Thanks for the Memories

By John FeinsteinJanuary 19, 2011, 1:12 am

There is great risk involved in starting a sentence with, “I remember when…” Anytime I do it in a golf locker room someone – usually Paul Goydos – will ask me what I remember about covering Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris.

That said, I DO remember when this was one of the special weeks on the PGA Tour. The Bob Hope Desert Classic was one of the most important, prestigious and fun events on the calendar for players and for fans. It was a week when a lot of people digging out from underneath the snow in the east or the Midwest could sit in front of their televisions, stare longingly at the sparkling fairways of the four golf courses in the Coachella Valley and dream of warmer days ahead.

It was also one of the must-play events for most players. If you only played twice on the West Coast you played the Hope and you played the Crosby. That was the list. Everything else was Glen Campbell by comparison. If you doubt that just check the list of winners: Arnold Palmer (five times); Jack Nicklaus; Billy Casper; Doug Sanders; Johnny Miller (back-to-back); Lanny Wadkins; Corey Pavin; Tom Kite; Fred Couples; David Duval and Phil Mickelson. Those are just the guys who won. Plenty of others played.

In the days when the Hope was in its glory, golf was only on TV on the weekends. Saturday at the Hope was celebrity day – Hope clowning with all of his Hollywood pals and a handful of politicians – led from the mid 70s on by former President Gerald Ford who could always be counted on to spray a few shots into the gallery – and making everyone involved feel as if they were part of something that was important. Then on Sundays, the amateurs and celebrities moved outside the ropes and the pros played their fifth round – the Hope is still the only 90-hole tournament on Tour – for the money and the trophy.

Frequently, if he wasn’t in contention, Palmer would join Hope in the NBC booth and they would talk golf and crack jokes while the tournament was being decided. Then Palmer would often help Hope do the post-round interview with the champion. In 1970 when Bruce Devlin won with a then jaw-dropping score of 339 (21 under par) Hope asked Palmer if he had any questions.

“I sure do,” Arnie said. “Just how the hell did you shoot 339?”

If only today’s post-round interviews would be so direct.

Yes, those were the good old days.

These days the Hope is treated by the Tour as an afterthought. While Tim Finchem and company have worked diligently to find new title sponsors for Phoenix, San Diego, Memphis and Doral – among others – they have not been able to find one for the Hope since Chrysler pulled out two years ago. For the past several years the Hope has come right after the Tour is in Hawaii which means a lot of players skip it because they aren’t eager to fly from Oahu on Sunday and tee it up for real on Wednesday. As if that isn’t bad enough, the Tour granted nine competing event exemptions this week to players – one of them being Mickelson – who wanted to go play for an appearance fee in Abu Dhabi rather than play the Hope.

In fact, the event in Abu Dhabi has all four major champions from 2010, and six of the world’s top 10 and 11 of the top 20. The Hope? None of the top 10 and two of the top 20.

No wonder neither NBC – Hope’s home network for most of his life – nor any other broadcast network televises the tournament anymore.

Tiger Woods has never played the Hope. That’s sad. For all of Woods’ talk about his appreciation for golf history he has no understanding apparently what Hope did for the game. He did play at Pebble Beach early in his career but that had nothing to do with Bing Crosby, it had to do with liking the golf course. Now, even that’s not enough.

There’s also the celebrity list: Once, in addition to Hope and President Ford, you could find Crosby, Phil Harris and Phil Silvers, among others. Now? Other than Kurt Russell, the list reads like a group hoping to get on “Dancing with the Stars,” someday. In fact, one of the bigger names on the list is John O’Hurley who was on “Dancing with the Stars.” Can Bristol Palin be far behind? The closest thing to a truly big name is comedian Tom Dressen, who was once close to Frank Sinatra when he warmed up for him in Vegas.

Once upon a time, players looked forward to the Hope. They loved the warmth of the desert, the feel of the week and didn’t mind playing four rounds with amateurs. Now most of them roll their eyes and complain about the torture of 72 holes with amateur partners – celebrity or non-celebrity. It’s not surprising that those who play well in the tournament are those who like playing with amateurs.

“I’ve always enjoyed it,” Bill Haas, the 2010 champion said. “I feel like when you’re playing well, they becomes your cheerleaders. That’s kind of fun.”

That’s what the Hope used to be: a lot of fun mixed in with some outstanding golf. The quality of the golf is still there – remember these guys are good – but it doesn’t seem likely that TV viewers are going to get terribly fired up about watching Scott Hamilton yuck it up with Alice Cooper or Eric Dickerson lining up a putt for par net birdie.

The Hope deserves a lot better than it’s getting. Thanks for the memories indeed.

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2018 NCAA Golf Championships TV Schedule

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 21, 2018, 12:29 pm

Golf Channel will shine a spotlight on college golf across the next two weeks at the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf National Championships. With more than 60 hours of live tournament and news coverage on-site from Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater Oklahoma (Monday-Wednesday May 21-23 and May 28-30), Golf Channel’s coverage connects 18 straight days of live tournament golf.

Watch live coverage of the NCAA Golf Championships beginning Monday, May 21 at 4pm ET on Golf Channel and streaming.

Keep up with the social media conversation by following Golf Channel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Join in by using #NCAAGolf 

Golf Channel NCAA Women’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times ET)

Monday, May 21: Individual National Championship  4-8 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 22:Quarterfinals, Team Match Play 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 22: Semifinals, Team Match Play 4-8 p.m. (Live)

Wednesday, May 23:Team Match Play National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)


Golf Channel NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times ET)

Monday, May 28: Individual National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 29: Quarterfinals, Team Match Play 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 29: Semifinals, Team Match Play 4-8 p.m. (Live)

Wednesday, May 30: Team Match Play National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)

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AT&T Byron Nelson purse payout: Wise a millionaire

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 21, 2018, 12:05 pm

PGA Tour rookie Aaron Wise earned his first Tour title on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out at Trinity Forest:

1 Aaron Wise -23 $1,386,000
2 Marc Leishman -20 $831,600
T3 Branden Grace -19 $400,400
T3 J.J. Spaun -19 $400,400
T3 Keith Mitchell -19 $400,400
T6 Ryan Blaum -16 $257,950
T6 Kevin Na -16 $257,950
T6 Jimmy Walker -16 $257,950
T9 Adam Scott -15 $207,900
T9 Charles Howell III -15 $207,900
T9 Kevin Tway -15 $207,900
12 Brian Gay -14 $177,100
T13 Rory Sabbatini -13 $148,867
T13 Ethan Tracy -13 $148,867
T13 Matt Jones -13 $148,867
T16 Russell Knox -12 $115,500
T16 Hideki Matsuyama -12 $115,500
T16 Bronson Burgoon -12 $115,500
T16 Derek Fathauer -12 $115,500
T16 Joel Dahmen -12 $115,500
T21 Jordan Spieth -11 $80,080
T21 Billy Horschel -11 $80,080
T21 Robert Garrigus -11 $80,080
T21 Peter Uihlein -11 $80,080
T21 Martin Piller -11 $80,080
T26 Tyler Duncan -10 $55,825
T26 Anirban Lahiri -10 $55,825
T26 Parker McLachlin -10 $55,825
T26 Martin Flores -10 $55,825
T26 J.T. Poston -10 $55,825
T26 Shawn Stefani -10 $55,825
T32 Cody Gribble -9 $39,116
T32 Johnson Wagner -9 $39,116
T32 Geoff Ogilvy -9 $39,116
T32 Nick Taylor -9 $39,116
T32 C.T. Pan -9 $39,116
T32 Scott Piercy -9 $39,116
T32 Nicholas Lindheim -9 $39,116
T32 Fabian Gomez -9 $39,116
T32 Beau Hossler -9 $39,116
T32 Nate Lashley -9 $39,116
T42 Zac Blair -8 $23,184
T42 Abraham Ancer -8 $23,184
T42 Maverick McNealy -8 $23,184
T42 Denny McCarthy -8 $23,184
T42 Jonathan Byrd -8 $23,184
T42 Eric Axley -8 $23,184
T42 Sam Ryder -8 $23,184
T42 Brian Stuard -8 $23,184
T42 J.B. Holmes -8 $23,184
T42 Sung-hoon Kang -8 $23,184
T42 Andrew Putnam -8 $23,184
T53 Ben Crane -7 $17,659
T53 Steve Wheatcroft -7 $17,659
T53 Troy Merritt -7 $17,659
T53 Patrick Rodgers -7 $17,659
T53 Corey Conners -7 $17,659
T53 Robert Streb -7 $17,659
T59 Ryan Armour -6 $16,632
T59 Peter Malnati -6 $16,632
T59 Vaughn Taylor -6 $16,632
T59 Dominic Bozzelli -6 $16,632
T59 Adam Schenk -6 $16,632
T59 Hudson Swafford -6 $16,632
T59 Michael Thompson -6 $16,632
T66 Matt Atkins -5 $15,862
T66 Roberto Diaz -5 $15,862
T66 T.J. Vogel -5 $15,862
69 Sang-Moon Bae -4 $15,554
T70 Tom Lovelady -3 $15,246
T70 Cameron Percy -3 $15,246
T70 Rod Pampling -3 $15,246
73 Brian Davis -1 $14,938
74 Mark Wilson 1 $14,784
75 Robert Allenby 2 $14,630
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Howell, Uihlein qualify for U.S. Open via OWGR

By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 11:02 am

Charles Howell III and Peter Uihlein both used strong play at the AT&T Byron Nelson to maintain their positions inside the top 60 in the latest Official World Golf Ranking, thereby ensuring exemptions to next month's U.S. Open.

Howell moved up three spots to No. 56 in the world thanks to a T-9 finish at Trinity Forest. He'll make his 10th career U.S. Open appearance, but just his second since 2009. Howell missed the cut at Olympic in 2012.

Uihlein finished T-21 in Dallas, which was barely enough to hold onto a top-60 spot as he actually fell two positions to No. 59. The former U.S. Amateur champ will make his third U.S. Open appearance and second in as many years.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

The drama for the final spot came down to the wire on Sunday, where Adam Scott's bid to unseat Chesson Hadley at No. 60 came up just short. Needing a solo ninth-place finish, Scott ended up in a three-way tie for ninth to begin the new week at No. 61. Hadley, who didn't play the Nelson, remained No. 60 and will make his U.S. Open debut.

Others to punch tickets to Shinnecock Hills include No. 52 Luke List, No. 53 Chez Reavie and No. 57 Dylan Frittelli. A second and final top-60 cutoff will be done based off the June 11 world rankings following the FedEx St. Jude Classic, with U.S. Open sectional qualifying conducted in England and the U.S. on June 4.

The only change among the top 10 in the rankings this week came at No. 10, where Paul Casey moved past Tommy Fleetwood despite an off week for both players. Justin Thomas remains world No. 1 for a second week, followed by Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose. Rickie Fowler remains No. 6, with Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama and Casey rounding out the top 10.

Taking the week off following a T-11 finish at The Players Championship, Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 82.

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After Further Review: Nelson lost in the shuffle?

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 21, 2018, 3:40 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the Nelson's future ...

If the goal was “different” by bringing the AT&T Byron Nelson to Trinity Forest, consider it achieved. But bringing a world-class field south of Dallas could still be tricky.

Yes, the tournament can always rely on local resident and AT&T spokesman Jordan Spieth to throw his hat in the ring. But even with Spieth strolling the fairways this week, the field strength was among the worst all season for a full-point event.

The debut of the sprawling, links-like layout likely did little to sway the undecideds, with only the third round offering the challenging conditions that course co-designer Ben Crenshaw had envisioned. And the schedule won’t do them any favors next year, as a revamped itinerary likely puts the Nelson right before the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.

The course will inevitably get better with age, and Spieth expects positive word of mouth to spread. But it might be a while before the stars truly align for an event that, for the moment, feels lost in the shuffle of a hectic schedule. – Will Gray

On Jordan Spieth's putting ...

Jordan Spieth’s putting is plainly bad right now, but it isn’t going to stay this bad forever.

He is the second ranked player on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green, just like he was last year. This putting slump has lingered, but it’s unfathomable to think this guy just forgot how to putt.

Sooner rather than later he’s going to remember he’s Jordan Spieth and the 40-footers are going to start pouring in. He’ll be telling Greller to go get the ball because he’s too far away and the tee is in the other direction.

Bottom line, the ball striking is for real and the putting slump will pass. He’ll win soon – maybe even as soon as this week. – Nick Menta

On golf and gambling ...

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court over tuned a federal ban on sports betting in most states, a move the PGA Tour and many professional sports leagues embraced as a tool to both build fan interest and grow revenue.

Experts estimate sports betting could become a $150-$200 billion annual industry, and even a small piece of that could be significant for golf, but there will be risks.

Unlike any other sport, golf is played on multiple fields simultaneously, which inherently creates risks when gambling is introduced to the equation. Although the Tour has gone to great pains to head off any potential problems, like all bets gambling comes with great rewards, and great risks. – Rex Hoggard