MARCH 16, 2017

By Steve Elling

ORLANDO, Fla. – As far as his personal perception goes, the so-called Muirfield mulligan didn’t make much difference to former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy.

The members of the centuries-old Scottish club, formally known as The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, finally decided this week to accept female members, a notion that had been shot down during the organization’s first balloting on the topic last year.

Grudgingly accepted, no doubt.

By Jim Moriarty

In the early ’90s I was at Bay Hill doing a portrait of Arnold Palmer. So blessed was he by the fates, I decided to take his picture holding the sun in one hand and the moon in the other — cutouts taped to a couple of baseballs.

In the middle of our shoot, we were interrupted by a bit of business that couldn’t wait. Arnold excused himself for a couple of minutes and I took advantage of the lull to check in with my art director.  Jack Stephens had just become chairman of Augusta National and in three weeks my art director wanted me to go there and take his picture in his green jacket. Easy. Except I was so wrapped up in what I was doing with Arnold, I forgot to put Stephens in my appointment calendar. The day to be at Augusta National arrived, but I didn’t. I had blown off the chairman. 

In the news

Renamed: As the Seve Ballesteros Award, the European Tour players’ honor for the top golfer of the year, in recognition of the late Spaniard, a five-time major champion who died in 2011. Tour players vote on the award. Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, who won the British Open and the Race to Dubai season points honor, was named the 2016 winner.

Announced: A 10-hole short course to be designed by Tiger Woods’ TGR Design in the Jack’s Bay community on the island of Eleuthera, Bahamas.

Keeping score


Number of years to be fully exempt on the PGA Tour for the winner of this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, one year longer than the customary perk for champions at other Tour stops. (The Memorial Tournament, the annual invitational hosted by Jack Nicklaus, also awards a three-year exemption to its winner.)



Number of original members of the LPGA in 1950, and the inspiration for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup that begins play today at Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix. Three of the original LPGA members – Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler – are attending the Founders Cup, the first of three consecutive events in the western U.S.


From the industry

Patrick Drinkard has improved his base of knowledge for his work with The Clubs at Cordillera Ranch near San Antonio. Drinkard, 32, was the first equipment manager in the U.S. to complete the professional certificate program from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

Bridgestone Golf launched a new marketing campaign that features Tiger Woods. Titled “The Herd,” the commercials caution against a “herd mentality” in promoting Bridgestone’s Tour B330 Series golf balls.

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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