by Dan O’Neill

Zachary Politte served three tours of duty in Iraq. As a Marine staff sergeant, he was an electrical engineer and door gunner on a CH-46 helicopter.

Politte was part of a casualty-evacuation unit, HMM-161 of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, call sign DUST-OFF, or Dedicated Unhesitating Service To Our Fighting Forces. Politte and his crew weren’t just in harm’s way; they were staring it down. They risked life and limb, transporting battlefield casualties under the most dire circumstances.


Life’s refreshing reset 

Hopeful. That is the best way to describe my view of golf’s future. The word has been used a great deal as of late about Tiger Woods and his return (“Is Woods back? Yes, and get ready for more,” Dec. 4). You must live under the rock that Woods’ fans moved for him in the 1999 Phoenix Open not to understand how important he is for our game. But that is not the only reason I’m hopeful. Far from it.

With all the areas of disruption in our world, our game simply feels right to me, like arriving home after a long trip. Now, we don’t always know why, and frankly it’s easy to take our eye off the ball in this ever-changing content- and entertainment-rich world. But after spending some time with our game, I almost always feel reset. Many times, that is what we need most.



Number of eagles that Jose Toledo made in posting an 11-under 61 for the first-round lead in the Tour Qualifying Tournament at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz. Toledo, 31, of Guatemala, added seven birdies – including five consecutive, on Nos. 12-16 at the Devil’s Claw Course – en route to a four-stroke lead. He is a 2009 University of New Orleans graduate who won once and ranked fourth in earnings last season on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica. The Q-School winner will be exempt for the 2018 Tour’s regular season. Nos. 2-10 and ties will be exempt for the first 12 events, and Nos. 11-45 and ties will be exempt for the first eight events. Everybody in the 144-man field will be assured of at least conditional status on the developmental tour (scores:; tee times:


Named: As European Tour golfer of the year, Sergio Garcia, in a vote by European golf media. Garcia, 37, of Spain, finished fourth in the tour’s Race to Dubai season standings, but his three victories included his first major championship, the Masters. 



Troon recently donated $78,000 to Phoenix Children’s Hospital as part of the golf-management company’s Drive For PCH promotion. The money was raised by golfers, club members and associates at 16 Troon-managed golf facilities in Arizona. In its seventh year, the Drive For PCH initiative has raised more than $446,000 for the state’s largest children’s hospital.


Charles “Chuck” Totten, the equipment manager at Westmoreland Country Club in Wilmette, Ill., has been named winner of the Edwin Budding Award, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America announced. The honor, named for the inventor of the lawnmower, recognizes an equipment manager, technician educator or engineer who has made a significant impact in the golf and turf business.


Nufarm Americas has increased its support of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. Nufarm Americas will contribute at the Gold Partner level, up from a Silver Partner, the GCSAA announced.


Leah Brilman and Richard Latin, longtime turfgrass science researchers, have been named recipients of Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Awards, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America announced. They will be honored Feb. 6 during the Golf Industry Show.


In two months of use at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland, pace-of-play monitoring system Tagmarshal has reduced the time to play a round, operators reported. Golfers’ rounds were reduced by an average of 17 minutes, and 88 percent of play was on or within 10 minutes of the appropriate pace, said officials at Carnoustie, site of the 2018 British Open.


December 7-10
European Tour: Joburg Open
Randpark GC, Johannesburg, South Africa Tour: Qualifying Tournament Final Stage
Whirlwind GC, Chandler, Ariz.
December 8-10
Men’s pro: QBE Shootout
Tiburon GC (Gold), Naples, Fla.
December 14-17
Exhibition: PNC Father/Son Challenge
Ritz-Carlton GC, Orlando, Fla.

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