Yeah! Yeah! No? Are the Beatles connected to golf?

By Jason SobelJuly 14, 2014, 3:15 pm

The world’s best golfers converge this week upon the city of Liverpool, a city best known for being home to the Open Championship every so often.

Oh, and some rock-and-roll band, too.

The Beatles were formed in Liverpool in 1960, and by all accounts they had a fair amount of success. You know, if 45 gold albums, 21 No. 1 hits and an entire “mania” named in their honor is your kind of thing.

Clearly, living their formative years in such a golf hotbed, the game must have endeared itself to John, Paul, George and Ringo. Surely, there must be plenty of links between the Beatles and, well, the links. Undoubtedly, there was a mutual love affair between the two.

So I set out to find some answers.

I went in search of how golf impacted them.

I needed to know those connections.

“The Beatles and the connection to golf,” Beatles historian Martin Lewis told me, “is what might best be described as less than a trace element.”

OK, maybe this wasn’t going to be so easy.


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“None of the Beatles had the sporting bug,” he continued. “Neither as participants, nor spectators. John enjoyed swimming when he was a kid. George followed Formula 1 motor racing from his 30s. But none of the four were sports players or major spectators – and certainly not players of golf. To the best of my knowledge, none of the four even followed golf.”

As if that wasn’t definitive enough, he closed with this:

“There are very few rock musicians who have been into golf, but the Beatles are not among them.”

I believed him and yet, I still couldn’t believe it.

The signs are too numerous.

I mean, “Getting Better” sounds like it was arranged on a driving range. “Here Comes the Sun” during a rain delay. “With a Little Help From My Friends” matches up to match play. “Help!” after a particularly disappointing round.

And don’t even get me started on “I Am the Walrus,” which is obviously one of the top-10 songs ever written as an ode to Craig Stadler.

No, I didn’t believe the Beatles didn’t love the game of golf, so I kept on searching for connections.

“There’s barely no connection between the Beatles and golf,” declared Mark Lewisohn, another Beatles historian. “They weren’t interested. In fact, they weren’t interested in sports, period. But …”

Hey! A crack in the case! There’s a “But …” to give us all hope!

“The Beatles also shot videos on a golf course,” he explained. “For ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ in 1967. And in 1963, they posed for publicity photos on a golf course. But these occasions were more about using the wide open spaces than sports.”

The course seen in those two videos is Knole Park Golf Club in Sevenoaks, Kent. The one on which they posed for photos was Allerton Municipal Golf Course.

Of the latter track, Lewisohn said, “It was a short-cut route between Paul’s childhood house and John’s.”

So there’s a connection. Sort of. But still, I wanted more. I needed more. I refused to believe that none of the Fab Four had ever been indoctrinated into the game. It had to have made some impact on them at some point.

And so I kept trying.

“A claim has been made – and I use the term loosely – that John, Paul and George served as caddies,” explained Bruce Spizer, yet another Beatles historian, “and used some of this money to purchase their instruments.”

Eureka!

There’s the answer. There’s the connection. The Beatles were caddies! What a great backstory about the …

“It sounds good and gives people a reason to sell golf balls with their logo on it,” Spizer continued, “but the fact is that can’t be confirmed.”

Well, that doesn’t mean that it can’t not be confirmed … uh, right?

“McCartney said he sometimes went to the golf course trying to work as a caddie, but older kids got the job instead,” he said. “He has no recollections of being a caddie.”

There’s not even, like, a small chance?

“Bootle Golf Club would have been fairly close. That’s the one that’s cited when they talk about the three Beatles serving as caddies. If anything, I think it’s more of a myth as opposed to reality. That happens a lot with the Beatles.”

Not only is it a myth, it’s one so widely cited that Spizer already had a line ready to go in response to my questions.

“That story sounded a bit off course to me,” he offered. “The fair way to go without being in the rough is to say there’s no evidence they were ever caddies.”

Punny guy.

But he’s got a point.

As you watch this week’s edition of the Open Championship from Royal Liverpool, you can be confident in the knowledge that there’s really not much of a connection between the Beatles and golf.

Me? I’m not giving up. I’ll be spending the week listening to “Let It Be” backwards, just hoping for more clues.

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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


Masters victory


Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

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Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


Man of the people


Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


Departure from TaylorMade


Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


Victory at Valderrama


Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm