One Year Later Golf Knows Its Place in the New World
He watched life change from a distance.
Like many in the golf industry, Dave saw priorities shift at frightening speed. Golf ' and all sports ' receded into the background as America tried to absorb its national horror. Thats as it should be, for it was all too much to take. And although those who said cancellation of the Ryder Cup and other events showed weakness, it just felt wrong for a while to celebrate or play. That feeling overwhelmed any concerns about showing a chink in our armor.
That New York [golf course] project kind of halted after that, Heatwole said 364 days later at the site of another under-construction Nicklaus course near Charlotte, N.C. There was regret in his voice, but it had nothing to do with revenue.
The golf industry, like many economic segments, has had a tough time over the past year. Equipment, course ownership, rounds played, travel ' its all sluggish, and most of the trouble can be traced to the calamity of the attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon. For reasons that seem obvious but are nonetheless hard to articulate, people dont want to travel as much, or spend as much. And in a golf economy in which a set of premium irons can cost as much as a refrigerator or large-screen television, that attitude puts the brakes on business in a hurry.
And yet the people who work the golf business every day utter hardly a word of complaint. In talk after talk with sales reps, marketing directors, and executives, I hear a were-all-in-this-together spirit. Of course, everyone would like business to be better. But somewhere, a little girl would like her daddy to come home, and she knows he never will.
We at The Golf Channel often say, when the mainstream news cycle presents a story that knocks golf further back in the national consciousness, Were not curing cancer here. We love what we do, but we try to maintain some perspective about how it fits into the lives of our viewers and readers.
September 11 was that situation, multiplied by 3,000. Thats why we suspended live programming for a time after the attacks.
But life has gone on, and so has the industry. Product introductions have proceeded, golf balls are being assembled, painted, boxed and sold, and people are playing, although not always in the numbers they did before.
Patience is what is needed. Some golf companies have been using this down time to make ready for an upsurge in demand once we see what our new national normal will look like.
Meanwhile, we look for the respectful medium between enthusiasm for the future and sensitivity to the past, between the enervation of hope and the ache of dutiful memory. We hug our children more, worry over our long irons less, and stare at the bedroom ceiling longer into the night.
There is much in golf that cant be controlled ' the wind, the grain, our opponent, the breaks ' indeed, one of the games chief lessons involves standing up to adversity with the full knowledge that you cannot completely control the elements that will decide your fate. The only certain failure comes from failing to do anything. Well-executed effort increases your chances of success.
It is my hope that the lesson has rubbed off on generations of golfers who face the sleep-robbing knowledge most adults have realized: That the world swirls around you, and you must do the best you can even as you admit that much of it is beyond your control.
It is my deeper hope that golf has offered a respite to some of the grieving and weary.
Now, whatever the future, lets hit the ball, turn our faces to the sun ' and walk on.
Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener
The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.
Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.
According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.
"My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"
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News got out last week that I was dealing with an oblique injury the past two tournaments...it was confirmed yesterday, via MRI, that I have a partial tear in my right oblique...my team and I feel like it’s best not to play next week in the Northern Trust...I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!
Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.
Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.
Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas
Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.
Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.
Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.
Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.
It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.
While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.
One of the 13 playoff streaks is assured of ending next week, as Luke Donald has missed most of the year with a back injury. Other players to qualify for every Tour postseason include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.
Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days
Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.
But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.
Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.
A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:
Another week, another set of missing golf clubs and lost baggage with @AmericanAir & @British_Airways. Any chance you could help find all of my luggage and send it to me before my tournament this week?! Need them for work!! Thanks— Thorbjørn Olesen (@Thorbjornolesen) August 13, 2018
So the comedy continues, @British_Airways have managed to now lose 5 suitcases and 2 sets of golf clubs in 10 days!— Thorbjørn Olesen (@Thorbjornolesen) August 14, 2018
Decided to bring my only backup set of clubs on this morning's flight to the Nordea Masters in case my other lost set don't arrive and BA have also now lost these! pic.twitter.com/V6QPXzAaBk
Just reached 50,000 followers on Twitter and was going to do a bag giveaway, but @British_Airways has lost them all a href="https://t.co/WwiPqD9bql">pic.twitter.com/WwiPqD9bql— Thorbjørn Olesen (@Thorbjornolesen) August 14, 2018
After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.
He also still plans on giving his golf bag away to some lucky follower, provided it's not lost again in transit. Something he's no longer taking for granted.
For those that are asking about the Bag Giveaway, that’ll be done next week as promised... once my luggage isn’t left behind again— Thorbjørn Olesen (@Thorbjornolesen) August 15, 2018
Details to follow! pic.twitter.com/3AVMgE02HU
Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks
Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.
A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.
Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.
Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: