Graeme McDowell has gotten engaged to his long-time girlfriend Kristin Stape, he announced on Wednesday in Dubai.
G-Mac took Stape up to the helipad – 656 feet off the ground – at the spectacular Burj al-Arab Hotel in Dubai to propose two weeks ago, he said, then played the Australian Masters before returning to Dubai for this week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship on the European Tour.
"I did it properly, getting down on one knee," said the 33-year-old Northern Irishman. "She was very shocked and had no idea what was going on."
McDowell first met Stape several years ago when he contacted her Orlando interior design business to decorate his home. Coincidentally, he is responsible for Darren Clarke getting together with his new wife, former Ms. Northern Ireland Alison Campbell – McDowell set them up on a blind date.
Missing three footers giving you fits? Ready to snap your driver because you can't find a fairway? Relax, it's just a game - it's supposed to be fun. The joy of the game is the challenge. It's not like your efforts are going to put you in a mental institution -- well, unless you're this guy.
Rickie Fowler fans know that the kid loves motorcycles and fast cars almost as much as he loves golf. He even spent last weekend in Austin hanging out with the Red Bull folks at the Formula 1 Grand Prix.
And on Monday night, he was talking cars with some fans on Twitter. A fellow auto enthusiast said he knew Fowler had a Nissan GTR, a Porsche 911 GT3RS and a Cadillac Escalade, and asked Fowler what other vehicles are in his stable. Fowler responded that he also has a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X and a 1966 Mini Cooper S, which, he said, has the steering wheel on the right side.
The shaggy one also shared pictures of a couple of his favorite rides, which I have cobbled together above. The one on the left is obviously the Mini Cooper, and the one on the right is the Porsche 911. As different as they are, they both look exactly like what you’d think Rickie Fowler’s cars would look like – cool, and ready to roll!
With the arrival of Thanksgiving Week, golf season around much of the country is winding down -- or at least slowing down -- so it’s a good time to take a look at what kind of a year the industry is having.
A few days ago, I posted an item reporting the good news that rounds played through the first three quarters of 2011 were up about 9 percent nationwide over the same period in 2011. That info came from the National Golf Foundation's State of the Golf Industry Update, which also takes a look at several other aspects of the industry. Here are some more details from that report:
Golf Course Operations: Logically, golf courses operators have benefitted most directly from the jump in rounds played. PGA PerformanceTrak reports golf fee revenues up nearly 9 percent at member facilities, and these facilities report similar gains in food, beverage and merchandise revenues. However, the report noted, the weather, local competition and the state of local economies drive individual course performance, and stressed that courses are battling harder than ever for business.
Golf Course Development: U.S. golf course openings remain at historic lows and that won't change for the foreseeable future, said the NGF. Course closures will be about the same as last yea, and the NGF believes this gradual reduction of the number of courses open for play is expected to continue into at least the near future.
The good news is that golf course transaction activity has increased in 2012 as distressed properties are being purchased by opportunistic entrepreneurs, many of whom continue to operate them as golf courses rather than re-develop them. Some of the factors preventing course owners from turning their courses into housing developments or finding other uses for them are the lack of available credit, low commercial space occupancy rates and large amount of houses already on the market.
Outside the United States, golf course development continues to grow. The NGF says it has identified more than 150 new course openings in the last two years, and is aware of more than 300 new courses currently under construction in 85 countries around the world.
Golf Equipment: Sales of golf equipment continue to trend upward after bottoming out in 2009, says the NGF. Wholesale golf club sales are up more than 8 percent in 2012 (in both units and dollars). While still below pre-recession levels, the report adds, this evidence of recovery is encouraging.
Interestingly, however, the sale of golf balls has yet to recover, even despite this year’s 9 percent increase in rounds played. In fact, the total dozens of ball shipped this year has actually dropped over the last year, though the dollar amount paid for those balls has risen over last year.
Adam Scott was thrilled to finally win the Australian Masters, a tournament he has watched since he was small boy.
Announcers on Australian television were equally thrilled to have one of their own charging to victory in the final round.
Always prone to witty metaphors, one of the announcers during Saturday's third round said, "Adam Scott has the Miss Venezuela of golf swings."
With no further explanation or follow up, it was left up to the viewer to decide what that meant. The picture above should help.