Thursday, May 31

PGA TOUR VIDEO: 'This Usually Only Happens in Your Dreams'; Hideki Matsuyama Flies Up the Leaderboard at the Memorial Tournament

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA MADE A BIRDIE-BIRDIE-BIRDIE-BIRDIE-EAGLE run on the back nine at Muirfield Village during Thursday's opening round of the Memorial Tournament. After bogeys at 10 and 11, Matsuyama played the last seven holes in 6-under par to card a 65. He is tied for the lead with Abraham Ancer of Mexico and 19-year-old Joaquin Niemann of Chile.

The first round is still in progress.

Wednesday, May 30

VIDEO: Goats as Caddies in Rural Oregon


A man is determined to invent a special saddle so goats can become caddies. The first tryout is a goat named Bruce.

Watch if you have five minutes to spare.

2018 U.S. Women's Open TV Schedule and Tournament Notes


THE 2018 U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN at Shoal Creek in Alabama will receive at least 20 hours of live network coverage. Fox will air 10 hours of coverage on the weekend. FS1 will air 10 hours over the first two days of play. All times EDT.

Date/Day                          Time                        Network             Program
May 31/Thursday             3-8 p.m.                   FS1                    First Round
June 1/Friday                    3-8 p.m.                  FS1                    Second Round
June 2/Saturday                2-7 p.m.                   Fox                    Third Round
June 3/Sunday                  2-7 p.m.                   Fox                     Fourth Round

Live Streaming Coverage
The 2018 U.S. Women's Open will receive at least 24 hours of live streaming coverage on

What the Winner Receives
The champion will receive a gold medal, custody of the Harton S. Semple Trophy for the ensuing year and an exemption from qualifying for the next 10 U.S. Women’s Open Championships.

2018 Champion
23-year-old Sung Hyun Park from the Republic of Korea won her first major championship at Trump National Golf Club, finishing two strokes better than amateur Hye-Jin Choi.

Title Defense
Since 1991, two players have successfully defended their championship (Annika Sorenstam, 1996; Karrie Webb, 2001), and only three other players have finished in the top 10 in the championship following their victory (Juli Inkster, 2002; Patty Sheehan, 1992; Meg Mallon, 1991).

Championship History
This is the 73rd U.S. Women's Open Championship. The first U.S. Women's Open, played at Spokane (Wash.) Country Club in 1946, was the only one conducted at match play. The Women's Professional Golfers Association (WPGA) conducted the inaugural championship, won by Patty Berg. The WPGA conducted the Women’s Open until 1949, when the newly formed Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) took over operation of the championship. The LPGA ran the Women's Open for four years but in 1953 asked the United States Golf Association to conduct the championship, which it has done ever since.

The youngest winner of the U.S. Women's Open is Inbee Park, who won the 2008 championship at the age of 19 years, 11 months, 18 days. Babe Didrikson Zaharias, who won the 1954 Women's Open at age 43 years, 6 months, is the oldest winner.

In 1967, Catherine Lacoste, daughter of French tennis player Rene Lacoste and 1927 British Ladies Amateur champion Simone Thion de la Chaume, became the only amateur to win the U.S. Women's Open. Seven other amateurs – most recently Hye-Jin Choi in 2017 – have finished as runner(s)-up.

Wednesday, May 16

'Arnold Palmer: Homespun Stories of The King' By Chris Rodell From Triumph Books

THERE'S A NEW ARNOLD PALMER BOOK that offers a hometown perspective on "The King."

Here's a description from the publisher:

In Arnold Palmer: Homespun Stories of The King (Triumph Books, May 15, 2018), Latrobe, PA resident and personal friend of Palmer's Chris Rodell offers a new take on the legendary figure.

Available from local and national
retailers throughout the US.
Drawing on more than 100 interviews conducted over decades of acquaintance, Rodell delves into Palmer's character away from the game, examining Palmer's relationship to his hometown and its people. The insights and anecdotes showcase a different side of Palmer, giving fans a glimpse of the King passing up his throne for a barstool, Magnolia Lane for Main Street and the big stage for the small town.

Highlights include:

  • A heartfelt foreword from 9-time major championship winner Gary Player
  • Stories depicting Palmer's devotion to his fans, and the mountains of zany autograph requests filtered through the local post office
  • The Palmer Timeline: milestones, trivia, news clippings and other irreverent tidbits from a truly remarkable American life
  • Why Palmer loved his hometown club more than any of the famous courses around the world
  • Palmer's legacy, in Latrobe and beyond, in the words of those who knew him best

Arnold Palmer: Homespun Stories of The King introduces fans not to the iconic personality they've long admired, but to the neighbor they never knew. Rodell's perspective is equal parts journalism and fan mail, combining a professional approach with a relatable, accessible voice. Both golf historians and the younger generation of fans will find value in this enlightening, engaging portrait of Palmer.

Chris Rodell's writing has appeared in publications including Sports IllustratedEsquireMen's HealthGolf and Arnold Palmer's Kingdom Magazine.

Thursday, May 10

#LiveOverPar: Tiger, Phil and Rickie Struggle at The Players Championship

THE THURSDAY WINNER OF THE HYPED GROUPING of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler at The Players Championship was TPC Sawgrass.

Tiger grinded out an even-par round of 72. Rickie carded a 74. Put Phil down for a 79. Ouch.

USGA Celebrates Fifth Anniversary of PLAY9


LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. - As part of its ongoing efforts to grow the game within local golf communities, the United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced plans to celebrate the fifth year of its successful PLAY9 program.

Since its debut in 2014, PLAY9 has focused on encouraging more people to play more golf, more often. The program aims to showcase the nine-hole round as an ideal solution for both avid golfers and newcomers alike to get out and play in a time-friendly and engaging way.

This year, in collaboration with its Allied Golf Association network, the USGA will host and invite local communities to participate in dedicated regional PLAY9 days each month, beginning on May 9.

Golfers can find a golf course in their community that offers a nine-hole rate at The course finder identifies nine-hole facilities as well as 18-hole golf courses that offer a nine-hole rate.

Community PLAY9 events will also be held in markets associated with the USGA's championships, including Middle Island, N.Y. (near the site of the U.S. Open); Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Senior Open); Wheaton, Ill. (U.S. Senior Women's Open); Pebble Beach, Calif. (U.S. Amateur); and Charleston, S.C. (next year’s U.S. Women's Open).

"The PLAY9 program offers a fun entry point into the game for newcomers while providing a way for golfers to balance their love of the game with their demanding schedules," said Mike Davis, USGA CEO. "We have seen the impact to date and the awareness it has built around enjoying nine holes with friends and family. Together with our friends in golf, we’re finding new ways to welcome more golfers and support a positive future for the game."

Since the program's inception, PLAY9 has continued to positively impact golf communities and engage golfers nationwide:
  • Nearly 24 percent of golfers* reported that they participated in a PLAY9 program in 2017, a significant increase from 2015 (17 percent)
  • 54 percent of single digit handicappers reported that they participated in a PLAY9 program in 2017, up from 32 percent in 2015 
  • 70 percent of golfers agree with the statement, "Nine-hole rounds are a great way to try golf"
According to the National Golf Foundation, 88 percent of all public golf courses in America currently offer a nine-hole rate, averaging less than $30 per round. Nine-hole scores made up around 8 percent of all scores posted to the USGA GHIN system over the past four years (2014-2017), an increase from an average of 6 percent from 2010-2013.

Monday, May 7

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Jason Day Banks 12th PGA Tour Win at Wells Fargo Championship


I probably said that earlier this year when Day won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. But it's worth saying again after his second PGA Tour victory of the season.

"In the final round of the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship, Day wowed the crowd in his Green Mile performance to seal the win," noted the PGA Tour, "but Aaron Wise made his presence known as he [finished 10 under] to tie for second."

Day's 12th PGA Tour win vaulted him from 14th to seventh in the Official World Golf Ranking.

"I had no idea where the ball was going today, especially off the tee," Day admitted. "I missed a lot of fairways, missed a lot of greens."

He added: "My short game stood the test, which was nice. This was probably one of the best wins I've ever had just because of how hard everything was today."

Wednesday, May 2

VIDEO: European Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjorn Pays a Surprise Visit to Stephen Atkinson

Below is the clever letter from Stephen Atkinson that went viral and prompted the visit from European Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjorn.

A Magnificent Seven (Conclusion): Spike Kelley at the 1971 Q-School and His Life in Golf

This is the final installment of a series on players from the 1971 Q-School. Read Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6 and Part 7. Nearly a half century later John Coyne tracked down Allen Miller, Lanny Wadkins, Leonard Thompson, Sam Adams, John Mahaffey, Steve Melnyk and Spike Kelley. How had pro golf and life turned out for these seven men?

By John Coyne

Copyright © John Coyne. Used with permission.

ONE OF THE YOUNG GUNS WHO DID NOT QUALIFY at the 1971 Q-School was Spike Kelley, the assistant pro at a nine-hole course in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Kelley, who hadn't been able to putt all summer because the greens had burned out on his home course, shot 80 in the first round of the tournament. The only thing he had done right that day, he said, "was buy a Coke on the tenth hole."

Spike Kelley is head pro and co-owner
of Goshen Plantation Golf Club
in Augusta, Georgia.
Spike would shoot 80, 74, 72, 74 and then a 71 in the fifth round, tying for the 23rd spot. He needed a 72 or 73 on his last round to earn his card. That, too, caused him concerns.

"Me, on the tour! I'll have to buy a golf bag."

The one he was using at Palm Beach was borrowed. "A member at the club gave it to me when I qualified so I'd look like a golfer."

Spike could not put it together the last day and faded with 79, for a total of 450, six shots too many. His cheerfulness, which had made him a favorite of the few spectators who came every day to camp on the 9th and 18th greens or walk a few holes in the sun, didn't leave him. It hadn't been a wasted week for Spike Kelley.

"After all," he said, "I got to play on a great golf course and fly on a jet plane."

And he would be back the next year when the PGA Q-School moved west.

"I hope we play in California. I've never been to Disneyland."

What Spike also remembers fondly about the 1971 Q-School was that it was the first time he had ever been in a fairway bunker. "I played a wood out of the sand and hit it on the green. I was thinking then, 'Well this isn't too hard.'"

While Florida did prove hard, Spike kept trying and qualified two years later and made the PGA Tour. He would be on the tour from ’1973 to 1979 and have his best year in 1975 when he finished second at the Tallahassee Open and won the Buick Open.

But the tour was not for Spike.

He returned to Oklahoma and became the home pro at Shawnee Country Club for 15 years before building the Traditions Golf Club in Oklahoma City, where he worked until finding on the Internet that Goshen Plantation Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, was for sale.

''I looked at about 12 courses, and this was by far the best," Kelley said.

At 54, Spike Kelley and his partner, Richard Finley, bought Goshen Plantation Golf Club in Augusta from American Golf Corp for $1.8 million.

''It's an absolute gem," said Kelley, who moved from Shawnee to be the co-owner and head pro.

The Goshen Plantation Golf Club was completely remodeled by Kelley in 2001. Since then, it has been voted the "Best Public Golf Course" by the Augusta Magazine, and one of the top 10 public courses in Georgia by Georgia Golf Magazine. In 2009, Golf Digest named it the "Best Place to Play."

Kelly is not only the pro, but he is out early most mornings to mow fairways and greens and greet the early players at the first tee. His good will, charm and sense of humor are still the strong point of this kid who came out of Oklahoma and made a career and life as a professional golfer.

No small achievement for anyone.

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