by Mike Purkey

When Tiger Woods steadily climbed the leaderboard earlier this month at the Valspar Championship, pulling to within one shot of the lead on Sunday afternoon, not only were the legion of fans that descended on Innisbrook Resort giddy, but as it turns out, so were the sports books.

After Woods tied for second with Patrick Reed behind winner Paul Casey, Vegas immediately installed Woods as the favorite for next week’s Masters. Maybe a little premature?



One in a weekly series of stories about golf gear to run each Wednesday.

By Steve Elling

Every year at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., a handful of products catch the eye, pique the interest of attendees or stand apart from the thousands of golf items.

The new Bloodline putter line checks all three of those boxes. Particularly the last one.


A mix-and-match idea for Match Play

You were barraged with opinions about the WGC Match Play Championship (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 27). There were lots of complaints, but, other than “go back to the old way,” not too many reasonable options were mentioned. I think I might have one.

First, exempt the top four players in the Official World Golf Ranking into the round of 16. This way, we can save the whales – I mean, the stars – so the casual fans will tune in on the weekend.



Number of times in the past five years that a player who hadn’t already been qualified for the next week’s Masters punched his ticket for Augusta National by winning the Houston Open. Russell Henley, the 2017 Houston winner, joined Jim Herman (2016), Matt Jones (2014) and D.A. Points (2013) as last-minute qualifiers for the Masters. Among those trying to earn their way to Augusta via the Houston Open, which begins Thursday at Golf Club of Houston in Humble, Texas, will be England’s Lee Westwood, whose streak of 13 consecutive Masters starts is in jeopardy (tee times).



Puma Golf released the apparel that Lexi Thompson will be wearing this week during the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Thompson will be dressed head to toe in various combinations of polos, shorts or skirts and shoes from Puma Golf's spring/summer line.


The Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents Association played a key role in developing four manuals focused on best-management practices for state golf courses. Efficient use of water emerged as a key development in the initiative.


Intelligro made a $5,000 donation to the Environmental Institute for Golf, the philanthropic organization of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, the GCSAA announced. The donation will help fund the GCSAA research activities.


Gloria Nip, a junior member at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla., will compete in the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship on Sunday at Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club. Nip will be competing in the girls’ 10-11 age division after she won a regional qualifier.


EGull has added two courses in North Carolina to its pay app, which allows golfers to pay by the number of holes played. The Lakes Country Club in Boiling Spring Lakes and Olde Fort Golf Course in Winnabow have added eGull’s app.


March 29 - April 1
LPGA: ANA Inspiration

Rancho Mirage, Calif.

PGA Tour: Houston Open

GC of Houston, Humble, Texas Tour: Savannah Golf Championship

The Landings Club (Deer Creek), Savannah, Ga.

April 5-8
PGA Tour: Masters Tournament

Augusta (Ga.) National GC

April 6-8
Symetra Tour: IOA Championship

Beaumont, Calif.

April 11-14
LPGA: Lotte Championship

Ko Olina GC, Kapolei, Hawaii

April 12-15
PGA Tour: RBC Heritage

Harbour Town GL, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

European Tour: Spanish Open

National Golf Center, Madrid

April 13-15
Champions: Mitsubishi Electric Classic

TPC Sugarloaf, Duluth, Ga.

Men’s amateur: Terra Cotta Invitational

Naples (Fla.) National GC

12700 Sunrise Valley Dr, Suite 300, Reston, Virginia 20191
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