Notes Golf Channel hoping to mike up players

By Doug FergusonJanuary 5, 2011, 6:51 am

Hyundai Tournament of ChampionsKAPALUA, Hawaii – The Golf Channel came to the PGA Tour opener with hopes of putting a microphone on players for the Tournament of Champions. The trick now is to find a few volunteers.

Jack Graham, executive producer for the Golf Channel, said it has been approved to put mikes on players for the year. The player must agree to wear the mike, and with two days left, it appears it might not happen at Kapalua.

Some players don’t want to do it. Others are interested, just not in the first tournament of the year. Graham said at some point he expects players will get comfortable with the idea.

But he believes it’s an idea long overdue.

“If you look at where we are compared with other sports, we’re pretty far behind,” he said.

The Golf Channel miked players on the LPGA last year.

Given the economy and growing entertainment choices – and especially with a new television contract to be negotiated this year – the PGA Tour is doing what it can to make broadcasts more interesting.

There already is some live chatter at tournaments from the “shotgun mike” held some 10 yards away from players in the fairway. That can’t get anywhere near the green. When players are miked, it will not be live, rather repackaged during the telecast.

“I think it will work if we get some cooperation,” Graham said. “But it’s problematic. Some players will do it. Some won’t.”

Meanwhile, the Tour is allowing some flexibility in the pairings to help with TV.

The groups for Thursday and Friday rounds are determined by Tour winners and those who have won recently, players from the previous money list and those with lesser status, such as Q-school and Nationwide Tour grads or other nonmembers.

Now, there will be some 20 featured players from the “A list” that can be moved around to accommodate television. That means certain players from that group would be chosen to tee off from No. 1 in the afternoon on Friday so Golf Channel could feature them on the back nine – where most of the TV towers are located – in the peak hours of the telecast.

It’s possible that one player could be pulled out of his group and placed in another group to create a story line. Slugger White, the vice president of rules and competition for the Tour, said such movement would be rare.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in the same group? That hasn’t happened on a Thursday and Friday in a regular PGA Tour event, although it could happen. Then again, there’s some thinking it is best to split them up over two days to maximize TV time.

There was a push to allow those who have never won – Rickie Fowler is more than just an example in this case – to move into the winner’s category. The Players Advisory Council shot that down, believing that spot should be earned.

However, Tour officials could move Fowler to a group next to the winner’s category to more easily feature him.

“We’re just trying to take care of our TV partners,” White said. “We’re all in this together. We’re trying to promote our sport.”


 

WORLD MONEY LIST: PGA champion Martin Kaymer won the Race to Dubai on the European Tour, but that still wasn’t enough for the 26-year-old German to rank among the top 10 in worldwide earnings for 2010.

In a list tabulated for the annual “Year in Professional Golf,” U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell was No. 1 with $7.37 million. He was followed by Lee Westwood of England ($6.5 million) and Ernie Els ($6.3 million).

The world money list does not include bonus money from the Race to Dubai or the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour. It counts money at events that have at least four players and is contested over at least 36 holes.

The top American on the list was Dustin Johnson at $5.54 million, while FedEx Cup champion and three-time winner Jim Furyk finished seventh at $5.1 million.

Kaymer was 11th at slightly more than $4.6 million.


 

HAWAII NEWCOMER: No one figures to have less experience at the Tournament of Champions than Ian Poulter.

He had been on holiday with his family in the Bahamas when he flew out to Hawaii on Monday. Poulter showed up on the Plantation Course for the first time Tuesday with the intention of hitting balls, and playing the course for the first time on Wednesday in the pro-am.

He could be in for a surprise.

“I know nothing about the course,” Poulter said. “All I can tell you is the 18th is a par 5. That’s it. I know nothing else.”

Poulter has seen TV promotions of players hitting their second shots on the 18th, down the hill toward the ocean, one of the more spectacular views in golf. He knows that shot, but nothing else.

He usually is on holiday this week of the year, and that doesn’t include watching a golf tournament.


 

GWAA AWARDS: Jack Burke Jr. will be honored by the Golf Writers Association of America with its William D. Richard Award for his outstanding contributions to golf.

The GWAA also voted Steve Stricker as the winner of the ASAPSports/Jim Murray Award for his cooperation with the press, while USGA Women’s Committee chair Barbara Douglas won the Ben Hogan Award for remaining active in golf despite a physical handicap or serious illness.

They will be honored April 6 at the GWAA’s annual awards dinner in Augusta, Ga.

Burke has been a passionate supporter of golf as a player and a teacher. He co-founded with Jimmy Demaret the Champions Golf Club, which has hosted a U.S. Open, Ryder Cup, U.S. Amateur and Tour Championship. Douglas, diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009, has served on the USGA women’s committee since 1993 and remains a strong proponent of junior golf in Arizona.


 

MUSICAL CLUBS: Typical of a new season, some players arrived on Maui with new clubs after their previous deals expired. The most noteworthy, perhaps because of the monstrous year he had, was U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell switching from Callaway to Srixon.

He will use Srixon irons and golf balls and Cleveland wedges. McDowell will wear a Srixon hat and glove and carry the logo on his bag.

Players champion Tim Clark, meanwhile, has left Srixon for Titleist.

Jim Furyk, who had an endorsement deal with Srixon, will continue using its irons. But he has switched to a TaylorMade bag, as the FedEx Cup champion will be using the TaylorMade driver and ball.

Not in the field is former Masters champion Trevor Immelman, who has left Nike for Callaway. Kevin Streelman signed with Wilson.


 

DIVOTS: Geoff Ogilvy showed up at Kapalua with grips on his golf clubs that are unlike any other – they were made from the hide of kangaroo in his native Australia. … Graham DeLaet and Alena Sharp have been voted players of the year by the Golf Journalists Association of Canada. DeLaet finished 100th on the PGA Tour money list in his rookie season, while Sharp was 56th on the LPGA Tour money list. … The Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines will allow fans to bring cell phones to the course in an ongoing experiment. They must be switched on silent, and designated areas are set aside for phone calls. Fans can send texts and e-mails, but they cannot take video or pictures during competition days.


 

STAT OF THE WEEK: The Tournament of Champions features 19 of the top 40 players in the world. Nine of the 19 are Americans.


 

FINAL WORD: “I would like to play with him every Sunday afternoon in the last group for the rest of my life. I guarantee I’m going to beat him every once in a while. Guarantee it.” – Rocco Mediate, on playing with Tiger Woods.

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Arizona caps an improbable journey with a title

By Ryan LavnerMay 24, 2018, 3:49 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Five hours before the final match at the NCAA Women’s Championship, Arizona coach Laura Ianello sat cross-legged on a couch in the Holiday Inn lobby and broke down four times in a half-hour interview.

It’s been that kind of exhausting season.

From poor play to stunning midseason defections to a stroke-play collapse, Ianello has felt uneasy for months. She has felt like she was losing control. Felt like her carefully crafted roster was coming apart.

So to even have a chance to win a NCAA title?

“I know what this team has gone through,” she said, beginning to tear up, “and you don’t get these opportunities all the time. So I want it for them. This could be so life-changing for so many of them.”

A moment that seemed impossible six months ago became reality Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

Arizona continued its magical run through the match-play bracket and knocked off top-ranked Alabama to capture its third NCAA title, with junior Haley Moore – who first rose to fame by making the cut at an LPGA major as a 16-year-old – rolling in a 4-footer to earn the clinching point in extra holes.

All throughout nationals Arizona was fueled by momentum and adrenaline, but this was no Cinderella squad. The Wildcats were ranked ninth in the country. They won twice this spring. They had four medalists. They were one of the longest-hitting teams in the country.

But even before a miracle end to NCAA stroke play, Arizona needed some help just to get here.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring


On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, texted Ianello that she was turning pro. It may have been a gift to her parents, for their years of sacrifice, but it was a lump of coal in Ianello’s stocking.

“I was absolutely heartbroken,” she said. “It was devastating.”

Even more bad news arrived a few weeks later, when junior Gigi Stoll told Ianello that she was unhappy, homesick and wanted to return to Portland, Ore. Just like that, a promising season had gone off the rails.

Ianello offered her a full release, but Stoll looked around, found no other suitors and decided to remain with the team – as long as she signed a contract of expected behavior.

“It was the most exhausting two months of my life,” Ianello said. “We care so much about these freakin’ girls, and we’re like, Come on, this is just a small, little picture of your life, so you don’t realize what you’re possibly giving up. It’s so hard to see that sometimes.”

Stoll eventually bought in, but the rest of the team was blindsided by Quihuis’ decision.

“We became even more motivated to prove we were a great team,” said junior Bianca Pagdanganan.

It also helped that Yu-Sang Hou joined the squad in January. The morale immediately improved, not least because the players now could poke fun at Hou; on her fourth day on campus she nearly burned down the dorm when she forgot to add water to her mac-and-cheese.

Early on Ianello and assistant Derek Radley organized a team retreat at a hotel in Tucson. There the players created Oprah-inspired vision boards and completed exercises blindfolded and delivered 60-second speeches to break down barriers. At the end of the session, they created T-shirts that they donned all spring. They splashed “The Great Eight” on the front, put the state of Arizona and each player’s country of origin on the sleeves, and on the back printed their names and a slogan: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

“I can’t think of anything else that better embodies this team,” Radley said.

This spring, they rallied together and finished no worse than fourth in a tournament. Through three rounds of stroke play here at the NCAA Championship, they used their distance advantage and sat third in the standings. Then they shot 17 over par in the final round, tumbling outside the top-8 cut line.

They were down to their final chance on the 72nd hole, needing an eagle to tie, as Pagdanganan lined up her 30-footer. She dramatically drained the putt, then gathered her teammates on the range.

“This means we were meant to be in the top 8,” she said. Less than an hour later, they beat Baylor in the team playoff to earn the last match-play berth.

Ianello was so amped up from the frenetic finish that she slept only three hours on Monday night, but they continued to roll and knocked off top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals, beating a pair of Player of the Year contenders, Lilia Vu and Patty Tavatanakit, in the process. In the afternoon semifinals, they jumped all over Stanford and won easily.

It was a cute story, the last team into the match-play field reaching the final match, but a stiffer challenge awaited the Wildcats Wednesday.

Alabama was the top-ranked team in the country. The Tide were a whopping 110 under par for the season, boasting three first-team All-Americans who were so dominant in their first two matches that they trailed for only two of the 99 holes they played.

Ianello already seemed to be bracing for the result on the eve of the final match.

“Win or lose,” she said, “this has been a hell of a ride.”

But their wild ride continued Wednesday, as Hou won four holes in a row to start the back nine and defeat Alabama’s best player, Lauren Stephenson, who had the best single-season scoring average (69.5) in Division I history.

Then sophomore Sandra Nordaas – the main beneficiary after Quihuis left at the midway point of the season – held on for a 1-up victory over Angelica Moresco.

And so Arizona’s national-title hopes hinged on the success of its most mercurial player, Moore. In the anchor match against Lakareber Abe, Moore jumped out to a 2-up lead at the turn but lost the first three holes on the back nine.

By the time Radley sped back to help Moore, in the 12th fairway, she was frazzled.

“But seeing me,” Radley said, “I saw a sense of calm wash over her.”

Moore played solidly for the rest of the back nine and took a 1-up lead into the home hole. She didn’t flinch when Abe hit one of the shots of the entire championship – a smoked 3-wood to 12 feet to set up a two-putt birdie and force extras – and then gave herself 4 feet for the win on the first playoff hole. She sank the putt and within seconds was mobbed by her teammates.

In the giddy aftermath, Ianello could barely speak. She wandered around the green in a daze, looking for someone, anyone, to hug.

The most trying year of her career had somehow ended in a title.

“At some moments, it felt impossible,” she said. “But I underestimated these young women a little bit.”

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Pac-12 continues to dominate women's golf

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 24, 2018, 3:04 am

Arizona's national women's golf championship marked the fourth consecutive year in‌ which the women's Division I national title was won by a Pac-12 Conference team. All four championships were won by different schools (Stanford, 2015; Washington, 2016; Arizona State, 2017; Arizona, 2018). The Pac-12 is the only conference to win four straight golf championships (men or women) with four different schools.

Here are some other statistical notes from the just-concluded NCAA Div. I Women's Golf Championship:

• This is the second time that Arizona has won the national title the year after rival Arizona State won it. The last time was 1996.

• Arizona now has three women's golf national championships. The previous two came in 1996 and 2000.

• Arizona is only the sixth school to win three or more Div. I women's golf championships, joining Arizona State (8), Duke (6), San Jose State (3), UCLA (3) and USC (3).

• Arizona's Haley Moore, who earned the clinching point on the 19th hole of her match with Alabama's Lakareber Abe, was the only Arizona player to win all three of her matches this week.

• Alabama's Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight also went 3-0. Gillman did not trail in any match.

• Since the match-play format was instituted in 2015, Arizona is the lowest seed (8) to claim the national title. The seeds claiming the national championship were Stanford (4) in 2015; Washington (4) in 2016; and Arizona State (3) in 2017.

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High school seniors win U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

By Associated PressMay 24, 2018, 1:44 am

TEQUESTA, Fla. - The 18-year-old Hammer, from Houston, is set to play at Texas next fall. Barber, from Stuart, Fla., also is 18. He's headed to LSU.

''Growing up watching U.S. Opens and U.S. Amateurs on TV, I just knew being a USGA champion is something that I desperately wanted,'' said Hammer, who qualified for a U.S. Open three years ago at 15. ''And to finally do it, it feels incredible. It feels as good, if not better, than I thought it would. And especially being able to do it with Garrett. It's really cool to share this moment.''

Hammer and Cole won the par-4 eighth with a birdie to take a 2-up lead. They took the par-4 10th with a par, won the par-5 13th with an eagle - Barber hit a 4-iron from 235 yards to 3 feet - and halved the next two holes to end the match.

''Cole didn't want me to hit 4-iron,'' Barber said. ''He didn't think I could get it there. I was like, 'I got it.' So I hit it hard, hit pretty much a perfect shot. It was a crazy shot.''

The 32-year-old Dull is from Winter Park, Fla., and the 42-year-old Brooke from Altamonte Springs, Fla.

''Cole Hammer is a special player,'' Brooke said. ''Obviously, he's going to Texas (and) I'm not saying he is Jordan Spieth, but there are certain things that he does.''

In the morning semifinals, Hammer and Barber beat Idaho high school teammates Carson Barry and Sam Tidd, 5 and 4, and Brooke and Dull topped former Seattle University teammates Kyle Cornett and Patrick Sato, 4 and 3.

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Watch: Pumped up Beef deadlifts 485 lbs.

By Grill Room TeamMay 24, 2018, 12:19 am

Andrew "Beef" Johnston has been playing some solid golf on the European Tour this season, and he is clearly pumped up for one of the biggest weeks of the year at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Judging from the video below, Beef will have no problems lifting the trophy on Sunday as he reportedly deadlifted 220 kg ... (Googles kilogram to pounds converter, enters numbers) ... that's 485 lbs!

@beefgolf with a new deadlift PB 220kg ! #youcantgowronggettingstrong

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