APRIL 12, 2017

Any golf course operator or professional in the U.S. would tell you that the Masters signals the advent of a new golf season. Just as spring itself heralds a renewal, the tournament, won Sunday by Sergio Garcia, brings optimism and hope for everyone associated with the game. No other organization in golf creates more excitement in the sport than Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club.

Under club chairman Billy Payne’s direction, the membership at Augusta National has embraced its role to be more to golf than just the host of the Masters. With Payne’s foresight, the club has shed its long-standing reputation for exclusion and isolation. Payne could very well be the most progressive leader in American golf since the sport crossed the Atlantic in the late 19th century. 

Let them bloviate from the bushes

Thanks, John Gordon. You nailed it, especially concerning so many golf broadcasters who like to hear themselves talk, namely, Brandel Chamblee, Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and David Duval (“Sunday drama aside, Masters telecast comes up short,” April 10, Send them back to the putting green. Or better yet, lose them in the Augusta pine needles or azaleas.

I mostly follow the practice of turning the sound off when watching golf. We don't need has-beens to babble on with endless chatter and ridiculous questions to participants.

M.K. "Ken" Paxton
Lexington, S.C.

Keeping score


Overnight rating for CBS during Sunday’s final round of the Masters, a 13-year low for the event, according to figures released by the network. The broadcast, during which Sergio Garcia defeated Justin Rose on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff, garnered a 17 share, which measures the percentage of TVs turned to a channel. By comparison, last year’s final round at Augusta National drew an 8.5 rating. Still, this year’s Masters far surpassed the final-round ratings from last year’s other major championships: U.S. Open on Fox (3.8), British Open on NBC (3.3) and PGA Championship on CBS (3.4). But don’t conclude that golf fans abandoned the Masters. Many of them migrated to other platforms. ESPN reported that its live-streaming coverage of the first two rounds was up 5 percent, to a record 25.8 million total minutes.


Number of starts for Luke Donald at the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head Island, S.C., site of this week’s PGA Tour event, in which the Englishman owns six top-3 finishes, including four runners-up.


Distance, in miles, from Augusta National Golf Club, host of last week’s Masters, to TPC Sugarloaf, site of this week’s Mitsubishi Electric Classic on the PGA Tour Champions for the six members of the 50-and-old tour who played in the Masters. Former Masters champions Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle Larry Mize, Jose Maria Olazabal, Mark O’Meara and Ian Woosnam played Augusta – only Mize made the cut, finishing 52nd – and will head west on I-20 toward suburban Atlanta.


Michigan is preparing for the golf season with three highly anticipated courses to be opening, plus travel packages at some of the state’s most popular destinations. The Loop, an 18-hole reversible design by Tom Doak at Forest Dunes in Roscommon, will begin a full schedule this spring after a limited launch last year. Also opening: Stoatin Brae, the sixth course at Augusta’s Gull Lake View Golf Club and Resort; and Sage Run, the third course at Island Resort & Casino in Escanaba. Arcadia Bluffs, on the shores of Lake Michigan, will begin work on the South Course, which is scheduled to be completed in summer 2018.

Reynolds Lake Oconee offers golf packages at its resort, which includes two layouts ranked among the best in the country by Golf, Golf Digest and Golfweek. The Jack Nicklaus Signature Course Great Water and The Oconee, a Rees Jones design, are among the five courses offered at the Greensboro, Ga., resort.

We Are Golf, an alliance of the game’s leading associations and industry partners, will team with Topgolf on April 26, known as National Golf Day, to offer free lessons at the golf-entertainment company’s 28 nationwide sites. Any visitor to a Topgolf facility will receive a free five-minute lesson.

April 12-15
LPGA: Lotte Championship
Ko Olina GC, Kapolei, Hawaii
April 13-16
European Tour: Trophee Hassan II
Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Rabat, Morocco
PGA Tour: RBC Heritage
Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head Island, S.C.
April 14-16
Champions Tour: Mitsubishi Electric Classic
TPC Sugarloaf, Duluth, Ga.
April 19-22
Junior: Sage Valley Junior Invitational
Sage Valley Golf Club, Graniteville, S.C.
April 20-23
European Tour: Shenzhen International
Genzon GC, Shenzhen, China Tour: United Leasing and Finance Championship
Victoria National GC, Newburgh, Ind.
PGA Tour: Valero Texas Open
TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course)
April 21-23
Champions Tour: Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge
Top of the Rock, Ridgedale, Mo.
Symetra Tour: Sara Bay Classic
Sara Bay CC, Sarasota, Fla.
April 25-26
National Golf Day

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