Thursday, March 30

Golf on TV: ANA Inspiration, Shell Houston Open, Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic



From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 29, 2017)  The first major of the 2017 golf season kicks off on Thursday with the ANA Inspiration in southern California. Defending champion and current world No. 1 Lydia Ko leads a field that includes 28 of the top-30 players in the world. Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler lead the field at the Shell Houston Open, and are among the group of 29 players competing this week whom have received an invitation to play in the Masters next week. On the PGA TOUR Champions, Miguel Angel Jimenez is set to defend his 2016 title at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, beginning Friday.

LPGA TOUR

ANA Inspiration
Dates: March 30-April 2
Venue: Mission Hills Country Club (Dinah Shore Tournament Course), Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         Noon-4 p.m.; 7-9 p.m. (Live) / 12:30-3:30 a.m. (Friday replay)
Friday              Noon-4 p.m.; 7-9 p.m. (Live) / 2:30-5:30 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          5-9 p.m. (Live) / 1-5 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            5-9 p.m. (Live) / 1-5 a.m. (Monday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Strong field: Defending champion and world No. 1 Lydia Ko leads an elite field that encompasses 28 of the top-30 players in the world, along with six amateurs, including 14-year old Lucy Li, winner of the ANA Junior Inspiration.
Ko defends: Lydia Ko finished one shot ahead of Charley Hull and In Gee Chun to claim her 12th LPGA win.
Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn, So Yeon Ryu, In Gee Chun, Shanshan Feng, Ha Na Jang, Inbee Park, Amy Yang, Lexi Thompson, Sei Young Kim and Anna Nordqvist.                                                                                                                                      
PGA TOUR

Shell Houston Open
Dates: March 30-April 2
Venue: Golf Club of Houston, Humble, Texas

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         4-7 p.m. (Live) / 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)
Friday              4-7 p.m. (Live) / 11:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday          1-3 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-1 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday            1-3 p.m. (Live)

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

Broadcast Notes:
Final preparation ahead of the Masters: The field features four of the top-10 players in the world in Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler. In total, the field includes 29 of the 94 invitees to next week’s Masters.
Herman defends: Jim Herman finished one stroke ahead of Henrik Stenson to earn his first career PGA TOUR victory.
Headlining the field: Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Jimmy Walker, Tony Finau and Bryson DeChambeau.

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic
Dates: March 31-April 2
Venue: Fallen Oak Golf Club, Biloxi, Miss.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday              9:30-11:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 4-6 p.m. (Live Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Saturday          3-5 p.m. (Live) / 5-7 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            3-5 p.m. (Live) / 5-7 a.m. (Monday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Jimenez defends: Miguel Angel Jimenez finished two shots ahead of Scott Dunlap to earn his third PGA TOUR Champions win.
Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Steve Stricker, David Toms, Jose Maria Olazabal, Scott McCarron, Jerry Kelly, John Daly, Jay Haas and Woody Austin.

Wednesday, March 29

RIP Ken Still, Member of 1969 U.S. Ryder Cup Team



THE DEATH OF PGA TOUR PLAYER KEN STILL was reported a little more than a week ago. He was 82. A native of Tacoma, Washington, where he died of kidney failure, Still won three times on the PGA Tour and played on the 1969 U.S. Ryder Cup team captained by Sam Snead.

I wrote about that team and Ryder Cup in my 2014 book, DRAW IN THE DUNES: The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish That Shocked the World.

Still was one of 10 rookies on the '69 U.S. team. The other 11 team members were Dave Hill, Raymond Floyd, Miller Barber, Lee Trevino, Gene Littler, Billy Casper, Dale Douglass, Frank Beard, Dan Sikes, Tommy Aaron and Jack Nicklaus. A quirky character known for his friendliness, Still began a long friendship with the Golden Bear.

"Nicklaus had called Still during his final days," wrote Craig Smith in The Seattle Times, "and so had fellow golfers Raymond Floyd and Chi Chi Rodriguez and baseball legend Sandy Koufax."

When I spent time with Jack Nicklaus in 2013 for my book, he talked and laughed about Still. He told me that he and "Kenny" talked regularly on the phone.

Arnold Palmer was noticeably absent from the '69 team, in part because of Still's late-season victory that vaulted him up the points list and secured his spot on the squad. There were no captain's picks in those days for the Americans.

When I interviewed Ken Still in September 2012, he told me 1969 was the "best year of my life, as far as competitive golf goes."

Still won the Florida Citrus Open in March and the Greater Milwaukee Open in August. His last tour victory would come the following year in a playoff against Lee Trevino and Bert Yancey. Not too shabby.

I asked Still what stood out about the 1969 Ryder Cup, his one and only.

"The last thing to be on my mind was that I'd be on the Ryder Cup team," he said. "The competition was pretty stern, as it is today. It was such a positive part of my life."

Still also told me this, which I always remember:

"[It] was an honor to be on the team and represent the United States of America. It really was. I'll cherish it to the day I die. In fact, I may be buried in the dark blue [Ryder Cup] jacket."

I don't know if Ken Still was buried in the jacket, but I have no doubt that he cherished that Ryder Cup experience to the very end.

Tuesday, March 28

12-Year-Old Boy Uses His Golf Skills and Passion to Build a School in Jamaica

Some golf news to warm your heart. From a Food For The Poor press release.

Rafe at right.
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. – Rafe Cochran,12, has been making a name for himself in the golfing world for more than half of his life, competing in local, regional and international tournaments, and even hosting his own golf classic to help build homes in Haiti through Food For The Poor.

Now he’s turning his talents to Jamaica so that other children can have a better life. On April 22, the Palm Beach Day Academy sixth-grader will host the Second Annual Rafe Cochran Golf Classic, in West Palm Beach, Fla. Proceeds will build a school in Chester District, St. Ann, Jamaica.

“I am just truly honored that I had the chance to come here. I am excited to be able to help the young ones to build a pre-primary school,” said Rafe, who visited the school last week. “It was really fun just being with the kids, hearing what they have to say and just having fun with them.” 

Rafe and his parents, Jay and Diahann, visited Chester Primary and Infant School with Food For The Poor. The school needs repairs and is severely overcrowded because the 3-to-5 year-old students are sharing the school with elementary and middle school students. The Cochran family met with the teachers and spent time with the students. Rafe bonded with the boys his age, playing a game of soccer.

Rafe with school kids.
Rafe’s project will build a separate school building for the younger children. This will give the teachers separate and spacious classrooms with fewer distractions. The new infant department also will help improve the readiness levels of students entering primary school.

“I am hoping to come back and help with every block being built,” said Rafe. “Seeing the school for myself, I really realized just how needy they were.” 

“They have come here to see how they can help develop the educational system in Jamaica and we really appreciate this gesture. Rafe has such a dedicated heart to the poor and wants to improve people’s lives. This is really an inspiration to me,” said David Mair, Executive Director of Food For The Poor-Jamaica. “It was a pleasure meeting this young philanthropist who is already making a big difference in the lives of the less fortunate.”

Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma presented Rafe with the One For Change Award at the March 3 The One Event at the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, for his past commitments to build homes in Haiti and to help build a school in Jamaica.

“Rafe was very deserving of the One For Change Award, he is a spirited young man who has a genuine desire to make a difference, which is very refreshing,” said Aloma. “Food For The Poor wants to express its sincere gratitude to Rafe and his family for all that they’re doing to help the less fortunate in Haiti and now Jamaica.” 

The tournament will start at 1 p.m. at the Mayacoo Lakes Country Club, 9697 Mayacoo Club Dr., West Palm Beach. Registration and a light lunch start at 11:30 a.m. on the day of the event.

For registration information for the Rafe Cochran Golf Classic please contact Kyra Poulos at 954-427-2222 ext. 6634 or at kyrap@foodforthepoor.com.

Monday, March 27

Dustin Johnson: 'I'm Proud of the Way I Played'



SO WHAT DO YOU THINK of this Johnson kid?

Sheesh. Dustin Johnson is owning it. What's "it"? I'd say everything in the golf world.

DJ won another World Golf Championship this past weekend, this time the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club. He knocked off Jon Rahm in the final, 1-up.

"I feel like I didn't really give him any holes except for 10," Johnson told Golf Channel. "It was tough out there. The greens got really fast. The wind was affecting all the putts. Jon played really well; I just didn't really give him anything."

Rahm was impressed, too. With Dustin Johnson.

"He's just a perfect, complete player," Rahm said (via USA Today).

DJ added: "I'm proud of the way I played. The way I stayed in there even though he made some birdies on the back nine… I just couldn't get any putts to drop, but I'm proud of the way I played."

Johnson's most recent victory widened his lead in the world rankings. He has amassed a 12.8 points average. Rory McIlroy is second at 9.01 and Jason Day registers 8.86. That's a huge gap for Dustin. I think he is going to be on top for a while.

"He seems to be consistently great," NBC golf analyst Johnny Miller said during the Sunday telecast.

"That's the thing you've got to be impressed with. He seems to just have it all the time. Rory McIlroy has got it, he doesn’t have it. It seems like it fluctuates a lot more. Of course, Jason Day has had his fluctuations too."

Wednesday, March 22

Golf on TV: WGC Dell Technologies Match Play, Kia Classic, Puerto Rico Open



From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 21, 2017) – 64 of the top players in the world gather in Austin this week for golf’s version of a March bracket event with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. World No. 3 Jason Day will defend his 2016 title, alongside Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, with nearly 35 hours of live tournament coverage scheduled to air across Golf Channel and NBC. The LPGA Tour is in southern California for the Kia Classic, where world No. 1 Lydia Ko will defend among a field that includes every single player from the LPGA top-100 money list in 2016. And the PGA TOUR will stage the Puerto Rico Open, featuring a field led by Bryson DeChambeau, Ian Poulter and Andrew Johnston, along with former major champions, including Graeme McDowell, Angel Cabrera, Retief Goosen and Y.E. Yang.

PGA TOUR

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
Dates: March 22-26
Venue: Austin Country Club, Austin, Texas

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday     2-8 p.m. (Live) / 9 p.m.-3 a.m. (Replay)
Thursday         2-8 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 p.m.-4:30 a.m. (Replay)
Friday              2-8 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 p.m.-4:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday          10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday            10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern):
Saturday          2-6 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            3-7 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Event format: The 64-player field is divided into 16 four-player groups competing in a round-robin format over the first three days on Wednesday through Friday. The player in each group with the most points (1 point for a win, ½ point for a halved match) advances to single elimination match play with the Round of 16 and quarterfinals scheduled for Saturday and the semifinals and final scheduled for Sunday. The top-16 seeded players in Pool A are the top seeds of their respective groups and the rest of the players in each group were determined through a blind draw on Monday, March 20. Those other 48 players were randomly assigned to their group of four based on three pools: seeds 17-32 in Pool B, seeds 33-48 in Pool C, and seeds 49-64 in Pool D.
Day defends: Jason Day defeated Louis Oosthuizen 5&4 in the finals to claim his ninth career PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Sergio Garcia, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed, Tyrrell Hatten and Danny Willett.

LPGA TOUR

Kia Classic
Dates: March 23-26
Venue: Park Hyatt Aviara Golf Club, Carlsbad, Calif.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         8:30-10:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 7-9 p.m. (Live Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Friday              8:30-10:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 7-9 p.m. (Live Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Saturday          5:30-9 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            5:30-9 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Ko defends: Lydia Ko finished four shots ahead of Inbee Park to earn her 11th LPGA victory.
Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn, In Gee Chun, Shanshan Feng, So Yeon Ryu, Ha Na Jang, Inbee Park, Amy Yang, Lexi Thompson, Anna Nordqvist and Michelle Wie.

PGA TOUR

Puerto Rico Open
Dates: March 23-26
Venue: Coco Beach Golf & Country Club (Championship Course), Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live) / 4:30-7 a.m. (Friday replay)
Friday              10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live) / 4:30-7 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          2-5:30 p.m. (Live) / 2-5 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            2:30-5:30 p.m. (Live) / 2-5 a.m. (Monday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Headlining the field: Bryson DeChambeau, Andrew Johnston, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell, Thorbjorn Olesen, Retief Goosen, Angel Cabrera, K.J. Choi, Y.E. Yang and Sam Saunders.

Tuesday, March 21

Sports Economist Study: Second Shot Gamble Fails to Pay Off at Masters

The following press release comes from Wake Forest University. And I'm sure it will have no bearing on Phil Mickelson in the upcoming Masters.

That tee shot lost in the rough or hit in the water at Augusta is likely to be followed by a risky, aggressive second shot — a decision you might expect from a recreational golfer, not a pro. 

Research by Wake Forest University sports economist Todd McFall suggests that a faction of players beginning holes with penalty strokes will regularly take greater risks in their subsequent shots to avoid any additional strokes — a decision predicted by behavioral economics that can lead to disastrous consequences for golfers’ performances. 

"Our findings support the basic tenants of prospect theory  top players have a hard time sticking to their game plan, even after a setback," said McFall.

"When players try to do too much to compensate for a poor prior shot, we found it has few benefits and often sets them back even further. Even for top professionals, it's important to find a way to avoid making mental errors. Think about Zach Johnson's 2007 Masters win where he didn't try to reach a green with his second shot all week, yet birdied 11 of 16 holes. He never tried to overreach."

The study presents a rare glimpse into the decision-making patterns of professional golfers by using real data from more than 10 years of U.S. PGA Tour events. For this research, McFall had access to the PGA Tour's ShotLink database, which contains a record of every shot a professional player takes on the tour.

McFall studied golfers playing on par five holes, comparing the behaviors of players in three categories: those penalized for a lateral water hazard tee shot, those penalized for an out-of-bounds tee shot, and those with no penalties on their first shot. The data showed that golfers with an out-of-bounds penalty or a lateral water hazard penalty were much more likely to adapt riskier approaches compared with their non-penalized rivals.

"Loss aversion leads penalized golfers to violate not only basic economic principles regarding efficient decision making, but also golf orthodoxy, which is to play one shot at a time regardless of previous outcomes." McFall said. "The cost they suffer for this is inefficient performance and ultimately, higher scores."

Monday, March 20

Marc Leishman: 'Today was the Day'



AUSTRALIAN MARC LEISHMAN SHOT A 69 on Sunday to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by one shot over Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman. Leishman's second PGA Tour title gives him a three-year exemption and also means he'll be back at the Masters.

"I've been playing well all year," Leishman told Golf Channel.

"I've been driving it better than I ever have. It's funny, this game's a lot easier out of the fairway. That's been probably the biggest difference. Then the putter. The putter has been amazing this year. The stats probably show that, especially this week. But I feel like all year it's been really close and I just haven't quite played how I wanted to on Sundays, but today was the day."

Leishman continued an Aussie streak at Arnie's place. Jason Day won at Bay Hill in 2016.

"Mr. Palmer was an awesome guy who I was lucky enough to meet a few times at this tournament. So obviously to honor him was huge," Leishman added.

"Another reason why it was so special this week is this is the first time I've won a tournament with my family here… It all came together, and to do it here, especially on a Presidents Cup year as well. I was outside those standings, so to get back inside those is really good. And I guess the Masters too; I wasn't in there. It's just an unbelievable day."

Friday, March 17

VIDEO: Cody Gribble: 'The Gator Looked Like He Needed Some Exercise'



CODY GRIBBLE HAD AN ALLIGATOR ENCOUNTER in the opening round of the 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

"The gator looked like he needed some exercise," Gribble said. "If you think that's crazy, you should meet my father, Bill Gribble."

Thursday, March 16

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



From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 14, 2017)  NBC Sports Group this week will celebrate Arnold Palmer’s legacy through a series of dedicated tributes and remembrances surrounding its coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard from Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Fla. With nearly 50 live hours of on-site news and live tournament coverage across Golf Channel and NBC, the field includes four of the top-5 players in the world in Jason Day (No. 2), Rory McIlroy (No. 3), Hideki Matsuyama (No. 4) and Henrik Stenson (No. 5), along with Rickie Fowler (No. 9). The LPGA returns to the United States with the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Arizona, featuring a strong field led by World Nos. 1 and 2, Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn. The PGA TOUR Champions also are in Arizona this week, with Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples leading the field at the Tucson Conquistadores Classic, along with Steve Stricker and Bob Estes, who are both set to make their PGA TOUR Champions debut.

PGA TOUR

Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
Dates: March 16-19
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) / 11:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday          12:30-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday            12:30-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Replay)

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

Broadcast Notes:
Mike Tirico to serve as tournament host on Golf Channel, NBC: NBC Sports personality Mike Tirico will host live tournament coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Golf Channel and NBC, marking the first time Tirico will cover the event on-air after initially joining NBC Sports Group last summer ahead of The Open.
Day defends: Jason Day finished one stroke ahead of Kevin Chappell to earn his eighth PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Henrik Stenson, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Hadwin.
                                                                                                                                         
NBC Sports Broadcast Team:
Host: Mike Tirico
Play by Play: Rich Lerner (Golf Channel) / Dan Hicks (NBC)
Analyst: Frank Nobilo (Golf Channel) / Johnny Miller (NBC)
Tower: Gary Koch / Peter Jacobsen / David Feherty / Steve Sands / Jimmy Roberts
On-Course: Roger Maltbie (Weekend only) / Mark Rolfing / Notah Begay
Interviews: Steve Sands / Todd Lewis (Golf Channel, Saturday-Sunday)
Essays: Jimmy Roberts (Weekend only)

* * *        

LPGA TOUR

Bank of Hope Founders Cup
Dates: March 16-19
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          7-9 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            7-9 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Kim defends: Sei Young Kim finished five shots ahead of the field to claim her fourth LPGA victory.
Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn, In Gee Chun, Ha Na Jang, Lexi Thompson, Amy Yang, Inbee Park, Sei Young Kim, Brooke Henderson and Brittany Lincicome.

* * *

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

Tucson Conquistadores Classic
Dates: March 17-19
Venue: Omni Tucson National Resort (Catalina Course), Tucson, Ariz.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday              9:30-11:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 6-8 p.m. (Live Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Saturday          4:30-7 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            4:30-7 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Monday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Stricker, Estes making PGA TOUR Champions debut: Steve Stricker and Bob Estes are both making their PGA TOUR Champions debut this week.
Austin defends: Woody Austin finished one shot ahead of Jim Carter to earn his first PGA TOUR Champions victory.                      
Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples, Steve Stricker, Bob Estes, Jerry Kelly, Mark O’Meara, Tom Lehman, David Toms, Paul McGinley, Woody Austin and Lee Janzen.

Wednesday, March 15

'Womankind Arise!': No More Men-Only at Muirfield



MUIRFIELD HAS JOINED THE 21ST CENTURY. Women will now be eligible for membership at the ancient Scottish links designed by Old Tom Morris. They really had no chance to continue the men-only tradition, at least not if they ever wanted to again host the Open Championship.

"Muirfield takes mulligan, votes in women," reported Global Golf Post. You can read Lewine Mair's story by clicking below.

Global Golf Post March 13, 2017

page 2 Table of Contents

Tuesday, March 14

VIDEO: #ArnieWould Is a Credit to Mastercard


THIS WEEK IS ABOUT ARNOLD PALMER. Mastercard hits the sweet spot with its above #ArnieWould spot.

Due to scheduling issues as a result of WGC events and the Masters in a few weeks, many top players will be absent from Bay Hill this week. Some are taking heat for that decision. In addition, the future of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in terms of quality of the field is uncertain. (Some of you might recall the drop-off at the Nelson after Byron passed.)

All that said, this is still Arnold Palmer's week. The golf world, and hopefully the wider sports world, will pause to remember "The King" and his many contributions to the game, to communities and charities and even to America.

Arnie loved people. And the people loved him back.

Monday, March 13

Tahiti Can Wait: Adam Hadwin Is Masters Bound



ADAM HADWIN STUMBLED ON THE 16TH hole on Sunday but steadied himself with two pars to claim his first PGA Tour victory at the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida. The Canadian edged Patrick Cantlay by a single shot and earned a spot in the Masters. The 29-year-old Hadwin finished with a 71 for a 14-under total of 270.

That's very good scoring on the tough Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club.

"I don’t know what to say right now," Hadwin told Golf Channel. "I fully expected Patrick to make that putt. As I said yesterday, I just wanted a chance to win coming up at the last. And I had that chance. I thought we were going to have to make birdies to win it. I'm just lucky that 1-footer wasn't 1.5 feet."

Cantlay hit his approach shot on the final hole into a bunker and made bogey. It was a disappointing finish to a surprising week. He was one of the last men to earn a spot into the Valspar field and made a courageous run at the title.

Hadwin will get married a week from Friday and adjust his honeymoon trip to Tahiti in order to make his first appearance in the Masters. I expect his new bride will understand.

Friday, March 10

Tiger Woods: 'Presently, I Have No Timetable for My Return to Golf'

TIGER WOODS WILL NOT PLAY in the Arnold Palmer Invitational next week, he announced at TigerWoods.com:
"Unfortunately, due to ongoing rest and rehabilitation on my back, I won't be able to play in this year's Arnold Palmer Invitational. I'm especially disappointed because I wanted to be at Bay Hill to help honor Arnold. This is one event I didn't want to skip. Arnold has meant so much to me and my family; I thought of him as a close friend, and Sam and Charlie were both born in the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. He will be greatly missed and can never truly be replaced. 
"Presently, I have no timetable for my return to golf, but my treatments are continuing and going well."
This announcement makes a return to the Masters seem highly improbable.

Meanwhile, I invite you to enjoy the below "greatest feeling shot" of Tiger's life, according to an interview with CNN. The shot was from a fairway bunker on the 18th hole in the second round of the 2002 PGA Championship.



"That was the greatest feeling shot I've ever hit in my life," Woods told CNN. "The wind was blowing about 25-30 mph off the left. The lip was in front of me, trees were in front of me, downhill lie and somehow I hit it -- I don't know how I hit it that solid, that clean, that flush and drew it up against the wind and held it, landed about 20ft away."

(H/T PGA.com)

Thursday, March 9

Golf on TV: Valspar Championship, Hero Indian Open



From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 7, 2017) – The PGA TOUR returns to Florida this week, as Henrik Stenson and Justin Thomas headline the field at the Valspar Championship outside of Tampa. On the European Tour, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Anirban Lahiri lead the field at the Hero Indian Open.

PGA TOUR

Valspar Championship
Dates: March 9-12
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) / 7-11 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          1-3 p.m. (Live) / 7 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)
Sunday            1-3 p.m. (Live) / 7 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)

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

Broadcast Notes:
Schwartzel defends: Charl Schwartzel defeated Bill Haas with a par on the first playoff hole for his second career PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Henrik Stenson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Charl Schwartzel, Matt Kuchar, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Bill Haas, Beau Hossler and Lee McCoy.

* * *

EUROPEAN TOUR

Hero Indian Open
Dates: March 9-12
Venue: DLF Golf & Country Club (Gary Player Course), New Delhi, India

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         12:30-2:30 a.m. / 4-7 a.m. (Live) / 9 a.m.-Noon (Replay)
Friday              12:30-2:30 a.m. / 4-7 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          2:30-7 a.m. (Live)
Sunday            3-7:30 a.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Chawrasia defends: S.S.P. Chawrasia finished two shots ahead of Anirban Lahiri and Jeunghun Wang to claim his third European Tour victory.
Headlining the field: Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Anirban Lahiri, S.S.P. Chawrasia, Marcus Fraser, Scott Hend, Siddikur Rahman, Peter Uihlein, Arjun Atwal and Chase Koepka.

Wednesday, March 8

VIDEO: Jordan Spieth Imitates Old Tom Morris, Donning Tweed Suit and Swinging Hickory Clubs



THE GOLF MOVIE 'TOMMY'S HONOUR' about Scottish golf legends Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris (father and son) is coming on April 14.

In the meantime, Jordan Spieth and his father, Shawn, appeared in a Golf Channel documentary about the making of the film. And, as you can see above, they gave it the "Old Tom" try.

(H/T Geoff Shackelford)

Tuesday, March 7

The Ego Boost and Burden of Being World No. 1

DUSTIN JOHNSON IS ON A TEAR that has made him the world's top-ranked golfer for the first time in his career. Johnson is the 20th player to sit on top of the mountain. 

How is DJ handling it?

So far, so good. He won in Mexico to widen the gap between him and World No. 2 Jason Day, who felt the burden of No. 1 until Johnson relieved him of the throne.

Karen Crouse penned a New York Times feature on the No. 1 ranking, which included this candid admission from the Australian:
When Day possessed the title, it also possessed him. The public acclamation became a personal albatross that blurred his identity, with his obligations as the public face of the sport bleeding into his time as a husband and father. 
"It's very, very difficult," said Day, who became the third men's No. 1 from Australia, after Greg Norman and Adam Scott. "It's tough to be at the top of a sport and trying to deal with new things and trying to compete and handle certain parts of your life and be able to put them in boxes."
As his reign came to a close, Day sounded worn out.... 
"Oh, man, being No. 1 in the world is tough," Day said before the Genesis Open, adding, "I wouldn't trade it for the world, even though it is mentally and sometimes physically demanding."
In the same article, Rory McIlroy said, "I think for a lot of guys, it's an ego thing."

We'll see how Dustin carries it. If being No. 1 bothers him, it might be hard to tell due to his placid demeanor. But I'm pretty sure nothing is bothering him right now.

Monday, March 6

Dustin Johnson: 'I Played Just Well Enough'



NEW WORLD NO. 1 DUSTIN JOHNSON made another statement by winning the WGC-Mexico Championship at Chapultepec Golf Club in Mexico City by one shot over England's Tommy Fleetwood. Johnson fired a final-round 68 to finish 14 under. It was his fourth WGC title.

DJ is suddenly a closer. Tournaments used to slip through his fingers. Now they slip into them.

"It means a lot," Johnson told Golf Channel's Steve Sands about winning as the top-ranked player in the world.

"Obviously it is a tough spot to be in. There is a lot of pressure on you and I came out and played really well. I felt like I hit the ball great all week. You know, the greens, they are tough to putt on. I didn't feel like I putted my best. But I really hit the ball well. I played just well enough I guess because I won by one."

Other top guns played well. Back in action after a rib injury, Rory McIlroy was the 36-hole leader but couldn't keep pace on the weekend with a 70 and 71. Third-round leader Justin Thomas faded on Sunday. Jon Rahm made a charge and was tied for the lead with Johnson until two three-putt bogeys dropped him to a T3 finish.

Phil Mickelson showed promise with a 10-under total, good for a seventh-place tie with McIlroy and Brandt Snedeker.

A new venue for a WGC event, the world's best players struggled on the deceptive putting surfaces. Johnson, who seems unfazed by anything that happens on a golf course, hung in there and putted well enough to prevail.

"The first day I didn’t feel like I was hitting bad putts," he said. "I was frustrated, but you know I didn't feel like I was doing anything wrong with the putter. So I just kept trying to read the putts as best as I could and just really commit to the lines I was going to pick and make a good stroke."

Friday, March 3

VIDEO: Guinness World Record: Longest Made Putt (135.67 Yards)



MY LONGEST MADE PUTT IS PROBABLY in the neighborhood of 60 feet, but I honestly can't remember. It's not something I've given much thought. We've all made some long ones, especially if we've played the game for years.

These fellows in the above video had something different in mind. A Guinness World Record. Watch.

"The achievement toppled the previous record held by Fergus Muir, of Scotland, who made a 125-yard [putt] using an 80-year-old hickory-shafted putter in 2001," wrote PGA.com.

Thursday, March 2

Golf on TV: WGC-Mexico Championship, HSBC Women's Champions, Tshwane Open



From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 28, 2017) – Forty-nine of the top-50 in the world make up a stellar field at the WGC-Mexico Championship, with more than 20 hours of live tournament coverage airing across Golf Channel and NBC. The event shifts to a new venue in 2017, with the Chapultepec Golf Club in Mexico City staging the event for the first time, at an altitude of more than 7,600 feet above sea level. The LPGA Tour is in Singapore for the HSBC Women’s Champions, featuring a similarly impressive field that includes 19 of the top-20 in the world. The European Tour continues with the South African stretch of its schedule at the Tshwane Open, with Darren Clarke and Trevor Immelman both in the field.

PGA TOUR

WGC-Mexico Championship
Dates: March 2-5
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) / 8 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)
Saturday          Noon-3 p.m. (Live) / 7-10:30 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday            Noon-2 p.m. (Live) / 7 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)

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

Broadcast Notes:
Elite field featuring 49 of top-50 in the world: 77 players are in the field at the WGC-Mexico Championship, including 49 of the top-50 in the world, and nine of the 12 winners on the PGA TOUR this season. The 72-hole, stroke play event features no cut.
New venue: This year marks the first time the event will be staged in Mexico City, after previously being played in Miami. Chapultepec Golf Cub previously hosted the Mexico Open 18 times and is played at an altitude of more than 7,600 feet above sea level.
Scott defends: Adam Scott finished one shot ahead of Bubba Watson at Trump National Doral to claim his 13th PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren.

* * *

LPGA TOUR

HSBC Women’s Champions
Dates: March 2-5
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) / 2:30-5:30 a.m. (Thursday replay)
Friday              Midnight-2:30 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          Midnight-2:30 a.m. (Live) / 3-6 p.m. (Replay) 10:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Live) / 2-6 p.m. (Sunday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
New course: After being contested on the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club for the previous four years, the venue shifts to the New Tanjong Course, which also is scheduled to host the 2018 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.
Jang defends: Ha Na Jang finished four shots ahead of Pornanong Phatlum to claim her second LPGA Tour victory.
Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn, Shanshan Feng, In Gee Chun, Ha Na Jang, Lexi Thompson, So Yeon Ryu, Sei Young Kim, Brooke Henderson and Sung Hyun Park.

* * *

EUROPEAN TOUR

Tshwane Open
Dates: March 2-5
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: Darren Clarke, Darren Fichardt, Justin Hicks, Trevor Immelman, Haotong Li, Graeme Storm, Peter Uihlein and Jaco Van Zyl.

Wednesday, March 1

Arnold Palmers' Shoes: Impossible to Fill, Very Expensive to Buy ($66,000)


THE GOLF SHOES ARNOLD PALMER WORE when he won the 1958 Masters fetched $66,000 at Heritage Auctions' Platinum Night in Dallas last Saturday, setting a record for golf shoes.

The final price for Palmer's shoes made them the sixth highest selling game-worn shoes to be sold at auction.

The Top 5

1. Boxer Muhammad Ali’s "Thrilla in Manila" boots, $119,500.

2. NBA superstar Michael Jordan "Flu Game" Nike shoes, $104,765.

3. Muhammad Ali "Rumble in the Jungle" boots, $100,725.

4. NFL Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas' Baltimore Colts final-game cleats, $71,700.

5. Michael Jordan, pre-Air Jordans, $71,553.

Plus "The King" ...

6. Arnold Palmer, 1958 Masters golf shoes, $66,000.