Teed off Golf course smoking bans anger golfers

By Associated PressMay 7, 2009, 4:00 pm
SPOKANE, Wash. ' For the cigar-smoking golfer, 18 holes and a stogie rank with peanut butter and jelly or gin and tonic among lifes ideal combinations.
 
Thats why recent efforts across the country to ban smoking on public golf courses are being greeted by those players like a triple bogey. In the balance between individual rights and public health, weekend duffers feel authorities have become unreasonable.
 
The city of Spokane just tried to ban smoking on its four public golf courses, only to be stymied by an outcry from players and smoking rights advocates.
 
Golf and cigars go together like a hand in a glove, said Dale Taylor of Tacoma, president of the Cigar Association of Washington, a smokers rights groups. That may be the only time some people smoke.
 
Washington state is among the least hospitable places for smokers, with no smoking allowed in any public indoor space, or outside within 25 feet of a door or window. But the proposed smoking ban on public links has struck a nerve, in part because of the vastness of golf courses. Playing a typical 18-hole course, such as Downriver in Spokane, means traveling easily more than three miles.
 
If I was just walking and somebody was 300 feet away, Im bothering them? avid smoker and golfer Greg Presley told the Spokane parks board during a public hearing. Weve got to have some common sense.
 
Evidence of the illnesses caused by second-hand smoke has led to widespread bans on indoor smoking nationwide in recent decades. The great outdoors is now at the forefront of campaigns led by smoking opponents, and hundreds of places ban it in outdoor restaurants, parks and beaches, said Annie Tegan, of the Seattle office of Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, which seeks to limit smoking.
 
Because bans are enacted at the local and state levels, it is difficult to determine their exact number of them. Tegan knew of about a dozen communities that have banned smoking on public golf courses, including San Francisco, Glendale and Pasadena in California; Hawaii County, Hawaii; Bloomington, Minn.; Goshen, Ind.; Abilene, Texas; and Arvada, Colo.
 
The Hilo Municipal Golf Course is the only public course on the big island of Hawaii, and last years ban on smoking in all public parks, beaches and other recreation facilities has not been popular, said assistant pro Sharol Ayai.
 
Theres big-time complaining, Ayai said. The golfers will still smoke because most feel it is unfair. We all pay taxes.
 
Ayai said the ban, which does not apply to private golf clubs, has not had much impact on the number of rounds played at the course, in part because it is ignored.
 
Some communities that tried to ban smoking on golf courses, like Thousand Oaks, Calif., relented after complaints by golfers, whose fees support the facilities.
 
You really have to stretch things to imagine you are offending anybody when you are outside smoking cigars, said Gordon Mott, executive editor of Cigar Aficionado magazine, which includes a monthly feature on smoking and golf.
 
Some non-smokers oppose outdoor smoking bans as intrusive government.
 
Its a disgusting habit, but people have a right to make choices, Spokane resident Joel Bark told the local Parks Board during the public hearing.
 
Patrick Reynolds of the Foundation for a Smokefree America acknowledged that moving the anti-smoking fight from indoors to outdoors was cutting edge.
 
But these are in fact reasonable laws, Reynolds, grandson of tobacco pioneer R.J. Reynolds, said. Second-hand smoke causes lung cancer.
 
The bans also are aimed at reducing litter, he said.
 
Smoking bans also have been imposed on spectators at pro golf tournaments. Last month, there was a no-smoking zone for the first time at the Masters. The U.S. Open in 2008 at Torrey Pines banned smoking by spectators because San Diego had banned smoking in its parks, beaches and public golf courses. But players were allowed to smoke.
 
With little advance notice, the Spokane parks board voted in March to ban smoking in all city parks, including golf courses. An existing law already prevented people from smoking near playgrounds, swimming pools or other parks facilities, so the board didnt think many would care when it decided to ban smoking entirely, parks spokeswoman Nancy Goodspeed said.
 
They were wrong.
 
The outcry from smokers and libertarians was swift, and prompted the board in April to stay the ban on golf courses while it studies the issue further.
 
We heard from everyone and their brother, on both sides, Goodspeed said.
 
The board will wait for people to calm down before taking up the issue of smoking on golf courses again, she said, adding that may be a year or more.
 
Presley, who said he has smoked and played golf for five decades, hopes it never comes up again.
 
Theres plenty of fresh air out there to share, Presley said. Everyone pays taxes.
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DJ triples last hole, opens with 76 at Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 6:18 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Dustin Johnson’s chances of winning The Open are likely already over.

The world No. 1 hit his tee shot out of bounds on 18 on his way to a triple bogey, capping a miserable day that left him with a 5-over 76, 10 shots off the lead and in danger of missing the cut.

Johnson didn’t talk to reporters afterward, but there wasn’t much to discuss.

He didn’t make a birdie until the par-5 14th, bogeyed 16 and then made 7 on Carnoustie's home hole when his tee shot caromed out of bounds left.

Johnson has missed the cut only once in nine previous appearances at The Open – in his first try in 2009.

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'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

“The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

"Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

“It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

"The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

“I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

“Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

The problem was an expired visa.

Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

“Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

“It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”