Trip Dispatch: Coffin tees it up on Hilton Head Island

By Jay CoffinSeptember 9, 2013, 6:32 pm

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – I have a dirty little secret to tell that’s been eating at me. Here it goes: I have vacationed in the South Carolina Lowcountry for the past five years and have never – I repeat never – played a round of golf.

There, I feel better. I realize leaving the clubs at home for an annual trip to Hilton Head Island is blasphemy for a long-time member of the golf industry.

Enough was enough, though. This year I finally broke the dry spell.

The itinerary called for rounds at two of the island’s goodies, which is easy to do because there is such a smorgasbord of great options.

Harbour Town Golf Links was the obvious must-play option. The Pete Dye design looks fabulous each spring on TV during the RBC Heritage, which is a big reason why it was ranked No. 2 in Golf Digest last year by 81 PGA Tour pros as their favorite course to play during the year.

Harbour Town

Harbour Town's dramatic 18 hole hugs the Calibogue Sound.

So I went out with Jeff and Jeffrey Mullavey and met up with Bill Gibson, a high school teacher from Jacksonville, Ill., a day before the greens were aerified.

The narrow, tree-lined track was pristine and each hole memorable. Still, it was virtually impossible not to let the mind wander to the closing stretch, particularly the tee shot on the 18th hole that runs along the Calibogue Sound and faces the historic red and white Harbour Town Lighthouse.

'I don’t get to play course of that level so it was a neat experience,' said Gibson, who packs a mean hockey-type golf swing with a lethal short game. 'It was a little intimidating for a while with the narrow fairways and small greens. I can’t imagine playing where the pros play.'

It was refreshing to play a place that calls for creativity and shotmaking rather than distance, even if my game was not up to the task. Although temps were steamy and our overall games were mediocre, the course was great and the camaraderie was spectacular on this day at the island’s most indelible spot.

'Trying to navigate the narrow fairways with an inherent hook was no easy task,' Jeff Mullavey quipped.

The following morning the Mullavey boys and I took my 6-year-old son Brady out to tame the Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Course at Palmetto Dunes Resort, a place that I had driven past dozens of times during previous stays at varying Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort properties.

On this calm, Lowcountry morning we played a competitive game of Wolf where Brady was always partnered with the person who dared to go it alone against the other two. An ideal set of black tees played 2,625 yards and were the perfect distance for the little fella to feel like he was able to hang with the big kids.

'When your group ranges from 6 years old to 50-something and the 6 year old has a few chances to put for legit pars, it just makes for a fun time for all,' Jeff Mullavey said.

Coffin and Brady

Jay Coffin and his 6-year-old son Brady take on Palmetto Dunes Resort's Jones Course. 

A lagoon winds its way through more than half the holes on the Jones Course and the par-5 10th hole butts up against the beach with a beautiful view of the ocean, one of the most picturesque spots on the entire island.

'The Jones course is very playable for the average golfer,” Mullavey said. “The generous landing areas combined with big greens allow for some drift on both tee ball and approach shots. But it’s not uncommon to have a 40 foot putt on many greens.'

After two days of fun on the links, I spent the remainder of the visit on the beach with the family. It was enjoyable, but I found myself yearning for more golf, anticipating places I could try during next year’s vacation.

Since I was man enough to spill my secret earlier in this piece, I’ll now make a promise: I’ll never go to Hilton Head again without golf clubs.

Coffin foursome

The Coffins and Mullaveys are all smiles after a round at Palmetto Dunes. 

For Hilton Head Island golf package information, visit or view area tee times at

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Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

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Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”

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Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:33 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.

Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.

“Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”

One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.

“When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”

Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.

This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.

“It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”