Augusta has more

By Golf Channel NewsroomMarch 18, 2008, 4:00 pm
Headed to Augusta, Georgia for the Masters Tournament, April 7-13, 2008? Outside the gates of Augusta National there is so much to discover in this historic southern city.
 
HISTORY
Make your first stop the Augusta Visitor Information Center inside the Augusta Museum of History during regular business hours (Monday-Saturday 10:00 - 5:00 and Sunday 1:00 p.m. ' 5:00 p.m.) to pick up an Augusta Gallery Pass, a one-price ticket good for admission into Augusta attractions and museums. The $20.00 cost offers a 50% savings off regular adult admission prices. The attractions included in the pass represent some of the most popular in the city: The Augusta Canal Interpretive Center; Augusta Museum of History; Ezekiel Harris House; Georgia Golf Hall of Fames Botanical Gardens; Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History; Meadow Garden House Museum; Morris Museum of Art; National Science Centers Fort Discovery and the Boyhood Home of Woodrow Wilson.
 
Augusta Museum of History
560 Reynolds Street
Augusta, GA 30901
Phone: (706) 722-8454
Visit Website
 
SCENERY
The very leafy, very green Augusta is positively thriving along its waterfront. Tour Riverwalk, a lush and scenic two-level park featuring adjacent cultural and educational attractions grouped together along the Savannah River, many of which are featured on the Gallery Pass. The Augusta Riverwalk also features a collection of shops, restaurants, nightlife spots, hotels, and more.
 
SHOPPING
Shoppers will think theyve hit a hole in one with the opening of a multi-million dollar expansion at The Augusta Mall. The new 180,000 square feet open air village setting center features new lifestyle retailers, restaurants and additional amenities.
 
EATERIES
More than 300 eateries in Augusta offer everything from Southern favorites to international cuisine. Those looking for food thats good for the soul will find the best fried chicken, peach cobbler, and macaroni and cheese in all of Georgia at either Caf 209 or the Blue Sky Kitchen. Barbeque is also a sure bet in Augusta. Sconyers, so famous for its pulled pork that former president Jimmy Carter had it flown to the White House during his term in office, is still wildly popular. North and South cuisines come together at Mally's Bagels & Grits. Get a taste of Germany at the Sunshine Bakery and fill up on bratwurst or their famous potato soup. Luigi's, serving traditional Italian, is a favorite hangout for many of the greats of Masters Week. The Verandah Grill at the venerable Partridge Inn is consistently voted the best Sunday brunch in town. Favorite fine dining spots include La Maison, Bistro 491, Cadwalladers and Calverts.
 
But if you havent secured your accommodations and Masters badges, dont fret. Augusta is an affordable and fascinating destination the other 52 weeks of the year.
 
It didnt start out that way. For nearly 50 years, from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, before the railroads ran to Florida, Augustas gentle climate made it the leisurely winter playground of the rich, famous and powerful in America. U. S. Presidents vacationed here in grand hotels as golf was being introduced to America; ladies strolled the grounds and played tennis; Ty Cobb bought a home here, and Bobby Jones later built his dream golf course.
 
WHAT ELSE TO DO
Today, theres far more to do, and one doesnt have to be a millionaire to enjoy the area. As the second largest city in the state, Augusta has become a magnet for tourism year-round. Everyone can Play Augusta, GA by choosing from arts and cultural attractions, historical sites, outdoor recreation, unique shopping and antiquing opportunities, and authentic dining experiences. More than 20 new restaurants and shops have opened downtown in the past few years.
 
While you wont be playing Augusta National unless youre a member or a friend of one, there are twelve excellent public and semi-private golf courses that offer affordable rates ' and its easy get a tee time before or after the first full week of April each year.
 
You can still stay at The Partridge Inn, the last of the grand hotels. A Historic Hotel of America, The Partridge Inn reigned as one of the countrys premier resort destinations during Augustas Golden Age and is still renowned for a quarter-mile of beautiful verandahs, classic columns, stately Magnolia trees and unparalleled personal service.
 
Located approximately 150 miles east of Atlanta, Augusta is easily accessible to most of the Southeast via its prime location on Interstate 20. Augusta Regional Airport (AGS), served by Delta and US Airways, has undergone a major expansion that includes a new passenger terminal.
 
The city has been cited for its efforts to preserve its historic places, and it hosts a variety of year-round sporting, recreational and cultural events. Augusta is often called the Garden City of the South because of the citys many large private gardens and springtime blooms that rival those on the grounds of Augusta National. The Historic Sacred Heart Cultural Center is the focus for classic southern gardening during its 17th Annual Garden Festival, April 25- 27, 2008. Tour seven extraordinary private gardens on both sides of the river, including the historic Summerville area. Find rare plants, and learn from Master Gardeners.
 
Georgias only designated National Heritage Area, the Augusta Canal ' once the site of the Confederate States of America Powder Works ' combines history and recreation along nearly nine miles of bird- and wildlife-filled towpaths and waterways. Visitors can explore the history and significance of the canal by visiting the interpretive center. The award-winning interactive exhibits take visitors from the Canals initial conception and construction in the 1840s and expansion in the 1870s, through its role in the Civil War and its aftermath to the New South industrial growth and electrification of the city. Displays include functioning textile looms, life-sized models of canal construction and depictions of mill worker life.
An Interpretive Center tour takes 45 minutes to an hour and is included in the price of a boat tour, or tickets can be purchased separately. For more information visit
their website.
 
The Augusta Canal is the nation's only industrial power canal still in use for its original purpose, an 8.5-mile waterway built in 1845 to power industrial mills. Federally designated as one of 18 National Heritage Areas, the Augusta Canal and the canal towpath are the perfect places for a picnic lunch, a canoe or kayak trip or a bike ride. To explore the Canal the way they did prior to the turn of the century, take a tour on one of the Augusta Canals Petersburg Boats.
 
From world wide recognition for golfing greatness and sporting events, to roots deep in history, Augusta has it all. Visit and you too can say I Played Augusta, GA. For information on accommodations, attractions and a calendar of events, click here website.
 
EVENTS DURING MASTERS WEEK, APRIL 7-13, 2008
Monday, April 7th at 6:00 pm is the Mayors Masters Reception honoring professional golfer Ben Crenshaw. This public, free event will be held at the Augusta Botanical Gardens. It is a chance for visitors and residents alike to meet a world renowned golfer and to honor him for his achievements in golf and past success at the Masters Tournament.
 
Tuesday, April 8th Rock for Dough, Drive for Show
The benefit concert for First Tee golf course of Augusta will be hosted by Hootie and Blowfish and will feature new artist Colbie Caillat and Augusta native Josh Kelley. After four months as MySpaces top unsigned artist and about 10 million song plays, Colbie signed a record contract and promptly landed her first single, Bubbly on the Billboard Top 10 where it remains today. Josh Kelley has been on tour and performed with Seal in Europe in 2007. Kelley has also been working on his new album Special Company, which will be available in February. Kelley is married to Knocked Up star Katherine Heigl.
 
The First Tee is a nonprofit whose mission is 'To impact the lives of young people in the Central Savannah River Area by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character-devlopment and life-enhancing values through the game of golf, and to provide an afforadable and accessible golf facility, primarily to serve those who have not previously had exposure to the game and its positive values.' For more info on The First Tee of Augusta visit its website.
 
JUNIOR GOLF IN AUGUSTA
For kids age 7-14 remember that GOLF CHANNEL's presentation of Mutual of Omaha Drive, Chip & Putt will be in Augusta on April 22, 2008. Click here to register.
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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.

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Tour's Integrity Program raises gambling questions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 17, 2018, 7:00 pm

The video begins with an eye-opening disclaimer: “Sport betting markets produce revenues of $1 trillion each year.”

For all the seemingly elementary elements of the 15-minute video PGA Tour players have been required to watch as part of the circuit’s newly created Integrity Program, it’s the enormity of the industry – $1 trillion annually – that concerns officials.

There are no glaring examples of how sport betting has impacted golf, no red flags that sent Tour officials into damage control; just a realization that with that kind of money it’s best to be proactive.

“It's important that in that world, you can operate not understanding what's happening week in and week out, or you can assume that all of our players and everybody in our ecosystem understands that that's not an acceptable activity, or you can just be proactive and clarify and educate,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan explained earlier this month. “That's what we have attempted to do not with just the video, but with all of our communication with our players and will continue to do that.”

But if clarification is the goal, a copy of the training video obtained by GolfChannel.com paints a different picture.



Although the essence of the policy is straightforward – “prohibit players from betting on professional golf” – the primary concern, at least if the training video is any indication, is on match fixing; and warns players to avoid divulging what is considered “inside information.”

“I thought the questions were laughable. They were all like first-grade-level questions,” Chez Reavie said. “I would like to think everyone out here already knows the answer to those questions. But the Tour has to protect themselves.”

Monahan explained that the creation of the integrity policy was not in reaction to a specific incident and every player asked last week at the Sony Open said they had never encountered any type of match fixing.

“No, not at all,” Reavie said. “I have friends who will text me from home after a round, ‘Oh, I bet on you playing so-and-so.’ But I make it clear I don’t want to know. I don’t gamble like that. No one has ever approached me about losing a match.”

It was a common answer, but the majority of the video focuses on how players can avoid being placed in a compromising situation that could lead to match fixing. It should be noted that gamblers can place wagers on head-to-head matchups, provided by betting outlets, during stroke-play rounds of tournaments – not just in match-play competitions.

Part of the training video included questions players must answer to avoid violating the policy. An example of this was how a player should respond when asked, “Hello, buddy! Well played today. I was following your progress. I noticed your partner pulled out of his approach on 18, looked like his back. Is he okay for tomorrow?”

The correct answer from a list of options was, “I don’t know, sorry. I’m sure he will get it looked at if it’s bothering him.”

You get the idea, but for some players the training created more questions.

How, for example, should a player respond when asked how he’s feeling by a fan?

“The part I don’t understand, let’s say a member of your club comes out and watches you on the range hitting balls, he knows you’re struggling, and he bets against you. Somehow, some way that could come back to you, according to what I saw on that video,” said one player who asked not to be identified.

Exactly what constitutes a violation is still unclear for some who took the training, which was even more concerning considering the penalties for a violation of the policy.

The first violation is a warning and a second infraction will require the player to retake the training program, but a third violation is a fine “up to $500,000” or “the amount illegally received from the betting activity.” A sixth violation is a lifetime ban from the Tour.

Players are advised to be mindful of what they post on social media and to “refrain from talking about odds or betting activity.” The latter could be an issue considering how often players discuss betting on other sports.

Just last week at the Sony Open, Kevin Kisner and Justin Thomas had a “friendly” wager on the College Football Playoff National Championship. Kisner, a Georgia fan, lost the wager and had to wear an Alabama football jersey while playing the 17th hole last Thursday.

“If I'd have got the points, he'd have been wearing [the jersey], and I was lobbying for the points the whole week, and he didn't give them to me,” Kisner said. “So I'm still not sure about this bet.”

It’s unclear to some if Kisner’s remark, which was a joke and didn’t have anything to do with golf, would be considered a violation. From a common sense standpoint, Kisner did nothing wrong, but the uncertainty is an issue.

Much like drug testing, which the Tour introduced in 2008, few, if any, think sport betting is an issue in golf; but also like the anti-doping program, there appears to be the danger of an inadvertent and entirely innocent violation.

The Tour is trying to be proactive and the circuit has a trillion reasons to get out in front of what could become an issue, but if the initial reaction to the training video is any indication they may want to try a second take.

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Lexi looks to shine as LPGA season begins next week

By Randall MellJanuary 17, 2018, 6:06 pm

Lexi Thompson may be No. 4 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, but in so many ways she became the new face of the women’s game last year.

That makes her the headliner in a fairly star-studded season opener at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic next week.

Three of the top four players in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings are scheduled to tee it up on Paradise Island, including world No. 1 Shanshan Feng and co-Rolex Player of the Year So Yeon Ryu.

From the heartache at year’s start with the controversial loss at the ANA Inspiration, through the angst in the middle of the year with her mother’s cancer diagnosis, to the stunning disappointment at year’s end, Thompson emerged as the story of the year because of all she achieved in spite of those ordeals.

Next week’s event will mark the first time Thompson tees it up in an LPGA tournament since her season ended in stunning fashion last November with a missed 2-foot putt that cost her a chance to win the CME Group Tour Championship and the Rolex Player of the Year Award, and become the world No. 1.

She still walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for the season’s low scoring average.

She also walked away sounding determined to show she will bounce back from that last disappointment the same way she bounced back from her gut-wrenching loss at the year’s first major, the ANA, where a four-shot Sunday penalty cost her a chance to win her second major.

“Just going through what I have this whole year, and seeing how strong I am, and how I got through it all and still won two tournaments, got six seconds ... it didn’t stop me,” Thompson said leaving the CME Group Tour Championship. “This won’t either.”

Thompson was named the Golf Writers Association of America’s Player of the Year in a vote of GWAA membership. Ryu and Sung Hyun Park won the tour’s points-based Rolex Player of the Year Award.

With those two victories and six second-place finishes, three of those coming after playoff losses, Thompson was close to fashioning a spectacular year in 2017, to dominating the tour.

The new season opens with Thompson the center of attention again. Consistently one of the tour’s best ball strikers and longest hitters, she enjoyed her best year on tour last season by making dramatic improvements in her wedge play, short game and, most notably, her putting.

She doesn’t have a swing coach. She fashioned a better all-around game on her own, or under the watchful eye of her father, Scott. All the work she put in showed up in her winning the Vare Trophy.

The Pure Silk Bahamas Classic will also feature defending champion Brittany Lincicome, as well as Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, Brooke Henderson, I.K. Kim, Danielle Kang and Charley Hull.