The Trump Tour: Behind Donald Trump’s Golf Empire

 

This story originally appeared in the June 7, 2007, issue of Sports Illustrated.

My assignment, as it first came down to me from on high, was to play Trump’s courses and write up the tour, and my goal at first was to avoid the owner.

Donald Trump, everybody knows, is a career .400 salesman, and I was afraid he’d overwhelm me. I had met him once, in 2002, when I was covering the season ending event on the LPGA tour, played at the Trump course in West Palm Beach, Trump International Golf Club.

The course looked beautiful, and by 2005 it was on the Golf Digest list of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses, in 84th place. But it was the kind of course for which, to borrow a phrase, I have unaffected scorn: crazy expensive to build and maintain, with a man-made waterfall, a man-made mountain and miles of cart paths. And apparently Trump was feuding with his contractors and not paying them, which may have accounted for the colossal clubhouse still showing exposed wires and (in places) concrete floors. Trump gave me a tour of his unfinished Taj Mahal with a lieutenant at his side.

We arrived in the grand ballroom where there were massive windows overlooking the course. Trump said to me, “My decorator says I need drapes on those windows, but I kind of like the unobstructed views of the course. What do you think?”

I figured the drape budget was gone. Trying to be polite, I said, “With those views of the course, who needs drapes?”

Trump turned to his lieutenant and said, “The guy from SI has spoken — no drapes!”

It was as if Ely Callaway, another scratch marketing man who ultimately figured out a way to leave his mark on golf, was back from the dead.

Last August, I called a man named Ashley Cooper, described by an editor as “Trump’s golf guy.” There are five Trump clubs, and four of them are private, so I’d need help to get on them. I told Cooper my hope was to play the various courses with just one friend and that we’d pay for everything. I wanted to see the courses myself, and not through the prism of Trump. Cooper couldn’t have been more accommodating. Naturally, there was a reason he returned my call so promptly: A big spread in SI about Trump’s properties could be useful. Still, he knew what I needed.

When I showed up at the Trump National Golf Club, in New York’s Westchester County, Trump was waiting in the XXL clubhouse. He was wearing a red baseball cap with the gold logo of his club on the front and one of those Little League adjustable straps, with the holes and the little plastic pegs, in the back. It was a rainy, gray day, but Trump was ready to go. We were a fivesome: Trump and me; Trump’s friend Louis Rinaldi, who is in the pavement business; a young pro with LPGA aspirations named Bri Vega; and my friend Mike Donald, a former Tour player.

Rinaldi, a lefthander with a lot of swagger and a handsy scratch golf game, built all the cart paths on the course. Trump made him a member of the club and gave him a locker in the same row as those of Trump, Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani and Joe Torre. “Are these not the most beautiful cart paths you have ever seen in your life?” Trump asked Mike and me. “Look at this curbing. You won’t see curbing like this anywhere else. I can play with anybody, chairmen of the biggest banks, any celebrity I want to play with. But you know something? I’d rather play with Lou. You can take Lou anywhere.” Trump slapped me on the shoulder and said, “You understand.” He went off and played his shot.

It was clear that Trump loved his Westchester course, in the vicinity of Westchester Country Club, site of an annual Tour event, and Winged Foot, where Trump is a member. He talked about an underground pumping system, the millions he spent on a waterfall, how much Clinton enjoyed playing there, how the Tour would like to move the Barclays Classic from Westchester Country Club to his course. He described in detail how he defeated Rinaldi one year in the final to win the club championship, which is amazing because Trump looked like a golfer who could maybe break 80 and Rinaldi looked as if he could break par anywhere, but strange things happen in golf, especially on your home course, and most especially when you’ve built it yourself. The design is credited to Jim Fazio, but Trump, by his accounting, had done a lot to shape every hole. It was obvious Trump believed the course also belonged on the Golf Digest list. (Golf Magazine, which also ranks golf courses, is a member of the SI Golf Group.) “I have people coming up to me all the time saying my New Jersey course is the best course they’ve ever played, but I think this one is every bit as good and maybe better,” Trump said.

At the turn he slipped into the clubhouse for a few minutes where a foot-high stack of tax documents awaited him. He signed a few of them with his distinctive, thick up-and-down signature and said, “Golf is a small part of my business. One, two percent. But you know why I spend so much time on it? Because I do what I want and I like it.”

Before I go on, I ask you to accept a blanket apology. . . .

This whole expanding business of playing fancy golf courses and comparing them with other fancy golf courses, there’s something appalling about it, and it yields some of the most pretentious writing and conversation you’ll ever come across. It’s an embarrassment of riches, just being able to play courses where you can putt on the tee boxes and a man stands there waiting to rake the bunker you’ve just sullied. Everybody enjoys the old grillroom question, “If you could play only one course for the rest of your life, which would it be?” You de-fend your choice and have a good time doing it. But when the tone is definitive, as if there are correct and incorrect opinions, that makes my skin crawl. I see golf courses not only as great playing fields but also as large-scale works of art. It was obvious after only nine holes with Trump that he does too — he likes to say that he finally gets gardening — which is why he likes to build them. All I’m doing is offering my own reaction to the places I went on my Trump tour, as your proxy.

Read more

Courtesy of golf.com

 

Justin Thomas Wins Sony Open, Sets PGA Tour’s 72-Hole Scoring Record

HONOLULU, HI – JANUARY 15: Justin Thomas plays a tee shot on the first hole during the final round of the Sony Open in Honolulu, Hawaii at Waialae Country Club on January 15, 2017 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

Challenged only by the record book, Justin Thomas won the Sony Open on Sunday with the lowest 72-hole score in PGA Tour history.

Thomas capped off his wonderful week at Waialae that began with a 59 with his second straight victory. He two-putted birdie from 60 feet on the par-5 18th and closed with a 5-under 65 to set the record at 253. Tommy Armour III shot 254 at the 2003 Texas Open.

“It’s been an unbelievable week. Unforgettable,” Thomas said before going to sign his historic card.

Make that two weeks.

The 23-year-old from Kentucky won the SBS Tournament of Champions at Kapalua last week by three shots, then destroyed the full field at the Sony Open to win by seven shots. Thomas is the first player since Tiger Woods in 2009 (Buick Open and Bridgestone Invitational) to win back-to-back weeks by three shots or more.

“I felt like I was trying to win a tournament for second place,” Jordan Spieth said, summing up the helpless feeling of everyone.

That honor went to Justin Rose, who closed with a 64 to finish alone in second. Spieth shot a 63 to finish alone in third.

The first full-field event of the year on the PGA Tour was a one-man show.

Thomas began the final round with a seven-shot lead and no one got closer than five shots all day. His only nervous moment was an 8-foot par putt on the sixth hole when he was five shots ahead. He made that, and the rest of the day was a Pacific breeze.

Thomas joined Ernie Els in 2003 as the only players to sweep Hawaii, and this performance might have been even better. Thomas was 49-under par for his two weeks, compared with Els at 47 under.

Thomas joined Johnny Miller (1974 and 1975) and Tiger Woods (2003, 2008, 2013) as the only players since 1970 to win three of the their first five starts in a PGA Tour season. It started last fall with the CIMB Classic in Malaysia.

He moved to No. 8 in the world.

“He’s got full control of his game, full confidence, and he’s executing under pressure,” Spieth said. “It’s a lot of fun to see. Certainly stuff that myself and a lot of our peers have seen going back almost 10 years now. He’s certainly showing the world what he’s capable of.”

No one ever lost a seven-shot lead in the final round of a PGA Tour event, a fact that never entered the conversation on a balmy afternoon at Waialae.

Thomas, thinking more about the trophy and another record when he started the final round, took no chances early on. He was 1 over through seven holes, making a soft bogey with a three-putt from 45 feet on No. 4 and a tough par save on No. 6, and still no one got closer than five shots.

But when he poured in a 20-foot birdie putt on the eighth, Thomas shifted into another gear. That was the start of four birdies in five holes – the exception was a birdie putt he missed from just inside 10 feet – and he stretched his lead to as many as nine shots.

Waialae was vulnerable all week with not much wind, fast fairways and greens that were softer than usual. Thomas produced the eighth sub-60 round in PGA Tour history on Thursday. Kevin Kisner had a shot at 59 on Saturday until missing a 9-foot eagle putt on his final hole. And on Sunday, Chez Reavie made a hole-in-one with a 6-iron on the 17th hole that gave him a shot at a sub-60 round. Only a bogey on the sixth hole (he start on No. 10) stopping him, and he had to settle for a 61. That matched the third-best score of the week.

Even in easier conditions, no one played like Thomas.

McIlroy Taken By Storm In South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JANUARY 15: Graeme Storm of England celebrates with the trophy after winning the BMW South African Open Championship at Glendower Golf Club on January 15, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Graeme Storm beat Rory McIlroy on the third playoff hole to win the SA Open on Sunday, earning the Englishman a second European Tour title 80 days after losing his card by 100 euros.

After the 251st-ranked Storm tapped in for a par, McIlroy slid his par putt wide from 7 feet on their fourth visit to the 18th hole at the Glendower Golf Club.

“I’m in shock, this has been a surreal week,” Storm said. “To find myself in the position I was in, playing on the final day with the best player in the world right now. It’s just a dream come true.”

McIlroy, the world No. 2, started the final round three strokes behind Storm but chased down the overnight leader, moving atop the leaderboard when Storm missed a 3-foot par putt on No. 14. McIlroy relinquished the lead by bogeying No. 17 after taking two shots in a greenside bunker, taking the event to a playoff with both on 18-under-par 270.

McIlroy shot 4-under 68 and Storm had a 71.

Storm lost his card at the end of last year, only to get a reprieve when American player Patrick Reed failed to play enough events to join the tour.

His other title came at the French Open in 2007.

Tour rookie Jordan Smith of England was a shot back in third ahead of a trio of South African players. Dean Burmester was fourth on 273, one stroke ahead of Thomas Aiken and Trevor Fisher Jnr.

On the first playoff hole, Storm sank a close-range putt for par. They went back up the par-4 18th and both players drove into the rough but still managed to make par.

The third time round, McIlroy hit his approach shot short of the green to give Storm the advantage. The Englishman’s 45-foot birdie putt just missed, as did McIlory’s putt for par minutes later.

Storm played cautiously Sunday, coming up short with many putts in the back nine, to allow McIlroy to eat into his lead.

Courtesy of AP NEWS

Rory McIlroy Resents The Olympic Games For ‘Political’ Choice

Rory McIlroy tees off at Hazeltine National during the 2016 Ryder Cup.

Rory McIlroy says he resented how the Olympics forced him to decide whether he would represent Ireland or Britain and that it reached a point that it “wasn’t worth the hassle” to compete in Rio de Janeiro.

In an interview with the Sunday Independent in Ireland, McIlroy explained why he was so critical of golf’s return to the Olympics during a press conference at last summer’s British Open.

McIlroy, the four-time major champion from Northern Ireland, cited concerns over the Zika virus as his reason not to go to Rio.

He told the Irish newspaper that when the International Olympic Committee announced in 2009 that golf would be part of the program for the first time since 2004, “all of a sudden it put me in a position where I had to question who I am.”

“Who am I? Where am I from? Where do my loyalties lie? Who am I going to play for? Who do I not want to (upset) the most?” McIlroy said. “I started to resent it. And I do. I resent the Olympic Games because of the position it put me in. That’s my feelings toward it. And whether that’s right or wrong, that’s how I feel.”

McIlroy said he sent a text message to Justin Rose to congratulate him on winning the gold medal in Rio for Britain. He said Rose thanked him and asked if McIlroy felt as though he had missed out.

“I said, ‘Justin, if I had been on the podium (listening) to the Irish national anthem as that flag went up, or the British national anthem as that flag went up, I would have felt uncomfortable either way.'” McIlroy told the newspaper. “I don’t know the words to either anthem. I don’t feel a connection to either flag. I don’t want it to be about flags. I’ve tried to stay away from that.”

McIlroy was among several top stars who opted to skip the Olympics, most citing the Zika virus. He had been scheduled to play for Ireland until announcing in June he would not be going. Jordan Spieth did not announce his decision to miss Rio until a few days before the British Open. McIlroy spoke after Spieth, and the Olympics was brought up again.

McIlroy dismissed the notion that he had let down his sport, saying, “I didn’t get into golf to try and grow the game.” He also said that he probably wouldn’t watch Olympic golf on TV, only “the stuff that matters.”

“Well, I’d had nothing but questions about the Olympics – ‘the Olympics, the Olympics, the Olympics’ – and it was just one question too far,” McIlroy said. “I’d said what I needed to say. I’d got myself out of it, and it comes up again. And I could feel it. I could just feel myself go, ‘Poom!’ And I thought, ‘I’m going to let them have it.’

“OK, I went a bit far,” he added. “But I hate that term, ‘growing the game.’ Do you ever hear that in other sports? In tennis? Football? ‘Let’s grow the game.’ I mean, golf was here long before we were, and it’s going to be here long after we’re gone. So I don’t get that, but I probably went a bit overboard.”

McIlroy said Olympic golf didn’t mean that much to him.

“It really doesn’t. I don’t get excited about it. And people can disagree, and have a different opinion, and that’s totally fine,” he said. “Each to their own.”

McIlroy, who is to play the South African Open this week, said he has never been driven by nationalism or patriotism because of where he was raised.

“And I never wanted it to get political or about where I’m from, but that’s what it turned into,” he said. “And it just got to the point where it wasn’t worth the hassle.”

Courtesy of Dublin (AP)

Euro Tour Introduces Rolex Series So Players ‘Don’t Have to Go’ to U.S.

Keith Pelley took over as commissioner and CEO of the European Tour in 2015.

The European Tour is introducing the Rolex Series this year, which starts in late May with the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and ends in late November with the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

The other events that make up the Rolex Series are Irish Open and Scottish Open in successive weeks ahead of the British Open; the Italian Open in October; and then the Turkish Airlines Open and Nedbank Challenge in South Africa leading into the finale in Dubai.

European Tour chief Keith Pelley said one goal was to create a product that “provides a strong financial offering for our young players so they don’t have to go to the United States.” All the tournaments will have a minimum $7 million purse.

While 2017 is the inaugural year of the Rolex Series and Pelley expects it to expand, he should get an early indication of its traction.

For starters, PGA Tour purses (minus the majors the World Golf Championships) average $7.06 million this season. Equally important are world ranking points, and the gap between the PGA Tour and the European Tour continues to grow.

PGA Tour events awarded an average of 57.4 points to the winner in 2016, up from 56.4 a year ago. The European Tour averaged 42 points for the winner, slightly down from 42.2 points last year.

Throw out the majors and WGCs, and the PGA Tour offered an average of 50.6 points compared with 32.9 points for European Tour events.

The BMW PGA Championship is considered the flagship event for Europe and is guaranteed to offer the winner 64 points (Jordan Spieth received 52 points for winning the Colonial, even though it had a much stronger field that week).

Among the rest of the regular European Tour events, the strongest fields were the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and the DP World Tour Championship, both offering 52 points to the winner. The PGA Tour had 17 regular events that offered 52 or more. That includes the FedEx Cup playoff events, which averaged 69 points for the winners. The first two FedEx Cup events offered 74 points, slightly below World Golf Championship level.

Europe at least hopes to build some momentum with the first part of the Rolex Series, particularly the stretch between the U.S. Open and British Open. The Irish Open and the Scottish Open last year offered 46 points to the winner. They will be up against The Greenbrier Classic (canceled last year because of flooding) and the John Deere Classic, which offers the smallest purse ($5.6 million) among PGA Tour events that earn full FedEx Cup points.

courtesy of AP News

TOUR & NEWS Phil Mickelson Will Bag Major No. 6: Bold Prediction For 2017

Phil Mickelson 13th tee
Golf: 2016 British Open
Round 4 Sunday
Royal Troon/Ayrshire Scotland
07/16/2016
GFP-22 TK5
Credit: Kohjiro Kinno

Phil Mickelson will play the 2016-17 season as a 46- and 47-year-old PGA Tour veteran, but age won’t stop him from winning a major in 2017.

He hasn’t won a major (or Tour event) since the British Open at Muirfield in July 2013, but that will change in the coming months. A player with his resume, which includes 42 career Tour wins, isn’t going to get skunked for the remainder of his 40s. Mickelson is too good for that, and his recent play justifies it.

Just last year he ranked eighth on Tour in total strokes gained (1.364), ninth in strokes gained putting (.565) and fifth in strokes gained approach to green (.726). His scoring average (69.582) ranked fifth and was his best since 2008, and he was seventh in birdie average (4.06).

At this point in Mickelson’s career, the sharpie comes out and circles the same events every year. He wants to win majors; his game skyrockets on the big stage. He fired scintillating rounds of 63 and 65 at the Open at Royal Troon (where he was second to only Henrik Stenson’s marvelous display), and who could forget his 10-birdie, nine-under 63 versus Sergio Garcia in Sunday singles at the Ryder Cup?

There is a slight reason for concern since Mickelson had a second surgery to repair a sports hernia in mid-December, which followed the first operation in October. Still, it was taken care of this offseason and, assuming there are no more setbacks, Mickelson should have enough time to regain his form in the coming months. Mickelson’s spokesperson T.R. Reinman said on Monday that, “Phil is feeling fine,” but he couldn’t say with certainty if Mickelson would be ready for his next expected start, the CareerBuilder Challenge on Jan. 19-22, where Mickelson is the ambassador. Reinman added that he fully expects Mickelson to be ready for the Masters.

Speaking of the Masters, Mickelson’s missed cut at last year’s event means little. Except for a tree planted here or a tee box shifted there, Augusta National rarely changes. It’s still essentially the same course where Mickelson won three times and tied for second in 2015. He has 11 Top 10s there.

If he triumphed at Augusta, Mickelson would be the oldest Masters winner ever. Nicklaus won his 18th and final major at Augusta in 1986 at 46 years, two months and 23 days old. Mickelson, if he were to win the 2017 Masters, would be two months shy of his 47th birthday (June 16). He’d also join Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer with four green jackets apiece, tied for the second-most behind Nicklaus.

As for the other majors of 2017: U.S. Open site Erin Hills is a bit of an unknown to pros, but a victory there would allow Mickelson to complete the career grand slam. The British Open is at Royal Birkdale in England, and Mickelson finished T19 at the 2008 Open there (done in by a first-round 79). The PGA Championship will be at Quail Hallow Club in Charlotte — which has hosted a Tour event since 2003 — and it should present a golden opportunity for Mickelson. He’s played 13 events at Quail Hollow since 2004, and he has nine Top 10 and six Top 5s. He’s finished worse than T12 just twice and has never missed a cut. In three of the last four years he’s finished tied for fourth twice — the past two tournaments — and third once (he was one shot out of a playoff in 2013).

But a major motivator for Mickelson should be the return of Woods. His rival for the majority of his career, Woods’s return will steal pre-tournament headlines everywhere he goes. The prideful Mickelson doesn’t want to be an afterthought. And in 2017, he won’t be.

BY JOSH BERHOW. Courtesy of golf.com

 

Mark Wahlberg Created A Crazy Golf Workout To Squeeze In More Rounds

PEBBLE BEACH, CA – FEBRUARY 11: Mark Wahlberg plays his tee shot on the second hole during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at the Spyglass Hill Golf Course on on February 11, 2016 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Mark Wahlberg really loves golf. Even with an incredibly busy schedule, the 45-year-old actor manages to fit both a workout and a round of golf into his (almost) daily routine. That is, when he’s not practicing in his own awesome backyard facility.

How? By creating “cardio-golf” — a rushed round sprinkled with interval sprints between shots.

Wahlberg was filming the new Transformers movie in Detroit this summer, hitting the set at 8 a.m. and putting in long days, ones that cut into the 13-handicapper’s golf game.

He and his buddies devised a plan to get them out on the course more and fit in a cardio session at the same time. Before the sun was up, he and three buddies would hit a local club where they each had a caddie and a cart. They’d tee off, hand off the club to their caddie, and sprint to their next shot. The caddie would follow behind in the cart, where the guys would then select the appropriate club and hit their next shot.

“I would tee off at 6 in the morning and run the golf course,” Wahlberg said.

(MORE: Mark Wahlberg Gets Tips, Driver from Rory McIlroy)

Wahlberg and friends, clad in running shorts and sneakers, said they’d get in a round in under an hour and half.

“We’d shoot for 12 hours, go to bed and do it again the next day,” Wahlberg said. “We did it almost every day last summer, sometimes seven days a week. The key was I’d get my cardio in while playing golf. It was my second workout of the day.”

And that’s how you take pace of play to the next level.

Courtesy extraspin staff

Rickie Fowler, Cindy Crawford Celebrate By Drinking From Ryder Cup

Apparently, the Ryder Cup is not exclusively for golfers.

The Ryder Cup spent plenty of years in the Europeans’ hands, and now that it’s owned by the Americans, it has had plenty of travels. Most recently, it crashed Rickie Fowler’s 28th birthday party.

Fowler Snapchatted himself drinking from the trophy Tuesday night, but the best photo to come from the event was with American model Cindy Crawford chugging from the Cup. “Oh, do you want your #RyderCup back Rickie Fowler?” Crawford wrote in the caption. “Just wait ’til I finish my Casamigos!”

Courtesy of golfwire

Chambers Bay, 2015 US Open Site, Covered In A Rare Snow Is Gorgeous

There’s something about a beautiful blanket of snow that makes a golf course stand out — especially if it’s at a place where snow isn’t common.

Our most recent example is 2015 U.S. Open host Chambers Bay, which was blanketed with snow and closed to the public on Friday. Chambers Bay, located in University Place, Wash., — 38 miles from Seattle — isn’t used to this kind of weather. Sure, it receives a ton of rain, but Seattle gets less than seven inches of snow per year. (This also happened to Chambers in 2011.)

But what a difference a day makes? Chambers Bay’s official Twitter account tweeted that just eight hours later the snow was all gone and the course would be open the following day. The golf spikes don’t have to be put away for too long.

Courtesy of golfwire

U.S. Might Change Process of Selecting Ryder Cup Captain’s Picks

CHASKA, MN – OCTOBER 02: Ryan Moore of the United States hits off the third tee during singles matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 2, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Scott Halleran/PGA of America via Getty Images)   Ryan Moore was the final captain’s pick for the Americans at Hazeltine.

The U.S. Ryder Cup committee was scheduled to meet Tuesday by telephone, the first step toward picking a new captain. Attention has focused on Jim Furyk, mainly because he answered a hypothetical question at Sea Island that he would take the job if offered. He said he was not lobbying to be captain.

At some point after a captain is selected, the next decision will be how to pick a team.

Davis Love III, the winning captain and part of the committee, hinted that the entire U.S. team will be set before the Tour Championship. This year, Ryan Moore was the 12th and final player selected for the team after his playoff loss at East Lake.

The 2018 Ryder Cup is Sept. 28-30 in France.

“One thing we’ve got to really work on is picking this team, make sure we have a week to get everyone ready,” Love said. “Rushing off to Paris at the last minute when a guy has just made the team, throw him on a plane and we’re going to Paris, we’re wondering if that’s the smartest thing to do. That’s one of the discussion points.”

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods also are on the committee. The PGA of America is represented on the committee by Pete Bevacqua (CEO), Paul Levy (president) and Suzy Whaley (vice president).

AP News

Denmark seals maiden World Cup triumph in Melbourne

aaknbswSoren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen kept their nerve and shot a six-under-par 66 in the final round fourballs to give Denmark a first World Cup of Golf triumph by four strokes at Kingston Heath on Sunday.

The Danes started the day with a four-shot cushion and seven birdies, including one at the last when Olesen curled in a 20-foot putt, combined with a single bogey were enough to hand them victory on 20-under in the 58th edition of the tournament.

“It’s difficult to describe my feelings,” said Kjeldsen, before lifting the Hopkins Trophy.

“We both came in this week in good form and we just gelled so well. A friendship has been built as well, and I think that’s the whole point of the World Cup of Golf.”

French duo Victor Dubuisson and Romain Langasque led the chasing pack with a sparkling nine-birdie 63 to share second place on 16-under with China’s Wu Anshun and Li Haotong (65) as well as American pairing Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker (66).

On another day of low scores, the Swedish pairing of Alex Noren and David Lingmerth tore up the sandbelt course with a flawless 62 but that was only good enough for fifth place on 15-under, a shot ahead of Italy (64) and Japan (65).

Hosts Australia, who were defending the title won by Adam Scott and Jason Day at Royal Melbourne in 2013, finished in a share of ninth on 11-under after Scott and Marc Leishman combined for a final round 65.

It was a brilliant second round 60 featuring two eagles and eight birdies that gave the Danes a three-shot lead and they never looked like relinquishing over the final two rounds.

They parred the first five holes on Sunday before Kjeldsen’s tee shot to within three feet of the sixth hole gave them a first birdie and they reached the turn even for the day after a bogey on the par-five eighth.

If there were any nerves, they did not show them and after 26-year-old Olesen hit his approach shot to within inches of the hole at the 10th, his partner drained a much longer birdie putt in any case.

Four more birdies followed in the next five holes to kill off any hopes their playing partners, world number 12 Fowler and U.S. PGA Championship title holder Walker, had of overhauling them.

Second place was a best ever finish for China in the event and Wu thought they had been in with a chance of giving their nation a maiden victory when they hit the turn at three-under with Denmark still on their run of pars.

“I think we played very well this week and played well again today,” Wu said.

“After two early birdies the lead was only two shots so we almost touched the trophy.”

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by Greg Stutchbury/John O’Brien)

7 Things to Know About the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf

Jason Day of Australia poses with the trophy after winning the individual event of the Golf World Cup tournament played at the Royal Melbourne course in Melbourne, on November 24, 2013.  AFP PHOTO/William WEST    IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE        (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

Jason Day of Australia poses with the trophy after winning the individual event of the Golf World Cup tournament played at the Royal Melbourne course in Melbourne, on November 24, 2013. AFP PHOTO/William WEST IMAGE

The PGA Tour is finished for 2016, but there’s still one truly worldwide golf event left before the calendar year is out. The World Cup of Golf kicks off Thursday Down Under, featuring some of the best players from every corner of the globe. Here’s what you need to know about the four-day tourney.

1. The Basics

What: The World Cup of Golf
Where: Kingston Heath Golf Club, Melbourne, Australia
When: Thursday-Sunday
Watch on Golf Channel:
Wednesday – 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. EST
Thursday – 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. EST, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. EST
Friday – 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. EST, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. EST
Saturday – 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. EST, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. EST
Sunday – 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. EST

2. History

In 1953, American industrialist John Jay Hopkins founded the Canada Cup to promote international goodwill through golf. There were just seven countries represented in the Montreal-based event. Hopkins is widely considered the founding father of international golf, the tournament growing year after year to include more players from more countries and conducted at prestigious courses around the world. The tournament became the World Cup of Golf in 1967 and has been biennially contested 57 times. The 2016 edition will be the 58th. Previous champions include Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Peter Thomson, Ernie Els, Jason Day and the late Arnold Palmer.

3. Format

The World Cup of Golf boasts a 56-player field representing 28 countries.

In 1953, the format was the aggregate score of a two-man team over 36 holes of stroke play. From 1954-99, it changed slightly to the aggregate score of a two-man team over 72 holes of stroke play.

In 1953, the format was the aggregate score of a two-man team over 36 holes of stroke play. From 1954-99, it changed slightly to the aggregate score of a two-man team over 72 holes of stroke play.

From 2000-11, the format changed again to two-man teams alternating stroke play rounds of four-ball and foursomes.

The 2013 format reverted slightly to the aggregate score of a two-man team over 72 holes of stroke play, plus individuals competing for the $7 million prize, and the top three teams splitting the remaining $1 million.

This year, the format returns to 72 holes of two-man team stroke play. On Thursday and Saturday, teams will compete in foursomes. On Friday and Sunday, teams will compete in four-balls. The winning team will split the $2.56 million prize of the total $8 million purse.

4. Did You Know…

The World Cup of Golf used to be a part of the World Golf Championship series from 2000 to 2006. Though it’s no longer a WGC event, it’s still sanctioned by the International Federation of PGA Tours.

Scott Host the 2016 Contest

Jason Day won the individual prize of $7 million for finishing with the lowest aggregate score to par, 10 under. Adam Scott’s seven-under-par performance pushed the Australian team to victory at 17-under, 10 shots clear of second-place finishers Matt Kuchar and Kevin Streelman of the United States. Scott looks to defend his title at home with partner Marc Leishman, as Day is sitting this event out.

6. The Field

There are three top-10 players in the field (Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott and Alex Noren) and 14 others in the top 50. Combined, they have won 29 events in 2016.

Australia: Adam Scott (7), Marc Leishman (53)

Austria: Bernd Wiesberger (46), Martin Wiegele (1315)

Belgium: Thomas Pieters (44), Nicolas Colsaerts (136)

Canada: David Hearn (142), Adam Hadwin (181)

China: Haotong Li (131), Wu Ashun (171)

Chinese Taipei: Chan Shih-chang (189), C.T. Pan (215)

Denmark: Soren Kjeldsen (50), Thorbjorn Olesen (70)

England: Chris Wood (37), Andy Sullivan (40)

France: Victor Dubuisson (93), Romain Langasque (188)

Germany: Alex Cejka (139), Stephan Jaeger (466)

India: SSP Chawrasia (220), Chikkarangappa S (321)

Ireland: Shane Lowry (42), Graeme McDowell (81)

Italy: Francesco Molinari (36), Matteo Manassero (344)

Japan: Hideki Matsuyama (6), Ryo Ishikawa (99)

Korea: Byeong Hun An (43), K.T. Kim (56)

Malaysia: Danny Chia (286), Nicholas Fung (320)

Netherlands: Joost Luiten (60), Darius van Driel (380)

New Zealand: Danny Lee (62), Ryan Fox (158)

Philippines: Miguel Tabuena (153), Angelo Que (453)

Portugal: Ricardo Gouveia (121), José-Filipe Lima (282)

Scotland: Russell Knox (18), Duncan Stewart (315)

South Africa: Jaco Van Zyl (94), George Coetzee (139)

Spain: Rafa Cabrera Bello (30), Jon Rahm (125)

Sweden: Alex Noren (9), David Lingmerth (65)

United States: Rickie Fowler (12), Jimmy Walker (19)

Thailand: Thongchai Jaidee (49), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (75)

Venezuela: Jhonattan Vegas (74), Julio Vegas (1872)

Wales: Bradley Dredge (89), Stuart Manley (873)

7. Who to Watch

Adam Scott has cited Kingston Heath as one of his favorite courses to play. Playing at home with Marc Leishman makes them the team to beat, as long as their games live up to expectations.

Swede Alex Noren has won four times on the European tour this year. His partner, David Lingmerth, has struggled at times this year. His best finish this year on the European tour was a T9 at the Australian PGA Championship.

Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler (the only team with both players ranked in the top 20) will look to add to the Americans’ success (recent wins in the Solheim Cup, Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup)

by Marika Washchyshyn

Pro Golfers React to Donald Trump Winning Presidential Race

In a stunning upset, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton on Election Day and will take office as the 45th president on Jan. 20, 2017.

The real-estate-mogul-turned-Republican-president-elect owns some of the top golf courses in the world. His Trump National Bedminster will the host the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2022 PGA Championship.

Many Tour pros are fans of Trump — others, not so much — and several of them took to social media to voice their opinion on their new president. Check out the mixed reaction below.

John Daly ? @PGA_JohnDaly

Congrats my grt friend & President of the US! @realDonaldTrump bc I know u will! Thk u 4 putting Americans 1st ??

Jack Nicklaus ? @jacknicklaus

Congratulations to the 45th President of the United States, @realdonaldtrump! All of us in the Nicklaus family are… https://twitpl.us/fNwK

David Feherty ? @Fehertwit

Congratulations to the Donald!

Dani Holmqvist @DHolmqvist

So much hate and derogatory comments this am. Instead, no matter what your views may be. Appreciate that you have the luxury of democracy.

see more http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/donald-trump-pro-golfers-react-trump-winning-presidential-race

Love: ‘Tiger Was Just Amazing’ as Ryder Cup Vice Captain

CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30:  Vice-captain Tiger Woods and captain Davis Love III of the United States talk during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

CHASKA, MN – SEPTEMBER 30: Vice-captain Tiger Woods and captain Davis Love III of the United States talk during morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Davis Love III delivered high praise of Tiger Woods ahead of the RSM Classic Wednesday, showering the 14-time major winner with compliments for his role as a vice captain at the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine.

“Tiger was just amazing,” Love said during Wednesday’s press conference. “He had a great system. It really helped us on Sunday. We had already talked about Sunday pairings so many times that when the crunch time came, we knew what we were doing.”

Woods was announced as one of Love’s vice captains at the 2015 RSM Classic, and was brought on as the team’s ‘tactician.’ But Woods’ communication with the team seems to have been what made the differenc; Love credits Woods with inspiring Patrick Reed to victory over Rory McIlroy in one of the event’s most epic matches, as well as checking in with team members months ahead of the competition for long chats.

“We were a team,” Woods said following the Americans’ first Ryder Cup win in eight years. “Whether I was playing or not I was a part of a team. Our team won… My role was to help the team however possible, and I hope I’ve done that.”

courtesy of Golf Wire

 

Play, Stay, Do: The Best Golf Courses Near Cancun, Mexico

Hole No. 12 at Riviera Cancun Golf Club in Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Hole No. 12 at Riviera Cancun Golf Club in Quintana Roo, Mexico.

For golf, surf and Mayan jungle ruins, three trophy tracks await on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Puerto Cancun

Play
One of Mexico’s most variety-filled layouts ($100-$190) ribbons through mangroves on the front and opens up on the breezy back. Paspalum fairways, beefy par 3s and the island-green 18th are highlights. puertocancun.com

Stay
Located on a peninsula that juts into the Caribbean, the all-inclusive Hyatt Ziva serves up such memorable features as swim-up suites, a microbrewery and a 17-mile stretch of beach. cancun.ziva.hyatt.com

Do
Herpetological-minded golfers will flock to the famed sea turtle farm on Isla Mujeres, a tranquil island eight miles off the mainland. The ports for the ferry ride are just a 10-minute drive from Puerto Cancun.

Puerto Cancun's back nine offers plenty of water hazards for players who love risk-reward holes.

Puerto Cancun’s back nine offers plenty of water hazards for players who love risk-reward holes.

Riviera Cancun

Play
The 2008 Jack Nicklaus Signature Design ($170-$220) is a pure golf experience—no homes, no distractions. Sea views, lush landscaping and topsy-turvy greens stand out. Equally impressive is the mammoth, luxurious clubhouse.

Stay
With a central location 15 minutes from the course, the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa is idyllic. There’s superb service, an infinity pool overlooking the Caribbean, and a spa that’s simply superior. marriott.com

Do
Everybody in the water! The dazzling turquoise sea invites jet skiing and world-class snorkeling and scuba diving. And you can explore underwater caverns as well as cenotes, sinkholes created by eroding limestone bedrock.

Players looking for a long test will try the El Tinto course from the black tees.

Players looking for a long test will try the El Tinto course from the black tees.

Cancun Country Club

Play
The El Tinto course ($70-$180) stretches a Tour-worthy 7,435 yards from the Black tees and features enormous bunkers and Florida-style water hazards. A lack of rough makes the tough track more playable. cancuncountryclub.com

Stay
The Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun is a beachfront resort seven miles from Cancun Country Club. Its restaurants and bars serve up delicious cocktails and fresh seafood. fiestaamericanaresorts.com

Do
Take a jungle hike through Mayan ruins dating back more than a thousand years. Chichen Itza, the most famous site and once one of the largest Mayan cities, is a little more than two hours inland from Cancún.

courtesy of golf.com

 

 

The Secret to Soft Bunker Shots: Hit Them One-Handed

low-handTo hit a pillowy-soft greenside bunker shot, you don’t need to swing harder to generate more spin. In fact, it’s just the opposite: You want to swing a bit slower to make the ball come out “dead,” as though you had tossed a horseshoe onto the green.

Set up as you normally would (i.e., weight slightly left, ball forward in stance, clubface a bit open) and make your usual bunker swing.

But as the clubhead makes contact with the sand, let go of the club with your right hand. This one-handed technique will kill the ball’s speed, allowing it to come out softly and stop quickly.

But even though you’re only using one hand, make sure to finish your swing. You want the clubhead to slow down as it reaches impact, not to stop or decelerate quickly—that’s how you leave the ball in the bunker.

The next time you find yourself short-sided and in a greenside trap, try the one-handed approach to blast it close.

courtesy of Golf Wire

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)

 

 

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