THURSDAY  | FEBRUARY 15, 2018
by Ward Clayton

I can attest to golf’s warming trend for all that recently has been labeled alternative, be it Topgolf, simulators or old-turned-new par-3 courses.

During Christmas break in North Carolina, our family broke cabin fever by visiting The Cradle par-3 course at Pinehurst Resort. My daughter Monica, a college sophomore, and son Will, a high school senior, were intrigued because of a recent re-introduction to golf. Both played some golf in their pre-teen years, but like many in their age group were taken away by school commitments, music, dance, team sports and a quicker pace for their daily activities.

 



A little too Easy to ‘mail it in’

There's a particular example that Mike Purkey did not account for in his article, and it's one that I find damning when tournament sponsors also sponsor players (“Golf’s dirty little secret might not be so filthy,” Feb. 13). There are two caveats to this response: I am a big Ernie Els fan, and I'm Canadian.

Els won the 2012 British Open but then had to jet across the Atlantic to play in the RBC Canadian Open as an RBC athlete. There was zero question that he wanted to skip the Canadian Open, and he even made a remark that he was in Canada to fulfill sponsor obligations. Although he attended events, he wasn't “there.” He made light of skipping the Canadian Open to visit relatives in London.

 


Withdrew: Bill Haas, from the PGA Tour’s Genesis Open, after he was injured while a passenger in a car in which the driver was killed Tuesday night in a crash in Pacific Palisades, Calif. Haas, 35, was treated and released at UCLA Medical Center, his manager, Allen Hobbs, told KCBS-TV in Los Angeles. According to the Los Angeles Times, which cited police reports, a Ferrari driven by Mark Gibello, 71, and believed to be traveling at high speed collided with several vehicles and then smashed into a utility pole. Actor Luke Wilson was driving one of the vehicles struck by the Ferrari and not seriously injured. A 50-year-old woman in a BMW was listed in serious condition, according to the L.A. Fire Department. According to a PGA Tour news release, the driver of the car in which Haas was riding is a member of a local family with which Haas was staying during the tournament at nearby Riviera Country Club. Jay Haas, the golfer’s father, told Golf Channel that his son has pain and swelling in one of his legs, adding that “Bill was very fortunate.” An aerial photo by KTLA-TV showed the mangled Ferrari, with its top peeled off by rescue personnel, airbags deployed and encircled by crime-scene tape.

 


52

Number of consecutive weeks that American Dustin Johnson has topped the Official World Golf Ranking. Johnson returns to Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., to defend his title in the Genesis Open, which begins today. After winning the 2017 title at Riviera, Johnson moved to No. 1 in the rankings. It is the longest streak in the top spot since Rory McIlroy held No. 1 for 54 weeks in 2014-15. Tiger Woods holds the record for consecutive weeks (281, in 2005-10) and overall (683). Johnson is a strong 5-1 pick by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook to repeat at Riviera (tee times).

 



RADIO, TV AND PODCASTS

The Grill Room Golf Show powered by Vertical Groove Golf

Pebble Beach Golf Links must have inspired Ted Potter Jr. He outplayed the world’s best golfers to win his second PGA Tour event, and first in six years. Bob Bubka and Jay Randolph discuss the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. With Tiger Woods on the prowl again, The Grill Room previews the Genesis Open. Feature interviews: The secret of Secret Golf, and “Mr. 59” Chip Beck talks about PitchFix. Groove Up! with Vertical Groove Golf rounds out the show.




FROM THE INDUSTRY

Ecco will collaborate with Malbon Golf on a limited-edition release of 100 leather high-top hybrid golf shoes, the manufacturer announced. The shoe, in men’s and women’s styles, will be available at Los Angeles-based Malbon Golf and on MalbonGolf.com.

 

Ben Hogan Equipment Co. announced that left-handed versions of its PTx irons are available again. The initial production run, which was introduced in October, sold out faster than anticipated, the company said.

 


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CALENDAR
February 15-18
European Tour: NBO Oman Golf Classic

Al Mouj Golf, Muscat, Oman

LPGA: ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open

Adelaide, Australia

PGA Tour: Genesis Open

Riviera CC, Pacific Palisades, Calif.

February 16-18
Champions: Chubb Classic

TwinEagles GC (Talon), Naples, Fla.

February 21-24
Women’s amateur: Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific

Sentosa GC (New Tanjong), Singapore

February 22-25
Ladies European Tour: Australian Ladies Classic Bonville

Bonville (Australia) Golf Resort

European Tour: Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

Doha (Qatar) GC

PGA Tour: Honda Classic

PGA National (Champion), Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

LPGA: Honda LPGA Thailand

Chonburi, Thailand


      
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