Thursday, September 30

2010 Ryder Cup TV Schedule and Notes

THE 2010 RYDER CUP gets underway on Friday at Celtic Manor Resort in the City of Newport, Wales. If you would like to save hours of viewing time so you can get to other things this weekend, the Yanks are going to retain the Cup. You’re welcome.

Team USA

Team Europe

Ryder Cup Scoreboard


Due to the time difference, U.S. golf fans will have to be night owls if they wish to watch the competition live.

Friday, October 1
ESPN 2:30am - 1pm ET
ESPN2 1pm - 10pm ET

Saturday, October 2
NBC 8pm - 6pm ET

Sunday, October 3
NBC 7pm - 1pm ET


Watch live online at

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: Proforged/Flickr)

Wednesday, September 29

Lee Elder, Jack Nicklaus and the American Golf Classic

AS THE RAIN FELL this morning at the Ensure Classic at Rock Barn, I talked with 76-year-old Lee Elder, a four-time PGA Tour winner and the first African American to play in the Masters. I told Lee one of my earliest memories of watching golf on television was when he squared off against Jack Nicklaus in a sudden-death playoff at the American Golf Classic.

(If you are of a certain age, you may remember it. It was played at Firestone Country Club, the site of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Before the American Golf Classic, the Firestone event was called the Rubber City Open.)

I was a kid, it was 1968, and we had a portable black-and-white Zenith set with rabbit ears. Today, Lee reminded me about some of the details of that long-ago duel. He said what most people don’t remember was that the playoff included Frank Beard until Lee and Jack birdied 16 and Beard dropped out.

Who is Lee Elder? That’s what I wondered at the time. Everyone knew who Jack was. Jack was the man. It was Lee’s rookie season on the PGA Tour and he didn’t blink during his five-hole showdown with Nicklaus. Jack won. But Lee’s play made enough of an impression on me that I still remember it more than 40 years later.

Elder would wait six more years for his first PGA Tour win, the 1974 Monsanto Open in Pensacola, Florida. It put him into the Masters, finally breaking the color barrier at Augusta National. Lee was also the first black to play in the Ryder Cup when he qualified for the 1979 team.

And Beard, the forgotten man in that 1968 playoff, won the American Golf Classic two years later.

−The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, September 28

The Good People of Conover

SOMETHING MUST BE WRONG. I’m just not into the Ryder Cup. Not yet. I’m sure I will be when it starts on Friday.

One big reason is because I’m in Conover, North Carolina, for the next two days for events related to the Ensure Classic at Rock Barn, this week’s Champions Tour stop. I’ve come here each of the last three years, renewing acquaintances with some old old pros and usually meeting a few more of the younger ones. Many of them are approachable and friendly. Fred Funk and Phil Blackmar come to mind.

And the people here in Conover (and the greater Hickory area)—the volunteers, tour officials and golf club staff—are terrific. There may be a rude person among them, but I have yet to meet him or her. Instead, it’s something like, “Hi, I met you last year. Let me know if there’s anything you need.” That’s nice to hear.

It feels good to this armchair golfer to escape the home office and drive down the mountain into North Carolina where it’s sunny and 10 degrees warmer. The leaves are turning and the muggy days of August are long gone. Friends are preparing for their apple-butter making weekends. Autumn, as you might have guessed, is my favorite season.

Tomorrow will be fun. I’ll catch up with a dozen or so legends. I expect to see Doug Ford and congratulate him on being a World Golf Hall of Fame inductee. The Ryder Cup and Friday seem far away at the moment.

−The Armchair Golfer

Monday, September 27

Captain Pavin Addresses Media and Heckling Chant (Clip)

THE U.S. RYDER CUP team arrived at the Cardiff Airport in Wales on Monday. Captain Corey Pavin, as seen in the above clip, made some brief comments to a lukewarm crowd that included members of the media.

“The boys and I are getting to know each other,” Pavin said, “see who we are and what we can be. So far I like what I’ve seen.”

The U.S. Ryder Cup captain then presented his squad. A band played in the background.

Soon after things took an uncomfortable turn. An unidentified male voice began to chant “We want Jimmy.” It caught on, spreading throughout the crowd. Jimmy? No one on the American team understood what it meant, unless it was a call for FedEx Cup winner Jim Furyk to step to the microphone.

The fiery Pavin was not pleased. “I would hope you would support who we are, not who we are not. These individuals have made a choice to work, a choice to sacrifice, to put themselves on the line ... that kind of commitment and effort deserves and demands your respect.”

The captain’s stern response was followed by an awkward silence.

It’s uncertain how the episode will affect the team, but some expect Pavin to use it to further motivate his squad, already considered heavy underdogs.

Captain Pavin’s Picks: ‘My Team Is on the Floor’ (Clip)

−The Armchair Golfer

(This is an ARMCHAIR GOLF spoof.)

Sunday, September 26

It Rains Money in Atlanta for Jim Furyk

2010 Tour Championship Recap
Winner: Jim Furyk
Score: 8 under, 272 (67, 65, 70, 70)
Quote: “It’s my second biggest win.”
Fact: Won $11 million with used $39 putter.
Thought: Winning Ryder Cup would cap off best year of Furyk’s career.

I DON’T TALK TO the TV a lot. Certainly not as much as I used to. And usually not with my family around (not that they care). But I was talking to the TV late this afternoon as I tuned in to the final holes of the Tour Championship. I was talking Jim Furyk through those last few holes because I didn’t want to see him blow the tournament and FedEx Cup.

I don’t understand how the the FedEx Cup points work. I let the talking heads and graphics help me keep score. What I did understand was that if Furyk won the tournament, he’d also win the FedEx Cup (and $10 million). The same was true for Luke Donald and Retief Goosen as they played the closing holes.

I decided Furyk is my guy. Nothing against the others, but I’ve always liked Furyk’s grind-it-out style.

So then he bogeys 16. Me: “Um, Jim. C’mon, buddy.” Good drive at 17 and then a weak approach shot. (I thought he hit his second shot fat long before Johnny Miller asked him what happened in the post-round interview. Was it that hard for the TV guys to see?) Another bogey. Me: “JIM!”

Eighteenth tee, long par 3. It’s raining hard, sure. Tough conditions. I get it, TV guys. (Hey, I’ve played in lots of rain and with soaking wet grips, just not for the Gross Domestic Product of a small nation.) Me: “Just get it on the green, Jimmy. C’mon now.”


Some work to do here. Making it interesting, eh Jim? Nothing to say now. I’m just watching. The ball comes out clean, hops, spins and checks two or so feet from the cup. I could make that one. Well, maybe. At least the soaking rain might hide the soiled spot on my pants.

Jim turns his cap around so the rain won’t drip off the bill and taps it in. He later called the putt dummy proof.

It was a nice ending. The guy who missed The Barclays because of a faulty alarm ends up winning it all. And with that used putter he picked up at Joe & Leigh’s in the Boston area, which sounds something like the House of Putters.

“It was like 65 bucks,” Furyk said, “but they sold it to me for $39, I think. I didn’t ask for that, trust me. I didn’t barter.

“It was a used putter. It’s got a nick on the back flange. It’s got a little ding in the top line. I never loft and lied it which is rare for me because I’ve always got my putters on a loft-lie machine at home, and the way the grip is on it, it might be slightly off center but that’s kind of how I like it anyway.”

Next stop for Jim and his $39 putter is Wales for this week’s Ryder Cup.

So, with three wins and the FedEx Cup, Jim Furyk is player of the year, right? I can’t make a stronger case for anyone else.

−The Armchair Golfer

Friday, September 24

67-Year-Old Dave Eichelberger Qualifies for PGA Tour Event

DAVE EICHELBERGER HAS BEEN ordering off the senior menu at Denny’s for a long time. (If he eats there.) Eichelberger may even be collecting Social Security. He’s certainly old enough. Now the 67-year-old former tour player will be teeing it up with the flat bellies on the PGA Tour in January.

Eichelberger won the Aloha Section PGA Professional Championship this week to gain entry to the 2011 Sony Open in Hawaii.

“I am shocked,” he told The Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Eichelberger is a four-time PGA Tour winner. He also captured six titles on the Champions Tour. His last victory was at the Emerald Coast Classic in 2002.

Still, Eichelberger is a pup compared to the oldest player to tee it up in a PGA Tour event. That was 77-year-old Jerry Barber at the 1994 Buick Invitational in California.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Visor tip to John Strege at Local Knowledge)

Thursday, September 23

Strange Grass Patterns Detected at Tour Championship

MATT KUCHAR WAS THE FIRST to see them as he was walking to the 2nd hole, a 214-yard par 3. Then Martin Laird, Charley Hoffman and Paul Casey. By the end of the first round, nearly all 30 players in the field of the season-ending Tour Championship reported sightings of a bizarre grass pattern at East Lake Golf Club, sort of golf’s version of crop circles.

Oddly, no one besides the players noticed anything unusual about the East Lake turf, a combination of zoysiagrass fairways and bentgrass greens.

The grounds crew had no explanation.

“The course is certainly in pristine condition,” said a supervisor, “but otherwise everything is normal, including mowing patterns.”

(Image at left is simulated based on players’ descriptions.)

Aerial photography also failed to reveal any unusual phenomenon.

“If I had been staring at the ground since the Sony Open, I would probably be seeing things, too,” offered a spectator.

−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, September 22

Ryder Cup Trash Talk: ‘Spank the Yanks’ Golf Promotion

THE RYDER CUP DOESN’T start for another eight days, but apparently Uncle Sam (above) has already arrived in the United Kingdom and made a guest appearance at Playgolf Academy to kick off its “Spank the Yanks” promotion:
Playgolf’s special “Spank The Yanks” offer means that any purchase of range balls or green fees made at Playgolf Manchester and London’s Playgolf Northwick Park during the promotional period of Friday 24th September and Thursday 30th September will be matched by Playgolf if the US team retains the Ryder Cup.
How It Works

Golfers simply keep their receipt, and present it to Playgolf if the US team retains the Cup. They will receive like-for-like for their purchase on the driving range and golf course. So, for example, if a golfer buys a bucket of golf balls or a round of golf at Playgolf in either Manchester or London (from 24th to 30th September), he or she can claim free range balls or a free round of golf if Corey Pavin’s US team thrashes Colin Montgomerie’s twelve Europeans.

Confidence in Monty’s Men

“We are so confident that Monty’s men won’t take a whipping from the Yanks this year that we’re willing to take the risk of paying out a small fortune to our customers if they do!” said Playgolf’s Craig Whitfield in a press release.

Whitfield also emphasized the win-win situation for golfers.

“If Europe wins the Ryder Cup, we will all be ecstatic, and if the USA beats the Europeans, golfers can claim a freebie from Playgolf and ease the pain of losing!”

I have to admit that it’s a clever promotion. You know what would be even more clever? If Playgolf made good on the offer no matter who wins.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image courtesy of Playgolf Academy)

Tuesday, September 21

VIDEO: Tom Lehman Wins 2010 Payne Stewart Award

TOM LEHMAN WAS PRESENTED the 2010 Payne Stewart Award on Tuesday at the East Lake Golf Club, site of this week’s Tour Championship. Payne died in a plane crash during the 1999 Tour Championship, which was played in late October at that time.

In the video, Lehman said he was humbled by the award, which is given annually to a player who exemplifies sportsmanship, gives back and honors the tradition of the game. Tom is a good pick.

One of the images I remember is Stewart, Lehman and others celebrating at Brookline after their miraculous comeback in the 1999 Ryder Cup. And, of course, I can still see Payne sinking that 15-foot putt on the final green at Pinehurst No. 2 to win the U.S. Open. He was gone soon after. There are few things I’m certain of, but I’m quite certain Payne would have been a Ryder Cup captain had he not gone down in that plane.

−The Armchair Golfer

Monday, September 20

76 Wins and Still Counting for Laura Davies

LAURA DAVIES WON HER 76th career title on Sunday at the Spanish Women’s Open on the Ladies European Tour, edging Christina Kim (United States), Rebecca Hudson (England) and Frances Bonhad (Australia) by two strokes.

It was Davies’s fourth win this season. Her other 2010 victories came in New Zealand, Germany and Austria. I think we can all agree that Laura, 46, is very good at winning golf tournaments, whether or not she makes it into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Laura Davies’s career wins:
43 Ladies European Tour
13 Other tours
76 professional wins

This one almost got away from Davies. In the final round, she made the turn in 32 and had a three-shot lead when she carded a dreaded snowman on the 13th hole. The quadruple-bogey eight was caused by a tee shot that veered left and crashed down on a steep rocky slope. The adventure continued. When Davies finally walked off the green she was tied at 10 under with England’s Lisa Hall. Then Laura played the closing five holes in 1-under par for the win.

By the way, Ms. Davies broke her own record as oldest winner (46 years, 11 months, 14 days) on the Ladies European Tour. I won’t be surprised when she breaks it again. Anybody want to predict her final win total?

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: Keith Allison/Flickr)

Sunday, September 19

Kevin Streelman Works the Playoff System

KEVIN STREELMAN WILL PLAY in the season-ending Tour Championship for the first time in his career. And that’s not all. Next year Streelman will make his first appearances at the Masters and British Open thanks to a FedEx Cup playoff run that has seen him rise 73 spots in the rankings.

The top 30 will play in the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta this week. A fat paycheck awaits. The 30 players will split a $7.5 million purse. Someone will also collect $10 million for winning the playoffs points race. At 29th, Streelman was the second-to-the-last man in the field, which also gets him into next year’s first three majors.

Streelman is an example of how the playoffs can work for someone who starts at the back of the pack. The Duke grad and mini-tour veteran who joined the PGA Tour in 2007 started the playoffs in 102nd out of 125 players. He made a big move with a T5 at The Barclays. Then he followed with a T45 and T43 at the Deutsche Bank and BMW Championship, respectively, to slip into the top 30.

Hello, East Lake. Hello, Augusta.

The only time Streelman has been to Augusta National Golf Club was to watch a practice round when he was a student at Duke. But Mike Christensen, Streelman’s caddie and Duke golf teammate, has played three rounds at the home of the Masters. That’s a start. They’ll just be thrilled to be there.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: The Gordons/Flickr)

Friday, September 17

Name the Player in Silhouette

WELCOME TO ANOTHER EDITION of “Name the Player.” This player is a veteran and multiple winner on the PGA Tour. The photo was taken at the 2009 Players Championship. Does his outline look familiar? Any guesses?

−The Armchair Golfer

Other “Name the Players”:
Name the Player at the PGA Championship
Name the Old-Time Players
Name the Player Practicing in the Bunker
Name the Player Along on the Range
Name the Player at the LPGA Championship
Name the Player Signing the Deal in 1971
Name the Player at TPC Sawgrass
Name the Player Based on the Shoes and Footwork

(Image: NSA Player/Flickr)

Thursday, September 16

Cary Middlecoff, Golf’s Greatest Slow Player

I STOPPED BY THE World Golf Hall of Fame today. Not in St. Augustine, Florida, but at the website. I was looking up something and stumbled onto the page of Hall of Famer Cary Middlecoff. I know a fair amount about Middlecoff, nicknamed “Doc” because he was an actual dentist who ventured out on the PGA Tour. Fred Hawkins has told me stories about Middlecoff; they were pals on tour and socialized off the golf course.

Today I ran across a couple of stories I hadn’t heard or simply forgotten. I’ll get to them momentarily, but let me start with a bit of background. The first thing you need to know about Cary Middlecoff is that he was a great player. He never took a lesson and had a swing that made Bobby Jones swoon. “I’d give the world to have a swing like that,” Jones once said. Middlecoff won 36 tournaments on the PGA Tour, plus three majors (two U.S. Opens and a Masters). Those are Phil Mickelson numbers. Doc had six-win seasons in 1949, 1951 and 1955.

The second thing you need to know about Middlecoff is that he was a slow player. How slow? “Glacial” is the adjective the World Golf Hall of Fame uses. It fits.

When Doug Ford played Middlecoff in the 36-hole final of the 1955 PGA Championship, Doc lit a cigarette when he got to the green and didn’t putt until the entire cigarette was gone. “The gallery really got on him,” Ford said, “but you couldn’t rush Doc. I didn’t care.” The reason Ford didn’t care was because he sat in a chair while he waited. His son brought it along for the final against Middlecoff. Ford won.

At the 1957 U.S. Open, defending champion Middlecoff closed with a pair of 68s at Inverness to make up eight shots on Dick Mayer and force an 18-hole playoff. Guess what Mayer did. He brought a camping stool to the playoff. Maybe it didn’t bother Doc, but something did. He shot 79 to Mayer’s 72 and missed his opportunity to be one of only a handful of players to win back-to-back U.S. Opens.

Golf writer Dan Jenkins once joked that Doc had to quit the dentistry because no one could hold his mouth open that long. Middlecoff was even known to stop at the top of his backswing.

So I’m tagging Cary Middlecoff as golf’s greatest slow player. I know there have been other slow pokes. Jack Nicklaus could be a tortoise. But I feel comfortable with Middlecoff as my pick. In fact, Doc is probably holding up play in the afterlife as I write this.

−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, September 15

VIDEO: Random Stuff About Dustin Johnson

DUSTIN JOHNSON IS FRED COUPLES 2.0. He hits it a mile and could shrug off the end of the world. He’s that easy going. And, like Freddie, he’s probably going to win a bunch of golf tournaments and make it look a little too easy. Watch the video to learn a bit more about Dustin. An incomplete recap is below.

The stuff you probably know:
From Myrtle Beach. Works out but takes a week off here and there. First PGA Tour win at Turning Stone. Likes to spend downtime in the great outdoors.

The stuff you probably don’t know:

All jobs growing up were golf related. (Toughest was kitchen duty.) His dad was a club pro, which is how Dustin got started in golf. Favorite TV shows are Entourage and True Blood. No nickname. Just DJ. Likes (and has played golf with) South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier. Knows South Carolina Gamecocks fight song, but won’t sing it on camera. “No chance,” Dustin said, laughing.

−The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, September 14

Book: ‘Mental Toughness Training for Golf’ by Dr. Rob Bell

“PLAY GOLF, NOT GOLF SWING.” That’s one of the nuggets from Mental Toughness Training for Golf, a book by Dr. Rob Bell, an Assistant Professor of Sport Psychology at Ball State University.

I haven’t read the book, but I wanted to let you know about it. It’s received good reviews from others, such as Golf Blogger, whose golf judgment I respect. He gave Dr. Bell’s book an “A.”

I happen to think we’re all mental cases. I don’t mean that in a bad way. Fundamentals and swing mechanics are fine, to a point, but it’s that five-inch space between the ears Bobby Jones emphasized that matters most. When your head is right, amazing things happen. When it’s wrong, a pretty swing is pretty useless. I’ve experienced it and seen it countless times.

The book’s subtitle (and also a book section) is Start Strong Finish Strong. Other book sections include the aforementioned Play Golf, Not Golf Swing; Challenge or Threat; The Five Paths to Confidence; and Mentally Tough Putting. I have the impression this book might be especially helpful for golf coaches at any level.

About Dr. Rob Bell

Dr. Rob Bell is an Assistant Professor of Sport Psychology at Ball State University. Dr. Bell is also a Sport Psychology coach and a certified consultant of AASP (Association of Applied Sport Psychology). He has PGA credentials as a Sport Psychology consultant and specializes in coaching the mental game with athletes at all levels.

Dr. Bell presents his research and applied experience at various conferences and clinics across the nation. His area of research includes examining solution-focused guided imagery for the yips in golf, and applied sport psychology interventions. He has been published in numerous academic journals, including Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, Journal of Athletic Insight, Journal of Sport Behavior, and The Encyclopedia of Sports. He has also been noted in the New York Times, The Star Press, The National Psychologist, Knoxville News Sentinel, and Stack Magazine.

An avid golfer and part-time professional caddie, Dr. Bell has competed in marathons, triathlons, and Masters swimming competitions.

Dr. Rob Bell website
Mental Toughness Training for Golf at Amazon

−The Armchair Golfer

Monday, September 13

Was This BMW a Clunker?

2010 BMW Championship Recap
Winner: Dustin Johnson
Score: 9 under, 275 (68, 70, 68, 69)
Quote: “To finally get it done, after all the things I’ve gone through this summer, it can’t feel any better.”
Fact: Was singing Usher song on last two holes.
Thought: Game and attitude make DJ attractive Ryder Cup partner.

WAS THIS BEAMER A CLUNKER? Certainly not for Dustin Johnson, who wheeled his way to the biggest win of his career after runner-up Paul Casey rode the bogey train for three consecutive holes after holding the lead on the final nine. Good for Dustin. I think everyone feels that way after the tough summer he’s had. It was the fourth PGA Tour title for the 26-year-old touted by many as the next big thing.

The reason I wonder if the BMW Championship was a clunker is because so much of what I read was negative and then some. (I admit I didn’t see a lot of the third leg of the FedExCup playoffs.)

Much of the negativity had to do with the course. The Cog Hill renovations by Rees Jones were ripped by the players. Jones lengthened the course to 7,600-plus yards, worked on the bunkering and rebuilt all the greens. Phil Mickelson said in his pretend diplomatic style the course was “interesting” and that there was a lot of talk in the locker room. The undiplomatic Paul Casey said there are two things you don’t want to hear as a player. One of them was “Rees Jones.” Ouch. Even Mr. Nice Guy, Stewart Cink, called the place a “wreck.” Whoa. I guess they really didn’t like the course?

Among other unhappy campers were Charlie Wi and J.B. Holmes. Wi bogeyed the last two holes to shoot 74, finish T8 and lose his spot in the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta in two weeks. Charlie was so upset he left Cog Hill without speaking to PGA Tour officials or the media.

Holmes talked, more or less calling the playoffs points system “absolutely ridiculous.” J.B., who started in 18th place and is now history, said people who have played well all year can have a couple of bad tournaments and be eliminated. (Isn’t that like other sports?) The 2008 Ryder Cup hero has yet to play in a Tour Championship.

So, is the FedExCup an unfair system? Sure. No matter what the PGA Tour brass tries, they’ll never devise a playoff system that everyone likes or thinks is fair. It just won’t happen. They’ve already tried and tried and tried. It’s a convoluted system to wring out every last bit of interest there might be in professional golf at the end of a long season.

Geoff Ogilvy agrees. “Look, there is no exact, perfect way to do it.” If guys are choking (and they are) while trying to advance and chase $10 million, then something must be working. That’s my overly simplistic observation.

Everyone should take a page from Dustin. When golf seems unfair and things don’t go your way, shrug it off. Go trim your sideburns and spend time on your boat. Another tournament is coming. Well, unless you’re outside of the top 30 in points. In that case, there’s the Fall Series. And next season.

−The Armchair Golfer

Sunday, September 12

The Commemorative Ryder Cup Shotgun

GOLF AND GUNS GO together. Yep. At least they will at the 2010 Ryder Cup in Wales. The Celtic Manor Resort, Ryder Cup host venue, will display a specially commissioned shotgun “to celebrate the sporting links between shooting and golf.”

“The gun,” said Simon Gibson, chief executive of the holding company that owns Celtic Manor, “is a celebration of Wales hosting the Ryder Cup for the first time and the Welsh and British craftsmen involved in its design and construction have created a truly magnificent shotgun worthy of the occasion.”

Holloway & Naughton® manufactured the bespoke 12-bore game gun that features intricate engravings from Phil Coggan, a world-renowned Welsh engraver. Images include:

• A detailed portrait of Samuel Ryder, the seed merchant who created the Ryder Cup in 1927
• A Welsh dragon, the national symbol of Wales
• A bald eagle to represent the American visitors
• The Ryder Cup itself on the top lever
• A European flag on the trigger guard accentuated by gold stars

“It’s a work of art but also a fully functioning sporting gun hand built to the very highest specifications,” noted Andrew Harvison of Holloway & Naughton. The gun is the product of more than twelve hundred man-hours of workmanship.

The gun will be on display during the Ryder Cup from October 1-3 at Celtic Manor, the posh five-star resort in South Wales.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image courtesy of Celtic Manor)

Friday, September 10

Arnold Palmer on the Ryder Cup and More

Competitions like the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup are very important for promoting the game all over the world. That’s the example I always tried to set more than anything else.
−Arnold Palmer

ARNOLD PALMER STILL PLAYS golf a couple times a week and hits balls frequently. “I still enjoy the game and my friends,” Palmer told Farrell Evans in a Q&A at

The King played on six Ryder Cup teams, but wasn’t eligible and couldn’t earn Ryder Cup points until five years after he turned pro in 1954. Those were the rules in the old days. Arnie was good in match play, amassing a 22-8-2 Ryder Cup record during a period when America dominated. He also bagged plenty of matches on his way to winning the 1954 U.S. Amateur.

Palmer was also the captain of two U.S. squads, in 1963 and 1975. Asked what Ryder Cup memories stood out, he said, “... Brian Barnes beat Nicklaus twice in the same day, which is a pretty unusual situation.”

About the current state of his game, Arnie said that he is still a good putter. Which helps with those friendly wagers.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image courtesy of Golf Channel)

Thursday, September 9

2010 BMW Championship TV Schedule and Tournament Notes

THE 2010 BMW CHAMPIONSHIP is underway at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Illinois. The sizzling Matt Kuchar is the first-round leader after shooting a 64.

Purse: $7.5 million
Winner’s share: $1.35 million
Defending champion: Tiger Woods

The field
Tee times
The course
Tournament news
2010 playoffs primer

2010 BMW Championship Leaderboard


More than 10 hours of weekend TV coverage are scheduled for the 2010 BMW Championship.

Friday, Sept. 10
3-6 p.m. (GOLF)

Saturday, Sept. 11
12-3:30 p.m. (NBC)

Sunday, Sept. 12
2-6 p.m. (NBC)

PGA Tour radio coverage

−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, September 8

Life After 59 Not So Hot for Goydos and Appleby

PAUL GOYDOS FIRED A PGA Tour record-tying 59 at the John Deere Classic in July. He went on to finish second to Steve Stricker. Stuart Appleby matched Goydos a few weeks later with a final-round 59 that earned Appleby a victory at the inaugural Greenbrier Classic.

Their games have cooled off considerably since, especially Goydos’.

“I haven’t even made a cut,” Paul told reporters last week at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Goydos went on to break the MC slump in Boston, finishing 70th, after missing cuts at the British Open, Greenbrier Classic and PGA Championship.

Appleby said he’s happy with the way he’s playing, even though he hasn’t broken 70 since the 59, a streak of 16 rounds. It surprised him to learn that. On the plus side, Stuart hasn’t missed a cut since winning the Greenbrier. On the minus side, he hasn’t finished higher than 50th.

“I just haven’t been able to get the magic with the putter,” the Aussie said. “I can’t get to that point where I’m tipping my cap.”

Is there a 59 curse?

Must be. Appleby can’t make a putt and Goydos is out of the playoffs. Payback from the golf gods. Trust me, you don’t want to get on their wrong side.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: Alex Barth/Flickr)

Tuesday, September 7

Captain Pavin’s Picks: ‘My Team Is on the Floor’ (Clip)

U.S. RYDER CUP CAPTAIN Corey Pavin announced his four picks today at a PGA of America press conference. They are Zach Johnson, Stewart Cink, Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler. Pavin, as seen in the above clip, revealed his picks in the kind of defiant fashion that marked his competitive career, pointing his left index finger and declaring, “My team is on the floor.”

I have no problem with it. I’ve always admired Pavin’s bulldog spirit.

All the reports I’ve read have emphasized the unity of Pavin and his assistants, so I was slightly surprised when assistant captain Tom Lehman leaned in and said, “What are you trying to do?” Maybe it has something to do with Lehman being a former captain. Who knows?

The crowd reaction was a bit unruly, but that’s not a huge surprise. With all the hype, you have to expect the picks aren’t going to go down easy with a lot of folks. Second and third guessing is the nature of the Ryder Cup beast.

But look at Corey! He just sets his jaw and waves his small black book.

The camera panned to Lisa Pavin and she gives the coach what could be interpreted as an adoring look. I might be reaching, but there it is.

And you got to love assistant captain Paul Goydos. Mr. 59 just smiles and shakes his head. He seriously needs a shave.


Automatic Berths
Phil Mickelson
Hunter Mahan
Jim Furyk
Steve Stricker
Jeff Overton
Bubba Watson
Dustin Johnson
Matt Kuchar

Captain’s Picks
Zach Johnson
Stewart Cink
Tiger Woods
Rickie Fowler

−The Armchair Golfer

(This is an ARMCHAIR GOLF spoof.)

Monday, September 6

Free September Golf at Nicklaus Golf Course in New Mexico

(Following is an edited message from the publicist for 12 Shores at Ute Lake. Free golf is a cause I fully support.)

IF PLAYING A NICKLAUS DESIGN championship golf course along the 8,400-acre Ute Lake wasn’t enough, golfers can play the lakefront course at 12 Shores at Ute Lake free during the month of September as an end-of-summer thank you to the local market that has supported the project since its inception in 2007.

Complimentary play is available through September 30, 2010, and is limited to one round (18 holes) of golf per day, per person. Tee times are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and must be made 24 hours in advance by calling the Golf Shop at (575) 403-7177.

About 12 Shores at Ute Lake

The natural setting on Ute Lake provided inspiration for Nicklaus Design’s layout, where golfers play five holes directly along the lake’s scenic shoreline. Nine holes of the championship golf course are open. Two sets of tees provide two distinct 9-hole experiences during an 18-hole round. The second nine features different hole lengths and, on the par-3 holes, different angles.

12 Shores is a 900-acre, resort-styled second-home community located off of Route 66 via Highway 54 between Logan and Tucumcari in northeast New Mexico. In addition to golf, the resort offers many outdoor activities, including kayaking, swimming, boating or fishing in Ute Lake, miles of mountain biking and horseback riding trails, as well as other activities.

Free September golf at 12 Shores at Ute Lake

Saturday, September 4

Chad Campbell on DQ: ‘Just Kind of Slipped My Mind’

CHAD CAMPBELL SHOWED UP at the Deutsche Bank Championship early in the week, practiced a few days, and played in the first round on Friday, shooting 72. Then Campbell got disqualified because he forgot to register. Sigh.

PGA Tour players must register when they arrive at a tournament before play starts. PGA Tour officials realized that Campbell hadn’t registered after they went through all the forms on Friday night. Campbell is out of the tournament and FedExCup Playoffs.

What Chad said:
Q. Unfortunate, I know. Just what’s going through your head right now?
CHAD CAMPBELL: You know, just can’t believe you make a mistake like that. Obviously disappointed that I’m not getting to play today, but that’s the rules. That’s the way it goes.

Q. 83rd on the FedExCup points list. I know that makes it even tougher for you.

CHAD CAMPBELL: You know, it would have been nice to go out there and play good today and finish up the week pretty good and hopefully get into next week. But that’s the way it goes.

Q. Was there any reason that you didn’t do it? Did you get here late or was there anything --
No, not really, just kind of slipped my mind.

Q. When did you arrive this week?
Tuesday, Tuesday night.

Q. Anything remotely ever happen like this?
Yeah, a little bit worse. I went to Hawaii one time and didn’t commit. It’s starting to be a trend.
Can someone explain to me what’s going on this summer? Who will it be next week?

−The Armchair Golfer

(Source: ASAP Sports)
(Image: Keith Allison/Flickr)

Friday, September 3

Rocco Mediate Makes Nationwide Tour Debut

ROCCO MEDIATE OPENED WITH a 67 on Thursday followed by a 69 today to stay in contention at the Mylan Classic near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, not far from his hometown of Greensburg. Rocco has made 588 starts on the PGA Tour, but this is his first appearance on the Nationwide Tour as he tries to regain his 2008 form. Hard to believe it was only two years ago Rocco won $1.4 million and nearly wrestled the U.S. Open trophy away from Tiger Woods.

“I just wanted to hopefully putt better,” he said, “that’s all I’ve been trying to do all year.”

It’s been a tough 2010 campaign for the popular veteran. Rocco has made just seven cuts in 21 events and has sunk to 438th in the Official World Golf Ranking. He’ll be 48 in December.

Geoffrey Sisk is the current leader at 10 under.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: Keith Allison/Flickr)

Thursday, September 2

2010 Deutsche Bank Championship TV Schedule and Tournament Notes

THE 2010 DEUTSCHE BANK CHAMPIONSHIP starts Friday at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts. Matt Kuchar, last week’s winner at The Barclays, leads the FedEx Cup playoffs points race.

Purse: $7.5 million
Winner’s share: $1.35 million
Defending champion: Steve Stricker

The field
Tee times
The course
Tournament news
2010 playoffs primer

2010 Deutsche Bank Championship Leaderboard


Thirteen hours of TV coverage are scheduled for the 2010 Deutsche Bank Championship.

Friday, Sept. 3
3-6 p.m. (GOLF)

Saturday, Sept. 4
3-6 p.m. (GOLF)

Sunday, Sept. 5
3-6 p.m. (NBC)

Monday, Sept. 6
2-6 p.m. (NBC)

PGA Tour radio coverage

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: Keith Allison/Flickr)

Wednesday, September 1

Rules Fatigue Grips Golf World

IF JIM FURYK’S CELL PHONE didn’t lose power last week at The Barclays, would the PGA Tour have suspended its pro-am policy for the rest of the season? In a word, no. I don’t think so. No one would be talking about the rule and the so-called unfairness of it. Popular, headline-grabbing Phil Mickelson wouldn’t be sounding off and the PGA Tour wouldn’t have a PR problem.

(Photo: Dustin Johnson is in a bunker, and knows it / Gordons, Flickr)

Furyk is a good guy, a gamer who fulfills his tour obligations. His cell phone battery failed him. That, and his lack of a backup. To play the PGA Tour, you need to guard against equipment failure on and off the course. In addition to carrying those three or four wedges, you’d be wise to have two alarms.

It was an odd incident, just like the Dustin Johnson bunker incident at the PGA Championship, and Juli Inkster’s donut DQ at the Safeco Classic, and last weekend’s cheating allegations at the LPGA event in Canada, which is a different kettle of fish.

People are fed up. Stupid rules. A guy doesn’t know he’s in a bunker. A gal is trying to warm up after a 25-minute delay in the middle of her round. A guy overslept and showed up five minutes late for the pro-am. Rules, rules, rules.

The golf world is ready to throw the book at the rules book. Granted, golf does have some odd rules. And the PGA Tour does make up its own policies concerning things like pro-ams to protect its interests. But it’s not like this stuff is new.

What if this last month has simply been an odd confluence of rules violations affecting name players? Unfortunate, yes. Time to throw out the rules? Maybe not so fast. The bunker fiasco was by far the worst situation. The PGA of America needs to think hard about how they’ll conduct future championships at Whistling Straits.

As far as the PGA Tour pro-ams, here’s what Stewart Cink told Michael Whitmer of
I’d say less than 50 percent of the players really understand how important they are, and that’s a shame. And despite the tour’s efforts, I think that trend is going down. I don’t think players make the connection between the pro-am and the support. We aren’t born into this world with the entitlement of playing golf on the PGA Tour. All this happens through hard work and sponsorship, and we have to be attractive to business sponsors who want to put their name and their money behind us.
Did the PGA Tour buckle due to the backlash? Did Dustin get shafted by an unusual local rule? Should Juli have known to stay away from donuts?

I say yes to all three. And all because the past month in tour golf has been as odd as some of the rules.

−The Armchair Golfer