Teed off Golf course smoking bans anger golfers

By Associated PressMay 7, 2009, 4:00 pm
SPOKANE, Wash. ' For the cigar-smoking golfer, 18 holes and a stogie rank with peanut butter and jelly or gin and tonic among lifes ideal combinations.
 
Thats why recent efforts across the country to ban smoking on public golf courses are being greeted by those players like a triple bogey. In the balance between individual rights and public health, weekend duffers feel authorities have become unreasonable.
 
The city of Spokane just tried to ban smoking on its four public golf courses, only to be stymied by an outcry from players and smoking rights advocates.
 
Golf and cigars go together like a hand in a glove, said Dale Taylor of Tacoma, president of the Cigar Association of Washington, a smokers rights groups. That may be the only time some people smoke.
 
Washington state is among the least hospitable places for smokers, with no smoking allowed in any public indoor space, or outside within 25 feet of a door or window. But the proposed smoking ban on public links has struck a nerve, in part because of the vastness of golf courses. Playing a typical 18-hole course, such as Downriver in Spokane, means traveling easily more than three miles.
 
If I was just walking and somebody was 300 feet away, Im bothering them? avid smoker and golfer Greg Presley told the Spokane parks board during a public hearing. Weve got to have some common sense.
 
Evidence of the illnesses caused by second-hand smoke has led to widespread bans on indoor smoking nationwide in recent decades. The great outdoors is now at the forefront of campaigns led by smoking opponents, and hundreds of places ban it in outdoor restaurants, parks and beaches, said Annie Tegan, of the Seattle office of Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, which seeks to limit smoking.
 
Because bans are enacted at the local and state levels, it is difficult to determine their exact number of them. Tegan knew of about a dozen communities that have banned smoking on public golf courses, including San Francisco, Glendale and Pasadena in California; Hawaii County, Hawaii; Bloomington, Minn.; Goshen, Ind.; Abilene, Texas; and Arvada, Colo.
 
The Hilo Municipal Golf Course is the only public course on the big island of Hawaii, and last years ban on smoking in all public parks, beaches and other recreation facilities has not been popular, said assistant pro Sharol Ayai.
 
Theres big-time complaining, Ayai said. The golfers will still smoke because most feel it is unfair. We all pay taxes.
 
Ayai said the ban, which does not apply to private golf clubs, has not had much impact on the number of rounds played at the course, in part because it is ignored.
 
Some communities that tried to ban smoking on golf courses, like Thousand Oaks, Calif., relented after complaints by golfers, whose fees support the facilities.
 
You really have to stretch things to imagine you are offending anybody when you are outside smoking cigars, said Gordon Mott, executive editor of Cigar Aficionado magazine, which includes a monthly feature on smoking and golf.
 
Some non-smokers oppose outdoor smoking bans as intrusive government.
 
Its a disgusting habit, but people have a right to make choices, Spokane resident Joel Bark told the local Parks Board during the public hearing.
 
Patrick Reynolds of the Foundation for a Smokefree America acknowledged that moving the anti-smoking fight from indoors to outdoors was cutting edge.
 
But these are in fact reasonable laws, Reynolds, grandson of tobacco pioneer R.J. Reynolds, said. Second-hand smoke causes lung cancer.
 
The bans also are aimed at reducing litter, he said.
 
Smoking bans also have been imposed on spectators at pro golf tournaments. Last month, there was a no-smoking zone for the first time at the Masters. The U.S. Open in 2008 at Torrey Pines banned smoking by spectators because San Diego had banned smoking in its parks, beaches and public golf courses. But players were allowed to smoke.
 
With little advance notice, the Spokane parks board voted in March to ban smoking in all city parks, including golf courses. An existing law already prevented people from smoking near playgrounds, swimming pools or other parks facilities, so the board didnt think many would care when it decided to ban smoking entirely, parks spokeswoman Nancy Goodspeed said.
 
They were wrong.
 
The outcry from smokers and libertarians was swift, and prompted the board in April to stay the ban on golf courses while it studies the issue further.
 
We heard from everyone and their brother, on both sides, Goodspeed said.
 
The board will wait for people to calm down before taking up the issue of smoking on golf courses again, she said, adding that may be a year or more.
 
Presley, who said he has smoked and played golf for five decades, hopes it never comes up again.
 
Theres plenty of fresh air out there to share, Presley said. Everyone pays taxes.

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.


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With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."

Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

“I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.


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“I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

“We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

How does she feel?

“I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

“I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.


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Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

“Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

“I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”