TUESDAY  | OCTOBER 23, 2018
by Jeff Babineau

On a brutally hot October afternoon at Gator Creek Golf Club near Florida's Gulf Coast, Paul Azinger – officially named Monday to replace Johnny Miller in the booth at NBC – is doing what he loves to do. He is standing on the practice tee, wearing shorts, an untucked shirt and a bucket hat, imparting advice to an aspiring young pro. There’s an energy about Azinger, as well as a certain wisdom that led him to 12 PGA Tour victories, including the 1993 PGA Championship. He always has been a quick thinker on his feet.

Days earlier, Azinger, 58, approached a member who was wearing himself out on the practice tee and asked him what he was trying to accomplish. For background, the ninth hole at Gator Creek is an easy par 4, a birdie opportunity, but for whatever reason, the member cannot hit that fairway, always spraying it right. Back to Azinger’s question: What are you doing out here? “I’m standing on the driving range,” the member said to Azinger, “pretending I’m on the ninth tee.” Azinger paused, then offered an idea. “Why don’t you go out to the ninth tee,” he said, “and pretend you’re on the driving range?”

 



Warm memories from golf’s most colorful season
Mike Purkey's piece hit a sweet spot for me (“Fall golf: What’s not to love about it?” Oct. 22).

I always have relished the autumn golf season, as those are some of my best memories of dear golf partners who already moved on to the heavenly nines. Back in the 1970s, in late October, a young guy such as myself would schedule a week of vacation to play with the elders of our nine-hole club where I learned the game. We were assured of an uncluttered course, many emergency nines to settle bets and the inevitable “leaf rule” being invoked during the round by someone of our group, which could number 12-16 guys on any given day.

 


3

Number of times that Sergio Garcia has won the Andalucia Valderrama Masters in his native Spain. Garcia closed with a 2-under 71 on Monday for a 12-under 201 total and four-stroke victory at Real Club Valderrama in Sotogrande. The tournament was delayed by inclement weather and reduced to 54 holes.

 




FROM THE INDUSTRY

The 12th annual National Golf Day will be held May 1 on Capitol Hill in Washington, organizers announced. We Are Golf, a coalition of golf leaders, annually lobbies legislators and other federal officials on behalf of the golf industry, which the game’s advocates value as an $84.1 billion part of the U.S. economy.

 

Golf Genius Software will be integrated across multiple golf brands within NBC Sports Group, company officials announced. Golf Genius’ software will be used with the Golf Channel Am Tour, Golf Advisor Club, World Long Drive Association and GolfNow’s BRS Golf.

 

Nippon Shaft recorded two victories on major professional tours in recent days. On the European Tour, the winner of the Anadalucia Valderrama Masters used Nippon’s N.S. Pro Modus Tour 130 X flex shafts in his irons and wedges. On the LPGA, the winner of the Buick LPGA Shanghai played N.S. Pro 950GH steel shafts in her irons and wedges.

 

Silverado Resort and Spa, site of the PGA Tour’s recent Safeway Open in Napa, Calif., has introduced the Silverado Experience Stay and Play package. Prices start at $360 per person, per night and include two rounds of golf, daily breakfast and a spa treatment for a three-night stay at the 36-hole resort.

 

Construction of the Feddinch Club at St. Andrews, Scotland, is progressing, organizers said, and enrollment for founder memberships has been extended until Nov. 30. The Feddinch Club, which is expected to open in spring 2021, will be the only private, residential members club with its own course in St. Andrews.

 


CALENDAR
October 24-27
LPGA: Q-Series

Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort No. 6

October 25-28
LPGA: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship

Ta Shee G&CC, Taoyuan, Taiwan

PGA/European tours: WGC HSBC Champions

Sheshan International GC, Shanghai

PGA Tour: Sanderson Farms Championship

CC of Jackson (Miss.)

October 26-28
Champions: Invesco QQQ Championship

Sherwood CC, Thousand Oaks, Calif.


      
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