Thursday, November 11

Gypsy Hill: Autumn Golf in the Shenandoah Valley

10th hole at Gypsy Hill, looking from the green to the tee.
SINCE ABOUT A YEAR AGO, I've lived in Staunton, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley. What golf I do play, I play mostly at Gypsy Hill, Staunton's city golf course. It's located in Gypsy Hill Park.

Gypsy Hill was built in 1919, when America's first golf boom was underway. The routing and contour make it pretty apparent it's a very old course, fashioned during the era of hickory clubs and early dimpled golf balls.

I've been on a lot of golf courses in my life, and Gypsy Hill is easily the hilliest course I've played. The yardage is short on the scorecard -- under 6,000 yards with a par of 71 -- but it plays much longer. There are many blind and uphill approach shots for which I must add two clubs, sometimes more. The greens vary but tend to be small and sloping.

6th hole at Gypsy Hill.
Similar to what Ben Hogan once said about the Olympic Club in San Francisco, Gypsy Hill is the longest short course I've ever played. It can be deceptively hard, especially if you stray from the tight fairways.

I was out playing Gypsy Hill on Monday with my brother. That's when I snapped a few pics with my phone.

The colors were still gorgeous, but the leaves will be gone soon.

Monday, November 1

'BORN ON THE LINKS: A Concise History of Golf' By John Williamson


The title is BORN ON THE LINKS: A Concise History of Golf. It's written by John Williamson, an author and lawyer, as well as the founder of Argyle Publishing.

I share Mr. Williamson's interest in golf history, so it was easy for me to say yes when offered this title by his publisher, Lyon's Press. But I was surprised to learn the book was published in 2018, so it's not so new after all.

The paperback edition is 273 pages broken into 14 chapters and four appendices. I noticed the book has a positive rating on Amazon.

At first glance, and with some spot reading, I believe the author has accomplished his goal of putting forth a concise history of the game. There's a good amount of information packed into fewer than 300 pages. Mr. Williamson has a straightforward, just-the-facts style.

The book begins at the beginning, in the 15th century when a golf-like sport migrated from the Netherlands to Scotland. The first three chapters highlight the early history of the game leading up to golf coming to America.

I enjoyed reading some early rules written for a tournament played at Leith Links in Scotland in 1744. There were a total of 13 rules. They were titled "Articles and Laws in Playing at Golf."

No. 10 says, "If a ball is stopped by any person, horse, dog, or anything else, the ball so stopped must be played where it lies."

Some rules were artfully written: "He whose ball lies farthest from the hole is obliged to play first."

This was obviously the precursor to "you're away" and "you're still away." But wouldn't it be fun to occasionally say, "You're obliged to play first"?

The flow of the chapters makes sense. The author has incuded a chapter each about African Americans and women, whose golf stories are not as well known but are still illuminating. Even with barriers to entry, golf has attracted many people from many backgrounds. I have yet to play a sport or game that's more difficult than golf, which, I suspect, is a large part of the attraction.

As six-time Open champion Harry Vardon once said:

"Golf is the master of us all."

Tuesday, October 26

Guest Column: Throwing Away Tournaments to Avoid Making the Winner's Speech

 By Keith McLaren

Keith McLaren is a 59-year-old fanatical golfer living in St Andrews. He writes about golf at The Kilted Caddie.

I OFTEN SAIL DOWN THE ROAD to Edinburgh to catch up with the merry butchers at Wm Christie in Bruntsfield.

Keith McLaren
Not only do I get golf tips from Angus and hear his new jokes, but I tap into the Edinburgh grapevine and give them the gossip from across the water. A vital exchange.

Now Angus is the real golfer but Bob was a caddie on the European Tour, when aged fourteen he chucked his academic studies at James Gillespie High School. (I say academic studies in the broadest sense possible.) Bob headed for the school of life, carrying the bag of his infamous uncle, David Robertson from Dunbar, who later became renowned for getting banned from the tour for cheating.

Nevertheless, the guy could hit a golf ball and made some success in his short-lived professional life.

However, Bob told me the other day that he actually threw away two tournaments which he was winning, the Northern Open and the Coca Cola at North Berwick. And all because he was terrified of making the winners speech!

He seemingly got to the sixteenth ahead in the last round in both and said to Bob, "I’m going to throw it. I just can’t do the speech." Bob remonstrated with him and said, "Just say thank you."

But he couldn't get over that fear. Kind of stage fright in the extreme. But rather defeating the purpose of playing professional golf, right?

* * *

On a more positive note I've been accepted back into Mortonhall as a country member which I'm delighted about.

I started playing golf there aged ten and have so many fond memories of the place. On a recent visit it was great to see my Dad's pals still going strong.

What a happy place it is for me. And indeed what a great and beautiful golf course it is too, settled next to the Braid Hills, afire with yellow furze all summer long.

Siegfried Sasoon used to escape there while convalescing during the war and there is indeed a hole, the fourth called "Poet's Walk." It is all a bit of a dream of a course to be honest, and I'm very glad to be back to it.

Saturday, October 9

Guest Column: The Unworkable Format at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

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By Keith McLaren

Keith McLaren is a 59-year-old fanatical golfer living in St Andrews. He writes about golf at The Kilted Caddie.

THE DUNHILL IS OVER AGAIN. The valiant attempt to bring pros and amateurs together playing in a top level tournament.

But does this format work?

In theory yes, but in practice I would say a resounding no.

I didn't go down to watch this year apart from a mere five minutes when I stopped by the 18th to see if the pros were driving the last green with the strong backwind. And indeed they were, which is fairly impressive.

However, that was all that was impressive about the two pros, Haydn Porteous and Jacques Kruyswijk. For as I watched them stride onto the left of the 18th green, I noticed that one of the pro's amateur partner was trying to hit his second shot from just before the road. But the two pros were just not in the least bit interested. They weren't looking. And that is shocking, no matter what stakes these guys are playing for.

I was not in the least bit surprised by what I saw, as I'd had my own first hand experience of this sort of behaviour as I'd caddied for David Walsh a few years ago, when he was paired with the up and coming Matt Wallace. What an eye opener that was.

Mr Wallace swore under his breath at the other amateur on the fifth green of the Old after he thought he'd spoken too loudly while he was playing a shot. I say swore under his breath, he actually cursed the wee chap fairly loud and clear.

Mr Wallace was also pretty ignorant in his behaviour towards his caddie at one point and indeed, when David missed a very short putt, I think in the third round at Kingsbarns on about the 12th after Matt had dropped five shots in three holes and fell off the leaderboard, he openly sighed and walked off the green making his view very clear about David's short miss.


Friendly enjoyable golf? No.

But I suppose it's a tough old world out there and to be honest I'm rather glad I'm not too heavily involved with it at that level. I actually heard that a caddie I know declined to take part this year as he found the whole thing too stressful.

I get that. I would actually cringe at the thought of having to play in it as an amateur. No thanks.

Wednesday, September 15

Ladies European Tour Player Meghan MacLaren on What the Media Won't Say

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AT LPGA.COM, LADIES EUROPEAN TOUR player Meghan MacLaren published a thoughtful essay on the ups and downs of competing at a high level in a professional sport like golf.

MacLaren is a two-time winner on the Ladies European Tour.

Some things seem to get clearer with age, and experience.

Others get more blurry.

I remember overhearing a pro golfer a couple of years ago describe the majority of our profession as "highly functioning depressives," and without wanting to make light of real mental health issues, I don't think it's far off the mark. The customary asterisk fits here – a lot of professional golfers have a very privileged lifestyle, and I don't take for granted for a second the fact I get to do what I love for a living. Regardless of how my writing comes across, I wouldn't change it. But.

Hanging on to the vision is like trying to hang on to a cliff face sometimes.

Read more.

Tuesday, September 14

SI | Morning Read: '11 Reasons the Ryder Cup Is the Most Compelling Event in Golf'

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After a one-sided half century that saw the Americans dominate, the Great Britain & Ireland team expanded to a European team in the late 1970s. Then along came European Captain Tony Jacklin and Spanish superstar Seve Ballesteros. In the blink of an eye, the Ryder Cup flipped.

Now it's a flag-waving, fist-bumping, match-play brawl that Europe wins most of the time.

Hawkins writes, "The Europe-vs.-USA, match-play buffet has become pro golf's most beguiling and compelling event, a source of endless food for thought among the game's primary fan base, many of whom wonder how something so easy to love can be so hard to explain."

And those 11 reasons?

No. 4 stood out:

4. All that handwringing. We search for reasons as to why so many superior U.S. teams have been clobbered by the Europeans. For God's sake, the PGA of America appointed a task force to examine the predicament after the debacle in 2014. Here’s an idea fellas: make more 15-footers. Hole a few putts that mean something. Strap on some guts down the stretch and quit throwing up on the 18th hole. That will solve the problem. Guaranteed. Right? People in high places keep searching for answers, as if to make their concern more overt, which is silly, but silly ain’t a felony. It makes for good copy.

I think Hawkins might be on to something.

The last time I checked, committees can't make putts. (Or task forces.)

Thursday, September 9

Ryder Cup: Strick's Captain Picks and the Two Teams


The matches will be played September 24 through 26 at Whistling Straits, a Pete and Alice Dye creation alongside Lake Michigan in Haven, Wisconsin.

Home-course advantage matters. The Europeans won the last time in France. The Americans were victorious in Michigan in 2016. But, to be honest, Europe has dominated the matches in the 21st century, winning seven of nine Ryder Cups. Another European win on U.S. soil would not be much of an upset based on recent history.

European Captain Padraig Harrington will make his three picks after this week's BMW PGA Championship.

U.S. Team
Captain Steve Stricker
Colin Morikawa
Dustin Johnson
Bryson DeChambeau
Brooks Koepka
Justin Thomas
Partick Cantlay
Daniel Berger
Harris English
Tony Finau
Xander Schauffele
Scottie Scheffler
Jordan Spieth

European Team
Captain Padraig Harrington
Jon Rahm
Rory McIlroy
Victor Hovland
Paul Casey
Tryrell Hatton
Matt Fitzpatrick
Tommy Fleetwood
Lee Westwood
Shane Lowry
Sergio Garcia
(three picks to be named)

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Wednesday, September 8

PGA of America: Jon Rahm Awarded Player of the Year and Vardon Trophy

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Jon Rahm of Spain captured his first PGA of America Player of the Year Award, presented by the PGA of America for excellence by a PGA TOUR professional. Rahm capped the sweep of season-ending PGA of America awards by also claiming the Vardon Trophy, presented annually since 1937 to the touring professional with the lowest adjusted scoring average.

In a unique season that featured six major championships, Rahm tallied a career-best 75 overall Player of the Year points, five more than Bryson DeChambeau. A year ago, Rahm finished second to 2020 PGA of America Player of the Year Justin Thomas by 10 points.

Rahm won just once in 2020-21, but made it count, winning the U.S. Open (and its 30 victory points) in June at Torrey Pines in San Diego. He also split 10 victory points with Kevin Na at the just-completed Tour Championship, as they tied for the lowest score (266) under PGA of America rules that reward the low scorer to determine the PGA Player of the Year.

DeChambeau finished with 70 points for his highest-ever PGA Player of the Year performance, while Patrick Cantlay (60) was third and Collin Morikawa (54) fourth. Rahm, 26, garnered 20 points apiece for winning the season’s money title, based upon events prior to the 30-player FedEx Cup finale, and the adjusted scoring average.

In the Vardon Trophy race, Rahm finished with a 69.300 adjusted scoring average based upon 86 complete rounds. Dustin Johnson was runner-up at 69.619, followed by Louis Oosthuizen (690.714), DeChambeau (69.728) and Cantlay (69.736).

The Vardon Trophy, named by the PGA of America in honor of legendary British golfer Harry Vardon, requires a minimum of 60 rounds, with no incomplete rounds, in events co-sponsored or designated by the PGA Tour. The adjusted score was computed from the average score of the field at each event.

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Tuesday, September 7

Team Europe 'Put Its Foot on the Gas' to Win Second Consecutive Solheim Cup

THE SOLHEIM CUP CONCLUDED MONDAY at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. The underdog walked away with the Cup.

Team Europe, which entered play Saturday as a heavy underdog to Team USA, put its foot on the gas early, winning three of the first five singles matches and earning a half point in another before hanging on late as the Americans did their best to rally.

In the end, Team Europe earned a 15-13 victory, defending the Cup for just the second time in the history of the matches. It was also Europe’s second victory in the last three matches conducted on American soil after an 18-10 victory in 2013 at Colorado Golf Club.

"I think women's golf definitely was the big winner," said Team USA Captain Pat Hurst, "along with Team Europe."

The matches drew more than 130,000 people.

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Monday, September 6

PGA TOUR HIGHLIGHTS: Patrick Cantlay Wins FedEx Cup and $15 Million

PATRICK CANTLAY WON THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP and FedEx Cup on Sunday. It was his sixth victory on the PGA Tour.

Jon Rahm finished runner-up at East Lake.

As the FedEx Cup leader coming into the week, Cantlay was spotted at least a two-stroke advantage on the field at the season-ending event. He needed it to edge Rahm by a stroke and collect the $15 million purse.

"It was the longest lead I've ever held," said Cantlay, "but I just tried to stay, day after day, in the present, and I did an amazing job of that this week because the last couple days I made some mistakes I don't usually make and I was able to really center myself and hit a lot of good shots when I needed to." 

He added: "It's such a great honor because it's all year and I played so consistent all year and just caught fire the last couple of weeks."

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Friday, September 3

Patrick Reed on Recent Hospital Stay: 'I Was Battling for My Life'

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PATRICK REED SHOT A 2-OVER 72 in the first round of the season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake. Not great, but nothing compared to his five or six day ordeal in a Houston-area hospital beginning August 19.

According to Reed in media accounts, he contracted bilateral pneumonia, a potentially fatal illness that settles in the lower lobes of both lungs. Vaccinated for COVID-19, it's unclear whether Reed was infected with the virus when admitted to the hospital.

Reed told the media he was tested upon leaving the facility.

"I tested negative," he said.

Hospital personnel encouraged Reed to reach out to his family, although he wasn't allowed to see his wife or others in person.

The Masters champion said, "The only thing that was going through my mind is, I'm not going to be able to tell my kids goodbye. I'm not going to be able to tell them I love them. I'm not going to be able to tell my wife that I love her and give her a hug."

He added, "It definitely puts you in a dark space when you're in there, especially those first two days. I mean, I was battling for my life."

Unable to travel by plane, Reed trekked from Houston to Atlanta in a van and said "no" when asked if he'd be playing in the Tour Championship if it wasn't a Ryder Cup year.

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Monday, August 30

Patrick Cantlay on the Putts That Won the BMW Championship: 'I Needed All of Them'

NO, IT WASN'T A MAJOR, but yesterday's duel between Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau at the BMW Championship had major-like implications.

Cantlay emerged victorious after a six-hole sudden-death playoff at Caves Valley. It was a master class in pressure putting.

I could sit here for a long time trying to remember someone who putted as well as Cantlay under those circumstances. I give up. He made so many he had to make. It was ridiculous.

With the putter in his hand and ice in his veins, Cantlay delivered one clutch putt after another to survive the final three holes of regulation and six tense holes of a sudden-death playoff, finally winning with a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole.

He closed out his 6-under 66 with an 8-foot par putt on the 16th, an 8-foot bogey putt on the 17th after a tee shot into the water, and a 20-foot birdie on the 18th to force a playoff. Twice on the 18th in the playoff, where DeChambeau had a 30-yard advantage off the tee, Cantlay made par putts from 6 feet and 7 feet.

The most important putt was the last one.

"But they all mattered, I guess, the same," Cantlay said. "I needed all of them."

Getting back to some of those major-like implications:

With the win, Cantlay is the first three-time winner on the PGA Tour this season.

He knocked out Bryson DeChambeau, the Max Baer of the PGA Tour.

He heads to this week's finale, the Tour Championship at East Lake, as the FedEx Cup leader.

He played himself onto the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Finally, he also earned a new nickname from fans: "Patty Ice."

"That's the first time I heard it," Cantlay said. "But I got it all week."

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Sunday, August 29

The USA Completes Comeback to Win the 41st Curtis Cup Match


The USA completed an impressive comeback to win the 41st Curtis Cup Match with a dominant final day singles performance at Conwy Golf Club in Wales.

The USA, captained by Sarah Ingram, recovered from a three-point deficit after the opening day to surge to a convincing 12 ½ - 7 ½ victory over Elaine Ratcliffe's Great Britain and Ireland team. The Americans took a firm grip in today's singles winning six of the eight matches.

In a remarkable twist of sporting fate, the winning point was secured by Rachel Kuehn, whose mother Brenda achieved the same distinction in the 1998 Curtis Cup Match at Minikahda and was on hand to see her daughter follow in her illustrious footsteps.

A day that had initially promised so much for the GB&I team, with the likes of Hannah Darling, Charlotte Heath and Caley McGinty taking early leads, steadily began to slip away. A tide of red began to wash across the leaderboard as Brooke Matthews, Rachel Heck and Allisen Corpuz took control of their matches.

Matthews secured the first point for the Americans with a 3 and 2 win over Heath and Heck soon followed up with a 3 and 1 result against Ireland’s Lauren Walsh.

Darling was never behind in her match with Jensen Castle and was 3 up with four to play but errant drives on the 17th and 18th cost the Scot and Castle secured what had seemed an unlikely half point. Kuehn then saw off the challenge of Scotland's Louise Duncan with a two-hole win to clinch the match.

England's McGinty flew the flag for GB&I with an excellent 4&3 victory over Gina Kim. Her compatriot Annabell Fuller battled all the way in her match with Emilia Migliaccio but lost out by two holes at the last.

Emily Toy also showed great resilience to fight back from three down at the 12th to win the next three holes with birdies and take Rose Zhang down the final hole but the world number one held her nerve to seal a one hole victory.


"We all knew we only had to win four to retain but that wasn't our goal. Our goal was to go out and to win eight singles matches. The more we can win, the less pressure is on the girls coming in. Just one more point you can put up for your country, it's a huge deal."
- Rachel Kuehn, USA

"It feels amazing to have come here and to come away winners. We've had a spectacular week, beautiful weather. The people are amazing here, so welcoming and helpful and cheering us on as well as their own players. We're thrilled to have come away the winners."
- Sarah Ingram, USA Team Captain

"I was very comfortable today. Elaine told me in the morning to not try to force things and I thought having that information freed me up to go out and get off to a good start. It's a shame that it was over. All I could do was just do the best I could."
- Caley McGinty, GB&I

"We fought hard, that's what we came here to do and we certainly did that. I'm very proud of all the players and the manner in which they played and in which they do everything. It's been a phenomenal three days. Highs and lows. We could have just done with a couple of more highs today."
- Elaine Ratcliffe, GB&I Team Captain

  • The USA won the match as the visiting team for the first time since 2008.
  • World No. 1 Rose Zhang did not lose a point all week, going 4-0-1. 
  • All members of the USA Team, including alternates, are exempt into the 2022 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, provided they remain amateur. The 2022 U.S. Women's Amateur will be held at Chambers Bay Aug. 8-14, 2022.

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Monday, August 23

Sweden's Anna Nordqvist Captures Third Major at Carnoustie

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ANNA NORDQVIST OF SWEDEN WON the AIG Women's Open at Carnoustie. She finished at 12 under par to edge Madelene Sagstrom (Sweden), Lizette Salas (USA) and Georgia Hall (England) by a shot.

It was Nordqvist's third major title. She won the 2009 LPGA Championship and the 2017 Evian Championship.

"I've been waiting for this win for a while," the 34-year-old Swede said. "There have been a lot of downs and hard times so this makes it feel even sweeter." 

She added: "I could only dream of winning the British Open."

Thursday, August 19

How to Watch the 2021 AIG Women's Open: Complete TV Schedule and Streaming Details

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THE 2021 LPGA TOUR MAJOR SEASON ends this week at Carnoustie with the 2021 AIG Women’s Open. A field of 144 players has teed off on the famed links, located at the mouth of the Barry Burn on the coast of the North Sea.

Nelly Korda, Madelene Sagstrom and Sei Young Kim are the first-round leaders at 5-under.

All times Eastern Time.

Thursday, Aug. 19
6 a.m. to 1 p.m., Golf Channel

Friday, Aug. 20
6 a.m. to 1 p.m., Golf Channel

Saturday, Aug. 21
6 a.m. to 1 p.m., Golf Channel

Sunday, Aug 22
7 a.m. to 12 p.m., Golf Channel
12-2 p.m., NBC

NBC Sports App,

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Guest Column: Keith McLaren's '5 Matches on the Old Course in 8 Days!'

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(Editor's note: The following rundown of Old Course and other golf outings was first shared about a week ago.)

By Keith McLaren

Keith McLaren is a 59-year-old fanatical golfer living in St Andrews. He writes about golf at The Kilted Caddie.

I AM HAVING THE MOST INTENSE golf fest at the moment.

It goes like this...

On Monday I played the Old Course in a St Andrews Thistle Club match and we finished tied after eighteen. It was getting dark so rather than play on down the nineteenth we decided to make use of Peter's already booked tee-time on the Old on Wednesday and have a re-match.

On Tuesday, Peter and I piled down to Edinburgh to partake in the Seniors Gents Greensomes competition at the dream that is Mortonhall Golf Club.

Thursday, I have the Thistle Autumn Meeting on the Old.

On Friday, a St Andrews Club foursomes match on the Old.

And on Saturday, I head down again to Mortonhall for their Invitation Silloth comp.

Sunday is a day of rest and then next Monday I'm once again back on the Old Course for a St Andrews Club Seniors tie!

Now that's what I call golf value for money.

Yes, we are rather spoilt over here in the Kingdom and in the fortunate position as St Andrews Golf Club members to be able to guarantee Old Course tee-times for certain competitions. And that's pretty cool for a club membership fee of one hundred and fifty quid a year. All pretty perfect.

Unlike my golf game though!

I had a rather Jean Van der Velde moment in the Mortonhall Greensomes. We played steadily all the way round until my final shot to the last green. I had a straightforward 8 iron to set up a par for a net 69 and second place. Of course, to my usual form I knocked it into the bushes right of the green. Peter followed suit and we walked off with a no-return and long faces.

A tough school, golf. Like any sport, of course.

I watched the penalty shoot-out in the final of the Olympic Women's football in Tokyo, where it came down to the veteran Swedish captain having an opportunity with one spot kick to win the gold medal. Yes, one spot kick after a lifetime of kicking balls.

She walked up calmly, stood as the world watched, sent the keeper the wrong way and then ballooned the ball over the bar and the open net!

A career ended and distinguished by one short defining moment. At the pinnacle and eventide of a long and illustrious football life. What a legacy and utter shame for the poor lass. Nerves can play havoc.

I can at least head back to the Senior Greensomes Competition at Mortonhall next year.

Well, I hope I can.

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Tuesday, August 17

AIG Women's Open Preview: World No. 1 Nelly Korda Heads International Field

News Release (and additional content*)

ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - Major champion, Olympic gold medallist and Rolex Women's Golf World Rankings number one Nelly Korda heads an international field of more than 75 champions at the AIG Women's Open, which gets underway at Carnoustie on Thursday 19 August.

German Sophia Popov is the defending champion.*

[Korda] arrives in Scotland as one of the stand-out performers of the season, chasing a second Major title having won the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club in June, as well as an Olympic gold medal at Tokyo 2020. She leads a talented field comprising of no less than 29 Major champions and worldwide winners of more than 400 titles on the LPGA, JLPGA and Ladies European Tour.

Nelly Korda (The R&A)
Korda is one of 38 Americans teeing it up this week alongside older sister Jessica and Major champions Danielle Kang and Lexi Thompson, and also leads the Solheim Cup qualification standings. which conclude once the champion is crowned on Sunday. As many as 30 players in the field boast Solheim Cup experience, with England's Dame Laura Davies enjoying the most caps with 12 appearances.

Joining Korda as players to have reached the top of the Rolex Women's Golf World Rankings are six former number ones including AIG Women's Open winners Stacy Lewis (2013), Inbee Park (2015) and Ariya Jutanugarn (2016), as well as Korea's Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu. Fresh from setting a course record of nine-under-par 63 in the final round of the Trust Golf Women's Scottish Open at Dumbarnie Links last week, in-form Lydia Ko completes the list as she seeks to add to her two Major championships.

Home favourite and Team Europe's Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew carries the hopes of a Scottish winner, with the 2009 champion joined at the famous Angus links by compatriots Kylie Henry, Kelsey Macdonald, Women's Amateur champion, Louise Duncan and Gemma Dryburgh who was one of 15 players to enter the field through Final Qualifying.

Of the home nations, England are the most represented with 11 hopefuls including 2018 champion Georgia Hall, Charley Hull and Mel Reid, while Ireland's chances are spearheaded by Leona McGuire and Wales represented by Chloe Williams.

Completing the field of 144 players, which contains as many as 32 nationalities, is Lindsey Weaver who emerged as the leading qualifier in Final Qualifying at Panmure Golf Club yesterday. The American fired a superb round of three-under-par 67 to book her place in the fifth and final Major of the season, along with Dryburgh and 13 other players including Aditi Ashok of India, Nicole Broch Larsen and Australian amateur Kirsten Rudgeley.

Kelsey Macdonald has the honour of striking the opening tee shot on Thursday morning at 6.30am, with the 30-year-old paired with American Sarah Schmelzel and Chloe Williams from Wales.

To view the draw for Round One, please click – Tee Times

The AIG Women's Open will take place from 16-22 August 2021 at Carnoustie, with tickets now on sale via The Championship will follow government guidance in relation to spectator attendance.  

Friday, August 13

PGA TOUR: Justin Rose to Receive 2021 Payne Stewart Award

In the above video call, Justin Rose gets a big surprise from Tracey and Aaron Stewart, the wife and son of the late Payne Stewart, namesake of the annual PGA TOUR award.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – In recognition of his character, sportsmanship and commitment to charitable giving, Justin Rose has been named the 2021 recipient of the PGA TOUR's Payne Stewart Award presented by Southern Company. Rose will be honored on Tuesday, August 31, at the Payne Stewart Award Ceremony in conjunction with the TOUR Championship. The ceremony will be televised live on Golf Channel as part of a "Golf Central" special from 7-8 p.m. ET at the Southern Exchange in downtown Atlanta.

"I am truly humbled and honored to be associated with the enduring legacy of Payne Stewart through this award," Rose said. "The Payne Stewart Award has become an annual celebration of Payne's impact on the PGA TOUR and its players. I am forever grateful to be connected to a man who was the consummate professional on and off the golf course and will cherish being a Payne Stewart Award recipient well after my playing days are over."

Tuesday, August 10

Reading the Greens: Author John Coyne Takes a Look at Modern Golf Literature

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By John Coyne

GOLF-INSPIRED WRITINGS HAVE NOT BEEN LIKE one of Tiger Woods' drives: long, high and very deep. The sport sorely misses language that transforms golf from a game to a wellspring of literature.

George Plimpton, who wrote about baseball and golf in his bestselling 1968 book The Bogey Man, said that while baseball has produced some interesting books, golf books were better written, because of the sport's "popularity among the educated classes."

John Coyne
If so, where's golf's The Natural? Who is our Bernard Malamud?

Golf, I will say, has longevity. While its beginnings as a game are lost in Scottish antiquity, we do have a reference to the sport as early as 1457 in a Scottish Acts of Parliament [the authorities wanted to ban golf as it was taking time away from archery practice, a much more needed skill to defend the Highlands].

While golf has produced countless books on rules, manners and how-to play, starting with the 1857 The Golfer's Manual, authored by "A Keen Hand," where was the great Scot writer Sir Walter Scott? In his million words on Scotland there are no words about his national game.

Daniel Wexler, author of The Golfer's Library: A Reader's Guide to Three Centuries of Golf Literature, and one of America's leading golf historians, cites three writers who have raised the bar for writers. They are Bernard Darwin, Charles' grandson, and longtime correspondent for The Times of London; Henry Longhurst, a Sunday Times columnist who wrote about the sport before, during and after the Second World War; and in America the masterful New Yorker magazine writer Herbert Warren Wind. But these three journalists were doing reportage, not writing literature.

Other fine writers have written about the game they love and played.

To name a few: Michael Bamberger, James Dodson, John Feinstein, Geoff Shackelford, John Paul Newport, David Owen, Bud Shrake, Rick Reilly, Bo Links, Don Wade and Curt Sampson, who played on the PGA Tour before becoming a full-time golf writer. And our own Neil Sagebiel, who has written two great golf histories, The Longest Shot and Draw in the Dunes. These player/writers write books about how they play the games, biographies of great golfers, histories of famous championships, and narratives on legendary golf courses.

Other writers, famous in other genres, have also been drawn to golf in search of peace, mystery, humor and self-awareness. These include A.A. Milne, Arthur Conan Doyle, P.G. Wodehouse, Ring Lardner and his son, John Lardner, Ward Just, Ethan Canin, Ian Fleming, Michael Murphy and Dan Jenkins.

That said, what is missing in these long lists of writers, are literary novelists.

While F. Scott Fitzgerald, John O’Hara, John P. Marquand, J. D. Powers, Richard Ford and John Updike all used golf in their novels to comment on their contemporary society, golf was never the core of their plots. O'Hara wrote From the Terrace not From the Thirteenth Green. Michael Murphy's Golf in the Kingdom, ostensible a novel, is really an exercise in self-help, not in golf literature. And Dan Jenkins' very funny books are easily shelved with collection of tall tales told at the 19th hole bars of any club.

Golf Literature Through the Caddie Yard

The truth is that to find the pathos, the great characters, imposing themes and compelling narratives, readers might be wise to look in the caddie yard, not the clubhouse, and seek out Sancho Panza, not Don Quixote.

Anyone who plays the game knows why caddies keep popping up: In real life, as in these novels, they function as coaches, psychologists, cheerleaders and, increasingly, as the protagonist of the novels themselves. This shift of focus and point-of-view is a fairly recent fiction phenomenon, and makes caddies the Nick Carraways of golf fiction.

The first of these "caddie novels" was 1995's hugely successful The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield. While the novel draws on golf history, its real focus is the mysterious African-American caddie who guides a troubled, rich, white war hero through a match against Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen.

In 2002, A Gentleman's Game by Tom Coyne [no relation] pitted a poor caddie against rich members at a club near Philadelphia. The class theme returns in Peter Dexter's Train (2003), where a gifted black caddie/player loops at an exclusive Los Angeles golf course.

And novelist/lawyer J. Michael Veron concluded his popular Bobby Jones trilogy (including The Greatest Player Who Never Lived and The Greatest Course That Never Was) with 2004's The Caddie. Its hero: a caddie named Steward "Jones" who guides a young pro to victory and wisdom.

In my first "caddie" novel, The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan, victory and wisdom are acquired by both Hogan and Jack Handley, the caddie/narrator. The young teenager helps Hogan navigate a golf course and is given advice for his life from the masterful golf professional and iconoclastic Hogan.

National Book Award winner Norman Rush says the novel is "a lens through which aspects of Midwestern daily life in the 1940s, of thwarted love, of social class, are revealed with stark and unsettling clarity."

Like Nick Carraway, young Jack has a story to tell. So, the next time you tee up remember the kid carrying your bag may just be writing a novel about you in his head.

John Coyne is the author of three "caddie novels" and has edited three books on golf instruction. He also has written and edited a dozen other fiction and nonfiction books.

New Putting Technique Has Given World No. 1 Nelly Korda a Golden Touch

"LEFT-HAND LOW PUTTING HAS BEEN a game-changer for Nelly Korda," wrote

Joining Xander Schauffele, Korda, 23, won the gold medal in Tokyo to make it an American sweep in the Olympic golf competitions.

It's been a breakthrough year for the youngest Korda sister, who also won the KPMG Women's PGA Championship and is world No. 1 in the women's golf rankings.

The new putting technique has helped transform Korda "into the best player on the planet."

"I always putted more with my left shoulder up," she said, "and I wanted to see how it would be if I would have my shoulder square at setup. The only way to do it is if I gripped it left hand low. My shoulders just rock so much better and I’m just connected more with my chest when I’m putting when I grip it left hand low."

During her hot stretch, Korda has three rounds of 63 or better.

She added: "I feel way more confident over it. I know that my chest and my arms move more together, and I just feel like there's less room for mistakes for me with left hand low."

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Friday, August 6

On Saturday Nelly Korda Will Try to Make It Two Golds in Golf for the USA

WORLD NO. 1 NELLY KORDA will take a three-shot lead into Saturday's final round of the Olympic Women's Golf Competition in Tokyo. The U.S. star's closest challenger is Aditi Ashok of India.

Korda shot a 9-under 62 in Thursday's second round that included a double bogey on the final hole. She opened the competition with a 67 and had a 69 in round three to lead at 15 under for the tournament.

However, the 69 was a grind for the 23-year-old.

"Probably my fight," Korda said about what made her happiest during her third trip around the Olympic course.

"I didn't have a really good back nine. I was kind of spraying it all over the place. I had some testy par putts. But made all pars and I fought really hard to stay in it really, or ahead of it."

Final-round information below.

Tuesday, August 3

Another Point of Pride From Xander Schauffele's Golden Moment in Tokyo

HOORAY FOR USA'S XANDER SCHAUFFELE, gold medal winner in the Olympic Men's Golf Competition. It's the first American gold in golf in more than a century.

Schauffele edged a charging Rory Sabbatini (the silver winner playing for Slovakia) by a stroke. The bronze medalist was Taiwan's C.T. Pan, who reached the podium by winning a seven-man playoff.

If you're like me and my brother, there's another angle to Schauffele's Olympic achievement. That of proud alumni of San Diego State University, where Xander excelled in golf's collegiate ranks.

Former San Diego State University men's golfer Xander Schauffele captured the gold medal in the men's individual stroke play event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Sunday at the par-71, 7,447-yard Kasumigaseki Country Club. Representing the United States, Schauffele carded a 4-under 67 in the final round and finished the four-day event at 18-under 266.

Schauffele, a San Diego native who attended Scripps Ranch High School, was a third-team All-American in 2015 from both Golfweek and GCAA at SDSU, while also finishing as a three-time all-Mountain West selection and seven-time MW Golfer of the Week. He finished his three-year Aztec career with two individual titles, 16 top-five finishes and 21 top-10 showings. Currently the fifth-ranked player in the world, Schauffele has won four times over his career on the PGA Tour.

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Thursday, July 29

Rory McIlroy Comments on Simone Biles and Mental Health

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THERE'S A LOT HAPPENING AT THE OLYMPICS, including a 72-hole golf tournament that will culminate in gold, silver and bronze medals. But it seems as if all the talk has been about U.S. gymnast Simone Biles, who has left the competition (for now) due to mental issues.

Here's what Rory McIlroy had to say about Biles and tennis star Naomi Osaka (quotes via Rex Hoggard story).

"You have to put yourself in the best position physically and mentally and to be at your best, and if you don't feel like you're at that or you're in that position then you're going to have to make those decisions," Rory McIlroy said. "I'm certainly very impressed with, especially those two women [Naomi Osaka and Biles], to do what they did and put themselves first.

"There's been a few athletes that have really spoken up: Michael Phelps, Kevin Love, Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles. I mean the conversation, it's not taboo anymore, people can talk about it just as somebody has a knee or elbow injury, if you don't feel right 100 percent mentally that's an injury, too.

"I think in sports there's still this notion of just like powering through it and digging in and you're not a competitor unless you get through these things. So I think that's probably part of it. But then when you hear the most decorated Olympian ever talk about his struggles and then probably the greatest gymnast ever talk about her struggles, then it encourages more people that have felt that way to come out and share how they felt."

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VIDEO: David Feherty Talks Olympic Golf and Other Olympic Sports in "Game Time" Segment With Rich Eisen

Rich Eisen invites NBC golf announcer David Feherty to play "Game Time" and discuss upcoming Olympic golf competition.

Sepp Straka of Austria leads the men after a first round of 63.


Thursday, 7/29
7-9 a.m. ET, 2-5 p.m. ET (Golf Channel Round 1 Re-air)
6:30 p.m.-3 a.m. ET (Golf Channel Round 2)

Friday, 7/30
7-9 a.m. ET, 2-5 p.m. ET (Golf Channel Round 2 Re-air)
6:30 p.m.-3 a.m. ET (Golf Channel Round 3)

Saturday, 7/31
7-9:30 a.m. ET (Golf Channel Round 3 Re-air)
6:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m. ET (Golf Channel Round 4)

Sunday, 8/1
8 a.m.-1 p.m. ET
5-8 p.m. ET (Golf Channel Round 4 Re-air)

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Wednesday, July 21

USGA: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort to Host 13 USGA Championships

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The USGA will kick off a long-term relationship with Bandon Dunes with the 2022 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship


LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. – The USGA and Bandon Dunes Golf Resort today announced an agreement that will bring 13 USGA amateur championships to the resort over 23 years. The relationship will begin with the 74th U.S. Junior Amateur in 2022 and run through the 2045 U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships, with eight different championships being played at the resort, including the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Women’s Amateur, the Walker Cup Match and the Curtis Cup Match.
The 2022 U.S. Junior Amateur will be conducted from July 25-30, with Bandon Dunes serving as the host course for both stroke play and match play, and Bandon Trails serving as the second stroke-play course. Dates and courses for the other championships will be announced in the future.

The resort will host both the U.S. Women’s Amateur and U.S. Amateur in 2032 and again in 2041, marking the first time those two original USGA championships will be contested on the same site in the same calendar year. The resort will also host the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Girls’ Junior in 2045, which will mark the fourth time those championships will be conducted at the same facility in the same year. The agreement also includes the 2029 Walker Cup Match and the 2038 Curtis Cup Match.

“With five championship-caliber courses and incredible support from the resort’s ownership, Bandon Dunes is the perfect location for these USGA championships,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director of Championships. “Mike Keiser has been an incredible advocate for amateur golf and his ongoing support for the USGA and our mission served as the vision for this partnership. We are excited to work together for years to come.”

The 2022 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship will be the first U.S. Junior Amateur and eighth USGA championship hosted by the resort, making Bandon Dunes the first site to host eight different USGA championships. It will be the 39th USGA championship held in Oregon.

Bandon Dunes Golf Resort previously hosted the 2006 Curtis Cup Match (Pacific Dunes), the 2007 U.S. Mid-Amateur (Bandon Dunes), the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links and U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links (Old Macdonald and Bandon Trails), the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball (Pacific Dunes), 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball (Old Macdonald and Pacific Dunes), and the 2020 U.S. Amateur (Bandon Dunes and Bandon Trails).

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Monday, July 19

Collin Morikawa Wins Claret Jug in Open Debut 'After a Flawless Round of 66'

The Open on YouTube:

Collin Morikawa is The Champion Golfer of the Year after he produced a stunning final-day charge to win The 149th Open at Royal St George's. 

The American beat Jordan Spieth by two shots in the Sandwich sunshine after a flawless round of 66 to take home the Claret Jug on his Open debut.

My thoughts:

I hardly missed a shot of the final round. The operative word in the above summary is "flawless." OK, Morikawa did mishit a few shots, but he recovered and holed every important putt. He made everything. It reminded me of Tiger Woods.

Morikawa went something like 30 holes of major-championship golf without a bogey. That's unheard of. The young man, only 24, didn't flinch. Rather, he thrived, even played better, under Open pressure.

It's hard not to like Morikawa, a gritty competitor with a wide smile and gracious words.

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Saturday, July 17

THE OPEN: Will Louis Oosthuizen Finish the Job at Royal St. George's?

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LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN WILL TAKE A ONE-SHOT lead into the final round of the Open Championship at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, England.

Oosthuizen shot a 69 in the third round and is 12 under for the tournament. 2020 PGA champion Collin Morikawa is one back after a 68. (This is Morikawa's first Open.) On Sunday he and Oosthuizen will again play in the final pairing.

Jordan Spieth is three off the pace after a 69 on Saturday. The 2017 Open champion had a disappointing bogey-bogey finish.

The 2010 Open champion (St. Andrews), Oosthuizen has six seconds in majors. Can the 54-hole leader stay at the top of the leaderboard and see his name engraved on the Claret Jug a second time?

In an article at, Joel Beall offered a reason why Louis has struggled to close out majors: driving.

As part of the case, Beall cited driving statistics in the late stages of the two most recent majors, the PGA Championship and U.S. Open, where Oosthuizen faded after leading.

Beall wrote:

The crazy thing is, the driver is normally not Oosthuizen’s problem, as Louis annually ranked inside the top 40 in SG/off-the-tee for most of the previous decade. Moreover, as NBC Sports on-course reporter Notah Bogey III mentioned on Friday’s broadcast, Oosthuizen is driving the ball beautifully at Royal St George’s, hitting more than 80 percent of his fairways through two days.

Of course, one thing we can’t quantify is what type of collateral damage comes from Torrey Pines, Kiawah and beyond.

Driving will certainly be crucial for all contenders on Sunday. The wind will blow. The pressure will build. And someone with nothing to lose might get red hot.

But this is the time for 38-year-old Louis Oosthuizen. If not now, when?

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Thursday, July 15

How to Watch The Open Championship: TV and Streaming Details and Schedule

THE 149TH EDITION OF THE OPEN Championship is underway at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, England. GOLF Channel, NBC and Peacock have comprehensive coverage.

Thursday, July 15
1:30 AM - 4:00 AM ET on Peacock Premium
4:00 AM - 3:00 PM ET on GOLF & Peacock Premium
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET on Peacock Premium

Friday, July 16
1:30 AM - 4:00 AM ET on Peacock Premium
4:00 AM - 3:00 PM ET on GOLF & Peacock Premium
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET on Peacock Premium

Saturday, July 17
5:00 AM - 7:00 AM ET on GOLF & Peacock Premium
7:00 AM - 3:00 PM ET on NBC & Peacock Premium

Sunday, July 18
4:00 AM - 7:00 AM ET on GOLF & Peacock Premium
7:00 AM - 2:00 PM ET on NBC & Peacock Premium

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Tuesday, July 13

SELECT COMPANY: Jim Furyk Is Eighth Player to Win Both the U.S. Open and U.S. Senior Open; 73-Year-Old Mike 'Fluff' Cowan Carries the Bag of the Mild-Mannered Champion

Congratulations to Jim Furyk, 51, for winning the U.S. Senior Open in his first attempt. And major kudos to his longtime caddie Mike "Fluff" Cowan who is still carrying for Furyk at the spry age of 73!

For those ruminating about Jim Furyk's Hall of Fame credentials,
I say yes, let him in.


After making bogey-double bogey on his second and third holes to lose most of the four-stroke lead he began the day with in the 41st U.S. Senior Open, Jim Furyk got back to what has made him one of the best players of his era and the 2003 U.S. Open champion: consistency.

Furyk, 51, settled down and played 2-under-par golf over the next 11 holes to restore his advantage and went on to capture the championship in his debut.

The Jacksonville, Fla., resident who grew up in West Chester, Pa., completed a final round of 1-over-par 71 for a total of 7-under 273, good for a three-stroke victory over two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and 2003 Masters winner Mike Weir.

“I’m not sure I ever felt comfortable out there,” Furyk said. 

The victory made Furyk the eighth man to win both the U.S. Open and U.S. Senior Open titles, joining a list that includes Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Hale Irwin and Lee Trevino.

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Sunday, July 11

NOTEWORTHY: No Lefty Has Won the U.S. Open or U.S. Senior Open (But That Could Change Today)

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PHIL MICKELSON IS UNDOUBTEDLY THE BEST LEFTY in golf history. But the six-time major winner has not won the U.S. Open. No one has come closer without winning. Phil has finished runner-up six times, in 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2013.

Southpaw Phil is not alone, as the USGA wrote in its third-round recap of the U.S. Senior Open:

No left-handed golfer has ever won the U.S. Open or U.S. Senior Open. Steve Flesch (4th) and Mike Weir (T-5) will try to make history tomorrow. Flesch's best finish to date in a senior major is a tie for fifth in the 2017 Senior Players Championship. Weir, of Canada, who had a double bogey in each of the first two rounds, had only one bogey on Saturday in his round of 68.

Weir might be the first lefty to do it.

As I write this, Weir is two shots behind leader Jim Furyk in the final round of the U.S. Senior Open at the Omaha Country Club. Retief Goosen is one stroke behind.

Whether today or some other day, this historical oddity is bound to end. I admit I was surprised when I read this note.

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Thursday, July 8

The Nicklaus-Jacklin Award Presented by Aon to Debut at 2021 Ryder Cup

ABOVE: Watch highlights of the final minutes of the 1969 Ryder Cup at Royal Birkdale, where the matches ended in the first tie in the history of the event. The pivotal moment was the famous concession made by Jack Nicklaus on the 18th green in his singles match with Tony Jacklin. I wrote the book on the 1969 Ryder Cup and Jack's concession, including all that led up to it in a contentious atmosphere and highly spirited matches. I hope you'll read DRAW IN THE DUNES (St. Martin's Press, 2014) if you haven't already. Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin contributed the foreword.

News Release (edited)

The PGA of America, Ryder Cup Europe and Aon plc (NYSE: AON) ― a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions ― today jointly announced the creation of “The Nicklaus – Jacklin Award presented by Aon,” which will debut during the 43rd Ryder Cup, Sept. 24-26, 2021 at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin.

The first-of-its-kind award will be given to two players ― one each from the U.S. and European Ryder Cup teams ― who best embody the spirit of the event: seeing the bigger picture and making decisions critical to sportsmanship, teamwork and performance at the Ryder Cup.

The recipients of the inaugural award will be selected by a committee consisting of Jack Nicklaus, Tony Jacklin, other past European and U.S. Ryder Cup Captains, PGA of America President Jim Richerson, PGA of Great Britain and Ireland Chairman Alan White, representatives from Sky and NBC Sports and Carlo Clavarino, Executive Chairman, International Business, Aon.

The Ryder Cup has a history of rivalry, excitement and passion, but is also the essence of true sportsmanship. Named after the famous 1969 concession by Jack Nicklaus, which saw him give Tony Jacklin a 2-foot putt for a halved match that resulted in the first tie in Ryder Cup history, this new award commemorates sportsmanship, teamwork and the type of sound, strategic decision-making that attracts people to the game.

“Since its inception, the Ryder Cup was imagined as a spirited but friendly competition amongst allies. At its core, this remarkable tradition is based on the fundamental pillars of sportsmanship, teamwork and performance,” said Seth Waugh, PGA of America, CEO. “We want to recognize and celebrate that key foundational tenet and so in collaboration with Aon, created an award to honor Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin’s historic act from 1969 that exemplified those honorable traits and set the stage for the future of the Ryder Cup.”

“The excitement and energy surrounding the Ryder Cup always tests your poise, composure and decision-making, and when it matters most,” said Jack Nicklaus, record 18-time major champion, 2-time U.S. Ryder Cup Team Captain and 6-time U.S. Ryder Cup Team Member. “The challenge is that every decision is magnified to its fullest because we’re not playing for just ourselves, but we’re playing for our country, teammates, captains, and fans. I’m glad to see that everyone involved in the Ryder Cup is identifying the importance of the choices these players make in the heat of competition and on one of golf’s biggest stages, and that they are recognizing and celebrating individuals who approach this competition with the proper spirit and who put an emphasis on good will and camaraderie.”

“There’s always a decision that defines you in the Ryder Cup and to have an award that also highlights that decision is innovative for the game of golf and the Ryder Cup,” said Tony Jacklin, Major Champion four-time European Ryder Cup Team Captain and seven-time European Ryder Cup Team Member. “When I look back on my career, to be a part of Ryder Cups, the team atmosphere, and the importance of the decisions that followed - to giving players the opportunity to win an award based on that decision carries a lot of weight and will be a key accomplishment in their career.”

To support the award and create momentum leading up to the event, the Ryder Cup and Aon will launch two digital content series, one focused on providing key course insights that will inform players’ decision-making at Whistling Straits, and another that will showcase the most unforgettable, defining decisions of the Ryder Cup to date.

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