A round of golf with the Golf Guy

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2012, 7:17 pm

BY: THE INTERNS

We gave the interns a half-day to play a round with the Golf Guy, just to see what would happen. This is their story.

Mike:

When I accepted the opportunity to intern at the Golf Channel this summer, never in my wildest dreams did I expect to experience what I did on Thursday, July 12. No, I didn’t meet Jack Nicklaus, take Win McMurray to Disney World, or go to Golden Corral with Charlie Rymer. I went golfing with the Golf Guy. (I think he’s going to edit this, so the description of particular events may not be in original form.)

I had no idea what to expect. How do you prepare for a golf outing with a [Editor’s note: legend]? What I discovered was that the Golf Guy is just like anybody else. If anybody else brought an oversized flask of Admiral Nelson (Captain Morgan’s loser cousin) to a 2:30 tee time. I thought he said he would wait until tee 15 and only take a drink for every birdie on the course, but what he actually said was he would wait until 3:15 and he would take a drink for every bird on the course. Needless to say, with every hole came an increased [as well as welcome and refreshing] level of entertainment

Here is a list of facts that I now know to be true, thanks to the Golf Guy:

  • You can consider yourself to be in the top one percent of putters in the world, even if no one else thinks so.
  • Every young adult out of college should spend a few years bumming around Hawaii.
  • Pebble Beach is overrated.
  • The Beatles are overrated.
  • Sobriety is overrated.

One last thought on the Golf Guy - he is an enigma. It was a sweltering day, as mid-July afternoons are wont to be, but he did his best to cool off. Whether it was taking swigs out of his sweating Styrofoam cup concoction or parking his cart behind mine when the rain came sideways, he beat the heat. Yet the warmth of the Florida sun pales in comparison to the warmth of the Golf Guy's heart, he concluding the round by giving us each a bag of homemade fudge, which was delicious. Thanks Golf Guy.

But now that I think about it, that fudge had nuts. I hate nuts.

Sean:

The Golf Guy has always been a hero of mine since before I can remember. When I arrived at the golf course, I really didn’t know what to expect, a man dressed in a gorilla costume, or maybe even a woman that simply wished she was a man. However, when the Golf Guy arrived at the course, he seemed like just your average guy, or so we thought.

He lived up to every expectation I had. It was like I was a little kid again in the presence of their idol. I believed everything he said, even the part about him owning the “unofficial” record for most time spent on a putting green at one time. I was in complete disbelief that one man could accomplish so much in life. The man seriously never stopped talking, during our shots and even his own, which I found impressive despite the occasional shank 50 yards straight right.

During my time with him, I discovered some pretty interesting facts about the beloved Golf Guy:

  • It is possible to attend a Golf Academy and actually become worse at golf.
  • He thoroughly enjoys talking to squirrels, even if it does hold up the round by 15 minutes.
  • The only way to prove you rank in the top one-percent of putters in the world is to lose in a putting contest to an intern.
  • The Guinness Book of World Records doesn’t care about the amount of time you spend on a putting green.
  • And finally, the Golf Guy possesses a hidden talent as a world-class meteorologist.

It had been a long round that was full of 20 minute conversations where none of us even thought about hitting a golf shot – multiple groups played through. After a 30 minute rain delay, which the Golf Guy predicted, we approached the 18th hole. We had no idea that it would be a hole that we would never forget. We were atop the leader board at two under par – we were playing a scramble against ourselves and our own pride. As a team, we had set a hefty goal of three under at the start of the round, which meant we would need a key birdie on 18, so we wouldn’t look like a group of losers competing against themselves.

Out of our three approach shots from the middle of the fairway, none of us were able to come close to hitting the green on the lengthy par four. However, the Golf Guy had come through with an approach just short of the green. When it came time for my chip, I said to myself, “If I had one chance to do something special for the Golf Guy, now was the time.” So as I stepped up to the ball, I just hit the chip just like any other shot.

From the beginning, we could all tell it had a chance to go in and to our luck, it did. We embraced each other as if we were The Three Amigos. It was a great feeling and you may even say the Golf Guy took the celebration a little too far – he ran around the golf course giving everyone, golfers and employees, high fives. The guy even brought his own green jacket to the course, so we could hold a ceremony for him and present him with a trophy. It was definitely an interesting and memorable experience.

When all was said and done, our day off with The Golf Guy was quite the memorable experience. It was a perfect blend of education, fellowship and rum. When looking back on our time, we both agreed that it was an experience like no other, truly a day neither one of us will ever forget.

But please, don’t make us do it again.


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U.S. captures Junior Ryder Cup

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 26, 2018, 12:29 am

The U.S. defeated Europe, 12 ½ to 11 ½, in the Junior Ryder Cup at Golf Disneyland at Disneyland Paris.

Rachel Heck, 16, of Memphis, Tenn., clinched the winning half-point on the 18th hole with a 12-foot birdie putt that halved her match with Annabell Fuller, 16, of England.

"It was the most incredible experience of my life," said Heck, a Stanford commit who last week made the cut in her second LPGA major, the Evian Masters.

Michael Thorbjornsen, 16, of Wellesley, Mass., the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, drove the green on the 315-yard 18th hole, the ball stopping within 5 feet of the pin. His eagle putt completed 2-up win over 15-year-old Spaniard David Puig and ensured that the U.S. would retain the Junior Ryder Cup, as the defending champion needs only a tie (12 points) to maintain possession of the trophy.

Singles results

Match 1 - Lucy Li (USA) def. Amanda Linner (EUR), 4 and 3

Match 2 — Rasmus Hojgaard (EUR) def. William Moll (USA), 1 up

Match 3 —  Ingrid Lindblad (EUR) halved Rose Zhang (USA)

Match 4 – Nicolai Hojgaard (USA) def. Canon Claycomb (USA), 4 and 2

Match 5 — Yealimi Noh (USA) def. Emma Spitz (EUR), 3 and 2

Match 6 —  Ricky Castillo (USA) def. Eduard Rousaud Sabate (EUR), 3 and 1

Match 7 – Emilie Alba-Paltrinieri (EUR) def. Erica Shepherd (USA), 2 up

Match 8 — Michael Thorbjornsen (USA) def. David Puig (EUR), 2 up

Match 9 – Alessia Nobilio (EUR) def. Alexa Pano (USA), 2 and 1

Match 10 —  Robin Tiger Williams (EUR) def. Cole Ponich (USA), 2 and 1

Match 11 – Annabell Fuller (EUR) halved Rachel Heck (USA)

Match 12 — Conor Gough (EUR) def. Akshay Bhatia (USA), 1 up

 

TOUR Championship Final Round Becomes Most-Watched FedExCup Playoffs Telecast Ever and Most-Watched PGA TOUR Telecast of 2018

By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 25, 2018, 6:48 pm

ORLANDO, Fla., (Sept. 25, 2018) – NBC Sports Group’s final round coverage of the TOUR Championship on Sunday (3:00-6:19 p.m. ET) garnered a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 7.8 million average viewers, as Tiger Woods claimed his 80th career victory, and his first in five years. The telecast’s TAD was up 212% vs. 2017 (2.5m). Television viewership posted 7.18 million average viewers, up 192% YOY (2.46m) and a 4.45 U.S. household rating, up 178% vs. 2017 (1.60). It also becomes the most-watched telecast in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs (2007-2018) and the most-watched PGA TOUR telecast in 2018 (excludes majors).

Coverage peaked from 5:45-6 p.m. ET with 10.84 million average viewers as Woods finished his TOUR Championship-winning round and Justin Rose sealed his season-long victory as the FedExCup champion. The peak viewership number trails only the Masters (16.84m) and PGA Championship (12.39m) in 2018. The extended coverage window (1:30-6:19 p.m. ET) drew 5.89 million average viewers and a 3.69 U.S. household rating to become the most-watched and highest-rated TOUR Championship telecast on record (1991-2018).

Sunday’s final round saw 18.4 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports Digital platforms (+561% year-over-year), and becomes NBC Sports’ most-streamed Sunday round (excluding majors) on record (2013-’18).

Sunday’s lead-in coverage on Golf Channel (11:54 a.m.-1:25 p.m. ET) also garnered a Total Audience Delivery of 829K average viewers and posted a .56 U.S. household rating, becoming the most-watched and highest rated lead-in telecast of the TOUR Championship ever (2007-2018). Golf Channel was the No. 2 Sports Network during this window and No. 7 out of all Nielsen-rated cable networks during that span.

 This week, NBC Sports Group will offer weeklong coverage of the biennial Ryder Cup from Le Golf National outside of Paris. Live From the Ryder Cup continues all week on Golf Channel, surrounding nearly 30 hours of NBC Sports’ Emmy-nominated live event coverage, spanning from Friday morning’s opening tee shot just after 2 a.m. ET through the clinching point on Sunday. The United States will look to retain the Ryder Cup after defeating Europe in 2016 (17-11), and aim to win for the first time on European soil in 25 years, since 1993.

 

-NBC Sports Group-

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Tiger Woods names his Mount Rushmore of golf

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 25, 2018, 6:29 pm
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Mickelson savoring his (likely) last road game

By Rex HoggardSeptember 25, 2018, 3:49 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Phil Mickelson lingered behind as his foursome made its way to the ninth tee during Tuesday’s practice round.

He needed the extra practice, no doubt. He’s one of just six players on the U.S. Ryder Cup team with even a modicum of knowledge about Le Golf National, but the likely reason for Lefty’s leisurely tempo was more personal.

The 2019 Ryder Cup will likely be Mickelson’s last road game as a player.

He’ll be 52 when the U.S. team pegs it up at the 2022 matches in Rome. Although there’s been players who have participated in the biennial event into their golden years – most notably Raymond Floyd who was 51 when he played the ’93 matches – given Mickelson’s play in recent years and the influx of younger players the odds are against him.

“I am aware this is most likely the last one on European soil and my last opportunity to be part of a team that would be victorious here, and that would mean a lot to me personally,” Mickelson said on Tuesday.

It’s understandable that Mickelson would want to linger a little longer in the spotlight of golf’s most intense event.

For the first time in his Ryder Cup career Mickelson needed to be a captain's pick, and he didn’t exactly roar into Paris, finishing 30th out of 30 players at last week’s Tour Championship. He’s also four months removed from his last top-10 finish on the PGA Tour.


Ryder Cup: Articles, photos and videos


Although he’s reluctant to admit it for Mickelson Le Golf National looks every bit a swansong for the most accomplished U.S. Ryder Cup player of his generation.

In 11 starts at the Ryder Cup, Mickelson has a 26-16-13 record. Perhaps more telling is his 7-3-1 mark since 2012 and he holds the U.S. record for most matches played (45) and is third on the all-time list for most points won (21.5), just two shy of the record held by Billy Casper.

Mickelson’s record will always be defined by what he’s done at the Masters and not done at the U.S. Open, but his status as an anchor for two generations of American teams may never be matched.

For this U.S. team - which is trying to win a road Ryder Cup for the first time since 1993 - Lefty is wearing many hats.

“You know Phil and you know he's always trying to find a way to poke fun, trying to mess with someone,” Furyk said. “He's telling a story. Sometimes you're not sure if they are true or not. Sometimes there's little bits of pieces in each of those, but he provides some humor, provides some levity.”

But there is another side to Mickelson’s appeal in the team room. Although he’s never held the title of vice captain he’s served as a de facto member of the management for some time.

“At the right times, he understands when a team needs a kick in the butt or they need an arm around their shoulder, and he's been good in that atmosphere,” Furyk said. “He's a good speaker and good motivator, and he's been able to take some young players under his wing at times and really get a lot out of them from a partner standpoint.”

In recent years Mickelson has become something of a mentor for young players, first at the ’08 matches with Anthony Kim and again in ’12 with Keegan Bradley.

His role as a team leader in the twilight of his career can’t be overstated and will undoubtedly continue this week if Tuesday’s practice groupings are any indication, with Lefty playing with rookie Bryson DeChambeau.

As DeChambeau was finishing his press conference on Tuesday he was asked about the dynamic in the U.S. team room.

“We're going to try and do our absolute best to get the cup back,” he said.

“Keep the cup,” Lefty shouted from the back of the room, noting that the U.S. won the last Ryder Cup.

It was so Mickelson not to miss a teaching moment or a chance to send a subtle jab delivered with a wry smile.

Mickelson will also be remembered for his role in what has turned out to be an American Ryder Cup resurgence.

“Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best,” Mickelson said in the Scottish gloom at the ’14 matches. “Nobody here was in any decision.”

If Mickelson doesn’t step to the microphone in ’14 at Gleneagles in the wake of another U.S. loss and, honestly, break some china there probably wouldn’t have been a task force. Davis Love III likely wouldn’t have gotten a second turn as captain in ’16 and the U.S. is probably still mired in a victory drought.

Lefty’s Ryder Cup career is far from over. The early line is that he’ll take his turn as captain in 2024 at Bethpage Black – the People’s Champion riding in to become the People’s Captain.

Before he moves on to a new role, however, he’ll savor this week and an opportunity to win his first road game. If he wants to hang back and relish the moment so be it.