THURSDAY  | MARCH 29, 2018
by Steve Elling

Unlike exit polls or subjective approval ratings, some metrics of popularity are jarring, obvious and darned precise.

There’s the eyeball test, such as when fans were lined up 10 deep in spots as Tiger Woods played his way into weekend contention at the Valspar Championship earlier this month. As for the aural feedback, the roars at the Arnold Palmer Invitational one week later, as Woods moved to within a shot of the leadon Sunday, could be heard from a thousand yards away.

 



Anticlimactic finish

There are pros and cons to the WGC Match Play format and the former approach (“Match Play lacks drama of one-and-done,” March 26). The TV guys are trying to keep some of the top names in play for the round of 16 through use of the pools, in which a first-round loss doesn’t necessarily mean that the golfer is done.

 


3

Number of three-time winners of the ANA Inspiration, the LPGA season’s first major championship, which begins today at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Amy Alcott (1983, ’88, ’91), Betsy King (1987, ’90, ’97) and Annika Sorenstam (2001, ’02, ’05), all members of the World Golf Hall of Fame, are three-time winners of the event. Brittany Lincicome (2009, ’15), who already has won once this year, has a chance to join them (tee times).

 



RADIO, TV AND PODCASTS

The Grill Room Golf Show powered by Vertical Groove Golf

Bubba Watson shined with his golf vision and creativity in winning the recent WGC Match Play in Austin, Texas. Watson talks about his victory, and Bob Bubka and Jay Randolph Jr. discuss the event. Steve Timms, the tournament director of the Houston Open, previews this week’s tournament and the recovery efforts after last year’s Hurricane Harvey struck southeast Texas. The Vertical Groove Hotline features comments from Alex Miceli, Morning Read’s founder and publisher and, in the final segment, an interview with broadcaster Jim Nantz.




FROM THE INDUSTRY

The Annika Foundation, the charitable organization founded by World Golf Hall of Fame member Annika Sorenstam, will stage the Annika Invitational at Mission Hills in China next month for an eighth consecutive year, the foundation announced. The April 24-27 tournament will feature more than 100 girls ages 9-17 from across Asia.

 

Jason Becker, the chief executive officer of Golf Life Navigators, will be among the golf leaders meeting with government officials to discuss the game’s economic impact during National Golf Day on April 25 in Washington. Becker has helped Golf Life Navigators expand from Florida into Arizona, North Carolina and South Carolina.

 

Troon Golf Vacations announced its shoulder-season pricing for three destinations in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. The packages include lodging at Westin Kierland Resort, The Pointe Hilton Tapatio and the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass. The golf includes play at Troon-managed facilities Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club, Lookout Mountain Golf Club, Troon North Golf Club, Westin Kierland Golf Club and Whirlwind Golf Club.

 

Bridgestone Golf launched the Tour B XS Tiger Woods Edition golf balls, a collaboration with the 14-time major champion. A portion of all proceeds will benefit Woods’ TGR Foundation, Bridgestone Golf announced. The balls, priced at $49.99 per dozen, feature a “Tiger” logo and limited-edition packaging.

 

EGull added two Midwestern courses to its growing roster of facilities using its app to allow golfers to pay by the number of holes played. Siren (Wis.) National and Foss Park Golf Course in North Chicago, Ill., have added the eGull Pay app.

 


CALENDAR
March 29 - April 1
LPGA: ANA Inspiration

Rancho Mirage, Calif.

PGA Tour: Houston Open

GC of Houston, Humble, Texas

Web.com 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


      
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