Golf Buzz

November 5, 2013 - 7:40am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Brandt Snedeker
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Brandt Snedeker has withdrawn from the Australian PGA Championship after suffering an apparent knee injury in China.

Brandt Snedeker, the No. 9-ranked player in the world, has withdrawn from this week's Australian PGA Championship citing an injured knee.

Snedeker, who was in Shanghai last week where he tied for 55th in the WGC-HSBC Champions, would have been the second highest ranked player in the Australian PGA behind Masters champion and world No. 2 Adam Scott.

Brian Thorburn, Chief Executive Officer of the PGA of Australia, announced Snedeker's withdrawal to reporters on Monday.

"The most important thing is of course Brandt's health," said Thorburn in a report that appeared on the Australian PGA's website.

"Brandt is a player who is held in very high regard wherever he goes and while we're obviously disappointed he won't be playing this week, our thoughts are with him and we wish him a speedy recovery."

There's no word yet on what may have caused Snedeker's knee injury.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.


November 4, 2013 - 3:33pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Edwin Watts Golf
Edwin Watts Golf Shops expects that many of its stores will remain open after the bankruptcy reorganization.

Edwin Watts Golf Shops LLC, long one of the most prominent golf retailers in the United States, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  

The Fort Walton Beach, Fla.-based chain, which is owned by the Sun Capital Partners private equity firm, is seeking a court-supervised auction of its assets by Dec. 6, according to papers filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. The company estimated its liabilities and assets of $100 million to $500 million, according to the court filing.

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PNC Bank, which Edwin Watts Golf Shops owes $50 million under a secured financing agreement, will lend the company $38 million to keep it operating until the sale is completed, according to a Reuters report. "A significant number" of its stores – there are about 90 currently operating, most in the Southeast – are expected to stay open, though no specific number has yet been finalized, the company said in a statement.

Edwin Watts, a 22-year-old golf professional at the time, opened his first store in Fort Walton Beach back in the 1960s, and built a chain of stores that thrived for many years. Watts sold the business to private equity firm Wellspring Capital Management in 2003, and Wellspring Capital sold it to Sun Capital in 2007. The company also operates a prominent website.



November 4, 2013 - 1:36pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Ernie Els
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Ernie Els, not happy with a new playing requirement by the European Tour, will skip the season-ending tournament in Dubai.

South Africa's Ernie Els, a four-time major champion and former world No. 1, is so incensed by the European Tour's increased playing requirements that he's decided to skip next week's flagship season-ending event in Dubai.

In a report by Reuters, Els expresses his discontent with the European Tour's new regulation that its members must play two of the three events leading into Dubai to be eligible for the $8 million season finale.

From the report:

"I don't think they really care," Els said wearily when asked how the tour had reacted to the news that their most celebrated veteran member would not play in Dubai.

"Why would they make a decision like that and expect guys to play? It's farcical. In my view it's an absolute joke."

Els, who is also a member of the U.S. PGA Tour, said he understood why the European Tour wanted to coax its top players into contesting more of the big-money Asian tournaments.

"I can see (the tour's point of view) but it's crazy," he said. "I've been playing both tours since 1994 and it's been no problem but for some reason now the European Tour expect us to play a full schedule.

For nearly two decades, Els was the non-European face of the European Tour, where he's collected 28 victories.

The new two-out-of-three rule, Els said, may force him to pick between the PGA Tour or the European Tour instead of playing both as he's done for years.

"Now we have to make a decision where we never used to do that," he said. "Guys are not going to keep doing that. We've got families and schedules to keep."

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

November 4, 2013 - 12:32pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture

Are you tired of hitting clunky, inconsistent pitch shots around the green?

PGA Professional Rob Labritz has just the drill for you in today's golf tip to ensure you hit crisp, consistent pitch shots.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair

November 2, 2013 - 5:31pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Gus Wortham Park Golf Course
Gus Wortham Park Golf Course in Houston is the oldest 18-hole golf course in Texas.

Like too many historic city golf courses, Gus Wortham Park Golf Course in Houston needs a little help. Fortunately, some significant assistance might be on the way.

Built back in 1908 as the Houston Country Club, Gus Wortham is the oldest 18-hole golf course in Texas. It became the Houston Executive Club in 1957, and the city bought it and renamed it in 1972. The course winds through a wooded green space along Brays Bayou only a few miles south of downtown.

Like many government-owned courses, Gus Wortham has struggled to stay in good shape in recent years, and there has been talk of repurposing the course for other non-golf activities, including relocating a botanic garden there.

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But a group called the Friends of Gus Wortham is petitioning the city to prevent that from happening. More important, the group has formed a non-proft corporation, and now can accept donations to help save the course and improve it.

The group is raising money for short-term improvements, according to The Houston Chronicle, and is talking with architect Baxter Spann about revamping the driving range and installing lights and automated ball machines to allow golfers to practice after sunset. In addition, Houston philanthropist Preston Moore Jr. has donated an undisclosed amount of money to the project, the paper said, and might kick in some more as the process continues. 

Eventually, the Friends of Gus Wortham would like to renovate the entire facility. According to the group's website, an estimated $9.2 million makeover would include fixing up the course; creating a new entrance to the facility and renovating and adding to the parking area; and building a new clubhouse, along with a new restroom and maintenance facility.

Joe Turner, the city parks director, is on board with at least part of the renovation effort, according to the Chronicle. But the group is still actively seeking golfers to sign a petition to prevent non-golf development on the site.