by Gary Van Sickle

There’s a lot to look forward to in 2019. A possible permanent government shutdown. Congressional in-fighting (with nunchucks, I hope). War with China. The rise of robots and apes.

You know, the usual. Let’s put down those rose-colored glasses, though, and stick to golf. Good or bad, 2019 will be worth remembering because it will be different. Here’s how:


by Alex Miceli

A lot happened while Morning Read was in its annual hibernation. Some news is worth discussing and some maybe not, but the travails of Keith Foster are worth a peek.

Foster is a renowned golf architect who has completed dozens of high-profile restorations, notably at Colonial in Fort Worth, Southern Hills, Apawamis Club, Eastward Ho, Country Club of Detroit, Philadelphia Cricket Club and Greenbrier’s Old White. His original designs are not as well known, but the portfolio still has been highly acclaimed. That sterling body of work was overshadowed Dec. 19 when Foster pleaded guilty to violating portions of the Lacey Act.


by Leonard Finkel

Think you know a lot about golf shafts? Think again! Did you know there are no standards for shaft flex? It can mean something different for every manufacturer. Playability tolerances in each category of stiff or regular are vast! To understand this better, I spoke with several shaft industry leaders: Fujikura’s VP of Sales Chad Embrey; Victor Afable, CEO of VA Composites; Gawain Robertson, President of ACCRA/True Temper Plus; and Nick Sherburne, co-founder of Club Champion.

What would Ma Eggleston have said?
The piece on gambling struck a nerve (“Golf bets on big payoff with gambling act,” Dec. 21). I used to gamble heavily on the course 40-plus years ago. Then it struck me that the urge to win might cost me friendships, so I quit gambling on the course.

I do play in the group games in which everyone puts money in the pot, with winners getting a portion, but head-to-head, I never engage.


Skipped: By Tiger Woods, this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, the winners-only event in Hawaii that traditionally starts the calendar year for the PGA Tour. Woods, who won the Tour Championship in September for his first victory in five years, reportedly wanted to spend more time with his family. Ending with the Ryder Cup, Woods played seven of nine weeks to close 2018. Woods, who turned 43 on Dec. 30, likely will make his 2019 debut in three weeks at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego, where he has won eight times, including the 2008 U.S. Open, his 14th and most recent major championship.



Percentage decline in rounds played in the U.S. in November compared with November 2017, according to Golf Datatech’s National Rounds Played Report. It was the biggest monthly drop since March 2013. For 2018, 4.7 percent fewer rounds have been played compared with the first 11 months of 2017. Weather played a significant role in the decline, according to the report.



Karrie Webb, a World Golf Hall of Fame member, will represent Nippon Shaft at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., company officials announced. Webb, a seven-time major champion, will conduct an exhibition from noon to 3 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Orange County National Golf Center. She also will appear at Nippon Shaft’s booth, No. 711, at the merchandise show from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Orange County Convention Center.


Caruca, a manufacturer of single-rider golf carts, will exhibit at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., company officials announced. Caruca will be based at booth 2463 at the Orange County Convention Center on Jan. 23-25.


Power Tee, an automated teeing system, will exhibit at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., company officials announced. Power Tee will display its Country Club version of the practice tee at the PGA Show Demo Day on Jan. 22 at Orange County National Golf Center. Power Tee will be set up at booth No. 1001 on Jan. 23-25 at the Orange County Convention Center.


January 2-4
Men’s amateur: Saguaro Amateur

Ak-Chin Southern Dunes GC, Maricopa, Ariz.

January 3-5
Women’s amateur: Orlando International Amateur

Orange County National (Panther Lake), Winter Garden, Fla.

January 3-6
PGA Tour: Sentry Tournament of Champions

Kapalua (Plantation), Kapalua, Hawaii

Junior boys/girls: Junior Orange Bowl

Biltmore Hotel GC, Coral Gables, Fla.

Men’s amateur: New Year’s Invitational

St. Petersburg (Fla.) CC

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