PGA Tour

Richo British Open

Congrats, Inbee…..and thanks for opening the can of worms, too.

Richo British OpenCongratulations to Inbee Park for winning the Ricoh Women’s British Open, and in doing so, completing the Women’s Career Grand Slam of all four major championships.

Uh, wait a minute. Hold everything. Now that the LPGA has added a 5th major championship, that being the Evian Championship (don’t you just love it how they say, “Ok, now you’re a major”), there’s a little chicken left on that bone. Technically, since there are now 5 women’s majors that are “available in her career,” shouldn’t she have to win all of them to be considered a slam holder?

Insert debate dialogue, or if you’d like to read the LPGA’s position, click HERE.

Fantasy-Golf-Picks-and-Predictions-for-THE-PLAYERS-Championship-2014-CoverIn any case, many thanks to LPGA commissioner Michael Whan, the LPGA and Inbee for cracking the door open for some much needed discussion if that were to happen on the men’s side with The Players Championship.

Long being tabbed as “Golf’s Fifth Major”, if you think there’s some discussion regarding Inbee and her “slam,” just think of the cluster of questions and mindless chatter that would arise if The Players was officially named a major…..

  1. Instead of closing on the record, Tiger backs up – Sure, add 2 to Woods’ list of majors with Players won in 2001 and 2013, but with wins in 1974, 1976 and 1978 for Nicklaus, the Bear picks up a “Net One” on Tiger. Now Tiger’s got to win 5 more to tie Jack’s major record which now sits at 21.grand_slam
  2. Who’s Slam is in Jeopardy? – The Players wasn’t around when Hogan was beating balls until his hands bled, but it sure was when the Black Knight was on tour. Sadly to say, Gary Player never won one. So, the men’s list drops to only 3 to have won the Slam (Nicklaus, Hogan and Woods), unless…….
  3. What if you count that only 4 Slam events are needed and you’re in “Slam Heaven” like the LPGA? – Then Lee Trevino is in, having won The Players in 1980, leaving the only major that he didn’t win being The Masters. Mex is adamant that he’s could have won at Augusta if they played the course backwards, from green to tee, where his fade would work to his favor.
  4. Lastly, what about Hall of Fame implications? – If it takes 2 majors to get you a seat in the World Golf Hall of Fame (unless your name ends in Couples or Wadkins), we’d need to get some sport coats ready for Al Geiberger (1966 PGA and 1975 Players), John Mahaffey (1978 PGA and 1986 Players), Steve Elkington (1995 PGA and 1991 Players), David Duval (2001 Open and 1999 Players), Davis Love III (1997 PGA and 2003 Players) and Justin Leonard (1997 Open and 1998 Players).   Lee Janzen would add a Players to his 2 U.S. Opens to have 2 Slam events won, give a +2 to Hal Sutton for his wins in 1983 and 2000, and with Sergio winning in 2008, maybe the committee would give him the Couples/Wadkins exemption now that he’s the “kinder, friendlier Garcia”. Let them in. Heck, let them ALL in!!!

I remembering hearing from someone a the Tour office that hell would freeze over before the Tour would move the Players from its original spot in March to May, as course conditions were ideal in March and couldn’t be replicated.

Don’t bet on them doing a LPGA and one day anointing The Players as the 5th major, but anything’s possible.

It’s 98 degrees outside today, but I suddenly feel a cold chill. Could it be??   Nah.Larry Nelson

Topic for conversation for Next Week – With one of the so called “litmus test” items by the PGA of America in order to be a Ryder Cup Captain being having won the PGA Championship, can someone please explain to me why Larry Nelson (with 2 PGA’s on his resume) has never been invited to be the U.S. captain?

Test Flight! – 2015 Hot Shots

hot-shots

Put To The Test

Customers weigh in on the hottest drivers, fairway woods and hybrids!

Southern California Roger Dunn Golf Shops customers to join us for a day on the driving range testing the latest golf equipment and and recording the results. We narrowed the search to seven golfers of various abilities to test clubs from nine top manufacturers at Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Orange County, considered one of the top high-end courses in the region. In this issue we look at drivers, fairway woods and hybrids, while in our next edition we will feature top irons and wedges.

With so many options in golf equipment today, shoppers can be overwhelmed with where to even begin. The beauty of all these options is that manufacturers have found ways to accommodate nearly every skill levels on the golf course. With that in mind, we gathered a group of everyday golfers to put the most popular brands on the market to the test on the driving range. Here’s what they had to say…

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DRIVERS: CALLAWAY XR

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THE BASICS: Speed is the driving force behind the new Callaway XR driver. An aerodynamic crown, an R•MOTO face, and maximum shaft load have created a titanium driver that reduces drag and maximizes speed through the swing.

WHAT THEY SAID…

“Looks good. Lightweight and adjustable.” – Robert Lindsay

“Gorgeous all-black club with nice distance.” – Laura Qvistgaard

“Head shape is a bit weird, but it’s easy to swing and I like the matte finish.” – Roy Giannini

“A bit on the heavy side. Impact is different, but I really like the grip and feel of the club.” – Javier Chavez

Shop Callaway Here: http://www.worldwidegolfshops.com/Callaway-Golf/4014/Brands

 FAIRWAY WOODS: TAYLORMADE R15

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THE BASICS: First fairway wood with sliding weight for shot shape adjusta- bility. The most ad- justable fairway wood to date. New Front Track system performs like a speed pocket, reducing spin and increasing size of sweet spot.

WHAT THEY SAID…

“I like the adjustability and weight.” – Robert Lindsay

“Easy to control, forgives bad hits and swings fast.” – Javier Chavez

Shop TaylorMade Here: http://www.worldwidegolfshops.com/TaylorMade/4106/Brands

HYBRIDS: Ping G30 

Ping-Hybrid-G30_960

THE BASICS: To increase face deflection and ball speed for adding distance with a higher peak trajectory, the 17-4 stainless steel face uses a stronger H900 heat-treat- ment process, making it thin but strong. The result is more distance with the steeper landing angle to hold shots on the green.

WHAT THEY SAID…

“Very smooth, light and goes far.” – Roy Giannini

“One of my favorites, great feel on the swing and impact.” – Javier Chavez “Solid!” – John Brent

Shop Ping Here: http://www.worldwidegolfshops.com/PING/4078/Brands

Greg and Joe

What FOX and Tiger have in common….and where to go from here

Watching Tiger and FOX this weekend, I guess  “strange to watch” was the first thing that came to mind. “Painful at times” was the second.  And those phrases were a bit of understatements.

First, let’s talk FOX. These guys wanted in the golf game badly. 12 years at $100 million a year is the rumor of the going rate they paid the gents from Far Hills, NJ for the rights.

They’ve hired an all-star cast of announcers. Great announcers.

But, are they great golf announcers? Nope.  Not yet.

Joe Buck and the Hall of Famer, Greg Norman (photo courtesy Golfweek)

Joe Buck and the Hall of Famer, Greg Norman (photo courtesy Golfweek)

“There are no gimmies out here.” Really, How many times did we hear that one on Saturday and Sunday?

“I’m Joe Buck and this is the Hall of Famer, Greg Norman.” Ok, Joe, but do you have to say it every time the camera hits you two? Thanks for the intro, but I don’t think Jim Nantz does that every time the single time they cut to him. Once a day is fine, we know who you are.

“With that putt, Johnson’s lead goes to 3.” No it didn’t, it went to 2 shots!

And, Holly Sonders interviewing Kevin Kisner after Saturday’s round with multiple questions….all about Jason Day, then thanked him for stopping by. I would have fallen out if Kisner would have ended it with, “Don’t you want to ask me anything about my round?”

But, it wasn’t just the announcers (although Corey Pavin, Brad Faxon were good, as was Juli Inkster who was rarely heard and never to be seen). The PRODUCTION was like they’d never worked a major before.

Alright, they hadn’t.

Shots of golf balls were lost in flight, images on the screen freezing up, cutting to a player 35 seconds before he hit the shot, announcers being cut off in the middle of a sentence. I’m trying to imagine what the late, great Frank Chirkinian would have done to the trailer at CBS if this was on his watch. Probably something like that fire that broke out near the course.

The shot tracers and various yardage graphics were great, but come on, guys.

So, how does FOX get better covering majors? How does Tiger get better playing in majors?

More regular tournaments!

But, that’s not as easy as it sounds. FOX wanted in this game and the only nuggets up for bid were USGA tournaments. Remember, this is the same network that wanted in college football so badly, a market that was owned by the Worldwide Leader, CBS and NBC (Notre Dame) that it did the same thing that they did in golf. Bought the rights to just a few games.

Most all of the BCS Bowl Games including the Championship Game!

Beginning in 2006, FOX did all of the BCS games (Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls leaving the Rose to ABC) and the BCS Championship Games. The coverage for a network that did zero regular season games was about the same as a network that broadcast zero professional golf and then takes on our country’s National Championship.

FOX is like the millionaire parent of a kid that wanted to go to a summer camp, but couldn’t get in because it was full.  So the parent bought the camp.  Kid’s in, problem’s solved.

So back to golf, with NBC and CBS owning the PGA Tour for the most part, there are no other ways for FOX to improve by taking on a few regular tour events.

But, maybe the former world’s #1 could, if ego will allow it. Personally, I just don’t see Tiger teeing it up at the John Deere or the Greenbrier. However, red alert: you’re not in the WGC Bridgestone where you’ve won 8 times, and there’s already talk that your U.S. Open exemption as a past winner runs out in 2018. The 2019 U.S. Open is at Pebble Beach and there’s already talk that you’d have to qualify if you wanted to be a part of the party.

Humble yourself, TW. Play some more. No more swing overhauls, go back to Tiger 1.0, not some other version.

And to FOX, I wish we could say do some more tournaments, but other than the U.S. Senior Men’s and the Women’s U.S. Open, there won’t be many that anyone’s really watching and engaged. You guys live on the edge, that’s what made you FOX Sports.  However, PLEASE, look in the mirror and learn from your mistakes.

Just remember, “There are no gimmies out here.”

Hall of Fame Sportswriter Dan Jenkins

Dan Jenkins was right – at least regarding the Texas Swing

Being confined to a hospital bed for a few days will really get you thinking. And reminiscing.

Throw in watching the AT&T Byron Nelson on the small analog feed on the hospital TV and my memories went back to March 28, 1992, the night Duke’s Christian Laettner hit “The Shot” against Duke.

I was in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida at the time. Back then, The Players Championship was played in March.

After a day of watching golf, my host Ruffin Beckwith, asked me to accompany him to a reception at TPS Sawgrass and then to a friend’s dinner party.

“Is the friend hosting the dinner party anyone I’d know?” I asked.

“Dan Jenkins,” Ruffin replied.

Wow. I’d only read possibly everything that Jenkins ever wrote. This was a “bucket list” item before anyone ever thought of the term.

After arriving and being introduced, the main things I remember vividly from that night were:

  1. The Duke vs Kentucky game and everyone croweded around the biggest television I’d ever seen in a home and the place literally erupting when Laettner hit the shot.
  2. The guest list – Dan’s daughter SI writer Sally Jenkins, Rick Reilly, Jaime Diaz.  Holy crap, I’ve landed in sportswriter heaven!
  3. Dan’s office, more specifically, the manual typewriter on his desk, the keys covered in White Out/Liquid Paper from all of the corrections.
  4. Overhearing a conversation where Mr. Jenkins was resolved that the tour was too commercialized. “Too many damn sponsors with naming rights,” or something to that effect.The guest list. A who’s who of sports writers. Sally Jenkins, Jaime Diaz and Rick Reilly to name a few.

As we were driving out on our way to a party hosted by PGA Tour Productions (very much in their infancy stage), I couldn’t let Dan’s comments die. Ruffin and I talked at length about it, where the tour was and where it was going.

The days of the Andy Williams San Diego Open, the Bob Hope Desert Classic, etc. were all things in a distant memory or about to be. Jenkins thought not only was the commercialization too much, but the reverence that should be shown to those few who gave so much, should never be cheapened.

This man from Fort Worth was clearly talking about Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson. And their tournaments, The Colonial and The Byron Nelson.

Back to my hospital bed watching the AT&T Byron Nelson, which is 1 of 2 tournaments sponsored by AT&T each season. Yes, the name Byron Nelson is there, but it’s a subtitle. His statue is shown a couple of times by CBS and Jim Nantz pays the best tributes that he can, but for an event where Byron put on for so long, it’s not enough.

And the week before at the Crown Plaza Invitational, the word Colonial (i.e. Hogan’s Alley) is a footnote.

I understand naming rights, sponsorships and the dollars that they generate. But, for these 2 greats of the game, and perhaps the greatest golf writer of all time, for crying out loud wouldn’t the sponsor maybe consider taking, not the back seat, but the passenger seat for these two events.

  • The Colonial presented by Crowne Plaza
  • The Byron Nelson Classic by AT&T

Memo to AT&T, you’re already the lead sponsor at The Crosby….uh, excuse me, the AT&T National Pro-Am.

Can’t Mr. Nelson have first billing on the event he created?

It wouldn’t be a first.

Arnold’s tournament is the Arnold Palmer Invitational by MasterCard.

Jack’s is the Memorial presented by Nationwide.

Even the “Tour Championship by Coca-Cola” the sponsor takes the second seat at the table, not the other way around.

Dan Jenkins was right in my mind. Well partially, at least for those 2 weeks each year in Texas.

Can’t we give Mr. Hogan and Lord Byron that bit of respect?

Trivia Tidbits from Golf First Major

Any chance you have one of those guys around that thinks he knows virtually everything about the first major of the year? The course? The past winners? You know that guy, the guy that thinks he knows EVERYTHING!

Well, here are a few nuggets of little known or forgotten information that you might want to drop on him.

  1. “The 2 leaders after the 3rd round have always played in the last twosome. Of course they have! – Nope. Incorrect.  In the early years, the 3rd round leader was given the honor of being paired with Bob Jones for the final round. When Mr. Jones’ health would no longer permit him to play, the honor was passed on to Byron Nelson until 1956. That year, the tournament leader was none other than Nelson’s student, amateur Ken Venturi. Thinking that playing with his instructor might give Venturi an advantage, the committee paired Sam Snead. From that point forward, the low 2 scores have paired together for the final round. Also, the 1956 tournament was the last one to be played without a 36-hole cut. Another little nugget of information for you free of charge.
  2. “I’ve got a buddy that’s good friends with the winner from 19XX, and he’s getting us on (to play the course) this summer!” – Not so fast my friend, wrong on 2 counts. Back in 1987 when Ben Crenshaw snapped his Wilson 8802 putter in the Ryder Cup and was trying to find a suitable replacement, I contacted him and sent him mine. Long story short, he used it for a bit, sent it back, thanked me and asked if anything he could do for me. Well now, being the salesman that I was, I jumped on the opportunity to ask him to get me on the course with him sometime, as he was now a Member of the club after winning, right? Not quite. Per Gentle Ben, the tournament winner is considered an Honorary Member of the club, not a Full Member, and is not allowed to bring guests. Guests must be invited by, and play with, Full Members. So, no, your buddy cannot get you on because he knows a past winner, and especially during the summertime. The course is closed from the end of may May until October.
  3. “The best hot dog I ever had in my life was at the tournament.” - Probably one of my all time favorites. A few years back, a local windbag was going off about the greatest hot dog he ever had was at the tournament and how cheap it was. I let him ramble on for awhile before I buried him by going through the menu of pre-prepared sandwiches that are sold at the concession stands that I knew by heart: Pimento Cheese, Ham and Swiss on Rye, BBQ, Masters Club, Egg Salad, etc. There are no hot dogs or burgers at the concession stands at the course that hosts the first major. “Well, maybe it wasn’t a hot dog I had.” I got a little personal satisfaction writing this speeding ticket. They say if you’re nice to the cop, he might go light on you. I didn’t on this guy.
  4. What are the 2 things found on most golf courses that you absolutely will not find at the club that hosts the year’s first major. Hint – Hot dogs and hamburgers don’t count. Think about it. Give up? Here you go, this one might win you a quarter or two. Cart paths and ladies tees. “Hey, there’s a cart path that cuts across 15 fairway in front of the tee box?” Unfortunately, that’s a maintenance path/service road that bisects the course, not a cart path. And before you pull out that the former U.S. Secretary of State is a member, yes she is and she plays from the member tees. On another note, you won’t find the tees that were played back in the day, the ones before the course was lengthened a couple of times. They’re gone. But, they do have GPS markers planted at the location of the old tees so that they can be easily found if ever needed.
  5. Final Jeopardy question? Here you go. “On this year’s telecast, they kept referencing this as the 79th  tournament. The first ever was played in 1934, so that would make this year’s 82nd, right? Why are they saying the 79th  You’re right, it would be 82 years, if it were played each year. But, in 1943, 1944 and 1945, the tournament was not held because of World War II, when the club assisted the United States in the war effort by closing the course and actually allowing cattle and turkeys to be raised on the grounds. The course reopened for member play in 1945, but the tournament didn’t resume until 1946, so counting each year it has been played, yes, this year was 79th.

Well, there you have it.

5 little nuggets of info that you might not have known or may have forgotten.

“But, where are all of the pictures normally found in your blog,” you might ask?

Ah, the club that hosts the first major championship for men’s golf each year (you note we’ve not mentioned either the name of the club or the tournament) certainly has those photos, and you can find them on the Internet. But, they are copyrighted.

Like the name of the club and the tournament.

Posting them would be a big no-no.

Let’s put it this way.  The only money we’d want to see change hands as a result of this blog is money from that guy’s pocket that you’re thinking of, into yours.

Who knows? With the right wager, you might win enough to buy yourself a hot dog.