Hall Pass for the Press

By John FeinsteinMarch 9, 2011, 1:52 am

As sad as Frank Chirkinian’s death was this past week, there’s no doubting that he lived an amazing life. His contributions to golf and to television have been chronicled in detail over the last few days. Suffice to say he got just about everything one can get out of 84 years.

Except he didn’t get to be there when the World Golf Hall of Fame finally got around to inducting him. That ceremony will take place on May 9 since Chirkinian was voted in with the Class of 2011.

Why did it take so long? Here’s the answer: The Hall of Fame doesn’t pay nearly enough attention or give nearly enough credit to members of the media who have played a major role in building the sport. While the Hall has gone out of its way in recent years to induct international players (Jumbo Ozaki, really?) and always bends over backward for anyone famous who has played any role in golf – Dwight D. Eisenhower, George H.W. Bush, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Dinah Shore – it is almost impossible for media members to earn the respect from the Hall that many of them, like Chirkinian, richly deserve.

Dan Jenkins
Acclaimed golf writer Dan Jenkins. (Getty Images)

Herbert Warren Wind is in the Hall of Fame. So is Alistair MacKenzie. That’s the list unless you count players who did TV – Gene Sarazen, Jimmy Demaret, Byron Nelson – as media members. It isn’t likely they are in there for their work with a microphone even though Sarazen was wonderful at it, just as he was at anything he attempted.

Dan Jenkins is not in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Are you serious? Jenkins is to writing about golf what Jack Nicklaus was to playing golf. There’s never been anybody better and, if you trace his contributions to the game through his writing, you can’t possibly make the claim that he doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame.

Jenkins isn’t the only one – although his absence is the most glaring. The late Jim Murray made golf writing an art form in the Los Angeles Times for decades. Murray was so good and so respected that when Curtis Strange was the No. 1 player in the world and looked up and saw Murray following his group one day at the Bob Hope he positively glowed.

“Jim Murray out there watching ME,” he said. “It was one of my great thrills.”

Strange got it – how come the Hall of Fame doesn’t get it?

What about Dave Kindred, who has written so well on the sport for various publications for going on 50 years now or Dave Anderson who was good enough to win a Pulitzer Prize – almost unheard of for sportswriters – while with the New York Times but he’s not good enough to share a Hall of Fame with Jumbo Ozaki?

This isn’t to pick on Ozaki but he was best known for wearing the most expensive clothes in golf history; for leading majors after nine holes and, as ABC once noted in a graphic, “winning 48 titles worldwide – 47 in Japan.” There are other players with credentials that aren’t truly Hall of Fame worthy who are in the Hall, but that’s not the point.

There are plenty of others who come to mind who have made the golf world a better place by writing eloquently. With apologies to others not mentioned these names comes to mind: Leonard Shapiro of the Washington Post; Art Spander of the San Francisco Examiner; Larry Dorman of the New York Times; John Hopkins of the Times of London. What about Dave Marr who made the conversion from player (and a pretty good one, he won a PGA Championship) to TV announcer better than anyone in history? Remember it was Marr who called the Senior Tour, “life’s ultimate mulligan.” For that line alone he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

It should not have taken this long for Chirkinian to be voted in. It’s sad that he won’t be there. It is a CRIME that Jenkins and Murray and others aren’t already there. Other Halls of Fame routinely honor at least one member of the media every year. Heck, call the inductee the winner of the Herbert Warren Wind Award rather than just lumping them with other contributors.

Whatever George H.W. Bush has done for golf it is entirely different than what Chirkinian or Jenkins have done for golf. Make that distinction.

There are lots of golf fans who think the media is a nuisance, that those of us who write about and talk about golf are lucky to be where we are and should kiss the rings of all those who play the sport superbly. We are all lucky, there’s no doubt about that. But there are also a handful who have made major contributions to the game and to the enjoyment of those who love it. They deserve recognition.

Something should be done now. If nothing else Chirkinian’s death prior to his induction should get people’s attention. The Hall of Fame waited too long to honor him. It would be nice if they recognized that mistake and began to honor some of his brethren while they are still here to enjoy that moment.

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Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 1:19 pm

After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.

Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.

Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.

Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.

It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath. 

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Woods would 'love' to see Tour allow shorts

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:59 pm

Players on the European Tour are allowed to wear shorts during practices and pro-ams.

The PGA of America permitted players to show some leg while prepping for last year’s PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods would like to see the PGA Tour follow suit.

"I would love it," he said Thursday in a Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf. "We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer, and then on top of that when we have the winter months here a lot of the guys go down to South Africa and Australia where it's summer down there.

"It would be nice to wear shorts. Even with my little chicken legs, I still would like to wear shorts."

Caddies are currently allowed to wear shorts on Tour, during events.

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Feasting again: McIlroy shoots 65 to lead BMW PGA

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:04 pm

Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET

Rory McIlroy made seven birdies and no bogeys on Friday for a 7-under 65 and the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

After opening in 67, McIlroy was among the early groups out on Day 2 at Wentworth Club. He made three birdies and no bogeys on the par-35 front nine on Friday, and then went on a run after the turn.

McIlroy made four consecutive birdies, beginning at the par-5 12th. That got him to 12 under, overall, and gave him a clear advantage over the field. With two closing par-5s, a very low number was in sight. But, as he did on Day 1, McIlroy finished par-par.

"I've made four pars there [on 17 and 18] when I really should be making at least two birdies, but I played the other par-5s well," McIlroy said. "It all balances itself out."

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

McIlroy has made 14 birdies and two bogeys through two rounds. At 12 under, he has a three-stroke lead over Sam Horsfield.

"The work has paid off, to some degree," McIlroy said of his practice with swing coach Michael Bannon. "I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there. But, for the most part, it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce."

This event has been feast or famine for McIlroy. He won here in 2014, but has three missed cuts in his other three starts. This week, however, he’ll be around for the weekend and is in position for his first European Tour victory since the 2016 Irish Open and his second worldwide victory of the year (Arnold Palmer Invitational).

"I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said about his weekend approach with the lead. "On the first tee box tomorrow I'll be thinking about what I did today. Trying to just keep the same thoughts, make the same swings. I went a couple better today than I did yesterday. I'm not sure I'll keep that progression going but something similiar tomorrow would be nice."

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Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."