Friday, July 31

Real Estate Developer Leads U.S. Senior Open

“It’s been all popsicles and lollipops so far.”
Tim Jackson, on leading the U.S. Senior Open

A 59-YEAR-OLD NEARLY WINS the British Open. And now this: a 50-year-old amateur leads the 2009 U.S. Senior Open at Crooked Stick after 36 holes. An amateur. Something strange is happening in golf, and I don’t think I can blame it on global warming.

Tim Jackson is a real estate developer from Tennessee and an amateur golfer. On Thursday and Friday, Jackson toured Crooked Stick in 133 strokes—or 11-under par—for a one-shot lead over Joey Sindelar.

That’s surprising, even to Jackson. “Realistically, I was shooting to make the cut,” he said.

Besides Jackson and Sindelar, Fred Funk, Greg Norman and Dan Forsman are in the hunt.

“Tomorrow I know I’m going to be nervous,” Jackson said. “I know there will be rough patches.

“It’s been all popsicles and lollipops so far,” he added. “But I expect there to be some tough spots. Hopefully we can keep a level head and work through them.”

I might get out to Crooked Stick on Saturday for a short while. My cousin has complimentary passes. And then it’s I-74 to Cincinnati as we begin the trip home.

−The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, July 30

So Close to Crooked Stick

I’M ABOUT 20 MINUTES from Crooked Stick Golf Club, site of the 2009 U.S. Senior Open, which got underway today. It would be reasonable to assume I’ll attend the senior major this weekend. But that may not be the case.

Actually, I’m on a family vacation and we’re in Indianapolis to visit my cousin. If that happens to include slipping out to Crooked Stick to see some of the action, great. There’s no guarantee, though. I’m OK with that.

Four players with 66s are tied for the first-round lead: Joey Sindelar, Greg Norman, Dan Forsman and Tim Jackson.

Here’s an article on Crooked Stick that published today at IndyStar.com:

Crooked Stick offers a variety of challenges


−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, July 29

Fendrich



THE GOLF BUG BIT MY DAD in Evansville, Indiana. He was in his early 30s and played a city track called Fendrich Golf Course, which was built circa 1950. My father has now been playing golf for 50 years, a single-digit handicapper for much of it.

I mention Fendrich because I paid a visit to Evansville today for the first time in nearly 20 years. I showed my daughters where I grew up. They were good sports about it, mostly.

Along the way, I caught a glimpse of Fendrich, just off Diamond Avenue near the intersection of U.S. 41. It’s nothing special, a flat par-70 layout that was pretty bare and full of hardpan back in the 1960s.

By the way, I have no idea who J.H. Fendrich was. I just remember my dad coming home from Fendrich excited about golf and looking forward to his next round. His enthusiasm for the game ignited the interest of his youngest son (me), who took up golf a few years later in the California desert.

−The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, July 28

Caddie Tales

I’M ON VACATION THIS WEEK and not following golf too closely. Does anyone know if the Canadian Open finally ended? (Just kidding.)

Congratulations to Australian Nathan Green for his first PGA Tour victory. I also noticed that Loren Roberts won another Senior British Open and Ai Miyazato prevailed at the Evian Masters. The women play their British Open this week at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in Lancashire, England.

As my daughters have been splashing in the hotel pool this week, I’ve cracked open CADDIE CONFIDENTIAL: Inside Stories from the Caddies of the PGA Tour. As you might expect, this caddie book is authored by a caddie, Greg “Piddler” Martin, a 24-year PGA Tour looper, 21 of them with Dan Forsman.

Structured as a series of anecdotes and quotes from about 50 caddies, the book’s chapters explore topics such as The Art of Caddying, Landing Your First Bag…and Losing It, Nicknames on Tour and Unforgettable Moments. It’s the perfect poolside book—you can start anywhere and read a blurb or two (or an entire chapter) while you keep one eye on the kids.

On landing a bag, Rocky Hobday, a caddie for Mark James, said, “All that matters is that you’ve been hired one more time than you’ve been fired.”

Many caddies tell about the past tour practice of hanging out in the course parking lot to catch players when they arrive and try to talk a player into a job for the week. Some hooked up for one tournament, others for several seasons.

Caddies lead a vagabond and often wild lifestyle. Many travel as cheaply as possible and barely get by. “We’d go four guys to a room at the Motel 6 and the high scores got the rug,” said one looper.

The caddies featured in Martin’s book are passionate about what they do. It can be glamorous, but mostly it’s pretty intense outdoor work. There’s much more to it than meets the eye of the average golf fan.

CADDIE CONFIDENTIAL is a peek inside the ropes, parking lots and other outposts of the PGA Tour, a forthright and sometimes comical look at an unusual job.

−The Armchair Golfer

Sunday, July 26

King of Golf Cartoons: ‘Scramble’


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

If you play in tournaments, what is your favorite tournament format? Scramble? Partners best ball? Playing your own ball?

I don’t play in many tournaments, so I do enjoy scrambles. If you hit a good shot, you help your team. If you hit a bad shot, it’s no big deal, which is the way it should be under any circumstances. (But that’s easier said than done.)

−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 regularly featured at ARMCHAIR GOLF.

Saturday, July 25

9 Straight: Mark Calcavecchia Sets Birdie Record


Calc at the British Open.
(Newton/Flickr)


YOU’VE GOT YOUR KID on the bag and you reel off nine straight birdies to set a new PGA Tour record. How cool is that?

That’s what Mark Calcavecchia did on Saturday at the RBC Canadian Open, carding a seven-under-par 65. Calc’s 15-year-old son was looping. What did he think?

“Pretty cool. It’s exciting,” Eric said, after joining his dad in the media center.

Noting that “records are made to be broken,” Calc said he believes someone could notch 10 straight birdies. In fact, with the soggy conditions at Glen Abbey Golf Club, he thinks it could happen this weekend.

Following are the former record holders, all with eight consecutive birdies:

• Bob Goalby, 1961 St. Petersburg Open
• Fuzzy Zoeller, 1976 Quad Cities Open
• Dewey Arnette, 1987 Buick Open
• Edward Fryatt, 2000 Doral-Ryder Open
• J.P. Hayes, 2002 Bob Hope Classic
• Jerry Kelly, 2003 Las Vegas Invitational

Shark Leads Senior British Open


Greg Norman fired a 64 at the Senior British Open in Sunningdale, England, and will take a one-stroke lead into the final round. Loren Roberts and Fred Funk are nipping at Norman’s heels. Tom Watson is six back.

Three-Way Tie at Evian Masters


Sophie Gustafson, In-Kyun Kim and Becky Brewerton share the 54-hole lead at the Evian Masters in France. Cristie Kerr is one back.

−The Armchair Golfer

Friday, July 24

Seve Ballesteros Plans Farewell Appearance at 2010 British Open

“Probably some people will feel sorry for me, but I feel I’m a very lucky person because throughout my life I have so many great moments that I feel I have lived two or three lives.”
−Seve Ballesteros

I JUST READ AT BBC SPORT that Seve Ballesteros plans to play in the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews. The Spaniard won the second of his three Open Championships at The Old Course in 1984. He also won in 1979 and 1988, both times at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.

“If things go normally, I promise I will be there to say goodbye and thank you for all you have done throughout the years,” Seve told BBC Sport.

Pass the Kleenex. It will be the kind of sports theater that will make grown men cry.

Seve endured four surgeries for a brain tumor and related swelling. It has adversely affected the sight in his left eye. Long putting is now difficult, he said. But last fall Seve was fighting for his life in a Barcelona hospital. What a gift it must be just to be on the golf course again.

For his career, Seve has 90 worldwide wins, including 50 on the European Tour, nine PGA Tour titles and five majors.

−The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, July 23

2009 Evian Masters TV Schedule and Tournament Notes

THE 2009 EVIAN MASTERS is underway at Evian Masters Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains, France.

Purse: $3.25 million
Defending champion: Helen Alfredsson

Tournament preview
Tournament interviews
Tournament photos
Final field

2009 Evian Masters Leaderboard

TV SCHEDULE

Ten hours of TV coverage are on tap for the 2009 Evian Masters.

Thurs, Jul 23
GOLF: 6:30-8:30 PM ET

Fri, Jul 24
GOLF: 6:30-8:30 PM ET

Sat, Jul 25
GOLF: 1:00-4:00 PM ET

Sun, Jul 26
GOLF: 1:00-4:00 PM ET

−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, July 22

2009 RBC Canadian Open TV Schedule and Tournament Notes

THE 2009 RBC CANADIAN OPEN gets underway on Thursday at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

Purse: $5 million
Winner’s share: $900,000
Defending champion: Chez Reavie

Inside the field
Inside the course

2009 RBC Canadian Open Leaderboard

TV SCHEDULE

Twelve hours of TV coverage are on tap for the 2009 RBC Canadian Open.

Thu, 7/23:

GOLF 3p - 6p ET

Fri, 7/24:

GOLF 3p - 6p ET

Sat, 7/25:
CBS 3p - 6p ET

Sun, 7/26:

CBS 3p - 6p ET

PGA Tour radio coverage

−The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, July 21

Slow Golfer Hospitalized with Heat Exhaustion


(Jalal HB/Flickr)

SAN ANTONIO, TX – What began as a leisurely game of golf at a municipal course turned into an epic round that stretched over three days and ended with a trip to the hospital for a local man. With plenty of fluids, a couple of days’ rest and time in an air-conditioned environment, Ellis Connor will make a full recovery, doctors said.

Friends, however, are more concerned about Connor’s golf habits that led to the hospitalization. “Ellis has always been a slow player,” said a member of his regular foursome, “but, frankly, this even shocked us.”

It began normally enough when Connor joined a twosome on last Wednesday afternoon to take advantage of the cheaper twilight rates. The twosome reportedly left Connor when the group took an hour to play the opening hole and Connor said he felt “rushed.”

The authorities are still trying to piece things together from interviews with golfers, course staff and medical personnel. Here’s some of what they believe transpired over the next 62 hours.

Yardage Mystery

Sometime on late Wednesday afternoon Connor abandoned his cart and began pacing off every shot from the fairway to the green. This would slow down any golfer considerably. For the already tortoise-like Connor it was a major contributing factor to his three-day golf odyssey.

No one is exactly sure why Connor left his cart behind, but authorities did find a SkyCaddie in a pond near where the lone golfer was seen retrieving golf balls for two and a half hours.

“If he dropped his rangefinder in the water, that would explain why he was stepping off his yardage the rest of the way,” said the head pro, “although it’s puzzling why he walked off everything up to the green instead of using the sprinkler heads.”

One of Connor’s golf friends later confirmed that Connor didn’t trust the course yardages.

Bedded Down in Bunkers

Course personnel believe that Connor slept in bunkers on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Players spotted him raking traps at daybreak on Thursday and Friday and he was mistaken for a member of the grounds crew.

Sometime on Thursday, after spending nearly an hour trying to line up a 10-foot bogey putt on the 12th hole, Connor phoned a golf friend at work for guidance on how much the putt would break. After finally deciding to play it two balls outside the right-hand side of the cup, Connor left the putt short.

Then, around noon on Friday, a dehydrated and severely fatigued Connor succumbed to the heat. An empty vitamin water bottle was found in his golf bag, along with some granola bar wrappers and two sticks of Juicy Fruit gum.

During the marathon round, course personnel estimate that 79 groups played through Connor, a sure sign of a golfer in trouble. “I did think it was kind of weird when our fivesome played through him,” said one course regular who asked not to be identified. “I wish now I would have done something, but at the time he just looked like your average hacker.”

Connor declined to be interviewed for this story. But, according to a friend, Connor wanted to finish his round when he was released from the hospital. “I was just starting to figure some things out,” he said.

−The Armchair Golfer


(This is an ARMCHAIR GOLF spoof.)

Monday, July 20

Remembering Tiny Tony Holquin

By John Coyne
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF


WHAT I REMEMBER BEST about Tony Holquin were his small and delicate hands. They were like a woman’s hands really, soft and gentle. His handshake, even when I first met him as a teenager, was soft and gentle. He never tried to impress anyone with his strength, for he wasn’t big or imposing. Professional Golfer magazine referred to him as “little Tony” when he won the 1953 Texas Open. Once, back in the early ‘50s when he broke the course record at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club in the first round of the Crosby Golf Championship, the Chicago Tribune headline read something like, “Tiny Tony Shoots 63 at Crosby.”

His size didn’t matter when there was a golf club in his hands. When he was on the tee everyone took notice. Compact as he was, he could generate enormous power and drive a golf ball, as we used to say back in the Midwest, a country mile.

First Tex-Mex Pro


For anyone who didn’t know him, Tony Holquin was just another golf pro from Texas; one of those countless Tex-Mex kids who learned to play on a public course, in his case, Brackenridge Park, near his home in San Antonio.

Others Latinos would come after Tony, Lee Trevino of Dallas, being just one. Trevino is famous for saying, after he won the U.S. Open in 1971, that he used to be Mexican but now that he had won the Open he was Spanish.

(John Coyne)

But of all these great Tex-Mex golfers who came out of Texas, Tony Holquin was the first. He grew up during the Great Depression, the oldest of six. His father was a stonemason; his mother was a housekeeper. When he was 11 he found an old golf club. It became his magic wand. It lifted Tony out of poverty and sent him into the world of golf where he would play on the PGA Tour and the Senior Tour, win the Texas Open, win the Mexican Open twice, and as a home pro in Illinois in the Fifties and Sixties, win almost every tournament held in the state and be named to the Illinois PGA Hall of Fame in 2007.

But real life got in his way off the fairway. Graduating from San Antonio Tech High School in 1944, he was immediately drafted into the Army and sent into World War II. Fighting his way with the 76th Infantry Division through Europe and into Germany, he said he wasn’t afraid of getting killed, but afraid of losing a limb so he wouldn’t be able to play golf. In his squad of 11, five were indeed wounded in combat.

Coming home to Texas, he returned to golf and as an amateur won the ’46 and ’47 San Antonio City Championships.

Like all poor kids who get lucky, Tony had an early mentor, a rich Texas oilman named Tom Crawford, who took a liking to Tony and another young golfer, Gil Cavanaugh. “He backed us both,” Tony would tell me when I was his caddie. “He made us practice hard, six and seven hours a day. He bought us clubs and clothes and taught us how to act in public.”

Tony turned pro in 1948 and got a job as a teaching assistant at the Pelham Country Club in Pelham, Westchester County, New York; then in the summer of 1952, he came to Illinois and the Midlothian Country Club to be the assistant pro for another Texan, Jimmy Walkup.

Tony’s Caddie


At the time Tony was 26 and I was 14 and the number No. 1 caddie at the club. More importantly, I was Tony’s caddie at Monday pro-member events, local pro tournaments, qualifying rounds for the U.S. Open and at the famous Tam O’Shanter World Championship of Golf.

For ten years or more, he was one of the best three players in Illinois tournament after tournament, matching up against Bill Ogden, the pro at North Shore, and Dick Hart from Hinsdale.

In 1953, when Jimmy Walkup moved to Cleveland, Ohio, and another country club, Tony was immediately hired as head pro. Even before he won the Texas Open that year we all thought he should go onto the PGA Tour full time, but as he said, “I won two tournaments (Mexican Open) and earned $2,000.” It wasn’t enough to support a family in those early pre-television days on the tour.

Tony stayed for 13 years at Midlothian, then moved onto Gleneagles Country Club and Balmoral Woods, both in Illinois, before retiring from being a teaching pro, but not from playing golf. It took a stroke five years ago to finally end his playing days.

He died on May 14, at his home in Oak Forest, Illinois, from complications from a fall, at the age of 82.

Hearing the news, I scanned recent issues of golf weekly magazines looking for some small mention of his passing. There weren’t any death notices. The Chicago Tribune remembered him as a “long time club pro” and Chicagoland Golf website ran a story and a wonderful photo of Tony teeing off at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club.

Over the years, I saw Tony several times when I was back in Illinois. He was amused that I now lived in Pelham, the town where he had his first pro job. After all those years, he could still remember the street where he lived, as well as the country club where he first taught the members how to play the game.

A Nice Word for Everyone


Having written golf novels that focus on Midlothian Country Club, I have heard from former members and caddies at the club about my books and at some point in their conversation or emails to me, they’ll mention Tony and his assistant, Joe Jimenez, another Texas pro of Mexican ancestry who would go on to a great career on the Senior Tour. They would write how Tony and Joe gave them golf lessons on Saturday mornings at the club, how they were both gentlemen with a nice word for everyone. They were two former Texas caddies passing on their knowledge of the game to the next generation of loopers.

Golf is full of home club professionals like Tony Holquin; good players who teach the game to students on fairways far from the glamour of the PGA Tour. The game is built by such professionals. Those of us who play can always remember the pro who first handed us a club and whispered, not untruthfully, that if we practiced and worked on our swing, someday this club might become our magic wand.

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.

Sunday, July 19

Tom Watson and Golf’s Tragic Consequences


(Striatic/Flickr)

“THIS AIN’T A FUNERAL, YOU KNOW,” Tom Watson quipped, sort of, in the interview room following his playoff loss to Stewart Cink at the British Open in Turnberry, Scotland.

Actually, it was.

No, no one died. Just one 59-year-old man’s improbable dream of a sixth Claret Jug, which would have tied him with the great Harry Vardon. Also dead: the hopes of who knows how many casual and serious golf fans who were pulling hard for the new Old Tom.

Cink is a fine player and deserving major winner. I like “Stewie.” A lot. And yet it was an unsatisfying result, wasn’t it?

Center of the green and two putts on the 72nd hole and Watson would send the scribblers on a mad search for words to put the whole affair into a suitable sports-history context. Alas, it turned into a funeral. The playoff was almost too painful to watch. I felt embarrassed for Tom. But he is a gallant man and true champion, and always carries himself as such.

So as I was mowing my lawn—I don’t usually mow on Sunday, but I didn’t know what to do after the unsettling conclusion to the Open—it occurred to me that golf is, in large part, a tragedy.

Every week 130 or so players tee off. Only one wins. Many players come agonizingly close to winning on their way to losing. Golf is ridiculously hard and often fickle, a real heart-breaker, a tragedy waiting to happen.

With all due respect to Stewart Cink, the year’s champion golfer, the 2009 British Open will be remembered as Old Tom’s Tragedy. His loss was my loss, and maybe yours, too. It sure felt like a funeral.

−The Armchair Golfer


Related:
Tom Watson Tops News About 59-Year-Olds
Tom Watson Is a Shock to My Golf Senses

Saturday, July 18

Tom Watson Is a Shock to My Golf Senses

THIS IS NO LONGER “a nice story.” This old fella Tom Watson is angling for a sixth Claret Jug, which would tie him with the legendary Harry Vardon for most British Open titles. Are you kidding me?

If Watson holds it together and wins on Sunday, 59-year-olds all over the Third Planet will feel a tiny bit invincible on Monday.

As for me, I’m in golf shock. I still don’t think my mind has fully comprehended what my senses are telling me: Tom Watson, winner of the 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1983 British Opens, is leading the 2009 British Open after 54 holes. Are we in some kind of weird golf time warp?

Tiger Woods misses a cut in a major. Tom Watson is leading at Turnberry. Still. On Saturday night. I’m wondering how much more shock my golf senses can take.

My dad even called from California this morning. “Neil,” he said, “I was just sitting here watching the British Open and I had to call someone to talk about it. What do you think about Tom Watson?” I said all the obvious things. He has a lot of experience. He knows how to play links golf. He makes good decisions. Blah, blah, blah. I heard my words, but I still couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Jack Nicklaus made some serious noise at the 1998 Masters, finishing in a sixth-place tie at the age of 58. Sam Snead tied for third in the 1974 PGA Championship at the ripe old age of 62. But this, golf fans, is uncharted waters.

By the way, does anybody know what happened to that young whippersnapper from last year … Greg Norman?

−The Armchair Golfer


Related:
Tom Watson Tops News About 59-Year-Olds

King of Golf Cartoons: ‘Wife’


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

Is your wife or husband tolerant of your golf habit? Has golf ever gotten you in trouble off the 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 regularly featured at ARMCHAIR GOLF.

Thursday, July 16

Tom Watson Tops News About 59-Year-Olds


Tom Watson in action at the 2009 Masters.
(Curiouser/Flickr)


AMERICAN TOM WATSON, 59, shot a five-under-par 65 to take the early lead in the British Open at Turnberry, Scotland. Watson was later surpassed by Miguel Angel Jimenez—nicknamed “The Mechanic”—who carded a 64.

“She [Turnberry] was defenseless today,” Watson said. “It was an easy test, if you have an easy test at an Open Championship.”

The five-time Open winner had five birdies and no bogeys on his card. Watson said he expected the championship to get harder as the weather worsens.

Other News About 59-Year-Olds


In today’s other news:

• A 59-year-old Ohio man bought a new riding lawnmower at his local Sears store. He also got an additional discount off the sale price by opening a new charge account.

• A 59-year-old Idaho man became a great grandfather for the first time. The family planned to have a fish fry to celebrate the birth of the baby boy.

• A 59-year-old Texas man resigned from his local Rotary club to spend more time on his ham radio hobby.

• A 59-year-old Pennsylvania man recovered more than $300 in change after cleaning out his car for the first time in two decades. “There were a lot of toll booths over the years,” he chuckled. “It just kind of built up, I guess.”

−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, July 15

Q&A: Golf Channel’s Frank Nobilo Previews British Open at Turnberry


The practice green at Turnberry.
(John Mundy/Flickr)

Editor’s note: This special interview with lead golf analyst Frank Nobilo was made available to ARMCHAIR GOLF courtesy of the Golf Channel.

Q: What are some of your memories from the 1994 Open Championship at Turnberry and your T-11 finish?

FRANK NOBILO: I had played there in 1986 (my first Open) so it was nice to go back to a venue and have a decent idea of what was required to do well. Conditions were better than in ‘86, and the golf course didn't appear as intimidating. I opened up with rounds of 69-67 to be well placed, just three back from Watson but went backwards with a round of 72 on Saturday when everybody shot mid to high 60s. A closing 68 redeemed my week a little but not enough to back door a top 10.

Q: How different will the course setup be this week compared to ’86 and ’94?

FRANK NOBILO:
I don’t think the setup will be much different from ‘86 or ’94, but the course will play radically different. The average tee shot goes about 20 yards further than ‘94 and there is less dispersion. So, unless they have cold, wet, windy weather—which is unlikely given the recent heat wave—the course will certainly not present the same test as it did in the past. The weather was much colder and the wind blew most of the week in ’86. Barring Norman’s 63, the scores were relatively high all week. In ‘94 the conditions were relatively benign and the ball tended to roll out more. I don’t remember the rough being as difficult. Consequently, the scores were much better. This year, with such a dry summer and the massive technological advances coming in the late ‘90s, it certainly will have lost some teeth.

Q: What are the keys to success in playing at Turnberry this week?


FRANK NOBILO: Turnberry is one of the most exposed Open venues. There are lots of holes with no protection on the tee shots, and fairways that slope away from the dogleg. The biggest problem for the players will be dealing with stiff cross breezes on holes that often bend or slope in an opposite direction.

Q: What do you think will be the key holes next week in determining the Open Champion?

FRANK NOBILO: The first six holes are key, especially if the wind blows. You never play two consecutive holes in a similar direction until you play 5 and 6. Consequently, it is very easy to get over par in a hurry and have your back against the wall. Nine is never easy, especially with a left-to-right wind. The fairway slopes to the right while the hole bends to the left. You also have to somehow close your round off on those last four holes. A 3-4-4-4 finish will go a long way each day.

Q: Who are the front runners and who might be dark horses this week?


FRANK NOBILO: No surprise, even though Tiger has never set foot on Turnberry prior to this Open, he is the odds-on favorite. I think his challengers will be a little younger than previous years. Sean O’Hair, who has recovered from his forearm issue that made him withdraw from the Memorial Tournament, is ready to break through. Anthony Kim, who did well last year in his first Open in bad conditions, is now healthy. The best European hopes look to be Paul Casey, who hopefully has settled into the fact that he belongs amongst the best players in the game today, and Stenson, in case you have forgotten how well he played at The Players and snuck in the back door at Bethpage. I still have to add Garcia to this bunch. His ability to move the ball around in windy conditions makes him hard to overlook. I know you have to make the putts, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to many if he were to break through. A lot of eyes on Harrington going for three in a row, but more realistically he is trying to recover some form to get his game back on track. For an oldie but a goody, remember Goosen. He has quietly gotten his game back.

Q: Is Tiger Woods back to his pre-surgery form, and how do you think Turnberry suits his game?


FRANK NOBILO: According to Woods, he has struggled with the knee for several years, so to compare his form of the first six months of the year to his previous two or three seasons is difficult. There are some areas of his game that are better than pre-surgery. The pace of his swing is far smoother and the transition from backswing to downswing generally much quieter. I still don’t think he is 100 percent as his gait is still not normal and it looks like he still has tightness in his hip, probably from favoring the leg. But if anything, he looks more determined now than ever. It is hard to say he has been inconsistent as he has not finished out of the top 10 in a stroke play event since his return. But he has not played any two tournaments with the same type of golf. Now that is scary.

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

‘Duel in the Sun’ Starring Gregory Peck?


Different plot, different players and no Turnberry.

THE OTHER NIGHT I WATCHED the Golf Channel’s presentation of “Duel in the Sun,” a 30-minute program about the classic showdown between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus at the 1977 British Open at Turnberry. Paired with Watson on the weekend, the Golden Bear shot 66-66. It wasn’t good enough. Watson’s 66-65 over the final 36 holes secured his second of five Claret Jugs.

I love “Duel in the Sun”: the setting, the great players and the golf drama. And the name? I love that too. It sounds like a movie title. And then I found out it is a movie title.

Following is a quick look at the original “Duel in the Sun” and other similarly named films. Spoiler alert: They have nothing on the Watson-Nicklaus duel. Sorry, Hollywood.

‘Duel in the Sun’
United Artists 1946
Starring Gregory Peck, Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotton
Description: A half-breed girl causes trouble between two brothers.
Tagline: Emotions as violent as a wind-swept prairie.
My comment: While the wind-swept prairie sounds a lot like an Open course, I have to ask the question: Where’s the golf?

‘Follow the Sun’
Twentieth Century Fox 1951
Starring Glen Ford and Anne Baxter
Description: The inspiring film biography of the courageous champion golfer Ben Hogan.
Tagline: Two kids from Texas who fought their way back to the top of the world!
My comment: Props for the first-ever golf movie, but the golf-challenged Ford is no Ben Hogan.

‘A Raisin in the Sun’
Columbia Pictures 1961
Starring Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee
Description: A substantial insurance payment could mean either financial salvation or personal ruin for a poor black family.
Tagline: The prize-winning drama that warms the screen with its people and its passions!
My comment: Sidney Poitier is a movie icon and apparently has played golf, according to biographer Aram Goudsouzian.

‘Duel’
TV movie 1971
Starring Dennis Weaver
Description: A businessman is pursued and terrorized by a malevolent driver of a massive tractor-trailer.
Tagline: A duel is about to begin between a man, a truck, and an open road. Where a simple battle of wits is now a matter of life and death.
My comment: This movie has a cult following and was the first feature film directed by Steven Spielberg. No disrespect to Mr. Spielberg, but I would have liked it more had Weaver stopped at a driving range rather than a café.

−The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, July 14

The Rise and Fall of Carolyn Bivens

As the first female commissioner in golf, Bivens has been controversial from the get go. She was constantly under scrutiny for her decisions, particularly her negotiation tactics and people skills—both of which contributed to her downfall.
−Stephanie Wei

UNDER INTENSE PRESSURE from a player revolt that overshadowed last week’s U.S. Women’s Open, LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens resigned on Monday.

I have no idea what Bivens is feeling this morning, but relief may be among the jumble of emotions. It has been a tumultuous ride for the commish, a tenure that many would hold up as a case study for how not to run a pro sport.

Stephanie Wei, blogger of Wei Under Par and a former collegiate golfer who has a close relationship with many LPGA players, has penned a piece for the Huffington Post about Biven’s tenure and downfall.

Until the LPGA can complete a search for its next commissioner, Bivens will be replaced by Marsha Evans, a former rear admiral in the United States Navy.

I can’t help but note the symbolism of an admiral at the helm. Because the LPGA has no time to lose to right the ship.

−The Armchair Golfer

Monday, July 13

Q&A: Five-Time Open Winner Peter Thomson


(Image: El Rio Golf Course)

Editor’s note: Australian Peter Thomson was the last player to win three consecutive Open Championships (1954-1956) and won the Claret Jug a total of five times. This special interview with Thomson was made available to ARMCHAIR GOLF courtesy of Landmark Media on behalf of Thomson Perrett & Lobb Golf Course Architects.

Q: You played in the 1977 Open, which Tom Watson won—what are your memories of the course?

PETER THOMSON: I played there in the British Matchplay Championships, I think in 1957, so I was very familiar with the place having had a lot of serious rounds there in the Championship. As a matter of fact, I lost to Christy O’Connor on the final hole in our match, in the semi-final, so I was very familiar with the course and rather liked it, actually.

Q: What sort of course is it and what sort of player do you have to be to do well there?

PETER THOMSON: The course was resurrected after the war, when it had served as an airfield, and was put together again in a nice way—I think it is impossible to criticize. It is a top class course, one of the category A courses, I’d say. But it needs wind, like all the seaside courses do—wind and a bit of dryness to make the lies tighter on the fairway. Then it is as good as anything in Britain.

Q: You were the last player to win three consecutive Opens—1954, 1955 and 1956—and, of course, Padraig Harrington has the opportunity of winning his third successive Open this year. What do you think his chances are?


PETER THOMSON: Well, I think his chances must be good. If he’s good enough to win two, he’s good enough to win three. But the extraneous issues, such as how well other people play, come into the picture. He’s quite capable of winning three in a row, but whether the other players allow him to do that is in the lap of the gods, I would say.

Q: Will he be under extra pressure?


PETER THOMSON:
There is no doubt there is pressure on him to perform, and that can have its toll on a fellow’s performance. He can’t really free-wheel it and let it happen—he has got to make it happen and I think that is a big burden to carry.

Q: What about Tiger Woods, what you think his chances are?


PETER THOMSON: Well, of all the players that will be assembled there, he is the cleverest of the lot because he really spends time figuring out a course and how to play it and how to keep out of trouble, although he is pretty good at getting out of trouble, too. But the way he performed at Hoylake was magnificent. So he is a specialist on the seaside links, like all great champions are, if I may say so, and I think he will be a very formidable opponent, for everybody.

Q: You mention Hoylake, which was one of the courses where you won one of your consecutive Opens, the final of those coming in 1956 at St Andrews. Tell us about that experience. You mentioned the pressure that Harrington might be under—was the fact that you were going for three Opens in a row playing on your mind, was it an added pressure?

PETER THOMSON: It wasn’t really because when I started off on the first day I was very pessimistic, I wasn’t playing well and I had a driver I didn’t like. I wasn’t putting that well, so I thought, well, I would be very lucky to get into the top half a dozen in this event. But as time went by I found that everyone else was having similar troubles. In the end I was the one that was high and dry, just a stroke ahead. You know, to win you have got to be very grateful to the people who lose, that’s been my philosophy all my life.

Q: You mentioned the equipment and that you went into an Open not particularly happy with your driver. That would seem inconceivable now.


PETER THOMSON: The golf clubs we used were pathetically bad, truthfully—they were like broomsticks. If you had a good driver with a good head on it and the right loft, you would hang onto it as long as you could, but inevitably the wood used to deteriorate so you had to change it. Playing pro golf you are hitting a lot of shots and the wooden head begins to wear out, quite frankly. Also, they have wonderful slide-on rubber grips now but in those times, in the 50’s, we wrapped the leather grip around and had to do this every week to get a fresh tackiness. So we battled with equipment and right up to the last minute people were changing their clubs hoping for something better than last week.

Q: What about the golf balls you were playing with then and the balls that the top professionals use today?


PETER THOMSON:
Well, there is no doubt that the 1.62 smaller ball was more difficult to play with. I mean you had to play better with a small ball to get a good score. That was why I was so against it when they changed the size, it wasn’t really helpful in the examination of skills. A small ball and a dry course was really a hell of a test—they don’t have that now.

Q: Next month (August), however, you are celebrating your 80th birthday and I guess while you must be happy to be celebrating such a landmark, you’re probably missing not being in Scotland to see the Open Championship?

PETER THOMSON:
I am missing it already, truthfully. But an 80th birthday is something special. I would prefer a 70th birthday, but I have had that already and my family is assembling, so it will be an emotional time for us.

Q: I guess you will be keeping a close eye on the golf on television?


PETER THOMSON: Indeed, I will.

2009 British Open TV Schedule and Tournament Notes

THE 2009 BRITISH OPEN starts on Thursday at Turnberry (Ailsa Course) in Turnberry, Scotland. Padraig Harrington will attempt to be the first player to win three consecutive British Opens since Australian Peter Thomson recorded a three-peat in the mid 1950s.

Purse: $6.76 million
Winner’s share: $1.2 million
Defending champion: Padraig Harrington

British Open field
Thursday tee times
The course
British Open history

2009 British Open Leaderboard

TV SCHEDULE

More than 24 hours of TV coverage are on tap for the 2009 British Open.

Thu, 7/16
6:30am-2:30pm ET (TNT)

Fri, 7/17
7am-2:30pm ET (TNT)

Sat, 7/18
7-9am ET (TNT)/9am-2:30pm ET (ABC)

Sun, 7/19
6-8am ET (TNT)/8am-1:30pm ET (ABC)

−The Armchair Golfer

Related:

Tom Watson Is a Shock to My Golf Senses
Tom Watson Tops News About 59-Year-Olds
Q&A: Golf Channel’s Frank Nobilo Previews the British Open
Q&A: Five-Time Open Winner Peter Thomson
‘Duel in the Sun’ Starring Gregory Peck?

Sunday, July 12

Ji Wins U.S. Women’s Open with Climactic Birdie


Final round highlights.

I MISSED IT. On the road all day, I didn’t see a single shot of the final round of the U.S. Women’s Open at Saucon Valley. So here’s a quick snapshot.

Eun-Hee Ji recovered from a double-bogey on the 10th hole and went on to play the last six holes in three-under par to snatch the title. The late charge included a dramatic 20-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole.

“I didn’t even dream about winning this tournament, but, well, I did it, and I think this is going to be one of the most memorable moments in my life,” Ji said.

Third-round leader Cristie Kerr struggled to a 75 and tied for third with In-Kyung Kim. Candie Kung finished alone in second.

−The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, July 11

Golf, Costa Rica and Lynn Shackelford

SPENDING A GOOD CHUNK of my youth in Southern California, I grew up on a steady diet of UCLA Bruins basketball and watching John Wooden’s teams mow through the Pac-8 (yes, it was the Pac-8 before the Arizona schools joined the conference). I saw them win something like five national championships on their run of 10 NCAA titles in 12 years.

So when Lynn Shackelford wrote me the other day, it all came back to me, although Lynn, who played on the Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) teams, was a bit ahead of my Bruins-watching days. (I do remember two things about “Shack”: lefty, deadeye.)

Lynn is the father of golf writer, author and blogger Geoff Shackelford. He contacted me about a seven-day golf trip to Costa Rica in November. Lynn and resort owner Dr. Richard Resnick are looking for six people who are up for a golf and sightseeing adventure in “Central America’s most beautiful country.”

The group will lodge at Hotel Arco Iris, owned by Resnick. Lynn has all the details, including the daily itinerary and golf excursions. If you’re interested, or would like more information, email him at shackgolf@aol.com.

(Image: Bruin805/Flickr)

Golf Briefs

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


• Taking place Sept. 18, 2009, this year’s Shaq’s Mama Said Knock You Out Golf Tournament and new “Soulful Midday Soiree” will feature the golf tournament at Shingle Creek Golf Club in Orlando, followed by a fun-filled and nostalgic afternoon of good food, good music and good friends. Evoking a 1930s-style Cotton Club atmosphere, the “Soulful Midday Soiree” will feature smooth jazz, a hearty buffet of soul food favorites, as well as friendly back-room poker, table games, dancing and more.

• The Folds of Honor Foundation announced a partnership with GolfNow.com—the largest online tee time web site in the United States—to support Patriot Golf Day, the foundation’s flagship event whose mission is to provide scholarships to the spouses and children of our wounded and fallen military members.

Fine Tune Golf and its RoboCup, an innovative ball-return robot that entered the marketplace in January, 2009 announced they are introducing a Caddy Cord to accompany their product as an overall putting practice solution.

• When the 2009 Open Championship returns to Turnberry, Ayrshire, Scotland, next week, GOLF CHANNEL will chronicle the story of the epic Tom Watson-Jack Nicklaus battle in 1977 in a special presentation, Duel in the Sun, airing Monday, July 13 at 9 p.m. ET. The half-hour special includes tournament footage from the original broadcast and features recent interviews with Nicklaus and Watson, third-round leader Roger Maltbie, 1977 U.S. Open champion and third-place finisher Hubert Green, and several award-winning journalists.

Phoenix Environmental Care announced its Name That Super contest. Golf industry professionals are encouraged to enter for a chance to win $1,000 work of Phoenix Environmental Care (PEC) products. To enter, golf course superintendents and assistant golf course superintendents can visit www.namethatsuper.com/nr, complete the registration form and select the correct superintendent.

• While supplies last, golfers who make a purchase of $299 or more at any Golfsmith store across the country will receive a free 30-minute GolfTEC Swing Diagnosis conducted by a GolfTEC Certified Personal Coach. The swing diagnosis, valued at $85, is one of GolfTEC’s most popular lesson experiences as it isolates score-improving opportunities in any player’s swing.

• When Charles Barkley donated $100,000 a year ago to the victims of South Lake Tahoe’s 2007 Angora Fire, City officials officially proclaimed a “Charles Barkley Day.” After they received another check for $90,000 last week from the NBA Hall of Famer and TNT analyst on the eve of the 20th annual American Century Championship, the nationally renowned tourism destination may have to consider a designation as “Barkleyville.”

GOLF CHANNEL will provide its wrap-around news coverage of next week’s Open Championship from Turnberry Golf Club in Scotland—the men’s third major championship—dedicating more than 20 hours of news coverage on-air and expanded coverage online.

Etonic is offering an Internet only special on its men’s Stabilizer and Sof-Tech golf shoes. Now through July 15, 2009, if you purchase a pair of golf shoes online, you will receive a small carry bag (value of $44) free.

• Macali Communications has launched www.patobriengolf.com, a website and blog for golf instructor Pat O’Brien. O’Brien is a protégé of the late Payne Stewart and putting coach for 2007 Masters Champion Zach Johnson and Ryder Cupper Vaughn Taylor.

• The 2009 PGA Fall Expo will focus on return-on-investment value by offering the event's popular education conference of some 20 professional development seminars at absolutely no cost for the first time this September 1-2 in Las Vegas.

TNT and PGA.com will provide extensive television and online coverage of golf’s final two majors for The Open Championship (July 16 – 19) and the PGA Championship (August 13 – 16). In addition to TNT’s exclusive coverage of the first and second rounds and early coverage of the third and final rounds of both tournaments, PGA.com will also provide extensive online offerings and live video coverage to give fans an all-access pass to two of the most prestigious events in golf.

Walkers Shortbread, the world famous Scottish bakery, is introducing the Turnberry Tin and St. Andrews Golfing Carton. Both packages are filled with award-winning shortbread.

−The Armchair Golfer

Friday, July 10

King of Golf Cartoons: ‘10,000 Free Golf Balls’


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

How many golf balls have you lost in a round of golf? Have you ever run out of balls before you completed a round?

−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 regularly featured at ARMCHAIR GOLF.

Thursday, July 9

2009 John Deere Classic TV Schedule and Tournament Notes

THE 2009 JOHN DEERE CLASSIC is underway at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois.

Purse: $4.3 million
Winner’s share: $774,000
Defending champion: Kenny Perry

Inside the field
Inside the course

2009 John Deere Classic Leaderboard

TV SCHEDULE

Twelve hours of TV coverage are on tap for the 2009 John Deere Classic.

Thu, 7/9:
GOLF 3p - 6p ET

Fri, 7/10:
GOLF 3p - 6p ET

Sat, 7/11:
CBS 3p - 6p ET

Sun, 7/12:

CBS 3p - 6p ET

PGA Tour radio coverage

−The Armchair Golfer

2009 U.S. Women’s Open TV Schedule and Tournament Notes

THE 2009 U.S. WOMEN’S OPEN is underway at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Na Yeon Choi is the first-round leader after carding a three-under 68.

Purse: $3.25 million
Defending champion: Inbee Park

Tournament preview
Pre-tournament interviews
Players

2009 U.S. Women’s Open Leaderboard

TV SCHEDULE

Ten hours of weekend TV coverage are on tap for the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open.

Fri, Jul 10

ESPN: 2:00-6:00 PM ET

Sat, Jul 11
NBC: 3:00-6:00 PM ET

Sun, Jul 12
NBC: 3:00-6:00 PM ET

−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, July 8

Jim McLean Golf Instruction: Swish Drill

By Jim McLean
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF


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

SWISH DRILL

Problem: The player prematurely releases the club.

Result: Power is drained from the swing and the trajectory of the shot is off.

Goal: To learn how to better time the downswing action, so that power is preserved for the vital moment of impact.

Practice procedure:
Turn your driver upside down or, better yet, use a driver shaft with no clubhead. If you use your regular driver, grip the shaft directly below the clubhead. Take your address and then swing. If you hear a swish sound right away while swinging down, you have released the club to early. This fault is called “casting.” Make sure you hear the swish at the impact position. Now hit shots! You’ll see the ball fly lower, farther and straighter.

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.

Tuesday, July 7

State of LPGA Casts Shadow Over U.S. Women’s Open


The LPGA Tour is in desperate need of sponsors. (Playadura/Flickr)

AS THE PLAYERS PREPARE for the U.S. Women’s Open at Saucon Valley in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, another drama is playing out that could lead to a dramatic shakeup on the LPGA Tour, which is in serious trouble due to lost sponsorships and other issues.

Golfweek magazine reported on Monday that LPGA Tour players have officially asked commissioner Carolyn Bivens to step down.

“A letter ... was sent to the LPGA Board of Directors calling for Bivens’ resignation and an establishment of new leadership, a player who received a copy of the letter told Golfweek on Monday,” wrote senior writer Beth Ann Baldrey.

“Players stated in the letter that all of the tour’s problems can’t be blamed on a poor economy and expressed a desire to rebuild relationships with longtime sponsors. Those players in favor of Bivens’ resignation attached their names to the note. It was uncertain late Monday how many players support the resignation.”

The players weren’t named, but according to Golfweek star players such as Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Morgan Pressel and Natalie Gulbis attended a July 2 meeting with player directors to discuss the LPGA’s dire situation.

The latest bad news was the cancellation of October’s LPGA Kapalua Classic for lack of a presenting sponsor. Six more events also lack sponsors.

“In the beginning of the year, I was like whatever,” Jeong Jang told Golfweek. “Now, I’m really worried about it.”

Meanwhile, at the U.S. Women’s Open, Cristie Kerr opened her player interview today with a written statement saying she didn’t want to talk about the LPGA situation, only this week’s tournament and her play.

Yep, things are really bad.

−The Armchair Golfer

Monday, July 6

Tiger Checks Off Another Golf Accomplishment


It’s my tournament, and I’ll win if I want to.
(Chase McAlpine/Flickr)


WINS OWN TOURNAMENT. OK, cross that off the Tiger list.

Granted, it wasn’t a great big deal, but it’s still something you want to do if you’re Tiger Woods. (Actually, you sort of expect to win every tournament you tee it up in.)

Tiger won the AT&T National on Sunday, holding off Hunter Mahan who blistered Congressional with a 62 to post 12 under. Hunter is the perfect name for that dude, who hunts down birdies and low scores like he’s playing a pitch and putt rather than the PGA Tour.

Mahan’s early charge only served to set the mark that Tiger knew he would have to beat. In the end, Tiger bettered Mahan by one stroke to notch his 68th PGA Tour victory. Just one shot back at the start, Anthony Kim got schooled in the final round. Still, it was a nice title defense for AK, who is sure to face his idol on future Sundays.

Only a few players have staged their own tournament. Very few event hosts have won. Bobby Jones never won the Masters. Jones’ best finish at Augusta National was a tie for 13th, although, in fairness, he retired from competitive golf a few years before the inaugural Masters.

Of course, the late Byron Nelson and Arnold Palmer were too old to seriously compete in the tournaments that bear their names. Ben Hogan, however, won the Colonial five times in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. Many considered Hogan to be the unofficial host of the tournament, but the event never carried his name.

And then there’s Jack Nicklaus. The Golden Bear has hosted the Memorial Tournament since 1976, and won it twice. Not that Tiger gives a bucket of striped Top-Flites about that. But you never know.

−The Armchair Golfer

Sunday, July 5

Ike’s Golf Legacy


Golfing presidents John F. Kennedy and Dwight Eisenhower.
(Public Domain)


IN NOVEMBER DWIGHT EISENHOWER will be the first President inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, joining other Class of 2009 inductees Christy O’Connor, José Maria Olazábal and Lanny Wadkins. Ike will enter the Hall as a selection in the Lifetime Achievement Category.

The man who was Supreme Commander of Allied Forces during World War II and a two-term President during the Cold War had a deep affection for the game of golf and helped to make it a popular American pastime.

Eisenhower is credited with motivating millions of golfers over the age of 40 to try the game for the first time. When Ike took office in 1953, 3.2 million Americans played golf. By 1961, that number had doubled, according to Don Van Natta Jr., author of First Off the Tee: Presidential Hackers, Duffers and Cheaters from Taft to Bush.

In a letter sent to the Detroit News on May 1, 1953, President Eisenhower wrote, “While I know that I speak with the partisanship of an enthusiast, golf obviously provides one of our best forms of healthful exercise, accompanied by good fellowship and companionship. It is a sport in which the whole American family can participate—fathers, mothers, sons and daughters alike. It offers healthy respite from daily toil, refreshment of body and mind.”

“One would be hard pressed to find any single person who did more to popularize the game of golf, not only in the United States but throughout the world, than President Eisenhower,” Arnold Palmer said in a statement.

Ike made his first trip to Augusta National Golf Club in 1948 and visited the club 45 times, often for lengthy stays. After he became President, a group of Augusta National members built a cabin for him, complete with space for Secret Service agents on the bottom floor. The club’s most famous member eventually became memorialized through the naming of landmarks at Augusta National, including Ike’s Pond and Ike’s Tree.

The 2009 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., on Monday, November 2.

−The Armchair Golfer


(Source: World Golf Hall of Fame)

Friday, July 3

2009 Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic TV Schedule and Notes

THE 2009 JAMIE FARR OWENS CORNING CLASSIC is being played at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio. Sarah Kemp currently leads at 11 under. Defending champion Paula Creamer withdrew to rest a sore thumb.

Purse: $1.4 million
Defending champion: Paula Creamer

Tournament preview
Tournament interviews
Final field

2009 Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic Leaderboard

TV SCHEDULE

Six hours of TV coverage are on tap for the 2009 Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.

Fri, Jul 03
4:00-6:00 PM ET ESPN2

Sat, Jul 04

3:00-5:00 PM ET ESPN2

Sun, Jul 05

4:00-6:00 PM ET ESPN2

−The Armchair Golfer

2009 AT&T National TV Schedule and Tournament Notes

THE 2009 AT&T NATIONAL is being played at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. Tiger Woods currently leads his own tournament at 10-under par after following his first-round 64 with a four-under 66.

Purse: $6 million
Winner’s share: $1.08 million
Defending champion: Anthony Kim

Inside the field
Inside the course

2009 AT&T National Leaderboard

TV SCHEDULE

More than twelve hours of TV coverage are on tap for the 2009 AT&T National.

Thu, 7/2:

GOLF 3p - 6p ET

Fri, 7/3:
GOLF 3p - 6p ET

Sat, 7/4:
CBS 3p - 6p ET

Sun, 7/5:
CBS 3p - 6:30p ET

PGA Tour radio coverage

−The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, July 2

Q&A: Radford University’s Megan Leineweber


(Courtesy of Radford University)

Editor’s note: There are hundreds of men’s and women’s college golf programs. Thanks to a tip from Anne Clelland of Handshake 2.0 − and her husband, a university professor − I had the opportunity to do an email interview in the spring with collegiate golfer Megan Leineweber of Radford University, located in Radford, Virginia, near where I live. The Radford Highlanders compete in the Big South Conference against schools such as Winthrop, Gardner-Webb, VMI, UNC Asheville and Charleston Southern. I hope you enjoy this slice of college golf with Megan.

MEGAN LEINEWEVER LOVES GOLF. The Radford University junior and business management major plays for the Highlanders on the women’s golf team. She recently shared her passion for the game.

Q: How did golf hook you?


Megan: When I started playing in Pinehurst, softball was still my first love and golf was just something I did on the weekends. But once I started playing competitively I really got hooked.

Q: How did you choose Radford University?


Megan: When I first started looking at schools, Radford actually didn’t have any scholarship money to offer me. But right before I committed to a school in South Carolina, the coach at Radford sent me an email saying some scholarship money had been freed up. So my family and I went down to visit and it just felt right, and the rest is history.

Q: How is the golf team doing?


Megan: This past fall was the best performance the women’s program has had since I’ve been here. The spring so far hasn’t been as good but our last two tournaments we finished in sixth and third, which is a good sign with our conference tournament less than a week away.

Q: What is your home course and where else do you like to play golf in the New River Valley?


Megan: When I’m home at Salisbury, Maryland, I worked and played at a semi-private golf club called Green Hill Yacht & Country Club. But in the New River Valley I usually play at Draper Valley or Pulaski Country Club.

Q: How do you prepare for a new golf season?


Megan: Once the school year ends, I’m really able to work on my game. During the summer I work on things that were weak during the season and, generally, that has been my short game. I also play in numerous USGA events like the U.S. Women’s Open qualifier and Women’s Amateur qualifier.

Q: What are the strengths and weaknesses of your golf game?


Megan: The strengths of my game would be my ball striking and my ability to grind it out on the golf course when things just aren’t going my way. My weaknesses are my ups and downs and my putting.

Q: What is it like competing at the collegiate level?


Megan: Competing at the collegiate level is a lot of fun but is also very competitive. I’m a very competitive person so I love every minute of playing in a tournament.

Q: Why do you want to pursue a career in golf?


Megan: I want to pursue a career in golf because, as corny as it sounds, I just feel like it’s what I’m meant to do. It really is my passion and I can’t see myself doing anything else.

SHORT SHOTS:
Most trusted club in your bag: Driver
Favorite golf course: Bulle Rock
Favorite sport other than golf: Football
Dream foursome: Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa

−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, July 1

Meet the 5 Winners of Rocco’s Book, ‘ARE YOU KIDDING ME?’

THERE WERE FIVE LUCKY winners of a free drawing for a hardcover edition of ARE YOU KIDDING ME? The Story of Rocco Mediate’s Extraordinary Battle with Tiger Woods at the U.S. Open. The book is by Rocco and bestselling author John Feinstein.

And here they are:

Terri Quinn, New Jersey

My husband already told me that he gets to read the book first when it arrives. He’s a huge John Feinstein fan, and the main golfer in our family. I’m his partner when he can’t find anyone else to play with him. He was actually able to play the Old Course in St. Andrews while I walked the first two and last five holes with him. A trip of a lifetime! He grew up in Long Island and had played Bethpage Black several times with his father, so he really enjoyed watching this year’s Open. We watch both PGA and LPGA tournaments, and try to go see them in person whenever possible. We’re both Tiger Woods fans, but I also like Camilo Villegas, John Daly and Rocco (of course).

Jim Martin, Arizona

I’m a huge fan of Rocco and what he’s accomplished. And, one of my all-time favorite books is John Feinstein’s A Good Walk Spoiled. So, I’m looking forward to reading their collaborative effort on the book.

Mike Grossman, Texas

My golf interests are pretty varied as I play anywhere from resorts to public courses in the area. I enjoy the challenge of playing against the elements and don’t shy away from the Dallas heat, cold or rain (although I stay away from lightning).

Tom Donahoe, Idaho

I’m a partner in an advertising/PR firm. I’m also a partner in Gorilla Gold Grip Enhancer, the tackifying towel that improves grip even in wet conditions. Although I spend a lot of time in the business of golf, I have to make time for playing. I have a renewed interest since Hank Haney (a GG endorser) taught me to flatten my swing and slow my pace. What a difference! I’m hitting about 70 percent of my drives in the fairway, shooting in the 80s, and enjoying the game so much more.

George McDowell, North Carolina
George got interested in the game of golf through his study of Ben Hogan, who he now impersonates in his one-man show that has appeared in theaters throughout the Southeast and Mid Atlantic.

Thanks to all who entered. Keep coming back to ARMCHAIR GOLF for more golf coverage, including more free drawings.

−The Armchair Golfer