Saturday, December 30

Golf.com: 'So You Think You're a Golf Fan? Take Our 2017 Trivia Test'

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Masters champion Sergio Garcia was a first-time major winner in 2017.

GOLF.COM HATCHED 11 MULTIPLE-CHOICE QUESTIONS to test our knowledge about the year in golf. I follow the pro game pretty closely and found myself guessing on many of the questions.

If you get all 11, or even nine or 10 correct, you're the ultimate golf fan.

Take the Golf.com quiz

Friday, December 22

Teaching Ben Hogan How to Play Golf

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By John Coyne

Copyright © John Coyne. All rights reserved. Used with permission.


RECENTLY I HAVE BEEN READING The Kingdom of Golf in America by Richard J. Moss published in 2013. The book traces the ups and downs, ins and outs, of the growth of golf in America. While Moss writes about many issues, from race, gender, technology, suburbanization and the transformation of the South that shaped the nation and golf, he pauses from time to time to focus on key players in the long history of the game. One of them, of course, is Ben Hogan.

Moss writes about Hogan's development as a person and a player. He points out two key elements of his game that were improved by taking the advice of his wife Valerie, and of his friend, Henry Picard.

Valerie Hogan early in the 1930s, according to Moss, suggested that Ben overcome his jumpy nerves by practicing to the point where he could hit important shots without thinking, without anxiety. She also suggested that Ben would make more putts if he simply hit the ball closer to the hole. This last bit of advice has become, as Moss points out, "an arcane part of American golf talk."

It was Henry Picard, Moss writes, who in 1939 told Ben to weaken his grip and learn to fade the ball. Moss writes, "Hogan and others have suggested that during this period he learned some 'secret' and that it was this secret that led to his success."

A Cure for Hogan's Duck Hook

In 1990, while researching my instructional book, Playing with the Pros: Golf Lessons from the Senior Tour, I had a chance to talk with Lighthorse Harry Cooper at Westchester Country Club in New York where, at the age of 86, Cooper was still giving lessons. Besides being nicknamed "Lighthorse" by Damon Runyon because of how fast he played, he was also nicknamed "Clothesline" by other pros because of how straight he always hit his shots.

Cooper told me that afternoon at Westchester Country Club how in 1937, the year he won the New Orleans Open, he gave one of his first lessons as a pro to Ben Hogan.

"As I recall," Harry said, "I was playing a round at City Park with Ben and every green had a bunker in front, so you have to play shots with backspin to the green. Well, Ben was duck-hooking everything. He couldn't get the ball off the ground, and he asked me to come over and help him."

So Ben and Harry walked across the railroad tracks—that was where the practice area was located then at City Park—and Cooper watched Hogan hit balls for a while. Harry said, "That's when I saw what he was doing wrong. He was letting go of the club at the top of his swing and then regripping. It's a little thing, but the minute you let go and then regrip, it shuts the face of the club. Can't help but shut the face, and that was what Ben was doing. I finally got him hitting the ball, getting it up in the air and keeping it flying and hitting it straight."

Hogan's Big Four

Cooper's advice to Hogan came two years ahead of Picard's suggestion, but whichever is true, Moss points out in his golf book Hogan did change four aspects of his game between 1935 and 1939.

  • He weakened his grip to cut down on his hooks.
  • He learned to fade the ball.
  • He overcame his anxiety by intense practice.
  • He devoted entire morning to a single type of shot. The afternoons were devoted to a different type of shot.

In 1938 Hogan had his best year on tour. He finished 13th on the money list, earning $4,794. He would go on to say that was the turning point in his career; he was on the tour to stay.

Thanks to Henry Picard and Harry Cooper, and his own determination, Ben Hogan would also go on to become the greatest golfer of his time.

Or maybe it was the love of his life, Valerie Hogan, who made all the difference in her husband's life when she told Ben, "just hit the ball closer to the hole."

John Coyne is a bestselling author of three golf novels and more than 20 other books. Pay him a visit at John Coyne Books.

Tuesday, December 19

Jack Nicklaus at 77: 'I Don't Miss on 18'



JACK NICKLAUS PLAYED WITH HIS GRANDSON Gary "GT" Nicklaus at the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge in Orlando. And even though Jack rarely plays golf these days, he finished by holing a birdie putt on the final green.

"I don't miss on 18," Jack told GT.

"The Golden Bear is still doing classic Golden Bear things on the golf course," wrote Golf Channel.

Some things never change.

Friday, December 15

Phil Blackmar: Respect for the Journeyman

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WRITING AT HIS BLOG (and also having the piece appear at GolfChannel.com), Phil Blackmar, 60, makes a compelling case for the journeyman on the PGA Tour. Blackmar, who is 6 feet 7 inches, played 15 years on the PGA Tour and picked up three victories. He also won once on the Champions Tour.

Blackmar first quotes Teddy Roosevelt: "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood."

Blackmar then writes:
It's really hard to get to the tour, and even if you're lucky enough to earn a ticket to the show, the line of players trying to take that ticket away from you and use it for themselves is seemingly endless. We evaluate careers on money and wins but how should the career of a player who didn't win often or at all but was able to play the tour for a long time be measured? Should a piece of respect be reserved for the player who plays 10, 15 or 20 years on tour?
If your answer wasn't already yes, it probably will be if you read Blackmar's comprehensive analysis.

First, he writes about how difficult it is to get on the PGA Tour. (Hint: The odds are very long.) Then he writes about how difficult it is to stay on the PGA Tour. And he uses data.

Finally, Blackmar writes that he's "proud to be journeyman #123." It's a ranking based on number of career starts since 1980.

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Who is No. 1? I won't give it away.

Read Blackmar if you have a few minutes. It's an interesting piece.

Thursday, December 14

VIDEO: ESPN's Bob Harig Chats With Tiger Woods



THE ABOVE INTERVIEW IS FROM the Hero World Challenge, after Tiger Woods carded a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for ninth.

I just watched this clip for the first time and wanted to share. It reminded me that Tiger doesn't just have a new golf swing; he has a new demeanor. I see it in his facial expressions and body language. I hear it in his voice.

It doesn't hurt that he's talking to Bob Harig, who I expect Tiger respects. (Bob is a good one in my book. Fair, tough when it's called for, but never mean or nasty.)

Obviously, Tiger has softened with age and after all he's been through. The intimidation factor is gone. And he has a completely different relationship with the next generation of tour players (like Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler). Listen to him. Tiger talks about them with affection.

Can you imagine him ever talking that way about Phil Mickelson or Ernie Els?

Tuesday, December 12

USGA and R&A End Viewer Call-Ins

THE USGA AND The R&A have officially put the kibosh on viewer call-ins beginning on January 1. And not a moment too soon, according to almost everybody.

Following is a portion of yesterday's joint news release that outlines new "video review protocols."
FAR HILLS, N.J. USA and ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND -  A working group led by the USGA and The R&A has unanimously agreed to adopt a new set of protocols for video review when applying the Rules of Golf.
The group, consisting of the PGA TOUR, LPGA, PGA European Tour, Ladies European Tour and The PGA of America, as well as the governing bodies, will implement the following measures from January 1, 2018:
  • Assign one or more officials to monitor the video broadcast of a competition to help identify and resolve Rules issues as they arise
  • Discontinue any steps to facilitate or consider viewer call-ins as part of the Rules decision process
In addition, the USGA and The R&A have approved the adoption of a Local Rule, available from January 1, to eliminate the additional two-stroke penalty for failing to include a penalty on the score card when the player was unaware of the penalty. All of the organizations represented on the working group will introduce the Local Rule for 2018, and this score card penalty will be permanently removed when the modernized Rules of Golf take effect on January 1, 2019.
Tour players like Lexi Thompson enthusiastically welcomed these changes.

"I am thankful that no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future," she said on Instagram.

Saturday, December 9

Tiger Woods Jumps 531 Spots in Official World Golf Ranking

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BY NEARLY EVERY MEASURE, TIGER WOODS had a successful initial return from his fourth back surgery and long layoff from tournament golf. Tiger's play at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas surprised virtually everyone, probably even himself.

The unofficial event with an 18-man field also provided world-ranking points. Woods benefited in a big way, as MORNING READ reported:
Tiger Woods climbed [531 spots] in Monday’s updated Official World Golf Ranking after he tied for ninth in the Hero World Challenge. The unofficial PGA Tour event, which awarded OWGR points, marked the first competition for Woods since he withdrew after one round from a European Tour event in Dubai in early February and then underwent spinal fusion surgery in April. He had fallen to No. 1,199 entering last week’s event and now stands at No. 668. Woods was No. 1 as recently as May 2014, after his five-victory season in 2013. He holds the record for most weeks at No. 1 in the 31-year history of the OWGR, with 683.
 Tiger turns 42 on December 30. What will 2018 bring?

Thursday, December 7

Golf on TV: QBE Shark Shootout and Joburg Open

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From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Twelve two-person teams will convene in South Florida at the QBE Shark Shootout, airing Friday to Sunday on Golf Channel and NBC. The duo of Harris English and Matt Kuchar (defending champions) will look to win the event for the third time in the past five years. The European Tour is in South Africa for the Joburg Open, where Louis Oosthuizen headlines the field in his home country, as the tournament serves as the second event in the 2018 Open Qualifying Series.

QBE Shark Shootout
Dates: Dec. 8-10
Venue: Tiburon Golf Club (Gold Course), Naples, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Friday              1:30-4:30 p.m. (Live) / 5-8 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          1:30-4:30 p.m. (Live) / 5-8 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday            1-2 p.m. (Live) / 5-8 p.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern)
Sunday            2-4 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Event format: The field is made up of 12 two-person teams. The competition includes a scramble format (Friday), modified alternate shot (Saturday) and better ball (Sunday).
English/Kuchar defend: Harris English and Matt Kuchar finished one stroke ahead of Jerry Kelly/Steve Stricker to win the event for the second time in four years as a duo.
Teams: Harris English/Matt Kuchar, Charley Hoffman/Zach Johnson, Tony Finau/Lexi Thompson, Jason Dufner/Billy Horschel, Russell Henley/Kyle Stanley, Keegan Bradley/Brendan Steele, Brandt Snedeker/Bubba Watson, Kevin Chappell/Kevin Kisner, Daniel Berger/Gary Woodland, Brian Harman/Pat Perez, Sean O’Hair/Steve Stricker, Shane Lowry/Graeme McDowell.

EUROPEAN TOUR

Joburg Open
Dates: Dec. 7-10
Venue: Randpark Golf Club (Firethorn & Bushwillow Courses), Johannesburg, South Africa

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday              9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. (Tape delay) / 3:30-5:30 & 7-9 a.m. (Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Saturday          9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. (Tape delay) / 4:30-9 a.m. (Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Sunday            4:30-9 a.m. (Live) / 2-4 p.m. (Replay)

Broadcast notes:
Fichardt defends: Darren Fichardt finished one shot ahead of Paul Waring and Stuart Manley to claim his fifth European Tour win.
Headlining the field: Louis Oosthuizen, Darren Fichardt, Dylan Frittelli, George Coetzee, Thomas Aiken, Sam Horsfield, Alfie Plant, Haydn Porteous and Dean Burmester.

GOLF CHANNEL VIDEO: 'Keep Omelette in Your Pan to Improve Backswing'



THIS TIP COMES FROM MICHAEL BREED, host of The Golf Fix on Golf Channel.

Has TV golf instruction jumped the shark?

Tuesday, December 5

VIDEO: Reborn Through Golf: The Inspiring Story of Young Lester Bell Jr.



DOING RESEARCH ON VARIOUS GOLF TOPICS, I ran across the story of Lester Bell Jr. (above). The video is dated, from 2013, but the story is ongoing. (I found the below clip from 2016.)

Golf as a game, and the people in golf, can inspire and transform lives. This is one of those stories. And it takes place at historic Cedar Crest in Dallas, Texas, which hosted the 1927 PGA Championship won by Walter Hagen.

Maybe you have eight minutes to enjoy this true story of a desperate kid who is saved by a game played right across the street from his dilapidated apartment.

#ThxPGAPro - Ira McGraw Jr./Lester Bell Jr. from PGA of America on Vimeo.

Friday, December 1

Hoffman Leads Hero, Tiger Within Striking Distance

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CHARLEY HOFFMAN LEADS THE HERO World Challenge at the halfway point after a 63 on Friday that gave him a 12-under total and 3-shot lead over Jordan Spieth and first-round leader Tommy Fleetwood.

Tiger Woods is the story, though. His solid play that produced a 69 and 68 put him in contention at 7 under and in a fifth-place tie. Everyone is impressed by Tiger's form at this early juncture as he continues to play without back pain.


"I proved that the surgery was successful, the rehab has been fantastic," Woods told Golf Channel. "Now I have a chance to go out there and play competitive golf again.

"I'm just getting back so I have a long way to go. That is going to take time. A lot more practice, a lot more training and more tournaments."

Hoffman's second round included 12 birdies.

"I got the ball to the hole and the balls were going in, which was nice," he said. "On 17, I was able to make a bunker shot which capped off the day… If I keep making putts I am usually in contention on Sunday. So putter feels great, the game is in a pretty good spot."

Hoffman added, "It is pretty special to be out here and to see Tiger making birdies and eagles and hopefully in contention on Sunday."

Wednesday, November 29

Golf on TV: Hero World Challenge, Australian PGA Championship, AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open



From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Tiger Woods returns to competitive golf this week at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, where he’ll make his first professional start since withdrawing from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February. Eight of the top-10 players in the world are among the elite 18-man field, including World No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott and Marc Leishman headline the field at the Australian PGA Championship, airing Wednesday-Saturday on Golf Channel, live and in primetime. Louis Oosthuizen and Darren Clarke lead the field at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritiues Open in an event co-sanctioned by the European and Sunshine Tours.

Hero World Challenge
Dates: Nov. 30-Dec. 3
Venue: Albany Resort, Albany, Bahamas

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         12:30-4:30 p.m. (Live) / 5:30-9:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday              12:30-4:30 p.m. (Live) / 5:30-9:30 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          Noon-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 5:30-9:30 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday            11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Live) / 5-10 p.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern)
Saturday          2:30-5 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            1-4 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Matsuyama defends: Hideki Matsuyama finished two shots ahead of Henrik Stenson to win last year’s event.
Headlining the field: Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka, Kevin Kisner, Matt Kuchar, Daniel Berger, Kevin Chappell, Patrick Reed, Tommy Fleetwood, Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren and Francesco Molinari.

PGA TOUR AUSTRALASIA

Australian PGA Championship
Dates: Nov. 30-Dec. 3
Venue: RACV Royal Pines Resort (Championship Course), Gold Coast, Australia

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday     8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live)
Thursday         9:30 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live)
Friday              9:30 p.m.-1 a.m.
Saturday          9:30 p.m.- 1 a.m.

Broadcast notes:
Varner defends: Harold Varner III won by two shots over Andrew Dodt to claim his first European Tour victory.
Headlining the field: Sergio Garcia, Marc Leishman, Adam Scott, Harold Varner III, Cameron Smith, Curtis Luck, Jonas Blixt, Brett Rumford, Mike Weir and Matt Jones.

EUROPEAN TOUR

AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open
Dates: Nov. 30-Dec. 3
Venue: Heritage Golf Club, Domaine de Bel Ombre, Mauritius

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         1:30-3:30 a.m. / 5:30-8:30 a.m. (Live)
Friday              1:30-3:30 a.m. / 5:30-8:30 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          3:30-7:30 a.m. (Live)
Sunday            3:30-7:30 a.m. (Live)

Broadcast notes:
Headlining the field: Louis Oosthuizen, Darren Clarke, Nicolas Colsaerts, Jamie Donaldson, George Coetzee, Scott Hend, Sam Horsfield, Gregory Havret and Darren Fichhardt.

New York Times: 'Tiger Woods and the Art of the Optimistic Comeback'

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OPTIMISM IS IN THE AIR and on the golf course. It's reportedly pain-free and long off the tee.

Tiger Woods, as you may have heard, is set for another comeback. Tiger will tee off with Justin Thomas at 12:05 p.m. on Thursday in the Hero World Challenge. It will be his first event since February when he withdrew after the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic.

But this time, this comeback, will be different. That's the hope, at least.

As Victor Mather writes today in the New York Timesthis comeback trail is a well-worn path for the era's greatest golfer:
While winning 14 majors over 11 years, Tiger Woods seldom had a layoff. But a series of injuries and personal setbacks have made his last decade a lot rockier. 
After a 10-month wait, Woods begins his latest return on Thursday in the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. He's optimistic. But it's not his first optimistic comeback of recent times...
Mather lays out all seven comebacks in capsule form (the comeback, why, what Tiger said, result). And, well, it's sobering.

But this time will be different, right?

Tiger Comebacks
2009 WGC-Accenture Match Play
2010 Masters
2011 WGC Bridgestone Invitational
2014 Quicken Loans National
2014 Hero World Challenge
2016 Hero World Challenge
2017 Hero World Challenge

Wednesday, November 22

Golf on TV: Australian Open and UBS Hong Kong Open


From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. – World No. 2 Jordan Spieth will defend his 2016 title this week at the Australian Open. He’ll be joined in the field by the top-ranked Australian in the world, Jason Day. The Australian Open also is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series, where three players will earn invitations to the 147th Open at Carnoustie. The European Tour will kick off its 2017-18 season at the UBS Hong Kong Open, as Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia headline the field.

PGA TOUR AUSTRALASIA

Australian Open
Dates: Nov. 22-25
Venue: The Australian Golf Club, Sydney, Australia

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Wednesday     8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live) / 3:30-8 a.m. (Thursday replay)
Thursday         8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live) / 3:30-8 a.m. (Friday replay)
Friday              8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live) / 4-8 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live) / 3:30-8 a.m. (Sunday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Spieth defends: Jordan Spieth won on the first playoff hole over Ashley Hall and Cameron Smith to win for the second time in three years.
Headlining the field: Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Cameron Smith, Matt Jones, Geoff Ogilvy, Jonas Blixt, Mike Weir and Curtis Luck.

EUROPEAN TOUR

UBS Hong Kong Open
Dates: Nov. 23-26
Venue: Hong Kong Golf Club, Sheung Shui, Hong Kong

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         1-3:30 a.m. (Live) / 8-11 a.m. (Replay)
Friday              1-3:30 a.m. (Live) / 8-11 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday          1-4 a.m. (Live) / 8-11 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday            1-3:30 a.m. (Live) / 8-11 a.m. (Replay)

Live Streaming Airtimes on Golf Channel Digital (Eastern)
Wednesday     9:30-11:30 p.m. (Live, Golf Channel Digital, continuing at 1 am ET)
Thursday         9:30-11:30 p.m. (Live, Golf Channel Digital, continuing at 1 am ET)
Friday              11:30 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live, Golf Channel Digital, continuing at 1 am ET)
Saturday          11 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live, Golf Channel Digital, continuing at 1 am ET)

Broadcast notes:
Brazel defends: Sam Brazel finished one shot ahead of Rafa Cabrera Bello to claim his first European Tour victory.
Headlining the field: Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Harold Varner III, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Sam Brazel, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood.

Tuesday, November 21

Spaniard Jon Rahm: European Tour Rookie of the Year and World No. 4



JON RAHM IS ECSTATIC.

And why not? The Spaniard had a pinch-me kind of week.

The former Arizona State golfer and world No. 1 amateur won the 2017 Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award before the start of the European Tour's season-ending DP World Tour Championship.

And then Rahm won that, too, shooting a final-round 67 for a 19-under total and 1-stroke victory.

"It's hard to sum it up," Rahm said. "An incredible week, I could not be more proud of what I've done this week. It could be very easy to just be content with getting the award and just being here and trying to play the best.

"I didn't plan on being here at the beginning of the year and I sure didn't plan on winning it so it's an incredible feeling."

Rahm, 23, won three titles in 2017: two on the European Tour and one on the PGA Tour (Farmers Insurance Open). He also finished third in the Race to Dubai. (Englishman Tommy Fleetwood finished 21st in Dubai and hung on to win the points race.)

Now Rahm is ranked fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing three Americans by the names of Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.

The young lions are roaring louder and louder.

Thursday, November 16

Bestselling Author John Coyne Talks Caddies on The Golf Shop Show ESPN Charlotte


IF YOU ENJOYED JOHN COYNE'S seven-part caddie series at this blog, you will certainly enjoy the interview it spawned with Mark Greenhalgh and Mike Fresina on their golf radio show.

John is a bestselling author who has followed the game of golf since becoming a caddie at Midlothian Country Club in the 1940s. Learn more at John Coyne Books.

Golf on TV: DP World Tour Championship, CME Group Tour Championship, RSM Classic


ABOVE: Caddie Adam Marrow with a day in the life at the DP World Tour Championship.

From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The European Tour season will culminate this week at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Only three players in the field have a mathematical chance of winning the season-long Race to Dubai: Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia. Fleetwood has the best chances of the three, needing Rose to finish outside of the top-5 and for Garcia not to win for the Englishman to claim the title. The LPGA season also comes to a crescendo this week, as the Tour returns to the United States for the CME Group Tour Championship. The top-5 in the season-long standings will win the CME Globe with a victory this week: Lexi Thompson, Sung Hyun Park, Shanshan Feng, So Yeon Ryu and Brooke Henderson, while Nos. 6-12 in the standings also have a mathematical chance of winning the title. The PGA TOUR is on St. Simons Island in Georgia for the RSM Classic, where Mackenzie Hughes defends after winning on the third hole of a five-man playoff that carried over to Monday at last year’s event.

EUROPEAN TOUR

DP World Tour Championship
Dates: Nov. 16-19
Venue: Jumeirah Golf Estates (Earth Course), Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         3-8 a.m. (Live)
Friday              3-8 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          2:30-8 a.m. (Live)
Sunday            2-7:30 a.m. (Live)

Broadcast notes:
Fitzpatrick defends: Matthew Fitzpatrick finished one shot ahead of Tyrrell Hatton to claim his third European Tour win.
Headlining the field: Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm, Tyrrell Hatton, Ross Fisher, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Alex Noren, Branden Grace, Francesco Molinari and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

LPGA TOUR

CME Group Tour Championship                          
Dates: Nov. 16-19
Venue: Tiburon Golf Club, Naples, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         4:30-6:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 2-4 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Friday              4:30-6:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 2-4 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Saturday          4:30-6:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 2-4 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Sunday            1-4 p.m. (**Live, Airing on ABC**)

Broadcast notes:
Hull defends: Charley Hull finished two strokes ahead of So Yeon Ryu for her maiden LPGA Tour win.
Headlining the field: Lexi Thompson, Sung Hyun Park, Shanshan Feng, So Yeon Ryu, Brooke Henderson, In Gee Chun, Cristie Kerr, Moriya Jutanugarn, Ariya Jutanugarn, Anna Nordqvist, Stacy Lewis and Lydia Ko.

PGA TOUR

RSM Classic
Dates: Nov. 16-19
Venue: Sea Island Golf Club (Seaside & Plantation Courses), St. Simons Island, Ga.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         1:30-4:30 p.m. (Live) / 7-10 p.m. (Replay)
Friday              1:30-4:30 p.m. (Live) / 7-10 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          1:30-4:30 p.m. (Live) / 7-10 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday            1:30-4:30 p.m. (Live) / 5:30-8:30 p.m. (Replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Hughes defends: Mackenzie Hughes won on the third hole of a five-man playoff (that carried over to Monday) for his first PGA TOUR victory.
Headlining the field: Matt Kuchar, Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Davis Love III, Patton Kizzire, Ernie Els, Chesson Hadley, Bubba Watson and Mackenzie Hughes.

Monday, November 13

VIDEO: Mike Weir vs. Tony Finau in Opposite-Handed Competition



MIKE WEIR IS A LEFTY. Tony Finau is a righty.

What happens when these tour pros play a one-hole challenge from their opposite sides?

Weir and Finau went head-to-head on the par-4 18th hole at Glenarbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills, New York. Watch.

Friday, November 10

Golf on TV: Charles Schwab Cup Championship, Blue Bay LPGA, Nedbank Golf Challenge, OHL Classic at Mayakoba



From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The PGA TOUR Champions will crown a season-long victor this week at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Arizona. Bernhard Langer – winner of the first two playoff events and leader in the standings – will look to sweep the playoffs with a third consecutive victory. The LPGA Tour is in China this week for the penultimate event of its season, and it marks the final opportunity for players to improve their position ahead of next week’s CME Group Tour Championship in Naples. The European Tour also stages its penultimate event of the season with the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa, where leader in the Race to Dubai – Tommy Fleetwood – is in the field. The PGA TOUR is in Mexico for the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, where Rickie Fowler leads the field, while 22-year-old Cameron Champ makes his professional debut and 2016 champion Pat Perez defends.

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

Charles Schwab Cup Championship
Dates: Nov. 10-12
Venue: Phoenix Country Club, Phoenix, Ariz.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Friday              4-7 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          4-7 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            4-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 p.m.-1 a.m. (Replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Langer leads group of five players controlling own outcome with a win: Bernhard Langer is atop the Charles Schwab Cup points list following his victories in the first two playoff events. He is among the five players in the field this week who will automatically win the Charles Schwab Cup with a victory at Phoenix Country Club: 1) Bernhard Langer; 2) Scott McCarron; 3) Kenny Perry; 4) Miguel Angel Jimenez; 5) Kevin Sutherland.
Goydos defends: Paul Goydos finished two shots ahead of Bernhard Langer to earn his fourth PGA TOUR Champions victory.
Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Scott McCarron, Kenny Perry, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Kevin Sutherland, Jerry Kelly, Colin Montgomerie, Brandt Jobe, Vijay Singh and Fred Couples.

LPGA TOUR

Blue Bay LPGA                                                       
Dates: Nov. 8-11
Venue: Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Club, Hainan Island, China

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Thursday         11 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live) / 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Friday replay)
Friday              11 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live)

Broadcast notes:
New world No. 1 Park headlines the field: Sung Hyun Park leads the field at Blue Bay after becoming the new No. 1 player in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings yesterday.
Lee defends: Minjee Lee finished one shot ahead of Jessica Korda to claim her third LPGA Tour win.
Headlining the field: Sung Hyun Park, Shanshan Feng, Anna Nordqvist, I.K Kim, Ariya Jutanugarn, Minjee Lee, Michelle Wie, Lizette Salas and Jessica Korda.

EUROPEAN TOUR

Nedbank Golf Challenge
Dates: Nov. 9-12
Venue: Gary Player Country Club, Sun City, South Africa

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday              3-9 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          3-9 a.m. (Live)
Sunday            3-9 a.m. (Live)

Broadcast notes:
Noren defends: Alex Noren finished six strokes clear of the field to earn his fourth European Tour victory of the 2016 season.
Headlining the field: Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Ross Fisher, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Alex Noren, Francesco Molinari, Bernd Wiesberger, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Paul Dunne.

PGA TOUR

OHL Classic at Mayakoba
Dates: Nov. 9-12
Venue: Maykoba Resort (El Camaleon Golf Club), Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Friday              1-4 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-10:30 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          1-4 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-10:30 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday            1-4 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-10:30 p.m. (Replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Perez defends: Pat Perez finished two shots ahead of Gary Woodland to win for the second time on the PGA TOUR.
Headlining the field: Rickie Fowler, Pat Perez, Zach Johnson, Chesson Hadley, Si Woo Kim, Patrick Reed, Jhonattan Vegas, Gary Woodland, Cameron Champ and Sam Saunders.

Wednesday, November 8

Looping (Conclusion): Pro Caddie Pay and Caddie's Role as a 'Safe Harbor'

Embed from Getty Images
Caddie Mark Fulcher with Justin Rose, back-to-back winner of the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open.

Following is the final installment in John Coyne's caddie series. Read Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5 and Part 6.

By John Coyne


Copyright © John Coyne. Used with permission.


THE ECONOMICS OF CADDIE PAY, as well as their lives on the PGA Tour, began to change in the mid 1990s with the arrival of Tiger Woods.

Tiger brought to the game, as least on television, a viewing audience that didn't play, didn't even like golf in some cases, but wanted to see Tiger play. Golf viewership grew, as did television ads and revenues. And likewise: purses for the pros.

All of this had a direct benefit for tour caddies. 

Today the majority of professional caddies earn a base weekly salary of between $1,500 and $2,500 and 7 to 10 percent of their player's winnings. If a caddie's player finishes in the top 10, that number could jump to 10 percent. These caddie contracts are all different and usually closed with a handshake.

Caddies also earn additional money from their own endorsement and appearance deals. They must wear bibs with names and logos of the tournament sponsors, but they can display their own logos on their hats or shirtsleeves. Caddies for players outside the top 30 only earn between $5,000 to $10,000 for this, but the caddies for the top players, who get most TV time, they can command between $30,000 to $50,000 a year from sponsors.

Then there is the FedEx Cup with its $35 million bonus structure, which means additional earnings for caddies. When the Cup was introduced in 2007, caddies did not have agreements for any sort of bonus. But an agreement was worked out by the Association of Professional Tour Caddies (APTC), and today the winner shares 10 percent with his caddie.

In 2013 when Henrik Stenson won the FedEx Cup, his caddie, Gareth Lord, bought himself a Ferrari after cashing his $1 million dollar share.

While all of this appears to be a lot of money, and it is, there are other realities of life that factor into the careers of caddies. Very few caddies have a player who is continually among the top 10 place finishers week after week on tour and their pros are only on tour an average of 20 to 35 weeks a year. It's a short earning season.

Caddies also are covering their own travel expenses, and increasingly with a majority of them having families back home, it is not an easy life. Bubba Watson, for one, is extolled in the caddie ranks as a tour pro who covers the travel expenses of his caddie, Ted Scott.

Earning Their Keep

That all said, are professional caddies worth the bother and effort? What do they bring to a player's game that a teenager—girl or boy—at the host club couldn't handle?

Well, what the PGA Tour pro gets from a professional caddie is more than just someone to lug his bag. The professional caddie arrives on Monday and walks the course before the event, aided by an up-to-date yardage book such as former pro caddie George Lucas started creating in the 1950s.

Today a dozen tour caddies produce books for every event as well as another book that maps the greens.

But what the professional caddie brings to the tour player is much more important than yardage knowledge. In conversations with those on tourcaddies, pros and administratorsthe key is the caddie's personality. While a tour player has a "team" behind him, a half dozen people from a swing coach to sports psychologist, the caddie is the only one out on the fairways with him, measuring his mood, easing his temper, giving advice in a calming voice and all the while responding to his needs, from cleaning his ball to assessing putts.

A caddie is the golfer's safe harbor. Tour pros know that. Their caddie is with him for just one reason, to bring him home a winner. 

John Coyne is a bestselling author who has written several books about golf. Learn more at John Coyne Books.

Friday, November 3

Golf on TV: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Turkish Airlines Open, Toto Japan Classic



From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The PGA TOUR is in Las Vegas this week for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, where Charley Hoffman and Tony Finau headline the field. On the European Tour, Thorbjorn Olesen is set to defend at the Turkish Airlines Open, and will be joined in the field by Justin Rose – coming off a victory last week – along with Henrik Stenson. The LPGA Tour continues its Asia stretch as Shanshan Feng defends at the Toto Japan Classic.

PGA TOUR

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Dates: Nov. 2-5
Venue: TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nev.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Friday              4:30-7:30 p.m. (Live) / 8:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          4:30-7:30 p.m. (Live) / 8-10:30 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday            3:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-10:30 p.m. (Replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Pampling defends: Rod Pampling finished two shots ahead of Brooks Koepka to claim his third PGA TOUR win, and first since 2006.
Headlining the field: Charley Hoffman, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson, Kevin Chappell, Ernie Els, Jimmy Walker, Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Maverick McNealy and Patrick Cantlay.

EUROPEAN TOUR

Turkish Airlines Open
Dates: Nov. 2-5
Venue: Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort, Antalya, Turkey

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday              5-10 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          5-10 a.m. (Live)
Sunday            3:30-8:30 a.m. (Live) / 1:30-6 a.m. (Monday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Olesen defends: Thorbjorn Olesen finished three strokes clear of the field to earn his fourth European Tour victory.
Headlining the field: Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Tyrrell Hatton, Martin Kaymer, Thomas Pieters, Lee Westwood, Paul Dunne, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood.

LPGA TOUR

Toto Japan Classic                                                  
Dates: Nov. 3-5
Venue: Taiheiyo Club (Minori Course), Ibaraki, Japan

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern)
Friday              11:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Live) / 12:30-3:30 p.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          10:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Live) / 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Sunday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Feng defends: Shanshan Feng finished a shot ahead of Ha Na Jang to win her sixth LPGA Tour title.
Headlining the field: In Gee Chun, Shanshan Feng, Lexi Thompson, Brooke Henderson, Ariya Jutanugarn, Danielle Kang, Lydia Ko, Stacy Lewis, Anna Nordqvist and So Yeon Ryu.