Contest winner's trip report: The Carson Valley/Carson City Divine Nine Media Tour

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 31, 2011, 4:56 pm

Winner of the Carson Valley/Carson City Divine Nine Golf Channel writing contest, avid golfer Mike Moore (shown on the left and far right with Dennis Miller from ACES Magazine) had the chance to participate in the infamous Divine Nine Media Tour: Two holes on nine different golf courses throughout Carson Valley in one day. Sounds crazy? It was. Here is his dispatch: 

CARSON VALLEY, Nev. -- Maybe it was the 6am wake-up call, no practice swings, no stretches. Maybe it was the 48 degrees. Maybe it was little sleep after the trip from Houston to Nevada’s state capital. Perhaps it was nerves – you know, being the only non-media guy of 15 in the group. Whatever it was, my first swing of the day was a miss, a strike, a pure scalp, a 5-inch divot parallel to the ball – a Titleist that stayed perched atop the tee, unmoved by my swing or my plight. 

Welcome to the Divine 9 Media Tour in Carson City/Carson Valley, Nevada. This was my first trip here, but the 12th annual rendition of an event that invites media to play two holes at nine different courses in eleven hours to promote the area’s golf variety, quality and fun factor to visitors and locals. 

I’m standing on the 16th tee of the Genoa Lakes Resort Course, a par-3 of 149 yards overlooking what locals refer to as “the mighty Carson Valley” when I whiffed.  I’m here as the winner of a writing contest, a national promotion inviting traveling golf writer wannabes an expense paid trip and a $500 stipend to chronicle this offbeat, Wild West assignment. My winning entry was a short story about my first golf trip to Scotland years ago. This affair definitely broke with any of the game’s long-held traditions. 

Media from throughout Northern California and Nevada piled onto the shuttle bus at the Gold Dust West Casino Hotel in Carson City, our host hotel. The night before we were feted to a civilized welcome reception with representatives from the local visitors bureau, the hotel and golf courses. How could I have known then what was to come? 

We had 15 gentlemen on the bus and a very large ice chest. The only woman cancelled the night prior, which upon further review may have been a blessing – for her! When all 15 played the same hole at the same time at Eagle Valley West, I got a bit nervous. That’s also when I started to flinch. 

The route throughout the Carson City/Carson Valley area would cover approximately 90 miles with stops for two holes at each course: Genoa Lakes Resort and Lakes Courses, Carson Valley, Sunridge, Eagle Valley West and East, Silver Oak, Empire Ranch and Dayton Valley

“All right turns,” said Phil Weidinger, whose PR firm organizes the venture for the Carson City Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Carson Valley Visitors Authority and Chamber of Commerce. “We’re burning daylight and gotta make it quick.” 

We also stopped for lunch at Carson Valley Inn in Minden, Nevada to make a deli sandwich and have a drink. Did I mention drinks? The magic ice chest: always full, a “welcome” Bloody Mary at our second stop, the  5-hour energy drink after our last course at J’s, a tony restaurant in Dayton, prior to dinner and more drinks at Ole Ole, the South of the Border pride of Gold Dust West, conveniently located just about 20 paces from their bowling alley. 

This is Nevada, the Silver State, where slots and morals are sometimes loose, and where Mark Twain, who started his writing career here is purported to have said, “Everything is legal here – as long as you don’t frighten the horses.” 

Many courses had carts waiting on side streets to accommodate quicker play. Rules said to pick-up at 8, that there wasn’t enough time to watch that many bad shots. We were whisked from course to course, averaging 50 minutes at each, with players greeted by friendly staff eager to impress. 

The valley courses presented holes with a striking variety and challenge.  Each provided their own personality from the family-friendly and award winning Carson Valley, the oldest in the region; to Dayton Valley, a site for US Open Qualifying for 16 consecutive years with its impeccable greens; to the birdie friendly layouts of Empire Ranch and Eagle Valley East; to 63 acres of water at Sunridge; to scenic Genoa Lakes, a championship layout with views to match; to the target golf of Eagle Valley West; the views of Carson City from the peaks of Silver Oak,  I quickly fell in love with this scenic, high desert paradise located just 30 minutes from Lake Tahoe and Reno. It was all there: rolling hills, trees, rivers with a backdrop of the spectacular Sierra Nevada as the highlight. 

Hole in one

Don Marchand (above), a sports talk show host at ESPN radio in Reno, aced the 159-yard, par 3, No. 4 at Sunridge, a carry of 150 yards over water. It was a first in the tour’s history. That he used a yellow ball “just in case” resulted in unmerciful teasing. The water theme repeated itself at many courses, along with forced carries over barrancas. 

Bill Henderson, long time marketing director at Carson Valley Inn and the man credited with this format, smiled and said, “We just wanted to make it memorable for you.” Our 18-hole course included seven par 3s, six par 5s and five par 4s, totaling 6,419 yards. The Northern Nevada Golf Association even provided an official rating and slope at 70.1/119. I guess Twain was right! 

For a golfing good time, this area is hard to beat – an eclectic selection of courses from championship caliber tournament layouts to the family friendly with accommodations and local attractions for most interests with a doff of the cowboy hat to old west history. They even have the Virginia & Truckee Railroad running along its original route between Carson and Virginia City, where the Mother Lode was struck in the 1800s. The Divine 9 offers packages throughout the year for individuals and groups. for details. 

Most of the guys shot in the 90s with the generous rules; I rallied after that opening swing for a 95 and hit some decent shots considering the format and decorum. I was even interviewed by Dina Kupfer, sports anchor at KRNV, Reno's NBC affiliate.

When the day mercifully ended in the gloaming, backs were tight but quips were loose. Scores didn’t matter – it was about the experience and that included 1 eagle, 3 birdies, 68 beers, 6 sports drinks, 15 Bloody Marys, 28 waters, one crazy format and one great time. 

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 3, Tiger Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:45 pm

After returning to competition at the Hero World Challenge in December 2016, Woods started the new year with an ambitious slate of tournament starts as he eyed his first full season since 2013. But he made it only three rounds, looking rusty en route to a missed cut at Torrey Pines before withdrawing abruptly in Dubai.

The “spasms” that led to that withdrawal turned out to be something far more serious, as Woods underwent his fourth and most invasive back surgery in April, a lumbar fusion. It brought with it an extensive rehabilitation, and at the Presidents Cup in September Woods humored the prospect that he might never again play competitive golf.

At Liberty National he also faced some scrutiny for an off-course incident from months prior. In May he was arrested for suspicion of DUI, an incident that produced a startling roadside video of an intoxicated Woods struggling to follow instructions from the arresting officer after driving erratically.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

While he was not drinking at the time, Woods was found to have a mix of several prescription medications in his system, including multiple painkillers. He checked himself into a private drug treatment program in July to address his dependency issues, and in October he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.

But the incident was barely a memory when Woods again made a return to competition in the Bahamas at the tournament he hosts. This time around he exceeded nearly every expectation, twice shooting 4-under 68 while tying for ninth among the 18-man field. Having re-tooled his swing following fusion surgery, Woods appeared relaxed, happy and healthy while briefly taking the lead during the tournament’s second round.

What lies ahead for Woods in 2018 remains uncertain, as the stop-and-start nature of this past season serves as a cautionary tale. But after a harrowing arrest and another serious surgery, he seems once again focused on his game, intent on chasing down a new crop of elite talent, some of whom are barely more than half his age.

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Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

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Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:30 pm
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NBC Sports' Coverage of LPGA Tour in 2017 Most-Viewed Season Ever for NBC Sports

By Golf Channel Public RelationsDecember 13, 2017, 8:45 pm

NBC Sports’ LPGA Tour Coverage Ties 2013 for Most-Watched Year Since 2011

NBC and Golf Channel Boast Top-6 Most-Watched Women’s Golf Telecasts in 2017

Beginning with the dramatic playoff finish at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic in January and concluding with Lexi Thompson winning the $1 million Race to the CME Globe, nearly 22 million viewers tuned in to LPGA Tour coverage across Golf Channel and NBC in 2017. This makes 2017 the most-viewed LPGA Tour season across NBC Sports since Golf Channel joined the NBC Sports Group in 2011. Additionally, 2017 tied 2013 as the LPGA Tour’s most-watched year across NBC Sports since 2011. Coverage drew an average of 221,000 viewers per telecast in 2017 (+24% vs. 2016), according to data released by The Nielsen Company.


For the first time ever in televised women’s golf, Sunday’s final round of the RICOH Women’s British Open (Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, 1.1 million viewers) delivered the most-watched and highest-rated women’s golf telecast of the year. NBC’s Saturday (Day 2) coverage of the Solheim Cup in August placed second with 968,000 viewers, followed by Sunday’s Solheim Cup coverage on NBC with 946,000 viewers. Golf Channel’s live coverage of Sunday’s final day of the Solheim Cup drew 795,000 viewers, the most-watched women’s golf event on cable in eight years.





Avg. Viewers P2+
































  • ANA Inspiration - The LPGA’s first major championship delivered thefifth most-watched LPGA final round in Golf Channel history with 551,000 viewers when So Yeon Ryu defeated Lexi Thompson in a playoff following Thompson being assessed a four-stroke penalty earlier in the final round.
  • KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – The LPGA’s second major was seen by 6.6 million viewers across Golf Channel and NBC, the largest audience for the event on record (2006-17). Sunday’s final round on NBC, which saw Danielle Kang win her first LPGA Tour event over defending champion Brooke Henderson, also was the most-watched telecast in the event’s history with 840,000 average viewers.
  • RICOH Women’s British Open – NBC’s Sunday coverage of the RICOH Women’s British Open delivered the most-watched and highest-rated women’s golf telecast in 2017 (.78 U.S. HH rating, 1.1 million viewers). In total, 7 million unique viewers tuned in to coverage across Golf Channel and NBC, the most-watched RICOH Women’s British Open in the past 10 years and the most-watched among the five women’s major championships in 2017.
  • Solheim Cup – Seen by a total audience of 7.3 million viewers across Golf Channel and NBC, the Solheim Cup posted the largest total audience for women’s golf since the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open on ESPN/NBC. Golf Channel’s live coverage of the final day drew 795,000 average viewers, becoming the most-watched women’s golf telecast on cable in the last eight years, since the final day of the 2009 Solheim Cup.


Golf Channel Digital posted record numbers of LPGA streaming consumption with 11.9 million live minutes streamed across LPGA Tour telecasts in 2017 (+563% vs. 2016).

  • Solheim Cup – Three-day coverage of the Solheim Cup saw 6.3 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports’ Digital platforms, trailing only the 2016 Rio Olympics (9 million) as the most-ever for a women’s golf event airing on Golf Channel / NBC.
  • RICOH Women’s British Open – Four-day coverage of the RICOH Women’s British Open saw 2 million minutes streamed, +773% vs. 2016.

NBC Sports Group combined to air 31 LPGA Tour events in 2017 and a total of 420 hours of coverage, the most in LPGA history. The exclusive cable home to the LPGA Tour, Golf Channel aired coverage of four of five women’s major championships in 2017, with three majors also airing on NBC: the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, RICOH Women’s British Open and The Evian Championship. The biennial Solheim Cup also returned to network television for the first time in 15 years with weekend coverage on NBC.

Source: Nielsen 2017 Live+Same Day DVR vs. prior available data. Persons 2+ avg 000’s and/or Persons 2+ reach w/six-minute qualifier. Digital Metrics from Adobe Reports & Analytics. Details available.