Miles to Go

By John HawkinsJanuary 31, 2011, 9:19 pm
My local gym features two things in abundance: middle-aged white guys and high-definition TVs. Four widescreens hang from the ceiling in the cardiovascular area, as if a multi-visual diversion might shorten the distance between where my waistline is now and where I want it to be. Sometimes, two inches equals 300 miles.

Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson reacts to his second career PGA Tour win. (Getty Images)
At 3:30 Sunday afternoon, the final round of the PGA Tour stop at Torrey Pines is not one of my four options. I’ve got a Winter X Games replay, some “Meet the Press” knockoff on one of the 24-hour news networks, VH-1 and the NBA. When Kevin Durant buries a jumper from the top of the key to push Oklahoma City ahead of Miami with 35 seconds remaining, several in the room take notice and halt their workouts to watch the final two possessions.

The Heat wins, and the real world is coming to pieces in Egypt. I suppose I could have asked the slackjaw behind the counter to switch one of the TVs to CBS, knowing it was judgment day at one of the best tournaments of the early season – a leaderboard featuring Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods at least participating, all of which plays nicely to the sweaty-aging-male demographic. Then again, who am I to stump for Treadmill Row?

As tiny reminders go, this episode packed a punch. Pro golf can be a tough sell beyond its core constituency – even with mainstreamers who look, talk and smell like serious fans. Although it’s nothing like the NBA, which some won’t watch because guys take four steps to the basket and don’t play hard until the final few minutes, our game also must deal with some misguided stereotypes. Still, there is no denying golf’s glacial pace, especially on Sundays. When you’re playing for $1.2 million, perhaps you’re entitled to look at putts from all 11 sides.

To hardcore golfheads, this represents the slow build to high drama. To others, it’s a good reason to watch Shaun White in the half-pipe. You won’t find a better example of the turn-on/turn-off factor than Sunday at Torrey Pines, which ran 20 minutes past its allotted time but concluded in thrilling fashion – a finish worth waiting for because Bubba Watson went out and won the thing instead of having somebody hand it to him.

Mickelson was there to the very end, and with Jhonattan Vegas playing the role of loveable spoiler, the product offered several intriguing storylines down the stretch. At one point late in the chase, however, the telecast came out of a commercial break to show Vegas hitting a drive and Bill Haas chunking a bunker shot. Cue the music, head to the blimp shot. Time for more ads.

The game moves slowly enough. Golf fans know more about what they're watching than do viewers of other sports, but they also represent a niche within the niche. To find them, you need an extra-strength magnifying glass and an updated sales pitch. Bubba was a great big grouch when he first reached the big leagues in 2006, blowing off a lot more people than he should have, especially as a raw commodity. In the last couple of years, however, Watson has changed his ways. He’s easier to reach and definitely capable of generating a couple of laughs – and a teardrop or three when the moment calls for it.

To those of you who don’t like crying champions, get over it. Real emotion never goes out of style, particularly in a game frequently accused of not emoting enough. Woods carried pro golf to the mainstream, and for a while, it seemed to prosper there, but now he’s not showing up on Sunday afternoons, leaving us to ponder what kind of product we have and where it’s headed.

The competitive landscape is changing, with potential stars emerging and the top tier diverging, but more often than in other sports, golf’s fresh young faces wind up in the most obscure places. Like a middle-aged man looking to lose a few pounds, you have to keep going if you want people to notice the results.
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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm