Golf Channel Begins Celebration of Golf's Olympic Return at the 2016 Rio Olympics on Monday, February 24

By Golf Channel Public RelationsFebruary 19, 2014, 8:35 pm

As the 2014 Olympic Winter Games from Sochi come to a close this Sunday, the sporting world will begin to turn its attention to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where golf returns to the Olympic program for the first time in 112 years at the 2016 Olympic Games. On Monday, February 24, Golf Channel will begin celebrating golf’s road to Rio with dedicated Olympic-themed coverage on air, online and through its social media channels. The Rio Opening Ceremony will be Friday, Aug. 5, 2016, 893 days from Golf Channel’s celebration on Monday.

“The lead up to golf’s return to the Olympics will be one of the biggest stories in golf in the coming years. Golf Channel will be covering this historic story from a variety of angles as the international growth of golf is put on display with its inclusion in the Olympics,” said Mike McCarley, President of Golf Channel.

Season two of In Play with Jimmy Roberts, which this year expands to an hour, begins Monday at 10 p.m. ET, following the season premiere of Big Break Florida at 9 p.m. ET. In Play will feature an exclusive look at the preparation of the Olympic golf course in Rio through multiple interviews with the course’s designer, Gil Hanse. For the past two years, Golf Channel cameras have captured the development process of the course, including Hanse’s initial visit to the proposed site in 2011, his winning bid to be architect and course designer in 2012 and the current shaping of the course, which is currently under construction. Hanse said, “I don’t know that we will ever get to build a more significant golf course. It is the opportunity of a lifetime.” Hanse also opens up about family stresses during the construction process (his family moved to Rio in January, 2013), his frustrations with the delays of the course development and how he, his family and his management team have overcome these struggles and are moving forward with a scheduled completion of the course in 2014.

Gil Hanse, on the Olympics course design and the schedule changes:

“We can clearly see in what we are building, and the landforms that exist, that we have got something pretty exciting here. The best parts of the day are when the optimism bubbles through of, ‘Boy, wait until we finish this and how good it is going to look.’”

“The schedule has changed – not to fit the pace but basically to fit the reality of where we are now. So, now we have a realistic schedule that will have this golf course being completed sometime in the first half of 2014.”

Hanse’s design team also has been hard at work in renovating and reconstructing the famed Blue Monster Course at Trump National Doral in Miami, Fla. The course, which re-opened in early February to rave reviews, will host the PGA TOUR’s World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship in March. Donald Trump discusses with Roberts on In Play why he selected Hanse as the course architect and some of the enhancements and changes made to the course.

The hour-long episode of In Play also delves into the history of golf in the Olympics, which makes its return in 2016 after a 112-year absence, with three unique stories. In Play will highlight the 1900 Olympic Games (Paris, France), when Margaret Abbott won the women’s golf tournament, becoming the first American woman in any sport to win an Olympic event; the 1904 Olympic Games (St. Louis, Mo.) – the last Olympics when golf was an official sport – when Canadian George Lyon dominated the field and won the gold medal, and how he later refused to accept the gold medal at the 1908 London Games; as well as a retrospective on an international golf event taking place around the 1936 Olympic Games, now known as the “Hitler Invitational,” that took place in Berlin, Germany.

Morning Drive, Golf Channel’s daily morning show, also will look toward Rio on Monday and review the projected field if the men’s and women’s Olympic competitions were to take place today. Hanse is scheduled to join the show on Monday from Rio, and Golf Digest contributor Geoff Shackelford, who has personally surveyed the Rio Olympic golf course project, will join Morning Drive to discuss the latest developments on the design and construction of the course in Rio.

GolfChannel.com will post projected fields for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, based on current world rankings. The field is scheduled to be a total of 60 players for each of the men’s and women’s events. The top-15 ranked players of each gender will qualify with a limit of four golfers qualifying from a country. The remaining 45 spots will go to the highest-ranked players from countries that do not already have two golfers qualified. GolfChannel.com also will launch a dedicated section within the site (www.GolfChannel.com/Olympicgolf) that focuses solely on Olympics-related content, and Golf Channel and NBC Sports’ social media channels will combine efforts to promote Olympics-related content using the #Rio2016 hashtag.

GolfChannel.com will feature on Monday a column from senior writer Jason Sobel on the history of golf in the Olympics. Sobel takes an in-depth look at Glen Echo Country Club in St. Louis, the last venue to host an Olympics golf tournament in 1904 that featured one of the more unique and memorable medal presentations in Olympics history.

VIDEO: In Play Season Premiere Sneak Peek

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The Social: G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T.

By Jason CrookJanuary 23, 2018, 6:00 pm

Tom Brady compares himself to Tiger Woods, who coincidentally is returning to the PGA Tour this week, Jordan Spieth hangs out with some decent company and kids these days ruffle some feathers with their friendships.

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

Well, it’s finally Farmers Insurance Open week and Woods has been spotted practicing for his official return to the PGA Tour on Thursday.

Some thought this day might never come after a 2017 filled with mostly downs for the 14-time major champ.

But as he has taught the golf world time and time again, you just can't count Tiger out.

So even as Jon Rahm attempts to overtake Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world this week at Torrey Pines, all eyes will be on one of the greatest we've ever seen do it, even if that guy is ranked No. 647 in the world.

Speaking of greatness …

There’s not many who can just offhandedly compare themselves to Tiger, but if anyone gets a pass, it’s Tom Brady.

The 40-year-old New England Patriots quarterback led his team back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year despite playing the AFC title game with a cut on his throwing hand.

When asked about it after the Patriots come-from-behind victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady answered, “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”

So there you have it. A 40-year-old Brady is winning AFC Championships with his C game. Good luck, Eagles; you’re going to need it.

Also, if for some reason you wanted an update on Justin Thomas' life, it's still awesome:

Yeah, that's last year's PGA Tour Player of the Year hanging with Cy Young winner Cory Kluber in a suite at the Patriots game and teasing us with a possible #SB2K18 cameo.

Curtis Strange likes his competitive golf straight up, hold the friendliness.

This, according to Curtis Strange.

The two-time U.S. Open champ took to Twitter during the CareerBuilder Challenge to vent his frustration regarding the constant chit-chat and friendliness between Rahm and Andrew Landry:

This, of course, makes sense in theory. But good luck watching golf – or really any sport – from here on out. Sure there will be a few old school guys who buck the trend here and there, but for the most part, it’s really hard to share a private jet/dinners/vacations/(insert awesome thing here) with someone, and then completely turn off the friendship coming down the stretch of a big tournament.

Damn millennials. They ruin everything.

By now you've all seen that poor Philadelphia Eagles fan who lost his battle with a subway station pillar (from multiple angles), so instead here is a video of a man attempting to stand on an egg. Bet you can't guess how that goes.

Tony's gonna stand on an egg

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Seriously if you haven't seen the video of that Eagles fan, here's your last chance in this column. You'll be glad you did.

Jordan Spieth, Michael Phelps and Bryce Harper walk on to a golf course … there’s no punchline, that actually happened last week in Las Vegas.

Was the whole thing just a big advertisement for Spieth’s new Under Armour shoe? You bet.

But that doesn’t make the optics of three of the biggest superstar athletes on the planet teeing it up for a round any less awesome.

Off to the next. #Spieth2 #TEAMUA

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The trio has three major wins, five All Star Game appearances and 28 Olympic medals between them, and there they were over the weekend just fake laughing for the camera and driving around individual golf carts with their own personalized logos on them.

Just guys being dudes. Nothing better than that.

Matt Kuchar. Still good at golf. Still overly polite. This according to European Tour pro Eddie Pepperell who had the privilege of hitting on the range next to Kuuuuuch in Abu Dhabi last week.

That image is burned into your brain forever now, thanks Eddie. From now on when you think of Kuchar you're going to think of those Sketches ads and "oopsies."

Which, I suppose is better than a, "Did you get that?"

Blayne Barber's caddie, Cory Gilmer, collapsed and hit his head while at a restaurant at the Sony Open and has been mostly unconscious in the neurological intensive care unit ever since.

The outpouring of love and support from the golf community has been overwhelming on social media, and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the mounting medical costs for Gilmer and his family.

Check out the link below for more info or to donate to a worthy cause:

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Top-ranked amateur wins LAAC, earns Masters invite

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 5:38 pm

Joaquin Niemann walked Augusta National Golf Club as a patron last year. He’ll be a competitor in 2018.

Niemann, the top-ranked amateur in the world, shot 8-under 63 Tuesday at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Santiago, Chile, to win the Latin America Amateur Championship.

And with the title, both redemption and an invitation to the Masters Tournament.


Full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship


Niemann finished runner-up in last year’s LAAC to fellow Chilean Toto Gana. He followed Gana around Augusta grounds, watching as his best friend played two rounds before missing the cut.

Niemann, who was going to turn professional had he not won this week, started the final round one back of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz. Niemann was sluggish from the start on Tuesday, but then drove the 313-yard, par-4 eighth and made the eagle putt. That sparked a run of five birdies over his next six holes.

Niemann was bogey-free in the final round and finished five shots clear of Ortiz, at 11 under.

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Judges Panel, Host Announced for Wilson Golf's "Driver vs. Driver 2," Premiering This Fall on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 23, 2018, 4:15 pm

‘Driver vs. Driver 2 Presented by Wilson Currently in Production; Sports Broadcaster Melanie Collins Returns to Host

Morning Drive: Driver vs. Driver 2 Judges Announced

Golf Channel and Wilson Golf announced today the panel of judges and host for the second season of Driver vs. Driver, the innovative television series that follows aspiring golf equipment designers as they compete for the opportunity to have their driver idea or concept transformed into the next great golf driver from Wilson. The show is currently in production and will premiere this fall.

Joining judge Tim Clarke, President of Wilson Golf, are two newcomers to the series: 9-time National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star and current NHL on NBC hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick – an avid golfer with a single digit handicap and a self-described golf equipment junkie; and PGA Professional, golf coach, equipment reviewer and social media influencer Rick Shiels.

“Golf is a big passion of mine, and personally I enjoy learning about new equipment and concepts,” said Roenick. “To be able to see this side of the business in how equipment is developed first-hand is fascinating. Being a part of the process in reviewing driver concepts and narrowing them down to an ultimate winning driver that will be sold across the country is a tremendous honor.” 

“Jeremy, as an avid golfer, and Rick, as a coach, equipment reviewer and golf professional, bring incredible, real world insights and different perspectives to the show and this process,” said Clarke. “I’m excited to work alongside these two judges to push the boundaries of innovation and bring a next-generation driver to golfers around the world.”

Sports broadcaster Melanie Collins returns as the host of Driver vs. Driver 2. Currently a sideline reporter for CBS Sports’ college football and basketball coverage, Collins hosted the inaugural season in 2016 and formerly co-hosted Golf Channel’s competition series, Big Break.

Production for Driver vs. Driver 2 began in the fall of 2017 and will continue through the summer, including this week at the PGA Merchandise Show. The series is being produced by Golf Channel, whose portfolio of original productions include interview series Feherty hosted by Emmy-nominated sports personality David Feherty, high-quality instruction shows School of Golf, Golf Channel Academy and Playing Lessons and a slate of award-winning films.

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Tiger Tracker: Farmers Insurance Open

By Tiger TrackerJanuary 23, 2018, 4:00 pm

Tiger Woods is competing in a full-field event for the first time in nearly a year. We're tracking him at this week's Farmers Insurance Open. (Note: Tweets read, in order, left to right)