Category Archives: Tournaments

Impeachable Me

There’s a word in the English language, which escapes me at the moment, to describe that feeling you get when you’re watching TV and you realize you know more about the subject being discussed than the people doing the discussing.

I got that feeling last night watching the Rachel Maddow Show. Her lead story was a “breaking news” report hot off the presses of the New York Times, whose reporters had learned that President Donald J. Trump had asked his British ambassador to ask the British government to ask the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews to award the British Open golf tournament to the Trump-owned Turnberry Resort.

Got all that? Rachel and her guests from the Times thought this qualified for immediate impeachment under the Emoluments Clause. I couldn’t stop laughing.

OK, those of us who know about golf (of which obviously neither Rachel Maddow nor the NY Times reporters have the first clue) understand a few things.

  1. Turnberry has hosted the Open Championship several times already (last time in 2009 when Stewart Cink lucked out against the rapidly fading 59-year-old Tom Watson) and will host the tournament again, some time in the future.
  2. Trump knows that the Open Championship is staged and controlled by the R&A. The British government and even the Queen her ownself has nothing to do with it.
  3. Even if the R&A got a call from Boris Johnson telling them that the President of the USA wished them to move Turnberry up in the rota, we all know that the reaction would be gales of laughter. Nobody tells the R&A what to do, especially about the Open.
  4. The head of the R&A was asked, when Trump purchased the Turnberry Resort in 2014, if the course would still be included on the Open rota (there are eight or so courses in the British Isles that regularly host the Open Championship; Turnberry has been one of them since the 1970s) now that Trump owned the joint. Of course, he said, adding that there might be some factors that determined exactly when that would be. He went on to say that political considerations–like Trump getting elected the 45th President of the United States–might be one of the factors that went into the decision.
  5.  The Open is already scheduled for the next four years. Royal St. George’s next year (postponed from this year); the Old Course in 2022, Royal Liverpool in 2023 and Troon in 2024.  Chance of any of those venues being replaced…0%.

So, assuming Trump is re-elected in November (my guess: easily), he will be out of office before the tournament returns to Turnberry.  Is the Emoluments Clause forward-looking? Can we impeach him for something that happens after he leaves office? Yeah, I’m guessing no.

The New York Times is a disgrace to journalism and Rachel Maddow is as stupid as a sack of golf tees.

a cinderella story

Oh…oh…oh…I love this story!

They had a professional golf tournament this week down in Scottsdale. The Scottsdale Open.  Not part of any tour, just the annual city championship. 

But of course, a lot of currently unemployed Tour pros live in and around Scottsdale, so the field was loaded.

You had Joel Dahmen, Kirk Triplett, Kevin Streelman, Colt Knost and others. 

So who won? 500 to 1 shot Zach Smith, that’s who.  Recent grad of UC-Santa Barbara, he shot 62-67-62 and won by three. His reward? A nice fat check for $20,000.

I’m told that over in Vegas, nobody bought his ticket. Too bad: just a $40 bet would have won you the same amount of money that Zach took home with his giant check.

Love this story!

What PGA Tour Pros Really Think

Two golf writers I know fairly well, John Huggin and Dave Shedloski, did a survey for Golf Digest asking 46 PGA Tour pros a series of questions.  No names were used—just percentages of answers and some anonymous comments. Fair enough.

But some of this is interesting stuff. Let’s dive in.

You get to choose one tour pro to be on your side in a bar fight. Who are you picking?

Ernie Els: 27.5 percent
Jason Kokrak: 10 percent
Scott Stallings: 7.5 percent
Gary Woodland: 7.5 percent
Ricky Barnes: 5 percent

Tony Finau: 5 percent
Brooks Koepka: 5 percent

I have no beef with any of those answers. But speaking of beef, I would have included Andrew “Meat” Johnston in my list. Big fella. Might be useful in a bar fight.

Will Tiger Woods win a major in 2020?

Yes: 60 percent
No: 40 percent

I’m in the “no” camp.  Surprise me.

Will Tiger be competitive in the Masters until he’s 60?

Yes: 46 percent
No: 26 percent
Don’t know: 28 percent

You’ve got to be kidding, right? Tiger is a great player, one of the best ever. He’s also barely hanging on, with some duct tape, AAA batteries and the finest pharmaceuticals money can buy, to his physical capabilities to play golf at the highest levels. No, he won’t be a factor at the Masters or anywhere else when he’s 60. Or 50.

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the other major

Ah, April, the month of fools, Easter (sometimes) and, of course, The Masters.

But for golf writers of a certain age (like mine) April was also the month of an important national championship: the annual Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) Championship in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Most golfers know about Myrtle Beach and many have been: the long stretch of Lowcountry coastline between Georgetown and the North Carolina border is chockablock with golf courses and most of them are public. The latest count I’ve seen is 59 courses within 20 miles of MB, all but 3 of them public. And most of the hotels and motels along the Grand Strand offer some kind of golf package deal, stay-and-play rates that make the area a bargain hunter’s mecca.

Sports trivia fans may know that it was in Myrtle Beach (at the “Granddaddy,” Pine Lakes Country Club) that Time Inc. chairman Henry Luce and 67 editors and writers gathered in 1954 to hash out ideas for a new weekly sports magazine that became Sports Illustrated.

I joined the Golf Writers Association of America in the early 1980s. It wasn’t easy to get in. Like other sportswriters organizations (e.g. Baseball Writers, Football Writers etc.) you had to be a sportswriter covering golf and working for an accredited publication of some kind. Most of the members were newspaper beat reporters—they all covered golf, but most also covered other sports as well. Some others worked for the big national magazines at that time: Golf Digest, Golf, Golf Illustrated, Golf World, etc.