MARCH 15, 2017

By Adam Schupak

Besides the inevitable question of "What's Tiger really like?" (Wish I knew!) the most common question I get asked as a golf writer is, “Who are the good guys on the PGA Tour?” Without hesitation, I answer that Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell is the player with whom I'd most like to have a beer, and it has nothing to do with my fondness for Guinness.

What separates McDowell from the pack is the way he connects with fans. Known as G-Mac, he is a man of the people, quick with a smile and a quip or a quote for the media. In 2014, at age 34, McDowell was honored by golf writers with the Jim Murray Award, which essentially is a lifetime-achievement recognition for being an all-around good guy. Arnold Palmer received the honor in 2002 as its second recipient.

By Steve Elling

Before Martha Burk happened along, it ranked as perhaps the most inflammatory Masters mess of the past few decades.

In 2001, word circulated that Augusta National officials had mailed letters to several aging past champions, notifying them that their lifetime tournament exemption did, in fact, have an expiration date. In essence, the club disinvited them from playing in the tournament proper because their scores had not been up to par, so to speak. Years later, former Masters champion Billy Casper called the letter “heartbreaking” and “the most devastating thing that’s happened to me in golf.”

When the news broke, I hustled from the Orlando Sentinel over to Bay Hill and was told that Palmer was across the breezeway, having lunch. A club member asked Palmer whether he had a few moments to answer some questions, prompting Palmer to wave me over to his table, where he was in mid-meal. He invited me to sit down and fire away.

By Steve Harmon

ORLANDO, Fla. – During an Arnold Palmer Invitational week steeped in nostalgia for its namesake host, Henrik Stenson laments one story that he wasn’t quite able to complete.

Stenson and the late Palmer had more than a few things in common: both adopted Orlando as their hometown, endeared themselves to golf fans worldwide with their wit and approachability and, as Stenson noted, won the British Open at Royal Troon.

In the news

A new recruit for Arnie’s Army: To Sicily Allotta, 6, of Tampa, posing with her grandfather, Roy Varner, also of Tampa, a 13-foot Arnold Palmer statue casts a larger-than-life presence over the grounds during Tuesday’s practice round for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando. Allotta recently started playing golf at The First Tee at Fox Hollow Golf Club in New Port Richey, Fla., her grandfather says. And now, she’s got a show-and-tell story for her new golf buddies back home.

Restored: By the R&A to the British Open rotation, Scotland’s Muirfield Golf Links, after The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers voted to admit female members. With 93 percent of members casting ballots, 80 percent voted for the change. Muirfield, founded in 1744, has hosted 16 British Opens, with the most recent in 2013, when Phil Mickelson won. The host courses have been set through 2021.

Named: By the U.S. Golf Association as host of the 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss.

Inducted: Into the Middle Atlantic Golf Association Hall of Fame, former PGA Tour player Fred Funk.


Keeping score


Number of winners of the former PGA Tour event in Tucson, Ariz., who are scheduled to compete in this week’s Tucson Conquistadores Classic on the Champions tour. Kirk Triplett (2006), Jim Carter (2000), Jeff Sluman (1997), Larry Mize (1993), Lee Janzen (1992) and David Frost (1988) will tee it up at Omni Tucson National Resort.


From the industry

Big Mac Golf has introduced the Blade Quattro push cart, which features four wheels and flat-fold technology, the company announced. The model is available at select retailers nationwide and at for a suggested retail price of $299.99.

Thor Guard, a lightning-prediction system that warns about potentially adverse weather conditions, has selected Buffalo.Agency for public relations.

March 16-19
PGA Tour: Arnold Palmer Invitational
Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando, Fla.
LPGA: Bank of Hope Founders Cup
Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, Phoenix
March 17-19
Champions Tour: Tucson Conquistadores Classic
Omni Tucson National, Tucson, Ariz.
March 18-19
Portland Golf Expo
Holiday Inn by the Bay, Portland, Maine
March 22-26
PGA/European tours: WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
Austin (Texas) Country Club
March 23-26
PGA Tour: Puerto Rico Open
Coco Beach Golf Club, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
LPGA: Kia Classic
Aviara Golf Club, Carlsbad, Calif. Tour: Chitimacha Louisiana Open
Le Triomphe Golf and Country Club, Broussard, La.

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