Closest to Mike

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 31, 2012, 3:00 am

In a place called Carcross, Yukon – a few miles down the highway from Skagway, Alaska, there is an attraction the town and guidebooks advertise as the world’s smallest desert. It’s not really a desert they admit in a technicality, but they leave the confession to the small print at the bottom of a big sign. We play golf there with Mike. The game is called “Closest to Mike.” Our Saturday morning foursome is re-united.

At the side of the road, we dig into the hold of the RV for golf balls and clubs.  I run Mike’s urn up to the top of a weedy knoll.  Standing 40 yards away, we hold an impromptu contest in which the guy closest to hitting the urn with his golf shot becomes the winner.  Jim and I almost hit Mike squarely.  For the most part, we miss wildly.

Dan’s shots are pitiful. The balls travel a few yards from where they’re struck, plopping down deep in the kitty litter, where they become hardly visible. Jim and I can sense that he’s frustrated. The people around us can hear him cuss. He keeps trying to do better. But he can’t.

A woman looks at us inquisitively.  When she realizes what it is that we’re doing, she doesn’t know what to say.  We explain that Mike died a year ago and he was traveling with us to the Arctic. She doesn’t know what to make of it. Nothing I say explains why we’ve used him as a target.  Unless you knew Mike alive, you’d think he would have hated the way we treat him.  You’d be wrong. He would have loved it.

Before leaving, we hoist him up on a sign that identifies the Carcross Desert as the place where we played. We rest our chins eye-level with him on a cross-bar and have a camera crew member snap a photo. I should tell you that Mike has a new look.  He developed a slight blemish which Dan covered with duct tape. The amount of tape he uses far exceeds what is needed.  But Mike looks cool in his new wardrobe.

Tomorrow, Mike will need his screws tightened – the base of his box is getting loose.  I can promise you however, it will be a sad day in heaven when he has to go back in Cheri’s closet.  Despite the bumps and bruises, he is living the life.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.

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Wie takes shot at LPGA dress code in crop top

By Grill Room TeamDecember 10, 2017, 5:33 pm

The new LPGA dress code got mixed reviews when it was announced in July, and Michelle Wie is taking full advantage of her offseason with no restrictions.

The 28-year-old former U.S. Women's Open champion is keeping her game sharp while back in her home state of Hawaii, but couldn't help taking a shot at the rules while doing it, posting a photo to Instagram of her playing golf in a crop top with the caption, "Offseason = No dress code fine."

Offseason = No dress code fines #croptopdroptop

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Wie isn't the first to voice her displeasure with the rules. Lexi Thompson posted a similar photo and caption to Instagram shortly after the policy was announced.