Golf Buzz

August 16, 2012 - 3:19pm
Posted by:
Joh Holmes
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As Tee It Forward hit the one-year mark in July, the National Golf Foundation conducted a survey of 700 golfers about their familiarity and perceptions of the program.

For those not aware, Tee It Forward is a national initiative to encourage golfers to play courses at lengths better suited to their game – meaning at shorter yardages than they typically play. Tee It Forward wants golfers to be able to hit their approach shots into the greens using a similar club to what elite players might use in the same situation, which for most of us means moving up to forward tees to hit or drives.

About two-thirds (66%) of what the NGF designates as “Core Golfers” are aware of the Tee It Forward program, according to the survey, and among them, 40 percent have actually tried Tee It Forward. The demographic group most aware of the program and most likely to have tried it, the NGF says, is golfers age 60 and up.

As you might expect, the more committed golfers are more aware of the program – 73 percent of what the NGF calls “Golf Nuts” know about Tee It Forward, while 63 percent of “Hooked Golfers” are aware and 42 percent of “Casual Golfers” know about it.

The program also has had more success at private clubs than at public facilities, and that makes sense seeing as how club members are more likely to be avid golfers.

More than half (55 percent) of the surveyed golfers who had tried Tee It Forward said it made their round more fun – and of the women who were surveyed, 61 percent said it made their day more enjoyable.

Judging by this survey, Tee It Forward is off and running, especially at private facilities. The big challenge ahead is getting it implemented at more public courses and reaching less-than-avid golfers. The good news is, those casual golfers are likely the ones who could most benefit from playing from forward tees.

Have you tried Tee It Forward yet? What did you think? I'd like to know.

More on Tee It Forward:

--PGA and USGA step up to new set of tees

--Adams knows how to make golf more enjoyable

--Golfers move up, have fun teeing it forward

--PGA and USGA urge golfers to Tee It Forward in 2012

--Nicklaus, Johnson and Creamer encourage golfers to Tee It Forward

--Golf Association of Philadelphia enjoys success with Tee It Forward

--Steve Eubanks: Tour players make the case for Tee It Forward

2012 Ryder Cup
European Tour
Thomas Björn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley have been tabbed vice captains to assist José María Olazábal at Medinah.


Thomas Björn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley will serve as three of the four vice captains who European Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal will take to Medinah Country Club in Chicago, Ill., Sept. 28-30 for the 39th Ryder Cup.
August 16, 2012 - 12:35am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Gold medal and Wienermobile
An Olympic gold medal and the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile were unique attractions in their own way at pro-ams on Wednesday.

Golfers from around the globe won't tee it up in the Olympics until 2016, but several PGA Tour players got to gawk at a gold medal on Wednesday. Former Wake Forest basketball star Chris Paul played in the Wyndham Championship pro-am, and he brought his prize possession wth him. Several players got their picture taken with the medal, and Paul even let his fellow Demon Deacon and defending Wyndham champion Webb Simpson try it on.

All the way across the country at the pro-am for the LPGA Tour's Safeway Classic, the players there got a pro-am treat of their own -- the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was on hand. Amanda Blumenherst was one of several players who got her picture taken with it.

As much as I love all kinds of cars, seeing a gold medal up close is clearly cooler than seeing the Wienermobile. But would it be cooler to try on a gold medal or drive the Wienermobile? In that case, I'd hop behind the wheel in a heartbeat.











August 15, 2012 - 8:40pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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The "Adventureland Golf" exhibit
The "Adventureland Golf" exhibit in Blackpool, England, has provoked a variety of reactions.

The northwestern part of England hosted the British Open in July, with Ernie Els winning at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Just up the road from Lytham is the coastal resort town of Blackpool, where golf is again making headlines. This time, though, it’s for an unusual art exhibit at the Grundy Art Gallery.

Called “Adventureland Golf,” the exhibit is essentially a miniature golf course where some of the nine holes contain what the Grundy Gallery calls “cheeky and fun challenges,” while other holes make statements on politics, life and death.

The first hole contains signs by British artist David Shrigley that say things like “Respect Your Opponent” and “Golf Isn’t Boring.” The final hole features black mausoleum-like slabs, which artists Zatorski and Zatorski say means that you’ve realized your final challenge and your game is over.

In between is a hole with a playful, multi-eyed green monster from artist Pete Fowler, while another has a desert island from Brian Griffiths and another contains a boarded-up library that artist Jonathan Allen says represents the loss of cultural services because of the austerity measures that Britain and other European nations are now undertaking.

The hole attracting the most attention, though, features a likeness of Adolph Hitler – hit your ball through Hitler, and he raises his right arm in a salute. Artists Jake and Dinos Chapman created the hole as a juxtaposition of the Nazi regime that terrorized Britain within the context of holiday fun, says the Grundy Gallery, and in doing so references the British wartime spirit of making humor at Hitler’s expense.

Not everyone seems to appreciate the artists’ vision, however. Michael Samuels of the Board of Deputies of British Jews has condemned the piece, according to The Guardian newspaper of nearby Manchester, and declaring that it has "absolutely no artistic value whatsoever."

Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones wonders exactly when an image of Hitler becomes offensive.

“Hitler as a crazy golf statue apparently offends. But what about Basil Fawlty (of the TV show ‘Fawlty Towers’) doing his funny walk, Mel Brooks' Hitler musical in ‘The Producers’ or the bizarrely characterful portrayal of Hitler in the film ‘Downfall’?,” he asks. “Why should the Blackpool Hitler be seen as an outrage too far, when this vicious mass murderer is such a familiar, even comic image in our culture?”

That’s a judgment for each individual museumgoer to make. As for me, I have the sudden urge to go play Putt-Putt – but I think I’ll stick to windmills and loop-de-loops.

August 14, 2012 - 9:02pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Rory McIlroy and Gerry McIlroy
Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America
The hug from his dad that Rory McIlroy got after winning the PGA Championship meant as much as the trophy or the prize money.

As we officially put the 2012 PGA Championship to bed, here are some record-book tidbits from Rory McIlroy’s big win:

-- His eight-shot margin of victory set a new PGA Championship record, breaking the old mark of seven shots set by Jack Nicklaus in 1980 at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y. Coincidentally, the 2013 PGA Championship will be played at Oak Hill. McIlroy also won the 2011 U.S. Open by eight shots.

-- The victory returned McIlroy to No. 1 in the world ranking.

-- McIlroy became the youngest player since Seve Ballesteros to win two majors. Tiger Woods was about four months older than McIlroy when he won his second major.

-- McIlroy's win ends a streak of the last 16 majors going to 16 different winners -- a stretch that coincided with Woods' drought in golf's biggest tournaments. Woods hasn't won a major since 2008.

-- Europeans had gone 78 years without winning the PGA Championship. Now they've won three of the past five (Padraig Harrington in 2008, Martin Kaymer in 2010, and McIlroy).

-- McIlroy is the first major champion to go bogey-free in the final round since Phil Mickelson at the 2010 Masters.

-- Five courses of at least 7,550 yards have been used in major championships. Two of those majors were won by McIlroy (2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional), two by Woods (2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah) and the other by Y.E. Yang (2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine).

And finally, the image at the top of this post is the best one I saw all week – and believe me, I saw a million of ‘em. Congrats to photographer Montana Pritchard, who captured this shot of McIlroy embracing his dad, Gerry, after the extra-long final day. The stories of McIlroy’s parents sacrificing so much to make their son’s golf dreams come true are well-known, and this shot certainly shows that the McIlroy family bonds are stronger than ever.

August 13, 2012 - 2:42pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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14th tee on Copperhead Course at Innisbrook
Getty Images
The long par-5 14th hole on Innisbrook's Copperhead Course is named after Richard Nixon.

Just in time for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, the Innisbrook Golf Resort is temporarily renaming the holes on its famed Copperhead Course after the past 18 Republican presidents of the United States.

The resort, which hosts the PGA Tour's annual Transitions Championship on the Copperhead Course, is serving as the home base of delegates from Florida and South Carolina, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, and decided to honor the GOP presidents during the convention.

Each Republican president will get his own hole, and the presidents were assigned to holes in chronological order starting with Abraham Lincoln and ending with George W. Bush.

The Business Journal’s Chris Wilkerson had some fun in coming up with descriptions for the holes using their presidential namesakes. Here are some examples:

--1. The Abraham Lincoln is a 500-yard, par 5 stalwart. It is a long hole that will punish a golfer for straying. It is the kind of first hole that lets you know you are in for a war.

--6. Benjamin Harrison is a dangerous par 4 with large trees crowding a skinny fairway. Harrison’s advice on the Copperhead sixth would be to spend money. Maybe buy a beer from the drink cart zipping up the fairway — Harrison signed the first ever billion-dollar budget.

--7. President William McKinley helped usher in an era of economic expansion at the turn of the century. His hole is a forgiving par 4 with a wide fairway and a shady cart path for enjoying the beer bought during the Harrison administration.

--9. The front nine closes with a salute to the first president who truly loved golf — William Howard Taft. The Taft hole is a long, open par 4 with a slow rise to the pin. The presidency was only the halfway point in Taft’s career. He went on to be the chief justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

--12. On the 12th, golfers can lose their fortune in golf balls at the most dangerous water hazard on the course. The 12th belongs to Herbert Hoover, whose presidency saw many Americans lose their fortune in the Wall Street crash of 1929.

--14. The Richard Nixon is … well … tricky. A long par 5 with two dog legs and a lake, the Nixon is set up to be the course’s signature hole. And yet somehow, after playing this picturesque hole with its sweeping view and made-for-TV vistas, golfers can’t help but walk away scratching their heads.