finished alone in third.

We’re underway, folks. There’s a 2010 schedule and it appears that Finchem and crew are going to play it. Apparently, the rumors of golf’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

Tour Notes

• Next up is the Sony Open at Waialae in Honolulu. Zach Johnson defends.
• On the European Tour, Charl Schwartzel won the African Open.
• The first LPGA event of 2010 is five weeks away.
• It’s 78 degrees in Honolulu. (Feels like 80.)

−The Armchair Golfer

Sunday, January 10

Chris Wood: A Head for the Game

THE ONLY THING ON the head of Chris Wood is a thick mass of sandy brown hair. The hatless 22-year-old English pro who plays the European Tour warranted a spot on Iain Carter’s 10 Reasons to Be Cheerful About 2010 blog at BBC Sport.

“How refreshing to see a top player rejecting the opportunity to use his head as an advertising hoarding,” wrote Carter, “and here’s hoping he continues with this policy in 2010.”

Wood was low amateur at the 2008 Open Championship. In 2009, his first year on the pro circuit, the tall, slender Bristol native climbed 120 spots in the world golf rankings to crack the top 75. Carter noted the hatless look that Wood prefers has a strong tradition.

“Think of the greats of the past and how distinctive they were in the absence of standard issue hats or visors—Nicklaus, Seve and co.,” he wrote.

“Those who chose to wear hats had their own style—Watson, Trevino and Hogan, for example. Too many of the modern players look too similar and the peaks of those caps obscure too much of their personality.”

Wood certainly does not fall into the usual hatted-player mold. In 2010, he’ll also look to distinguish himself with stellar play.

−The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, January 9

King of Golf Cartoons: ‘Frozen Golfer’

Copyright © Jerry King. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

What are the coldest conditions in which you’ve played? I’ll go first. On a Christmas Day long ago, a buddy and I teed it up at Desert Aire in California. It was 27 degrees. Light snow was falling. We were the only two souls on the closed golf course.

−The Armchair Golfer

Jerry King is an award-winning cartoonist whose credits and clients include Golf Digest, United States Golf Association and Disney. His golf cartoons are a regular feature at ARMCHAIR GOLF.

Thursday, January 7

2010 SBS Championship TV Schedule and Tournament Notes

THE 2010 SBS CHAMPIONSHIP is underway at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort in Maui, Hawaii.

Purse: $5.6 million
Winner’s share: $1.12 million
Defending champion: Geoff Ogilvy

Inside the field
Inside the course
2010 season preview

2010 SBS Championship Leaderboard


More than 17 hours of TV coverage are on tap for the 2010 SBS Championship.

Thu, 1/7:
GOLF 3:30p - 8p ET

Fri, 1/8:
GOLF 6p - 10:30p ET

Sat, 1/9:
GOLF 6p - 10:30p ET

Sun, 1/10:
GOLF 6p - 10p ET

PGA Tour radio coverage

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: Mikey loves Barcelona/Flickr)

Final Days of Christmas Giveaway: Natalie Gulbis and Zach Johnson Autographs

IT’S TIME TO CLEAR my shelves of golf books, golf DVDs and a few golf accessories. So welcome to Day 9, the final day of the Days of Christmas Giveaway at ARMCHAIR GOLF.

Today’s giveaway: Pinehurst No. 8 scorecard autographed by Natalie Gulbis and Zach Johnson

In October, I spent time with Natalie and Zach at Pinehurst. They signed for me and I want one of you to have it. (Read my interviews with Natalie and Zach.)

How to win this giveaway: Send an email to that includes your name and mailing address. I’ll notify you if you’re the winner and drop your prize in the mail.

Thank you for participating in the Days of Christmas Giveaway. Keep coming back for more golf and more drawings in 2010!

−The Armchair Golfer

Day 1: Golf: The Art of the Mental Game: 100 Classic Golf Tips by Dr. Joseph Parent
Day 2: Gorilla Gold Grip Enhancer
Day 3: Jim McLean Golf School DVD
Day 4: CADDIE CONFIDENTIAL: Inside Stories from the Caddies of the PGA Tour by Greg “Piddler” Martin
Day 5: High-quality golf gloves with Virginia Tech logo
Day 6: Golf’s Red Zone Challenge by Charlie King and Rob Akins
Day 7: THE BACK NINE: It’s Time to Take Your Shot (DVD)
Day 8: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? by Rocco Mediate and John Feinstein

Wednesday, January 6

Getting Started: Tips for Beginning Golfers

By Pam Swensen, CEO, Executive Women’s Golf Association

LEARNING TO PLAY GOLF can be an intimidating undertaking for anyone who has not grown up playing the game. It has been said that golf is one of the most challenging sports for a person to learn because there are so many elements to the sport. Here are some tips for getting started. 

Learn the Lingo – Every sport has its own language; terms that are universally used to explain the game. Understanding terms like “par”, “birdie”, “bogey,” “bunker” and “slice” can be learned by watching golf on TV. 

Picking a Program – Getting professional instruction is the best way to get started. You can seek one-on-one lessons from a golf pro or group clinics designed especially for new golfers. The PGA of America’s “First Swing” and “Link Up 2 Golf” programs cover basic golf skills, golf terminology, etiquette and how to get around a golf club and course. See to find an introductory program near you. And for women, the Executive Women’s Golf Association (EWGA) offers new golfer clinics led by both PGA and LPGA teaching professionals. 

Avoid Amateur Advice – For less stress as you learn this new sport, avoid having your spouse or a friend be your instructor. And this advice carries onto the golf course. One couple shared their secret to enjoying playing together as she learned the game. Their rule: He could not tell her anything about her golf swing that he wouldn’t say to another guy. The best policy is not to give advice unless the beginning player asks for it—and then limit your advice to the question asked rather than taking the opportunity to expand and further “coach.” 

From Instruction to Play – Once you’ve learned the basic skills, including the different types of clubs you have in your golf bag, there’s more to know as you get “on course” and begin to play. Like the transition from school to your first job, putting what you’ve learned into action takes practice and won’t be mastered in just one day. Seek out a mentor and welcoming places to play. Executive and nine-hole courses are good choices as you build your skills and confidence in your play. 

Know the Etiquette – Courtesies on the golf course enhance the experience for everyone. Know where it is appropriate to drive a golf cart (never on a tee box or green), how to fix a divot and repair a ball mark, and how to conduct yourself on the green. Experienced golfers expect everyone in their foursome to stop talking when one member is playing a shot. Demonstrating good golf etiquette; knowing where to stand when the other players in your group are hitting the ball or putting on the green shows your respect and understanding of the game. 

Pace of Play – The speed at which you go around a golf course is an important part of playing golf. The golden rule of pace of play is to keep up with the group in front of you. Be prepared and move quickly between shots. Use the following “new golfer rules” to help speed your pace of play. 

“New Golfer Rules” – First, understand that these “rules” can not be used during a golf event or a tournament—or to obtain a handicap—because they are not in accordance with the official rules of golf:

• Use a tee until you are comfortable hitting off of grass. If you are having trouble getting the ball off the ground, tee it up in the fairway for a while, as well as on the tee box. (But never do this on the green!)

• Don’t keep score (unless you want to). You can measure your progress in other ways—counting how many times you make good contact with the ball—rather than total number of shots.

• Improve your lie. If you like where your ball landed, play it from there. Otherwise, pick it up and hit it from another spot. When you are starting out, hitting from thick grass, bunkers, or even just hitting a lot of shots can be frustrating.

• Pick up your ball in the fairway. If you’re having trouble on a hole, consider picking your ball up and taking it to the front of the green. Then go ahead and putt out. This will give you practice putting and help put you in a better state of mind before hitting your tee shot on the next hole.

Consider using these “new golfer rules” when getting started in casual play or any environment where score does not matter. With practice, you will soon transition into regular play.

Remember, it’s a game. Have fun. 

Headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, the Executive Women’s Golf Association was founded in 1991 and has 18,000 members. Learn more at

(Image: spunkinator/Flickr)

Days of Christmas Giveaway: Are You Kidding Me? (Rocco’s Book)

IT’S TIME TO CLEAR my shelves of golf books, golf DVDs and a few golf accessories. So welcome to Day 8 of the Days of Christmas Giveaway at ARMCHAIR GOLF.

Today’s giveaway: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? by Rocco Mediate and John Feinstein

Subtitle: The story of Rocco Mediate’s extraordinary battle with Tiger Woods at the U.S. Open.

How to win this giveaway: Send an email to that includes your name and mailing address. I’ll notify you if you’re the winner and drop your prize in the mail.

Keep coming back for more Days of Christmas giveaways!

−The Armchair Golfer

Day 1: Golf: The Art of the Mental Game: 100 Classic Golf Tips by Dr. Joseph Parent
Day 2: Gorilla Gold Grip Enhancer
Day 3: Jim McLean Golf School DVD
Day 4: CADDIE CONFIDENTIAL: Inside Stories from the Caddies of the PGA Tour by Greg “Piddler” Martin
Day 5: High-quality golf gloves with Virginia Tech logo
Day 6: Golf’s Red Zone Challenge by Charlie King and Rob Akins
Day 7: THE BACK NINE: It’s Time to Take Your Shot (DVD)

Tuesday, January 5

20 Greatest Putters of All Time

No. 14 Walter Travis.

MY BEST PUTTERS LIST was inspired by a December article at GOLF Magazine in which a panel of experts named golf’s 10 greatest putters. So, I thought, why not 20? In collecting names, I’ve also included an honorable-mention section.

My list definitely favors major champions. In many cases, golf’s greatest players were strong putters, especially in the clutch. But there are also a handful of pure putters on the list. There are surely more than I’ve named. And the order—well, it’s quite subjective. 

1. Tiger Woods
Comment: I never thought I’d see a better clutch putter than Jack. 

2. Jack Nicklaus
Comment: Made nearly all the putts he needed to make, many on the final green. 

3. Bobby Jones
Comment: 13 majors by age 29, and then he retired. He called his putter Calamity Jane.

4. Bobby Locke
Comment: Old pros have told me Locke was the best they ever saw on the greens. 

5. Billy Casper
Comment: Tremendous putter and most underrated player of all time. 

6. Ben Crenshaw
Comment: Velvet putting stroke. 

7. Dave Stockton
Comment: Phil’s new putting mentor was a great putter throughout a long career. 

8. Walter Hagen
Comment: A clutch putter who won five PGAs (and 11 total majors) when the PGA was a match-play championship.

9. Brad Faxon
Comment: Mediocre ball-striker who made a good living on the PGA Tour with his putter. 

10. Loren Roberts
Comment: His nickname “The Boss of the Moss” says it all. 

11. Arnold Palmer
Comment: Made seemingly everything for about seven or eight years, which helped earn him four Green Jackets. 

12. Tom Watson
Comment: Like Palmer, Watson had a great run during which he holed putts from everywhere, including all those four- and five-footers. 

13. Gary Player
Comment: Terrific short game, including bunker play and putting. 

14. Walter Travis
Comment: Early 20th-century player who won three U.S. Amateurs and one British Amateur. He could putt the eyes out of a chipmunk, said opponents. 

15. Nick Faldo
Comment: Six-time major winner who didn’t crack under pressure on the greens. 

16. Lee Trevino
Comment: Ditto. 

17. Hale Irwin
Comment: A grinder who made more than his share of putts on the way to three U.S. Open titles. 

18. Seve Ballesteros
Comment: A magic man on and around the greens. 

19. Bob Charles
Comment: Charles’ amazing longevity had much to do with his putter. 

20. Isao Aoki
Comment: Unorthodox method that worked extremely well. 


(In alphabetical order)

Jerry Barber, Dow Finsterwald, Raymond Floyd, Padraig Harrington, Ben Hogan, Phil Mickelson, Byron Nelson, Greg Norman, Jose Maria Olazabal, Corey Pavin, Bob Rosburg, Paul Runyan, Horton Smith, Payne Stewart, Steve Stricker, Peter Thomson, Harvie Ward. 

−The Armchair Golfer

Monday, January 4

Days of Christmas Giveaway: The Back Nine DVD

IT’S TIME TO CLEAR my shelves of golf books, golf DVDs and a few golf accessories. So welcome to Day 7 of the Days of Christmas Giveaway at ARMCHAIR GOLF.

Today’s giveaway: THE BACK NINE: It’s Time to Take Your Shot (DVD)

Fifteen handicapper Jon Fitzgerald, upon turning 40, documents his quest to play professional golf. My Q&A with Jon Fitzgerald.

How to win this giveaway: Send an email to that includes your name and mailing address. I’ll notify you if you’re the winner and drop your prize in the mail.

Keep coming back for more Days of Christmas giveaways!

−The Armchair Golfer

Day 1: Golf: The Art of the Mental Game: 100 Classic Golf Tips by Dr. Joseph Parent
Day 2: Gorilla Gold Grip Enhancer
Day 3: Jim McLean Golf School DVD
Day 4: CADDIE CONFIDENTIAL: Inside Stories from the Caddies of the PGA Tour by Greg “Piddler” Martin
Day 5: High-quality golf gloves with Virginia Tech logo
Day 6: Golf’s Red Zone Challenge by Charlie King and Rob Akins

PGA Tour Returns After Definite Break

IS IT JUST ME, or does it seem like pro golf’s offseason has lasted forever? It must be scandal fatigue. I know practically no one will be watching, but I’m grateful nonetheless for the start of the 2010 PGA Tour season this week. The SBS Championship tees off on Thursday at Kapalua. It’s a field of 2009 winners. Geoff Ogilvy defends.

For the first time in weeks, I anticipate a new possibility. Golf—the game itself—might actually return as a topic of conversation. A bit of wishful thinking, I suppose. At least we can start to warm up to the idea.

In anticipation of the season kickoff, I made my first visit to in more than a month. I spend a fair amount of time on the site during the season. And it has a new look. The folks in Ponte Vedra hyped enhancements in an early December press release, including these site updates:
• Video Enhancement: Video will be at the forefront with a bigger, bolder presence. Fans can watch video on the homepage via a larger, embedded player, and video will also be accessible from the Leaderboard for the first time.

• Leaderboard Redesign: is the exclusive home of live PGA Tour competition scoring and will feature a redesigned leaderboard to improve performance and navigation.

• FanZone: The updated FanZone section will make social media feeds from providers such as Twitter and Facebook easily accessible from the homepage.

• Refreshed Tour pages: The Nationwide and Champions Tour pages will have their own look and feel with dramatic updates and enhanced features including drop-down menus, advanced search capabilities and innovative applications.
The site navigation appears to be mostly unchanged, but I’m still learning my way around the redesigned site.

Unlike the men, the women of the LPGA Tour don’t get underway until mid February. Theirs is a gappy schedule, with only two events in March and May, and just four events in August and September. I expect another difficult year for the women’s tour and pro golf in general.

−The Armchair Golfer

Sunday, January 3

Days of Christmas Giveaway: Golf’s Red Zone Challenge Book

IT’S TIME TO CLEAR my shelves of golf books, golf DVDs and a few golf accessories. So welcome to Day 6 of the Days of Christmas Giveaway at ARMCHAIR GOLF.

Today’s giveaway: Golf’s Red Zone Challenge by Charlie King and Rob Akins

In its second edition, this book is designed to help players master their golf game 100 yards and in. King and Akins’ program is said to be a proven approach that improves scoring.

How to win this giveaway: Send an email to that includes your name and mailing address. I’ll notify you if you’re the winner and drop your prize in the mail.

Keep coming back for more Days of Christmas giveaways!

−The Armchair Golfer

Day 1: Golf: The Art of the Mental Game: 100 Classic Golf Tips by Dr. Joseph Parent
Day 2: Gorilla Gold Grip Enhancer
Day 3: Jim McLean Golf School DVD
Day 4: CADDIE CONFIDENTIAL: Inside Stories from the Caddies of the PGA Tour by Greg “Piddler” Martin
Day 5: High-quality golf gloves with Virginia Tech logo

Saturday, January 2

You, Me and Obama’s Golf Obsession

MICHELLE COTTLE’S COMMENTARY about President Obama’s “dangerous obsession with golf” has alerted me that I may be a hopeless golf addict who exhibits many undesirable attributes. And you might be in the same foursome with me, my friend.

Cottle is a senior editor for The New Republic. She has a problem—several, really—with 44’s affection for the small dimpled ball.

“Why would a leader vowing to shake up Washington—to alter the very nature of politics—sell his soul to a leisure activity that screams stodgy, hyperconventional Old Guard?” she asks.

By carefully reading her article, I learned several things about my favorite pastime and what it might say about you, me and the president of these United States. For instance, she outlines telltale signs of a “creeping golf addiction,” such as:

• Playing for more than a decade
• Playing for cash
• Fretting about form
• Goading others to leave work early for a round of golf
• Constantly looking to squeeze in a few holes

Where might it all lead? To dark, risky places, according to Cottle.

“In the popular imagination, golf is the stuff of corporate deal-cutting, congressional junkets, and country club exclusivity,” she writes.

(Clearly, my golf addiction has been short-changing me.)

There’s more.

“And, unless a president is very careful, a golf habit can easily be spun as evidence of unseemly character traits ranging from laziness to callousness to out-of-touch elitism.”

(I definitely think I have the laziness down. But my out-of-touch elitism needs work.)

For the president to revamp his image in the new year, Cottle says “he could start by ditching golf.” If she knew I liked golf as much as the president, she might say the same thing to me.

They say the first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. I have a problem. I miss too many four-footers. Now excuse me while I groove my putting stroke in the den.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: Roberto De Vido/Flickr)