Cold Canadian Mornings
Perhaps it is not truly a rite of spring, but to me our Canadian Tour coverage signifies our annual crusade of enjoyment. Let's face it, getting paid to cover professional golf tournaments isn't exactly tough duty; it's definitely not brain surgery. It is, as expected, very enjoyable. Anybody who tells you how there's so much more to it than meets the eye; that it's not as glamorous as it looks; that there's a lot of work involved behind the scenes that makes things demanding and trying; or that it's not as much fun as it appears, well, they may have a point, but not a very strong one.
In 2003, The Golf Channel is scheduled to cover six Canadian Tour events, and to our loyal viewers, it's a welcome chance to meet some of the new young talents, as well as catch up with some pretty interesting characters. One such character is Jason Bohn.
Here's a little background information on Jason to refresh our memories: Jason is known to his friends as the luckiest man in North America. While in college, he stumbled to the tee at a hole-in-one challenge after a particularly late night, and he promptly won a million dollars. And he just as promptly turned pro so he could collect on the prize. He's also the guy that proclaimed on national TV a year ago that he's firmly convinced that someday he'll win the lottery. To his friends, that wouldn't come as a surprise.
Jason Bohn is always good for a quote or two, and he's almost always got a one-liner at the tip of his tongue. So it was no surprise when he delivered a crowd-roar-inducing doosie at last week's players meeting.
Since last week was the first official Canadian Tour tournament of the year, a players meeting was scheduled to discuss any and every issue currently facing the tour. In short, it's a chance for players to give their input on any of a number of issues that are mostly out of their control. I've never been too sure what these meetings accomplish, but they're a necessity on every tour.
One subject that was certain to be a hot topic was that of Michelle Wie, the 13-year-old Hawaiian girl that has accepted a sponsors invitation to compete against the male professionals later this year on the Canadian Tour. Needless to say, there was no shortage of players with an opinion on this subject.
After listening to enough concerns and complaints, Hank Kuehne interjected his thoughts. Keep in mind that an undeniable Kuehne family trait is honesty. 'I'll never get caught in a trap if I'm always honest,' Hank told me last week. And I can vouch for the fact that both Hank and his sister Kelly share this trait.
What a nice problem to have--not knowing how to lie.
They both are saavy with the media and they both are aware of the need for political correctness, but at the same time, they never pull any punches.
So when Hank had heard enough, he's reported to have stood and said, 'If you guys are afraid of a 13-year-old girl beating you, then maybe you should consider looking for a different job.'
Oh, how I just love brutal honesty. But let's get back to Jason Bohn.
How does a player respond to Hank's in-your-face reality-inducing opinion? Here's how--with an assessment of these gender-bending uncertain times in professional golf.
The quick-witted Bohn didn't bat an eye before proclaiming his assessment as to perhaps why not everyone in the room agreed with the long-hitting Kuehne's point of view. 'That's easy for you to say Hank. You can out-drive her.'
Needless to say, the room roared.
The Canadian Tour won't see too much of its stars from last year. Kuehne, Jeff Quinney, and Steve Scott all have playing status on the Nationwide Tour and should concentrate the majority of their efforts out there. However, the Canadian Tour itself still has quite a story to tell.
Since becoming involved with The Golf Channel, the Canadian Tour has experienced new levels of legitimacy in terms of how it's viewed by the golf community both at home and abroad. Judging by the numbers of entries at the Winter Qualifying Tournament, the advent of which was necessitated by The Golf Channel exposure, and the level of player who now considers it as a viable option, the Canadian Tour is for real.
'The Golf Channel exposure has been a real boost for us - especially at home where The Golf Channel is huge, said Canadian Tour media relations director Marty 'The Avalanche' Henwood. There's no question about Marty's statement. I have noticed a huge increase in interest in the Canadian Tour by those professional golf insiders with whom I regularly correspond. Given the constantly elevating level of play coupled with The Golf Channel exposure, the Canadian Tour is definitely looking ahead to bigger and better things in the future. I truly think that more tournaments and bigger purses are in their future--their near future.
Just in case you're wondering, Marty Henwood's nickname comes from a little practical joke. In short, if you leave your rental car in the possession of a couple co-workers and a couple Canadian Tour administrators, and they're in the mood for payback after ditching them, then you may be likely to find your rental car 'avalanched' in the morning. Imagine looking into your car as you approach, only to find it full of ice. Yes, full of ice. No, not in bags. No, not just spread around the floor. Full of ice.
After shoveling out enough ice to reach the pedals, I put on my rain suit for driving and thoroughly enjoyed one of the better practical jokes I've been victim to in quite a while. They weren't entirely unthoughtful however; they left my favorite morning drink, a Dr. Pepper, right on top in the middle of the ice. How refreshing to have that nice ice-chilled morning caffeine.
Day (68) just one back at Australian Open
Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.
Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)
What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.
Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.
Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.
Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.
Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball
Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.
In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.
"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’
Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.
“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.
“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’
Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.
The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving
Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.
The major championships I'm certainly proud of, but Barbara, the kids and my grandkids are the best things to ever happen to me. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! pic.twitter.com/wkma1Q9LlK— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) November 23, 2017
GC Tiger Tracker:
Mixing Thanksgiving and waiting for a week from today. pic.twitter.com/u9m9WxQNYx— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 23, 2017
Happy thanksgiving to everyone! Hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends. #Thankful— Steve Stricker (@stevestricker) November 23, 2017
Was reading about Thanksgiving. Originally they ate waterfowl, venison, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. Seems a bit tastier than Turkey!— Frank Nobilo (@FrankNobiloGC) November 23, 2017
Literally food for thought.
Tyrone Van Aswegen:
Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017
Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.