By Adam Schupak
Every once in a while in this line of work, you meet a young player before he hits stardom. As luck would have it, I happened to be seated next to Belgium's Thomas Pieters at a rubber-chicken dinner just days before he won the 2012 Monroe Invitational in Pittsford, N.Y. He was unfailingly polite, affable and poised. Not long after, I witnessed his lethal combination of power and precision as he downed No. 1-seeded Jordan Spieth in the Round of 64 at the 2012 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills Country Club near Denver.
"Looks like we're staying a little longer," Pieters said with a smirk to his caddie while walking off the 18th green as a 1-up victor.
Pieters was a cold-blooded assassin that day, so it didn't surprise me four years later when he became the first European to earn four points as a rookie in the Ryder Cup.
By Alex Miceli
With the West Coast Swing in the rearview mirror for another year, the PGA Tour has made its way this week to sunny Florida but with an eye toward the annual pilgrimage to Augusta.
Six weeks before the Masters, the oddsmakers at Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook have compiled a list of favorites to win the Masters green jacket April 9 at Augusta National Golf Club. Jordan Spieth remains the top choice, at 13-2, despite Dustin Johnson’s runaway victory last week in the Genesis Open. Johnson improves to 8-1 odds to win, giving the Americans solid 1-2 choices.
The Official World Golf Ranking of Roberto Diaz, who qualifies for next week’s WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec as the highest-ranked Mexican in the world. Diaz, 30, a 2009 South Carolina-Aiken graduate from Veracruz, is in his fourth season on the Web.com Tour. He has missed the cut in three career starts on the PGA Tour, most recently at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in November.
Lamkin will offer special-edition versions of its Z5 and Sink grips to commemorate the Masters Tournament, the season’s first major championship. The Z5 Majors Edition and the Sink grips will feature the iconic green-and-white color scheme associated with the Masters, with yellow accent marks.
European Tour: Joburg Open
Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club, Johannesburg, South Africa
PGA Tour: The Honda Classic
PGA National (Champion), Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
LPGA: Honda LPGA Thailand
Siam Country Club (Pattaya Old), Chonburi, Thailand
Chicago Golf Show
Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, Ill.
Toronto Golf And Travel Show
The International Centre, Mississauga, Ontario
Northern California Golf Rep Show
Thunder Valley Casino Resort, Pano Hall Lincoln, Calif.
Philadelphia Golf Merchandise Show
Embassy Suites Valley Forge, Chesterbrook, Pa.
Scottish International Golf Course Architects Conference
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