Arnold Palmer: ‘The King’ of golf dies at 87

Arnold Palmer was the telegenic golfer who took a staid sport to TV and to the masses.

Before accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004, Arnold Palmer shared a few laughs with President George W. Bush and gave the commander in chief a few golf tips in the East Room of the White House.

Eight years later, when honored with the Congressional Gold Medal, Palmer, who again offered golf tips to some of the most important politicians in the country, jokingly thanked the House and the Senate for being able to agree on something.

After receiving the highest civilian awards given in the United States, Palmer went outside each day, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the U.S. Capitol, and signed autographs for hundreds of people.

That was Palmer, a man who connected with the masses, who related to kids, the hourly wage employee, the CEO ??? and Presidents.

Palmer, who died Sunday in Pittsburgh at age 87, was the accessible common man who would become the King and lead his own army. Along the way he became one of the sport’s best players and a successful businessman, philanthropist, trailblazing advertising spokesman, talented golf course designer and experienced aviator.

Alastair Johnson, CEO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, confirmed that Palmer died Sunday afternoon of complications from heart problems. Johnson said Palmer was admitted to the hospital Thursday for some cardiovascular work and weakened over the last few days.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of Arnold Palmer, golf’s greatest ambassador, at age 87,” the U.S. Golf Association said in a statement. ??“Arnold Palmer will always be a champion, in every sense of the word.??He inspired generations to love golf by sharing his competitive spirit, displaying sportsmanship, caring for golfers and golf fans, and serving as a lifelong ambassador for the sport.?? Our stories of him not only fill the pages of golf???s history books and the walls of the museum, but also our own personal golf memories.?? The game is indeed better because of him, and in so many ways, will never be the same.”

While his approach on the course was not a model of aesthetics ??? the whirlybird follow through, the pigeon-toed putting stance ??? it worked for him. With thick forearms and a thin waist, Palmer had an aggressive risk-reward approach to golf that made for compelling theater. He hit the ball with authority and for distance and ushered in an aggressive, hitch-up-your-trousers, go-for-broke, in-your-face power game rarely seen in the often stoic and staid sport.

Palmer, part of the alluring “Big Three,” with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, won 62 titles on the PGA Tour, his last coming in the 1973 Bob Hope Desert Classic. Among those victories were four at the Masters, two at the British Open and one at the U.S. Open. He finished second in the U.S. Open four times, was runner-up three times in the PGA Championship, the only major that eluded him, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.

Palmer became one of the best known sports figures and, at 5-10, 175, a telegenic golfer who burst out of black-and-white television sets across the country in the late 1950s and into the 1960s and took the game to the masses.

“Arnold meant everything to golf. Are you kidding me?” Tiger Woods said . “I mean, without his charisma, without his personality in conjunction with TV ??? it was just the perfect symbiotic growth. You finally had someone who had this charisma, and they’re capturing it on TV for the very first time.

“Everyone got hooked to the game of golf via TV because of Arnold.”

For the rest of the story visit TODAY Sports’ Steve DiMeglio reflects on the loss of the golf legend. USA TODAY Sports


Bubba to join U.S. Ryder Cup practice session

Bubba Watson will join six members of the U.S. Ryder Cup team for an informal??practice session this weekend at Hazeltine National, Golf Channel Insider Tim??Rosaforte reported Thursday.

Watson, ranked No. 7 in the world, is not a member of the team. Davis Love III??has one remaining captain’s pick, to be announced after next week’s Tour??Championship.

Rosaforte said he asked Love if Watson has not been picked because of any??issues with his personality. In a 2015 ESPN poll of 103 anonymous Tour pros,??Watson was chosen as the player others would be least likely to help in a??fight.

Love said Watson is “the opposite of that,” Rosaforte reported, and is a??popular presence in the team room. “He’s quirky, but so is Phil [Mickelson,]”??Rosaforte said Love told him.

“I told Bubba after the Olympics, remember, there’s a pick after the Tour??Championship,” Love said he told Watson.

The last captain’s pick is informally known as the “Billy Horschel pick,”??after Horschel in 2014 got hot at the end of the season, winning two playoff??events and the FedEx Cup, but was locked out of the Ryder Cup team because the??captain’s selections had already been made.

“If he plays well, he’s certainly going to be considered,” Rosaforte said. “He??is not as negative an influence as many people wrote and led us to believe??over the last couple of days, at least coming from captain Davis Love.”

The 41st Ryder Cup Matches will be played Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Hazeltine??National in Chaska, Minn. Europe has won the past three Ryder Cups and six of??the past seven.

The six team members expected to join Love for the practice session are Rickie??Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Phil Mickelson and Brandt??Snedeker, according to Rosaforte.


McNealy facing The Decision

HANGING ABOVE HIS EXTRA-LONG??twin bed, on colorful three-by-five prints, are three motivational sayings by which Maverick McNealy tries to live his life:

If You Can Do Something About It, Do It; If Not, Don???t Worry About It

There???s Always Better

What Are You Going to Learn About Yourself Today?

Those maxims are from his tycoon father, a Nike ad campaign and a random post on Twitter, but they???ve guided McNealy through his formative years at Stanford ??? through his meteoric rise from overlooked recruit to No. 1-ranked amateur, as well as through his daunting management science and engineering major.

The first two messages are straightforward: There is no benefit in worrying, and it???s motivating and exciting to know that you can improve. But the last one is more complex.

???There are a lot of ways you can think about it,??? he said recently. ???One is that you should try and learn something from everything you do ??? that???s part of getting better. But the other is that you make your own character.

???It???s a challenge to myself: How are you going to carry yourself? What are you going to do? What are you going to live by?”

Those questions have never been more relevant to McNealy as he approaches his final college season.

For a kid with seemingly every gift imaginable ??? intelligence, good looks, desire, wealth, a strong support system and, yes, tremendous physical ability ??? what he currently lacks most is clarity. His complicated major essentially takes a lot of information and distills it into something useful, and that background will surely come in handy later this year when he chooses whether to follow the traditional path by turning pro or veers off course by entering the business world.

An advertiser???s dream, McNealy could command a multimillion-dollar endorsement deal … or he could become intrigued by a classmate???s startup idea and join forces. He could realize what many predict will be a fruitful career inside the ropes … or he could opt for a corner office. He has yet to give even those closest to him any indication which way he???s leaning, which suggests that he???s torn between a life as a touring professional and one in which he becomes a modern-day Bobby Jones, who was a lawyer by profession.

McNealy said that he will make a decision this December, six months before graduation, and it could prove to be unprecedented, at least in the big-money era spawned by Tiger Woods.

Only one All-American in the past 25 years has eschewed the PGA Tour for an office job.

For the full article from the Golf Channel visit the link below.

British Open

The Open 2016: Henrik Stenson v Phil Mickelson was heaven sent

I know many of you spent the weekend watching this incredible tournament! ??I was rooting for Phil but Stenson played amazing golf! ??Thought we;d share the following article.

After so many negative headlines in the build-up, the classic Open duel between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson was just what golf needed.

The game’s reputation had taken a battering by so many??high-profile withdrawals from the Rio Olympics??and Rory McIlroy’s frank disdain for golf’s return to the Games.

As a result, there seemed little sympathy for golf from the wider sporting public as play got under way at Royal Troon on Thursday and even as the championship developed in its early stages.

Thank goodness, then, for the??epic contest between the Swede and the American,??four hours of astonishing drama that showed the game at its magical best.

The momentum was traded not by nervous mistakes but by bewildering quality that must be regarded as some of the best play ever witnessed in the last round of a major.

If you had offered the defeated American a closing 65 on Sunday morning, he would surely have snapped off your hand. Yet it proved only good enough for a three-stroke defeat as Stenson sprinted for the line with four birdies in the last five holes.

For those who witnessed it, the 145th Open will live long in the memory. The only shame is that there were not more people watching.

The final group attracted large numbers of followers throughout their two-day duel, but overall attendance figures were down on the last time The Open was staged at Royal Troon.

Back in 2004 Tiger Woods was at the height of his powers and more than 176,000 fans flocked to the Ayrshire links. Last week those numbers were down to 173,134 and this was despite lower-rate twilight tickets.

Scenes such as the disappointingly empty grandstands around the 18th that greeted Stenson and Mickelson as they marched up the last on Saturday evening gave the impression there were even fewer fans in attendance than the official figure.

It is a shame spectator numbers were slightly down and that there was no live terrestrial TV coverage in the UK, because this was an Open that deserved the widest-possible audience – and not just for the brilliance of the leading pair of protagonists.

There was so much more to enjoy, including the way leading stars like McIlroy, Jason Day and Danny Willett tussled with the worst of the weather.

That those players who played early on Thursday and late on Friday were effectively blown out of contention by the elements raises the question of whether The Open – subject as it is to the vagaries of British seaside weather – should adopt a two-tee start like the US Open and US PGA Championship.

It would shorten the day and might limit the variance in conditions that is largely inevitable when play begins at 6.35am and does not end until around 9.30pm.

However such an alteration would mess with the tradition of The Open and you do that at your peril. It is a unique event and those long days are one of the factors that make the championship so distinctive.

Rather than a debate about the capricious conditions, last week will be remembered for the epic dubbed??“High Noon at Troon”.

And it wasn’t the only memorable storyline. There was the emergence on the major stage of Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston, whose jovial manner was so refreshing as he finished eighth. The heavily-bearded 27-year-old relished the attention his terrific golf generated.

It is laughable to equate the North Middlesex man with recent Wimbledon sensation Marcus Willis – as the Spanish Open champion, he has a far better sporting pedigree – but they do share an ability to engage with crowds.

Let’s hope the elongated sound of “Beeeeef” becomes a regular refrain at major venues around the world in the coming years. He is just the sort of ‘everyman’ figure the game requires.

Now up to number 89 in the world, Johnston can now look forward to next week’s US PGA at Baltusrol.

Yes, there really is another major as soon as next week.

It feels ludicrous there is such a short time between two of the year’s most significant tournaments; we need more time to savour the drama of Troon before building to the last of the ‘big four’ men’s events.

To use the analogy that caused a stir last week (when used to describe McIlroy), the PGA is the ‘Ringo’ of the majors and this scheduling does nothing to help elevate it from its standing as the fourth of four.

It has been brought forward to accommodate the Olympics, but at least at Baltusrol we will see the leading four stars – Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and McIlroy – before they disappear during the Rio competition.

None of the quartet enjoyed the best of times at Troon, although McIlroy responded to his harsh ‘Ringo’ tag to finish top of the ‘big four’.

The Ulsterman ended a fractious tournament in good style to record another top-five finish in a major.

You would not put it past McIlroy to elevate his year from ‘modest’ to ‘great’ in New Jersey next week, but as The Open once again proved, it is folly to make predictions in majors.

No-one saw the Stenson/Mickelson showdown coming, but thank goodness it materialised into the most timely reminder of golf’s greatness at the very highest level.


Senior Tour John Daly

John Daly admits he ‘wasted his talent’ in a career of missed opportunities

John Daly, as he prepares to embark on his second golf career, can???t help but wonder how much more successful his PGA Tour run could have been had he possessed a sounder body and mind in his glory days.

Daly, who turned 50 on April 28, reflected during a teleconference ahead of his Champions Tour debut this week at the Insperity Invitational on how he might have bettered his five-win, two-major PGA Tour career.

“I’m kind of satisfied with everything in the 2000s. My mind was right, and I did everything I could to try and win golf tournaments,” said Daly, whose last PGA Tour win came in 2004 at the Buick Invitational.

It was the decade before, though, when Daly made his mark, improbably capturing the PGA Championship in 1991, the 1995 Open Championship, and two more titles in between. Back then, he was the longest hitter on tour, slamming balls more than 300 yards when such distances were considered novelties, and a blue-collar hero to many fans who never stopped cheering him on despite his many missteps inside the ropes and out.

His personal life, which included four wives, allegations of domestic violence, gambling problems, and substance abuse, was so out of control that fellow golfer Fuzzy Zoeller bet him $150,000 he would not live to see 50. Daly joked that he would take his winnings in Fuzzy???s Vodka.

On the course, Daly accumulated huge numbers, like the 18 he carded on the sixth hole of the 1998 Bay Hill Invitational and the 11 citations for behavior “unbecoming a professional,” as?? Bob Harig noted.

Those incidents, plus the many injuries that have plagued him through the years, were likely what Daly had in mind when he lamented his lost opportunities.

“I wish I would have had the mental attitude back in the ’90s like I do now,” said Daly, who credited his fifth wife, Anna Cladakis, with stabilizing his life. “I think I wasted my talent in the ’90s, especially towards the later part of the ’90s. All the money was coming in, and I didn’t work hard enough at it. I didn’t do the right things to prepare myself to win golf tournaments. You know, that’s definitely on me, and I admit that ??? I think my mental attitude is 10 times better than it was in the ???90s.”

Daly lost his PGA Tour card in 2007 and has gotten by on exemptions from sponsors who recognize that the man is still a powerful draw. As the Champions Tour awaits, Daly acknowledged that his game was not where he wanted it to be and that he was relying on a steady schedule to whip it into shape.

“It’s just going to be a confidence builder as the weeks go on because I’m pretty rusty right now not playing a lot of golf in the last nine months,” he said.

The Champions Tour???s 54-hole, no-cut events could be just what Daly needs to revitalize his once-promising career.

“Growing up, I didn’t have anybody coaching me on how to manage a golf course and definitely how to manage my life,” he said. “Right now I’m in a great place, and I just wish I had the physical ability now that I had in the ’90s. It would be probably a lot more fun.”


Danny Willet PGA

Danny Willett, 2016 Masters Winner, Officially Joins PGA Tour

Masters champion Danny Willett is now officially a PGA Tour member.

Danny WilletThe PGA Tour announced on Monday??the newest major winner??has joined the Tour and will receive a five-year exemption through the 2020-21 season. He also picked up 600 FedExCup points with his three-shot win at Augusta National.

According to the PGA Tour, Willett, a five-time winner??on the European tour, receives an additional 44 retroactive FedExCup points with his T22 finish at the Valspar Championship earlier this year. Retroactive points are not rewarded for WGC events.

Willett???s 644 FedExCup points put??him at 27th in the standings. The top 125 after the final regular season stop, the Wyndham Championship, compete in the FedExCup Playoffs.


Golf Lessons

Chamblee Says Tiger, not Jack, is greatest of all time

Well Brandon is never one to hold back. ??Here he is telling it like it is according to him. ??IM not sure but I think there are a few people pout there that dissagree….Read more…

Who is the best golfer of all time?

In an upcoming ???Golf Central??? special celebrating Tiger Woods??? 40th birthday, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee said that he would pick Woods over Jack Nicklaus.

???Longevity sanctifies an idea, a career, a relationship, a government,??? Chamblee said. ???In that regard, Jack Nicklaus??? career was so long ??? won major championships over 24 years, spanned three generations ??? but Tiger Woods dominated in a way that had never been done before, and will never be done again. So I think, at least in my estimation, that you???d have to give the edge to Tiger Woods as the greatest player of all time.???

Source: Golf Channel