Tuesday, August 28

VIDEO: Padraig Harrington Needs a Moment of Privacy at D+D Real Czech Masters

SOON TO BE 47, PADRAIG HARRINGTON had a good showing this past week on the European Tour. The three-time major champion finished runner-up to Andrea Pavan at the D+D Real Czech Masters. Harrington finished 20 under at Albatross Golf Resort in Prague.

"I'm seeing things about my game that I can improve and work on," Harrington told EuropeanTour.com. "I'm in a nice place. I just have to keep doing the good stuff and hopefully there'll be more tournaments like this ahead."

That camera operator was seemingly transfixed by Harrington, much to the Irishman's amusement.

Friday, August 24

There's a PGA Tour Intern at Ponte Vedra Beach Headquarters Named Island Green (No, Really)

ISLAND GREEN IS AN INTERN for the PGA Tour at tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, not far from TPC Sawgrass and its famous 17th hole.

From Golf Digest:
"I didn’t know too much," said Green of the Island Green at TPC Sawgrass. "I knew there was a golf course named Island Green in South Carolina, but I didn't know about the Island Green in general."
"I think we taught Island more about the island green during the interview process then he knew beforehand,” said Jim Clarke, the tour's Senior Director of Human Resources who also oversees the internship program.
Island Green will be a junior at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina.

THE MATCH: Tiger vs. Phil on Thanksgiving Weekend in Las Vegas

THE TIGER WOODS-PHIL MICKELSON match is on. The golf titans (or old warhorses?) will square off on Thanksgiving weekend at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas. It's a $9 million winner-take-all match.

"We're going to have fun doing something that's never been done before," Tiger said, "and have on pay-per-view and doing something, trying to showcase golf and showcase golf in a different way."

Judging from social media, many are not enthusiastic about this event.

Associated Press golf writer Doug Ferguson said on Facebook:

"Tiger v. Phil feels phony to me. The whole Tiger-Phil thing is 10 years past its due date. Phil joins Twitter the day of the announcement. That was about as genuine as the “trash talk” that is sure to follow. Pay-per-view. Makes you wonder how many networks had a chance to take it and said no. And then to steal the name from 'The Match' featuring Hogan and Nelson vs. Ward and Venturi."

"Tiger vs Phil. Does anybody really care?" asked GolfShake.com.

I would watch this match if it was on TV. Pay per view? It seems doubtful at the moment.

Wednesday, August 15

Jack Nicklaus Walks 36 to Watch Son Play in 2018 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach

JACK AND BARBARA NICKLAUS FOLLOWED son Gary as he competed in the 2018 U.S. Amateur at Spyglass Hill and Pebble Beach, where Jack won the national amateur in 1961.

From Geoff Shackelford at Golfweek:
Jack and Barbara Nicklaus—both USGA Bobby Jones Award winners—walked all 36 holes at Spyglass Hill and Pebble Beach, with Jack only occasionally taking a ride in a USGA security cart. He mostly hoofed it, resting on an old-school shooting stick like his old writer pal Herbert Warren Wind. He posed for cell phone photos, did plenty of meeting-and-greeting in player dining, and even got the occasional "do you remember me?" types, including one promoting his forthcoming instruction book. As always, Nicklaus was gracious even though he never took an eye off of Gary's play.
Gary was eliminated after rounds of 78-78. He hit the ball pretty well but putted poorly. The Golden Bear offered tips about Pebble's greens but it didn't seem to help.

"I'm 49 years old and I'm still not listening to my dad," Gary said.

Sunday, August 12

Brooks Koepka Holds Off Tiger Woods to Win PGA Championship

BROOKS KOEPKA CLAIMED HIS SECOND MAJOR of the season by firing a final-round 66 at Bellerive Country Club to win the 100th PGA Championship by two shots over a resurgent Tiger Woods.

Woods closed with a 64 to finish at 14 under despite spraying tee shots into the thick rough and trees lining the fairways. He only needed 23 putts on the soft greens.

Koepka never wavered as the 14-time major winner and Masters champion Adam Scott made their runs on the final nine. The 28-year-old with a placid demeanor has made history, first winning back-to-back U.S. Opens and now being in the company of only a few golf greats who have hoisted the U.S. Open and Wanamaker trophies in the same calendar year.

Koepka said, "For some reason the majors get my attention more. Every shot is so important. You have to be patient and I always do that very well in the majors."

Wednesday, August 8

Aussie Joe Kirkwood's 14 Points for Golf

By John Coyne
Copyright © John Coyne. Used with permission.

RECENTLY I HAVE BEEN READING Joe Kirkwood's autobiography, Links of Life. Kirkwood was an Australian golf professional who won 13 times on the PGA Tour and was also known as a trick shot artist. His book was published privately in 1973. Kirkwood told his story to Barbara Few and the story has an introduction by Lowell Thomas, the famous news commentator, one-time chairman of the American Golf Hall of Fame and a friend of Kirkwood.

On the back jacket cover are words of praise about Kirkwood from Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon.

Ike writes, "My golf game shows the benefit of his magic touch….Joe Kirkwood—a real artist."

Nixon is quoted, "I recall vividly the day he taught me some of the things I know about golf when we met at Quaker Hill, and I shall always be grateful for his kindness on that occasion."

In his introduction, Lowell Thomas asks Kirkwood, while they are playing a round of golf at the Western White House at San Clemente, if he recalled President Wilson's famous Fourteen Points which Wilson believed could lead to world peace and then Lowell Thomas suggested, "How about summing up golf in the same way?"

Kirkwood took the challenge and dictated 14 points that Thomas had framed on the wall of the locker room at the Western White House golf course.

Thomas added the 14 points to his introduction of Links of Life. Here they are:

Joe Kirkwood's 14 Points

1. Relax, relax, relax!

2. When addressing the ball, stand almost straight, sitting back slightly on your heels.

3. Extend hands, arms and club out straight. That is, don’t drop your hands as though putting them in your lap.

4. Grip should always be the same. If you want a hook or a fade, a low shot or a high one simply alter your stance.

5. For instance if you want a high shot, open your club face and stand behind the ball.

6. Get biggest arc possible. Slow backswing. Slight hesitation at top.

7. Stay almost flat footed through swing until after ball is in flight and club head is out where it should be on the follow through. It’s okay to sway a light as you pivot, but your head must not move too much. On your pivot be sure to bring left shoulder way under.

8. Imagine you are looking underneath the ball. Avoid closing club face.

9. Whatever you do don’t let your body get ahead of your hands and the club.

10. Don't fight the wind. For example, on the Quaker Hill course, in playing the 7th where the wind often is from the West, hit a fade to the left and allow wind to bring the ball around. This way you will get more distance.

11. On pitch and chip shots keep arms still. Arms, hands, club all on piece.

12. On pitch and chip shots use slow easy rhythmical stroke, with a follow through. Don’t snap at the ball!

13. In rough, or any bad lie, open club face in order to cut through trouble.

14. In getting out of traps spank the sand with club head. Use light touch; easy stroke. Don’t bang at it. After rain, or in any hard sand, use a very light touch, caress it.

Relax! Be Loose! But not loose as a goose.

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

2018 PGA Championship Notes and TV Schedule

THE 100TH PGA CHAMPIONSHIP BEGINS on Thursday at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri. This will be the final PGA Championship played in August. Next year the PGA will follow the Masters in the majors lineup, teeing off at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, New York, on May 16, 2019.

Designed by famed course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr., Bellerive hosted the 1992 PGA Championship won by Nick Price and has also been the scene of other majors such as the 1965 U.S. Open won by Gary Player.

The last time the PGA Tour visited Bellerive was in 2008 for the BMW Championship and the start of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

The Favorites
Here they are according to bookmaker Bovada.

8/1: Dustin Johnson
12/1: Rory McIlroy
14/1: Justin Thomas
20/1: Jason Day, Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth
22/1: Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose
25/1: Jon Rahm
28/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Tiger Woods
33/1: Francesco Molinari
40/1: Tony Finau, Patrick Reed
50/1: Patrick Cantlay, Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson
55/1: Paul Casey, Alex Noren
60/1: Xander Schauffele
66/1: Marc Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama, Joaquin Niemann
75/1: Thorbjorn Olesen, Webb Simpson
80/1: Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Kyle Stanley                             
100/1: Daniel Berger, Keegan Bradley, Sergio Garcia, Branden Grace, Brian Harman, Charley Hoffman, Zach Johnson, Kevin Kisner, Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Gary Woodland

Notable Groupings
Following are noteworthy groupings for Thursday and Friday, including Thursday tee times. (All times Eastern.)

No. 1
8:56 a.m.: Padraig Harrington, Jimmy Walker, Vijay Singh
9:07 a.m.: Bryson DeChambeau, Andy Sullivan, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
1:42 p.m.: Chris Wood, Alex Noren, Matt Kuchar
1:53 p.m.: Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Adam Scott
2:04 p.m.: Tommy Fleetwood, Satoshi Kodaira, Marc Leishman
2:15 p.m.: Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka, Francesco Molinari
2:26 p.m.: Gary Woodland, Sergio Garcia, Kevin Kisner
2:37 p.m.: Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose
2:48 p.m.: Aaron Wise, Paul Casey, Zach Johnson
2:59 p.m.: Louis Oosthuizen, Thomas Pieters, Bill Haas
3:10 p.m.: Lee Westwood, Joaquin Niemann, Daniel Berger

No. 10
8:17 a.m.: Jim Furyk, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele
8:39 a.m.: Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Ian Poulter
8:50 a.m.: Henrik Stenson, Danny Willett, Pat Perez
9:01 a.m.: Phil Mickelson, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley
9:23 a.m.: Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods
2:32 p.m.: Thorbjorn Olesen, Charl Schwartzel, Patrick Cantlay

100th PGA Championship Details
Dates: August 9-12
Course: Bellerive Country Club
Par: 70
Yardage: 7316 yards
Purse: $10.5 million
Winner’s share: $1.89 million
Field: 156 players
Defending champion: Justin Thomas

TV Schedule
All times Eastern.
Thursday, August 9: TNT 2 p.m.-8 p.m.
Friday, August 10: TNT 2 p.m.-8 p.m.
Saturday, August 11: TNT 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; CBS 2 p.m.-7 p.m.
Sunday, August 12: TNT 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; CBS 2 p.m.-7 p.m.

Live Streaming Coverage
Live streaming coverage is available at PGA.com or on the PGA app.

Thursday, August 2

VIDEO: Bryson DeChambeau Says 'I Was Completely Embarrassed'

NBC SPORTS' MIKE TIRICO SITS DOWN with Bryson DeChambeau after the young tour pro's meltdown on the European Tour handed Richard McEvoy his first victory in 285 starts.

DeChambeau explains the situation, including all the context (his finish), that can't be captured in the few frames of him breezing by McEvoy with only a hint of a handshake and congratulations.

DeChambeau is thoughtful and eloquent. He owns up to what happened, understands how bad it looked, but also fills us in on what the camera and social media fail to reveal. Good interview.

By the way, this instant vilification is a problem, isn't it?

Every little thing is caught on video and magnified on social media. Some of it is newsworthy and even important, but a lot of it is plain silliness.