TUESDAY  | JULY 16, 2019
by Mike Purkey

When the British Open commences Thursday at Royal Portrush, nearly an entire tiny nation will take a unified cleansing breath. The whole of Northern Ireland, some 1.9 million hearty and sometimes weary souls, will enthusiastically welcome the rest of the world to what will be one of the biggest sporting events on the planet.

Such a thing wouldn’t have been remotely possible or feasible 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago, if you ask those in charge. Northern Ireland boasts a couple of the best golf courses in the world, one of which is Royal Portrush. The nation’s golfers long hoped for the Open to return to Portrush for the first time since 1951.

 


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by John Hawkins

Five months after being sentenced to cover the 1994 Winter Olympics, I returned to Europe for my first British Open, which felt like compensation for spending half of February in Norway on Tonya Harding patrol. Perhaps it was the overpowering beauty of Scotland’s western coast, the elegant simplicity of Turnberry or the fact that you still could park 50 yards from the media center, but I became enthralled with the idea of writing about golf all the time, not just a few occasions each year for a daily newspaper.

Golf is played in the day, so there’s no deadline pressure. Tour pros are accessible and accommodating, so those stories are more interesting. And nobody shows up with a tire iron to whack the knee of a gold-medal favorite in a so-called sport in which performance is measured subjectively, which makes figure skating more of a dog show than an athletic competition.

 


Family that plays Topgolf together stays together
Last week, my daughter and her family were in Vegas for a vacation. One of the places they visited was Topgolf (“Topgolf scores few points for golf savvy,” July 10).

Nobody in her family plays golf or rarely watches it on TV. They described to me how much fun Topgolf was. It was like bowling, only golf. She said they spent $60 and were there for about 1½ hours, hitting balls, eating and hitting more balls. Their main goal was to have fun and see if they could even hit the ball. They did both. They didn't care that the clubs they were using weren't pro-line clubs, or about the quality of the golf balls. What they did do was make memories.

 


Added: To the field for this week’s British Open, American Brian Harman, the R&A said. He replaced American Charles Howell III, who withdrew.

 


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Odds for local favorite Rory McIlroy to win this week’s British Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, according to Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. Bettors have backed off from American Brooks Koepka, who had been a co-favorite with McIlroy but was listed as the 10-1 co-second choice, with American Dustin Johnson.

 


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RADIO, TV AND PODCASTS

Hawk & Rude: Draft codgers
Veteran scribes John Hawkins and Jeff Rude size up the field for this week’s British Open by holding their first major-championship draft. Seven picks apiece, plus full analysis on what one might expect at Royal Portrush.


The Grill Room Golf Show
Co-hosts Bob Bubka and Jay Randolph Jr. interview Brian Keogh from the Irish Golf Desk for insight about this week's British Open at Royal Portrush.




FROM THE INDUSTRY

Imperial Headwear was ranked No. 1 in three headwear categories in the 2019 member survey by the Association of Golf Merchandisers. Imperial was best in the Private Facilities, Resort Facilities and Canada Facilities categories.

 

Inntopia’s Chris Eaton, the director of business development for golf, shares his insights into his favorite website designs for golf courses. He offers a look at 50 top sites.

 

Golftec has opened a new club-fitting center in Herndon, Va., the company announced. The facility, at 2445 Centreville Rd., features three teaching/practice bays and a putting/warmup area as part of its club-fitting services.

 

Ping introduced its Glide 3.0 wedges, the club maker announced. The clubs are available for custom fitting and pre-sell at authorized Ping golf shops worldwide.

 

Fountaingrove Club in Santa Rosa, Calif., has introduced Aqua Stand Up to its fitness program at the club’s 25-yard infinity pool. The program is an aquatic full-body workout inspired by paddle boarding.

 

The winner of the past week’s John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour played in cleated footwear, securing a spot in this week’s British Open in the process. Also, the winners on the LPGA, Korn Ferry and Champions tours wore shoes with replaceable cleats, according to PrideSports, which manufactures the Champ and Softspikes brands.

 

Club Champion has teamed with 2nd Swing to offer a trade-in program for used golf equipment. The program, in place since April 2017, has paid more than 1,000 Club Champion customers an average of about $300 per transaction, the company said.

 

Royal New Kent Golf Club in New Kent, Va., is offering golfers a flavor of the Emerald Isle this week during the British Open, without the hassle of overseas travel. Designer Mike Strantz paid tribute to some of the top seaside links in Ireland and Northern Ireland, notably Ballybunion and Royal County Down.

 

Puma Golf disclosed the apparel, footwear and accessories choices for three staff members for this week’s British Open. Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler and Gary Woodland will be dressed from Puma’s Autumn Winter ’19 line.

 

Branson, Mo., features plenty of variety as a golf destination, and Payne’s Valley, a Tiger Woods design that is under construction, will add to the mix. The course will offer an uncommon 19 holes and enhance the 13-hole Mountain Top and nine-hole Top of the Rock designs, as well as the other courses at the Ozarks vacation spot.

 

Sea Pines Resort is still accepting entries for its inaugural Lighthouse Invitational, but the field for the two-person team event is filling quickly, the Hilton Head Island, S.C., resort announced. The tournament is open to male and female amateurs and will be held Sept. 12-15 at the resort’s three courses: Heron Point, Atlantic Dunes and Harbour Town Golf Links.

 

TGA Premier Sports announced a new golf franchise on Long Island, N.Y. The TGA Premier Golf of South Nassau County will be headed by Tiffany Pippins, an educator, journalist and TGA golf coach.

 

NBC Sports began its weeklong coverage from Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland for the 148th British Open. Play begins Thursday.

 

Competitors using Tour Edge golf clubs finished 1-2 at the Senior Players Championship on Sunday in Akron, Ohio. The winner played an Exotics CBX 119 hybrid. Runner-up Tim Petrovic, a Tour Edge Exotics staff player, used Exotics CBX fairway woods, hybrids and iron-woods.

 


CALENDAR
July 15-20
Boys junior: U.S. Junior Amateur

Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio

July 16-19
Women’s amateur: Pacific Northwest Women’s Amateur

Arrowhead GC, Molalla, Ore.

July 16-20
Women’s amateur: Women’s Western Amateur

Royal Melbourne CC, Long Grove, Ill.

July 17-20
Men’s amateur: Southern Amateur

Chenal CC, Little Rock, Ark.

LPGA: Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational

Midland (Mich.) CC

July 18-21
Korn Ferry: Pinnacle Bank Championship

Club at Indian Creek, Omaha, Neb.

PGA Tour: Barbasol Championship

Keene Trace GC, Nicholasville, Ky.

Symetra: Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic

Brook Lea CC, Rochester, N.Y.

PGA/Europe: British Open

Royal Portrush (Northern Ireland) GC


      
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