Dubai Golf Influence Grows

By Brian HewittDecember 3, 2008, 5:00 pm
That Thomas Friedman best-seller about the world being flat ' i. e. global connections crossing geographical boundaries ' is especially true in golf these days.
 
One of the juiciest rumors making the rounds in Europe is that Dubai could end up as the host venue for a future Ryder Cup.
 
The powers-that-be in Dubai now wield huge influence over the European Tour and money obviously isnt a problem..The next two scheduled European host sites will be Wales in 2010 and Gleneagles in Scotland in 2014.
 
But the reason Dubai probably wont get the Ryder Cup as early as 2018, according to former Euro Tour executive director Ken Schofield, is because several west European countries already have filed tender documents and are queued up and waiting with live bids.
 
Remember: Only Spain in 1997, of the European nations outside GB&I, has ever hosted a Ryder Cup on the other side of the pond.
 
What may be more relevant to this discussion, Schofield said, is the increasing influence Dubai-based concerns are wielding in connection with the ownership of flagship European venues like Turnberry. Its likely others will follow.
 
Which means, among other things, that we should not be surprised if Dubai money buys Loch Lomond in Scotland, currently on the market for a cool $150 million.
 
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IMG WHIZZES: IMG, the uber golf power agency that represents Tiger, Annika, Vijay and Sergio, to name just a few, is positioning itself aggressively for the tough world economies expected in 2009 and 2010.
 
IMGs London-based Guy Kinnings recently told the Daily Telegraph that Tigers parting of the ways with General Motors was not a reason for concern. And a highly-placed source at IMG said that the company will not cut back in 2009 despite the dire near term predictions for the golf industry.
 
Instead, the source said, IMG is prepared for an increased client load in case, as anticipated by the experts, some of the smaller boutique agencies fall by the wayside.
 
Mark Steinberg, the head of IMGs golf division ' as is his custom ' would not comment on any specific plans.
 
Steinberg did say he was very proud of Tiger Woods rehab efforts so far while recuperating from knee surgery. And when asked about new IMG client Anthony Kim, Steinberg said, The kid can play.
 
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DOUBLE JEOPARDY? Hows Stacy Lewis doing? The $160,000 she won at the U.S. Womens Open last June for tying third didnt count as official LPGA money ' because the U.S. Womens Open is not a co-sponsored LPGA event ' all of which is why shes at Q-School this week grinding for her 2009 card.
 
But being a non-member didnt keep Lewis from being drug-tested this year by the LPGA. In fact, her name came up twice. When I asked her about this earlier this week, she said, without complaining, I passed with flying colors.
 
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WIN GRIPS: So many different ways to win on the PGA Tour.
 
For example:
 
  • The only two winners on the PGA Tour in 2008 who led the field in greens in regulation were Sergio Garcia at the Players Championship and Geoff Ogilvy at the WGC-CA Championship.
     
  • The only two winners who led the field in driving accuracy for their victorious week were Garcia, again at the Players, and Trevor Immelman at the Masters.
    (bullet) The only winner who led the field in driving distance for the week was Dustin Johnson at Turning Stone.
     
  • Ogilvy, again at WGC-CA, was the winner with the fewest fairways hit in regulation (44.6 percent).
     
  • The fewest greens hit by a winner was Padraig Harrington at the Open Championship (52.8 percent).
     
  • The fewest total putts by a winner was 105 shared by Parker McLachlan at Reno and Will MacKenzie at the Viking Classic.
     

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    The Social: G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T.

    By Jason CrookJanuary 23, 2018, 6:00 pm

    Tom Brady compares himself to Tiger Woods, who coincidentally is returning to the PGA Tour this week, Jordan Spieth hangs out with some decent company and kids these days ruffle some feathers with their friendships.

    All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

    Well, it’s finally Farmers Insurance Open week and Woods has been spotted practicing for his official return to the PGA Tour on Thursday.

    Some thought this day might never come after a 2017 filled with mostly downs for the 14-time major champ.

    But as he has taught the golf world time and time again, you just can't count Tiger out.

    So even as Jon Rahm attempts to overtake Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world this week at Torrey Pines, all eyes will be on one of the greatest we've ever seen do it, even if that guy is ranked No. 647 in the world.

    Speaking of greatness …

    There’s not many who can just offhandedly compare themselves to Tiger, but if anyone gets a pass, it’s Tom Brady.

    The 40-year-old New England Patriots quarterback led his team back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year despite playing the AFC title game with a cut on his throwing hand.

    When asked about it after the Patriots come-from-behind victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady answered, “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”

    So there you have it. A 40-year-old Brady is winning AFC Championships with his C game. Good luck, Eagles; you’re going to need it.

    Also, if for some reason you wanted an update on Justin Thomas' life, it's still awesome:

    Yeah, that's last year's PGA Tour Player of the Year hanging with Cy Young winner Cory Kluber in a suite at the Patriots game and teasing us with a possible #SB2K18 cameo.

    Curtis Strange likes his competitive golf straight up, hold the friendliness.

    This, according to Curtis Strange.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ took to Twitter during the CareerBuilder Challenge to vent his frustration regarding the constant chit-chat and friendliness between Rahm and Andrew Landry:

    This, of course, makes sense in theory. But good luck watching golf – or really any sport – from here on out. Sure there will be a few old school guys who buck the trend here and there, but for the most part, it’s really hard to share a private jet/dinners/vacations/(insert awesome thing here) with someone, and then completely turn off the friendship coming down the stretch of a big tournament.

    Damn millennials. They ruin everything.

    By now you've all seen that poor Philadelphia Eagles fan who lost his battle with a subway station pillar (from multiple angles), so instead here is a video of a man attempting to stand on an egg. Bet you can't guess how that goes.

    Tony's gonna stand on an egg

    A post shared by theCHIVE (@thechive) on

    Seriously if you haven't seen the video of that Eagles fan, here's your last chance in this column. You'll be glad you did.

    Jordan Spieth, Michael Phelps and Bryce Harper walk on to a golf course … there’s no punchline, that actually happened last week in Las Vegas.

    Was the whole thing just a big advertisement for Spieth’s new Under Armour shoe? You bet.

    But that doesn’t make the optics of three of the biggest superstar athletes on the planet teeing it up for a round any less awesome.

    Off to the next. #Spieth2 #TEAMUA

    A post shared by Under Armour Golf (@uagolf) on

    The trio has three major wins, five All Star Game appearances and 28 Olympic medals between them, and there they were over the weekend just fake laughing for the camera and driving around individual golf carts with their own personalized logos on them.

    Just guys being dudes. Nothing better than that.

    Matt Kuchar. Still good at golf. Still overly polite. This according to European Tour pro Eddie Pepperell who had the privilege of hitting on the range next to Kuuuuuch in Abu Dhabi last week.

    That image is burned into your brain forever now, thanks Eddie. From now on when you think of Kuchar you're going to think of those Sketches ads and "oopsies."

    Which, I suppose is better than a, "Did you get that?"

    Blayne Barber's caddie, Cory Gilmer, collapsed and hit his head while at a restaurant at the Sony Open and has been mostly unconscious in the neurological intensive care unit ever since.

    The outpouring of love and support from the golf community has been overwhelming on social media, and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the mounting medical costs for Gilmer and his family.

    Check out the link below for more info or to donate to a worthy cause:

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    Top-ranked amateur wins LAAC, earns Masters invite

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 5:38 pm

    Joaquin Niemann walked Augusta National Golf Club as a patron last year. He’ll be a competitor in 2018.

    Niemann, the top-ranked amateur in the world, shot 8-under 63 Tuesday at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Santiago, Chile, to win the Latin America Amateur Championship.

    And with the title, both redemption and an invitation to the Masters Tournament.


    Full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship


    Niemann finished runner-up in last year’s LAAC to fellow Chilean Toto Gana. He followed Gana around Augusta grounds, watching as his best friend played two rounds before missing the cut.

    Niemann, who was going to turn professional had he not won this week, started the final round one back of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz. Niemann was sluggish from the start on Tuesday, but then drove the 313-yard, par-4 eighth and made the eagle putt. That sparked a run of five birdies over his next six holes.

    Niemann was bogey-free in the final round and finished five shots clear of Ortiz, at 11 under.

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    Judges Panel, Host Announced for Wilson Golf's "Driver vs. Driver 2," Premiering This Fall on Golf Channel

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 23, 2018, 4:15 pm

    ‘Driver vs. Driver 2 Presented by Wilson Currently in Production; Sports Broadcaster Melanie Collins Returns to Host

    Morning Drive: Driver vs. Driver 2 Judges Announced

    Golf Channel and Wilson Golf announced today the panel of judges and host for the second season of Driver vs. Driver, the innovative television series that follows aspiring golf equipment designers as they compete for the opportunity to have their driver idea or concept transformed into the next great golf driver from Wilson. The show is currently in production and will premiere this fall.

    Joining judge Tim Clarke, President of Wilson Golf, are two newcomers to the series: 9-time National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star and current NHL on NBC hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick – an avid golfer with a single digit handicap and a self-described golf equipment junkie; and PGA Professional, golf coach, equipment reviewer and social media influencer Rick Shiels.

    “Golf is a big passion of mine, and personally I enjoy learning about new equipment and concepts,” said Roenick. “To be able to see this side of the business in how equipment is developed first-hand is fascinating. Being a part of the process in reviewing driver concepts and narrowing them down to an ultimate winning driver that will be sold across the country is a tremendous honor.” 

    “Jeremy, as an avid golfer, and Rick, as a coach, equipment reviewer and golf professional, bring incredible, real world insights and different perspectives to the show and this process,” said Clarke. “I’m excited to work alongside these two judges to push the boundaries of innovation and bring a next-generation driver to golfers around the world.”

    Sports broadcaster Melanie Collins returns as the host of Driver vs. Driver 2. Currently a sideline reporter for CBS Sports’ college football and basketball coverage, Collins hosted the inaugural season in 2016 and formerly co-hosted Golf Channel’s competition series, Big Break.

    Production for Driver vs. Driver 2 began in the fall of 2017 and will continue through the summer, including this week at the PGA Merchandise Show. The series is being produced by Golf Channel, whose portfolio of original productions include interview series Feherty hosted by Emmy-nominated sports personality David Feherty, high-quality instruction shows School of Golf, Golf Channel Academy and Playing Lessons and a slate of award-winning films.

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    Tiger Tracker: Farmers Insurance Open

    By Tiger TrackerJanuary 23, 2018, 4:00 pm

    Tiger Woods is competing in a full-field event for the first time in nearly a year. We're tracking him at this week's Farmers Insurance Open. (Note: Tweets read, in order, left to right)