Now Boarding

By Rex HoggardJuly 8, 2010, 1:09 am

The age of instant information reached new heights on July 5 just past noon on the East Coast when young Rickie Fowler found out he, along with Jeff Overton and Davis Love III, had been extended invitations into next week’s Open Championship.

“Just found out I will be taking the @JDCLASSIC Charter flight over Sunday night to play in the British Open next week!” Fowler Tweeted.

That’s right, it wasn’t his spot in the 150th playing of the game’s oldest championship or the storied links of St. Andrews that rated the 140-character announcement, it was the John Deere Classic’s special 767 charter from Moline, Ill., to Scotland.

Amid talk of “designated tournaments” and whispers of contraction as more and more tournaments struggle with reluctant sponsors and weak fields, the Deere folks seem to have it figured out.

“Out date has become our advantage,” Deere tournament director Clair Peterson said.

Rickie FowlerHistorically tournaments slotted directly before or after major championships have fallen into two categories – warm ups or worse, afterthoughts.

In 2008 Peterson added the “Air Deere” charter to sweeten the pot for players who like to play the week before a major but didn’t like the travel options from Moline to the United Kingdom.

The year before he started the charter the Deere had seven players in the field that had qualified for that year’s Open Championship. “Every one of them had problems with their luggage (getting to the United Kingdom). It was a disaster,” Peterson said.

In 2008 the number of qualifiers jumped to 22 players and last year there were 23 who took advantage of the charter. This year 27 players will fly “Air Deere” to Edinburgh.

“Before when guys would qualify for the British they would apologize for not being able to play (the John Deere), now they can come,” Peterson said. “These guys all have to get to the British Open somehow some way.”

The charter is non-stop, features 100 first-class seats and costs $1,250 per person, which is donated to the Birdies for Charity foundation, and the results of Peterson’s creativity are easily quantifiable.

This week’s John Deere Classic features three players in the top 20 in the World Golf Ranking (No. 4 Steve Stricker, No. 19 Zach Johnson and No. 20 Tim Clark). The exact same number of top-20 players, by the by, that were in the field at last week’s AT&T National, an elite invitational unencumbered by the long shadow of major championship.

“Stricker is the perfect example, a guy who wouldn’t be here otherwise, it gives them a chance to win and now you could have the No. 4 ranked player in the world as a defending champion,” Peterson said.

It’s a lemons to lemonade deal.

The Travelers Championship followed the Deer’s lead, adding a charter from the U.S. Open to Hartford, Conn., and has enjoyed similar results.

“It is a part of helping our field. If we just did the charter, I am not sure (how much it would help). But we combined the charter with a half dozen other player-wife-caddie initiatives and I think the entire package helps our field,” Travelers tournament director Nathan Grube said of this year’s charter which shuttled 40 players from Pebble Beach to Hartford.

“I think our field has gotten stronger every year due to the entire recruitment package, of which the charter is a piece.”

All of which makes last week’s extended conversations about a possible “designated tournament” proposal that much more interesting. Although the gulf between the haves and the have nots on the PGA Tour docket seems to widen with each year, there is a Darwinistic reality that must be considered.

Saddled with a less-than-attractive date, one a week before a major the other a week after (Travelers), Peterson and Grube focused their energies on improving the product, not running down a new date or pushing for mandated participation, an option the independent contractors have resisted.

Perhaps Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and the rest of the marquee will never grace a leaderboard at TPCs River Highlands or Deere Run, but Grube and Peterson have made sure they have one less excuse and given the rest of the frat brothers a reason to come.

If the designated tournament proposal – which currently enjoys widespread support from most players and tournament directors, including Peterson – becomes a reality the Tour will be better for it. The question, however, is whether the mandate will stymie the type of creative marketing that has made Hartford and Moline “must play” events for some players?

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Rose leads with play stopped in Indonesia; Snedeker withdraws

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

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

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.