Famed Partridge Inn, in Augusta, Ga., Completes Renovations in Time for 2016 Masters

Partridge-Inn3On the list of Augusta’s grandest traditions, the Partridge Inn belongs right up there alongside Amen Corner, green jackets and pimento cheese sandwiches.

The city’s most venerable hotel is a beehive of activity during Masters week, when it seamlessly melds Southern charm, gracious hospitality and the frenzied buzzing of all things golf. And now, in the wake of a multi-million dollar renovation, the Partridge has emerged better than ever.

The most in-demand hotel near the world’s most in-demand tournament has welcomed guests such as golfers Curtis Strange, Paul Azinger and Gary Player, as well as entertainers Reba McIntyre, James Brown and Bob Dylan. And we’re going to assume that Reba and friends would approve of the Partridge’s new look, which hasn’t diminished any of its old charm.

Partridge2First the new: the 144 guest rooms have been refurbished and feature such modern touches as enhanced Internet connectivity, 42-inch TVs with more than 100 hi-def channels and luxury linens. The lobby now sports a market and community counter and the revitalized P.I. Bar and Grill. Bathrooms, balconies and guest-room hallways have also benefitted from the makeover, highlighted by modern furniture and light fixtures.

As for the “old,” the hotel’s iconic verandah, one of the best Masters gatherings spots outside of the clubhouse oak tree, has been spiffed up, while historic architectural features, including the original woodwork and ceiling tiles, have been preserved.

Partridge1If you book the Partridge during Masters week (try for 2017; next year already is sold out), you’ll receive complimentary shuttle to Augusta National, breakfast, welcoming gifts and access to restaurant, verandah and private event spaces. Or simply pop by for a visit. You can schmooze in the hotel’s Cigar Bar and restaurants, or enjoy live viewing of the Masters on the P.I. Bar and Grill’s big-screen TVs.

For more information, visit partridgeinn.com

courtesy of Joe Passov (golf.com)

Rickie Fowler Appears on ESPN’s College GameDay, Has Close Call With Shotgun

Rickie Fowler Appears on ESPN's College GameDay, Has Close Call With Shotgun

Rickie Fowler Appears on ESPN’s College GameDay, Has Close Call With Shotgun

Rickie Fowler has been a superstar in the golf world from day one, long before he captured the 2015 Players Championship and started routinely contending in major championships.

And if you’re a Fowler fan, or even a casual observer of golf, surely you’ve heard him talk passionately about his alma mater, Oklahoma State, and its football team. Even his trademark all-orange Sunday outfit is a nod to the Cowboys.

On Saturday, Fowler joined the GameDay crew prior to the start of the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State rivalry game. It goes without saying whom Fowler picked to win, but the real excitement came from analyst Lee Corso. When Corso also picked the Cowboys, he celebrated by firing off a few rounds from a shotgun into the sky, the second of which was a little too close for comfort for Rickie.

Watch the Vine of the incident below:

https://mtc.cdn.vine.co/r/videos/0F3277FD611282436102904741888_4108bf88cc9.4.0.3726167779697225716.mp4?versionId=UzjwlvKZnUs_F9WBk4QJeKqnasLgcEYH

courtesy of Extra Spin Staff (golf.com)

 

 

Golf Canada Rejects USGA Handicap Rule on Rounds Played Alone

usgaThe USGA’s recent decision to no longer count scores shot while playing alone towards an official handicap has met with intense criticism from golfers everywhere, but golfers in Canada are taking action.

The organization governing golf played in Canada announced Tuesday that it had voted against adopting the USGA’s rule change. Their decision represents a substantial challenge to the USGA’s authority and could lead to further divides in how golf is played around the world.

The new rule require golfers to play with at least one other person if they intend to count the score for handicap purposes, and according to the USGA, “this change underscores the importance of providing full and accurate information regarding a player’s potential scoring ability, and the ability of other players to form a reasonable basis for supporting or disputing a posted score.”

The USGA announced a clarification to this rule change Tuesday, which states that a player does not need to play alongside another golfer, but that he or she simply needs a witness. That witness must be present for seven holes of a nine-hole score, or 13 holes of an 18-hole score.

courtesy of Brendan Mohler (golf.com)

USGA, R&A Announce New 2016 Rules

usgaThe USGA announced Monday six major changes to the handicapping system, in tandem with the 2016 release of the Rules of Golf, effective Jan. 1, 2016.

Of note is the inadmissibility of posting solo scores for the purpose of determining a handicap. As of the new year, golfers will not be allowed to count rounds played alone toward their handicap. According to the USGA under Section 5-1: Acceptability of Scores, “this change underscores the importance of providing full and accurate information regarding a player’s potential scoring ability, and the ability of other players to form a reasonable basis for supporting or disputing a posted score.”

Further changes include adjustments to the definition of a tournament score, adjusting a hole score, posting scores of a disqualified player, anchoring and posting, and responsibilities of Handicap Committees.

The changes are said to impact more than 10 million golfers who hold a Handicap Index from the USGA.

A more detailed explanation of the changes will be available at the end of the year, and the complete USGA Handicap System Manual will be posted and available for purchase after Jan. 1, 2016.

courtesy of Marika Washchyshyn (golf.com)

Jordan Spieth Says Rio Olympics Is Next Year’s ‘Fifth Major’

Jordan Spieth celebrates after sinking his final putt to win a three-hole playoff in the fourth round of the 2015 Valspar Championship

Jordan Spieth celebrates after sinking his final putt to win a three-hole playoff in the fourth round of the 2015 Valspar Championship

Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott, the two headliners at this week’s Australian Open, have distinctly different excitement levels over next year’s Rio Olympics golf tournament.

While both agree a team competition would have been nice, Scott says he’ll go if he can fit it into his schedule, and isn’t very enthused. On Tuesday, however, Spieth said count him in unless he’s injured or, by some miracle, the world’s top-ranked golfer fails to qualify.

Spieth says he considers golf’s return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904 like a major and plans to be among the four-man American team in the 60-man field.

Last week at the Australian Masters, Scott, who is in line for Olympic selection alongside Jason Day in the Australian men’s team, showed little interest in packing his bags for Brazil.

“I’ve been pretty open and outspoken that it’s not really a priority of my scheduling next year, which is based around the majors. And if the Olympics fits in then it does,” Scott said Wednesday. “There is a gap in the schedule there … some time off looks quite good actually.”

He also said he felt Olympic organizers should have been “a little more creative than a little 72-hole stroke-play event.”

On Tuesday at The Australian Golf Club, where Spieth shot a final-round, course-record 63 last year to win the Australian Open, he said he’s enthused over being part of an American team.

“Just competing in the Olympics, just walking the opening ceremony, staying in the village and doing whatever it is, meeting these incredible athletes from around the world, hopefully that’s something I’ll be able to experience next August,” said Spieth, who moved on from his Australian victory last year to win consecutive majors at the Masters and U.S. Open.

Spieth likes to compare those majors with a potential victory at Rio.

“Winning a gold medal has got to be up there now in my mind with winning a major championship,” he said. “I’ve been asked the question: a green jacket or a gold medal, or a Wanamaker (Trophy, for winning the PGA Championship) or an Open Championship or a gold medal?

“That’s not fair. I think this year we’re going to approach it as a fifth major and we’re going to prepare like it is and I’m going to go down there and try and take care of business.”

He does share Scott’s disappointment with the fact that no team event will be contested, although it’s possible it could be added for Tokyo in 2020.

“It’s not a team event in golf, I think unfortunately,” Spieth said. “But it’s going to be very difficult. You’ve got some great Aussies that will be down there, you’ve got Englishmen, you’ve got your own countrymen that you’re trying to beat.”

AP News

Rory McIlroy Wins DP World Tour Championship, Race to Dubai

rory5Rory McIlroy survived a late scare and finished his frustrating season on a high, winning both the DP World Tour Championship and the Race to Dubai crown on Sunday.

McIlroy got the better of overnight leader Andy Sullivan over the back nine to clinch the European Tour’s season-ending tournament.

The third-ranked Northern Irishman shot 6-under 66 with eight birdies to finish on 21-under 267, one stroke ahead of Sullivan (68).

England’s Danny Willett, who started the tournament 1,613 points behind McIlroy in the Race to Dubai and needed to beat him to become the European No. 1 for the first time in his career, finished tied for fourth on 13-under 275 after shooting 70.

South Africa’s Branden Grace shot 5-under 67 in the final round to finish third on 273.

McIlroy had an anxious moment late in the day when his tee shot on the par-3 17th found the water and threatened to nullify his advantage at that stage.

But the 26-year-old McIlroy made a brilliant 40-feet putt to limit the damage to a bogey, which gave him a one-shot lead going to the 18th where he and Sullivan made par.

”In hindsight, I probably should have gone with a different club and a different shot,” McIlroy said of his problems at the 17th. ”It’s definitely probably the longest putt I’ve ever made for a bogey. I don’t think there’s been one that’s come at a better time. So, yeah, definitely the best bogey of my career.”

McIlroy also won the Race to Dubai title as the European Tour’s No. 1 player for the year, the third time he has secured the honor after winning in 2012 and 2014. It also gave him a bonus of $1.25 million.

”To be European No. 1 for the third time in four years, that was a goal of mine at the start of the year. It was a goal of mine in the middle of the year and it was definitely a goal coming into these last few weeks,” he said.

McIlroy’s closest rival for the Race to Dubai was Willett, who made early birdies to climb to third place on the leaderboard, but both McIlroy and Sullivan had enough birdies of their own to stay comfortably clear. Willett needed to finish ahead of McIlroy in the tournament.

Sullivan had two birdies in the first two holes, and four in the first six. McIlroy bogeyed the fourth and trailed Sullivan by three shots at one stage, despite birdies on Nos. 5, 6 and 7.

But the birdies stopped for Sullivan as he started spraying his tee shots, and McIlroy edged ahead with two crucial birdies on the 14th and 15th holes.

courtesy of AP News (golf.com)

Peter Senior Wins Third Australian Masters; Adam Scott 4 Back

peter seniorPeter Senior claimed his third Australian Masters title on Sunday and set another age record in his home country as the 56-year-old shot a final-round 3-under 68 for a two-stroke victory.

The Champions Tour regular became the oldest player to win the Masters, three years after becoming the oldest to capture the Australian Open. He also won the Australian PGA, the third major Down Under, when he was 51.

Senior finished with an 8-under 276 at Huntingdale.

American amateur Bryson DeChambeau (67), who won this year’s U.S. Amateur and collegiate NCAA title, finished tied for second with Australians John Senden (70) and Andrew Evans (71).

Adam Scott, who led after the first two rounds, shot 69 and finished at 4-under, four strokes behind and in fifth place.

Senior’s last win at the Australian Masters came in 1995, also at Huntingdale, when his 21-year-old son, Mitch, who has caddied for him for the past five years, was only an infant.

One of Senior’s best shots of the day came as he made the turn. He hit a hybrid from 220 yards to 18 inches on the difficult par-4, 476-yard 10th that has played as a par-5 in previous tournaments.

”It’s always a tough hole, normally a par-5 for me,” said Senior. ”The young guys can do it. But to hit it that close sort of push-started me for the back nine.

”I’m getting a bit long in the tooth, but it’s still amazing. It still hasn’t sunk in yet. You don’t expect to win these events anymore.

”Nearly every hole on the back nine, everyone was cheering me, even my poor shots. It was just great. I have not had that sort of following for a very, very long time. It sort of encouraged me.”

One of those poor shots came on the 17th when Senior’s drive went into mulga trees and he had to chip out sideways, causing him to bogey the hole and drop him into a tie for the lead with Evans.

Evans bogeyed 17 but a playoff seemed likely when Senior put his approach shot on 18 into a bunker. However, the veteran chipped out to within seven feet and made the par putt. The final margin went out to two strokes when Evans bogeyed the 18th.

DeChambeau was happy to be so close to a win in only his fifth professional tournament.

”Anytime you get to be up near the leaderboard and have an opportunity coming into the last nine, it’s special,” DeChambeau said. ”But unfortunately I missed a couple of putts.

”I call myself an intern, an amateur intern. I’m trying to get my feet into the professional ranks and feel what it’s like to be in that situation.”

Scott’s 77 on Saturday left him five behind third-round leader Matthew Millar, who shot 75 in his final round to finish five strokes behind Senior.

”It was tough to fire on all cylinders after having such a shocker yesterday,” Scott said. ”I’ve shot some good scores the past few weeks. The good stuff is there, but it’s not consistent enough.”

Scott will have a chance to redeem himself next week when he joins defending champion Jordan Spieth at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney for the Australian Open.

Spieth was at nearby Royal Melbourne on Sunday and was photographed on the practice range and signing autographs for junior golfers. He said last week he hoped to play both Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath ahead of his trip to Sydney.

Rory McIlroy Surprised That Tiger Woods Was Named Ryder Cup Vice Captain

Tiger Woods was announced as a Ryder Cup vice captain on Wednesday in a surprising move by Team USA captain Davis Love III.

The first and most obvious question: Does that mean we’ve seen Tiger’s last appearance as a player in the event? Is he accepting – even embracing – his transition to elder statesman of the Tour? Golf fans weren’t the only ones to raise an eyebrow at the news. When Rory McIlroy found out about the announcement after his first round at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, he was “visibly surprised,” according to a Belfast Telegraph report.

“I don’t know what to think about that, I really don’t,” McIlroy said. “It’s great that he wants to help the U.S. team in any way that he can, and if that’s not in a playing capacity, then as a vice captain. Just sort of makes me think what really his health is like and how he feels like he’s going to come back from that.”

This was lost in the flag-waving at Wednesday’s press conference with Love III saying how badly Woods wanted to be a player and a captain in 2016. But Woods turns 40 in December, has had multiple back surgeries and does not know when he will back to swinging a golf club – he had a follow-up back procedure a few weeks ago – much less when he’ll be able to compete in tournaments again. Even if Woods wants to qualify and make the team on merit, how realistic is that goal? Is Tiger worth more in the team room than on the course?

Photo: Getty Images Rory McIlroy of Europe (L) and Tiger Woods of the USA greet each other on the 18th green after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in

Rory McIlroy of Europe (L) and Tiger Woods of the USA greet each other on the 18th green after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in

“I think Jordan (Spieth) and Tiger have become quite close and if you look at the likes of Justin Thomas or Daniel Berger, some of the guys that are similar age to me or a little bit younger that grew up idolizing Tiger, to have someone like him to be a part of the team will be great for them,” McIlroy said.

Fellow European Ryder Cup stalwart Ian Poulter agrees. Woods’ main asset is his years of competing in the drama-packed event. But Woods’ experience is not going to magically tip the scales toward the United States.

“He’s bringing a lot of experience, and guys would respect what he’s done in the game of golf,” Poulter told the Telegraph. “Tiger’s Tiger. He creates a buzz whether he’s playing or not playing, so just his presence there would be a good thing for the team.”

And we know the United States squad needs all the help it can get. After losing eight of the last 10 events, they formed a widely-mocked Ryder Cup Task Force in order to grab momentum back from the Europeans. Even if Woods doesn’t compete, having a 14-time major champ in your team room isn’t a bad thing.

“I’d rather see him on the course at Hazeltine but if not, at least he’ll be there and it will be a good addition for them,” McIlroy said.

courtesy of Coleman McDowell (golf.com)

Lydia Ko Is the Greatest Young Golfer in the History of the Game

LPGA-Chart_960

With five wins on the year, including her first career major, Lydia Ko is the favorite to capture her second consecutive CME Globe as the top LPGA golfer of the year. At just 18 years old, Ko is now the single most accomplished young golfer — male or female — in history.

Since winning her first title at age 15 years, 4 months, the Korean-born New Zealander has won 10 times on the LPGA Tour, twice on the Ladies European Tour, and once on the Korean LPGA Tour. That total of 13 major tour victories laps the field of her closest 18-and-under male or female contenders. Her consistency at such a young age has been downright remarkable: through her first 65 career starts, Ko has missed a grand total of one cut.

Ko has also set the mark for youngest to reach world No. 1 (17 years, 9 months) and youngest to win a major championship (18 years, 4-months). She’s also poised to eclipse $5 million in career earnings on the LPGA Tour at this weekend’s CME Group Tour Championship and could enter the top 50 all-time in career LPGA earnings. With her next birthday still more than four months away, Ko’s list of 18-and-under accolades is likely to keep right on growing.

Women golfers have historically been more successful at a younger age than men, so it’s not surprising that Ko’s accomplishments dwarf those of the four young phenoms to hit the major men’s tours in the last two decades. Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy, and Jordan Spieth never won a single PGA Tour or European Tour event before their 19th birthday. Ko has 13 titles to date.

  • At 18, Tiger Woods was wrapping-up a decorated high school career, winning the 1994 U.S. Amateur, and beginning his NCAA career at Stanford. He entered seven PGA Tour events prior to his 19th birthday, but didn’t make the cut in any of them and didn’t record his first PGA Tour top-10 until age 20 years, 8 months. He won his first pro tournament two months later.
  • Sergio Garcia had a strong amateur career by age 18 — with victories at the British Amateur and on the lower-tier European Challenge Tour — but he didn’t turn pro until 19. His first victory came on the European Tour at age 19 years, 6-months.
  • Rory McIlroy was the only member of this group to go pro at 18, but he too failed to make much of a splash, capturing two top-10s by 18 years, 5-months, but only making 12 of 26 cuts prior to his 19th birthday. It took Rory until age 19 years, 8-months, to win his first European Tour title.
  • Jordan Spieth was just 16 years old when he made his first PGA Tour cut in his first career start and he made five of eight cuts prior to turning 19. But other than a starring role as a freshman on the University of Texas’s national championship team, Spieth didn’t accomplish much prior to his 19th birthday. Comparing Ko’s early success to some of her peers in women’s golf still shows her dramatically ahead of the pack.
  • Ko broke Morgan Pressel’s record for youngest to win a major (Pressel was 18 years, 10 months). But that major title was Pressel’s only victory on the LPGA Tour at 18 or younger.
  • As a 17-year-old amateur, Paula Creamer finished second at the LPGA Classic, and after securing her Tour card for 2005, Creamer added two Tour victories, with the first coming at age 18 years, 9 months.
  • Both Jessica Korda (2012) and Minjee Lee (2015) won their first LPGA title at 18 years, 11 months.

Not even phenom Lexi Thompson achieved half of what Ko has done at such a young age. While Thompson won her first Tour title in 2011 at 16 years, 7 months, and added another on the Ladies European Tour later that season, she didn’t notch another win for nearly two more years before claiming two titles in the closing stretch of the 2013 season. Before Ko, those four wins at age 18 or younger was the best performance by anyone in men’s or women’s professional golf. For further context, even after Tiger Woods started racking up titles in bunches after turning pro, it took him until August 1999 (23 years, 8 months) to win his 13th title. Ko has already equalled that mark, five years earlier than Woods.

Right now, the only other 18 or under golfer who owns an LPGA win is Brooke Henderson. She bested the field by 8 strokes at the Portland Classic this past summer, and despite missing out on the end of the LPGA Tour season due to wonky rules, she will have eight months left to notch a few more titles before turning 19 next September. Henderson would have ranked 11th on the LPGA Tour in scoring average — if she had played enough events — so it’s definitely realistic to expect her to match the 18 and under exploits of Creamer (2 wins) or Thompson (3). But matching Ko’s record is simply beyond reach.

courtesy of Jake Nichols (golf.com)

 

 

 

Charley Hoffman’s Round Interrupted by Alligator

AlligatorCharley Hoffman played short of the water hazard, then nearly walked into the path of a 10-foot alligator on the fairway.

The alligator ambled across the third fairway at Innisbrook Friday during the second round of the Valspar Championship.

Hoffman, John Senden and Woody Austin wisely decided to wait until the gator finished his journey from one swamp to the next.

“Rarely do they walk in the middle of the fairway and halt play,” Hoffman said. “We weren’t going anywhere fast. And neither was he.”

Hoffman said he has seen the gator before — it’s hard to forget one that size.

He recalls playing in the pro-am about six years ago when one of the amateurs talked about grabbing gators by the tail. Hoffman said he pointed to the gator and offered his amateur $100 to pick it up by the tail.

“Not touch it, but pick it up by the tail,” Hoffman said. “He walked over there and picked it up by the tail. It was slightly smaller, but it was huge then. And I gave the guy $100.”

courtesy of  AP News (golf.com)

 

Graeme McDowell to Open Second Restaurant

Graeme-McDowellGood news for Graeme McDowell: he announced today that the second location of his restaurant, Nona Blue Modern Tavern, will open in spring 2016.

The Northern Irish golfer struggled in 2015 with his game; he’s now ranked 85th in the world and hasn’t won in more than a year. The new outpost for Nona will be in Ponte Vedra, Florida, home of TPC Sawgrass and the Players Championship. Golf’s history and connection to Ponte Vedra is one of the reasons McDowell and his business partners settled on this area. The restaurant is nearby the TPC Sawgrass resort and course.

The restaurant follows the original Orlando location and will serve similar American fare, including oysters, meatballs, grilled cheese, pasta, and burgers. You can also snack on the “GMAC & Cheese,” with lobster and applewood smoked bacon.

courtesy of Extra Spin Staff (golf.com)

Golf Channel Hires Caddies for Broadcast From Sea Island

bonesThe caddies for Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar will carry a lighter load on the PGA Tour next week – microphones instead of golf bags.

Golf Channel has hired Jim “Bones” Mackay and John Wood as part of its broadcast team for two days during the RSM Classic at Sea Island. Mackay has been Mickelson’s only caddie on the PGA Tour. Wood spent nine years with Hunter Mahan until leaving to work for Kuchar in 2016.

“What’s going to be pretty cool is hearing their point of view on what’s going on,” Tommy Roy, the golf producer for NBC Sports and Golf Channel, said Thursday. “We hear so many players refer to “we” and it’s clear it’s a team getting this done on the course. So this will be the perspective from the other half of the team.”

Mackay and Woods will be on-course reporters for key groups during Friday and Saturday rounds at Sea Island.

NBC televised the “Kiwi Challenge” in 2008 when Steve Williams, still the caddie for Tiger Woods, worked as an on-course reporter in his native New Zealand.

Roy said he has been working on this project for more than a year. He identified Mackay and Wood as prime candidates because of their communication skills and “that’s the No. 1 attribute you look for in a television announcer.”

Over the past year, Roy said he has brought the two caddies into the truck to see the operational side of a television broadcast, and he had them wear headsets to adjust to hearing Roy’s commands and how announcers are to respond.

He said Roger Maltbie would be helping them with where to stand – not next to the player, in this case – and other issues. They will have a rehearsal Thursday morning from Sea Island before going live in the second round.

“I really appreciate the chance,” Mackay said. “I think it’s going to be cool. I’m fascinated by the whole TV side of it. Tommy had us out to the truck a couple of times. We had a chance to appreciate the amazing amount of hard work and attention to detail. It’s an honor and it will be a lot of fun. I’m excited about it, but I also want to make Tommy happy to have us out there.”

The last time Mackay was a PGA Tour event without caddying was the 1993 Ryder Cup, and he wound up working as a caddie assistant.

Whether this becomes a regular part of future Golf Channel and NBC broadcast is to be determined. Roy, however, long has been fascinated by the conversation between caddies and players, which can be a compelling part of the broadcast when it involves a big decision.

Mackay and Mickelson seem to be constantly discussing shots. Wood received notoriety in 2007 at the Travelers Championship when he stepped in as Mahan was about to play his approach to the 18th and had him start over with a sharp focus. Mahan made birdie and wound up winning a playoff for his first PGA Tour victory.

“In television, you try to come up with new things to attract viewers and enhance the experience for viewers,” Roy said. “Well see where it goes from here.”

courtesy of AP NEWS

 

Veterans Day: Golfers Who Served in the Military

ArnoldPalmerVDArnold Palmer

Palmer enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1950 and served as a Yeoman until 1953. He was able to play golf while serving, and would go on to win the U.S. Amateur in 1954.

BenHoganVDBen Hogan

Hogan served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. A lieutenant, he was a utility pilot and was stationed in Fort Worth, Texas. Hogan’s service interrupted the prime of his professional playing career, but he would go on to win his first of nine major titles, the 1946 PGA Championship, after serving.

BobbyJonesVDBobby Jones

Jones served during World War II, eventually becoming an intelligence officer. Jones reached the rank of lieutenant colonel and served as a prisoner-of-war interrogator in 1944. His superiors initially wanted Jones to remain in the U.S. and play exhibition golf, but he insisted on serving overseas. Several golfers, particularly those unable to serve, played exhibition golf during WWII to support the troops.

LloydMangrumVDLloyd Mangrum

Mangrum was offered the head pro job at Fort Meade golf course in Maryland during World War II, a job that would have kept him from serving, but he declined the position. He would go on to serve in the Army and win two Purple Hearts, having been wounded in The Battle of the Bulge, a German offensive campaign that lasted from Dec. 1944 through Jan. 1945. This attack resulted in the highest number of U.S. casualties for any one WWII battle.

read more at golf.com

Peter Malnati Uses Late Surge to Win Sanderson Farms Championship

peter mPeter Malnati won for the first time on the PGA Tour, closing with a 5-under 67 to capture the Sanderson Farms Championship.

Malnati finished at 18 under in a rain-soaked tournament that was forced to complete play Monday. He was one shot behind going into the final round but closed with five birdies over his final 12 holes to beat William McGirt and David Toms by one stroke.

The event at the Country Club of Jackson was delayed five times, either by rain, lightning or darkness. The final day was a long one for several golfers, with some playing as many as 30 holes.

It was a crowded leaderboard throughout Monday’s marathon round, with about 15 players moving in and out of contention. Roberto Castro led through the first two rounds but shot a 3-over 75 in the third round and finished at 16 under.

courtesy of AP NEWS  (golf.com)

Russell Knox Wins 1st PGA Tour Title at WGC-HSBC Champions

russell knoxRussell Knox made an unexpected trip to Shanghai and left with a most surprising victory Sunday in the HSBC Champions.

Knox became the first player to win a World Golf Championship in his debut when the 30-year-old from Scotland was flawless on the back nine of Sheshan International and closed with a 4-under 68 for a two-shot victory over Kevin Kisner.

Knox only found out a week ago Friday that he was in the HSBC Champions as an alternate when J.B. Holmes withdrew. He was in Malaysia and had to scramble to get a Chinese visa, arriving in time for one practice round with his wife, Andrea, as his caddie.

Then, he held off a world-class field for his first PGA Tour victory.

”I always thought I was going to win a big one for my first one,” Knox said. ”This is going to take a long time to sink in.”

Li Haotong, the 20-year-old from China who felt like a rock star all week, faded quickly with a bogey-double bogey start. But he kept it entertaining the whole way around and at least achieved his goal of finishing in the top 10. Li saved par on the 18th hole for a 72 to tie for seventh, the highest finish ever by a Chinese player in a PGA Tour event.

Jordan Spieth, starting the final round three shots behind, never got anything going. Two birdies on the back nine at least allowed him to post a 70 and tie for seventh, enough for the 22-year-old Texan to return to No. 1 in the world.

Kisner made birdie on the 18th for a 70 to finish alone in second, his fourth runner-up this year. The other three were playoff losses.

Danny Willett of England closed with a 62 and was briefly tied for the lead. He tied for third with Ross Fisher (68), but at least made up significant ground on Rory McIlroy in the Race to Dubai on the European Tour. McIlroy, who closed with a 66 and tied for 11th, is not playing the BMW Masters next week in Shanghai. That means the Race to Dubai will be settled in the final event at the DP World Championship in Dubai.

Dustin Johnson had a 71 and finished four shots behind, though he will look back at one great shot that cost him. One shot behind Knox on the par-5 eighth, Johnson hit a wedge that looked as though it would land a few feet behind the cup for a tap-in birdie. Instead, it hit the pin and caromed hard off the green and down into a creek, turning a sure birdie into a double bogey. He never quite recovered.

Knox, though, would have been tough to beat. He finished at 20-under 268.

His day started early, and it paid off. Knox chose not to finish the third round Saturday evening because of darkness, instead returning in the morning chill to play the par-5 18th. He hit wedge to 3 feet for birdie to tie Kisner for the 54-hole lead.

Kisner made bogey on the opening hole, Knox ran off two quick birdies and he was on his way.

The only sign of a struggle came when he missed a 3-foot birdie putt on No. 8 and then failed to get up-and-down for par on the ninth. He was tied for the lead at 17 under with Willett, Fisher, Kisner and Branden Grace, but not for long. He made a 10-foot birdie at No. 10 and another birdie on the 11th.

The clincher came at the reachable par-4 16th. Knox hit iron off the tee, wedge some 12 feet behind the flag and clenched his fist when it dropped for birdie. That gave him a three-shot lead with two holes to play, and he kept it clean.

The victory sends Knox to the Masters in April for the first time, along with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

”I’m over the moon,” Knox said at the trophy presentation, where he picked up $1.4 million.

Knox grew up in Inverness and attended Jacksonville University in Florida. It took him five years to reach the PGA Tour, and he has been steadily improving. His only other close call was a four-man playoff in the 2014 Honda Classic that included McIlroy and was won by Russell Henley.

”This is now my favorite tournament,” Knox said. ”I look forward to playing it for many years to come.”

courtesy of AP NEWS (golf.com)

 

Tiger Woods’ 1st U.S. Course, Bluejack National, Opens for Play

tiger-horizontalDozens of eager Texas golfers got their introductory playing test of Tiger Woods’ first U.S. design Thursday at the official member opening.

While the designer himself was unable to attend due to recent back surgery, those that played Bluejack National expressed satisfaction with the gentle rolling Southeast Texas layout dotted with dozens of mature trees, located 45 minutes from downtown Houston.

“For this day to finally come is very exciting,” said Bryon Bell, President of Tiger Woods Design. “It’s really important for this course to finally be open, and the real payoff is to hear the members talking positively about it.”

Nearly 100 members were on the grounds at Bluejack, which had a seven-hole loop open for the initial play, with the full course expected be ready by early 2016.

Former PGA Champion Dave Stockton and his son Dave Jr. gave a clinic on the large driving range, while members and guests took several turns on the layout that Woods worked on with former Tom Fazio associate Beau Welling.

“Sometimes architects give lip service to a playable, walkable course, but that’s what we did here,” Welling said. “We want people to enjoy the game and walk the course and that is what is happening. People said golf takes too long, but if it’s fun, people will do it for a long time.”

The first player to challenge the course was former President George W. Bush, who played with his good friend and land developer Michael Abbott in a special Monday preview round. Bush took advantage of the friendly conditions, covering the 7-hole loop in 40 minutes.

Early Thursday morning, Bell called Woods at his home in Jupiter, Fla., to tell him members were getting a chance to play his first American course and promising to take plenty of photos for an expected Woods return here in 2016.

“This course will define a new Tiger Woods,” Abbott said. “When people see this course and what has been created, they will not only think of the golfer with 80 victories, but a skillful architect as well.”

Abbott first walked on the land, site of the old Blaketree National course, in June 2013 and said he was gratified to see members enjoy the new golfing creation.

“We couldn’t be more proud,” Bluejack President Casey Paulson said. “To see it come from a piece of paper to a completed course is a great day.”

Bluejack-National-As-Built-Rendering-Oct_-19-2015

courtesy of Art Stricklin (golf.com)

After Split with Butch, Phil Mickelson Is Already Working With New Coach

Getson-9Well, that didn’t take long.

On Wednesday, GOLF.com reported that Phil Mickelson and Butch Harmon had split up after eight years of working together. They had been the most high-profile player/coach duo on Tour—and a highly successful one, netting 12 wins, including two majors, in their time together. By Thursday morning, a report had surfaced about Mickelson’s potential new teacher.

GolfDigest.com first reported through sources that Mickelson and Andrew Getson, an instructor at Greyhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., have been working together since Mickelson and Harmon separated. The report did not include confirmation of the partnership from either Mickelson or Getson, and it was initially unclear whether Mickelson has coronated Getson as his official swing coach or if they’ve just been working together casually. GOLF.com has indepedently confirmed that Mickelson will be working with Getson as the five-time major champ preps for his 26th year on Tour.

So … who is Andrew Getson?

The 41-year-old from Melbourne, Australia, has worked at Grayhawk since 2009. After a standout record as a teenager, Getson accepted an invitation to attend the Victorian Institute of Sport’s golf program (like other accomplished Aussies such as Geoff Ogilvy and Stuart Appleby.) He turned pro in 1999 at age 25 and played all around the world on several Tours, joining the Nationwide (now the Web.com) Tour in 2006. In his bio on his website, he says Greg Norman is golfing hero and that he likes to eat M&M’s the night before a big round.

He lists playing golf with President Bill Clinton as his biggest thrill in golf.

That part of his bio might soon need updating.

courtesy of Coleman McDowell (golf.com)

Phil Mickelson Splits From Longtime Coach Butch Harmon

butch harmonPhil Mickelson and his longtime swing coach Butch Harmon are parting ways.

“I’ve learned a great deal from him in our eight years together,” Mickelson said in a statement to Golf.com. “It’s just that at the moment I need to hear new ideas from a different perspective.”

Mickelson and Harmon had been a formidable team since 2007. Soon after joining Harmon’s stable, Mickelson won the 2007 Players Championship. He went on to win 11 more PGA Tour events under Harmon’s watch, including the 2010 Masters and 2013 British Open.

Since raising the Claret Jug more than two years ago, however, Mickelson has struggled to find his form. He is winless during that stretch, with just five top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour. He has plummeted to 25th in the World Ranking and required a captain’s pick to make the 2015 Presidents Cup team.

Mickelson is rarely anything but optimistic about the state of his game, but in recent months he has had to field an increasing number of questions about his struggles inside the ropes.

“It’s more than having just the physical game to win golf tournaments,” Mickelson said at the PGA Championship in August. “You have to be mentally focused, manage your game well. All those factors you have to put together to be able to compete at this level because now the level is so high and the misses are not as big as they used to be with the equipment. You have to be on. You’re not going to get by with anything less than your best.”

The split represents a rare hiccup for the 72-year-old Harmon, whose superstar stable has grown in recent years to include the likes of Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson and Jimmy Walker.

In a statement issued by Mickelson’s camp, Harmon said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Phil and we’ve had great success together. Helping him win the Open Championship in 2013 was one of the pinnacles of my career. I see nothing wrong with him seeking advice from another source. We’re great friends and always will be.”

Despite the split, Mickelson remained complimentary of his former coach, noting, “Butch is one of the great teachers in the history of the game and I believe he deserves to be in the World Golf Hall of Fame.”

courtesy of Alan Bastable (golf.com)

 

 

Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth Headline Field in Shanghai

PGA Championship - Round OneThe final WGC event of 2015 is also the second tournament of four in the European Tour’s Final Series. Rory McIlroy carries the Race to Dubai lead into the HSBC Champions at Sheshan International in Shanghai.

This event started out as a regular European Tour event back in 2005 but in 2009 its status was elevated to become one of the four World Golf Championship tournaments held through the course of each season. Since that time, the event has carried a huge purse plus significant World Ranking points. It has consistently attracted a strong field as a result with winners including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson.

World No. 2 Jordan Spieth will tee it up, as will Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and defending champion Bubba Watson. It’s one of the most significant tournaments of the year, but what are the key talking points from a European Tour perspective?

read more by Fergus Bisset / Golf Monthly

 

First Look: Wilson Staff FG Tour F5 Irons

FG%20Tour%20F5%20fullWilson Staff FG Tour F5 Irons

$899 steel, $999 graphite.

Forged from carbon steel, the FG Tour F5 irons are aimed at players who want plenty of distance with the enhanced feel and feedback normally associated with more traditional “players,” iron designs. A sole technology that carries over from the previous D200 irons thins out the area low in the clubface in the long and mid irons, increasing face flex, ballspeed, and distance on shots struck in that area. Meanwhile a stabilizing bar in the cavity of each club supports the thin clubfaces, enhancing consistency across the hitting area for greater consistency and forgiveness without negatively affecting face flex or distance.

courtesy of  Michael Chwasky (golf.com)