Tuesday, January 30

Jason Day Won Despite His Aching Back


The former World No. 1 went 72 holes and then another six holes in a sudden-death playoff that stretched into Monday to win the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. It was Day's first win since the 2016 Players Championship and lifted the Aussie back into the top 10 in the world rankings.

In another surprise, Day didn't expect to tee it up, as GolfChannel.com reported. He had an MRI less than two weeks ago after "throwing out his back."

"I never thought I was going to play," Day said.

The Aussie didn't tee it up in the pro-am and carded a 73 in the opening round. He kept going and going and ended up with his 11th PGA Tour title. Playing hurt and winning at Torrey Pines go together, as his pal Tiger Woods knows.

Day plans to tweak his golf swing in order to relieve pressure on his lower back.

"My set joints in the spine, through my constant swing, they got larger and larger," he said. "When they get bigger, they get closer to the nerve and when I throw my back out, then I get shooting pains down both legs."

Day hopes to still be playing when he's 50. "I just gotta keep myself strong, keep my core strong and just try and improve."

The Evolution of Country Club Life (Conclusion)

This is the final installment of a two-part series. Read Part 1.

By John Coyne

Copyright © John Coyne. Used with permission.

IN RICHARD MOSS'S The Kingdom of Golf in America, published in 2013 by the University of Nebraska Press, the author spends a long chapter on the rise of the modern touring pro, beginning, of course, with Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and Byron Nelson. One of the obstacles at the times was that the golf community accepted and honored amateurs more than they did professionals.

Moss cites an 1898 article in the magazine Outing suggesting that a golf contest was similar to prize fighting. He writes: "These sort of statements reflected the profound aversion to gambling among the middle and upper classes in America."

We all know pros at first were not even allowed in the clubhouse. A. W. Tillinghast in the August 1933 issue of Golf Illustrated wrote how pros weren't even allowed to dress like members. They were workers, not gentlemen.

The pro most credited with breaking the ban was Walter Hagen, who went into the locker room of the Midlothian Country Club at the 1914 U.S. Open and changed his clothes, violating a USGA ruling, an action that would become known as the "Midlothian Incident."

Chick Evans, according to the account in Stephen R. Lowe’s book, Sir Walter and Mr. Jones and the Rise of American Golf, said that not only Hagen used the lockers, but so did other pros, amateurs, as well as club members. Hagen never claimed in his life that he broke the barrier, but the ban was broken by Hagen at Midlothian and in England when Hagen shared a drink with the Prince of Wales, at the prince's invitation, inside the hallowed halls of St. Andrews. Another no-no for professional golfers.

However, it took until the mid-1940s before golf professionals -- led by Hogan, Snead and Nelson -- could earn enough money on the PGA tour to afford to leave the job of being a home pro.

While this was happening, as Moss points out in his book, golf was changing in other important ways.

Through the years golf resisted the concept of being a closed community. It is considered a democratic game that could be played by women and men, young and old, employing a handicap system that levels the playing field. Nevertheless, while a game for everyone, within private clubs it suffered from not having equal access for women and minorities.

As John P. Marquand writes in his novel Life at Happy Knoll, women were people but did not have a voice in the life of private country club. Not only women, but African-Americans, as well as Jews and Catholics.

When I grew up south of Chicago in the mid-1950s, I caddied as Midlothian Country Club women as well as Catholics were members. But there were at the same time, and later, country clubs on the north side of the city that barred Catholics, as well as African Americans and Jews, from membership. Old prejudices die hard.

Moss in his readable and knowledge-packed book traces the ups and downs of golf in the United States. The book is a long and informative look at the game, much like playing a par-5. Moss goes from the beginnings of the game in the 1880s and writes how golf has been affected by politics, economics and social changes.

He describes the development of the private club and public course, and the impact of wealth and the consumer culture on those who play golf and those who watch. He shows that factors like race, gender, technology, suburbanization and the transformation of the South that shaped the nation also shaped golf.

The book is in many ways a cultural history -- our history -- that, as Moss writes, "shows us golf as a community whose story resonates far beyond the confines of the course."

It is well worth a read during these winter months, when you can't go outside, tee it up and play away.

John Coyne is a bestselling author whose most recent golf novel is The Caddie Who Won the Masters. Learn more at John Coyne Books.

Friday, January 26

FEHERTY VIDEO: Why Jack Nicklaus Wore a Yellow Shirt on Sunday at 1986 Masters

THERE IS NOTHING TIMELY ABOUT this little anecdote on David Feherty's show other than I just discovered it in a Golf Channel email.

I know a lot about the 1986 Masters but I don't recall this snippet about the yellow shirt worn by Jack Nicklaus on that historic Sunday.

I guess nearly every little thing about that magical 18th major has become a part of golf lore.

Golf on TV: Farmers Insurance Open, Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic

TIGER WOODS IS THE BIG NEWS in the golf world this week. Woods is making his first start of 2018 at the Farmers Insurance Open. In addition, it's Tiger's first official tour event since the 2017 Omega Dubai Desert Classic nearly a year ago. Woods shot 72 and 71 in his first two rounds at Torrey Pines and is currently projected to make the cut.

Play in the second round was suspended at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Jamie Donaldson leads. Brooke Henderson leads after the first round of the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic.

The following information is from a Golf Channel press release.


Farmers Insurance Open
Dates: Jan. 25-28
Venue: Torrey Pines Golf Course (North & South Courses), La Jolla, Calif.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Saturday          2-3:30 p.m. (Live) / 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday            1-2:45 p.m. (Live) / 7:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)

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

Broadcast Notes:
Event format: The field will be split over both courses during the first two rounds, while the South Course will be utilized in the third and final rounds once a cut has been made.
Rahm defends: Jon Rahm finished three shots ahead of Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan to earn his first career PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Tiger Woods, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Day, Phil Mickelson, Brian Harman, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.


Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Dates: Jan. 25-28
Venue: Emirates Golf Club (Majlis Course), Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Friday              3:30-8:30 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          3:30-8 a.m. (Live) / 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday            3:30-8 a.m. (Live) / 10 a.m.-Noon (Replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Garcia defends: Sergio Garcia finished three strokes ahead of Henrik Stenson for his 12th career European Tour victory.
Headlining the field: Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Henrik Stenson, Thomas Pieters, Pat Perez, Martin Kaymer, Colin Montgomerie, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ernie Els.


Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic
Dates: Jan. 25-28
Venue: Ocean Club Golf Course, Paradise Island, Bahamas

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Live)
Friday              11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Live)
Saturday          3:30-5:30 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            3-5 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
LPGA Tour season kickoff: This week marks the first of 33 official events on the 2018 LPGA Tour, with events scheduled in 15 states and 14 countries around the world.
Lincicome defends: Brittany Lincicome defeated Lexi Thompson with a birdie on the first playoff hole to claim her seventh LPGA Tour win.
Headlining the field: Shanshan Feng, Lexi Thompson, So Yeon Ryu, I.K. Kim, Ariya Jutanugarn, Brooke Henderson, Danielle Kang, Michelle Wie and Brittany Lincicome.

Thursday, January 18

Golf on TV: Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, CareerBuilder Challenge, Mitsubishi Electric Championship

From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood lead the field at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, with Golf Channel scheduled to feature more than 20 live hours of coverage over the course of the event. On the PGA TOUR, Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson are in the field at the CareerBuilder Challenge in Southern California. The PGA TOUR Champions will kick off their 2018 season in Hawaii this week at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.


Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Dates: Jan. 18-21
Venue: Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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

Broadcast Notes:
Fleetwood defends: Tommy Fleetwood finished one stroke ahead of Dustin Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal to claim his second European Tour victory.
Headlining the field: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Martin Kaymer, Ernie Els and Thomas Pieters.


CareerBuilder Challenge
Dates: Jan. 18-21
Venue: PGA West (Stadium Course), La Quinta, Calif.

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

Broadcast Notes:
Swafford defends: Hudson Swafford finished a shot ahead of Adam Hadwin to earn his first PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Jon Rahm, Phil Mickelson, Patton Kizzire, Brian Harman, Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson, James Hahn, Patrick Reed, Adam Hadwin, Bubba Watson and Jimmy Walker.


Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai
Dates: Jan. 18-20
Venue: Hualalai Golf Club, Ka’upulehu-Kona, Hawaii

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         7-10 p.m. (Live) / 10 a.m.-Noon (Friday replay)
Friday              7-10 p.m. (Live) / 10 a.m.-Noon (Saturday replay)
Saturday          7-10 p.m. (Live) / 10 a.m.-Noon (Sunday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Langer defends: Bernhard Langer finished a shot ahead of Fred Couples to claim his 30th PGA TOUR Champions win.
Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Scott McCarron, Colin Montgomerie, Tom Watson, Vijay Singh, Jay Haas, Hale Irwin and David Toms.

Wednesday, January 17

A Spoonful of Tiger Hype

GOLF CHANNEL'S TIM ROSAFORTE REPORTS on Tiger Woods and his recent golf outing alongside former president Barack Obama, and also through the eyes of golf instructor Claude Harmon. The place was The Floridian.

The consensus: Tiger's a different person.

Tiger will begin his 2018 schedule next week at the Farmers Insurance Open in La Jolla, California.

Friday, January 12

VIDEO: Playing Golf with Childlike Joy

I WISH YOU THE BEST IN 2018. May it include a holeout from off the green!

But, even more, my wish is that we always remember that it's a game, and to play the game with joy, like a kid.

Thursday, January 11

Golf on TV: Sony Open in Hawaii, BMW South African Open, EurAsia Cup

From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. – World No. 4 Justin Thomas defends at the Sony Open in Hawaii, airing live and in primetime on Golf Channel. Ernie Els and Charl Schwartzel headline the field in their native country at the BMW South African Open. Two 12-player teams representing Europe and Asia will convene for the third edition of the EurAsia Cup in Malaysia.


Sony Open in Hawaii
Dates: Jan. 11-14
Venue: Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, Hawaii

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         7-10:30 p.m. (Live) / 2-5 a.m. (Friday replay)
Friday              7-10:30 p.m. (Live) / 1:30-5 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          7-10:30 p.m. (Live) / 2-5 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            6-10 p.m. (Live) / 11 p.m.-3 a.m. (Replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Thomas defends: Justin Thomas finished seven shots clear of the field to earn his fourth PGA TOUR victory.
Headlining the field: Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Marc Leishman, Xander Schauffele, Brian Harman, Kevin Kisner, Daniel Berger, Si Woo Kim, Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner.


BMW South African Open
Dates: Jan. 11-14
Venue: Glendower Golf Club, Ekurhuleni, South Africa

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         3-5 a.m. / 7-10 a.m. (Live) / 5-7 a.m. / Noon-5 p.m. (Replay)
Friday              5-7 a.m. (Tape delay) / 7-10 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          5-9:30 a.m. (Live)
Sunday            5-9:30 a.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Storm defends: Graeme Storm defeated Rory McIlroy on the third playoff hole to claim his second European Tour win.
Headlining the field: Ernie Els, Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace, Retief Goosen, Dylan Frittelli, Trevor Immelman, Mike Weir, Chris Wood and Graeme Storm.


EurAsia Cup
Dates: Jan. 12-14
Venue: Glenmarie Golf & Country Club (Garden Course), Shah Alam, Malaysia

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         11 p.m.-2 a.m. (Live)
Friday              11 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          11 p.m.-2 a.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Format: This is the third edition of the biennial competition featuring two 12-man teams representing Europe and Asia. The competition consists of six four-ball matches on Day 1, six foursome matches on Day 2, and 12 single matches on the Final Day.
Europe defends: The European team won in convincing fashion, 18 ½ - 5 ½ two years after the inaugural edition of the event ended in a 10-10 tie.
Team Europe: Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Paul Dunne, Ross Fisher, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Alex Noren, Thomas Pieters, Henrik Stenson, Bernd Wiesberger, Paul Casey, Alexander Levy, captain (non-playing) Thomas Bjorn.
Team Asia: S.S.P. Chawrasia, Gavin Green, Phachara Khongwatmai, Poom Saksansin, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Yuta Ikeda, Anirban Lahiri, Haotong Li, Byeong Hun An, Nicholas Fung, Sung Kang, Hideto Tanihara, captain (non-playing) Arjun Atwal.

Tuesday, January 9

DJ: The New Ultimate Driving Machine

IN HIS DOMINANT VICTORY AT the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Dustin Johnson hit his drives with a new TaylorMade M4 driver. I think he likes it.

During Sunday's final round, DJ smashed six drives that exceeded 370 yards. Two of the six broke the 400-yard mark, including the near ace on the 433-yard par-4 12th hole (above).

He won by eight strokes after shooting a 65 in the final round.

"I have a lot of confidence in my game," Johnson said. "I'm hitting the shots I want to hit."

The Evolution of Country Club Life (Part 1)

Embed from Getty Images
ABOVE: Fenimore Country Club, Scarsdale, New York, 1929.

By John Coyne

Copyright © John Coyne. Used with permission.

ONE OF MY FAVORITE WRITERS is someone I discovered in my caddie days. His name is John P. Marquand.

The first book of his that I read was Point of No Return published in 1949. At the time, Marquand was already famous for his spy novels about the fictional Mr. Moto. These books were turned into a series of films in the 1930s starring Peter Lorre.

I never read his spy novels, but in a burst of reading long into the night during high school, I read The Last George Apley, Melville Goodwin, USA, Sincerely, Willis Wayde. The books were mostly set in New England and in one way or another reflect his ambivalence about American society, particularly, the power of the old line elites.

This theme is again played out in a series of satiric short stories Marquand published in Sports Illustrated in the mid 1950s. These stories were later republished in 1957 as a book entitled Life at Happy Knoll.

The stories—written as a series of letters—humorously and seriously confronted the issues of an "old-line" country club as it tries to adjust to changing times and a competing "upstart" country club nearby. All of the letters are exchanges between members and the Board of Governors of Happy Knoll, with many letters to and from Albert Magill, President Emeritus of Happy Knoll.

Marquand's reflections on country club life came to mind recently as I was reading The Kingdom of Golf in America by Richard J. Moss, published in 2013 by the University of Nebraska Press.

In his book, Moss, who for many years was a professor of history at Colby College, and is the author of Golf and the American Country Club, published in 2001, explored the circumstances that led to the establishment of the country club as an American social institution.

He traces the evolution of country clubs from informal groups of golf-playing friends to "country estates" in the suburbs and eventually into public and private daily-fee courses, corporate country clubs and gated golfing communities. The book shows how these developments reflect shifts in American values and attitudes toward health and sport, as well as changing social dynamics.

Birth of the Country Club

The first golf country club was created in 1882 when James Murray Forbes, a railroad tycoon, held a dinner party for his gentlemen friends and associates at his home and introduced the idea of forming a club in the suburbs of Boston. It would become known as the Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. The golf course itself was built in 1893.

Moss writes that at first "clubs" were "little more than informal groups of friends playing golf in pastures and orchards."

By 1901 country clubs had developed all over the country, becoming "country estates" in the suburbs where, as Moss writes, "the prosperous registered their social status. The transformation of the club from country retreat to suburban playground went hand in hand with a widespread shift in attitudes toward health and sport."

Golf also benefited, as Moss points out, "from the advent of professional golf architects, the rise of public golf courses, increased discretionary time and income for many Americans, and a shift away from the Protestant ethic of deferred gratification toward values that justified increased leisure and pleasure."

Many of these shifts in society are captured in Marquand's novel Life at Happy Knoll. Marquand brings golf culture and socially changes down to a very human level and the situations that private clubs experienced with societal changes.
In one chapter entitled, "Are Women People at Happy Knoll?" Marquand has a letter from the wife of a member to the chairman of the Board of Governors. She starts with a complaint about the condition of the ladies' locker room, noting in the same paragraph that there are "unfortunately no women as yet on any Happy Knoll governing board." This begins her list of slights to the wives of members and sums up each one with the comment, "Are women people?"

In her long letter she goes on to make the point that Happy Knoll was founded by men who were "afraid of women who have ideas which are even remotely abstract." Then she writes, "Happy Knoll continues this outmoded practice, except for a growing number of enlightened young couples who share the burdens of marriage equally, including dish washing and the care and entertainment of infants."

Moss in his scholarly book focuses on the same issues that Marquand dealt with in his novel. Moss, however, makes the point that at the center of golf tradition is the idea that all should have access to the game.

He writes "Golf was a game, and a social and cultural institution, dominated by white businessmen."

He next describes how in the early 1950s country clubs began to change.

"It was clear that postwar affluence had unleashed other forces that were quickly and fundamentally transforming the golf community.

The changes that began in the early 1950s would reshape the golf community to the present day.


John Coyne is a bestselling author whose most recent golf novel is The Caddie Who Won the Masters. Learn more at John Coyne Books.

Thursday, January 4

Golf on TV: Sentry Tournament of Champions

From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla.  – The PGA TOUR returns to action this week as 2017 Player of the Year Justin Thomas is set to defend his title at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. The exclusive field of winners from the previous season convene at Kapalua Resort’s Plantation Course, with coverage airing live and in primetime on Golf Channel, Thursday through Sunday.


Sentry Tournament of Champions
Dates: Jan. 4-7
Venue: Kapalua Resort (Plantation Course), Kapalua, Hawaii

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

Broadcast Notes:
Thomas defends: Justin Thomas finished three shots ahead of Hideki Matsuyama to claim his third PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Xander Schauffele, Brooks Koepka and Marc Leishman.

Golf Channel Broadcast Team
Play by Play: Rich Lerner
Analyst: Frank Nobilo
Tower: Mark Rolfing / Curt Byrum
On-Course: Notah Begay / Jim “Bones” Mackay / Jerry Foltz

Wednesday, January 3

VIDEO: How Golf Changed the Life of a Man Suffering With Parkinson's Disease


Gary Smith was diagnosed with Parkinson's not long after the death of his father, who was also stricken with the disease. Smith tried seemingly everything in his battle but life kept getting darker and darker.

And then a trip to Scotland and the Home of Golf sparked an amazing turnaround.

Nice story from Tim Rosaforte and the folks at Golf Channel.

Tuesday, January 2

VIDEO: LPGA Players to Watch in 2018 and LPGA Tour Schedule

Embed from Getty Images

2017 WAS A GREAT YEAR in golf. What will 2018 bring?

Amy Rogers and Ron Sirak preview the 2018 season on the LPGA Tour. Who do they like?

Sirak's first pick might surprise you. Meanwhile, Rogers spotlights a young player who dominated the game until recently.

LPGA Video Preview

2018 LPGA Tour Schedule

Jan. 25-28 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic
Feb. 15-18 ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open
Feb. 21-24 Honda LPGA Thailand
March 1-4 HSBC Women's World Championship
March 15-18 Bank of Hope Founders Cup
March 22-25 Kia Classic
March 29-April 1 ANA Inspiration
April 11-14 LOTTE Championship
April 19-22 HUGEL-JTBC Championship
April 26-29 TBA
May 3-6 Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic
May 17-20 Kingsmill Championship
May 24-27 LPGA Volvik Championship
May 31-June 3 U.S. Women's Open
June 8-10 ShopRite LPGA Classic
June 14-17 Meijer LPGA Classic
June 22-24 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
June 28-July 1 KPMG Women's PGA Championship
July 5-8 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic
July 12-15 Marathon Classic
July 26-29 Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open
Aug. 2-5 Ricoh Women's British Open
Aug. 16-19 Indy Women in Tech Championship
Aug. 23-26 CP Women's Open
Aug. 30-Sept. 2 Cambia Portland Classic
Sept. 13-16 The Evian Championship
Sept. 27-30 Dime Darby LPGA Malaysia
Oct. 4-7 UL International Crown
Oct. 11-14 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship
Oct. 18-21 TBA
Oct. 25-28 Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship
Nov. 2-4 TOTO Japan Classic
Nov. 7-10     Blue Bay LPGA
Nov. 15-18 CME Group Tour Championship