Amateurs Pony Up 10K Play Golf Like Poker

By Associated PressMay 15, 2007, 4:00 pm
PRIMM, Nev. -- In poker, they say all you need to win is a chip and a chair. At the World Series of Golf, it's a ball and an attitude.
Sixty amateur golfers each ponied up $10,000 to tee off Monday in a three-day golf tournament that uses poker betting in place of traditional scoring.
'It's a lot like poker in the sense that the whole thing is a game of pressure,' said Steve Dannenmann, one of five poker pros who traded the felt for the greens at the Primm Valley Golf Club, some 40 miles south of Las Vegas. 'But there are no bad bets on the golf course, until you chunk it.'
Unlike regular golf, it's not the score that matters most, but how many chips each player has left. Each golfer starts with 10,000, meticulously accounted for by a croupier in a cart who tallies the round of betting before each shot.
Players can go all-in after their tee shot, or, if they happen to be in a fairway bunker while their opponents are on the green, can fold, pick up their ball and walk to the next hole. The player with the fewest strokes on the hole wins the pot.
'You could have three good holes and clean someone out,' said Terry Leiweke, president of the tournament that airs in June on NBC. 'You don't even need to have a great round.'
In Dannenmann's group, the skills were so raw that the players took out their drivers more often to measure two club-lengths from the water hazards than to hit their ball off the tee.
Scott Tucker, a 44-year-old Las Vegas businessman, used his errant slice to keep himself from betting too much on early holes when antes were low.
'I'm hiding in the bushes,' he said. 'Let them wager a lot, at least for the first three holes when I don't lose a lot.'
Like in poker tournaments, small antes kept the betting reasonable early. But the automatic bets double, starting at $100, every three holes.
Grilon Rodas, a 34-year-old land use consultant from Palm Springs, Calif., folded so often that he didn't end up putting until reaching the 12th green.
'That's the second putt I've hit all day,' he said after sinking one from six inches.
Len Fattori, a 59-year-old retiree from New Jersey, breathed a sigh of relief after draining a two-footer to split a $4,400 pot.
Just like in poker, pot odds play into strategy.
Players with the best lie and closest to the pin tend to bet the most, while other players facing tough putts or even chip shots tend to fold.
On the par-4 13th, Dannenmann was in the best shape after two shots, needing a long putt for birdie and $13,900 already in the pot. Tucker was past the green in the rough, and Fattori was short and to the right.
After Tucker and Fattori checked, Dannenmann bet $3,000. Since Tucker only had $2,100 left, he called. 'I'm almost out, so I've got to try to be in the game,' he said.
Fattori eyeballed a difficult chip onto a two-tiered green. 'It's four-to-one to try to get it up and down,' he grumbled. He called.
Tucker chipped to within 10 feet, Dannenmann putted to within four.
Fattori chipped onto the slope and watched his ball roll away into the recesses of the lower tier. 'Fold,' he said, picking up his ball in disgust. Because he'd pushed all-in, Tucker had to make the putt.
He missed, and Dannenmann sank his to win the pot.
After shaking hands with the group, Tucker headed home. Dannenmann offered a consolation: 'You come to Vegas, we're partying all night.'
On the opening day's final hole with only Dannenmann and Rodas left -- good golf and good luck came into play.
With a $12,800 ante and only $13,600 left, Dannenmann hit his ball into the water on the challenging par-5 second hole (play extends beyond 18 holes if no one has won the round). Rodas landed in the rough off the tee and pushed all-in, which Dannenmann had to call.
Rodas' third shot went through the green and headed precariously toward the reeds of a green-side water hazard before an extra tall tuft of grass kept the ball from going in the drink. After Dannenmann hit his next shot into the water again, Dannenmann conceded the hole, the match and the $10,000 entry fee. 'He's the better player,' he said.
Rodas credited his late mother, who taught him the game of poker, with saving his skin. 'I've got to chalk that up to my mom's watching me now.'
Play continues Wednesday toward the $250,000 grand prize. The tournament is set to air on NBC Sports June 23 and 24.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''

DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship

Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: