National Golf Day Celebrates Golf’s Economic Impact #NationalGolfDay

National Golf Day Celebrates Golf’s Economic Impact #NationalGolfDay

National Golf Day Celebrates Golf’s Economic Impact The golf economy totals $84 billion in direct … Read more.

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There’s More To Golf In Morocco Than The Trophee Hassan II

There’s More To Golf In Morocco Than The Trophee Hassan II

There’s More To Golf In Morocco Than The Trophee Hassan II This week, the European … Read more.

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Royal Golf Dar Es Salam – Host of The European Tour’s Trophee Hassan II

Royal Golf Dar Es Salam – Host of The European Tour’s Trophee Hassan II

This week, the European Tour visits Morocco for the Trophee Hassan II. The tournament has … Read more.

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The Masters had its lowest TV rating in 13 years. Why?

On the surface, the 2017 Masters had all the makings of an engaging, captivating broadcast. A beautiful day in Augusta. The leader board littered with big names. A fight to the finish, one prolonged via sudden death. The enthralling narrative of a maligned soul finally breaking through. Must-see theater, incarnate.

Except, not that many people saw it.

According to Sports Media Watch, the final round of the Masters drew a 7.6 overnight rating. That’s 11-percent lower than last year, a 21-percent drop from 2015 and the tournament’s worst showing since 2004. And Sunday was far from an aberration; third-round coverage was down 19 percent from last spring, with Friday’s broadcast suffering an 18-percent drop. What gives?

Save for a rain delay, there’s rarely a clear-cut answer to viewership issues. However, Neal H. Pilson—the former president of CBS Sports and president of Pilson Communications, Inc.—has some theories.

Pilson’s first assertion involves the weather. Not at Augusta, but across America.

“The weather can be an important factor,” said Pilson, who also teaches at Columbia. “Extraordinarily good weather in parts of the country can bring numbers down. Cumulative number watching could be down for all television audiences.”

This was especially true in the Northeast and the South, the two biggest areas for golf viewership. “Good weather is a killer in swing months. In the fall, people are sneaking in one last trip to the park, and in the spring, it’s more pronounced, going outside for the first time,” Pilson says. “It was a gorgeous day in the Northeast, where 20 percent of America’s households are located. I had to struggle to stay inside myself.”

Then there’s the matter of the aforementioned big names. Or specifically, the lack thereof. While Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose are known entities to golf fans, they’re not recognized outside of the sport.

“To the people that watch only one or two tournaments a year, they’re not well known,” says Pilson. “All due respect to two guys who are very good, they’re not names that leap in front of the casual viewer. One is from Spain, the other England. I don’t think they resonate with the American fan, at least relative to who could have been leading.”

Speaking of which, the play of Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler did the broadcast no favors. Though the pair was in the penultimate group, they fell out of contention—and off our televisions—early.

“No Spieth, no Rory McIlroy or Jason Day,” said Pilson. “Dustin Johnson was not even in the tournament. They are the hottest golfers right now, and were absent on Sunday afternoon.”

However, the Masters’ ever-expanding second-screen experiences should not be chalked up for this decrease. To Pilson, the industry views these platforms as additions to the broadcast, rather than as substitutions. Watching featured groups or the action from Amen Corner doesn’t mean a viewer opts to put something else on the big screen.

“Besides, the people who watch the Masters are not the ones who go, ‘Well, I can watch this on my phone, I guess I can leave the house now,'” Pilson remarks.

Pilson doesn’t think this is part of a growing trend in sports viewership, one which saw a decrease in last summer’s Olympics and the NFL season. “Yes, we are dealing with overall drops in viewership, but this goes in peaks and valleys,” Pilson says. “It’s hard to say from just one tournament.”

It wasn’t all bleak news for the Masters. As Austin Karp of Sports Business Dailypoints out, the last 90 minutes of the telecast grew from 8.0 to 9.1 before peaking at 11.2. And the viewership of the Masters still far outweighs the expected returns from other major champions; last year’s U.S. Open pulled a final 3.4 rating on Sunday.

Courtesy of Joel Beall

Michael Bolton says he would caddie for Tiger Woods

Musician Michael Bolton hits a shot during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club on February 14, 2015 in Pebble Beach, California.

Bolton has been a regular fixture on the celebrity golf circuit for years, getting in rounds with Bill Clinton, Bill Murray and Darius Rucker.

Courtesy of Extra Spin Staff (golf.com)

Rickie Fowler, Patrick Rodgers and Patton Kizzire tied for lead at OHL Classic at Mayakoba

A lengthy weather delay saw the second round of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba get cut short on Friday, and the plan was to finish the remainder of the round early on Saturday morning. Instead, more bad weather rolled in, delaying the morning start over five hours. When all was said and done, they finally completed the second round, with Rickie Fowler, Patrick Rodgers and Patton Kizzire sharing the lead at 10-under 132 and a busy Sunday in plain sight.

Fowler, who trailed Rodgers by one heading into Saturday, made three pars on the difficult closing stretch at El Camaleon to card a second-round four-under 67. It ended up being all he needed to catch the former Stanford star, who made two pars and a bogey on his final three holes to post a six-under 65.

“I felt like playing those last three, three pars, was good, that’s probably one of the harder parts of the golf course, the final five holes or so,” Fowler said.

The four-time tour winner has now made 10 straight cuts, and looks to finish at least inside the top 10 for the sixth time during that stretch.

Rodgers, 25, wasn’t thrilled with his short time on the course Saturday, but is still in a good spot to challenge for his first PGA Tour victory on Sunday.

“I didn’t play a very good three holes, but it’s all good,” Rodgers said. “I’m in great position, and we’ll see, I’d love to get in a full 72 holes and keep battling it out, but either way, in great position and looking forward to competing (on Sunday).”

Rodgers, Fowler and Kizzire will begin their third rounds at 7:35 a.m. EST. Kizzire, who didn’t even hit a shot on Saturday, opened with rounds of 62 and 70 in Mexico. He’s also looking for his first PGA Tour victory. The plan is for the remaining two rounds to be played Sunday, weather permitting, creating a marathon day in Mexico.

Like Kizzire, Brandon Harkins and Brian Gay also didn’t need to lift a club on Saturday, and sit one back in a tie for fourth at nine-under 133. They’ll tee off at 7:25 a.m. alongside John Oda, who also is at nine under in his first PGA Tour start as a professional. The former UNLV standout posted a second-round six-under 65 that featured eight birdies and two bogeys.

Charles Howell III was one of the few players in the field who began their third rounds late on Saturday night, and he took advantage, going four under in just six holes to get to eight under for the tournament. Ryan Moore and Russell Knox, while only getting in four and two holes respectively, are also at eight under for the tournament and two under in their third rounds. Martin Piller is also among the group at eight under after he carded a second-round three-under 68.

Courtesy of Christopher Powers (golfdigest.com)

A hard way to make a living: Here are the 12 worst jobs in golf

You know what they say: a bad day of golf is still better than a good day of work, especially if your work is one of these 12 gigs.

BEVERAGE CART DRIVER AT BOOZY CORPORATE OUTING

If there’s anything more awkward than the ham-fisted flirtations of a pudgy middle-aged man with booze on his breath, it’s the wan smile on the face of a patient young woman mixing yet another cocktail for her sloppy suitor and wondering when her shift will ever end.

RULES OFFICIAL IN FINAL GROUP OF MAJOR

The way tournaments have been going these days, odds are something’s going to happen—and when it does, you best know the 600-plus pages of the Decision on the Rule of Golf like you do your kids’ birthdays.

DRIVING RANGE PICKER

Like Mad Max on a fuel run, he heads out in his rickety, jerry-rigged ride, fully aware of the grim fate that awaits him. In an instant he is spotted by club-wielding barbarians with bucket-loads of ammo and brainless ambitions. On the course, these heathens rarely hit a green in regulation. But on the range they unleash screamers with frightening precision, whooping in celebration as they rattle the mesh cage around our hero, who, regardless of what he’s earning, should really be getting paid a whole lot more.

COURSE AMBASSADOR AT JAM-PACKED RESORT

Though it may sound grandiose, “ambassador” is an apt title for a role that strains even the finest diplomatic skills. Pressed by antsy golfers to get things moving, our on-course Kissinger drives ahead for delicate negotiations with a stubborn, sluggish foursome, who remind him haughtily that they’ve paid their $400 so they’ll take six hours if they damn well please. Ever tactful, even in the face of such surly nonsense, our ambassador strikes a statesman-like balance between persistence and politeness. But he has no real power. As the pace of play crawls on, he rides away muttering to himself, “You came out of retirement for this?”

CADDIE ON THE BAG OF ARROGANT HACK

A caddie’s job is to keep up and shut up. That part’s easy. The hard part comes when the player does neither, banging balls all over the planet while droning on incessantly about himself and his game. Being the insufferable fellow that he is, he also blames his looper for misreading putts that he barely gets rolling and misclubbing him on irons that he flat-out shanks. He caps the miserable day by failing to tip.

LOWEST RANKING CADDIE IN THE CADDYSHACK

Forced to wait all day for a single loop, he finally gets one. It turns out to be the guy described above.

CAMERA OPERATOR IN CHERRY PICKER

As if an eight-hour shift under a broiling sun isn’t hard enough, there’s nowhere to relieve yourself. Well, expect for that Gatorade bottle.

HEAD PRO AT SUFFOCATINGLY STUFFY PRIVATE CLUB

He got into this line of work because he loved the game, not because he dreamed of playing yes-man to a pack of self-important Judge Smails-types who find reason to complain in everything from the speed of the greens and plushness of the fairways to the offending branches of a 300-year-old oak tree they’re bent on seeing removed.

ASSISTANT PRO WHO HAS NEVER HAD A WEEKEND OFF

The last time he played, he shot a tidy 67. That was 11 years ago.

BALL-HAWKER DIVING INTO GATOR-INFESTED WATER HAZARDS

On the one hand, we respect the bravery and bull-headedness required to don a wetsuit and plunge into a festering, predator-filled pond in the hopes of recovering some ProV1s, which reliably re-sell for as much as a buck each. On the other hand, we wonder: has your brain gone cloudy from the bends?

GOLF LISTICLE WRITER

Years ago, when life spread out before you like a bright green promise, you dreamed of one day penning the Great American Novel. But now, in the age of Trump and Twitter, your own limited talents, combined with the limited attention span of readers, have reduced you to what you were probably meant to be: the author of a zillion golf-related lists. Hey, let’s see you try to do this.

Courtesy of Josh Jens (golf.com)

UPDATED: Napa fire burns grandstands hours after Safeway Open ends, forces evacuation of Silverado Resort

JOSH EDELSON
A tent structure built for the 2017 Safeway Open burns on a golf course at the Silverado Resort and Spa.

A fire early Monday forced the evacuation of Silverado Resort & Spa in Napa only hours after the completion of the PGA Tour’s season-opening Safeway Open.

Mitch Cosentino, a prominent winemaker in the Napa Valley, an avid golfer and friend to many on the PGA Tour, posted this on his Facebook page about 1:30 a.m. (PDT): SILVERADO COUNTRY CLUB IS IN DANGER. THE FIRES HAVE COME DOWN PAST William Hill Winery. Both sides of Hardman Rd are burning across from the driving range at the Country Club. This has passed thru a very good Cab Sauv vineyard just north of the 5th hole. I was supposed to pick Thursday. Likely no good now. Who knows what has happened to William Hill Winery.”

“Several massive wildfires burned out of control in Napa and Sonoma counties early Monday, destroying an untold number of homes and businesses, forcing the evacuation of many thousands of people and shutting down major roadways as firefighters sought to halt the advance of infernos that were driven by powerful winds,” this story in the San Francisco Chronicle said.

“Guests of the Silverado Resort and Spa on Atlas Peak Road said they had been evacuated in a rush as flames approached. The resort had hosted the Safeway Open, a PGA Tour event, which ended Sunday.

“’We were sleeping, but we kept smelling smoke,’ said Chris Thomas, 42, of Kirkland, Wash., who arrived in the Napa Valley late Sunday with his wife, Marissa Schneider, for a wine-tasting trip.”

It is not yet known whether any tour players were still at the resort, though tournament host Johnny Miller has a condominium there. Miller, on Golf Channel’s telecast on Sunday, made note of the strong winds. “This is a very unusual wind. … To have that north wind blowing out of nowhere after three days of just mild little breezes it makes it a lot tougher.”

Courtesy of John Strege (golfworld.com)

Hurricane Harvey uproots Houston golf teams

Houston golf coaches Gerrod Chadwell and Jonathan Dismuke used kayaks to rescue their programs’ Trackman, camera equipment and other electronics on Sunday from their home facility at the Golf Club of Houston. Chadwell said the water was 8 to 9 feet deep in the area around the Dave Williams Golf Academy. He sent pictures of the completely submerged championship course, which annually hosts the Shell Houston Open.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Chadwell. “It’s water as far you can see.”

The Houston women were slated to have their annual retreat at Bluejack National this year. Juli Inkster held a similar getaway filled with golf, corn hole and fishing for the U.S. Solheim Cup team candidates last April.

But with weather coming in, the Cougars instead practiced in the rain at their home facility on Friday and then headed to the home of Chadwell and his wife, LPGA golfer Stacy Lewis, for a team dinner. Chadwell said their home, which is located in the Golf Club of Houston community, is safe but lost electricity.

The traveling party of 14 then moved to the home of senior Allie Andersen in The Woodlands, Texas. Andersen’s family has a generator, but so far hasn’t had to use it.

The team got outside and played football in the rain to take their minds off of Harvey and its devastating aftermath.

Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, dumped a staggering 49 inches on the city of Houston. Chadwell loaded up his team on Tuesday afternoon and headed to Dallas. It was still raining when they drove past a line of boat trailers along the side of the road.

“You see these people put their boats in off the highway to do whatever they can,” he said.

Chadwell was grateful to SMU head coach Jeanne Sutherland for gathering support from the Ladies Amateur Golf Association of North Texas to give Houston coaches gift cards to Target and other area businesses to help players buy essentials. Most players left town with only lounge-around clothes. Some don’t even have golf shoes.

Dallas Athletic Club offered to open its doors so the team can practice; they’ll use a gym on SMU’s campus.

“The golfing community is pretty cool,” said Chadwell.

The University of Houston is scheduled to reopen next Tuesday, but Chadwell isn’t sure that’s realistic. When they do return to campus, he sees volunteer work taking the place of practice. The Cougars are scheduled to open the season Sept. 15 in Franklin, Tenn., at the Mason Rudolph Championship.

“Whenever we do go home golf is going to be so secondary,” he said.

Courtesy of Beth Ann Nichols (golfweek.com)

The 10 Best Golf Resorts in North America — Chosen By You!

It’s only fitting that The Broadmoor has climbed to the top of our biennial resort rankings. Though lofty heights are nothing new for the venerable retreat in the Colorado Rockies, this is the perennial contender’s first trip to the summit. In a mild upset, the Broadmoor narrowly edged out the reigning champ, Bandon Dunes.

As always, the quality of the golf was paramount in tabulating the votes. We enjoy puffy pillows and plummy wine as much as you do, but challenging layouts and tee-box panoramas come first in our book. As you cruise through our list of Platinum, Gold and Silver medal winners, warm yourselves with late-winter thoughts of emerald fairways and hot-stone massages. This year, 15 first-time medal winners made the list, including the Grand Del Mar in San Diego, our highest-ranked newcomer.

Oh, and when you call the folks at the reservation desks, ask about special packages — including all-you-can-play deals. You might save a few bucks, or land a bigger room. And during your stay, remember two important things: (1) Never leave a birdie putt short. (2) Never tell your buddies about the mud mask and facial you had at the spa. That’s our little secret.

The Broadmoor
Colorado Springs, Colo. 855-634-7711, broadmoor.com

Since legendary entrepreneur Philip Anschutz purchased The Broadmoor in 2011, management has made impressive renovations to the hotel and its restaurants, and also dramatically upgraded the amenity package. The Broadmoor’s jump to the top spot in our rankings was powered by a runaway win in the Service category and top-5 showings in both Lodging and Food & Drink. True, the golf (three 18-hole tracks) isn’t as spectacular as it is at some iconic resorts. But the East Course — featuring design elements courtesy of Donald Ross and Robert Trent Jones — is strong enough to have hosted both the 2008 U.S. Senior Open and the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open. And, well, the Rocky Mountains will just have to suffice as the backdrop for your on-course heroics.

The American Club
Kohler, Wis. 800-344-2838, americanclubresort.com

Since we introduced the Platinum medal category in 2008, this heartland haven has earned four straight slots in the Top 3. And now the historic hotel has been remodeled, as has the adjacent Carriage House Annex. Good news for beer-and-brat fans: The celebrated Horse & Plow restaurant has reopened. The Golf score is the strong suit at The American Club. The revamped Blackwolf Run course wowed competitors at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open. And the Whistling Straits track, with its countless bunkers and stunning Lake Michigan vistas, is muscular and demanding enough to host both the 2015 PGA Championship and the 2020 Ryder Cup.

The Greenbrier
White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. 855-453-4858, greenbrier.com

The Greenbrier is an old reliable among our Platinum winners—it just exudes tradition. Yet its golf greatness derives from the fact that it never stands still. Consider the 101-year-old Old White TPC course, one of the few C.B. Macdonald masterworks open to the public. The course was lovingly restored by Lester George in 2006, and more recently it was further toughened up to challenge the big boys on the PGA Tour, in the Greenbrier Classic. Even with its three acclaimed tracks — the Greenbrier Course hosted the 1979 Ryder Cup, Seve’s first — it’s the resort’s top-6 rankings in Lodging, Food & Drink and Service that keep it in rarified air.

Bandon Dunes Golf Resort
Bandon, Ore. 888-345-6008, bandondunes.com

The Oregon gem didn’t take long to become a legend. The oldest of its four full-length courses is only 14, but Bandon Dunes already has a place in our golf psyches. There’s something about its mix of earth and sea and sky that thrills. Although Bandon finished No. 2 overall, it won the coveted top spot in the Golf rankings. And this year, reviewers rave about Bandon’s new small-ball offerings: Bandon Preserve, a brilliant 13-hole par-3 course courtesy of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, and The Punchbowl, America’s most entertaining putting course. This 3.5-acre gathering place — or is it a watering hole? — features drink holders at every tee.

Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Kiawah Island, S.C. 800-654-2924, kiawahresort.com

When Rory Mcllroy lapped the field with his record-setting march to victory at the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah’s Ocean Course, the world was reminded of the track’s character and the resort’s beauty. Four other top-notch tracks lift Kiawah to a Top 10 Golf ranking, and the eco-sensitive resort on the Atlantic Ocean grabs top-20 spots in every other category. The pristine beaches are exquisite, the tennis program world-class, and the Sanctuary Hotel (its decor conjuring thoughts of Gone with the Wind) is a charmer. The Atlantic is a constant companion at Kiawah. As you sip a Dark & Stormy (spiced rum, ginger beer and lime) at the Ryder Cup Bar while you gaze out at the course and the waves, you’ll feel both the energy and serenity of the sea.

Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation
Greensboro, Ga. 706-467-0600, ritzcarltonlodge.com

This boutique-sized property with massive golf offerings slipped out of our Top 10 in 2012. Now under new ownership, Reynolds Plantation is back in the Platinum elite. It boasts a lovely lakeside location midway between Atlanta and Augusta — a stay would be the perfect capper to Masters week. The renovated rooms emphasize gracious Southern stylings, and the restaurant, Georgia’s Bistro — with timber ceiling beams and a baronial fireplace — has been polished up. And they haven’t forgotten the golf. A reworking of the Landing course by original architect Bob Cupp, with former Augusta National superintendent Billy Fuller, has restored The Ritz at Reynolds to its elevated status.

Pebble Beach Resorts
Pebble Beach, Calif. 800-654-9300, pebblebeach.com

We could treat the three resorts — the Lodge at Pebble Beach, the Inn at Spanish Bay and Casa Palmero — as separate properties. But the shuttle system, shared facilities and overall high quality make them feel like one dream-fulfilling package. Always a top-5 scorer in Golf (Those rocks! Those seals! That ocean!), Pebble has upped the ante yet again, this time by tweaking the greens and expanding the practice facility. The biggest upgrade in dining options is The Bench, a new restaurant that overlooks the 18th hole at the Lodge at Pebble Beach. Wood-roasted entrées, relaxed ambience and Instagram-worthy views of the Pacific have already made it wildly popular with both guests and locals. It’s no surprise that Pebble…well, rocks.

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu
Kailua-Kona, Big Island, Hawaii 808-325-8000, fourseasons.com/hualalai

As if you needed another reason to visit paradise, this multiple Platinum winner on the dry north Kona coast of Hawaii’s Big Island earned the No. 1 ranking in Lodging. Guests rave about the resort’s roomy, low-slung bungalows, which melt into the landscape and offer a seamless transition between indoors and out. For good measure, the property scored a third-place finish in Service and a fourth in Food & Drink. There’s plenty to tweet home about on the oceanside Jack Nicklaus course; it’s friendly, lava-lined and packed with holes demanding enough to test the Champions Tour pros each year in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

Pinehurst Resort
Pinehurst, N.C. 855-235-8507, pinehurst.com

This June, Pinehurst’s fabled No. 2 will make history when it hosts both the men’s and women’s U.S. Opens in back-to-back weeks. Donald Ross’s classic course — and those famed crowned greens — will be ready, having been brilliantly restored by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Many of the resort’s other golf venues have been polished up as well. They’ve converted the bent-grass greens on courses 1, 3 and 8 to the smoother-rolling ultra-dwarf Bermuda. And they’ve added a new 18-hole putting course, Thistle Dhu, so named because when steamship magnate James Barber first saw the property on which he built his estate — and the first miniature golf course in the country — he is rumored to have said, “This’ll do.”

Sea Island Resort
Sea Island, Ga. 888-732-4752, seaisland.com

If you’re a charter member of Foodie Nation, take note: Sea Island won the resort Food & Drink crown. That’s quite a coup given all the good eats out there. A new dining option, Tavola, merges classic Italian with traditional Lowcountry accents in a casual environment. And Sea Island is also top 5 across the board: No. 3 for Lodging (both for its Lodge and for its historic Cloister), No. 4 for Service, and stellar as to the golf. The Retreat Course was reworked by Davis Love Ill and his brother Mark in 2000. The Plantation course makes magic of marshes, and the links-style Seaside course, host to the McGladrey Classic, is both beautiful and Tour-tough.

Courtesy of Joe Passov (golf.com)

9 things you need to know about British Open host Royal Birkdale

Here’s what you need to know about Royal Birkdale Golf Club, the host of the 2017 British Open Championship.

1. Royal Birkdale, located in Southport, England, has hosted the British Open nine times, starting in 1954. Past winners include Arnold Palmer in 1961, Lee Trevino in 1971, Johnny Miller in 1976 and Tom Watson in 1983. Padraig Harrington was the most recent winner at the course, in 2008.

2. It is one of three courses in northern England that’s in the Open Rota.

3. Birkdale was opened in 1889 and became an early pioneer in women’s golf when club members voted to allow women to play the course for three days each week.

4. In 1890, the first women were elected as members. One of the first tournaments hosted at Birkdale was a ladies’ championship.

5. In the 1969 Ryder Cup, Birkdale was the site of the famous “Concession.” Jack Nicklaus conceded the 18th hole to Tony Jacklin in what the club’s history calls “a gesture of supreme sportsmanship which has never been forgotten.” The match ended in a 16-16 tie. He finished T4 and two off the lead.

MORE: The outrageous and crazy adventures of the Claret Jug

6. Justin Rose burst onto the scene at the 1998 Open at Birkdale. Playing as a 17-year-old amateur, Rose shot 66 in the second round and was tied for second place through 36 holes. He turned professional when the tournament was over.

7. At three over, Harrington’s 2008 score was the highest to par of the nine Open winners to conquer Birkdale. That week the course was blasted by 20-mph winds and driving rain. In the final round, only three players managed to break par.

8. Harrington is the only Irish winner at Birkdale. No Brit has ever won the Open there.

9. You can play where the pros do, as Royal Birkdale is open to the public, but only at certain times. Check the website for more details.

courtesy of Golf Wire

Sergio was golf’s tragic figure; now he’s the champion he was meant to be

In the shadow of Medinah Country Club’s majestic clubhouse, at a PGA Championship long ago, Ben Crenshaw waited for his audience with the boy king. Crenshaw was a month away from serving as captain of the 1999 U.S. Ryder Cup team, so he was closely eyeing the final round of the PGA, watching to see how both teams might gel. Just moments earlier, Sergio Garcia had run out of holes in a thrilling duel with Tiger Woods, failing to claim the Wanamaker trophy but securing a spot in his very first Ryder Cup. “Boy, that kid is gonna be a handful,” Crenshaw said. Finally, the young Spaniard materialized, and Crenshaw offered him a manly hug and some down-home consolation: “You didn’t get this one, but you’re gonna win so many of these you’re gonna get tired of lifting trophies.”

Of course, who didn’t get swept up in the turn-of-the-century Sergiomania? The kid had it all, including a boyishness that transcended borders. But what Crenshaw couldn’t know was that the “99 PGA Championship would propel Woods to the most dominant run of golf ever played. Poor Sergio had his spirit crushed along the way, and by the time the 2002 U.S. Open rolled around, his public image had already curdled, culminating in him flipping the bird to a Bethpage gallery that was mercilessly heckling him. (Sometimes the jeers turned into mockery, as when Sergio showed up for the final round of the 2006 Open Championship, and another showdown with Woods, in an all-yellow outfit. Overserved fans took to calling him both “Big Bird” and “Banana Man.”) Over the next decade and a half, Garcia did indeed manage to lift many trophies, but of course no majors. He had good health, immense wealth and a string of glamorous girlfriends, and yet he somehow became a tragic figure—what the British tabloids liked to call a “nearly man.”

It was when we finally gave up on Garcia that he became the player he was meant to be, winning the 2017 Masters in one of the grittiest, most satisfying performances ever. Decades from now they’ll be singing songs in Spanish taverns about Garcia’s par out of the hazard on the 13th on Sunday, and his flag-hunting approach shots on 15 and 18, to say nothing of the decisive birdie in sudden death. That putt caught a piece of the hole and tumbled in. Back in the old days, when Garcia saw himself as a dogged victim of inexorable fate, his ball would have done a power lip-out and trickled off the green.

Much was made at Augusta of how Garcia has been changed by his fiancée Angela Akins, the former Golf Channel talent. Her father Marty is an underrated part of the story. Just as Dustin Johnson is benefiting from the hard-won wisdom of his future father-in-law, Wayne Gretzky, Garcia has fallen under the thrall of Marty, an All-American quarterback at the University of Texas who was such a schoolboy legend that LBJ personally recruited him on behalf of the Longhorns. On Saturday evening at this year’s Masters, I found Marty on a couch in the Augusta National locker room. He had tired of battling the crowds and was plopped in front of a large TV. “I want to see his eyes,” he said of Garcia. And what did his future son-in-law’s visage reveal? “I see confidence,” he told me. “He’s not afraid of anyone or anything.”

Where does Garcia go from here? Ben Hogan won eight majors after he turned 37. Phil Mickelson nabbed multiple majors at an advanced age. Maybe Garcia will go on a run to secure his place in the pantheon. Or maybe this Masters will be the exclamation point on a very good career. Either way, the man has already been made whole.

courtesy of (golf.com) Alan Shipnuck

U.S. Open 2017: Johnny Miller pours cold water on Justin Thomas breaking his record

As Justin Thomas broke Johnny Miller’s record for low score in relation to par at the U.S. Open, people far and wide made cracks about the NBC announcer not enjoying the moment. Turns out, they weren’t too far from the truth.

Thomas shot a third-round 63 at Erin Hills — punctuated by an eagle on No. 18 — to match Miller’s famed final round score from the 1973 U.S. Open. But his nine-under-par total was one better than Johnny’s eight under at Oakmont.

RELATED: Our favorite Johnny Millerisms

Yet Miller seemed to pour some cold water on JT’s record-breaking round when Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner spoke to him on Saturday evening:

“Taking nothing away from nine-under par — nine under is incredible with U.S. Open pressure,” Miller said. “But it isn’t a U.S. Open course that I’m familiar with the way it was set up.” Hmm. . .

Of course, Miller has a point. Erin Hills, which is hosting its first major championship, has yielded unusually low scores for a U.S. Open. In addition to Thomas’ 63, there have already been four other rounds of 65, and more players broke par on Saturday than during any previous third round at the tournament. But. . . he still comes across as slightly bitter.

RELATED: The winners & losers from Day 3 at the U.S. Open

Although, Miller’s mixed reaction (he did give Thomas credit for going that low under U.S. Open pressure) shouldn’t come as a surprise. NBC booth partner Dan Hicks said during a recent Golf Digest podcast that Miller wasn’t too thrilled about Henrik Stenson shooting 63 in the final round of last year’s Open Championship. Not that we blame him. And he’s certainly not the first athlete to root against young whippersnappers coming after their predecessors’ records.

On the bright side for Johnny, he didn’t have to sit in the booth and analyze Thomas’ round on live TV. And we’re pretty sure this is the first time he’s ever trended on Twitter.

courtesy of Alex Myers (golfdigest.com)

Tiger Woods found asleep at the wheel, didn’t know where he was when arrested for DUI

Fourteen-time major-winner Tiger Woods was found asleep in the driver’s seat and didn’t know where he was when he was arrested for DUI early Monday morning, according to the police report released Tuesday.

The report of Woods’s Memorial Day DUI arrest was released by the Jupiter Police Department Tuesday, and it details an alarmingly dangerous string of events for Woods, who last played professional golf in February.

According to the report, Officer Palladino saw Woods’s black Mercedes stopped in the right lane with the vehicle running, brake lights on and right blinker flashing at 4:22 a.m. The officer reported that Woods was alone in the car, had his seat belt on and was found asleep at the wheel.

“Woods had extremely slow and slurred speech,” according to the report, which listed Woods’s attitude as “sluggish, sleepy, unable to walk alone.”

Woods, 41, blew a 0.000 in two breathalyzer tests. He said in his statement Monday night that alcohol was not a factor, instead that it was “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.” According to the report, Woods said he was taking Solarex, Vicodin, Torix and Vioxx (but that Vioxx hadn’t been taken this year).

Woods told the officer he was “coming from LA California from golfing” and that he “did not know where he was. Woods had changed his story of where he was going and where he was coming from. Woods asked how far from his house he was.”

During his field sobriety test, Woods was not able to maintain a starting position, according to the report, and missed his heel to his toe each time while trying to walk a straight line. He stepped off line several times and needed to use his arms to balance himself. After police repeated the instructions, Woods again failed to maintain a starting position. Woods also struggled to maintain a starting position when conducting a one-leg stand and when placing his finger to his nose. During Woods’s one-leg stand test, he didn’t raise his leg off the ground farther than six inches. He placed his foot onto the ground several times for balance.

The officer asked Woods if he understood the Romberg test (reciting the alphabet backwards). He responded, “Yes, recite the National Anthem backwards,” according to the report. Woods eventually completed the task.

According to the report, Woods did take a urine test, but results of that have not yet been made available. Woods will be arraigned on July 5.

Woods last played pro golf on Feb 2., when he shot 77 to open the Dubai Desert Classic. He withdrew the next day citing back spasms. On April 20 he announced he had undergone his fourth back surgery.

courtesy of Josh Berhow (golf.com)