September 12, 2012 - 12:39pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Arnold Palmer at Congressional Gold Medal ceremony
Courtesy C-SPAN
Arnold Palmer expressed his humility and gratitude for receiving the Congressional Gold Medal on Wednesday.

Two days after his 83rd birthday, Arnold Palmer received the Congressional Gold Medal today in Washington, D.C.

In a special ceremony in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building at 11:00 a.m., Congressional dignitaries from both parties gathered to present Palmer with the award. Jack Nicklaus and singer Vince Gill also took part and, afterward, the PGA Tour hosted a celebratory luncheon in the nearby Cannon House Office Building.

As Mike McAllister at PGATOUR.COM reports, the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom – which Palmer received in 2004 – are the highest civilian awards in the United States. The Congressional Gold Medal dates back to the American Revolution. Each medal is created by the U.S. Mint individually to honor the individual and achievements for which the medal is awarded. The other golfer to receive one is Byron Nelson.
 
Palmer is receiving the Gold Medal in recognition of his service to the nation in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship in golf -- and, no doubt, for inventing his delicious iced tea/lemonade drink. I think I’ll have one this afternoon to show my appreciation.

If you'd like to watch the ceremony, you can see it here in the C-SPAN archives.

 

 

September 11, 2012 - 11:00pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
2012 European Ryder Cup team
Getty Images
The Europeans won the Ryder Cup in 2012, but SkyBet thinks Team USA will prevail in Chicago.

The Ryder Cup is still a couple weeks away, but your chance to bet on them is here already – well, if you’re in Great Britain, anyway. SkyBet is just one of multiple UK bookmakers offering a smorgasbord of wagers on the Ryder Cup, and here is a rundown of some of their most fun ones:

-- Who will win? Team USA is currently a 4 to 5 favorite, and SkyBet’s John Rhodes told England’s PA Sport news service that “all the money so far has been for the USA, with little or no interest in the European side as yet.”

-- Will Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods meet in singles? If they do, SkyBet’s odds that Tiger will win are 12 to 1, while the odds on McIlroy to win are actually a little worse, at 14 to 1. The odds of a halve are 40 to 1.

-- Who will be the leading points scorer? Tiger is the choice as Team USA’s leading points-getter at 5 to 1, with Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker next best at 8 to 1. On the European side, McIlroy is also a 5 to 1 favorite to be leading points-scorer. Luke Donald is next at 13 to 2, while Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter are both 7 to 1.

-- What will the final score be? The most popular choices so far are for a very tight match that ends 14 1/2 to 13 1/2. The odds for an American win by that score are 10 to 1, while the odds for a European win by that score are 11 to 1. The odds are exactly the same (10-1 USA, 11-1 Europe) if you believe one side or the other will win by 15 to 13.

-- Will there be a hole-in-one? Three of the last nine Ryder Cups have had an ace (there were two each in 1995 and 2006). The odds of an ace are 7 to 2. But the odds of any individual player making one range from 100 to 1 to 125 to 1.

-- Who will score the winning point or half-point? This is one of the most impossible bets to get right, considering that players who have clinched recent Ryder Cups range from Graeme McDowell to Paul McGinley. The leading choice is Tiger at 14 to 1, with Rory right behind at 16 to 1. The longest odds are on Paul Lawrie at 50 to 1.

I don’t know about all these bets, but I do know this – because so many of the competitors are in such fine form these days, it’s a slam dunk that this Ryder Cup will be one of the best ever. I can’t wait for it to start.

 

September 11, 2012 - 10:31am
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
U.S flag on golf course
The PGA of America
Golf has a long history of honoring those who serve and those who sacrifice for this country.

 

Do you remember where you were 11 years ago this morning? I was coming off the overnight shift at Headline News when my stepdad called and told me I was sleeping through the biggest news story of my generation.  Though I didn't really believe him, I turned on my t.v. just in time to see the second plane hit.  I don't remember doing much else that day except sitting on the couch - feeling really angry, a little scared and very unsure of anything.
 
About two weeks after, after being glued to the news - at work and at home - I needed a break. And what better place to get a break than heading to the golf course.  Yes I felt guilty to some degree, playing golf when we were still searching for bodies, but my emotional and physical state really did need to "disconnect" for a spell.
 
I went to a local muni course, I don't even remember the name now, but I do recall getting paired up with two other guys who were out there for the exact same reason I was - just to feel normal again.  They felt the same anger and guilt I had - and of course, the conversation was dominated by our perspectives of how we should react and where the country was headed.
 
I also remember the course had replaced its normal flags with American flags on all the pins.  I think this is fairly common now for various occasions, but this was the first time I had seen this.  It meant a lot to me. Not sure why, but it did.
 
In the aftermath of 9/11 and the two wars that have commenced since - this nation has seen a large number of heroes sacrifice so much to protect our freedoms, pursue our enemies and defend this great nation. And in many ways, the golf community has been a leader in honoring them.
 
My friends at Folds of Honor and Patriot Golf Day have certainly had a large impact, as well as great organizations like Golf 9/12 and Birdies for the Brave. In fact, there are literally hundreds of groups that have sprung forth based on golf, or are using golf, to honor and remember the events and the aftermath of that fateful day.
 
It's a silver lining to a very dark cloud, but it shows the bonding and triumphant spirit of the American people and the common love of golf that gives us the spirit and opportunity to do great things when times require great effort. 
 
Working in the golf world is so much more rewarding than working in the news business, and this is a big reason why.  Rather than telling the story, there's now an opportunity to be a part of - and shape a really good story.  And collectively, golf allows us to make our healing and our support of our troops a really really good story. 
 
Think back to this day in 2001 and how horrible you felt. Then come back to the present and remember how great it is to live in this country. 
September 11, 2012 - 7:25am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Lake of Isles
Troon Golf
The second hole at the Lake of Isles North Course in North Stonington, Conn., is one example of the second-to-known foliage you can see while playing fall golf in New England.

 

The fall golf season is right around the corner. Born and raised in New England, I can't think of a better time of year to play golf than in the fall.
 
For starters the summer heat fades steadily once we hit the month of September. It's still warm enough that you don't need to bundle up. September and October are typically the two most comfortable months of the year to play and they stay mostly dry. 
 
After a comfortable round over the weekend that required a light jacket for the first few holes before the sun broke through the clouds, it made me realize just how much I love golf in the fall here in New England.
 
This morning when I woke up, the temperatures were in the 50s and we're going to max out at a high around 70 today. Does it get better than that?
 
And then, there's the New England foliage. No matter the course, each hole looks like a painting when the leaves on the trees are changing color.
 
Finally, there are some great deals. For instance, there's a place not far from my home in Rhode Island called Crystal Lake Golf Club. They're running specials throughout the fall, including just $100 for all-you-can-play golf throughout the month of October. September is just $200 for all you can play.
 
If my boss can't get a hold of me for assignments once we get through our Ryder Cup coverage at the end of the month, direct him to the above paragraph and he'll know where to find me!
 
Do you experience the beauty of the fall season where you live? If so, do you have any deals you can share with our readers? Leave a comment in the comments section below and let us know.
 
September 10, 2012 - 5:32pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Rory McIlroy
Getty Images
The big trophy is from the Western Golf Association, while the smaller trophy is from the BMW Championship.

A few quick items of note from last weekend’s tournament action:

BMW Championship
--Rory McIlroy won the BMW Championship six days after capturing the Deutsche Bank Championship, making him the first player to win two straight PGA Tour playoff events since Tiger woods did it in 2009.

--He also now has won three of his last four starts, when you include the PGA Championship. The one he didn’t win was The Barclays, where he tied for 24th place.

--The BMW Championship was McIlroy’s sixth career win on the PGA Tour. Only Tiger Woods (with 15 wins) and Jack Nicklaus (with eight) have won more times before turning 24. McIlroy turns 24 next May. He’s also won in Dubai and Hong Kong on the European Tour, so he actually has eight career wins around the globe.

Kingsmill Championship
--Jiyai Shin edged Paula Creamer Monday morning on the ninth hole of sudden death, after they had played eight extra holes without a resolution on Sunday. After tying in regulation, they played the 18th hole eight straight times Sunday night, and both players parred it every time. On Monday, they played the 16th hole, and Shin won when Creamer three-putted for bogey.

--Their playoff was the second-longest in LPGA Tour history. The longest came at the 1972 Corpus Christi Civitan Open, when Jo Ann Prentice needed 10 extra holes to upset Kathy Whitworth and Sandra Palmer. The third-longest was Cristie Kerr's victory over Seol-An Jeon on the seventh extra hole in the 2004 LPGA Takefuji Classic.

--The longest playoff in PGA Tour history lasted 11 holes between Cary Middlecoff and Lloyd Mangrum in the 1949 Motor City Open. After the 11th hole, the players mutually agreed to quit, and they were declared co-winners. On the Champions Tour, the 1998 Royal Caribbean Classic went 10 playoff holes before David Graham defeated Dave Stockton.

KLM Open
--Peter Hanson won the KLM Open on the European Tour with an eagle on the last hole. Not sure how often that has happened, but it’s fairly rare – although, of course, just two weeks ago, Eugene Wong canned a 133-yard 9-iron approach shot on the final hole of the Canadian Tour Championship for a walk-off win. Hanson’s eagle wasn’t quite as dramatic, as he only had to make a 35-foot putt for his eagle – and that’s the last stroke he’ll make in competiton until the Ryder Cup.

And speaking of Eugene Wong …
--He won the Great Waterway Classic on the Canadian Tour on Sunday, giving him two victories in a row – just like Rory McIlroy! Seriously, Wong is a rookie on the Canadian Tour after a stellar college career at Oregon – where he was coached Casey Martin and won the 2010 Jack Nicklaus Award as the nation’s top collegiate player. A native of Vancouver, he was also the PAC-12 player of the year in both 2010 and 2012, and just turned pro this summer. It’ll be no surprise if he shows up on the PGA Tour within a couple of years.

September 10, 2012 - 10:51am
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture

From our friends at Devil Ball Golf:

"Our scene: the Lakeridge Golf Course in Reno, Nevada. An as-yet-unidentified golfer struck a ball that broke a window in the courseside home of Jeff Fleming, age 53. According to Washoe County authorities, Fleming came out of the house brandishing a shotgun and fired at two golfers on the 16th hole."

Seriously?  Doesn't buying a home on a golf course come with some implied (or explict) risks? Come out and get some information,  maybe yell at the guy to go get some lessons - but shoot him?  

Anyways, more on the story here.