WEDNESDAY  | MARCH 27, 2019
by Martin Kaufmann

Fred Ridley will never have the commanding presence and charisma of Billy Payne, the man whom Ridley succeeded as chairman of Augusta National Golf Club. Ridley, however, did make quite a splash last year, his first as chairman, with the introduction of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

The announcement and the ensuing buildup to the inaugural ANWA on April 3-6 has drawn predictably fawning media coverage. It has been another reminder that the men who run Augusta National are outstanding business executives. They are, first and foremost, great managers of the Augusta National brand. Every year they take the game’s weakest major-championship field, spread it across a magnificent venue, sprinkle in some charming traditions, limit the TV coverage, and produce the most exciting golf week of the year.

 


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by Dan O’Neill

Rules, rules, everywhere a rule, blockin’ out the scenery, breaking my mind. Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the rules.

If today Five Man Electrical Band were recording its rebellious hit song of 1971, “Signs,” the boys might change the name to “Rules. And the sign said PGA Tour players need not apply.

As golf heads toward the first major championship of the season, nothing has been more consistently in the news than rules. New rules instituted by the USGA have been in effect for, oh, a little more than five minutes, or since Jan. 1. But some of the changes have gone over like a pay cut, at least in some corners.

 


Gambling would lure wrong type of fans to golf
I love Morning Read but must take exception to Alex Miceli’s article on gambling and the PGA Tour (“It’s a lock: Gambling will lift fan interest,” March 26).

Miceli states that gambling would lift fan interest, but among which fans? Are these true golf fans or fans of gambling?

 


Withdrew: Michelle Wie, from this week’s Kia Classic, citing ongoing pain in her right wrist, the LPGA announced.

 


3

Number of semesters that Jordan Spieth was enrolled at the University of Texas before he turned pro at age 19 in late 2012. Spieth, who was a freshman on the Longhorns’ 2012 NCAA championship team, turned pro in December of his sophomore year in Austin, which is the site of this week’s WGC Match Play (tee times; groups; bracket).

 



RADIO, TV AND PODCASTS

The Grill Room with Bob & Jay
Co-hosts Bob Bubka and Jay Randolph Jr. preview this week's WGC Match Play and take a look at the matchups at Austin (Texas) Country Club. Feature interviews include Texas legend Ben Crenshaw and Dale Morgan, the head pro at Austin Country Club. Crenshaw and Morgan also pay tribute to Tinsley Penick, who died recently and was the son of the late instructor Harvey Penick.


Hawk & Rude: A match made in ...?
Co-hosts John Hawkins and Jeff Rude discuss this week’s WGC Match Play, reflecting on the good and bad over the event’s 20-year history.




FROM THE INDUSTRY

Golf tour operator Hidden Links is giving away a golfers’ “Pot of Gold” for a trip for two to Ireland. The prize includes six nights’ lodging and five rounds of golf at some of Ireland’s top courses: Ballybunion, Waterville and Tralee among them. The sweepstakes ends March 31, with the winner to be drawn in April.
 

 

Golftec recently completed club-fitter training for more than 100 coaches from around the world at the company’s headquarters in Englewood, Colo. The summit focused on training coaches on advances in Golftec’s Tecfit club-fitting program and familiarizing them with the equipment offered by club manufacturers.

 

Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club is offering a stay-and-play package in conjunction with the Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun World Long Drive Association event to be held April 16 at the resort in Maricopa, Ariz. The Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun Stay and Play package includes three nights’ accommodations at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Resort Casino, two rounds of golf at Southern Dunes and seating at the long-drive event. Prices start at $399 per person, per night.

 

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America will support eight turfgrass research projects with $127,500. The projects were selected by a committee that included GCSAA members and officials, university researchers and a member of the USGA’s Green Section.

 

Pronghorn Resort in Bend, Ore., will open its Huntington Lodge in April, the resort and residential community announced. The 104-room lodge overlooks the 18th hole at the Tom Fazio-designed Championship Course and offers views of the Cascade mountains.

 

Youth on Course, a non-profit organization that provides subsidized golf and other programs to youngsters, will have a presence this week at the PGA Tour event in the Dominican Republic. Josh Teater, who is sponsored by ISCO Industries, will promote Youth on Course by wearing the non-profit’s logo on his right sleeve during the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship.

 

Puma Golf introduced its Union Camo Collection of sportswear, in advance of the Masters Tournament in two weeks. Union Camo layers the geographic shapes of the U.S. and Georgia to form a camouflage pattern. The men’s line features a polo shirt, quarter-zip pullover, belt, cap and shoes.

 

Swing Align, a wearable training aid designed to build a repeatable golf swing, gives golfers a consistent alignment aid. Swing Align was developed by golf-industry veterans, with input from PGA Tour players and top instructors.

 

NBC Sports will broadcast three hours of live coverage of the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur, at noon-3 p.m. EDT April 6, with Mike Tirico as the play-by-play host, the network announced. In addition to Tirico, Paige Mackenzie, Gary Koch, Kay Cockerill, Frank Nobilo, Steve Burkowski and Steve Sands will round out the broadcast team. The next day, Tirico, Mackenzie, Nobilo, Sands, Peter Jacobsen and Charlie Rymer will handle the network’s coverage of the Drive, Chip and Putt finals from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT at Augusta National Golf Club.

 


CALENDAR
March 27-31
PGA/European: WGC Dell Technologies Match Play

Austin (Texas) CC

March 28-31
Web.com: Savannah Golf Championship

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

LPGA: Kia Classic

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort (Aviara GC), Carlsbad, Calif.

PGA Tour: Corales Puntacana Resort Championship

Corales GC, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

European: Hero Indian Open

DLF G&CC, New Delhi

March 29-31
Champions: Rapiscan Systems Classic

Fallen Oak, Biloxi, Miss.

Symetra: IOA Championship

Morongo GC at Tukwet Canyon, Beaumont, Calif.


      
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