Jason Gore
Jason Gore made the 250 yards remaining on the 18th look so easy. (Via @PGATour/Twitter)

Jason Gore was 2 over on his day when he pounded his tee shot down the fairway on the par-5 18th.

Then he grabbed his fairway metal and took aim at the pin.

Double eagle anyone?

 

 

(Yes. Yes, we saw that Jason Gore.)

The hole-out moved him to 3-under for the tournament.

Gore is a California native and a graduate of Pepperdine University.

He has one PGA Tour victory - the 2005 84 Lumber Classic.

Gore started his day on the back 9 after weather prompted Tour officials to adjust the day's schedule because of the weather forecast.

 

 

Jason Gore makes albatross on the 18th at Torrey Pines
January 29, 2016 - 10:19am
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T.J. Auclair
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Kelly Mitchum
Pinehurst Resort
Kelly Mitchum, lead instructor at the Pinehurst Golf Academy, pulled off arguably the greatest "three-putt" ever executed. See it for yourself.

It doesn't happen often, but every now and again you stumble upon a truly "wow" type of golf video... or a friend in the business hits up your inbox with one.

Folks, this is one of those.

Alex Podlogar, Media Relations man at Pinehurst Resort, sent in this video featuring Kelly Mitchum, the lead instructor at the Pinehurst Golf Academy -- and a four-time PGA Championship participant -- executing the best "three-putt" these eyes have ever seen.

Let's go right to the tape:

 

That is simply amazing, isn't it?

It might even be better than this Mitchum effort from last July.

Pinehurst PGA Professional holes best "three-putt" you'll ever see
Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America
PGA of America board member Lynn Swann sees getting more youths involved as the best way to grow the game.

When it comes to growing the game of golf, PGA of America Board Member Lynn Swann is fully in favor of the youth movement sweeping tournament golf right now.

But he's aiming at a generation even younger than the one dominated by Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler. Speaking at the PGA Merchandise Show on Thursday, Swann said the aim is to provide opportunities right now for future PGA Professionals. 

"I think we always grow the game best by taking it to young kids," Swann said. "I think reaching out to kids, not only to the ones whose parents belong to clubs and play golf, but to those kids in urban settings who don't have access to the game. It's about teaching the game and creating the joy of playing golf. 

"They may never become golf professionals in terms of on the PGA Tour. But they can help develop the game in golf design or being PGA Professionals, running golf shops and things of that nature. So giving them the opportunity of seeing what the avenues are is how we grow the game that way."

The 63rd PGA Merchandise Show is a perfect example of that, according to Swann. Not only is the Show a chance for PGA Professionals to conduct business, learn new skills and network, it's an opportunity to showcase the sport for people who may never have the skills to play golf on television for money but still want to pursue a career in the game.

"It's a great opportunity for golf professionals around the world to come in and see the latest technology of golf, the latest equipment and clothing, the things they want to put in their pro shops," Swann said. "But it's also an opportunity to learn. There are a lot of teaching sessions for PGA Professionals and interns, young men and women who want to get into the golf business.

"It's also a great opportunity for young kids to be here and see the technology and innovation that surrounds the sport. A lot of people think they want to be involved in sports by playing the game. In reality, there's so many other things around the business of sport that creates opportunities for everyone."

Swann said he picked up the game while playing football at Southern California, but didn't really get serious about golf until after he retired from the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1982. 

"I had some friends who played golf," Swann said. "I had a friend named Charles Lyons who had a company called Holiday Golf Products. They had a line of products which eventually became TaylorMade. And Charlie was a lawyer by education and a USC grad. But he was a club designer. I played with his son who was about 13 years old at the time and he beat me handily. 

"But after I retired from football, I started picking up the game and just thoroughly enjoyed it."

When asked whether he was more nervous lining up on offense in the Super Bowl or teeing off at Augusta National Golf Club, the NFL Hall of Famer didn't hesitate -- he was way more comfortable with a helmet and shoulder pads than golf spikes and a driver in hand.

Much of that, Swann said, comes down to practice and preparation, plus motivation and desire. You don't win four Super Bowl rings without putting in the hours of preparation during practice, no matter how much natural ability you might have. And Swann said that's the same thing with golf.

"It's really any sport, or anything you do in life," Swann said. "As a professional football wide receiver, I would work every day on drills to have the skill set of catching the ball and running the correct route. Did I know how to run a route? Absolutely. Did I know how to catch a ball? Absolutely.

"But every day, it's important to ingrain the basic fundamentals over and over again, so when it comes time to do it, you're not thinking about it. Instead, it looks like you're just reacting to the situation. That's practice, that's preparation. And golf is the same way."

So how does Swann approach golf? It's serious fan -- and he tries to enjoy his time on the course instead of worrying about how he's playing.

"I'm not trying to be (a tour professional), so I take enough lessons and practice enough to have fun and go out and enjoy the game," Swann said. "Will I make bad shots? Absolutely. But I don't get upset about it because I haven't put in that kind of time or work. I just love the game, want to play it and compete at it to the best of my ability."

 

Lynn Swann: Next generation is the key to growing the game
USA Today Sports Images
How much of a correlation is there when Dustin Johnson wins using TaylorMade equipment?

Win on Sunday, sell on Monday? Maybe that's an oversimplification of the correlation between PGA Tour viewership and golf product sales. But despite the number of variables involved, there's a way to "connect the dots" in a way that grows the game.

It's obvious that Tiger Woods' success generated huge interest in golf. That's an easy correlation to draw. But it's more complicated than that, TaylorMade research engineer Brian Bazzel said Wednesday at the PGA Merchandise Show.

According to Bazzel, the tournament golfer is just one piece of the complete picture of the growth of the game of golf. More viewers watching on television means more eyeballs noticing what brand of equipment the leading players are using.

"There's a lot of connective tissue between what you see on television and playing golf," Bazzel said. "For us, one of those things is our product. You see it on television and there is a correlation there between what viewers see and people going to buy it."

But that's not the only factor, Bazzel said. Local PGA Professionals can provide a secondary influence on their own clientele. So forging relationships at the PGA Merchandise Show is a critical component of TaylorMade's marketing strategy.

"They translate to the golfers around them," he said. "We spend a lot of time connecting those dots because it does help us grow."

So what's the short-term and long-term prospects for the game? Bazzel said his company is "really optimistic." TaylorMade just added to its arsenal with the M2 driver, fairway wood and rescue club, fleshing out what it calls the "M family." 

"Just over the last few months, it's been incredible -- not only the feedback for our latest product -- but the messages we're translating to the golfer," Bazzel said. They seem to be resonating. And that didn't just happen over the last couple of months."

And a lot of that can be indirectly related to the emergence of a new generation of tournament players with definable and marketable personalies.

"I can't tell you personally how excited I am for 2016 with all the players bringing this sport up," Bazzel said.  "I feel they're lifting the sport up and bringing more people into the game."

The key for TaylorMade and the rest of the golf industry is finding a way to make their messages resonate with people just being introduced to the game.
 
"We're working on more focused product launches and meaningful technologies," Bazzel said. "We're taking it to levels that are surpassing things that we've done in the past. And what does that mean for us? I think it continues to keep growing. 

"We are really optimistic."

As long as golfers at home are watching -- and then buying -- that's a recipe for continued growth.

Growing golf involves PGA Professionals, equipment manufacturers and the public
Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America
Matt Adams moderates The History of the PGA Golf Professional with Dennis Satyshur, Hal Sutton, John Steinbreder and Billy Dettlaff during the PGA Merchandise Show.

Today's PGA Professionals share a common foundation that stretches all the way back to Scotland and Allan Robertson, the first golf professional. And the growth of the game directly relates to the love of the sport, particularly as the PGA of America celebrates its centennial in 2016.

PGA Professional Billy Dettlaff and longtime writer and editor John Steinbreder shared their talents in the production of recently-published "The Official PGA of America Centennial Book," and shared some of their experiences in putting it together Wednesday during a panel discussion at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando.

Dettlaff's family has been involved in professional golf for more than a century. His father won a match in 1921 to earn his first job at a public course in Oshkosh, Wis., then became a PGA Professional two years later.

It's those experiences handed down through the family that intrigued Dettlaff enough to research more about the PGA of America and how the profession has evolved since the formation of the organization in the spring of 1916.

"Part of this exercise was to search out the foundations of the game and understand what it was like when my dad was a professional," Dettlaff said. "I don't believe the game could exist without the PGA Professional at the heart of the game.

"It goes back to Allan Robertson, the first recognized golf professional in St. Andrews, Scotland -- a fifth-generation feathery ballmaker who was a great player in his own right, considered the king of the game. He was the genesis of where we are today."

If there's an overriding theme to the book, it's how PGA Professionals have spread the sport through mentoring. For 1983 PGA Champion Hal Sutton, that meant more than just the game itself.

"I played at a little nine-hole golf course in Shreveport and a guy named Ed Peck was the professional there," Sutton said. "He actually finished second in the Armed Services to Orville Moody. So he was a good player. He mentored me as much about life as he did about my golf swing.

"I'd get there from school at 3 o'clock, and he knew I loved to drink Dr Pepper. So he'd have one sitting there on the table and ask, 'Tell me how your day went, pal.' And we'd talk about that for a few minutes and then we'd talk about what was going on in my golf game. He had an interest in my life, not just my golf game. And I think that's what a lot of PGA Professionals do."

What Dettlaff and Steinbreder learned during the compilation of biographies from more than 100 prominent PGA Professionals is how much institutional knowledge is being lost in the passage of time. Dettlaff used an African proverb.

"Any time an old man dies, it's like a library burning down," he said. "And what I hope the book will do is inspire people to study our history and to reach out to some of the older professionals and listen to their stories."

 

New book on PGA of America's history focuses on 'life's lessons'
Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America
Lee Trevino and PGA Professional Bill Eschenbrenner reminisced about their early days in El Paso.

Lee Trevino was inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame for his on-course achivements, but he realizes that if not for a few big breaks, he might be attending this year's PGA Merchandise Show in a different capacity.

Speaking on Wednesday as part of the #ThxPGAPro initative, Trevino admitted he owes the PGA of America a huge debt of gratitude for allowing him to pursue a professional golf career.

"The PGA of America has always had a big place right here in my heart for me," Trevino said. "They're the ones who gave me the shot. With the PGA card that I got in 1967, I finished fifth at Baltusrol in the U.S. Open and won it the next year. And at that time, they had a rule that if you won the PGA Championship or U.S. Open before 1970, you got a lifetime exemption. That is a huge, huge deal."

It allowed Trevino to continue playing long enough to win six majors -- including two PGA Championships -- one coming after he was struck by lightning at the Western Open in 1975 and suffered a back injury serious enough to require surgery to remove a disk. 

Trevino's dedication to his craft is legendary, but he said that pales in comparison to the sacrifices PGA Professionals make every day.

"Over the years, I've come to realize how hard these people work: lady PGA members, men PGA members or anybody associated with a club," Trevino said. "I always put it this way -- here's a person who works holidays, weekends, puts on tournaments, rules, separates fist fights, they're psychiatrists, they're doctors. They do everything. And they don't have a punch clock. And hopefully the members appreciate that."

Trevino grew up in a house with dirt floors and no plumbing or electricity, went to work helping pick cotton when he was 5, worked as a caddy as a teenager and eventually joined the Marines at 17. He won his first tournament in Asia, then returned to El Paso following his discharge from the military.

At that point, he assumed he'd always work at a club, picking the range or working behind the desk. But fate intervened. After qualifying for the 1966 U.S. Open and making the cut, Trevino broke into the spotlight at Baltusrol the following year. And the rest, they say, is history.

His son, Daniel, is pursuing a professional golf career as well. But he recently graduated from Southern Cal, a decision Trevino said should be a no-brainer for anyone not named Jordan Spieth.

"I was wrong about Jordan Spieth," Trevino said. "But I didn't think he was going to make $300 million by leaving college after one year. I told my son, 'Don't worry about him. He's doing fine. If he gets to the point where he can't play, he can buy a college and attend it.' "

One surprising fact you might not have known about Trevino? He carried a pistol in his golf bag for many years. It came about after several golfers were robbed while playing rounds for money at public courses in the area.

"Being Hispanic, I used to carry a knife," Trevino said. "But I wanted something that would bark here and bite over there. Then when they started checking luggage, I couldn't carry the .38 any more."

Now 76, Trevino said his daily schedule rarely varies.

"I get up every morning at 5, take my little puppies outside at 6," he said. "I'm in the gym by 7:30, I go to the golf course by 10, then I bob like a cork about 4 on the couch and then go to bed about 8:30 and start it all over again the next day."

It's hard to imagine golf history without the Merry Mex. His trademark smile. His open stance and power fade. His battles with -- and a rubber snake for -- Jack Nicklaus.

For all the respect Trevino has earned from playing golf, he reserved his respect for the more than 28,000 PGA Professionals who serve the PGA of America.

"I don't know who would want this job," Trevino said. "They are a special, special group of people -- these PGA Professionals. I have a lot of admiration for them.

"This is where I would have ended up. I would have been doing the same thing but I practiced hard enough to where I was a player instead of a PGA Professional."

Lee Trevino has the utmost respect for PGA Professionals