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The Memorial Tournament, Hass Has the Lead. Play Suspended.

Bill Haas has a three shot lead at the suspension of play in the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Course. The second round was briefly suspended for 22 minutes early during the second round, due to the threat of a thunderstorm, and then again later, delayed for nearly an hour and a half for rain before the horn sounded for a third time to halt play for good. Not even the great Jack Nicklaus can control the weather.

Having a blast

Bill Haas, makes light work of the sand trap/ PGA Tour

Bill shot a second round of -5 under par 67 to top the leader board on -9 under par at the suspension of play on the second day. Many think that the inspiration has come from his new-born son Bill Jnr. Plus because he is away from home he is getting a good nights sleep;

” She certainly is toughing it out through the nights by herself, if anything else, it makes me that much more excited to get home. I had a great two weeks off, I had a son, I’ve been having great fun with that at home with my wife. And I think I’m just in a better frame of mind than I was three weeks ago after missing my second cut in a row. I don’t know if I give that credit or just the break was nice. And I love being under the radar, that’s fine with me. Let your clubs do the talking and hopefully at the end of the week I’m happy to surprise anyone. Even though I’ve never really had great success here personally, I love coming back, look forward to it every year, and part of it might be I’ve always known how much my dad liked it and how well he did here. Hopefully I can continue on the weekend and get a better taste in my mouth on how to play it as opposed to just liking it. It’s hard to imagine, golf obviously runs in our family and he’ll definitely be around it, no matter what. But I certainly won’t push him into it. I hope I’m playing long enough that he can caddy for me.”

Bill caddied for his father Jay, at the Memorial. He was in college at the time, and he doesn’t remember where Jay finished, other than that he had a nice week. So did Bill, who earned some extra spending money by wearing a Memorial cap with his caddy bib.

 

 

No Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in 2014

   ryder_cup_logo

Gleneagles Golf Course

Created  by Jack Nicklaus, the PGA Centenary Course is the Host Venue for The 2014 Ryder Cup, and a decision by Ryder Cup director Richard Hills, has revealed the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles will not feature on the European Tour in 2014. Richard announced;

 “We are very grateful to the management of both Diageo, the owners of Johnnie Walker, and The Gleneagles Hotel for agreeing to postpone the Johnnie Walker Championship so that preparations for the Ryder Cup can begin as planned in July 2014. The magnitude of the Ryder Cup is such that trying to host the Johnnie Walker Championship in the same season would have compromised both events.”

The  chief operating officer and director of international policy for the European Tour, Keith Walters revealed that a lot of thought had gone into making the decision;

” We looked at rescheduling the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles to an earlier week on the 2014 schedule but a suitable date could not be found. But we are delighted all parties have agreed to reschedule the Championship for 2015.”

This is a sad but unavoidable conclusion, we look forward to the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in 2015.

 

 

PGA Tour Parts Company with Mickey and Minnie, and The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.

 

It was a sad day Monday when the PGA Tour released a portion of its 2013-14 schedule, with one glaring omission. The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic is not part of the new lineup. Tournament spokesperson Tony Morreale announced;

 “It was a mutual decision between us and the Tour.”

The Disney event has  been a permanent fixture on the Tour since 1971, when Jack Nicklaus won the inaugural Walt Disney World Open Invitational, and in recent years it has enjoyed being the final event on the circuit’s schedule. For sometime now speculation had been building  that with the Tour’s transition to a split-calendar schedule beginning next season, and the loss of its title sponsor, November’s event, which was last won by Charlie Beljan, would be the end of the Miracles for the Children.

Ryan Palmer the 2004 Disney champion, said;

” I honestly think it would have gotten a better field as part of the FedEx Cup. It will be sad to see an event like this go away. Disappointed to see it leave.”

The Frys.com Open will start the 2013-14 schedule beginning Oct. 20-13 followed by the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (Oct. 17-20) in Las Vegas. Then following two events in Asia, CIMB Classic (Oct. 24-27) and World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions (Oct. 31-3) – the circuit returns to North America for The McGladrey Classic in Georgia and the OHL Classic at Mayakoba (Mexico) in November. After November there will be a break of one and a half months before the Tour resumes it’s season with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions Friday Jan 4 – Monday Jan 7, 2013, at the Plantation Course at Kapalua · Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii.

Jim Flick has Died

      

Jim Flick/ golfwrx.com                                Jim and Tom Lehman/jimflickgolf.com

Jim Flick, golf instructor to some of the great golfing stars, has died of pancreatic cancer at age 82, his family has announced.

Jim had been a golf instructor for more than fifty years, his last piece of advice was given to Tom Lehman on Sunday morning when he advised Tom to ” Be Tom Lehman.”  Tom then went out and won the Charles Schwab Cup Championship at Desert Mountain, on the Cochise Course. Jim was director of instruction at Desert Mountain, in Scottsdale for 20 years, and also wrote five books, his most recent publication was Jack Nicklaus, Simply the Best.

Jack Nicklaus consulted with Jim and they co-founded the Nicklaus-Flick Golf Schools, the association lasted from 1991 until 2003. Jim was awarded PGA Teacher of the Year, in 1988 and was also inducted into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame. Golf World magazine selected Jim as one of the top ten teachers of the 20th Century.

Jim had recently said in an interview, with Golfweek magazine, that he was concerned that too many of the worlds golfers were trying to perfect the perfect swing, and stating that a mechanical or robotic swing is the worst thing you can do;

 ”We’ve let the game be taken over by science, golf is an art form. The golf swing is an athletic movement. Becoming mechanical and robotic is the worst thing you can do.”

Jim’s funeral arrangements have yet to be announced, I send my condolences to Jim’s wife, and his five children.

Dear Colleagues, Students and Friends:

After teaching the game of golf for more than 50 years, the time has come for me to step away from the lesson tee.

My life as an instructor has given me more than I ever dared imagine when I took my first swing at a golf ball as a boy in Bedford, Indiana. Golf has taken me all over the world and introduced me to so many wonderful and remarkable people. I’ve been privileged to work and associate with some of the game’s greatest players, though I’ve gotten as much satisfaction helping an amateur straighten his or her slice.

Yet for as much as I’ve learned about golf during my decades teaching, it’s taught me even more. Because of that, I urge you to always be open to the life lessons the game has to offer. I guarantee that they’ll make you a smarter, more successful and more contented person.

One more thing: Although golf is a game of infinite subtlety and possibility, always remember that the door that leads to its inner secrets and rewards is marked fun.

Kindest regards,
Jim

Rory Beats Tiger in the Duel at Jinsha Lake

The Worlds number one ranked golfer beats the worlds number two ranked player in the Duel at Jinsha Lake, that means Rory beat Tiger in the first one-on-one exhibition match between golf’s two biggest names.

 

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have a light moment when they wait to receive their trophies. Photo / AP

Tiger & Rory/ Photo / AP

Rory engineered  a 5-under 67 round to beat Tiger by one stroke in an 18-hole match between these two top-ranked golfers at the Jinsha Lake Golf Club in central China overnight, where the total money prize was a reported $US two million.

Tiger may have lost this match, but he said it was fun;

” This is certainly not like most Mondays, to have this many people come out and watch us play golf in an exhibition was something special. This doesn’t happen, as far as doing something like this down the road, it would be fun.”

This event is the first time the two golfers had played head-to-head without other competitors, and it probably won’t be the last given the spectator interest and support for this match-up. It could become similar to the rivalry between Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray that have made men’s tennis so exciting in recent years.

Tiger thinks it could only be good for the game of golf;

“If you look at the history of the game, it’s not like other sports where the guys play against each other all the time. Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer didn’t go at it that often. But you know what, if we can do this for the next 10, 15 years, then certainly we can have that type of rivalry. I think having matches like this to promote the game of golf is what it’s all about. We’re trying to promote the game of golf in this region and it’s come a long way since my first time here 11 years ago.”

Rory’s win was some consolation for not winning his last tournament, when he was in position to do so;

“It’s been a nice distraction to not dwell on what happened yesterday. I let a great chance to win a golf tournament slip through my fingers. Coming to do something like this today has definitely made it a little easier to deal with.”

The game of golf is certainly taking off in China, and sponsor ship events like this will only help towards spreading the news and attracting youngsters to the game. Apart from the golf on offer, there were stunt planes buzzing overhead. A fleet of Rolls Royce’s elegantly whisked the players to the course, cruising past helicopters for sale and Aston Martins and Maserati’s, all with showgirls draped over them. After the two struck a gong to open the event, fireworks exploded behind them and confetti cannons rained gold flakes over the jostling crowd. Not sure what that was all about, but the crowd seemed to enjoy all the razzmatazz.

Presidents Cup, Freddie asks Big Jack for Help

Jack Nicklaus   

Jack Nicklaus                                                                            Freddie Couples

Presidential Cup Captain for the U.S. team Fred Couples had  asked the mighty Jack Nicklaus  the 18-time Major championship winner, to be an assistant captain on the American side for the Presidents Cup on Oct. 4-6, 2013.

Big Jack had to decline the offer, due entirely to his responsibilities as Host of the tournament at Muirfield. Jack just wants to be a cordial, not involved and unhurried host for the event at the course he designed.

“Freddie paid me a nice complement by his suggestion, it was very thoughtful of him. I would love to, but I simply can’t. I have duties as host, so that would not be the right thing to do.”

Jack Nicklaus is a four-time U.S. captain in the Presidents Cup, and  didn’t take Freddie  seriously when he first proposed the idea. But Freddie  was very serious.

“I wasn’t joking about it, when we were here at Muirfield Village last night, I said; Could I pick him? A couple of guys from the Tour said, ‘Yeah, he would love that.’ And then a couple other guys; maybe one pretty high up there said, He’s hosting the thing, he can’t do that. Then Jack winked at me and said, But I can be in your team room all you want.”

International captain Nick Price and Freddie Couples are friends, Nick joked about Freddie’s laid-back appearance;

“One thing you’ve got to be careful with Fred with his laid-backness, he wants to win as much as anybody. Even though he looks like he’s about to fall asleep on the golf course. I’m trying to figure out how we as the International Presidents Cup team can get that same buzz that the Europeans got on Sunday at The Ryder Cup.”

The Presidents Cup has taken on an enormity of it’s own, now that the Americans have lost the Ryder Cup, could they lose both tournaments in the same year ? Given the American dominance in this tournament it is unlikely, but; on Sunday the Americans were 200-1 on, to win the Ryder Cup, could lightning strike twice?

Ryder Cup, There’s Tension in the Air.

There is tension in the air as the Ryder Cup closed on the second day with the U.S.A. in firm command of the situation, with a little help from the officials and the rub of the green, which always went in their favor.

Jim Furyk first objected to a ruling given to Graeme McDowell on gaining relief from a sprinkler head, Furyk stated there should be no relief given and called for the head referee, who then subsequently changed the original ruling. Jim said of the affair;

“I looked over to see what was happening, I saw that he was going to get relief and get to probably drop the ball into the fringe so they’d be putting rather than chipping.  When I looked to see where the ball was, I believe it was a good four inches, I’m being probably conservative, four to five inches ahead of that sprinkler head. They were going to gain a big advantage by being able to drop that ball. He had a sticky lie and a very delicate chip and to be able to putt that ball would have been a huge advantage and I really didn’t feel in any situation, whether it be matchplay or medal play, that it could be deemed a drop.”

Europe's Graeme McDowell

Seems like Jim wants to win at any cost. What a different point of view than that of  Jack Nicklaus who 1969 conceded a putt to Tony Jacklin, to halve the entire match.  By giving Jacklin the putt, Nicklaus made the half look less like an accomplishment by the British (who had won the cup only once since 1933) than like a personal gift from Nicklaus. It also left forever hanging the possibility that the reigning British Open Champion might have gagged over his eighteen-incher. That’s one of the cool things about match play.

Later in the day Bubba Watson was given relief from the opposite side of the bleachers from the nearest point of relief, he chipped on and made birdie, any complaint from the Europeans, no absolutely not, the referee made a ruling and they got on with it. Justice was done in the end when McDowell and McIlroy won their match. But really sad to see the lengths some people will go to just to make sure they win. As they say in America, that was a win/win situation. The affair has put Jim Furyk into a bad place with regards good spirit and fair play, and how people all over the world gauge him as a man.

The U.S.A. finished the day still leading the Europeans by a comfortable margin, 9-4, and it will take a super human effort from the Europeans on the last day to change the course of this match. I just hope that tomorrow some of the decisions and bounces will go their way and make it an even contest. Tiger Woods suffered his third straight defeat in this Ryder Cup, eroding his record in this contest even further, his only chance of a point will come in the singles. Tiger is, and always has been a loner, and as such he will summon the effort required to win his singles match.

Europe managed to avoid a sweep, thanks to who else?  Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, who beat Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson 1 up. Poulter has Europe’s best winning percentage in Ryder Cup play with a 10-3-0 record, and there was no way he was going to let the Americans take a point from his match.

“It was absolutely key, Jose put us out No. 1 for a reason, and that’s to get the point and put the point up on the board.”

If Ian’s fighting spirit becomes contagious, the Europeans do still have a fighting chance, but no betting man would put his money on them. In the afternoon Ian and Rory secured the last point of the day, with Ian’s 5th straight birdie.

Arnold Palmer Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor

palmer_boehner_300.jpg

The Great Arnold Palmer

 The Great Arnold Palmer joined the company of elite Americans like George Washington and Neil Armstrong, when he was honored for his far-reaching lifetime contributions on Wednesday by being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The Speaker of the House John Boehner, praised Arnold during the ceremony in the Rotunda of the Capitol building, he said;

“He didn’t set out to change the game. But he did. Arnold Palmer democratized golf. And made us think that we too could go out and play, and made us believe we could do anything really. All we had to do was go out and try. You’ve struck our hearts and our minds, and today your government and fellow citizens are striking the Golf Medal for you.”

Arnold has become the sixth athlete to be honored with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon any living citizen, following Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates, track and field Olympic champion Jesse Owens, Brooklyn Dodger pioneer Jackie Robinson, boxing legend Joe Louis and of course fellow golfer Byron Nelson.

Arnold mentioned Byron and the respect golfers have for each other in his acceptance speech;

“It’s interesting that two of the six recipients of the honor have been golfers. I like to truly believe that golfers promote some sort of human value that symbolizes so many Americans, such as characteristics of honesty, hard work, dedication, responsibility, and respect for the other guy. I hope I can thank you properly and tell you how much it means to me to be here to accept this award. I’m very humbled, thank you very much.”

Jack Nicklaus, a fellow competitor on the Golf course as well as in business, honored his close friend, with a heartfelt speech built around the theme of the Arnold Palmer I’ll never forget. Jack reiterated the story about the first time he watched Arnold hit a ball, at age 14. He was standing and watching in awe at Sylvania C.C. outside Toledo, Ohio as Arnold hit piercing long irons into the rain, on the driving range before the 1954 Ohio Amateur Championship, which Arnold went on to win. Jack said;

” Arnold embodied the hard-working spirit of America, and he played a game we all could try to be good at.”

Among Arnold’s numerous charitable contributions include the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, the Arnold Palmer Prostate Center in California and Arnie’s Army.

Congratulations Arnold, and I hope you have tried the putter I sent you.



Augusta National Admits Women, The Times They Are A Changing

Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore made History by being accepted by Augusta National, the women to be welcomed as members.

The home of the Masters now has green jackets for women, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore have become the first female members since the Augusta National club was founded in 1932,  and current chairman Billy Payne said on Monday;

“This is a joyous occasion. These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well-known and respected by our membership. It will be a proud moment when we present Condoleezza and Darla their green jackets, when the club opens this fall. This is a significant and positive time in our club’s history and, on behalf of our membership, I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome them and all of our new members into the Augusta National family.”

Hootie Johnson, who retired as chairman in 2006, said Monday;

” This is wonderful news for Augusta National Golf Club and I could not be more pleased. Darla Moore is my good friend, and I know she and Condoleezza Rice will enjoy the Club as much as I have.”

Darla Moore said of her acceptance at the club;

” Augusta National has always captured my imagination, and is one of the most magically beautiful places anywhere in the world, as everyone gets to see during the Masters each April. I am fortunate to have many friends who are members at Augusta National, so to be asked to join them as a member represents a very happy and important occasion in my life. Above all, Augusta National and the Masters Tournaments have always stood for excellence, and that is what is so important to me.”

Condoleezzer Rice is looking forward to playing the course;

” I have visited Augusta National on several occasions and look forward to playing golf, renewing friendships and forming new ones through this very special opportunity. I have long admired the important role Augusta National has played in the traditions and history of golf. I also have an immense respect for the Masters Tournament and its commitment to grow the game of golf, particularly with youth, here in the United States and throughout the world.”

Tiger Woods commented;

” I think the decision by the Augusta National membership is important to golf. The Club continues to demonstrate its commitment to impacting the game in positive ways. I would like to congratulate both new members, especially my friend Condi Rice.”

Jack Nicklaus, the six-time Masters champion and an Augusta member, offered his welcome to the two women;

” Everyone at Augusta National shares a similar passion for the game of golf, and I know they will be great additions to the club. “

Well done Augusta National, now that the female member debate has finally ended, lets all go play golf.

 

 

Royal Lytham, the 141st Open Championship.

The gallery’s around Royal Lytham are in anticipation of the 141st Open Championship, which starts in earnest on Thursday this week. The players have a lot of respect for the Old Claret Jug, revering its history, not even having a celebratory drink from it, no Champagne, nothing.

The current holder of the Claret Jug is Darren Clarke, who is well-known as a man who partakes of a tipple or two. Darren has too much respect for the trophy to even think about sipping a drink from it. Darren said after handing the Claret Jug back to the R&A  on Monday morning;

“I didn’t at any stage put any fluid in it. It is just too special a trophy. I have so much respect for the Open Championship, and I couldn’t get myself to do it. I was tempted on the Sunday evening and the Monday evening and Tuesday evening and Wednesday evening, and for about two weeks afterwards. But I never put anything into it.”

Talking about this years tournament, Darren has said the 206 bunkers on the course will really get everyone’s  full attention;

“It’s just a nightmare, they are very penal. There’s going to be occasions here this week where I think you’re going to see guys taking penalty drops out of them because they won’t be able to move their ball anywhere. Accuracy is going to be the key this week. It’s not really length off the tee, it’s keeping it on the fairways and keeping out of those bunkers.”

Darren Clarke

Darren Clarke hands back the Claret Jug to Peter Dawson, CEO of the R&A. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

In 1969 The Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes was won by a nervous Tony Jacklin, he was the first Brit to win the old Claret Jug since the legendary Max Faulkner in 1951. At his presentation ceremony Tony turned to Jack Nicklaus and said;

” I didn’t think I could be so nervous and play. And he said: ‘I know, isn’t it great?’  I’d never been that nervous before.”

Talking of nervous people, Bubba Watson is having some trouble concentrating on this tournament, it is the first time he has been out of the U.S. away from his wife and new-born son. Bubba said on Monday;

 “No matter if I’ve won the Masters or not, I have a lot going on in my mind, I’ve got issues. It’s only Monday right now so I’m real calm. There are a lot of things running through my head. This is a week that my wife is not here, my new son is not here, so the first time out of the country away from them. My head is always racing about something. I’ve got to calm my mind down and focus on golf and try to get better. When I focus right, I play pretty good, and when I don’t focus right, I miss the cut pretty quick.”

Just to really focus the players minds, apart from the 206 bunkers, the rough is deep and lush because of the unusually wet spring England has experienced.  Royal Lytham club professional Eddie Birchenough attest’s;

“If you get in some parts of the rough then players won’t even be able to find their feet.”

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