Runways to Fairways: Eat well, play better in San Francisco

By Matt GinellaApril 3, 2013, 3:24 pm

SAN FRANCISCO – Although I grew up an hour north of “the city,” it’s hard to call San Francisco home. It’s more like the old blanket that sits at the end of my sofa – a loyal and consistent source of warmth for my soul.

I went to a lot more 49ers’ games than Giants’ games. I’ve only been to Alcatraz once. In college, I tended bar at Capp's Corner, an Italian restaurant in North Beach. But it wasn’t until I recently started spending quality time using the city as a base that I began to appreciate it for how small it is – “you can get anywhere in the city in 20 minutes” – and how much it has to offer.

As a kid, I tried to hold my breath from tower to tower on the Golden Gate Bridge (depending on the traffic, I’d have to cheat to beat my four older siblings). Now I appreciate those two red arches, and their ongoing battle with the fog, for being the most beautiful bridge in the world.

Memphis

In my college years, if I wasn’t squirreling away soup and garlic bread from Capp’s, I’d maximize my profits by buying frozen burritos. Now I don’t take for granted the wide range of culinary options. As you’ll see in my latest installment of “Runways to Fairways,” I sampled Memphis Minnie’s (pictured above), Original Joe’s and the sushi bar at Hotel Nikko.


SF Coit

I also took in sites, such as the Coit Tower (pictured above) and Alcatraz, and I hit a putt down Lombard Street (below): 

SF Lombard


Not to mention, navigating the doglegs of some of my favorite public golf in the country: 


Sandy Tatum, 93, played for Stanford during two national championships (1941 and ’42), served on the USGA’s executive committee and is a member of San Francisco’s Hall of Fame. Tatum gets a lot of credit for the leadership and some of the fund raising that helped restore what is now TPC Harding Park, which is across Lake Merced from The Olympic Club. Some criticize Tatum for exhausting the city’s golf fund. And then some. And then some more. 

But where and how the money was spent, as well as the relationship Tatum forged with the PGA Tour, it’s clear TPC Harding Park’s 27 holes, First Tee program, the 18 new greens in December, as well as playing host to significant PGA Tour and Champions Tour events, has made Harding Park relevant again. Not to mention, it’s a good business model. Had the city continued to split limited funds among Harding, Lincoln and Sharp parks, one could argue, they’d all still be below average. Having Harding be the lead sled dog, pulling in more players, tournaments and profit, will now begin to benefit Harding, Lincoln, Sharp and the local golfer in a way that might never have happened otherwise.

SF Harding

TPC Harding Park (pictured above) has a three-tiered structure to green fees, which I love. City residents pay $52 during the week; $66 on weekends. Residents of Bay Area counties pay $90 during the week; $100 on weekends. Everyone else pays $155 during the week; $175 on weekends.


SF Lincoln

And like I said in the video, on a clear day, the view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Lincoln Park’s 17th tee (pictured above) is worth the $41 green fee. The rest of the course is a bonus.


Pasatiempo

I didn’t have the time on this trip to Northern California, but I usually build at least a round at Pasatiempo into my itinerary, my fifth favorite public course in the country. It’s $250 all week; $110 replay rate.

I’ve also played Presidio Golf Club on previous trips to San Francisco. Featuring tight fairways, 14 elevated greens and the heavy air of Northern California, it’s best to move up a set of tees. Presidio also has a three-tiered structure to the green fees: City residents pay $62 during the week, $72 on Fridays and $77 on weekends. Bay Area residents pay $79, $89 and $99. Non-residents pay $125 during the week and $145 on weekends.


On this trip to Presidio, I had the pleasure of meeting current long-drive champ, Ryan Winther. As you heard and saw on the video, Winther’s ball goes up, and never seems to come down. The sound of the ball leaving his clubface is a violent attack on the ears.

Winther

Winther, who used to be a baseball player, took up golf and working at Presidio as an assistant pro six years ago. He went from picking the range to showering the trees behind the range with 400-yard drives that make Dustin Johnson look like Zach Johnson. Winther has clubhead speed of 157 mph, ball speed of 226.7 mph, and the longest carry ever recorded under 1,000-meter elevation, 430 yards, which is an official Guinness World Record.

Coming off dream seasons in baseball, football and golf, and not to mention hosting America’s Cup at the end of the summer, I’m not the only one finding a new appreciation for San Francisco, and all that it has to offer.

Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: