Monday
MAY 8, 2017
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By STEVE ELLING

There was rock music, booming voices over the public-address system, pyrotechnics on a couple of holes and, by design, somebody dressed in a mascot suit, plus plenty of other bells and whistles.

For the multitude of kids in the gallery at the inaugural Golf Sixes, it must have felt like a trip to the grand opening at a miniature golf course.

However, while the European Tour’s format experiment was conceived to entice the younger set and its truncated attention span, a peppy distillation of the professional sport isn’t nearly enough. Golf Sixes is condensed by design, but organizers understand that credibility at the professional level cannot be sacrificed. Somewhere in the six-hole, match-play tournament, which featured teams from 16 countries, there must be equal amounts of sizzle and steak.


By ALEX MICELI

Few golf travelers likely would have thought of Wisconsin as a potential mecca for the game. Then again, Oregon was not a big part of golf’s lexicon until 1999, when Mike Keiser opened the first of five courses at Bandon Dunes.

Remote Bandon Dunes is a four-hour drive from Portland and requires a day’s travel from almost anywhere else in the lower 48, but what an experience upon arrival on the Pacific Coast.

Now Keiser’s sons, Chris and Michael, have taken that vision for a golf destination 3½ hours north of Chicago, opening the first of what could be five or more courses at Sand Valley Golf Resort in Rome, Wis.



Keeping score

2

Number of team victories in the past six months for his native Denmark, by Thorbjorn Olesen, who partnered with Lucas Bjerregaard to win the European Tour’s inaugural Golf Sixes on Sunday. Olesen and Bjerregaard defeated Australians Scott Hend and Sam Brazel at Centurion Club in St. Albans, England, after 16 two-man teams had started the weekend. Olesen teamed with countryman Soren Kjeldsen to win the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf in November.

6

Number of career victories on the LPGA for Sei Young Kim, who was seeded No. 2 in the Lorena Ochoa Match Play and defeated top-seeded Ariya Jutanugarn, 1 up, for the title.

10

Percentage of the South Korean golf economy that is devoted to simulators, or “screen golf,” according to a report from the Yuwon Golf Foundation. South Koreans spent more than 1 trillion won (about $882 million) in 2015 on golf simulators.

10.3

Percentage decline in rounds played in March 2017, compared with March 2016, according to the National Golf Rounds Played Report released by Golf Datatech. The decline was most pronounced in the Mid-Atlantic (New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania) and New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) regions, at minus-66 and minus-59 percent, respectively. Those areas experienced greater amounts of rainfall for the month, according to the report. Rounds played were up 6 percent in the Mountain region (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming). Year-to-date, rounds played are off 3.7 percent compared with the same period in 2016.

13

Number of years since John Daly, winner of the PGA Tour Champions’ Insperity Invitational, had won a professional title. Daly shot 3-under 69 on Sunday at The Woodlands (Texas) Country Club’s Tournament Course for a 14-under 202 total and one stroke victory over Kenny Perry and Tommy Armour III. Daly, a two-time major champion, won in his 22nd start on the 50-and-older tour. His most recent victory had been in 2004, at the PGA Tour’s Buick Invitational.

28-4

Length, in feet and inches, of the birdie putt that Brian Harman made on the 72nd hole to win the Wells Fargo Championship. Harman shot 4-under 68 at Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, N.C., for a 10-under 278 total to edge Dustin Johnson and Pat Perez by one stroke. It was the second career victory for Harman, 30.

35

Number of career Web.com Tour starts before Nate Lashley, 34, won his first tournament. Trailing by two strokes after 54 holes, Lashley shot 6-under 66 on Sunday for a 20-under 268 total to win the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in the Dominican Republic.


Keep the viewers out of the game

You are correct in saying that someone who broke the rules should be penalized (“Don’t blame TV viewers for exposing rules violators,” May 1, http://bit.ly/2pFRLxD). However, the PGA/LPGA should not be relying on TV viewers to help with officiating and then penalizing a player after the fact. What if baseball changed umpires' calls because someone watching TV saw (or thought they saw) a questionable call or if TV viewers could cause the league to reverse hockey or basketball refs' calls? That would be nonsense. Officials' calls, good or bad, are part of the game.

The PGA/LPGA has total video coverage of every hole on the course. In hockey and other sports, video replay is used on the spot to correct discrepancies, not 24 hours later and not based on tips from TV viewers. Since the PGA Tour seems to use the video to confirm the TV fans' complaint, it seems to me that they could have officials looking at the game on TV while play is going on and employ on-the-course "umpires" to watch. It’s not as if golf is so fast-paced that they can't monitor what is going on. They already have rules officials that make calls about out of bounds, etc., so why aren't they seeing these "violations”?


In the news

Ignored: During CBS's telecast of the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship, the behavior of Wells Fargo Bank and its fake-account scandal. However, famed investor Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway company claims its largest stock holding in the Charlotte, N.C., bank, didn’t so easily dismiss the behavior. During Berkshire Hathaway’s annual stockholders’ meetingSaturday in Omaha, Neb., Buffett called Wells Fargo’s actions a “huge, huge, huge error,” adding: “The main problem was that they didn’t act when they learned about it.” Buffett added that Wells Fargo “incentivized the wrong kind of behavior.” Wells Fargo has been criticized for its illegal sales practices. The banking giant admitted to creating upwards of 2 million unwanted bank and credit-card accounts in 2011-15, generating a mountain of fees from unknowing customers. Wells Fargo reportedly fired 5,300 employees and paid $190 million in fines and restitution.



FROM THE INDUSTRY

Billy Casper Golf has agreed to a five-year contract extension with Ocala Golf Club to manage club operations and course maintenance. Since overseeing operations at the municipal course in 2012, BCG has installed TifEagle Bermuda greens and renovated the 34 bunkers.

International Club Suppliers recently launched the ICS Marketplace to supply golf courses with merchandise for their pro shops. The marketplace will include branded apparel and equipment, plus event-specific custom accessories.



CALENDAR
May 8-10
College women: NCAA Division I regionals at four sites
Albuquerque, N.M.; Athens, Ga.; Columbus, Ohio; Lubbock, Texas
May 9-10
NGF Golf Business Symposium
Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village, St. Augustine, Fla.
May 11-14
PGA Tour: The Players Championship
TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
European Tour: Portugal Open
Morgado G&CC, Portimao, Portugal
Symetra Tour: Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Classic
Links at Stoney Point, Greenwood, S.C.
May 14-17
College men: NCAA Division I regionals at six sites
Baton Rouge, La.; College Grove, Tenn.; West Lafayette, Ind.; Stanford, Calif.; Austin, Texas; Sammamish, Wash.
May 18-21
LPGA: Kingsmill Championship
Kingsmill Resort (River Course), Williamsburg, Va.
Web.com Tour: BMW Charity Pro-Am
Thornblade Club, Greer, S.C.
Champions Tour: Regions Tradition
Greystone G&CC, Birmingham, Ala.
PGA Tour: AT&T Byron Nelson
TPC Four Seasons Resort, Irving, Texas
European Tour: The Rocco Forte Open
Verdura GC, Agrigento, Italy
May 19-24
College women: NCAA Division I championship
Rich Harvest Farms, Sugar Grove, Ill.
May 21-25
Industry: ING Spring Conference
World Golf Village and Hall of Fame Museum, St. Augustine, Fla.
Industry: ING Spring Conference
World Golf Village and Hall of Fame Museum, St. Augustine, Fla.
May 25-28
Champions Tour: KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship
Trump National GC, Potomac Falls, Va.
LPGA: LPGA Volvik Championship
Travis Point CC, Ann Arbor, Mich.
PGA Tour: Dean & DeLuca Invitational
Colonial CC, Fort Worth, Texas
European Tour: BMW PGA Championship
Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, England
May 25-31
College men: NCAA Division I championship
Rich Harvest Farms, Sugar Grove, Ill.
May 26-29
Junior: AJGA Thunderbird International Junior
Grayhawk GC (Raptor), Scottsdale, Ariz.

      
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