New hope alive to save Furman golf program

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 20, 2014, 5:59 pm

After two weeks of anger, sadness and uncertainty, the Furman men’s golf program finally has reasons for optimism.

This week, six Furman alumni, including 1983 graduate and eight-time PGA Tour winner Brad Faxon, sent an email to fellow alums, family and friends detailing how the men’s team could be saved not just in the short term, but indefinitely as well.

The proposal, which would need final approval from the Board of Trustees, calls for the group to raise $285,000 in the next few months (likely by July 1), which would cover the operating expenses for the next two years.

Additionally, by the end of the calendar year 2015, they would need to fund an endowment with “no less” than $2 million that would keep the program afloat for the foreseeable future. As part of the plan, the university would need to cover all costs associated with scholarships.

“As a result of the outpouring of support and the hard work of many, Furman University is willing to consider a strategic plan to save the men’s golf program,” the former players wrote in the email, which was obtained by GolfChannel.com.

“At this point, there is no assurance that Furman will reverse its course; however, the Board of Trustees has assured us that a unified, well-supported plan for addressing the financial needs of the men’s golf program will result in the program being continued.”

If the proposal is approved, the men’s team is still unlikely to operate at full capacity – a few scholarships would be reduced, and they’d have to pinch pennies. Of course, that scenario is nothing new to 18-year head coach Todd Satterfield – he has won conference championships with an operating budget that was in the bottom third of the Southern Conference.

“Just having a chance to compete,” he said by phone Thursday morning, “that’s all we really want.”

On Feb. 6, Satterfield was blindsided when he learned that his men’s team – which has 13 conference titles, more than any other school, but has slipped to No. 127 in Golfstat’s team rankings – would be discontinued following the spring semester. The school was in a dire financial situation, estimated to lose about $6.3 million in the fiscal 2014-15 year, and there would need to be substantial cuts across campus, including in athletics.

What surprised many, including Satterfield, was that the university had singled out men’s golf, which has a budget – including salaries, travel and scholarships – of about $400,000, among the smallest of the sports at Furman.

“That’s like an eyedropper in a bucket full of water,” Satterfield said in an interview last week.

In announcing the move, the school’s interim president said that it had conducted an “extensive evaluation of criteria, including public visibility, attendance, competitiveness and overall costs.”

It didn’t take long for the devastating news to spread to some of the team’s most vocal supporters. T.J. Blandford, who played for Satterfield and graduated in 2006, started an online petition that, as of this writing, has 2,450 signees. He is one of the six names on the proposal, along with Faxon, Frank Ford (1974), Cordes Ford (1998), Jeff DeLoach (1999) and Rob Langley (2005). Those interested in helping can email savefurmangolf@gmail.com.

When reached last week, Satterfield said that he held out hope that the decision would be reversed but, he admitted, “I’m not totally optimistic.”

Six days later, he struck a decidedly more upbeat tone about the program’s future.

“At this point, I am very optimistic that, at least in the short run, it’s going to happen,” he said. “Of the people I’ve talked to, they feel very confident the initial funds ($285,000) can be raised.”

Obviously, the earlier that the funds roll in, the better. That would show the school its level of commitment in keeping the program running, and it would send a strong signal to both current players and fall signees who might be unsure whether to remain with the private, liberal-arts school in Greenville, S.C.

When asked what he has learned during this emotional, two-week ordeal, Satterfield paused and said: “That there is a lot of people supporting us, and that’s a testament to the kind of guys who have come through here and the quality of people we have. Our results have been a little mixed, certainly recently, but it does give you hope that there’s a lot of support behind you.”

At the end of our call, Satterfield was about to sit down and write his players an email. Everyone has heard the bits and pieces, the rumors, the speculation. He wanted to set the record straight, to make sure everyone was on the same page.

After all, this weekend, the Paladins are heading to Jacksonville for their spring opener.

Suddenly, incredibly, it appears as though it won’t be their last. 

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Watch: Gary Player tires people out with sit-ups

By Grill Room TeamJune 24, 2018, 11:33 pm

Well all know Gary Player is a fitness nut, and at 82 years young he is still in phenomenal shape.

That's why it was incredible to see two mere mortals like us try to keep up with him in a sit-up competition at the BMW International Open.

Watch the video below.

The guy in blue makes the smart decision and bows out about halfway through. But give the other guy an "A" for effort, he stuck with Player for about 60 sit-ups, and then the nine-time major champion just starts taunting him.

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Japan teen Hataoka rolls to NW Ark. win

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 11:07 pm

ROGERS, Ark. - Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka ran away with the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her first LPGA title

The 19-year-old Hataoka won by six strokes, closing with an 8-under 63 at Pinnacle Country Club for a tournament-record 21-under 192 total. She broke the mark of 18 under set last year by So Yeon Ryu.

Hataoka won twice late last year on the Japan LPGA and has finished in the top 10 in five of her last six U.S. LPGA starts, including a playof loss last month in the Kingsmill Championship.

Hataoka began the round tied with Minjee Lee for the lead.

Austin Ernst shot a 65 to finish second.

Lee and third-ranked Lexi Thompson topped the group at 13 under.

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Tour investigating DeChambeau's use of compass

By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 10:09 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Bryson DeChambeau’s reliance on science to craft his play on the course is well known, but he took things to a new level this week at the Travelers Championship when television cameras caught him wielding a compass while looking at his yardage book during the third round.

According to DeChambeau, it’s old news. He’s been using a compass regularly to aid in his preparation for nearly two years, dating back to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2016.

“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are just a little bit off every once in a while, and so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot. And that’s it.”


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

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But social media took notice this weekend, as did PGA Tour officials. DeChambeau explained that he was approached on the range Saturday and informed that the Tour plans to launch an investigation into whether or not the device is allowable in competition, with a decision expected in the next week.

It’s not the first time the 24-year-old has gone head-to-head with Tour brass, having also had a brief run with side-saddled putting earlier in his career.

“They said, ‘Hey, we just want to let you know that we’re investigating the device and seeing if it’s allowable,’” DeChambeau said. “I understand. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.”

DeChambeau won earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament, and the Tour’s ruling would not have any retroactive impact on his results earlier this year. Playing alongside tournament winner Bubba Watson in the final round at TPC River Highlands, DeChambeau shot a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for ninth.

“It’s a compass. It’s been used for a long, long time. Sailors use it,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just funny that people take notice when I start putting and playing well.”

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Bubba fires 63 to win his third Travelers title

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 9:52 pm

Bubba Watson fired a final-round 63 to storm from six back and steal the Travelers Championship. Here’s how Bubba came from behind once again at TPC River Highlands.

Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-17), Stewart Cink (-14), Beau Hossler (-14), J.B. Holmes (-14), Paul Casey (-14)

What it means: This is Watson’s 12th PGA Tour win, his third of the season, and his third Travelers title. Watson picked up his first Tour victory at this event in 2010 – when he also came from six back – and won again in 2015 in a playoff victory over – guess who – Casey. Thinking he might need a round of 60 to scare the leader, Watson made eight birdies, the last of which came on the 72nd hole, giving him the outright lead by one. A short while later, Casey would bogey the 16th and 17th to end the drama and allow Bubba to breathe easy. With the win, Watson becomes the only Tour player to win three times this season. He moves to third in the FedExCup points race, behind two-time winners Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.

Round of the day: Cink’s round was a stroke better, but Bubba earns this title for winning the title. The left-hander made the turn in 2-under 33 and then ripped off five birdies on his back nine to take the clubhouse lead, which he wouldn’t relinquish.

Best of the rest: Cink looked as though he was going to record the second sub-60 round at the Travelers in the last three years. The 2009 champion golfer of the year played his first 10 holes in 7 under par on the par-70 layout. Cink added three more birdies but also added two bogeys to settle for 8-under 62, tying the round of the week. The 45-year-old has finished T-4 and T-2 in his last two starts.

Biggest disappointment: Casey (2-over 72) began the day up four and couldn’t close. Even par on his round through 15 holes, he missed a 4-footer for par on 16 and found the water off the tee at 17, ending his chances. The Englishman, who ended a nine-year Tour winless drought earlier this season at the Valspar, is now 1 for 4 with a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.

Shot of the day: Watson’s wedge from 77 yards at the 72nd hole, setting up his eighth and final birdie of the day.

Quote of the day: “That’s the best shot you ever hit.” – caddie Ted Scott to Bubba Watson on his approach at 18