Monday, November 30

Aussie Champ Matt Jones Recalls His Idol, Greg Norman

1987 Flashback: Greg Norman meets Matt Jones for the first time. Matt won the Australian Open Golf yesterday. Channel...
Posted by 7 News Sydney on Sunday, November 29, 2015

MATT JONES WON THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN on Sunday, edging World No. 1 Jordan Spieth and fellow Aussie Adam Scott by a shot at the Australian Golf Club of Sydney.

I admit that I was most interested in posting the above video of Jones meeting his idol Greg Norman in 1987. Jones was a boy of 6; he is now 35 and an Open champion in his homeland.

It wasn't easy, though. I guess it never is.

Jones had nervous moments and stumbles during the final round ("It was stressful out there"), but nor was Spieth especially sharp. The two men in the final group fired 73 and 71, respectively. Meanwhile, Scott surged with a 65 and Rod Pampling carded a course-record 61 to finish fourth.

"I've watched the Australian Open many years growing up," Jones said, "watching Norman especially because he was my idol.

"Just to have my name on that trophy with Norman, it's something I'll never forget. It's a dream come true for me and something I can't have taken away from me."

(H/T Michael Collins)

Friday, November 27

Telltale Signs You Watch Too Much Golf

(From the archives.)

ARE YOU A GOLF TV WATCHING ADDICT? Find out. Check out the Golf Digest slideshow "15 Signs You Watch Too Much Golf on TV" by Alex Myers.

Here are a few of my favorites:

"Hello, friends."
"You greet everyone by saying, 'Hello, friends.' Even if they aren't your actual friends. Even if it's just one friend."

"You often start whispering like Roger Maltbie for no reason."

"You actually know who is leading the FedEx Cup standings before September."

"You often forget to shower during weeks of major championships."

"When you check into a hotel, your first question is, 'What channel is the Golf Channel?'"

"The Masters theme song is your ringtone—and was the first dance at your wedding."

Our Turn

We could think of more "signs" that didn't make Alex's list. Try some. Here are a few of mine:

You know the names and roles of the broadcast team for European Tour events. (And you pull all-nighters watching some of those events live.)

You talk to the TV, making comments, and two seconds later you hear what you said on your TV. (Actually, this happens frequently to me. My wife just shakes her head, if she happens to be in the room.)

You know every golf cliche, golf saying and famous golf quote since the beginning of time.

You wish you could caddie for some of the young players because you know the golf courses (from seeing them on TV for a million years) far better than they do.

My Golf TV Habit

First of all, I try to peak during the majors. That's when I watch a lot. (Sometimes I feel like I need to take off the Monday after the Masters.) But, overall, I've cut back on watching golf on TV in recent years. Now excuse me because I need to check what's on Golf Channel.

Thursday, November 26

Golf on TV: Emirates Australian Open and Alfred Dunhill Championship

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


Emirates Australian Open
Dates: Nov. 25-28
Venue: The Australian Golf Club, Sydney, Australia

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday     8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live) / 1-5:30 a.m., 2-7 p.m. (Thursday Replays)
Thursday         8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live) / 1-5:30 a.m., 2-7 p.m. (Friday Replays)                       
Friday              8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live) / 1-5:30 a.m., 2-7 p.m. (Saturday Replays)
Saturday          8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live) / 1-5 a.m., 2-7 p.m. (Sunday Replays)

Broadcast Notes

Australian Open licks off The Open Qualifying Series for 2016: The official process for The 145th Open at Royal Troon begins this week with the Australian Open. The Australian Open is the first of 14 events in nine countries that will comprise The Open Qualifying Series for 2016. The top-3 finishers in the top-10 not already qualified will receive exemptions into the 2016 Open Championship.

Spieth defends: World No. 1 Jordan Spieth defends his title one year after closing with a final round 63 to win the 2014 Australian Open.

Headlining the field: Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Steven Bowditch, Darren Clarke, Bryson DeChambeau, Marc Leishman, Jarrod Lyle, George McNeill, Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott, John Senden, Peter Senior, Jordan Spieth and Lee Westwood.

* * *


Alfred Dunhill Championship
Dates: Nov. 26-29
Venue: Leopard Creek Country Club, Malalane, South Africa

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         5:30-7:30 a.m. (TD), 7:30-10:30 a.m. (Live)
Friday              5:30-7:30 a.m. (TD), 7:30-10:30 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          5:30-9:30 a.m. (Live)
Sunday            5:30-9:30 a.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes
Grace defends: Branden Grace defeated Louis Oosthuizen be seven strokes for his fifth career European Tour win and his second Alfred Dunhill Championship victory.

2016 Race to Dubai begins: The Alfred Dunhill Championship is the first of 45 official events in the 2016 Race to Dubai on the European Tour and the second-to-last event on the 2015 Sunshine Tour.

Tuesday, November 24

Jason Day's Letter to Younger Self

JASON DAY HAS HAD QUITE AN IMPROBABLE life and climb. And he's still only -- what? -- 28. Not exactly a geezer.

Day's story can melt the most cynical among us. He captured a portion of his biography in a "Letter to My Younger Self" at The Players' Tribune.

It begins:
Dear 12-year-old Jason,
I'm telling you the truth, but you're laughing.
There's no chance, you're thinking. No chance. You're thinking I'm crazy. You're thinking that nothing, right now, could be further from possible. You're staring out at that vast, blue Beaudesert sky — it's all sky — and you just can't see it.
But trust me on this one.
You're going to be the No. 1 golfer in the world.
No — I'm serious, mate. No. 1. The top of the mountain.
So, if you're looking for some inspiration as you begin this Thanksgiving week (if you're in America), read Jason's entire letter. It's good stuff.

Also, in case you missed it, below is "The Jason Day Story" produced by his sponsor RBC. It's very good.

Monday, November 23

Rory McIlroy: 'I Guess I Saved the Best for Last'

By Brian Keogh

Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.

News from Brian Keogh's
Irish Golf Desk.
EVEN THE BEST IN THE WORLD need constant motivation and stimulation and there's no doubt that Rory McIlroy got that in spades in 2015. The impressive way he closed out his third Race to Dubai title in four years by winning his DP World Tour Championship marks him out as a special talent.

The arrival on the scene of Jordan Spieth and Jason Day can only be good for McIlroy. But the fact that he mentioned "putts" or "putting" some 16 times in his post Dubai press conference is certainly an indication of his mindset.

"For me, it seems like the more pressure I'm under or the more it means, the better I putt, which is a nice thing to have," he said. "I feel like my game and my putting has been gradually progressing throughout these last few weeks. It was nice to hole (sic) some putts over the weekend there that I needed.

"But I know if I putt like this and I putt like this regularly, this is what can happen, because as I said at the start, my ball-striking has been there all throughout this Final Series, and even before that, even coming back from the injury, my ball-striking was never the thing that I was worrying about...

"I feel like the last few events, I've come off the course a lot of times frustrated because I really feel like I could have done better and I put myself in the position to do better.

"But I guess I saved the best for last. I feel like I finally showed this week what was in there. I just needed to find something to be able to let it out and thankfully this week I was able to do that."

In other words, if I putt well, it's game over folks.

With four wins from 20 starts this year, McIlroy has never had a better year in terms of success rate. That he didn't win one of the three majors he played irked him no end and missing the Open though injury was a blow.

It's perfectly reasonable to expect more brilliance from Rory in 2016, especially if that putter stays warm.

Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.

Friday, November 20

Meeting Trick-Shot Artist Wedgy Winchester

I MET LARRY "WEDGY" WINCHESTER IN JUNE in Seaside, Oregon, where he and his wife run a small inn. Not only did my wife and I happen to stay there, but I learned that Wedgy has quite an interesting history as a golf professional, traveling the world as a trick-shot artist.

This talented fellow also won the 1984 Long Drive Championship -- with a 60-inch driver! Wedgy's winning drive measured 319 yards, 14 inches. (Read the story in the New York Times.)

The below photo of Wedgy and me was taken at Gearhart Golf Links. I watched Wedgy tee off and he striped it down the middle of the 1st fairway. I had several great conversations with Wedgy during my stay on the Oregon Coast.

If you're in the area, look him up. Wedgy is a nice man and a terrific golf ambassador.

Wedgy and yours truly in Gearhart.

Thursday, November 19

Tiger Woods: 'This Is Something I Want to Do'

TIGER WOODS CARES ABOUT THE RYDER CUP. And if anyone questions that commitment, Tiger has already signed on as a vice captain for the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team. In fact, Tiger might care more about the Ryder Cup than he ever has, especially since his fitness to compete at a high level is jeopardized by a slew of injuries, surgeries and recoveries.

The captaining phase marks a new beginning and what might be a career transition for the winner of 14 major championships. I expect Tiger will make yet another comeback, but his physical condition and competitive abilities are two large questions marks.

In addition to Woods, U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III also named Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker as vice captains. The three men join Tom Lehman, who was appointed as Love's first vice captain in February.

"To welcome four vice captains of this caliber is a giant first step toward preparing the 2016 team for success," Love said at "Tom, Jim, Steve and Tiger have over 50 years of combined Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup experiences that they are eager to share. They'll also be my eyes and ears from event to event next year on TOUR. That's invaluable, and as captain, I am grateful for their commitment, dedication and passion to win."

"I'd like to thank Davis for his confidence in me and for my selection as a Ryder Cup vice captain," Tiger said.

"This is something I want to do. I will continue to do whatever I can to help win the Cup back. Once I'm fully healthy, I'd like to try to make the team too, but either way, I'm very excited to work with Davis, the other vice captains and the players to get a U.S. victory."

Love will name a fifth vice captain later on.

Wednesday, November 18

LPGA Finale: Ko vs. Park, Battle of Titans

By Golf Channel Communications

The LPGA Tour wraps up its season with the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, as nine players have a mathematical chance of claiming the season-long Race to the CME Globe prize. World No. 1 Lydia Ko and World No. 2 Inbee Park each have recorded five victories in 2015, and will automatically win the race with a victory this week.

The nine LPGA Tour players with a mathematical chance to win the season-long race to the CME Globe are: Lydia Ko (No. 1); Inbee Park (No. 2); Stacy Lewis (No. 3); Sei Young Kim (No. 4); Lexi Thompson (No. 5); Amy Yang (No. 6); So Yeon Ryu (No. 7); Anna Nordqvist (No. 8) and Shanshan Feng (No. 9). (The top three will automatically win the race with a victory this week.)

Ko and Park each have recorded five victories in 2015. Currently, Ko also holds a narrow lead over Park in the Rolex Player of the Year and money title rankings, while Park leads Ko in the Race for the Vare Trophy, given to the player with the lowest scoring average.

Ko defends: Lydia Ko defeated Carlota Ciganda and Julieta Granada on the fourth playoff hole to earn her third victory of the 2014 season and capture the season-long Race to the CME Globe.

Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis, Sei Young Kim, Lexi Thompson, Amy Yang, So Yeon Ryu, Anna Nordqvist and Shanshan Feng.

CME Group Tour Championship
Dates: Nov. 19-22
Venue: Tiburon Golf Club, Naples, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         4-6:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 12:30-3 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)
Friday              4-6:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 1:30-4 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)
Saturday          4-6:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 1:30-4 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)
Sunday            **2-4 p.m. (Live on ABC)**

Tuesday, November 17

Stocking Stuffer: USGA's Holiday Ticket Offer


FAR HILLS, N.J. – The United States Golf Association (USGA) has announced a special holiday offer for early buyers of tickets to the historic 2016 U.S. Open Championship at Oakmont Country Club.

In celebration of the holiday season, the USGA will ship a free personalized brass bag tag to those who purchase tickets for the 116th U.S. Open between Oct. 26 and Nov. 30. The bag tag, which features the distinctive logo of the 2016 U.S. Open Championship at Oakmont, will be engraved to the buyer’s specifications. Free shipping will apply to all tickets purchased before Nov. 30, with actual tickets mailing in early May 2016.

[Orders can be placed at USGA Holiday Ticket Offer]

The 2016 U.S. Open will be contested June 13-19 at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club, marking the record ninth time the club has hosted the championship. To enhance spectator viewing, the USGA is capping daily ticket sales at 30,000. Many fans have already purchased tickets in the hope of seeing whether Jordan Spieth can defend his 2015 U.S. Open title earned at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.

Daily and weekly ticket packages for the 116th U.S. Open Championship, with prices starting at $50 and $450, respectively, are available for purchase at and All tickets include access to the grounds of Oakmont Country Club, as well as complimentary parking and shuttle bus transportation to and from the championship admission gate. U.S. Open ticket types include:

1895 Club Tickets: Located near the Main Admission Gate and Main Merchandise Pavilion, the 1895 Club is an allinclusive ticket option in a custom-designed, air-conditioned hospitality pavilion. The area will feature live televised coverage, ample seating and upscale food service, including breakfast, buffet lunch with hot entrees, snacks and full bar service.

Trophy Club Tickets: Also located near the Main Admission Gate, the Trophy Club is an air-conditioned pavilion featuring live network coverage of the championship in a sports bar-like setting with a variety of food and beverage options available for purchase.

Gallery Tickets: General admission to the championship grounds of Oakmont Country Club, as well as access to all concession facilities and grandstands throughout the course.

Junior Tickets: Available on-site at Will Call during the championship for juniors ages 17 and under.

All tickets are available at USGA websites – or – or via a mailed application. Each buyer may purchase up to four tickets per day while supplies last. Specific questions, as well as requests for a printed ticket application, can be directed via email to, or via phone at 1-800-698-0661.

Monday, November 16

G-Mac Triumphs in Mexico

THE YEAR 2015 HAS BEEN DISAPPOINTING for U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell (aka G-Mac), but the Northern Irishman has kept grinding and it finally paid off today in Mexico.

The Associated Press reported:
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico (AP) -- Graeme McDowell ended one of his worst calendar years with one of his best shots. He hit an approach to 3 feet for a birdie on the 18th hole Monday to win the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in a three-man playoff. 
McDowell, who moved to 7th in the FedExCup standings with his win, closed with a 66 to finish at 18-under 266 which he thought would be only good enough for second place.

Friday, November 13

VIDEO: The Practice of Practicing With Fred Shoemaker

FRED SHOEMAKER HAS A UNIQUE APPROACH to golf, and golf coaching. He is the founder of Extraordinary Golf, which is the name of his golf school founded in 1990 and is also the title of his popular book that published about two decades ago.

Scotty Shoemaker (Fred's nephew) told me in an email, "As a coach, Fred has over 30 years, 42,000 lessons and thousands of schools/workshops under his belt. He has a unique way of coaching that focuses on awareness and bringing out a person's innate abilities."

That's definitely true.

You can sample Fred's unorthodox methods in the above video and by also watching him coach Golf Channel Morning Drive's Damon Hack here.

Thursday, November 12

Golf on TV: OHL Classic, Lorena Ochoa Invitational, BMW Masters

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


OHL Classic at Mayakoba
Dates: Nov. 12-15
Venue: El Camaleon Golf Club Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         1-4 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-9:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday              1-4 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-9:30 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          1-4 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-9:30 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday            1-4 p.m. (Live) / 7-10 p.m. (Replay)

Broadcast Notes

Headlining the field: Keegan Bradley, Angel Cabrera, Erik Compton, Jason Dufner, Charley Hoffman, Smylie Kaufman, Russell Knox, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, Graeme McDowell and Patrick Rodgers.

* * *


Lorena Ochoa Invitational
Dates: Nov. 12-15
Venue: Club de Golf Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         4-6 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Friday Replay)
Friday              4-6 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Saturday Replay)
Saturday          4-6 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Sunday Replay)
Sunday            4-6 p.m. (TD) / 10 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)

Broadcast Notes

Christina Kim defends: Christina Kim defeated Shanshan Feng on the second playoff hole for her third career LPGA Tour win and her first since 2005.

Headlining the field: Na Yeon Choi, Cristie Kerr, Sei Young Kim, Christina Kim, Minjee Lee, Brittany Lincicome, Azahara Munoz, Inbee Park, Suzann Pettersen, Gerina Piller, So Yeon Ryu, Lizette Salas, Angela Stanford and Lexi Thompson.

* * *


BMW Masters
Dates: Nov. 12-15
Venue: Lake Malaren Golf Club (Masters Course) – Shanghai, China

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday     10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live) / 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Thursday Replay)
Thursday         10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live) / 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Friday Replay)
Friday              10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live) / 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Saturday Replay)
Saturday          10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live) / 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Sunday Replay)

Broadcast Notes

Siem defends: Marcel Siem defeated Alexander Levy and Ross Fisher with a chip-in birdie on the first playoff hole for his fourth career European Tour win.

Headlining the field: Paul Casey, John Daly, Victor Dubuisson, Sergio Garcia, Branden Grace, Emiliano Grillo, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Martin Kaymer, Danny Lee, Li Haotong, Shane Lowry, Paul McGinley, Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Danny Willett.

Wednesday, November 11

South Koreans Are 'Queens of the Greens'

IF THERE'S ANY DOUBT THAT SOUTH KOREANS dominate women's golf, just check the world rankings.

South Korean Inbee Park, who has won seven majors since 2008, is ranked No. 2 behind top-ranked Lydia Ko. Americans Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson hold down the third and fourth spots. Beyond that, it's mostly South Koreans.

Hyo-Joo Kim is ranked ninth
in the world.
In fact, when it comes to the world rankings, there are six South Koreans in the top 10, 12 in the top 25, and 38 in the top 100. Another fact: Koreans have won 14 of 30 LPGA tournaments this season.

People wonder why.

AFP addressed the topic in "Queens of the greens - how South Koreans rule women's golf," which published today in the Bangkok Post.
More considered opinions cite a combination of cultural forces: a strong work ethic, driven parental support and a grinding education system that encourages the sort of repetitive, focused effort that suits the quest for golfing perfection. 
But Korean LPGA executive vice chairman Kang Choon-Ja believes the real answer lies in a top-quality domestic tour, which allows players to begin their international careers almost fully formed. 
The prominence of South Korean women on the world stage is down to "the continued emergence of star players... through an extremely competitive domestic tour structure that gives them experience of top-class tournament play," Kang told AFP.
U.S. Solheim Cup captain Juli Inkster was quoted as saying, "Their work ethic, fundamentals, techniques are amazing, What I love about Korea is the way the people, the players, they have so much respect for women's golf."

The competition in South Korea is called "absolutely cut-throat" and the hours, physical conditioning and practice devoted to the sport would surely cause Ben Hogan to nod his head in admiration were he still alive.

(H/T Bernard Daily)

Tuesday, November 10

Jack Nicklaus to Receive SI Muhammad Ali Legacy Award

"I can not think of a more deserving person for this special
inaugural award than the Golden Bear, himself."
Muhammad Ali

By Time Inc.

NEW YORK, NY - Today Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated announced that Jack Nicklaus has been chosen to receive the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. The award was created in 2008 to honor athletes and sports figures that have embodied the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy as vehicles for changing the world over their lifetime. Earlier this year the award was renamed the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award in tribute to the iconic boxer and humanitarian.

Jack Nicklaus at Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony
earlier this year.
"It gives me great pleasure to know the first Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award will be given to one of sports' biggest living legends, Jack Nicklaus," said Muhammad Ali.

"Jack’s passion for excellence on the golf course is only surpassed by his love and passion for children and their well being. For decades, he has used his celebrity to bring awareness and support for children’s health. I can not think of a more deserving person for this special inaugural award than the Golden Bear, himself."

Nicklaus, who this year became just the seventh athlete in history to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, is being honored for a lifetime of success and influence as one of the greatest golfers of all time. He is a record-setting champion of the sport who has also made philanthropy a central part of his legacy. He joins Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder and driving force behind the Special Olympics, and Earvin Magic Johnson, renowned entrepreneur, philanthropist and social and political activist, as Legacy Award honorees. 

"There are very few in the sporting world who are more synonymous with the word ‘legacy’ than Muhammad Ali, so to have his name attached to the prestigious Legacy Award is so fitting," said Jack Nicklaus.

"He is not only known universally as the 'Champ,' but he has been a wonderful global ambassador for sports and our country. This is a marvelous way to honor his contributions past and present, and to ensure that generations going forward will have the opportunity to learn, respect and admire all Muhammad Ali has done for the sporting world. That is why to be the first recipient of the Ali Legacy Award is both humbling and an honor."

The award presentation will take place during SI’s annual Sportsman of the Year celebration on Tuesday, December 15, in New York City. During this evening SI will also recognize the 2015 Sportsman of the Year and SI Kids’ SportsKid of the Year along with other transcendent individuals from the 2015 year in sports. 

Monday, November 9

Lorena Ochoa's Murky Hall-of-Fame Status

LORENA OCHOA WON 27 TOURNAMENTS, including two majors, in seven full seasons on the LPGA Tour. Ochoa also won Player of the Year and the Vare Trophy (for low scoring average) four times each.

Lorena Ochoa
(Pablo Lancaster-Jones)
Yet when's Randall Mell asked about her Hall-of Fame status late last week, Ochoa said: "I have no idea. I've heard no news. I did my best as a player, and it's not in my hands. I have no idea how the rules work or about any new changes or the possibility for me to be inducted."

How can this be?

For one thing, there are two different Halls to consider: the World Golf Hall of Fame and the LPGA Hall of Fame. The latter one is especially tough to enter. But if you're thinking like me, then a no-go or a lengthy delay for Ochoa is nutso.

Mell reported:
Remarkably, as of today, Ochoa still hasn't satisfied the LPGA Hall of Fame's rigorous criteria, even though she has far surpassed the demanding points-based requirements. Notably, Ochoa, 33, is happily retired and expecting her third child, a boy, in January. 
While Ochoa accumulated 37 Hall of Fame points, exceeding the 27 required, she did not meet the tour membership requirement for induction. LPGA Hall of Fame criteria state that inductees "must" have been an "active" member for 10 years to be eligible for induction. Ochoa was an active member for only seven full seasons before announcing her retirement early into her eighth season in 2010.
In fairness, the criteria and selection process for both Halls are apparently evolving. At the moment, there's more of a focus on tuning up the process at the World Golf Hall of Fame. That said, it's hard to fathom Ochoa not getting into both Halls -- and sooner rather than later.

Ochoa will be the hostess this week at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico City. Christina Kim is the defending champion.

Friday, November 6

'Shanghai With the Boys'

Thursday, November 5

Diaz's Sunnier View of Stevie's Autobiography

Jaime Diaz
THE REACTION WAS SWIFT AS IT always is in the digital age, and Steve Williams certainly fed the media frenzy by using "slave" to describe how he sometimes felt as a longtime caddie for Tiger Woods, but there's a lot more to Out of the Rough than Stevie's "dirty laundry," according to Golf Digest senior writer Jaime Diaz.

(I have not read the book but I did write about the initial reaction to it here.)

As you might know, Diaz was Hank Haney's collaborator on another controversial book about Tiger Woods -- The Big Miss.

Earlier today, Diaz wrote:
As Tiger Woods' caddie for 13 of his 14 major championships, Williams by writing his book has become -- variously and inclusively to many -- a betrayer, a disgruntled former employee out for revenge, a sell-out for money, a self-aggrandizer with an overinflated view of his own importance, a breaker of the unwritten code of confidentiality .... 
That assessment is simplistic, unfair and wrongheaded. I read the book and was immediately surprised at the amount of interesting detail. I devoured large chunks, only occasionally losing focus.
Diaz called himself a nerd with a library of 1,000 golf books and wrote that "even in the bad ones, I find something that satisfies my curiosity and in some way adds to my knowledge and perspective."
By that personal criterion, Williams' book is exceptional -- original, comprehensive, enlightening, honest.
Diaz added that the use of the word "slave," while unfortunate, helped create buzz for the book, which, of course, publishers like very much. The early release of an excerpt with that incendiary term was no accident.

But Diaz also said: "For all the focus on how Williams presumably goes out of his way to skewer Woods, I found his chronicling of his entire experience with Tiger to present a reasonably balanced portrait."

Read Diaz's full review at

Wednesday, November 4

Timeless Swing Advice From the 'Peckerwood Kid'

By John Coyne

Copyright © John Coyne. Used with permission.

THE GREAT THING ABOUT READING GOLF BOOKS is that we can still keep learning from the pros, even if those great players are now playing in the hereafter and not on tour.

I recently picked up a copy of The Education of a Golfer by Sam Snead, who passed away in 2002. The autobiography was written by Sam with Al Stump and published by Simon and Schuster in 1962. The subtitle reads: He tells how a young hillbilly (himself) became golf’s biggest money winner. He passes his education along to you in the most practical -- and enjoyable -- golf lessons ever written.

True enough.

Take, for example, the first chapter entitled the "Peckerwood Kid." In this opening, Sam writes: "I was a hill kid. They called us 'peckerwoods,' and I could run a coon or a fat bear up and down ridges until he was ready to drop and then shoot him for the table."

At 23 he gets his first real -- paying -- job at the Greenbrier Hotel at White Sulphur Springs across the state line in West Virginia. Soon after being hired, he gives a playing lesson to Alva Bradley, then president of the Cleveland Indians.

At the time, Snead recalls in his book, he was still experimenting with his own swing and often used what he taught others to help his game. Such was the situation then with Bradley. We can all learn from what and how he taught Alva Bradley.

What I noticed first, just by reading the book, is how simple and direct Snead's instructions are. Using plain language, and not a lot of complex theories, he taught his student the fundamentals of the swing.

Teaching a Middle-Aged Baseball Man

Snead (and most pros) understand that aging golfers -- and Alva Bradley was over fifty -- have a restricted left side that keeps them from pivoting freely. Also, Bradley had a short back swing and because of his sizable paunch, swung so that the clubhead came back to the ball on an outside-in angle, a cut-across, that resulted in a banana-ball slice.

Still young Sam knew, and writes in his book, "Older men can't make as full a golf pivot as young players, but they can turn to a far greater degree than they suspect. First, they should loosen and relax their left side. Then they should use plenty of shoulder-turn action. Their hips may not be so supple, but they can still get those shoulders around and set themselves for a good cocking of the wrists."

With Bradley, Snead used baseball references, so the club's owner was comfortable with the lexicon that he knew, and told Alva, "Baseball players keep their shoulders practically on the same level when they swing….Now a golf swing's anything but flat: you want the right shoulder going up and the left shoulder coming down around under your chin on the backswing. On the downswing, it's just the opposite. Like a teeter-board."

Of Bradley's other problem, the loosening fingers of the left hand, Snead asked, "Would any of your ballplayers change their grip while in the middle of throwing to a base?"

By making these two swing adjustments Snead said, he corrected Bradley's slice and added 40 yards to his tee shots. Bradley broke 90 for the first time and began to play consistently in the low 80s.

Overjoyed by his success, Bradley gave Snead a $100 tip (no small amount in the late '30s), and told Sam to buy new clubs.

"But I needed clothes and transportation even more than clubs," writes Snead. At the time, Sam said, "All the clothes I owned could be packed in a shoe box." His wardrobe consisted of two white shirts, a sweater, and a pair of gray wool pants.

So the Peckerwood Kid went out and bought "a tin-lizzie jalopy, a dark suit, and a sports jacket."

Snead's book is full of good advice, sweet nostalgia of a simpler world, as well as an entertaining narrative of how a kid from the most unlikely of backgrounds could not only make the tour, but dominate it as well. The Education of a Golfer is golf history about a great player, and for all of us who love golf, it is also an instructional book that can help our game. It is really two educations in one: Snead's and ours.

John Coyne is a bestselling author of three golf novels and more than 20 other books. Pay him a visit at John Coyne Books.

Tuesday, November 3

Stevie's 'Out of the Rough' Sounds a Little Thin

STEVE WILLIAMS, THE MAN ON THE BAG for all but one of Tiger Woods's 14 major victories, has published an autobiography called Out of the Rough. Whatever you think of Williams, he was undoubtedly one of the best -- if not the best -- tour caddie of his generation.

Available at Amazon
This book was an opportunity to reveal a lot to golf fans; not just about Tiger Woods, but also by documenting a long tenure looping alongside a handful of golf greats that, besides Woods, included Raymond Floyd, Greg Norman and Adam Scott.'s Michael Bamberger, in a Monday review, said that Williams has largely failed, calling Out of the Rough "trite, superficial and vindictive."

That's unfortunate.

Bamberger concluded:
I fear that my disappointment in Williams's book says more about me as a golf fan than about Williams as writer. I have devoted too much of my adult life to watching Tiger Woods, thinking about Tiger Woods and worrying about Tiger Woods. I wish I didn't care so much, but who can control care? Woods wore a mantle that matters to a great number of us, a mantle that got handed down from Hogan to Arnold to Jack to Watson to Norman to Tiger. What I want -- what I think many of us want -- is to know whether the emotion we placed in this athlete who had the capacity to change the game was well-placed or not. 
I turned to Stevie Williams to take me to a higher ground. But I'm still sitting right here in my desk chair.
I don't expect to read the book, but maybe you will. I certainly wouldn't discourage you. There must be some interesting observations, but, as many people know, anything negative or sensational about Tiger often drowns out everything else.

And, finally, Steve Williams has a history of score-settling, which doesn't help.

Monday, November 2

Mickelson Wins PGA Assistant Championship

THEY PLAYED THE NATIONAL CAR RENTAL PGA Assistant Championship this past week in Port Lucie, Florida. And, yes, a guy named Mickelson clinched the title on Sunday after carding a 1-under 71 in the final round, calling it "the biggest win I have ever had."

No, not Phil. (You already knew that, right?) Andy.

Andy Mickelson is a PGA apprentice at Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville, Illinois. He shot 68-65-68-71 for a total of 272, or 16-under par, on the PGA Golf Club's Wanamaker Course.

In and out of golf, Mickelson, 34, was working for a packaging company about a year ago when he got a phone call from Mistwood. That call got him out of the cubicle and back into the game he loves, but he never imagined this.

"It is just surreal," Mickelson said. "I am having trouble fathoming this, to be honest. All week, I was in the mindset of 'shot-to-shot.' I did not get ahead of myself. I just kept my head down."

Adam Rainaud of Massachussetts was the runner-up.

Unlike that other Mickelson, this Mickelson was not brimming with confidence when he arrived in Port Lucie.

"I just wanted to make it to the weekend," he said at "That was my goal. I had a good year in our Section, but there was no way I saw myself winning. No way was I going to go 16-under for four days. I have not played a big four-round tournament in nearly 10 years."