Wednesday, March 14

Golf on TV: Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bank of Hope Founders Cup

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From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Coming off a T-2nd finish on Sunday, 14-time major champion Tiger Woods will return to compete this week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. The LPGA Tour this week kicks off the domestic portion of its schedule with the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Arizona. This is the first of three consecutive weeks of events being staged by the Tour, including the first professional golf major of 2018 in two weeks at the ANA Inspiration (March 29-April 1).


Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
Dates: March 15-18
Venue: Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         2-6 p.m. (Live) / 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)
Friday              2-6 p.m. (Live) / 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday          12:30-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday            12:30-2 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern)
Saturday          2:30-6 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            2-6:30 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Leishman defends: Marc Leishman finished one shot ahead of Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman to claim his second PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Tommy Fleetwood, Rory McIlroy, Tyrrell Hatton, Henrik Stenson, Marc Leishman and Alex Noren.


Bank of Hope Founders Cup
Dates: March 15-18
Venue: Wildfire Golf Club, Phoenix, Ariz.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)                                   
Thursday         6-9 p.m. (Live)
Friday             6-9 p.m. (Live)            
Saturday          6-9 p.m. (Live) / 3-6 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            6-9 p.m. (Live) / 3-6 a.m. (Monday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Nordqvist defends: Anna Nordqvist finished two shots clear of In Gee Chun, Ariya Jutanugarn and Stacy Lewis to earn her seventh LPGA Tour win.
Headlining the field: Sung Hyun Park, Anna Nordqvist, Ariya Jutanugarn, In Gee Chun, Cristie Kerr, Lydia Ko, Jessica Korda, Brooke Henderson, Michelle Wie, Sei Young Kim and Inbee Park.

USGA and The R&A Release Modernized Rules

By USGA and The R&A

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J., USA, and ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND – The USGA and The R&A have unveiled the new Rules of Golf, to be implemented January 1, 2019.

The USGA and The R&A finalized golf’s new Rules this month after an extensive review that included a request for feedback from the global golf community on the proposed changes. Golfers can now access the official 2019 Rules of Golf by visiting or

The process to modernize the Rules began in 2012 and was initiated to ensure that the Rules are easier to understand and apply for all golfers and to make the game more attractive and accessible for newcomers.

While the majority of proposed Rules remain intact in the final version, several important changes to the initial proposals and further clarification of many Rules were incorporated. The most significant adjustments made following review of the feedback received from golfers around the world include:
  • Dropping procedure: When taking relief (from an abnormal course condition or penalty area, for example), golfers will now drop from knee height. This will ensure consistency and simplicity in the dropping process while also preserving the randomness of the drop. (Key change: the proposed Rules released in 2017 suggested dropping from any height).
  • Measuring in taking relief: The golfer’s relief area will be measured by using the longest club in his/her bag (other than a putter) to measure one club-length or two club-lengths, depending on the situation, providing a consistent process for golfers to establish his/her relief area. (Key change: the proposed Rules released in 2017 suggested a 20-inch or 80-inch standard measurement.)
  • Removing the penalty for a double hit: The penalty stroke for accidentally striking the ball more than once in the course of a stroke has been removed. Golfers will simply count the one stroke they made to strike the ball. (Key change: the proposed Rules released in 2017 retained the existing one-stroke penalty).
  • Balls Lost or Out of Bounds: Alternative to Stroke and Distance: A new Local Rule will now be available in January 2019, permitting committees to allow golfers the option to drop the ball in the vicinity of where the ball is lost or out of bounds (including the nearest fairway area), under a two-stroke penalty. It addresses concerns raised at the club level about the negative impact on pace of play when a player is required to go back under stroke and distance. The Local Rule is not intended for higher levels of play, such as professional or elite level competitions. (Key change: this is a new addition to support pace of play.)
Major proposals introduced in 2017 that have been incorporated into the modernized Rules include:
  • Elimination or reduction of “ball moved” penalties: There will be no penalty for accidentally moving a ball on the putting green or in searching for a ball; and a player will not be responsible for causing a ball to move unless it is “virtually certain” that he or she did so.
  • Relaxed putting green rules: There will be no penalty if a ball played from the putting green hits an unattended flagstick in the hole; players may putt without having the flagstick attended or removed. Players may repair spike marks and other damage made by shoes, animal damage and other damage on the putting green and there is no penalty for merely touching the line of putt.
  • Relaxed rules for “penalty areas” (currently called “water hazards”):Red- and yellow-marked penalty areas may cover areas of desert, jungle, lava rock, etc., in addition to areas of water; expanded use of red penalty areas where lateral relief is allowed; and there will be no penalty for moving loose impediments or touching the ground or water in a penalty area.
  • Relaxed bunker rules: There will be no penalty for moving loose impediments in a bunker or for generally touching the sand with a hand or club. A limited set of restrictions (such as not grounding the club right next to the ball) is kept to preserve the challenge of playing from the sand; however, an extra relief option is added for an unplayable ball in a bunker, allowing the ball to be played from outside the bunker with a two-stroke penalty.
  • Relying on player integrity: A player’s “reasonable judgment” when estimating or measuring a spot, point, line, area or distance will be upheld, even if video evidence later shows it to be wrong; and elimination of announcement procedures when lifting a ball to identify it or to see if it is damaged.
  • Pace-of-play support: Reduced time for searching for a lost ball (from five minutes to three); affirmative encouragement of “ready golf” in stroke play; recommending that players take no more than 40 seconds to play a stroke and other changes intended to help with pace of play.

A Magnificent Seven: Players of the 1971 Q-School

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This is the first in a series on players from the 1971 Q-School. Nearly a half century later John Coyne tracked down Allen Miller, Lanny Wadkins, Leonard Thompson, Sam Adams, John Mahaffey, Steve Melnyk and Spike Kelly. How had pro golf and life turned out for these seven men?

By John Coyne

Copyright © John Coyne. Used with permission.

THE PGA TOUR QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT -- better known as Q-School -- was established in 1965. John Schlee was the first winner. It was last played in 2012 and Lee Dong-hwan was the low qualifier. In between, the tournament was played annually, with two tournaments (Spring and Fall), played in 1968-69 and 1975-81.

The class of 1967 had what was then considered, by many, the greatest group of pros: Tony Jacklin, Bob Murphy, Orville Moody, Deane Beman, Gibby Gilbert, Lee Elder, Bobby Cole and Peter Townsend.

But then came the class of 1971!

A record number of 357 players -- a 43 percent increase over 1970 -- played in regional tryouts. Among the qualifiers were Lanny Wadkins, the 1970 U.S. Amateur champion and a member of the 1969 and 1971 U.S. Walker Cup teams; Steve Melnyk, the current British Amateur titleholder; David Graham of Australia, already an international star, who had just won the 1971 World Cup; John Mahaffey of Texas, the 1970 NCAA champion; and Allen Miller and Bruce Fleisher, both Walker Cup players, as well as Tom Watson.

The 1971 class was intelligent and well-educated. Of the 75 players enrolled, 66 had attended college and played on college golf teams. Thirty-five had already graduated from college. It was a young class. The average age was 24.

A Test of Skill and Endurance

The PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament was actually a series of tournaments, beginning with first-stage qualifiers played at either Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Quincy, Illinois; or Riverside, California. The entry fee was $300 and if players made the grade at the first stage, they advanced to the second stage.

Golfers who advanced out of the second stage moved on to the final stage -- the six-round grind -- that is what most people referred to when mentioning Q-School.

This 1971 tournament was longer than previous ones -- six rounds instead of four. The two extra rounds were added to make it a greater test of golfing ability. A lucky round wouldn’t help. The test was for endurance and a mature golf game that would hold up during the whole week.

The Q-School was divided into two sections.

1. Classroom instruction by tournament players and the Tournament Players Division staff on players’ ethics and conduct, relations with the public, tournament sponsors and the news media, plus a written examination on the PGA Constitution. 

2. Qualifying Tournament, 108 holes of stroke play. The number of golfers allowed to earn their cards was determined by Joseph Dey, then commissioner of the Tournament Players Division. That number was based on the total number of golfers in school and Dey’s estimation of how many new golfers the tour could support. In 1971 Dey decided that the top 23 scores, plus ties, would quality.

The tournament began on Monday in the rain, the first day of rain in months for Florida. It was a rain the pros were not disappointed to see, as it would help to slow the hard, fast greens of the championship East Course at PGA National now known as BallenIsles Country Club.

Each of the players who PGA officials I spoke to thought would make the cut did indeed qualify. Twenty-three players shot 444 or better and earned their cards.

But through the long week of golf there was drama and tragedy as many of the “also rans,” local pros, such as Spike Kelley from Shawnee, Oklahoma, tried and failed to make the tour. Dreams of glory faded with the sun. It was all over for a majority of young guys until the next school, the following year, and another 108 holes of golf. 

Now, nearly fifty years after that event, I got to thinking of those players at PGA National and wondering what they remembered from the Q-School, and also how things had played out on tour and in life.

So, with the help of the Internet, I reached out to five of the guys I had written about in my first published golf book, Better Golf, a book of instruction by eleven contestants from the 1971 PGA Tournament Players School.


John Coyne is a bestselling author whose most recent golf novel is The Caddie Who Won the Masters. Learn more at John Coyne Books.

Thursday, March 8

Golf on TV: Valspar Championship, Toshiba Classic, Indian Open

From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The PGA TOUR returns to Florida this week for the Valspar Championship as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy make their first appearances in the event, joined by a strong international field featuring Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia and defending champion Adam Hadwin. The PGA TOUR Champions’ Toshiba Classic returns to the schedule after a one year hiatus. Jay Haas is the defending champion from the 2016 Toshiba Classic, when he became the second-oldest winner in Tour history at age 62. The European Tour heads to India for the Indian Open, a co-sanctioned event between the European Tour and the Asian Tour.


Valspar Championship
Dates: March 8-11
Venue: Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club (Copperhead Course) – Palm Harbor, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         2-6 p.m. (Live) / 7-11 p.m. (Replay)
Friday              2-6 p.m. (Live) / 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday          1-3 p.m. (Live) / 9 p.m.-Midnight. (Replay)
Sunday            1-3 p.m. (Live) / 9 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern)
Saturday          3-6 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            3-6 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Hadwin defends: Adam Hadwin defeated Patrick Cantlay by one stroke in 2017 for his first career PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, Bill Haas, Adam Hadwin, Davis Love III, , Justin Rose, Sam Saunders, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson and Steve Stricker.

PGA TOUR Champions

Toshiba Classic
Dates: March 9-11
Venue: Newport Beach Country Club, Newport Beach, Calif.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Friday              6-8 p.m. (Live) / 12:30-2:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday          5:30-8 p.m. (Live) / 5:30-7:30 a.m. (Sunday Replay)            
Sunday            5:30-8 p.m. (Live) / 2-4 a.m. (Monday Replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Tom Watson, Mark Calcavecchia, John Cook, Fred Couples, John Daly, Jay Haas, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Jerry Kelly, Tom Lehman, Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal, Vijay Singh and David Toms


Indian Open
Dates: March 8-11
Venue: DLF Golf & Country Club (Gary Player Course), New Delhi, India

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Friday              12:30-2:30 a.m. / 4-7 a.m. (Live) / 7-10 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday          2:30-7 a.m. (Live) / 7-10 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday            Midnight-5:30 a.m. / 7:30-10 a.m. (Replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Chawrasia defends: S.S.P. Chawrasia defeated Gavin Green by seven strokes to earn his fourth career European Tour victory and win back-to-back Indian Opens.
Headlining the field: Shubhankar Sharma, Arjun Atwal, Thomas Bjorn, S.S.P. Chawrasia, Darren Clarke, Emiliano Grillo, Gavin Green, Andrew Johnston, Anirban Lahiri, Jeev Milkha Singh.

GOLF CHANNEL VIDEO: Very Recent Evidence of Tiger-Phil Warming

THE POLAR ICE CAPS ARE MELTING and apparently so is the once frosty relationship between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

Listen to Tiger talk about Phil's win at the WGC-Mexico Championship. He is practically gushing. It even sounds like he was watching on Sunday, knowing what Phil did on the closing holes. Knock me over with a feather.

UPDATE: More below from Phil's interview on the Dan Patrick Show.

"We've gotten pretty close over the last couple of years," Phil said, "with the team events and his great leadership that he's had as a vice captain at the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup. ... We've been pulling hard for each other."

Hall of Famer Lorena Ochoa Recognized With Own Barbie for International Women's Day

LORENA OCHOA, THE RETIRED 27-TIME WINNER on the LPGA Tour, earned her spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2017.

Now Ochoa also has a Barbie that was made in her honor for International Women's Day.

"I am very happy to be recognized by Barbie as a source of inspiration for little girls," Ochoa was quoted as saying by

"This recognition is another reason to continue demonstrating that with perseverance and love for what you do you can become what you propose. Thank you, Barbie." also reported: "The Ochoa doll is one of 14 modern-day role models created through Barbie’s Shero program, which are designed to inspire the next generation of girls. Since her retirement from professional golf in 2007, Ochoa has devoted her life to her family and growing the game of golf in her home country of Mexico."

Wednesday, March 7

Gary Van Sickle: 'Revising History with USGA's 2-Hole Playoff'

IMAGINE IF THE USGA HAD BEEN USING the new two-hole aggregate playoff throughout U.S. Open history instead of the 18-hole playoff (and earlier the 36-hole playoff).

That's what veteran golf writer Gary Van Sickle did in a clever piece for MORNING READ.

Sickle rewrote U.S. Open history based on the two-hole playoff. It turns out that bridesmaid Sam Snead won the U.S. Open after all. Sorry, there was no miracle at Merion for Ben Hogan. Arnold Palmer recovered from his epic collapse to edge Billy Casper at the Olympic Club. And more.

Here's one fun snippet from Van Sickle's revisionist history:
Amateur hour … almost: The best underdog story that never was belonged to caddie-turned-amateur Francis Ouimet. He beat long odds to wind up in the 1913 U.S. Open playoff against two of golf’s biggest names, Britons Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. If the 21-year-old kid would’ve knocked off those kingpins, he might have been hailed as the father of amateur golf in America. Instead, the two-hole playoff format meant Ray was eliminated by the third hole. Ouimet gamely took Vardon to the sixth, where his par wasn’t good enough to beat Vardon’s birdie. Ouimet won a pair of U.S. Amateurs and played in eight Walker Cups, but he missed his chance at what could’ve been the greatest game ever played, had he won.

Thursday, March 1

Golf on TV: WGC-Mexico Championship, HSBC Women's World Championship, Cologuard Classic, Tshwane Open

From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. – This week NBC Sports Group kicks off its five-week stretch of exclusive PGA TOUR coverage leading up to the Masters, with more than 20 hours of live coverage at the WGC-Mexico Championship airing across Golf Channel and NBC. The 65-man field features 45 of the top-50 in the world, including Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose.


WGC-Mexico Championship
Dates: March 1-4
Venue: Chapultepec Golf Club, Mexico City, Mexico

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         2-7 p.m. (Live) / 8 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)
Friday             2-7 p.m. (Live) / 9 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)
Saturday          Noon-3 p.m. (Live) / 8-10:30 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday            Noon-2 p.m. (Live) / 8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern)
Saturday          3-6 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            2-6 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Johnson defends: Dustin Johnson finished one stroke ahead of Tommy Fleetwood to earn his 14th PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren.


HSBC Women’s World Championship
Dates: March 1-4
Venue: Sentosa Golf Club (New Tanjong Course), Sentosa Island, Singapore

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Wednesday     10:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Live, overnight)
Thursday         Midnight-2:30 a.m. (Live, overnight)
Friday             Midnight-2:30 a.m. (Live, overnight)
Saturday          10:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Live, overnight)

Broadcast Notes:
Elite field features 19 of top-20 in world: The field this week includes each of the players currently ranked in the top-20 in the Rolex Rankings, with the only exception being Stacy Lewis.
Park defends: Inbee Park finished one shot ahead of Ariya Jutanugarn to claim her 18th LPGA win.
Headlining the field: Shanshan Feng, Lexi Thompson, Sung Hyun Park, So Yeon Ryu, Anna Nordqvist, I.K. Kim, Ariya Jutanugarn, In Gee Chun, Cristie Kerr, Lydia Ko and Jessica Korda.


Cologuard Classic
Dates: March 2-4
Venue: Omni Tucson National Resort (Catalina Course), Tucson, Ariz.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Friday             7-9 p.m. (Tape delay) / 5-7 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Saturday          4:30-7 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            4:30-7 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Lehman defends: Tom Lehman finished one stroke clear of Steve Stricker to earn his 10th PGA TOUR Champions victory.
Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Steve Stricker, Colin Montgomerie, David Toms, Kevin Sutherland, Jose Maria Olazabal, Vijay Singh, Tom Lehman, Jerry Kelly and John Daly.


Tshwane Open
Dates: March 1-4
Venue: Pretoria Country Club, Waterkloof, South Africa

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         5:30-7:30 a.m. (Tape delay) / 7:30-10:30 a.m. (Live)
Friday             5:30-7:30 a.m. (Tape delay) / 7:30-10:30 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          5-9:30 a.m. (Live)
Sunday            5-9:30 a.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Headlining the field: Danny Willett, Julian Suri, Darren Fichardt, George Coetzee, Thomas Aiken, Richard Sterne, Haydn Porteous, David Howell, Raphael Jacquelin and Chase Koepka.