Thursday, April 8

Wednesday, April 7

Associated Press: Tiger Woods Was Going Nearly 90 MPH; Excessive Speed Caused Crash, According to LA County Sheriff

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TIGER WOODS WAS GOING TOO FAST "on a downhill stretch of road." It was the reason Tiger left his side of the road in the borrowed SUV, crossed two lanes of oncoming traffic and uprooted a tree.


[LA County] Sheriff Alex Villanueva blamed the Feb. 23 crash solely on excessive speed and Woods' loss of control behind the wheel.

"The primary causal factor for this traffic collision was driving at a speed unsafe for the road conditions and the inability to negotiate the curve of the roadway," the sheriff told a news conference.

Woods was driving 84 to 87 mph (135 to 140 kph) in an area that had a speed limit of 45 mph (72 kph), Villanueva said.

Tiger will not be cited. The sheriff's department also said Tiger told deputies he had not had any medications or alcohol before the crash. He was wearing a seat belt.

Tiger issued the following statement on Twitter.

How to Watch the 2021 Masters: TV and Streaming Details and Schedule


ESPN and CBS will offer 18 hours of live broadcast coverage on Thursday, April 8 through Sunday, April 11. The tournament will also be simulcast at Masters.com and on the official Masters app.

All times Eastern Time. 

Tune in on ESPN and CBS TV:
Broadcast:
Wednesday, April 7: Noon - 2 p.m., Wednesday at the Masters on ESPN
Thursday, April 8: 3-7:30 p.m., ESPN
Friday, April 9: 3-7:30 p.m., ESPN
Saturday, April 10: 3-7 p.m., CBS
Sunday, April 11: 2-7 p.m., CBS

Stream at Masters.com / Masters App:
Simulcast:
Thursday, April 8: 3-7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 9: 3-7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 10: 3-7 p.m.
Sunday, April 11: 2-7 p.m.

A Daughter's Memories of the Masters

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By Elizabeth Short

GROWING UP IN THE SAGEBIEL HOUSEHOLD, if it was a Sunday, dad reserved the TV exclusively for golf.

I remember spending a lot of afternoons stretched out on the couch in front of the TV (not a flatscreen like all the other families had, by the way) half-heartedly watching Ernie Els or Bubba Watson or whoever it was putt their way toward victory. Sometimes I took our family's favorite threadbare knit blanket and watched the screen through its holes to make things more interesting.

Now, if it was a majors weekend, the TV reservation may extend to Saturday. On the one hand this was unfortunate for me as an adolescent girl who was more interested in the Disney Channel. But on the other hand, the gravity of such an event wasn't lost on me. I paid more attention and even became invested in the outcome of the tournament.

This was especially true of the Masters. When I started reflecting on the Masters, I did a Google search to make sure it was the one that's "a tradition unlike any other."

But it was a tradition unlike any other.

If the Masters was on, we had to get home from church early instead of the lingering for what felt like an eternity while my parents caught up with other families.

If dinnertime rolled around and the tournament was still going, we got to leave it on while we ate.

Dad became completely absorbed, which was a rarity. If you know him, then you know he's not the type to become engrossed in TV.

These mini traditions happened around me like clockwork every year, and as a result when Masters weekend rolled around it made me sit up a little straighter on the edge of my seat to see who would pull out a win.

In my mind's eye I can still see Tiger Woods, dressed in what looks like a salmon-colored shirt (but I know it's Sunday red, I'm not that clueless about golf), placing the coveted Green Jacket on Phil Mickelson's shoulders in 2006.

I remember dad telling me Mickelson was always struggling to win majors. A quick look at some stats tells me he did not continue having that problem, unless winning five majors is considered bad. But it introduced me to one of my favorite well-established traditions of sports in general: rooting for the underdog.

Whether or not I will tune in to the Masters this year remains to be seen. "The tradition unlike any other" doesn't have anything to do with the tournament itself as far as I'm concerned. For me, it's the simple act of watching TV on a Sunday afternoon with my dad.

Elizabeth Short is a writer who lives in Woodstock, Georgia.

Thursday, April 1

LA County Officials Won't Reveal Cause of Tiger Woods Car Crash

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THE INVESTIGATION IS OVER. The cause of the Tiger Woods car crash is known by authorities.

But will the public ever know?


LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles County sheriff said detectives have determined what caused Tiger Woods to crash his SUV last month in Southern California but declined Wednesday to release details, citing unspecified privacy concerns for the golf star....

Sheriff Alex Villanueva has been criticized for his comments about the crash, calling it “purely an accident” and saying there was no evidence of impairment. Woods told deputies he did not know how the crash occurred and didn’t remember driving.

NBC SPORTS: How to Watch the Augusta National Women's Amateur

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By NBC Sports

STAMFORD, Conn. – NBC Sports presents 10 consecutive days of live coverage from Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., beginning this weekend with the Augusta National Women's Amateur (Noon ET, Saturday on NBC), the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals (8 a.m. ET, Sunday on GOLF Channel) and Live From the Masters (April 5-11 on GOLF Channel).

NBC Sports' coverage of the Augusta National Women's Amateur begins this Friday, April 2, with Live From at 10 a.m. ET on GOLF Channel. The second edition of the Augusta National Women's Amateur returns after the event was canceled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The top 30 players following Thursday's second round will advance to the final round on Saturday at Augusta National Golf Club, with pre-game coverage on GOLF Channel at 10 a.m. ET leading into the final round on NBC at noon ET.

AUGUSTA NATIONAL WOMEN'S AMATEUR 

NBC Broadcast Team 
Play by Play: Mike Tirico
Analyst: Paige Mackenzie / Trevor Immelman
Tower: Kay Cockerill
On-Course: Jim “Bones” Mackay
Interviews: Steve Sands
Reporter: Steve Burkowski

How To Watch
Saturday, April 3 (all times ET) 
TV – NBC
Streaming – NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app

Saturday, April 3 Noon-3 p.m.

Tuesday, March 30

PBS Documentary Preview (VIDEO): 'Forgotten Fame: The Marion Miley Story'


I RECENTLY WATCHED A PBS DOCUMENTARY that profiled Marion Miley, a standout amateur golfer in the 1930s from Lexington, Kentucky. She played on the Curtis Cup team and could outdrive female stars like Patty Berg and Babe Didrikson, according to the USGA.

Here's a blurb about the documentary from Twin Cities PBS:

Although professional athletics were deemed improper for women in the 1930s, trailblazing golfer Marion Miley's exceptional talent and winning personality captivated sports fans across the country. But at age 27, Marion was tragically murdered in her home at the Lexington Country Club in Kentucky. FORGOTTEN FAME: THE MARION MILEY STORY tells the story of the headline-grabbing crime that cut short the life of this pioneering athlete.

I thought it was an interesting documentary on a female golfer about which I knew little or nothing, even though she was nationally known during the Great Depression and early 1940s.

Like me, you might find this documentary on your PBS station. Or it's available via the PBS app on your TV or other device.

USGA Announces Collaboration With Fore the Ladies to Help Women Play and Embrace the Game

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LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. – In its continuing effort to increase opportunities for more women to play and embrace the game, the United States Golf Association (USGA) announces a collaboration with Fore the Ladies, Inc., a nonprofit female-based community that brings women together to participate in golf through accessibility and approachability.

Founded in 2019 by USGA staff member Abby Liebenthal, Fore the Ladies marries her two passions, engaging golf fans through the USGA and promoting women's golf. In addition to clinics, a fitness series and larger events, Fore the Ladies fosters inclusivity with its Ladies of Golf series on the "Fore the Ladies" podcast. The USGA will collaborate with Fore the Ladies to introduce its listeners to women who work in, play and love the sport across the USGA network – expanding its list of competitors, media, leaders, prominent recreational golfers and others who help to power the $84 billion industry.  

"Women play a pivotal role in the game and in its future and it is our responsibility to do all we can to connect them with inspiring female role models and provide inspiration on how to get involved and stay involved," said Craig Annis, chief Brand officer of the USGA. "We look forward to working with Fore the Ladies as we strive together to elevate and expand the role that women play in golf."

USGA Initiatives Focused on Women

The collaboration is the latest in a series of USGA initiatives to actively elevate and highlight the role that women play in the game, an effort that began in 1895 with the inception of the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship. It is one of the USGA's three oldest championships along with the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open, both of which were founded the same year.

Most recently, in cooperation with SheIs, the USGA launched the "Women Worth Watching" campaign, a long-term commitment by the association to use its championships and platforms to celebrate female athletes while promoting equality and diversity in sports and society.

Additionally, the USGA has been an active supporter of LPGA*USGA Girls Golf since 1991, providing more than $2.5 million in chapter grant funding over the last six years, while the USGA Golf Museum and Library serves as the world's leading institution for the collection and preservation of women's golf history.

"Our goal has always been to introduce more women to everything that golf has to offer," said Liebenthal, USGA employee and founder of Fore the Ladies. "The 'Fore the Ladies' podcast allows us to amplify voices of women in the game and encourage listeners to get involved at our events and clinics. This collaboration will allow us to reach more women interested in golf and hopefully keep them in the sport for a lifetime."

Number of Female Golfers Increases by 450,000

According to the USGA's Handicap Index® database, 21 percent of golf's most avid players are women. National Golf Foundation (NGF) statistics show that the number of female golfers increased by 450,000 in 2020 – the biggest gain since 2007, while on-course play among women was up approximately 25 percent. The number of girls playing golf is also expanding, as the percentage of junior golfers who are female stands at 34 percent, compared with 24 percent female among the entire golf population. In 2000, according to the NGF, just 15 percent of junior golfers were girls.

Thursday, March 25

LPGA NEWS: West Coast Swing Begins; How to Watch the Kia Classic

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The LPGA Tour returns to Aviara Golf Club for the 11th Kia Classic after the 2020 competition was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

How to Watch the Kia Classic

Golf Channel (all times Eastern)
Thursday, Mar. 25– 9-11 p.m. (Tape Delay)
Friday, Mar. 26 – 9-11 p.m. (Tape Delay)
Saturday, Mar. 27 – 6-9 p.m.
Sunday, Mar. 28 – 6-9 p.m.

Streaming
Thursday, Mar. 25– 6-9 p.m.
Friday, Mar. 26 – 6-9 p.m.

Streaming on NBC Sports App: golfchannel.com

VIDEO: A Pasture Golf Course Rewards a Small Family During the Pandemic



LAST YEAR, ABOARD HIS TRACTOR, Wesley Ker-Fox shaped wooded and grassy acreage into a humble family golf course he calls FAWN Ridge Pasture Golf Course.

"I wanted to share my story," Ker-Fox told me in an email. "During the pandemic I created a 9 hole pasture golf course for my young kids. It's also been an exercise in conservation, sustainability and studying golf course architecture."

Watch and enjoy. (Click the "Watch on YouTube" at lower left of above frame.)

Tuesday, March 23

PGATOUR.COM: 'Jordan Spieth's Downturn Started With a Previously Undisclosed Injury'

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THERE'S A NEW TWIST TO THE SLUMP.

As you may (OK, probably) know, Jordan Spieth, former world-beater and winner of multiple majors, hasn't won since the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

A Google search of the wunderkind reveals the most-frequent queries on the Internet, like: "What has happened to Jordan Spieth?"

Right? Who doesn't want to know why Spieth suddenly lost his way on the golf course?

"Spieth's slump," PGATOUR.COM'S Cameron Morfit wrote, "has been one of the most vexing storylines in golf over the last three years."

New reporting points to an injury in the weight room. From Morfit's piece:

According to the Golf Channel's Ryan Lavner, Spieth hurt himself most likely while lifting weights and chose not to have surgery. Asked about his injury at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship on Monday, Spieth said that by compensating with his grip and swing in order to avoid pain, he turned his poor play into a full-on slump.

"I probably fought changes that would have helped me turn things in the right direction a little bit sooner," said Spieth, whose resurgence (FedExCup No. 47) has been a big story in 2021.

Those changes are ongoing. Improvement has been slow.

In the story, he added:

"It was very much a reason," Spieth said of the injury and how it impacted his slump. "But I mean, everybody's got some reason for something that they get off. That was mine, and I certainly could have handled it differently and feel good that right now it's not an issue."

Friday, March 19

Lee Westwood Misses Cut at Honda Classic, Has Earned a Rest After Battling the Twenty Somethings

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AFTER CONSECUTIVE RUNNER-UP FINISHES at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players Championship, 47-year-old Lee Westwood ran out of gas at The Honda Classic at PGA National.

The Englishman missed the cut after rounds of 70 and 78. Now for some much-needed rest.


Westwood did the right thing by playing the Honda, even if he knew he was stretching himself by playing a fourth consecutive week. The tournament has been good to him in the past, and the Englishman has established his U.S. base close by in South Florida. ("It's just not right to withdraw at such a late date," he said.) On Thursday, he birdied his last two holes to shoot a solid 70. He was in a good spot. Friday, he just didn't have it. A lone birdie on his 17th hole of the day (the eighth) wasn't nearly enough to offset three double bogeys on a tough track.

Did he simply run out of gas? "Yeah," Westwood said wryly, "about four days ago."

Westwood added, "My body was telling me last Sunday. I didn't swing it as well Sunday last week. I was starting to get tired. Three weeks in a row with not really a day off. So yeah, I am 48 in a month, and I can't keep doing it like the 20-year-olds do it."

Aaron Wise currently leads the Honda. The second round is still in progress.

Thursday, March 18

PGA TOUR: How to Watch THE HONDA CLASSIC; TV Times, Streaming, Tournament Notes

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By NBC Sports

STAMFORD, Conn.  – The PGA TOUR continues its Spring Swing this Thursday-Sunday from PGA National Resort & Spa (Champions) in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., on NBC and GOLF Channel. This year's field at the Honda Classic features last week's PLAYERS Championship runner-up Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott and more.

Sungjae Im defends his 2020 title, his first PGA TOUR victory. Major champion and two-time LPGA Tour winner Morgan Pressel will serve as an on-course reporter this week on GOLF Channel at the Honda Classic.

NBC/GOLF Channel Broadcast Team
Play by Play: Dan Hicks
Analyst: Paul Azinger
Tower: David Feherty / Justin Leonard
On-Course: Jim "Bones" Mackay / John Wood / Notah Begay / Morgan Pressel
Interviews: Steve Sands

How To Watch THE HONDA CLASSIC
Thursday, March 18 – Sunday, March 21 (all times ET)
TV – NBC, GOLF Channel
Streaming – NBC, GOLF Channel

Thursday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. / 2-6 p.m. (Golf Channel)
Friday      2-6 p.m. (Golf Channel)
Saturday   3-6 p.m. (NBC) 1-3 p.m (Golf Channel)
Sunday     3-6 p.m. (NBC) 1-3 p.m. (Golf Channel)

Tuesday, March 16

New York Times: 'The Pandemic Drove People to Tennis and Golf. Will They Keep Playing?'

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MATTHEW FUTTERMAN AND BILL PENNINGTON reported on the boon for tennis and golf during the pandemic in last week's New York Times.

Here's an excerpt that touches on the "different mood about golf":

The growth in participation in golf and tennis is largely being driven by more financially secure people who, in some cases, have the luxury of working from home and the extra time that provides, as well as access to golf courses and tennis courts. But many were younger. There were 3.1 million junior golfers last year, the most ever, with an average age of 12. While new and novice players account for a significant portion of the growth, "new" does not necessarily mean "young."

More than 30 percent of beginning golfers last year were over the age of 40, according to the National Golf Foundation. The players run the gamut, from entire families playing together, women of all ages and lapsed players whose old equipment gives them away. Their arrival during the pandemic compelled golf courses to adopt a faster, more casual and technologically savvy way of operating that many at the top of golf's hierarchy see optimistically as part of an ongoing cultural shift.

"There's now a different mood about golf," Jerramy Hainline, the senior vice president and general manager of Golf Now, an online tee-time service with nearly four million registered golfers that also provides technology to more than 9,000 golf courses, said. "The spirit is changing out there."

Friday, March 12

VIDEO: Boy Aces School Report With Speech on Jordan Spieth to Jordan Spieth at The Players Championship


TALK ABOUT RAISING THE BAR.

This young man delivered his school report on Jordan Spieth to Jordan Spieth during a practice round at The Players Championship.

"Better than most!" one might say. I'm giving him an A+.

NBC Sports: PGA TOUR Viewership Up 30% in 2021

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By NBC Sports

STAMFORD, Conn. – NBC Sports has produced significant viewership gains for the PGA TOUR to open the 2021 calendar year, delivering a 30% year-over-year viewership increase on NBC and a 24% increase for GOLF Channel/NBC tournament coverage through last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, according to data provided by The Nielsen Company.

Twenty-six tournament telecasts on GOLF Channel/NBC have seen at least 10% viewership growth in 2021 compared to the first two months of 2020, and eight of the 10 PGA TOUR events on GOLF Channel/NBC in 2021 have posted year-over-year viewership growth vs. comparable coverage of the same event, most notably:
  • Arnold Palmer Invitational on GOLF Channel/NBC up 49%
  • Waste Management Phoenix Open on GOLF Channel up 38%
  • AT&T Pebble Beach on GOLF Channel up 29%

Wednesday, March 10

TOURISM IRELAND VIDEO: Actor and Irishman Pierce Brosnan Waxes Poetic About His Native Land



WHO KNOWS WHEN INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL will be both safe and feasible. Or when golf tourism will relaunch like a Bryson DeChambeau tee shot.

We're getting closer. I know that.

In the meantime, here's actor Pierce Brosnan to put us in the mood for destinations like Ireland, where the golf is said to be legendary.

From Tourism Ireland:

The former James Bond star opens aptly with, "What’s not to love about Ireland? This tiny island has shown the greatest gift of poetry and storytelling".

He goes on to wax lyrical about his love for his native land, speaking over stunning shots of Ross Castle in County Meath, the Kerry coastline, its main town Dingle, the famous Ring of Kerry, the mountainous Reeks District and the much loved Skellig Islands lying off the coast, which featured in the Star Wars movie franchise.

The Hollywood star adds: "What do I miss about Ireland? It's the people. The sheer stamina and life force of Irish people from this great, beautiful landscape".

"I'm a Navan man, County Meath. I left Ireland when I was a boy, I was 11. So, over these many decades now going back there's always something great to discover".

Monday, March 8

PGA TOUR HIGHLIGHTS: Bryson DeChambeau's Victory at Arnold Palmer Invitational 'Beyond Wildest Dreams'



BRYSON DECHAMBEAU WON THE 2021 ARNOLD PALMER Invitational presented by Mastercard with a clutch par putt on the 18th hole. DeChambeau shot a 1-under 71 to finish 11 under at Bay Hill and notch his eighth victory on the PGA Tour.

Lee Westwood, who made a scrappy par after hitting out of a sand divot in the middle of the final fairway, finished second one stroke behind.

"It's beyond my wildest dreams to win Mr. Palmer's event," DeChambeau said. "I came here as an amateur. He gave me an invitation and I loved this golf course the minute I arrived."

He added, "I loved the atmosphere and I love the fans. I loved what Mr. Palmer did with this place and what he's done, and his legacy he's left here."

The long-hitting player received encouraging texts from a recovering Tiger Woods prior to the final round. It surprised him. It also motivated him.

DeChambeau climbed from No. 11 to No. 6 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Dustin Johnson is still on top.

Next up is The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Wednesday, March 3

Get Better: A Brief Guide to Golf Practice at Home

GOLFERS, SPRING IS COMING! But, like others, you might still be stuck inside due to work, Jekyll and Hyde weather, COVID-19, or for other reasons.

No worries. You can still be "golf-ready."

Putting Green - Big Moss Golf
From simple to more elaborate, there are myriad possibilities for golf practice at home. And indoor practice sessions can range from minutes to hours. It's up to you. 

There are many gadgets, aids and equipment options for sharpening your game: indoor golf nets, golf simulators, a variety of artificial surfaces such as indoor putting greens, and other training aids.

Set up an at-home practice area wherever it works best for you, like a spare room, the garage, or in your basement. Invest a little or a lot of money, depending on your budget and goals.

Here are some at-home practice drills and ideas for your consideration.

Swing a golf club everyday (or as often as possible). Hit golf balls into a net or simply swing a golf club (even a weighted club). This will help you gain strength and flexibility.

PGA club pro Kevin Piecuch said, "If you can do 25 to 50 swings a day with a heavy club, I find it makes a big difference come spring."

Hit golf balls into an indoor net. Tour player coach Rick Smith said hitting balls into a net helps you focus on mechanics, tempo and muscle memory (instead of worrying about ball flight, distance, etc.).

Indoor putting and chipping drills. Turn on Golf Channel, go online, or pick up a golf magazine. There are a ton of putting and short-game tips and drills.

My advice: work on your putting -- the stroke, alignment, distance control and more. Putting is up to half the game, but most people don't work on it very much.

Of course, you can also watch golf on TV and read golf instruction books. There's always something new to learn about this game. And, no matter your skill level, there are always ways to improve.

Whatever you do, make it fun.

Sponsored by GolfAnytime.

Tuesday, March 2

Help Wanted: Opening for New Commissioner Posted at LPGA.com

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NEED A JOB? THE LPGA IS HIRING.

Seriously, I stopped by LPGA.com and noticed a "Commissoner's Search" tab on their site. I clicked and up popped the opening for a new commissioner to replace outgoing commissioner Mike Whan, who is headed to the USGA.

Executive search firm Spencer Stuart is leading the search. Here's the job description and contact information:

The Commissioner serves as the face and voice of the LPGA and, in concert with Board direction, leads the organization in all strategic business and management functions. The mission for the next Commissioner will be to continue the growth and momentum the LPGA has achieved. Beyond that, the next leader will work closely with the Board and our key constituents to set the strategy and vision for the LPGA; maintain and build new relationships with external partners; launch new, innovative ways for fans to connect with the LPGA; and attract more interest and support for our mission to provide opportunities for women and young girls to achieve their dreams in golf.

The ideal candidate will be:
  • A proven General Manager or senior executive (i.e. CMO) with a track record of success from a related sports, consumer or media enterprise. 
  • Someone who has crafted winning partnerships and worked with his/her team to achieve outstanding financial results. 
  • Someone who has leveraged “modern” marketing – ideally on a global basis – to build a compelling and an enduring brand. 
  • And of course, someone who brings to the LPGA a sincere authenticity and passion not only for the game of golf, but importantly, for their broader mission.
If you are interested and would like more information regarding this role, please send your credentials to: LPGAComm@spencerstuart.com.

Saturday, February 27

BOOK EXCERPT: How Ben Hogan Survived a Head-On Collision With a Greyhound Bus

Thankfully, perhaps miraculously, Tiger Woods survived a horrific car accident on Tuesday and has come through surgeries that saved his leg and much more. We've been told he is "in good spirits." A long recovery begins.

In the last few days there has been a lot of interest in (and comparison to) Ben Hogan and his head-on collision with a bus 72 years ago. I wrote about it in my book THE LONGEST SHOT. Here's an excerpt.

January 10, 1949
ON FEBRUARY 2, 1949, GROUNDHOG DAY, Ben Hogan swung his Cadillac onto Highway 80 in Van Horn, Texas, en route to Fort Worth 500 miles to the east. He and wife Valerie were anxious to return home after the season-opening tour events, two of which Hogan won, the Bing Crosby Pro-Am and the Long Beach Open.

Encountering patches of dense fog and a surface thinly coated with ice, Hogan switched on his headlights and crept along the two-lane highway. At their snail-like pace, it would take hours longer to cover the hundreds of miles to Fort Worth. In minutes, the comforts of home would become even more distant for the Hogans.

Alvin Logan wanted to stay on schedule. The 27-year-old Greyhound bus driver and 34 passengers were traveling westbound, the opposite direction from the Hogans, when Logan decided to pass a six-wheel freight hauler lumbering along the fog-shrouded road. Seeing no vehicles ahead, Logan swung the 10-ton coach into the passing lane and accelerated to 50 miles per hour up a slight incline.

Seconds later, at 8:30 a.m., the bus and Cadillac collided on a small bridge that crossed a culvert. Hogan saw the oncoming headlights in his lane but was trapped on the bridge with no escape route. He let go of the steering wheel and threw himself across the passenger seat to shield his wife from the head-on crash. It saved his life.

The impact drove the steering column into the sedan, catching Hogan's left shoulder and fracturing his collarbone. The Cadillac's 500-pound V-8 engine also slammed into the car's interior. Hogan's face struck the dashboard, and his left leg was crushed. In addition to the fractured collarbone, he sustained a double fracture to his pelvis, a broken left ankle and a cracked rib. Valerie's injuries were minor.

In the confusion that followed, none of the 38 people left the scene to find a phone and report the accident. A Texas state trooper arrived and radioed for help. Ninety minutes elapsed before the battered golfer received medical attention and was loaded into an ambulance.

Hogan was in a state of delirium, fading in and out of consciousness. At one point during the long ambulance ride to El Paso, he gripped an imaginary golf club in his hands and waved back a gallery to the left of a dreamy fairway.

* * *

While eating breakfast that morning in El Paso, a young golf pro overheard a waitress say there was a terrible accident east of Van Horn. A short while later, with lights flashing and sirens screaming, two police motorcycles and an ambulance sped by as the golf pro headed in the opposite direction to San Antonio for the Texas Open.

The next morning Jack Fleck read in the newspaper that Ben Hogan was near death in an El Paso hospital.

* * *
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Arriving at El Paso's Hotel Dieu Hospital in critical condition, Hogan rallied over the next few days, and his condition progressed from fair to good. Cards, letters and flowers poured into Hogan's hospital room as news of the accident was splashed across the front pages of the nation's newspapers. A story line emerged that would change how the public regarded the aloof golf champion: Ben Hogan sacrificed himself to save his wife. Hogan was a hero.

Publicly, hospital personnel expressed satisfaction with the patient's progress. Privately, Hogan's doctors doubted whether the golf great would walk again without assistance and all but ruled out tournament golf.

Then things took a sudden downturn. A blood clot traveled from Hogan's left leg to his right lung, causing a sharp pain in his chest. More large clots broke free, each one a certain death sentence if it blocked a main artery. There were few medical options in 1949 and no effective blood-thinning drugs. They decided to operate. Newspapers prepared obituaries.

Dr. Alton S. Ochsner, the country's top vascular surgeon and a Tulane University professor, flew to El Paso to perform the high-risk surgery. It was a complex, highly invasive two-hour procedure to enter Hogan's abdomen and tie off the inferior vena cava, the blood's primary pathway from the lower body to the heart and lungs. Valerie prayed in the chapel.

On April 1, Ben Hogan, weighing 120 pounds, left the hospital on a gurney and boarded a train for Fort Worth, completing the journey he and his wife had begun two months earlier.

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Wednesday, February 24

LA Times on Tiger Woods: 'A Bright Morning, a Bend in the Road, a Horrible Crash'

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IF YOU'VE BEEN FOLLOWING the Tiger Woods story, there may be nothing new here.

But I found this story in the Los Angeles Times (published Wednesday morning) to be a thorough recap of the single-vehicle crash, Tiger's injuries, and the apparently dangerous stretch of road where he lost control of his SUV and "rolled and rolled."

First, the injuries, which as the Times said in their headline, "cloud his future in golf":

Woods was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center where he underwent "a long surgical procedure" on his lower right leg and ankle, according to a statement the golf legend released on Twitter late Tuesday. Doctors had to insert a rod into his leg and placed screws into his foot and ankle, according to the statement, which described Woods as "awake, responsive and recovering."

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Tiger is "lucky to be alive." He was wearing a seatbelt, and in combination with the other safety features in the Genesis GV80, it surely saved his life.

An ax and a prying tool were used to pull Woods out through the windshield of the crumpled vehicle.

Speed was apparently a factor in the accident.

Also of interest are the locals' descriptions of this "curvy, steep stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard" and the somewhat frequent incidents:

Donnie Nelson, a resident of Rolling Hills, said that stretch of Hawthorne is the site of dangerous accidents once or twice a year....

Nelson said he knows at least one person who was seriously injured by a garbage truck on the hill. The speed limit is 45 mph, but "cars fly by you here," he said....

[Bob] Fong knows how tricky the steep curves on Hawthorne Boulevard can be — so much so that near the crash site, there is a runoff lane for use in emergencies.

"It's a heavily trafficked area. There's accidents all the time," said Laureen Swing, a 15-year resident of Rancho Palos Verdes. "I think it's almost a dangerous stretch of road."

Monday, February 22

PGA TOUR VIDEO: Max 'Forgive Quickly' Homa Recovers to Claim Playoff Victory at Genesis Invitational



SOCAL'S MAX HOMA WON THE GENESIS INVITATIONAL at iconic Riviera Country Club in a sudden-death playoff with Tony Finau. Homa's par on the second playoff hole, the 14th, finished off Finau, who was bunkered and couldn't get up and down.

It was the second PGA Tour title for Homa. It couldn't have been much more special for a young man who grew up 30 minutes away, had attended the tournament since he was a toddler, and idolized tournament host Tiger Woods, who handed over the hardware.

Homa struck an exquisite pitching wedge to about 3 feet at the home hole, but didn't convert the tournament-winning birdie because he was "shaking like a leaf."

"I was just a little nervous, honestly," Homa said. "This tournament means a lot to me."

Somehow he had to gather himself for the playoff. A phone call with his wife Lacey helped.

Homa said, "I think I choked a little bit."

Lacey repeated the message she offered at the start of the round: "Forgive quickly."

That's a message Finau also needs to embrace after so many seconds and only one tour victory. But Finau rallied with a 64 on Sunday just to make it into the playoff. No shame in that.

The same can be said for Sam Burns, who led most of the way at Riviera but unraveled down the stretch. Forgive quickly. It's a pretty good motto for all who play this tormenting game.

The PGA Tour travels east for the WGC-Workday Championship in Bradenton, Florida, and the Puerto Rico Open.

Friday, February 19

FRIDAY PHOTO: 'How Times Have Changed': Millennials Eating Bananas, Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer Smoking


GENERATIONAL COMPARISONS CAN BE CHALLENGING.

Thanks to Cameron Adam for these side-by-side images. They say a lot.

Wednesday, February 17

USGA Names Mike Whan as CEO

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As someone who grew up loving this game, I have always had huge respect for the USGA and its role in leading our sport. The game has given me so much throughout my life, both personally and professionally. I know I have a lot to learn, but I'm truly excited about this role, as it gives me the opportunity to not only give back to the game, but to also work hard to leave it stronger.
—Mike Whan


LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. – The USGA announced today that Mike Whan will join the organization this summer as CEO, and will become the eighth top executive in USGA history. 

Last month, Whan announced his intention to step down as LPGA Commissioner in 2021, after his organization completes a search for the next Commissioner. His transition follows an impressive 11 years at the helm of the LPGA, during which the organization experienced historic growth in virtually every aspect of the business. 

As USGA CEO, Whan will be responsible for leading all aspects of the association's operations, including its core functions, essential programs, and human and financial resources. He will also represent the USGA on a variety of national and international boards. 

"Mike Whan is a proven, successful and transformative leader, not only in the golf industry but throughout his entire career," said USGA President Stu Francis, who oversaw the CEO search process. "He has shown a unique ability to understand how the environment is changing in global golf and how to quickly and thoughtfully adapt an organization to meet those changes. Importantly, Mike is already a trusted peer for so many key stakeholders in the industry, and his existing relationships will not only help the USGA, but will also help advance the game."

Whan started his career at the Procter & Gamble Company in 1987, where he rose to Director of Marketing for Oral Care before leaving to pursue a passion for sports. Whan's sports business career began at Wilson Sporting Goods as a Vice President and General Manager in the golf division. He joined the TaylorMade Golf Company as Vice President of Marketing in 1995 and later served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Executive Vice President/General Manager for Taylormade-adidas Golf. In 2002, Whan became the President and CEO of Mission Hockey, a hockey equipment company. 

Since joining the Ladies Professional Golf Association in 2010, Whan increased the number of tournaments on the LPGA Tour's schedule to 34 from 24, increased purses from $41.4 million to $76.5 million, and grew television hours from 125 hours per season, to over 500 hours. Under his leadership, the LPGA became a truly global business – with players, tournaments, sponsors and fans coming from all over the world. Currently, the LPGA Tour is televised in over 170 countries each week. Whan's leadership resulted in the expansion of the LPGA to now include both the Symetra Tour, the recently announced joint venture with the Ladies European Tour, as well as a nearly 50% increase in LPGA's teaching division. Whan's focus on growing the game for junior girls has led to a significant expansion of the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Program, which had 5,000 members when he joined the organization to 90,000 girls now engaged in the program.  

"As someone who grew up loving this game, I have always had huge respect for the USGA and its role in leading our sport," said Whan. "The game has given me so much throughout my life, both personally and professionally. I know I have a lot to learn, but I'm truly excited about this role, as it gives me the opportunity to not only give back to the game, but to also work hard to leave it stronger."

Current USGA CEO Mike Davis, who joined the USGA in 1990 and became the Association's seventh executive director in 2011 and first CEO in 2016, will depart later this year to team with Tom Fazio II in a new course design venture, Fazio & Davis Golf Design. 

"I've had the pleasure of working with Mike Whan for many years and I view him as a trusted, strategic leader who has a proven track record of building collaborative partnerships," said Davis. "I know the USGA will be in great hands, and I look forward to partnering with Mike to ensure a smooth and successful transition for the USGA." 

Tuesday, February 16

VIDEO: Francesco Molinari Rolls It Off 1st Tee at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

DANIEL BERGER WON THE AT&T PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM with an eagle on the final hole.

Now that we have that out of the way, I wanted to share the above tee shot by Francesco Molinari. A British Open champion.

I'm usually not eager to focus on the misfortune of the world's greatest golfers, but I admit that it's always eye-opening when they hit a shot like a duffer. To be honest, it seems to surprise me every time. I guess it shouldn't.


For the record, his opening shot went just 70 yards, not making it past the forward tee box. He scrambled his way to an opening bogey, avoiding a big number to start his third round at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

I stood on that 1st tee eight years ago. Yeah, I was nervous playing Pebble. But I had fun. That was the goal. I hit many mediocre and poor shots, and a few really good ones.

Thursday, February 11

Calvin Peete: 'Golf's Most Unlikely Success Story'

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PGATOUR.COM HAS SOME GOOD longform content. But you have to scroll to the bottom of the site to find it. Once you do, there are some gems.

Like this 2017 story by Helen Ross, on Calvin Peete. It's the kind of story that makes you want to get back on the course and play golf. To hit some balls and practice your short game on a lonely muni.

Calvin Peete faced seemingly every barrier to the game of golf. He was black. He started too late. He had a bad left arm. The list goes on.

Here's an excerpt from Helen's feature on Peete, describing his first round (with rented clubs):

"[Calvin Peete] said when he first put his hands on a golf club, it felt like that's where they belonged," [Pete] McDaniel said. "He had found his calling, and then he knew that it was going to be his life from that moment on, and so he attacked the game."

After 18 holes were in the books and Peete's buddies drove him back to the hotel, in fact, he turned right around and went to the driving range. Peete's single-minded determination fueled a session that lasted so long he all but lost track of time.

"He stayed there until the range manager told him, 'I can't sell you any more golf balls because I've got to go home with my family,'" said Dr. Tony Parker, the historian at the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Peete was 23 years old, and he had finally found the direction for his life. Even so, to imagine that Peete, who died in 2015 after battling cancer, would go on carve out a career with 12 PGA TOUR victories was the stuff of fantasy.

Wednesday, February 10

USGA Names Walker Cup Standout Robert C. Lewis Jr. as 2021 Bob Jones Award Recipient


LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. – Robert C. Lewis Jr., a veteran of six Walker Cup Matches who is renowned for his sportsmanship and integrity, has been named the recipient of the 2021 Bob Jones Award, the United States Golf Association's highest honor.

Robert Walker (USGA)
Presented annually since 1955, the Bob Jones Award recognizes an individual who demonstrates the personal character and respect for the game exhibited by Jones, the winner of nine USGA championships whose integrity and spirit are considered the gold standard in golf.

The award recognizes Lewis' enduring sportsmanship, which has endeared him to teammates and opponents alike during a competitive career that spanned more than four decades. The native of Warren, Ohio, has demonstrated an appreciation for the spirit of the game by showing grace in both victory and defeat and has been unwavering in his personal accountability on and off the course.

"I am so deeply humbled to receive this award," said Lewis. "To be included among such a special group of influential figures in the game who I love and respect moves me beyond words.The USGA has played such an important role in my life. Many of my fondest memories in amateur golf come from representing our country as both a player and captain of the USA Walker Cup Team. Bob Jones was the ultimate amateur and I am truly honored to be included in his company."

Lewis' character is exemplified through service in his local community, where he has volunteered as the head golf coach at Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, Ohio. There he instilled the virtues of integrity, etiquette and respect, and emphasized the need for student-athletes to be well-rounded. Lewis served as an important role model who was tireless in his behind-the-scenes efforts to build long-term financial support for the program.

Additionally, Lewis sat on the board of the Northeastern Ohio chapter of Boys Hope Girls Hope, a program that provides at-risk youths with support to develop into successful adults. He also played a leading role in establishing the "Values and Visions" education endowment in support of Catholic education in his home county, which has provided more than $2 million to support local education opportunities.

Monday, February 8

PGA TOUR VIDEO: Brooks Koepka Returns From 'Real Dark Places' to Win Waste Management Phoenix Open



BROOKS KOEPKA RALLIED TO VICTORY at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He did it in Brooks Koepka style, coming from five shots back and highlighted by a dramatic pitch-in eagle on the 17th hole.

Koepka fired rounds of 68, 66, 66 and 65 to finish at 19-under par at TPC Scottsdale. It was win No. 8 on the PGA Tour. Kyoung-Hoon Lee and Xander Schauffele tied for second at 18 under.

Koepka's winning performance snapped an unfortunate streak of three consecutive missed cuts.

"It's been a wild ride for the last year and a half," Koepka said, "and very frustrating. I've had moments where I didn't know if I was going to be the same, if I could even come back.

"I went through it mentally," he added. "I think that's probably the toughest thing, where you don't know if you're ever going to be the same competitor that you were. You go through some real dark places, and it's not a fun place to be."

A bunch of players had a chance on Sunday, including 53-year-old Steve Stricker, slump-ridden Jordan Spieth and up-and-comer Scottie Scheffler.

The field included two-time FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy and defending champion Webb Simpson. McIlroy teed it up in Phoenix for the first time in his career, while fellow FedEx Cup winner Justin Thomas was looking to improve on third place in Phoenix last year.

McIlroy and Thomas finished T13.

The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am tees off on Thursday.

Wednesday, February 3

Augusta National Helps Expand Access to COVID-19 Vaccinations

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AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB IS WORKING to make COVID-19 vaccinations available in the Augusta, Georgia, area.


Augusta National and the Masters Tournament are partnering with a local health organization -- and donating $1 million -- to help with COVID-19 vaccinations on property donated by the club.

The club's property at Washington Square shopping center will be used as a vaccination site. Augusta University Health will run it.

Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley was quoted as saying:

"Helping expand access to COVID-19 vaccinations is another meaningful way to do more for our neighbors in the Augusta community that has supported the Masters Tournament for more than 80 years. We hope these resources will have an immediate impact on their efforts to protect those most vulnerable and our community at large through more vaccinations.''

Tuesday, February 2

The USGA and R&A Announce Golf Equipment Research Topics and Proposed Equipment Standards Changes


Research topics include potential Local Rule and review of club and ball specifications to help mitigate continuing distance increases
 
Proposed changes to current Equipment Standards on club length, test conditions for golf ball testing and tolerances for club spring-like effect to ensure effectiveness in relation to distance limits

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J., USA and ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – The USGA and The R&A are re-engaging with the golf industry on the Distance Insights project, which aims to help achieve a more sustainable long-term future for golf.
 
The governing bodies are
 issuing specific Areas of Interest to help mitigate continuing distance increases and three proposed changes to the Equipment Rules to ensure their effectiveness in relation to distance limits.   
 
 
The delivery of research topics related to hitting distances and golf’s sustainability was delayed in 2020 to allow the golf industry to focus on the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic.   
 
The Areas of Interest notice, sent on Monday to golf equipment manufacturers, follows the conclusions of the Distance Insights Report delivered last February. It is the first step of the established Equipment Rulemaking Procedures, which give the opportunity for golf’s stakeholders to provide research and perspectives on topics that might lead to equipment Rules changes. 
 
In addition, three proposals related to Equipment Standards were also sent to the manufacturers yesterday and have been published  two to modernize equipment testing protocols and the other to consider the adoption of a Model Local Rule that would provide flexibility for committees, if they so choose, to limit the maximum length for clubs other than putters from 48 to 46 inches. Notice and comment periods have begun immediately to invite feedback on each of the three proposals from golf industry stakeholders.  
 
Research Topics/Areas of Interest 
Document link:  Official USGA/R&A Document 
(Research due by Nov2, 2021) 
 
The Areas of Interest noticaddresses two specific Areas of Interest:   
  • The potential use of a Local Rule that would specify the use of clubs and/or balls intended to result in shorter hitting distances. This would enable committees conducting competitions to stipulate whether such equipment should be used. It could be available at all levels of play and would also allow golfers playing outside of competition to choose for themselves.
  • A review of the overall conformance specifications for both clubs and balls, including specifications that both directly and indirectly affect hitting distances. This review would consider whether any existing specifications should be adjusted or any new specifications created to help mitigate continuing distance increases. It would not consider revising the overall specifications to produce substantial reductions in hitting distances at all levels of the game. list of club and ball specifications to be reviewed can be found in the official notice.  
Stakeholders are invited to participate in the process by sharing any data or perspectives they might have on these topics by Nov2, 2021 
 
The topics are purely areas for research. No solutions or decisions are being proposed at this stage. Any proposals for Rule changes that might result from this research will be communicated in accordance with the Equipment Rulemaking Procedures. 
 
Proposed Equipment Standards changes  
Document Link:  Official USGA/R&A Document   
 
The USGA and The R&A are addressing the effectiveness of current equipment-testing processes, protocols and standards with respect to distance limits. As a result, the governing bodies are seeking comment from equipment manufacturers on three proposed Equipment Standards changes, as follows:  
 
Proposal #1: Club length – reduction to 46 inches available as Model Local Rule (MLR) (Original proposal delivered in 2016 and paused in 2017 due to the Distance Insights Project). Comment period ends on March 4, 2021. 
 
Proposal #2: Update on testing method for golf balls. Comment period ends on Aug2, 2021. 
 
Proposal #3Change to testing tolerance – Characteristic Time. Comment period ends on Aug2, 2021. 
 
The 2020 Annual Driving Distance Report 
 
The USGA and The R&A also today released the 2020 Annual Driving Distance Report. The full report can be found here: Report Link 
 
Key quotes 
 
Mike Davis, Chief Executive Officer of the USGA, said, “The research conducted through Distance Insights clearly shows that hitting distances have consistently increased through time and, if left unchecked, could threaten the long-term future of our game at every level and every golf course on which it is played. This is the first forward step in a journey and a responsibility the USGA and The R&A share with the worldwide golf community, to ensure that golf continues to thrive for the next hundred years and beyond.” 
 
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “We are now able to progress with the work on this critical topic and are beginning the next phase as expeditiously as possible. The research topics and the proposed changes we have announced will be the focus of our attention in the coming months and we look forward to gaining insights from the golf industry and fully understanding their perspectives on these key areas. We remain fully committed to conducting this hugely important exercise for the sport thoroughly, efficiently and collaboratively.” 
 
Updates Since February 2020 
 
During the pause in distance-related research caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the USGA and The R&A completed their regular review of equipment-testing processes, protocols and standards to ensure their effectiveness in relation to distance limits. The proposals detailed above are the outcome of this regular review of equipment-testing processes, protocols and standards to ensure their effectiveness.  
 
As such, these proposals were not conceived and are not intended to be solutions to the distance issues identified in the Distance Insights Report.  
 
All notices related to golf equipment follow the Equipment Rulemaking Procedures adopted in 2011 by the USGA, The R&A and golf equipment manufacturers, which provide aopen process of dialogue for all involved. The procedures can be reviewed here.  
 
The Distance Insights Report released last year highlighted the impact of long-term hitting distance increases on some of golf’s essential elements, including changing the strategic challenge of the game, altering the variety of skills needed to be successful and risking courses becoming less challenging or obsolete. Further, the report states that the overall trend of golf courses becoming longer has adverse consequences that ultimately affect golfers at all levels of the game. The governing bodies are working with the key stakeholders in golf to address these issues in a way that brings the game together and which ensures it will continue to thrive for many years to come. 
 
Work is also currently being conducted to develop industry-wide recommendations and best management practices on course design, setup and course conditions related to distance for all golf courses and golfers, as detailed among next steps in the Distance Insights conclusions document delivered last year. The USGA is currently conducting field testing and research, with outcomes to be delivered throughout 2021.