Time to go back to the basics for Newman

By Mercer BaggsJuly 19, 2011, 6:26 pm

Most professional golfers fear one thing – a Democratic president. Every professional golfer, however, fears something else – a two-way miss.

Jack Newman has been battling the latter for some time now. “My miss,” he said, “was always short, right. Then I started missing it hot and left. I never missed the ball left in my life. It was a terrible feeling – I had no idea where the ball was going when I didn’t hit a good shot. You can’t play that way, because you can’t take trouble out of the equation.”

At the beginning of the season, Newman teamed with noted instructor Mike Bender to adjust his swing mechanics. The result was a more rounded motion, one that wrapped around his body (think Matt Kuchar). But after months of inconsistency, frustration and two-way misses, Newman decided that it was time to revert to his swing of old.

“My swing has always been more upright, which I think works better because of my height (6’4”). I just started to realize that I needed to go back to what made me successful in the past – I didn’t need to reinvent the wheel.”

Newman’s past successes include a victory in the 2008 U.S. Public Links Championship and a subsequent start in the ’09 Masters Tournament.

Those accomplishments only fueled Newman’s expectations as he attempted to further his professional career – leading him to want to make adjustments in his swing to improve.

It didn’t help Newman’s psyche that while he was struggling to make cuts on the Hooters Tour, several other mini-tour regulars were performing admirably in Nationwide Tour opportunities, including a pair of players, Ted Potter Jr. and Russell Knox, winning tournaments on the developmental circuit.

“I spent too much time paying attention to what others were doing. My expectations got blown out of proportion,” Newman said. “Now, I’m trying to relax and just worry about myself, just focus on what I am doing.

“I do have the talent. I’m not going to win every week. I’ve got to scrap out a top-15 or top-20 finish when I’m not having a good week.”

As Newman’s attitude has improved, so, too, have his results. He’s made three of his last four cuts on the Hooters Tour, including a season-best T-16 during that stretch.

Reverting back to his old mechanics has been beneficial as well. Newman said that he and Bender haven’t been in contact for a while but that he expects that they will keep in touch in the future.

For now, he’s going old school, doing what so many of previous generation players advocate:  figuring his swing out by himself.

In the near future, Newman will be playing a Hooters Tour event in Asheboro, N.C., starting Thursday. He’ll then head up to East Lansing, Mich., his collegiate stomping grounds, for a five-on-five golf tournament between some Michigan State and University of Michigan alumni.

After a week off, it’s three more weeks of Hooters Tour events in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. He’s then hoping to Monday qualify for a couple of Nationwide Tour events before it comes time to put his full focus on Q-School.

Newman is also changing his home base from Oxford, Ohio to East Lansing, as his home host, Casey Lubahn, is transitioning from Miami University head golf coach to the same position at MSU.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Newman said. “It’s going to be fun getting back to a place where I know people and still have some friends.”

Fun is something Newman is experiencing once again and he’s doing so thanks to initiative.

“I knew some things, a few things had to change. I was not having the summer I wanted and it was up to me to make things right,” he said.

“Now, I’m treating each tournament like a little adventure. I’m more comfortable on the course than I have been in a while and I’m really starting to focus on me and what I need to do to be successful.

“I’m maturing and learning that I need to get out of my own way.”

That maturation process has been aided within the last month, watching players like Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke win major championships in equally impressive fashions.

“You have to believe that you can do it,” Newman said. “These guys are contending and winning major championships, but for yourself, you have to believe that eventually you can get there. That, at least for now, you can continue to improve and move on to the next tour.

“It’s a process and you have to focus on what you can control now. That’s where I’m at.”

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Lauren Thompson and a giant 'gator eating a turtle

By Grill Room TeamApril 19, 2018, 4:53 pm

Really, the headline says it all.

"Morning Drive" co-host Lauren Thompson was playing the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes on Thursday in Orlando, Fla., when her threesome turned into a foursome, with the appearance of a giant alligator. Techincally, it was a fivesome, as the 'gator had a turtle in its mouth.

Hey, it's a slow news week for Grill Room.

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Sources confirm Charles Schwab to sponsor Colonial event

By Rex HoggardApril 19, 2018, 2:42 pm

Multiple sources have confirmed to GolfChannel.com that officials at Colonial are poised to announce a new sponsorship agreement with Charles Schwab Corporation.

Tournament officials scrambled this year after Dean & DeLuca ended its sponsorship of the event just two years into a six-year agreement, pulling together an assortment of local sponsors and renaming the event the Fort Worth Invitational.

Colonial’s status on the PGA Tour schedule became even more uncertain when the PGA Championship announced it would move from August to May, beginning in 2019 as part of a major overhaul of the circuit’s schedule.

According to the Dallas News, and confirmed by multiple sources at the club, officials plan to announce the new long-term agreement with Charles Schwab on Monday that will begin in 2019.

News of a long-term sponsorship deal would also suggest the event will remain in May in 2019 and beyond. The Tour has indicated it plans to announce the ’19 schedule at next month’s Players Championship.

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PNC Extends Title Sponsorship of PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Golf Channel Public RelationsApril 19, 2018, 1:00 pm

ORLANDO, Fla., April 19, 2018 – IMG and NBC Sports today announced that The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. has extended its contract as title sponsor of the PNC Father/Son Challenge, the tournament that pairs the games’ legends alongside their sons, daughters and grandchildren.

PNC’s multi-year extension as title sponsor keeps the PGA Tour Challenge Event in Orlando reflecting the bank’s commitment to Central Florida. PNC has served as title sponsor of the tournament since 2012. The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando, Grande Lakes will continue to play host to the PNC Father/Son Challenge. The 2018 PNC Father/Son Challenge will take place Friday-Sunday, Dec. 14-16, with television coverage on Golf Channel and NBC.

“The PNC Father/Son Challenge long ago became one of my family’s favorite golf tournaments,” said 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus. “I have had the pleasure of playing with my sons, and last year, partnering with my 15-year-old grandson GT was a thrill. I am delighted the event—a uniquely special one to us fathers and grandfathers, and perhaps to the many fans out there watching from home or outside the ropes—will continue for many years to come.”

“After our victory in 2016, I said that this win was as good as anything I have done in my career,” said former World No. 1 and major champion David Duval, who alongside his stepson Nick Karavites captured the 2016 title. “I felt blessed to have Nick inside the ropes with me and to have our family surrounding us all week. That’s what makes the PNC Father/Son Challenge so special, and I’m pleased to hear that PNC has extended its support of the event. This golf tournament means so much to all of us who are lucky enough to have the opportunity to play in this event.”

The tournament also holds three events in qualifier markets per year. This year they will be in Dallas, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

“The PNC Father/Son Challenge allows fans to see golf’s legends playing the game they love alongside those they love most,” said Alastair Johnston, vice chairman, IMG. “We are grateful for PNC’s ongoing support of this unique tournament and we look forward to returning to Orlando to celebrate golf and family for many years to come.”

Community support is a key aspect of the tournament and PNC’s sponsorship. PNC is committed to donating $150,000 annually to local non-profits over the life of its sponsorship. Across six previous years of title sponsorship, PNC has already donated $900,000 to Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation and the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children to support the “Healthy Families Orange” program. Over the years, PNC has also had the opportunity through this tournament to co-host events for local women in business, to put on clinics and provide free access to the tournament for active military, and even provide a service dog for a local veteran.

"PNC's long-standing sponsorship of the Father/Son Challenge reflects the philanthropic values we share with the PGA Tour and the golf community, as well as our focus on strong relationships,” said Bill Demchak, chairman, president and chief executive officer of The PNC Financial Services Group. “As PNC Bank continues to expand its footprint, the PNC Father/Son tournament helps us gain visibility with new audiences and to strengthen the relationships we enjoy today with more than 8 million retail, wealth, and corporate and institutional banking customers across the country.”

“NBC Sports is extremely proud of our heritage as co-founder for the Father/Son Challenge, one of golf’s most special events that closes out the calendar year on the golf schedule,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports. “Our relationship with PNC Bank elevates this event each year as a must-attend and must-see event for players and fans alike, and we look forward to our continued relationship with PNC Bank for years to come.”

Past winners of the PNC Father/Son Challenge include some of the biggest names in golf including Raymond Floyd (1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001), Jack Nicklaus (1999), Bernhard Langer (2005-06, 2014), Davis Love III (2012) and David Duval (2016).  Masters champion Angel Cabrera and his son, Angel Cabrera Jr. captured the 2017 title.

To qualify for the PNC Father/Son Challenge, participants must have won either a major championship or THE PLAYERS Championship in their career. The professional’s partner must not currently hold a Tour card, and while the majority of partners in the history of the event have been the sons of the golf legends, the family-themed tournament has seen daughters, grandsons and one father – Justin Leonard’s dad, Larry – participate over the years.

The PNC Father/Son Challenge is operated in partnership by IMG and NBC Sports.

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Fire damages National Golf Links of America clubhouse

By Will GrayApril 19, 2018, 12:55 pm

A fire broke out Wednesday at National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y., causing "extensive damage" to a portion of the historic course's clubhouse.

According to a 27East.com report, an initial call was made to the Southampton police department about a fire on the roof of the clubhouse at 11:34 a.m. With the club's gates too narrow to fit a fire truck through, more than 100 firefighters from various departments helped douse the flames by transporting water up a hill to the east side of the clubhouse.

The fire was reportedly extinguished by 2:30 p.m., with no injuries requiring medical attention. According to a Golf Digest report, the club was undergoing construction on its outdoor eating area known as "the Birdcage" and that most of the club's historical documents reside on the opposite end of the clubhouse from where the fire broke out and was contained.

Opened in 1911, National Golf Links of America was designed by C.B. MacDonald and hosted the inaugural Walker Cup in 1922. The biennial matches returned in 2013 to NGLA, which is often rated among the top courses in the U.S. and sits adjacent to Shinnecock Hills, site of this summer's U.S. Open.