Sunday, May 31

ARMCHAIR GOLF Briefs


(Josh V-R/Flickr)

A bevy of golf products, services, destinations, events, news and more. Endorsement is not implied.

ARMCHAIR GOLF is a featured sports blog on GlobalPost.com, an online international news organization whose readers come from every country in the world except North Korea, Chad and Eritrea. “I have spent almost 10 months hunting for 300 of the world’s best blogs in 46 countries and eight themes for GlobalPost,” wrote John Wilpers, Global Blog Coordinator, “and I can safely say that ARMCHAIR GOLF BLOG is one of the best golf blogs I’ve encountered. And one of the best sports blogs, period!”

• June is American Express Women’s Golf Month, during which participating facilities will offer complimentary golf instruction to people 14 years of age and older as well as activities such as networking receptions, golf rules and etiquette seminars, club fitting and equipment demonstrations, golf apparel fashion shows, luncheons, playing experiences and contests. For more info, visit PlayGolfAmerica.com.

University Golf (LimbGear.com) sells high-quality golf gloves with official collegiate logos such as Virginia Tech.

American Express Cardmembers can purchase daily passes to attend the 2009 U.S. Open Championship at Bethpage Black on June 18-21 and enjoy access to a private, fully-catered Cardmember-only Chalet.

GOLF CHANNEL Father’s Day Dream Trip will honor one lucky father and his son or daughter with a trip of a lifetime to the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links, and outfit them with the latest golf equipment from TaylorMade.

• The “Ultimate Golf Workout” from New York Sports Club Master Trainer Amie Hoff uses golf clubs, golf balls and tees as fitness props to increase power, stamina and core strength.

GOLF CHANNEL announced the addition of Charlie Rymer to the network’s on-air team as an analyst for Golf Central, Live From telecasts and live tournament coverage.

• Dadpreneur’s new ruletwentyone (RuleTwentyOne.com) Back-Pocket Towel is an absorbent bamboo terry layer that’s made in the USA and is eco-friendly.

GOLF CHANNEL’S Planet Jack is a first-class seat on the ultimate road trip – a 12-day, eight-country, 25,000-mile journey with Hall-of-Famer Jack Nicklaus. The two-part, GOLF CHANNEL special airing Monday and Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET will treat viewers to an intimate look into Nicklaus’ business life and show how he is giving back to the game he loves.

LenovoGolf.com offers discount prices on name-brand golf equipment such as Callaway, Cleveland, Mizuno, NIKE, Odyssey, PING, TaylorMade, Titleist Bridgestone and MacGregor.

• The new two-piece and three-piece golf balls from Screamin Demon Golf (ScreaminDemonGolf.com) are engineered for outstanding control and extreme distance.

• The Course Keeper™ Kit (CourseKeeperKit.com) is a lightweight tool that rakes or blades sand to properly groom bunkers.

NJGolfMan.com offers discount golf equipment and accessories.

• The World Golf Hall of Fame has announced that two-time Masters Champion José Maria Olazábal will be part of the 2009 Class of Inductees.

Porta-Putter (Porta-Putter.com) founders and avid golfers Bob Blumberg and Sherwin Chasen have created a revolutionary way for golfers to travel with their favorite putters.

Martini Golf Tees Inc. (MartiniGolfTees.com) creates golf and sports-related equipment, all made in the USA. Their first product is the Martini Golf Tee.

Lind Golf (LindGolf.com) will offer customers the chance to design, customize and personalize their own golf clubs and accessories online.

WutZupHatz.com offers bucket hats, updated with new features.

• Henry-Griffitts Custom Grind “Sizzle” Wedges are available from Henry-Griffitts Certified Teachers nationwide.

AHEAD (AheadWeb.com) has introduced a new Accessory Collection Gift Set that’s ideal for corporate outings, member-guest and charity events.

• The Kodak Challenge Fantasy Pick ’Em is live. Kicking off this past week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, the new fantasy game lets fans experience the action of the Kodak Challenge online at www.fantasy.kodakchallenge.com. Participants are eligible for Kodak prizes as well as a season-ending giveaway to win a “Disney Golf Dream Vacation for Four.”

• The Virtual U.S. Open hosted by the World Golf Tour and the USGA has begun. Golfers from around the world can play Bethpage Black on a state-of-the-art HD simulation of the course. It’s free at http://usga.usopen.com/2009/virtualopen/.

Digital Pro Golf is offering a 60 frame-per-second swing recording and analysis system complete with camera, tripod and software for less than $250. PC and Mac compatible.

Denver Broncos long-snapper Lonie Paxton will host a June fundraiser at Old Greenwood (designed by Jack Nicklaus) in the Lake Tahoe area to include NFL and NBA stars.

• iQuestGolf.com has announced the release of iQuest Golf™, an innovative game that randomly determines which clubs and strategies a player is allowed to use on each hole.

−The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, May 30

It’s a Pink Out at Colonial

TO SHOW SUPPORT for Amy Mickelson, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer − and all women and families affected by the disease − players and spectators staged a “Pink Out” during Saturday’s third round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

More here:
Pink Out Photo Gallery

Pink Out Video

Amy’s Fight


Best wishes to the Mickelson family and all families that are affected by breast cancer.

−The Armchair Golfer

Friday, May 29

2009 Crowne Plaza Invitational TV Schedule and Notes

THE 2009 CROWNE PLAZA INVITATIONAL is underway at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. Steve Stricker is the current leader at 14 under par after firing back-to-back 63s.

Purse: $6.2 million
Winner’s share: $1.16 million
Defending champion: Phil Mickelson

Inside the field
Inside the course

2009 Crowne Plaza Invitational Leaderboard

TV SCHEDULE

Twelve hours of TV coverage are on tap for the 2009 Crowne Plaza Invitational.

Thu, 5/28:
GOLF 3p - 6p ET

Fri, 5/29:
GOLF 3p - 6p ET

Sat, 5/30:
CBS 3p - 6p ET

Sun, 5/31:
CBS 3p - 6p ET

PGA Tour radio coverage

−The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, May 28

Jim McLean Golf Instruction: Horizontal-Shaft Drill

By Jim McLean
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF


(Editor’s note: This is the fifth of a seven-part series on spring practice drills.)

Problem: The player’s speed control is inconsistent.

Result:
He or she leaves putts in the 10- to 15-foot range short of the hole.

Goal: To improve the player’s speed control so that all putts have a chance of going into the cup.

Practice procedure:
This is one of my favorite drills that I learned from renowned short-game instructor Bill Davis. Depending on the length of the putt, the slope of the green and the general conditions of grain, place a club shaft at various distances behind the cup. You can do this on the practice putting green or when you play alone on the course. For a flat, 10-foot putt, I generally place the shaft eight inches behind the hole. I then ask the student to strike numerous putts, say 50. For each putt that goes in the hole, or hits the shaft on the ground, the player gets one point. If the player jumps the ball on the shaft from hitting it too hard, he or she will lose 10 points. For each putt left short, the player loses 50 points. This really puts the focus on speed control!

Next time: Tee-in-Grip Drill

Jim McLean is the instruction editor for Golf Digest and the Golf Channel, and an author of numerous, top-selling golf instruction books. For a free intro DVD to his new Building Block Approach, visit Jim McLean Golf School.

Copyright © Jim McLean. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Wednesday, May 27

Lending a Hand to Charlie Sifford

“I’LL WATCH YOUR CLUBS, CHARLIE.”

We’re at the Holiday Inn Express yesterday outside of Raleigh, North Carolina, and Charlie Sifford can’t get into his room. There’s a problem with the key card. He heads down the hall toward the front desk.

I know how guarded these pros feel about their tools, even though Charlie didn’t play this day. He recently had open heart surgery.

“Thanks,” he said, knowing I’d keep an eye on his TaylorMade clubs until he returned.

Earlier Charlie and a dozen or so other legends had participated in a special pro-am prior to the Rex Hospital Open, this week’s Nationwide Tour event. I attended, spending time with the old pros. Afterwards, I headed back to the hotel with many of the legends to have dinner with Jack Fleck.

I was waiting for them when they gingerly stepped out of the van, a who’s who of 1950s and 1960s tour golf: Doug Ford, Billy Casper, Miller Barber, Charlie Sifford, Dow Finsterwald, Bob Goalby, Howie Johnson and Jack Fleck.

I had told Charlie how much I enjoyed Uneven Fairways, the Golf Channel documentary that featured him and other black players who faced the color barrier in golf. Charlie broke through when he became the first African American member of the PGA Tour in 1961. Now he’s in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Charlie returned with a new key and opened the door to Room 122. “I’ll get your clubs, Charlie.” I didn’t want this 86-year-old man who had just had majory surgery to lift his clubs off the cart and place them in his room. I grabbed them and his shoes and set them down inside the door.

It was a small gesture − but also a privilege − to help this small, tough man who had endured so many threats and indignities throughout his career. I was grateful to have a few moments with the Jackie Robinson of golf.

Sifford File

Turned pro: 1948
Birthplace: Charlotte, North Carolina
PGA Tour wins: 2
Senior Tour wins: 8
World Golf Hall of Fame induction:
2004
Equipment: TaylorMade

−The Armchair Golfer

Brought to you by The World of Golf and ARMCHAIR GOLF STORE.

(Image: El Rio Golf Club)

Tuesday, May 26

Jill McGill’s LPGA Tour Diary: Volunteers

By Jill McGill
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF



RECENTLY AT THE KINGSMILL event [Michelob ULTRA Open] I was reminded of what it takes to make a golf tournament operate. It can be summed up in one word: volunteers!

To apply to be a volunteer, here are the qualities you must possess:

1. A love for your community.
2. A giving attitude.
3. Money to purchase your uniform.
4. Ability to combat boredom (a good book, mornings puzzles, etc.)
5. A friendly disposition.
6. A problem-solving mentality.
7. A nurturing side to coddle whiners.

I’m sure the list is longer, but these are the things that immediately come to mind. There isn’t an event that takes place without somebody generously pitching in to make it run smoothly.

So, a very sincere thanks and a big hug to all of you who have ever volunteered. I appreciate the endless hours you have spent sitting and waiting, running short on sleep, and putting our tour on your list of priorities.

Suggest Topics to Jill


“I would like to know what your readers would be interested in hearing about,” Jill recently told me. “That would help me out tremendously.” You can suggest topics by commenting below or sending an email. I’ll pass them along to Jill.

For more on Jill, visit JillMcGill.com and follow her on Twitter at Twitter.com/jillymcgilly .

Monday, May 25

LIFE Photos of Yesteryear’s Golf Stars

LAST YEAR LIFE MAGAZINE, in partnership with Google, released millions of historic photos from its archive that can be searched online. Most were never published.

Following are some samples (click names to view) from the world of golf.

Byron Nelson
Perfect position at the top in 1945.

Sam Snead
Teeing off on the 18th hole at the 1959 U.S. Open.

Ben Hogan

At the 1953 British Open. A lone girl watches.

Arnold Palmer
The famous follow through in 1965.

Jack Nicklaus
With Gene Sarazen at Augusta National.

Dow Finsterwald, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer

Prior to the 18-hole playoff at the 1962 Masters. (A guess.)

Billy Casper

Putter in hand.

Jimmy Demaret

Long before there was Ian Poulter, there was “Sunny” Jim.

Cary Middlecoff
Hunching over a short putt at the 1957 U.S. Open.

Gary Player

With his wife after winning the 1961 Masters.

Lee Trevino

Shoes off, under an umbrella, Lee takes a short siesta.

Tommy Bolt

Retrieving his ball at the 1958 U.S. Open, which he won.

You can search historic LIFE photos here.

−The Armchair Golfer

Sunday, May 24

Phil Mickelson, Family Man


Gone indefinitely: Phil Mickelson. (nsaplayer/Flickr)

PEOPLE HAVE QUESTIONED Phil Mickelson in so many ways.

Why hasn’t Phil won more majors? Why has Lefty made so many seemingly bonehead decisions at critical moments in tournaments? Why can’t he hit more fairways? And, perhaps the ultimate question, why can’t this supremely talented player challenge Tiger Woods more often?

There is one thing about Phil Mickelson that can not be questioned. He is a family man first and foremost. Phil is second in the world golf rankings. Golf is second in his life. There’s a certain symmetry.

This is not to suggest that other players are not dedicated family men. They are. Yet it’s been more evident with Phil, partly because he is one of the world’s best golfers, but mostly because of the family choices he has made in full public view.

If necessary, Lefty would have left the 1999 U.S. Open to be with wife Amy to witness the birth of their first child, Amanda. Phil took breaks from the tour to be at home in San Diego so he could take his kids to school. Or to go trick-or-treating. Yes, trick-or-treating. This is as natural to Lefty as a flop shot with no green to work with.

So, when the news broke this week that Amy Mickelson has breast cancer and faces major surgery, it was no surprise that Phil announced he would suspend play on the PGA Tour indefinitely. That means there is no timeline. Lefty could be gone for a long while. He may miss the U.S. Open. Nobody knows.

I believe this: Phil won’t have any regrets about leaving golf. Not one. Amy and his family come first. The order of things was established long ago.

It reminds me of another family man who insists he’s rather ordinary. I read about him in the current issue of Reader’s Digest. His name is Denzel Washington.

“I am who I am − a regular guy with a great job,” Denzel said. “How I’m analyzed belongs to someone else. In a few minutes, I’ve got a kid’s game to go to, and then I’m taking our daughter to auditions. Today, that’s my job.”

We’ve only had the pleasure to see Phil Mickelson at one of his jobs. The other job is calling. And it will always be more important than golf.

−The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, May 23

Canterbury Tales: Old Pros Vie for Senior PGA Title


Jeff Sluman is contending.
(Allison/Flickr)


JAY DON BLAKE. NOW THERE’S a name I haven’t heard in a while. The seniors are playing the 70th Senior PGA Championship at Canterbury Golf Club outside of Cleveland, a Golf Digest top 100 course that has hosted its share of major championships, including the 1973 PGA Championship won by Jack Nicklaus.

Blake is hovering near par, which puts him in contention after three rounds. Only a few leaders are in red numbers: Michael Allen, Jeff Sluman Tom Kite, Larry Mize, Gil Morgan and Tim Simpson. The ever-dangerous Bernhard Langer is also within striking distance at plus one.

“Canterbury Golf Club opened its doors to premier championships in 1932,” reads a course history, “hosting the Western Open won by Ralph Guldahl in a playoff over Horton Smith. It followed by hosting the 1940 and 1946 U.S. Open Championships, won respectively by Lawson Little and Lloyd Mangrum.”

Canterbury may be old − it opened in 1921, a Herbert Strong design − but it holds its own in the modern era of souped-up golf equipment and golf balls. Long and furry around the edges with slick, sloping putting surfaces, Canterbury is a worthy test for the old pros.

That beep-beep sound is the players backing up as bogeys pile up on their scorecards. The winner may be the player who can manage to finish in red numbers on Sunday evening.

−The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, May 21

2009 HP Byron Nelson Championship TV Schedule and Notes

THE 2009 HP BYRON NELSON CHAMPIONSHIP is underway at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas in Irving, Texas.

Purse: $6.5 million
Winner’s share: $1.17 million
Defending champion: Adam Scott

Inside the field
Inside the course

2009 HP Byron Nelson Championship Leaderboard

TV SCHEDULE

Twelve hours of TV coverage are on tap for the 2009 HP Byron Nelson Championship.

Thu, 5/21:
GOLF 3p - 6p ET

Fri, 5/22:
GOLF 3p - 6p ET

Sat, 5/23:
CBS 3p - 6p ET

Sun, 5/24:
CBS 3p - 6p ET

PGA Tour radio coverage

−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, May 20

An Encounter with Ben Hogan at Shady Oaks

“I could see that he [Hogan] wanted to hit the club, or any club for that matter. He then took his hands off the grip and handed it back to me. I have never hit the club since then and have given it to my grandson.”
−Price Huston

(Editor’s note: Price Huston is an avid golfer and Ben Hogan admirer who shared the following story about his second and last encounter with Hogan. Hogan spent many of his retirement days at Shady Oaks Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.)

By Price Huston
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF

I HAD A SECOND MEETING with Mr. Hogan at Shady Oaks. I really took a chance in going back in August of 1992.

In our first meeting, I was not prepared to ask him the technical questions that I wanted to know. I wanted to see him again, but was afraid he would get tired of seeing me. I would have hated the rejection, especially after I had gotten such a warm reception the first time.

Mr. Hogan was just finishing eating and was dressed in a business suit. It was entirely different from the open neck shirt and sweater he was wearing on Christmas Eve.

He was not as cordial as the first time, but we talked. Like the first time, I asked the questions and he answered without a lot of explanation. We talked about golf swings. I had read Tommy Armour’s book and he talked about throwing your hands into the shot at impact. When I mentioned to Mr. Hogan that it looked to me like you had to have a lot of hand action to get length he said, “Hell no, hell no,” and he grabbed my left shoulder and said, “This is where you get your power.”

I had brought a Hogan wedge with me. It was a specialty club that the Hogan Company put out − I think in 1979 − to celebrate their 25 years in business. The club had a small face like a pitching wedge, but it had a heavy flange on the leading edge like a sand wedge. I had played with it.

I showed the club to Mr. Hogan. He looked at the head and said, “This is a sand wedge.”

I replied, “I believe it is between a sand wedge and a pitching wedge.”

He didn’t reply, but I watched as he held the club up and lovingly put his left hand on the grip, and then placed his right hand on the grip. He checked his hands to see if they were in the right position. I could see that he wanted to hit the club, or any club for that matter. He then took his hands off the grip and handed it back to me. I have never hit the club since then and have given it to my grandson.

We talked about the Life magazine article where he talks about his secret so he would fade the ball instead of hooking it. He had been so secretive about it in later years but was very open in the Life article. He didn't want to admit to me the real secret and, out of courtesy, I didn’t push it. I did mention that he must have lost yardage with his “secret.” He said yes. When I asked how much, he said about 4 or 5 yards.

Very few people can say they had two chats with Ben Hogan. I never tried a third visit. Firstly, I had all the information I wanted and secondly, I knew I wouldn’t be welcome a third time.

(Image: Steve and Sara Emry/Flickr)

Monday, May 18

Spanish Golf Gem: PGA Golf Catalunya


(YourGolfTravel.com)

I’VE NEVER BEEN TO SPAIN. But if I were lucky enough to be considering European golf holidays, I’ve been informed that Spain’s PGA Golf Catalunya in Girona should be on the short list. The very short list.

The site of the recent Spanish Open, PGA Golf Catalunya’s Stadium Course was ranked No. 3 in Europe by Golf Monthly.

Former Ryder Cup player and European Tour veteran Thomas Levet is definitely smitten.

“I love PGA Golf de Catalunya,” Levet said. “It is my favourite course in Spain. It would be an ideal Ryder Cup venue.”

The fact that the Frenchman recently won the Spanish Open on the Stadium Course with an 18-under-par total certainly must have deepened the romance. It was Levet’s fifth European Tour title. American John Daly, who is serving a six-month PGA Tour suspension by playing European Tour events, finished in a tie for 31st place.

Actually, PGA Golf Catalunya was conceived by the European Tour as a venue for the 1997 Ryder Cup matches, but was bypassed due to construction delays. The project was overseen by the design team of Angel Gallardo and Neil Coles, a former European Tour pro with five top tens in The Open Championship. Later this year PGA Golf Catalunya will host the 2009 European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage.

European Ryder Cupper Soren Hansen compared the Stadium Course to America’s pristine fairways.

“We always talk about the wonderful conditions of golf courses in America,” Hansen said, “but now we play in the same great conditions in Europe, and PGA Golf Catalunya is a great example.”

The 36-hole golf resort (the other, less-challenging 18 is the Tour Course) includes a luxury hotel, and is located a relatively short distance from two airports (one is just five minutes away), including Barcelona International Airport.

−The Armchair Golfer

Brought to you by YourGolfTravel.com and the ARMCHAIR GOLF STORE.


(Sources included: PGA Golf Catalunya press materials via Landmark Media International for quotes and other information)

Sunday, May 17

Making Putts


(Brent Thomson/Flickr)

ANYONE WHO HAS PLAYED much golf knows that scoring happens around and on the green. He or she who makes the most putts is usually the one who wins on tour week in and week out.

I write about this game much more than I play, but yesterday I had the good fortune to play in a captain’s choice tournament, or scramble. I hit some nice tee shots, a few solid irons and even reached a par-5 in two with a 3-wood, probably my best tee-to-green shot of the day.

But it was the two long putts I holed that gave me the most satisfaction. One was a downhill putt of at least 30 feet. The other was a 20-foot left-to-right breaker from the apron.

I thought of something Tiger Woods said after he sunk that incredible tying putt on the 72nd hole of last year’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. When Tiger was asked how he did it, I remember him saying he picked out his line and tried to put his best stroke on the ball. That was pretty much it.

Commit to your line. Stroke it well. Simple.

We all know that Tiger believes he can sink those putts in the most pressure-packed moments, but even he can’t control spike marks, changing light, grain and other variables. In the end, all Tiger can do is trust his line and his stroke. Keyword: trust.

The result? Tiger hits a lot of very solid putts that roll true and find the cup.

Back to my round yesterday. One of the players on our team was a 15-year-old boy who had the raw power to hit 300-plus yard drives (in any direction). He will soon be playing on the high school golf team.

I suggested to the boy’s 66-year-old gramps, also in our group, to tell the boy to work his butt off at his short game because that’s what makes the difference in this game at every level. It’s not nearly as glamorous as monster drives, but it’s the key to scoring and trophies. It’s what makes Tiger Woods so great.

−The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, May 16

ARMCHAIR GOLF Briefs


(Josh V-R/Flickr)

A bevy of golf products, services, destinations, events, news and more. Endorsement is not implied.

• Former Baltimore Sun sports columnist Ray Fragger will be a contributor to SportsMediaJournal.com.

HelpPoint for Kids (HelpPointForKids.com), an online charity game which took place in conjunction with the Zurich Classic of New Orleans tournament, raises money for children’s charities, more than $18 million to date.

• Kodak has launched a new fantasy golf league, the Kodak Challenge Fantasy Pick ’Em, which enables fans to experience the action of the Kodak Challenge in a free online game at www.fantasy.kodakchallenge.com. Participants are eligible for Kodak prizes as well as a season-ending giveaway to win a “DISNEY Golf Dream Vacation for Four.”

Antigua Golf has renewed its sponsorship of the Antigua Triple Play Championship.

James Ross (AuthorJamesRoss.com) is the author of three golf novels: Lifetime Loser, Finish Line and Tuey’s Course.

On Learning Golf by Percy Boomer (Souvenir Press, 2009) is now available from booksellers.

HOMER KELLEY’S GOLFING MACHINE: The Curious Quest that Solved Golf (Gotham Books) by Scott Gummer is now available from booksellers.

aboutGolf has named Chuck Faust as President and Chief Operating Officer.

Izzo Golf has entered into an arrangement to distribute HI-TEC Golf Shoes in the United States.

Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy has named Blaik Shew as Chief Executive Officer.

• Airing May 25 at 8:30 p.m. ET, the GOLF CHANNEL’S Operation Links will chronicle Kelly Tilghman’s journey of discovery, understanding and gratitude during a USO Tour. Joining her on the journey, which was filmed over the 2008 Thanksgiving holiday, were CBS Sports’ David Feherty, PGA Tour winners Howard Twitty and Donnie Hammond, long drive champions Art Sellinger and Brian Pavlet and award-winning illustrator Victor Juhasz.

• A Profiles in History auction of more than 200 Hollywood Wax Museum figures raised nearly a half million dollars. A wax figure of Tiger Woods was auctioned for $1680.

• In celebration of the 20th Annual American Century Golf Championship, Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course will offer one lucky sweepstakes winner and a friend the chance to hit the fairways with the biggest names in sports and entertainment. The Grand Prize winner and guest will play with Super Bowl Champ Ben Roethlisberger, comedian Ray Romano and dozens of other celebrities for the tournament’s first round, starting on July 14, 2009. Multiple 2nd and 3rd place prizes are also up for grabs. Entry at EdgewoodTahoe.com.

Sandbaggers (HerSandbaggers.com) offers the latest styles and colors in golf sandals.

Chicken Soup for the Soul has teamed up with Golf Digest magazine to present Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Golf Book (Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC, April 2009), a collection of real life, inspirational stories written by PGA tour pros, celebrities, sports writers and amateurs.

• Complete with deals including $5 per nine before noon on Monday through Thursday, Eagle Landing Golf Course (just outside of Portland, Ore.) helps businesses work on their short game while working their pitch to increase business.

Digital Pro Golf (DigitialProGolf.com) is a low-cost, turnkey swing analysis system for professional and amateur golfers.

ruletwentyone, a new waterproof back pocket towel that was launched at the 2009 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, is an ideal gift item and tee prize for tournaments.

• This week’s 3 Irish Open is the first European Tour event produced and aired in high definition by the GOLF CHANNEL.

Youreeeka (Youreeka.com), a pay-for-access Internet distribution platform, has announced its partnership with PGA golf professional Tina Mickelson to distribute her exclusive golf tips and instruction videos to worldwide golf enthusiasts via the Internet.

GOLF CHANNEL viewers have the opportunity to win a spot in a PGA Tour pro-am event by watching the BMW Charity Pro-Am and participating in the 2009 Nationwide Tour Vegas Pro-Am Getaway. The sweepstakes, which began April 2, 2009, runs through October 27 when the Nationwide Tour’s season climaxes with one lucky viewer winning a trip for two to Las Vegas, Nev., and a spot in the Official Pro-Am at the PGA Tour’s 2010 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

−The Armchair Golfer

Friday, May 15

King of Golf Cartoons: ‘Slice Device’


Copyright © Jerry King. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Have you ever seen someone who went to unusual lengths to correct their swing flaws or ball flight? What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done to try to produce better results on the golf course?

−The Armchair Golfer

Jerry King is an award-winning cartoonist whose credits and clients include Golf Digest, United States Golf Association and Disney. His golf cartoons are featured weekly at ARMCHAIR GOLF.

Thursday, May 14

Jim McLean Golf Instruction: One-Ball Practice Drill

By Jim McLean
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF


(Editor’s note: This is the fourth of a seven-part series on spring practice drills.)

Problem: The player loses his or her concentration when putting. Or, he or she always practices with multiple balls yet fails to improve.

Result: Poor putting scores on the golf course, particularly in tournaments.

Goal:
To find a way to enhance your mental focus and simulate real golf situations.

Practice procedure:
Practice with just one ball instead of throwing a few balls down on the green and putting without focus, as many poor putters typically do. Use your on-course putting routine and concentrate on every stroke. This will intensify your concentration. Try to create “game conditions,” and make your practice much like the real thing.

Next time: Horizontal-Shaft Drill

Jim McLean is the instruction editor for Golf Digest and the Golf Channel, and an author of numerous, top-selling golf instruction books. For a free intro DVD to his new Building Block Approach, visit Jim McLean Golf School.

Copyright © Jim McLean. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

2009 Sybase Classic TV Schedule and Tournament Notes

THE 2009 SYBASE CLASSIC, this week’s LPGA Tour event, is underway at Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton, New Jersey.

Purse: $2 million
Defending champion: Lorena Ochoa

Tournament preview
Complete field
Course information

2009 Sybase Classic Leaderboard

TV SCHEDULE

Six hours of TV coverage are on tap for the 2009 Sybase Classic.

Fri, May 15: ESPN2
1:30-3:30 PM ET

Sat, May 16: ESPN2
2:00-4:00 PM ET

Sun, May 17: ESPN2
2:00-4:00 PM ET

−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, May 13

Yippee! It’s National Golf Day


National Golf Day supporter Natalie Gulbis.
(Image courtesy of RSM McGladrey)


SO, DO YOU HAVE any special plans today? It’s National Golf Day, after all.

In fact, golf leaders such as PGA of America President Jim Remy are in the capitol today to meet with lawmakers and extol the many positive aspects of golf, including providing two million jobs, raising $3.5 billion for charities, creating programs for golfers of all ages and more.

However, I doubt that you need a whole bunch of reasons from me to support golf because I expect you already have a deep affection for the game. Perhaps it’s even true love.

I’m not a big petition signer, but I signed the National Golf Day petition and ask that you sign it, too. Golf needs all the support it can get.

Yep, please add me to the list of people who support golf


By the way, it’s always golf day here at the ARMCHAIR GOLF BLOG. Keep stopping by, won’t you?

−The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, May 12

Ian Poulter Relishes World Golf Stage


Ian Poulter proved he belonged at the Ryder Cup.
(Proforged/Flickr)


FOR ALL THE ABUSE Nick Faldo took for his captaincy of the losing European Ryder Cup team, there’s one decision even his harshest critics would have to give him credit for: Ian Poulter.

With Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomerie left on the sidelines, “Poults” was a controversial captain’s pick whose Ryder Cup play was as bold as his attire. Ian earned serious respect during Ryder Cup week, and he continues to impress. This past week he finished second to Henrik Stenson at the Players Championship, closing with a 70 on a dicey TPC Sawgrass setup.

“If I ever get happy with myself for finishing 12th or 15th, someone needs to put my [Cobra] clubs away and I’ll take up tiddlywinks,” Poulter has been quoted as saying.

Many observers of the game (including me) thought Ian had gotten too big for his pink britches when 14 months ago he told Golf World (UK), “Don’t get me wrong, I really respect every professional golfer, but I know I haven’t played to my full potential and when that happens, it will be just me and Tiger.”

OK, it will probably never be “just” Ian and Tiger. But Poulter took his heaping helping of scorn and then went out and finished second in The Open Championship and played as well as anyone on either team in the Ryder Cup.

I expect Poults to win on the PGA Tour, and will not be surprised if he bags a major. I never expected to say this, but I’m an Ian Poulter fan. I like his attitude and the way he plays the game.

Poulter File

Turned pro: 1995
Birthplace: Hitchin, England
College: Barclay School
World ranking: 18
European Tour wins: 7
PGA Tour wins: 0
Equipment: Cobra

−The Armchair Golfer

Brought to you by The World of Golf and ARMCHAIR GOLF STORE.

Devil Ball Golf: Golf Announcer Gaffes Nothing New


Gary McCord famously offended the Green Coats.
(Keith Allison/Flickr)


JOIN THE CLUB, David Feherty. Jay Busbee of Devil Ball Golf at Yahoo! SPORTS has compiled a list of out-of-bounds remarks made by golf announcers over the years:

Feherty’s gaffe the latest in a long line of golf announcer misfires

Do you remember the below announcers and what they said? Jay summarizes their miscues. Using golf lingo, I’ve scored the outcome.

Jack Whitaker: DQ
Gary McCord: DQ
Ben Wright: Free drop
Johnny Miller: Free drop
Kelly Tilghman: OB, penalized stroke and distance
Richard Boxall and Bruce Critchley: Free drop
Andrew Magee: Unplayable lie, one stroke penalty
David Feherty: Awaiting final ruling

−The Armchair Golfer

Monday, May 11

David Feherty and Apologies Revisited

(Jon Kneller/Flickr)








(Editor’s note: David Feherty apologized on Sunday for making a bad joke. So I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to re-run this apology post from last July.)

GOLF PHOTOGRAPHER SETS OFF APOLOGY CHAIN REACTION

A SIMPLE APOLOGY from a golf photographer to Tiger Woods for snapping a photo before impact has been pinpointed as the cause of an onslaught of apologies sweeping the golf world.

The exact order is uncertain, but sources seem to agree that an apology from Retief Goosen to Tiger Woods came next. When Woods informed Goosen that an apology was unnecessary, the South African reportedly called the world No. 1 the following day and apologized for apologizing.

Soon after, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem apologized to corporate sponsors for Tiger’s season-ending injury.

Then Tiger-sponsor Nike got into the act when retired CEO Phil Knight apologized for controversial labor practices in the Far East factories where Nike shoes were made. The Nike founder also apologized for the “K” in his last name remaining silent through the years.

Wendy’s, a longtime corporate golf sponsor, also apologized, saying the Wendy’s 3 Tour Challenge wasn’t really that challenging.

Goosen wasn’t the only player to offer an apology. Phil Mickelson apologized to his fans for losing the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. Lefty also apologized to Butch Harmon and Callaway for not being able to hit more fairways.

A veteran PGA Tour caddie, who wished to remain anonymous, apologized for all the wrong yardages he had given to players since the 1980s.

The USGA apologized for the penal U.S. Open setups that have embarrassed the world’s best golfers over the last six decades. The organization retracted the apology later the same day.

From the broadcast booth, Dottie Pepper apologized for calling her terrier a “choking freaking dog” after a pet toy lodged in its throat.

Meanwhile, Johnny Miller apologized for his entire broadcast career. The two-time major winner also reportedly apologized to his pool boy for telling the young man he would never go very far in his pool-cleaning career with “that grip.”

−The Armchair Golfer


(This is an ARMCHAIR GOLF spoof.)

Sunday, May 10

Alex Cejka Talks Red Shirts

If Alex Cejka would have had his way, Tiger Woods would have been seeing red.








AS YOU PROBABLY KNOW by now, things didn’t work out today for Alex Cejka, who took a five-shot lead into the final round of the Players Championship. Nor did they work out for his playing partner, Tiger Woods. To put it bluntly, their pairing was a train wreck.

But I got a huge kick out of the final exchange Cejka had in his post-round media conference. The subject was shirts.

Q. As it turns out, you were joking last night with the red shirt?

ALEX CEJKA: No, I was looking in my suitcase, and believe me, I have a big suitcase. I have 40 shirts with me because I'm on the road for a couple months. I didn't have one. I had green, pink, orange, black, plaid, every color, but I didn't have red.

Q. But you would have worn it?

ALEX CEJKA: I would have worn it if I had it.

Q. You don’t think that would have annoyed him?

ALEX CEJKA: I can wear what I want.

Q. It didn’t work for him, either.

ALEX CEJKA: Yeah.

Q. Do you usually wear red and black on Sunday?

ALEX CEJKA: No, I’m black and white on Sundays.

−The Armchair Golfer


(Source: ASAP Sports Transcripts)

Saturday, May 9

Will Alex Cejka Hang On?

HE’S THIS YEAR’S PAUL GOYDOS. Journeyman Alex Cejka, 38, has never won on the PGA Tour. In fact, Cejka has not won anything since 2002. Tonight he will sleep on the 54-hole lead of the Players Championship, which, if he manages to win, will be the crowning achievement thus far of a modestly successful career.

But how will Alex sleep? And, more importantly, how will he play in the final round?

Did anyone think Cejka would find himself in this position? I didn’t. After a 66-67 and the 36-hole lead, I thought Alex was a nice story that would fade back toward the pack where he has spent most of his career. He didn’t fade.

Now Cejka must do what Sean O’Hair couldn’t accomplish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He must hang on to a five-shot lead while playing in the shadow of golf’s Goliath, Tiger Woods.

Will this “David” win or will the enormity of the moment and pressure of Tiger’s presence crush him?

I root for the Alex Cejkas of the world. I love underdogs. Writing this late on Saturday night, I think he can get the job done. I believe par will be a good score for Alex tomorrow. It will be difficult for Tiger or any other player to come and get Cejka at TPC Sawgrass, which is getting tougher by the minute.

But I’ve also seen this scenario before and what it’s done to players. Alex will have to summon all the courage he can muster to execute the routine shots he’ll need to win the Players Championship.

Will he crack?

−The Armchair Golfer

Friday, May 8

Twitter ‘Postcards’ from Davis Love


Davis Love on the drive to TPC Sawgrass.
(Davis Love/yfrog)


PGA Tour and LPGA Tour professionals are flocking in droves to Twitter. Andy Brown has a fairly comprehensive list here. I say fairly comprehensive list because new pros are jumping on the Twitter bandwagon daily.

Davis Love
began tweeting this week, as he made his way from his home in Sea Island, Georgia, to Ponte Vedra, Florida, for the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. On Twitter, you could follow his updates and view pics through the day as he hit the road, played a practice round with Fred Couples and made a charity appearance.


Fred Couples on the 17th at TPC Sawgrass.
(Davis Love/yfrog)


Later, a pic with Children’s Miracle Network kids and a donation check:


(Davis Love/ifrog)

And Davis even posted a pic of Lucky, the dog:


(Davis Love/ifrog)

Next up for Davis: a solid round at TPC Sawgrass on Friday so he’s around for the weekend.

−The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, May 7

2009 Players Championship TV Schedule and Tournament Notes

THE 2009 PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP is underway at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida.

Purse: $9.5 million
Winner’s share: $1.71 million
Defending champion: Sergio Garcia

Field study
Course tour

2009 Players Championship Leaderboard

TV SCHEDULE

Twenty-two hours of TV coverage are on tap for the 2009 Players Championship.

Thu, 5/7:
GOLF 1p - 7p ET

Fri, 5/8:
GOLF 1p - 7p ET

Sat, 5/9:
NBC 2p - 7p ET

Sun, 5/10:
NBC 2p - 7p ET

PGA Tour radio coverage

−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, May 6

Jack Fleck Is Still Working on His Game

YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO APOLOGIZE for winning the U.S. Open, but it sometimes seems as if one past champion feels that he should. In 1955, Jack Fleck pulled off one of the most stunning upsets in golf (and sports), beating Ben Hogan in an 18-hole playoff at the Olympic Club to win the U.S. Open.

Jack carries the accomplishment with both a sense of pride and burden. No, he wasn’t just lucky or a fluke. Although he never won another major, Fleck came close at Cherry Hills in the 1960 U.S. Open, tying for third behind Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, an amateur at the time. He won two other events on the PGA Tour and, later, a Senior PGA Championship.

I talked to Jack yesterday and will see him later this month in Raleigh, North Carolina, when he and about a dozen other legends play in a pro-am in advance of The Rex Hospital Open, a Nationwide Tour event. It’s been tremendous fun getting to know Jack and others such as Fred Hawkins, Dow Finsterwald, Billy Casper and the late Orville Moody. They have personality and the stories are great.

Now 87, Jack’s game is starting to come around again after some health problems set him back last year. He told me he played pretty well a few weeks ago at the Legends of Golf − even Casper said so.

Jack said he can’t wait for the rains to stop in Arkansas so he can get out and play again. That certainly sounds like Jack, the oldest former U.S. Open champion, and a player who is still working on his game.

−The Armchair Golfer


Related:
Jack Fleck Still Owes Him a Buck

Tuesday, May 5

George May: The P.T. Barnum of Professional Golf (Part 2)

By John Coyne
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF

IN HIS HISTORY OF THE PGA, Gerald Astor tells how Fred Corcoran first met George May behind the 18th green during the USGA amateur championship at Winged Foot. Then at a banquet celebrating the 1940 Chicago Open played at the Tam O’Shanter Club, May, the president and principal owner of the club, announced the prize money for the following year would be bumped from $5000 to $11,000, settling it a notch above the $10,000 offered by Los Angeles and Miami for their Opens. May further surprised the audience by declaring admission prices would be slashed to the level of grandstand seats at the ballpark, $1.10.

May did much more to cause excitement at his tournaments. He had pros shoot from the front tees; lower scores, he reasoned, would impress people. His first four-day tournament drew 41,000, including 23,000 on the final day.

May was also ahead of his time — and the PGA Tour’s time — in ways besides prize money. He held concurrent events for amateurs and women professionals. He invited foreign players to his tournaments, and Roberto De Vicenzo, Flory Van Donck, Peter Thomson and Bobby Locke all played at Tam.

It was at May’s tournament that African-Americans pros were allowed to play in a PGA event. Ted Rhodes and Bill Spiller teed up with the white pros, as did Joe Lewis, who, May said, qualified because of his boxing record. Some say, that it was because of May’s tournament that the PGA first enacted the Caucasian-only clause in their bylaws to keep blacks off the tour.

Related:

George May: The P.T. Barnum of Professional Golf
The Telecast That Changed Golf

John Coyne is the author of
The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan and The Caddie Who Played with Hickory. Learn more at John Coyne Books.

Monday, May 4

Bubba Watson Is Moving Up

“I GOT HIM ONE TIME, so now we’re moving up.”

That was Bubba Watson talking Sunday evening about finishing higher than Tiger Woods in a PGA Tour event, something that had never happened before in who knows how many starts.

Bubba, who nearly won and has two top tens and about a million in earnings this season, was proud of his performance at the Quail Hollow Championship. He would let Tiger know.

“Yes, the first time,” he said about besting the world No. 1. “I’ll text him here in a little bit.”

What would he say to Tiger?

“That I beat him,” said Bubba, a monster-long hitter who swings a pink-shafted PING driver.

Now all Bubba (whose real first name is Gerry) needs to do is beat the entire field. He is still looking for his first PGA Tour win. But battling down the stretch on a Sunday afternoon in Charlotte was definitely a confidence booster.

And what would Tiger say after getting Bubba’s text?

“He’ll just tell me how many wins he has,” Bubba said, “but I’ll tell you what, I’m in the right direction.”

Watson File
Turned pro: 2003
Birthplace: Bagdad, Florida
College: University of Georgia
World ranking: 77
PGA Tour wins: 0
Equipment: PING

−The Armchair Golfer

Brought to you by The World of Golf and ARMCHAIR GOLF STORE.

Sunday, May 3

Sean O’Hair Prevails at Quail Hollow Championship

THERE WERE SEVERAL PLAYERS with a chance to win − and all eyes were on Tiger Woods, who was hovering around the lead − but in the end it was Sean O’Hair who clutched the trophy at the Quail Hollow Championship.

The course was a brute and O’Hair clearly played the best, avenging his loss to Tiger at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Bubba Watson, Lucas Glover, Tiger and others saw their chances slip away on the back nine, especially along the Green Mile, Quail Hollow’s brutal three closing holes.

QUAIL HOLLOW PRESS TENT

What they said after the final round.

Sean O’Hair: “I struck the ball phenomenally this week. I mean, yesterday was really nice. That was probably the best I've struck it ever. And today was pretty solid, especially coming down the stretch.”

Tiger Woods:
“I just need to get a little bit more crisp with my driving and my long irons and get that dialed in. My short irons are actually pretty good, it's just the longer stuff is not where I want it at all.”

Lucas Glover:
“You know, I'm pretty excited about the way I played, not excited about the way it ended up. But believe it or not, I'm usually pretty nervous in the last couple groups on a Sunday, and I didn't give too much away today, so I'm proud of that.”

Bubba Watson:
“As a team, it was the best day that we've had in two and a half, almost three years now. It was a great day, a good learning experience, and looking forward to the rest of my career if I can act like this.”

Zach Johnson:
“All in all … I'm playing well, I've just got to regroup and hopefully put some things together for next week.”

−The Armchair Golfer


(Source: ASAP Sports Transcripts)

Saturday, May 2

Jim McLean Course Set to Open at Doral


Jim McLean has operated a golf school at Doral for two decades.
(I2N2/Flickr)


THE DORAL GOLF RESORT & SPA, a Marriott Resort, will debut The Jim McLean Signature Course at Doral, which was formerly known as the Silver Course.

Named after acclaimed golf instructor Jim McLean, a Top 100 Instructor who operates the Jim McLean Golf School at Doral, The Jim McLean Signature Course is McLean’s first full golf course design project, and is highlighted by three of the toughest starting holes in golf.

The new par-70 layout is set to open this month. Highlights include widened fairways, enhanced water visuals and an increased course length from 6,557 yards to over 7,100 yards. The course also boasts a collection of dramatic par-3 holes on the back nine known as the Bermuda Triangle.

GOLF BRIEFS


A bevy of golf products, services, destinations, events, news and more. Endorsement is not implied.

Classic Sports Brands (CSB) is honoring legendary golf professional and acclaimed golf instructor, Bob Toski, and his first Classic Golf Cruise and new agency affiliation with CSB.

GolfBallsAndAccessories.com sells used golf balls for as low as $0.30 each and used ProV1s for as low as $1 each.

Macali Communications has launched a blog and new strategy for SeeMore.

• The World Golf Tour (WGT.com) is hosting a virtual U.S. Open Championship at Bethpage Black.

• A revised and updated edition of the top-selling The Eight-Step Swing by legendary golf teaching pro Jim McLean has been released for sale by publisher HarperCollins.

• Nick Costner writes comedy golf songs (SongsAboutGolf.com) and has been featured on ESPN Radio and TravelGolf.com.

Henry-Griffitts, a custom-club fitter for 26 years, announced the release of its new OS-1 Irons.

• The Wind Meter Application for iPhone (WindApp.com) was developed by a start-up group of young engineers in Silicon Valley who enjoy the game of golf.

Ladies Links Fore Golf (LL4G) and Nancy Lopez Golf (NLG) have formed an affiliation to offer amateur women golfers the “Best of the Best” combination in golf instruction and equipment.

Dr. Robert Grober, a professor of Applied Physics and Physics at Yale University has developed a highly advanced, yet easy to use, swing aid − the Sonic Golf System-1 − that enables golfers at all skill levels to develop and maintain a consistent swing motion that will assist in game improvement.

GolfSigma (GolfSigma.com) is a tee time search engine that searches tee time Web sites and conveniently displays all the results on the GolfSigma site.

• Performance apparel by AHEAD (AheadWeb.com) is a Father’s Day gift opportunity.

Slotline® is celebrating its new Web Site (SlotlineGolf.com) with a putter giveaway.

• In its May 2009 issue (on newsstands), WSJ. Magazine features a behind-the-scenes look into former party boy Anthony Kim’s new lifestyle, from his workout regimen and diet, to his iPod playlist of choice for hyping up before tournaments.

Tiger Woods is honored in TIME’s list of 100 most influential people in the world (on newsstands).

GOLF CHANNEL will combine exclusive early round live tournament coverage with Live From THE PLAYERS news reporting for 35 hours of THE PLAYERS programming.

Imperial Headwear is teaming with the golf coaches association to sponsor the teams for the Palmer Cup.

Marriott Golf has launched its “Fairway Furloughs” Military Golf Program.

• The Amphibian golf towel (AmphibianTowel.com) by Frogger Golf has twice the surface area as the standard towel, plus it’s the world’s first towel to stay both wet and dry in rainy or sunny weather. Available in three colors, retails for $24.95.

• The 2009 PUMA Open golf event series is underway with plans to visit 15 cities across North America from May through October.

• The World Golf Tour (WGT.com) is holding a contest for a video blogger that will commentate on the virtual and real-life U.S. Open. The search will reward the lucky winner with an all-expenses paid trip to the U.S. Open with a press pass and camera crew to capture the event on behalf of WGT.com as well as report on updates of the virtual U.S. Open.

• For the 12th year, PGA/LPGA Professionals in all areas will be offering free 10-minute golf lessons throughout the month of May as part of PGA Free Lesson Month.

Le Towelé (www.argeecorp.com/HTML/letowele.htm) is a 14" x 16" black microfiber towel that attaches to a retractable cord which draws back into a clip-on waistband device. The high-quality towel can easily be removed from the device and thrown right in the washing machine for the next round of golf.

GOLF CHANNEL’s newest original series, Golf in America (June 23 premiere), will travel coast-to-coast to discover never-before-told stories, larger-than-life characters and inspirational people to capture the spirit of the game of golf.

• The Half Moon summer golf package (HalfMoon.com) includes seven nights free when booking seven nights (14 nights total) and five free rounds of golf.

South Carolina dominated Golf Digest magazine’s new list of the 100 top public golf courses in the United States.

−The Armchair Golfer