Monthly Archives: June 2019

Kelly wins hometown PGA Tour Champions event

MADISON, Wis. — Jerry Kelly won his hometown PGA Tour Champions event, beating Retief Goosen with a birdie on the third hole of a playoff Sunday in the American Family Insurance Championship.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 at rainy University Ridge to match Goosen and tournament host and fellow Madison player Steve Stricker at 15-under 201.

“The chills were flying up and down,” Kelly said. “It was pretty amazing. My mom saying the sun came out, my dad was there. I haven’t won since my dad passed, so this was the first one and I was talking to him all the time. There were a lot of birdies coming up and chirping right next to me and I was like, `Hey, hey, Dad, how are you?’ It was kind of surreal.”

Goosen also had a 66, and Stricker shot 67.

“The playoff was exciting stuff,” Goosen said. “It was good to be in that sort of fight again. It’s been a while since I’ve been in that kind of position and it’s nice to finally get in that position. Now we can grow on that and I’m looking forward to the U.S. (Senior) Open next week.”

Stricker was eliminated with a bogey on the first extra hole. He missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th in regulation.

“I had some opportunities coming in at 15, 16, 18,” Stricker said. “Pretty cautious with some of the putts. Didn’t hit some of my best putts. Then had the opportunity to win it all right there on 18. Misread it a little bit. I didn’t think it was going to break as much as it did and it just snapped off at the end.”

Kelly won on the par-4 15th after the playoff opened with two trips down the 18th. Kelly has four victories on the 50-and-over tour after winning three times on the PGA Tour.

“It really is truly awesome,” Kelly said. “It’s about friends and family and to be able to do it in front of everybody … this is pretty sweet.”

Duffy Waldorf was a stroke out of the playoff after a 68.

Kevin Sutherland (63) and John Daly (66) followed at 13 under.

Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz tied for 76th in the 78-man field at 12 over with rounds of 76, 78 and 74. Making his third tour start, the former Atlanta Braves star got into the field on a sponsor exemption.

 

 

Chez Reavie wins first PGA Tour event for 11 years at Travelers Championship

Chez Reavie took advantage of a three-shot swing at the 17th hole to win his first PGA Tour event in 11 years by four strokes at the Travelers Championship on Sunday.

Reavie birdied the penultimate hole where challenger Keegan Bradley made double-bogey to turn a one-shot Reavie lead into a winning four at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut.

Making mostly pars, the 37-year-old Reavie saw much of a six-stroke overnight lead evaporate but his one-under 69 was enough to see him hang on for the victory at 17-under 263.

His only other PGA Tour victory came at the 2008 RBC Canadian Open.

“It means everything,” said Reavie, who had undergone wrist and knee surgery since the 2008 win. “I had to stay patient today. Keegan was playing great and I kept missing putts,” he said.

“Finally I made one on 17 and kind of turned the corner.”

Bradley and compatriot Zack Sucher tied for second at 13-under after both shot 67s.

Vaughn Taylor (65) finished fourth at 12-under, while Paul Casey (65) shared fifth with Joaquin Niemann (66) and Kevin Tway (67) who were another stroke back. Reavie’s victory came a week after he tied for third at the US Open.

Golf-Aussie Green makes first LPGA win a major at Women’s PGA

June 23 (Reuters) – Australian Hannah Green made her first LPGA Tour victory a major when she won the Women’s PGA Championship by one stroke from Park Sung-hyun in Chaska, Minnesota on Sunday.

Green got up-and-down from a greenside bunker at the final hole, sinking a clutch four-foot putt for the victory at Hazeltine National.

She carded an even-par 72 to complete a wire-to-wire triumph.

Green finished at nine-under 279, while last year’s champion Park (68) birdied the final hole for second place on 280.

Masters Week gets even better: Topgolf is reportedly coming to Augusta

For those lucky enough to land tickets and make the trek to Augusta, Masters Week just got even better. Topgolf is coming to town.

According to Augusta’s CBS affiliate, News 12, plans from a Topgolf developer have been submitted to the city, and the photo will no doubt have golf fans in Northeast Georgia salivating. Look at those neon lights!

Topgolf driving ranges have exploded in popularity. According to its website, Topgolf now has 64 locations around the U.S., the UK and Australia. (It was actually founded in 2000 just outside of London by twin brothers.) Topgolf claims that more than half of its guests describe themselves as non-golfers – but it says here that the ratio of golf fanatics will be higher at the Augusta shop.

The best part of the local news story is the guy who describes Topgolf as “putt-putt on steroids.” Putt-putt? Topgolf features climate-controlled hitting bays, food and drinks and flat-screen TVs, plus leagues, tournaments and corporate events. They’re massive, and they’re a blast.

And Augusta is of course one of America’s golfiest cities, especially during the second week of April. (Even the town’s minor league baseball team is nicknamed, the “Green Jackets.”) It’s a natural spot for expansion.

The cost of the project was not known, but a quick scan of a prominent franchising website pegs the cost of a new Topgolf at anywhere from $15 million (Austin, Texas) all the way up to $50 million (Las Vegas). The timeline for completing the Augusta project was not yet known, but the location will reportedly be along Riverwatch Parkway and I-20, near the city’s lone Costco. That spot is only a couple of miles from Augusta National’s main gates, so fans who pour out of the tournament looking to take some swings will have a new outlet.

The Masters can’t get here soon enough.

Travelers Championship, Round 2: Leaderboard, tee times, TV times

The second round of the Travelers Championship takes place on Friday from TPC River Highlands. Here’s how to follow all the action.

Round 2 leaderboard
Round 2 tee times

HOW TO FOLLOW

TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:45 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS).

PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. (featured groups). Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (featured groups), 3-6 p.m. (featured holes). International subscribers (via GOLF.tv): Thursday-Friday, 11:030 to 22:00 GMT. Saturday-Sunday, 13:00 to 22:00.

RADIO: Thursday-Friday, noon-6 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.COM).

FEATURED GROUPS

Bubba Watson/Brooks Koepka/Tony Finau
Round 1: 7:45 a.m. ET (No. 10); Round 2: 1 p.m. ET (No. 1)

Phil Mickelson/Jordan Spieth/Marc Leishman:
Round 1: 1 p.m. ET (No. 1); Round 2: 7:45 a.m. (No. 10)

Paul Casey/Jason Day/Bryson DeChambeau
Round 1: 12:50 p.m. ET (No. 1); Round 2: 7:35 a.m. ET (No. 10)

Patrick Cantlay/Francesco Molinari/Justin Thomas
Round 1: 7:35 a.m. (No. 10); Round 2: 12:50 p.m. ET (No. 1)

MUST READS

Featured Groups

Casey continues to shine in Connecticut

Burgoon cards opening-round 64

Cantlay stays positive, continues strong play

Rising stars take on TPC River Highlands

7th ANNUAL MEAC GOLF TOURNAMENT THURSDAY JULY 25TH

Join us this year for the 7th Annual MEAC Golf Classic. This tournament is one of the Biggest and Best events in Hampton Roads.

Will Cool Clothes Make Young People Love Golf?

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Last Tuesday, as men in penny loafers descended on this golfers’ paradise, Stephen Malbon surveyed the backyard of a Spanish Colonial mansion and lit up a fat blunt. A hundred or so people had come to celebrate a collaboration between his apparel brand, Malbon Golf, and Beats, the headphone maker. “There’s still a lot of people coming,” he said, exhaling a thick cloud of smoke as Kanye West boomed in the background.

“Most golf parties, I don’t want to go to,” Mr. Malbon said. “It’s all white dudes in blazers and khaki pants. It’s like a bank party with a bunch of, like, bankers.”

He sauntered up to a makeshift putting green, where Schoolboy Q, a rapper, was demonstrating his swing for Tony Finau, the 16th-ranked player in the Professional Golfers Association.

“I try to golf every day,” said Schoolboy Q, whose given name is Quincy Matthew Hanley. He started playing a year and a half ago, after a friend bet him $10,000 that he couldn’t make a birdie (a score of one stroke under par) in two years. “The third time I ever played, I got a birdie,” he said. “That was the only birdie for like four months. But this guy,” he said, pounding Mr. Malbon on the shoulder, “plugged me with a lot of golfers, golf connections. I play with people like him and me, people that wanna change the game, people that don’t care about wearing their hat backwards until somebody says, ‘Hey, you gotta turn your hat around.’”

Pebble, Bethpage results only make Tiger’s Masters win more remarkable

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – As Tiger Woods stepped to the microphone after a frustrating third round, one that torpedoed any chances of a fourth U.S. Open title on an overcast and chilly afternoon at Pebble Beach, he offered a surprising bit of candor.

When it comes to health matters, Woods usually likes to keep things close to the vest. He built a legendary intimidation factor in part on the lack of a perceived weakness, and that tendency carried over even as his body began to break down years ago. But this time, with the kinesiology tape peeking out visibly from beneath his gray sweater, Woods took off his cap, wiped his brow on both sleeves and opened up.

“When it’s cold like this, everything is achy. It’s just part of the deal,” Woods said. “It’s been like that for years.”

The chase for a 16th major has not gone as planned. Woods was clearly ailing at last month’s PGA Championship, dealing with an undisclosed illness that offered another example of his penchant for keeping disclosed details to a minimum when it comes to his health. While he seemed in better spirits this time, returning to the site of his most dominant victory, the margin for error in a USGA setup is razor-thin. Woods didn’t have it this week, saving his best golf for a back-nine rally Sunday when he was as far off the lead as his closest pursuers were 19 years ago.

That was another round where the KT was visible along his neck, this time black to match his final-round color scheme. It was there last summer at Carnoustie, when he finished in a tie for sixth, and his neck was cited as the reason he skipped the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.

Even with a fused back allowing him to return to a competitive level, at age 43 Woods is never going to be fully healthy. It’s simply a matter of managing various degrees of discomfort.

“My back impacts every shot I play. It’s just part of the deal,” Woods said. “Let me put it this way, I feel every shot I hit. I think that’s always going to be the case from here going forward.”

It’s a sobering take from a man who knows his body better than any fan with WebMD at the ready. The chances that Woods’ body and game align at a major will be slim moving forward, especially when the temps remain stuck in the 50s as they have been at each of the last two events and could again next month.

But knowing that he has a finite amount of arrows in the quiver should also make his Masters win in April seem all the more remarkable in hindsight.

“It was impressive anyway, no matter how he played here or at Bethpage. The colder weather, I think it affects a lot of guys,” said Marc Leishman, who played with Woods in the final round. “But no matter how he plays from here, that Masters win was impressive.”

Woods’ body was surely an obstacle at Augusta, when he chased down Francesco Molinari and held off Brooks Koepka. Just look at the context clues: he dealt with nagging issues last summer, and again during a stop-and-start Genesis Open in February, before opting out of Bay Hill. With the Masters final round pushed up because of expected weather, you could almost sense him doing the mental math on exactly how early he’d need to wake in order to give his body a chance to function properly.

And yet despite it all, knowing that chances to win after 54 holes won’t grow on trees from this point forward, he steeled his nerves and slipped into a green jacket. The fact that he then skipped the Wells Fargo Championship showed how much the Masters took out of him, both physically and emotionally.

So moving forward, Woods will likely speak with optimism before every major, just as he did at Bethpage before cobbling together a forgettable result. But the raw, physical truths won’t go away. Woods is at a point where every swing, every start comes at a cost – and it’s been that way for a while.

“The forces have to go somewhere,” Woods said. “And if they’re not in the lower back, they’re in the neck. And if they’re not in the neck, they’re in the mid-back, and if not, they go to the knee. You name it.”

Granted, the margin for error and level of familiarity Woods enjoyed at the Masters is unparalleled at the other three majors. The old feels didn’t count for much at either Bethpage or Pebble Beach, two places he had won before, and he’ll now face his biggest unknown with Royal Portrush, a course he’s never played. But as was the case with Jack Nicklaus, the magic amid the azaleas still seems to have a tangible impact each spring.

“If there was any major he was going to win, it was going to be Augusta. He’s just so good around there,” said Jason Day at Pebble Beach. “You don’t really need to hit a lot of drivers around that golf course. Even still here, but at the U.S. Open you’ve got to keep it straight down the middle.”

After closing out his final round and leaving the Monterey Peninsula with a deceptively respectable T-21 finish, Woods was peppered with questions about his upcoming schedule. Attempts to subtly dodge the topic didn’t do the trick, so Woods again spoke with unusual candor and laid out the hard truth: he won’t play competitively in the month leading up to The Open.

“It’s just trying to wind down from the championship, as well as my lifts and getting back into it,” Woods said. “And I know that Florida will not be the same temperature as Northern Ireland.”

Wind down. Gear up. Adjust for climate. Anticipate future aches and pains. It’s all part of the process now, one that has produced a lean-as-possible schedule in the wake of his Masters victory and one that will likely lead to far more misses than hits when it comes to contending on a major stage.

But it’s also a set of circumstances that should make it easier to appreciate the moment it all came together in April, when Woods put all the obstacles in his way on his aching back and still came out on top.

Recovering Wie set to return at KPMG Women’s PGA

Barring a setback in her preparation, Michelle Wie appears poised to make her return to golf at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., this week.

Wie, who has been out for two months healing from multiple ailments in her right hand, is in Minnesota getting ready for Thursday’s start of the third women’s major championship of the year.

“She’s planning to play,” David Leadbetter, her swing coach, told GolfChannel.com. “She’s starting to feel quite a bit better, but she fatigues quickly. She tells me she’s being pretty sensible in how she’s approaching things. She really needs to pace herself.”

Wie, 29, is trying to make her way back after undergoing surgery last October to repair an avulsion fracture, bone spurs and nerve entrapment in her right hand. She made her return from surgery at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February, tying for 23rd. A week later, she withdrew in the first round of her title defense at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore, saying “nerve entrapment” was still an issue. After taking five weeks off, she missed the cut at the ANA Inspiration and two weeks later missed the cut at the Lotte Championship, after which she announced she would be taking time off to more fully heal.

“She only started chipping and putting a couple weeks ago or so, then slowly made her way to hitting balls,” Leadbetter said. “She is obviously going to be rusty, from a tournament situation, and fatigue’s a factor.

“I’m sure she will be restricting her practice this week. It’s just nice to see her back. She still has that desire to compete.”

Wie is scheduled to come in to the Women’s PGA Media Center for an interview at noon ET on Tuesday. She is grouped with Lydia Ko and Minjee Lee in the first two rounds, slated to go off at 10:19 a.m. on Thursday and 3:44 p.m. on Friday.

Leabetter is helping Wie with a swing that will put less pressure on her wrists.

“It’s a more body-oriented swing, with the arms, wrists and hands playing less a role,” Leadbetter said. “It’s more about rotation, than sliding.”

Donald Trump visited the golf course for the 198th time as President

Donald Trump paid a June 16 visit to Trump National Golf Club, Washington, D.C. in northern Virginia, representing the 196th time the 45th President has visited one of his 17 golf clubs (and, for most of them, presumably played some golf) since becoming President on Jan. 20, 2017. He has now paid 198 visits to any golf course as President.

Trump arrived at the club at approximately 10 a.m. on Sunday, as Trump continues to be criticized for saying he would consider taking information from a foreign government in an effort to impact the 2020 presidential election. He’s also dealing with the resignation of press secretary Sarah Sanders.

Trump ended 2017 with 91 golf course visits and was just shy of 100 visits in Year 1 as President. In his second year as President, Trump played golf 76 times. All but two rounds of golf has been at his clubs, playing once in Japan in Nov. 2017 with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and Japanese star pro Hideki Matsuyama, then playing with Abe again in May 2019.

The White House doesn’t typically acknowledge Trump was even playing golf. That is commonplace policy, particularly when Trump isn’t playing with celebrities or pro golfers or doesn’t have something to flaunt. Typically, the White House press pool indicates when Trump arrives at his golf clubs, then they are held in a holding location until Trump is done and moves to his next location.

However, if he’s going to the golf club for about 4-5 hours, you can be pretty sure he’s playing golf. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has asked the White House to provide the names of Trump’s golf partners, as well for his clubs to provide visitor logs to get a sense of when Trump has played golf and with whom.

The President is certainly entitled to some leisure time, and golf has been an outlet for most Commanders-in-Chief dating back to the early 20th century. However, the reluctance to even acknowledge that this President plays golf conflicts with his almost relentless criticism of his predecessor, Barack Obama, who played an estimated 333 rounds of golf as President.