Mets PGA Golf Club give Port St Lucie killer twinbill

By David AllenMarch 9, 2009, 4:00 pm
Throughout March, GolfChannel.com will spotlight various MLB spring training locations throughout Florida. A total of 16 MLB teams visit Florida each spring during a time when the state's golf season is also in full swing. We highlight the options for golf and baseball in each region, giving you, the fan, the ultimate guide to golf and baseball in the Sunshine State. Play Ball!
 
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. ' The New York Mets were just one-and-a-half years removed from their last World Series title when they moved their Spring Training headquarters north to Port St. Lucie, Fla., in 1988. At that time, Port St. Lucie was as much a golf vacation hot spot as Flushing, Queens, the real home of the Mets. It was essentially a rest stop on the way to Miami.
 
johann santana
Mets.com
All that changed as suddenly as a Johann Santana breaking pitch, however, when the PGA of America opened its flagship property, The PGA Golf Club, in 1996, right across Interstate 95 from the Mets Tradition Field complex. The first of two 18-hole public courses, the North and South (later renamed the Ryder Course and the Wanamaker Course after a renovation in 2006), debuted that year, and were followed by a third, the Dye Course, in December 1999. A 35-acre practice facility was added to the mix a short time later, putting Port St. Lucie on the map as far as Florida golf destinations go.
 
The PGA Golf Club was ranked the 30th best public golf facility by Golf World magazine in 2008, and as one of The 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America by Golf Digest (2006).
 

Q&A with the New York Mets
Of course, no one was happier to have this new facility in their backyard than the Mets players and coaches. During the first few weeks of camp, many of the players, including David Wright and Santana, can be found playing pitch and putt at one of the three courses, the PGA Country Club or the PGA Learning Center. The Mets pitchers, which include Santana, Oliver Perez, John Maine and Mike Pelfrey, often pair up against each other in best-ball tournaments.
 
I was the designated hitter for Johann and Oliver one night for about five holes, said PGA General Manager Bob Baldassari, a PGA Professional. They couldnt keep the ball in the fairway. I think they were trying to hit home runs instead of going up the middle [of the fairway]. But theyve got tremendous hand-eye coordination, and theyre very good around the greens. And very, very, very competitive.
 

General Info on Mets Spring Training
The Ryder and Wanamaker courses were both designed by Tom Fazio. The Ryder course was named in honor of Samuel Ryder, founder of the Ryder Cup, the biennial competition between Europe and the United States. It has a distinctive Carolina feel to it, much like two of Fazios more prominent layouts'Pinehurst Resorts Nos. 4 and 8'with majestic pine trees lining each fairway. The Wanamaker, named after Rodman Wanamaker, the inspiration behind the formation of the PGA of America, is a traditional Florida golf course with palm trees, wide fairways and water everywhere. The scenic par-4 18th hole is considered by many to be the best finishing hole, if the not the best hole, on the property. The dogleg-right hole is guarded by a large beach bunker and lake along the entire right side of the fairway, which slopes toward the lake to make for a daunting tee shot. Any approach shot to the right of the green is likely to find water, and if you bail to the left, a tricky pitch shot to a fast green sloping toward the lake awaits.
 
The Dye course cuts through 100 acres of wetlands and is named for its architect, Pete Dye, who was inducted into the 2008 World Golf Hall of Fame. Dye says it is his most environmentally-friendly design, yet golfers will find it very similar to other Dye link-style layouts because of the roller-coaster like greens, shaved embankments, pine straw rough and heavy bunkering. Youll find all different types and sizes of bunkers on the Dye, often on the same hole, including large coquina waste bunkers, grass bunkers and pot bunkers. Just to the left of the green on the par-5 7th hole is the smallest pot bunker I have ever seen'about four feet long and barely wide enough to fit any stance. And if youre prone to getting seasick, you may want to stay away from the par-4 8th hole. The last 75 yards on this short hole is as bumpy a ride as youll ever find on a golf course, a series of moguls that leave you wanting to reach for a pair of skis, or Dramamine.
 
The most heavily bunkered hole, and the most spectacular, is the par-4 18th. From the tee, you can see more than a dozen fairway bunkers, all carved into the faces of large, grassy dunes which give the hole a distinct European flavor.
 
Each course has five sets of tees to choose from, with the Dye Course playing the longest from the tips at 7,279 yards. If you want to play something much shorter, there is the complimentary six-hole PGA Short Course, which youll see on your left-hand side while driving into the club. Distances of the holes range from 35 to 60 yards.
 
The real gem of the PGA Village is the state-of-the-art practice facility, which is open till 10 p.m. every night. A $24 daily fee gives you all-day access to the facility, so you can practice before and after any Mets home games. It includes a horseshoe-shaped teeing area (so the wind is coming at you from every direction), 7,000 square feet of flat and rolling practice greens, pitching and chipping areas, and a three-hole teaching course. The bunker area features seven different types of sands from around the world so you can simulate what its like to hit a bunker shot in Scotland.
 
There is no truth to the rumor, however, that some of the infield dirt from the recently demolished Shea Stadium resides in these bunkers.

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:

Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''