Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    by Ken Bowden

I can honestly admit I have never met a golfer who has been so thoroughly possessed with the game. He has given immensely to the game in ways which cannot be fully measured in terms of his playing ability or his leadership in the sport, including the presidency of the USGA.  TOM WATSON on Sandy Tatum




Forbes: Rory 7th Among Athletes, Ahead Of Phil, Tiger, Jordan

As always take these numbers with a grain or two, but at least we see where golfers are lining up with the highest paid athletes.

Rory McIlroy landed T6th on the Forbes list at $50 million, tied with Andrew Luck and ahead of Steph Curry. The year comes on the heels of winning the FedExCup and finishing fifth in the Race To Dubai. His $16 million in on course earnings accounts for his 2016 PGA Tour play, FedExCup and European Tour play in the June 2016 to June 2017 window used by Forbes.

Phil Mickelson ranked 12th, with $43.5 million overall, of which $40 million was from off course endorsements. Tiger Woods at No. 17 is credited with $37.1 million of which $37 million was made off the course. And Jordan Spieth ranked 21st, making $34.5 million, with $29 million of that credited to endorsement income.


Video: PGA CEO Explains Possible May Move To Members

PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua lays out the timing, thinking and state of discussions to move the PGA Championship to May in coordination with the PGA Tour. The comments were directed at PGA of America members.

It was most intriguing to hear his comments on the changing sports landscape, which I take as he, Jay Monahan and others genuinely seeing that the long term health of their events will be strengthened by a tighter golf window before fall sports take over.

PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua from PGA of America on Vimeo.



TV Golf Viewers Still Skew Old, But At Least We're Not Wrestling!

In "Going gray: Sports TV viewers skew older" Sports Business Daily's John Lombardo & David Broughton return to their 2006 survey of sports viewers and find that the audience is getting older across the board.

Golf, naturally, tops most of their lists with a median age of 64. Only one sports saw their median age drop, and golf was not greying the fastest (that wrestling!).

The study, conducted exclusively for SportsBusiness Journal by Magna Global, looked at live, regular-season game coverage of major sports across both broadcast and cable television in 2000, 2006 and 2016. It showed that while the median age of viewers of most sports, except the WTA, NBA and MLS, is aging faster than the overall U.S. population, it is doing so at a slower pace than prime-time TV.

Of course, as fascinating as the story is, I can only imagine the meetings this week where this comes up and nervous execs obsess about how we get the kids in our sports. The answers aren't pretty unless you see an opportunity here to tighten broadcast windows up a tad.

The trends show the challenges facing leagues as they try to attract a younger audience and ensure long-term viability, and they reflect the changes in consumption patterns as young people shift their attention to digital platforms.

“There is an increased interest in short-term things, like stats and quick highlights,” said Brian Hughes, senior vice president of audience intelligence and strategy at Magna Global USA. “That availability of information has naturally funneled some younger viewers away from TV.”

We also got some PGA Tour Live numbers out of this effort, so there is that. From the PGA Tour's Ty Votaw:

Votaw also noted that audience trends today can’t be solely focused on the linear TV viewer and pointed to a younger audience on tour-run digital properties.

“When you go to, the median age is 55 and for our PGATour Live (over-the-top network), the median age is 20 years younger than on broadcast,” he said.

That still puts the median at 44, which PGA Tour Live is still largely watched by Non-People-Who-Matter viewers (aka millennials).

There were several charts with the piece, but the one showing golf not graying quite so badly proved eye-opening given the supposed hipster status of pro wrestling and UFC.


Video: Erin Hills Twelfth Hole Flyover

If you've listened to the latest ShackHouse you know that Mike Davis cited this hole as one that could be adversely effected by a wind different than the one forecast.

The flyover makes it pretty evident why: the tee shot carry, narrowness and crowned landing area that is great fun to play to when the 464-yard hole is playing close to its scorecard yardage. This is one of the most memorable holes on the course but as I recall from my visit there, feels like one of those holes that is almost great but lacks a little charm. Or, maybe it's the giant catch basin in the approach.

Anyway, here is the USGA flyover.

The Erin Hills flyover is here.


ShackHouse 37: The USGA's Mike Davis And Erin Hills

In our pre-preview of the 2017 U.S. Open, USGA Executive Director Mike Davis joins us to discuss Erin Hills, venue selection, course setup and his investment in a public golf course.

A few of our questions were informed by this excellent Jaime Diaz Golf Digest interview with Davis, as mentioned in the show.

As always, you can subscribe on iTunes and or just refresh your device subscription page.

Here is The Ringer's show page.

Same deal with Soundcloud for the show, and Episode 37 is here to listen to right now.

ShackHouse is brought to you by Callaway, makers of the Epic Driver that is now part of Callaway's very groovy Customs program along with Chrome Softs and other fun stuff. Check it out just in time with Father's Day, or, if you just want to enjoy some fun customization practice play with the new Customs features. It's wonderfully therapeutic!

The ShackHouse wedge above was created in the program and, as noted in the show, promo code HOUSE25 will get you $25 off a custom wedge purchase for the next three weeks.

Here is the Callaway Father's Day Gift Guide.

Here is the embed, though as always we recommend you subscribe wherever fine podcasts are streamed!



U.S. Open: This Year It's Good To Be (An) Alternate

In the aftermath of another successful U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying that produced the usual array of stories, many have been asking where the first alternate comes from. Surely Phil Mickelson's likely WD is fueling some of this intrigue, but as Doug Ferguson writes in his AP notes column, this year is a particularly good one for alternates given a few factors.

But where that first alternate comes from, remains a mystery.

Ferguson explains here why it's good to be an alternate with the USGA holding back six spots from the qualifier for possible last minute OWGR top 60 status players to move into the field.

Chris Wood is at No. 60 in the world, and he would stay there provided Scott Piercy doesn't finish among the top 20 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. So that's one spot, maybe. But with Soren Kjeldsen withdrawing from the St. Jude Classic, only one other person has a mathematical chance to get into the top 60 in the world, and he would have to win the St. Jude Classic. That applies to only about five players, such as Ian Poulter and Hudson Swafford.

So at least four spots will be going to alternates, and that doesn't even include Phil Mickelson, who plans to withdraw because of his daughter's high school graduation.

But as for which venues produced alternates first, Ferguson writes that is a secret. Though he does say this:

The priority is based on a formula that includes how many spots each section was allocated, and the strength of field determined by the world ranking (pro and amateur).


Roundup: 2017 U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying

Golf's Longest Day produced its traditional array of expected and unexpected qualifying stories. Elite players were grinding across the land and merely based on the scene in Newport Beach, the day remains the ultimate dreamland for aspiring players.

Seeing five of six amateurs make it from the SoCal qualifier, and finding out just how little thought they'd given the host venue, spoke to the wild ride they're about to take.

Finally, congrats to all players, caddies, volunteers, state and regional golf associations, and others for surviving (and making it) a great day.

Here is Golfweek's roundup page.

Here is the USGA's roundup page.

My roundup from the Newport Beach qualifier hosted by the SCGA, where five of the six were amateurs and all are going to be first-time U.S. Open contestants. J.D. Cuban’s images from the qualifier.

Brentley Romine’s
notes from the Tequesta, Florida qualifier where Jack Maguire medaled. Lisa Mickey filed this story from on site as well. Scott Miller’s photos from there.

Kevin Casey’s
Memphis wrap, where Steve Stricker qualified for his 20th U.S. Open and the first in his home state. John Gress's images from Memphis.

Jeff Babineau on the Columbus qualifier where Stewart Cink was the qualifying headliner. Also making it were J.T. Poston, Jason Kokrak; Bud Cauley; Martin Laird; Keegan Bradley; Jamie Lovemark; Bryson DeChambeau; C.T. Pan; David Lingmerth; and Ted Potter Jr.  The delay added some fun to Fred Vuich’s image gallery from Columbus.

Tuesday morning at Lakes Golf & Country Club, four players will face off for three available spots: The group consists of Peter Uihlein, Talor Gooch, Michael Putnam, and amateur Scottie Scheffler.

Mark Button’s roundup from Dallas, where Roman Robledo, Nick Flanagan and Walker Lee qualified.  Here’s a link to Darren Carroll’s image gallery from Dallas.

Kevin Casey with the Springfield roundup where Corey Connors was medalist, with Brian Stuard, Brice Garnett and Ryan Brehm made it to Erin Hills. And here is a gallery of Matt Sullivan’s images.

Tom Cade reports from Lakewood, Washington where Derek Barron medaled and was joined by Jordan Niebrugge, Max Greyserman and Daniel Miernicki.  Here are Steve Diapola’s images from Tacoma Country Club.

David Dusek says Canoe Brook qualifier Daniel Chopra is no longer playing as a blonde but he is headed to Erin Hills.  Michael Cohen’s images from Canoe Brook.

Garrett Johnston reports from Woodmont in Maryland where Sam Ryder was medalist.  Joel Kowsky's images from there.

Stephan Jaeger and Alex Smalley were the qualifiers in Georgia, but no stories have been posted as of post time.


A Few U.S. Open Sectional Links And Notes

Things are off to a tough start in Columbus with a weather delay where Steve Stricker is one of the hopefuls, writes Jeff Babineau, but not as rough as the plight of PGA Tour LatinoAmerica member Michael Buttacavoli, who had to WD from the Tequesta, Florida qualifier because his clubs were lost by the airline. Will Gray reports.

Otherwise action is underway across the country and the USGA has a scoring central link here to follow.

These are the storylines most worth following, but everyone in action is chasing a grand dream and surely has a story or two to share!

Full coverage at, as well.

Fox Sports 1 will feature a one-hour roundup show at midnight, ET.


Video: Golf Course Bear Steals Lunch!

It's hard to pinpoint the best part of this bear strolling out onto the course...

Is it the fascination with the flagstick that another bear famously enjoyed?

Is it the golfer panicking that he has an orange in his bag and prompting him to put his foot down?

Is it the bear's casual stroll after committing the theft?

Either way, such simple pleasure viewing for a Monday...(H/t Alex Myers): 



Video: Erin Hills Eleventh Hole Flyover

It's blind and you need to pick a line in conjunction with the wind. In other words, it's tougher than it looks.

The 460-yard par 4 eleventh at 2017 U.S. Open host site Erin Hills features a landing area not visible from the tee. Throw in the wind exposure and the bunkers played short of the putting surface, and this one isn't likely to be a player-favorite.

A good look at the smallish green can be seen in this flyover.

Here is the Erin Hills version in later light:


Only Nine Players Hit Muirfield's 16th On Sunday

The weather was feisty but the quality of the leaderboard made it a bit eye-opening that only nine players hit Muirfield Village's 16 green Sunday. Gary McCord hit the point as deftly as he could with the architect of the revamped hole hosting the event.

TTo have only nine players in the final round of the Memorial keep their tee shots on the putting surface was one thing, but to have so many miss so consistently will be of even greater concern when the tour staff reviews the ShotLink numbers. The 2017 leaderboard was stacked with some pretty big names, and while we'd love to chalk this freaskishly low number to just the wind, the architecture deserves more scrutiny. A combination of the hole's odd angle, yardage and green complex remains problematic, at best. And new green firmness can no longer be blamed.

Here are the greens in regulation numbers from Thursday to Sunday: 44, 40, 47 and 9. One birdie Sunday.

The scatter charts are pretty wacky:


Dufner Joins U.S. Open Discussion With Bizarre Memorial Win

Not only did Jason Dufner win the Memorial for a long-awaited return to the winner's circle, he did it in entertainingly bizarre fashion. The weather, the wind, the rain, the delays, the quality leaderboard, the 16th hole and the 18th all tried to trip up the third-round 77-shooter. But Dufner somehow overcame it all to win at Jack's place for his fifth PGA Tour victory.

He heads to Erin Hills and the U.S. Open a legitimate threat given his play, ball striking and newfound confidence.

Kevin Casey at Golfweek on the amazing back nine turnaround.

Birdies at 10 and 12 got him in position, another at 15 pushed him into the lead and a stuffed wedge from 119 yards inside 3 feet at the par-4 17th meant another. Suddenly, he was 13 under and had a two-shot on the 72nd hole. Would Dufner cave to the pressure, especially with Rickie Fowler directly behind him? No chance.

Dufner drove it into the right rough on 18 before lightning hit and play was suspended. Again.

Inclement weather had forced suspension of play at 4:18 p.m. Eastern. The delay would last for 1 hour and 17 minutes. Another delay started with that lightning at 6:48 p.m. and lasted until an 8:05 p.m. restart.

Once play started again, Dufner knocked his second shot into more rough beside the fairway and then put one 40 feet from the hole. With that left for par and hanging onto a two-shot lead, Dufner drained the long putt to essentially seal the deal. Clutch.

Bob Harig at on Dufner becoming the first player since Nick Faldo in the 1989 Masters to overcome a score of 77 or higher to win a PGA Tour event.

"I've always been a fighter," said Dufner, who shot a final-round 68. "Especially since I turned professional. Doing this hasn't come easy for me. There's been a lot of struggles and a lot of setbacks. I didn't come straight out of college and play the PGA Tour. It took me almost 10 years to get out here. Took me another two after that to win and actually get to where I felt comfortable.

"So I always take pride in kind of being a fighter, trying to come back. I played really good a couple of weeks ago in Dallas and have a great history at Colonial, and I missed the cut. I was pissed. I was upset. I was disappointed. You have all these thoughts in the moment."

The winning putt:

The extended highlights:



Scott First Of Many To Put USGA On Notice Over Setup, Rules

Take your pick of issues--TV rulings, greens too fast for contours, tough setups, green reading books, purse value--pro golfers have the USGA on their radar. The next few weeks will provide an opportunity for both sides to jockey for their positions, starting with course setup.

With Chambers Bay driving much conjecture given Erin Hills' similar newness as a venue, Adam Scott's comments to Golfweek's Jeff Babineau probably mirror the views of many players fearing a repeat.

“Maybe it’s time to do away with the even-par target, just thinking about the bigger picture of the game of golf,” Scott said after finishing up at Memorial on Sunday, where he shot 74 to finish at 1-under 287.

“If their major pinnacle event for them requires courses to be the way they are, it doesn’t set a good example for every other bit of golf that they try to promote. Maybe we should get the numbers out of our heads and try a new strategy.”

Good news with Erin Hills: it's far more lush than Chambers Bay and the greens are a pure strain of bent, so almost all issues with balls moving on greens, balls bouncing on greens and balls bouncing over greens, seem unlikely to arise.

Scott's comments on the USGA, however, probably won't get him an invited to the Bobby Jones Award ceremony.

“Whether it’s rules changes or any other decisions they make, I think their process is out,” Scott said. “I just don’t see how they get to some of these decisions. . . . They’re hanging onto the Rules of Golf by a thread, really. That’s why they’re panicky and they’re trying to see what’s going on out here on Tour.”

Interestingly, this is the gripe of many everyday amateur golfers who also just want to play some relaxed, less complicated rules. Every time I get an email asking for the Relaxed Rules bag tag put out by Golf Channel's Morning Drive, it's hard not to wonder why we aren't bifurcating.

Whether all of this speaks to a failed or successful roll out of revised views depends on your point of view. I happen to think that the proposed rules revisions were successful because a mostly positive response suggested golfers wanted what was delivered, only more. So will these last few months and next few weeks help shape and even stronger push to make the rules simpler, cleaner and easier?


Video: Erin Hills Tenth Hole Flyover

This year's U.S. Open back nine starts off with a 504-yard par-4 over rolling, fascinating inland dunes that won't leave many flat stances into what looks like a fairly benign putting surface surrounded by tight-mow.

The USGA's flyover gives a good look at the green complex, while the Erin Hills flyover in late light really shows off the contours:


Mickelson Likely Missing U.S. Open For Daughter's Graduation

I can't help but wonder if Phil will be rooting for a dreadful Thursday forecast at Erin Hills, but otherwise it sounds like he is missing the 2017 U.S. Open to hear his daughter speak at her high school graduation.

Karen Crouse with the exclusive for the New York Times:

He said he had informed Mike Davis, the United States Golf Association’s executive director, on Saturday morning of his plan to withdraw so that alternates in the field can prepare accordingly.

Mickelson said he would hold off on officially withdrawing until a day or two before the tournament started, in case a weather delay or change in the morning commencement ceremony time made it possible for him to be at both.

"Barring something unforeseen, I won’t be there,” he said after shooting an even-par 72 Saturday in the third round of the Memorial tournament, where he is tied for 19th.

If you want to feel really, really old, check out Bob Harig's story reminding us that it was Amanda, now a class valedictorian soon headed to Brown, who was about to be delivered during the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. That was yesterday, practically, no?

Mickelson's caddie, Jim Mackay, carried a beeper in his golf bag, and he pledged he would take off regardless of his situation in the tournament.

Mickelson finished second to Payne Stewart when the late golfer holed a 12-foot par putt on the final hole to edge him by a stroke; had Stewart missed, he and Mickelson would have had an 18-hole playoff to decide the tournament -- on the day Amanda ended up being born. That was the first of his record six runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open.

"Yeah, I go back and, every year at the U.S. Open, I think back about that '99 Open,'' Mickelson said. "The birth of your child, any child, but especially your first child is the most emotional event you can ever experience and share together with your wife."


Roundup: 2017 U.S. Open Sectional Storylines

The best single day in American golf arrives Monday with the U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying for the 2017 championship at Erin Hills.

As always, I urge you to check out all of the noted players here, with the USGA also including links to the scoring and even some social media posts related to a few qualifiers.

Make sure to check out where there will be full coverage as well, with multiple writers dispatched to qualifiers including yours truly at Big Canyon.

Fox Sports 1 will feature a wrap up show Monday night at midnight ET, 9 pm PT.

The sites:

Big Canyon Country Club & Newport Beach Country Club, Newport Beach, Calif.
Jupiter Hills Club (Hills Course), Tequesta, Fla.
Hawks Ridge Golf Club, Ball Ground, Ga.
Woodmont Country Club (North Course), Rockville, Md.
Canoe Brook Country Club (North and South Courses), Summit, N.J.
Brookside Golf & Country Club & Lakes Golf & Country Club, Columbus, Ohio
Springfield Country Club, Springfield, Ohio
Germantown Country Club & Ridgeway Country Club, Memphis, Tenn.
Lakewood Country Club, Dallas, Texas
Tacoma Country & Golf Club, Lakewood, Wash.

Big Canyon Country Club & Newport Beach Country Club Newport Beach, Calif.; 103 players for 5 spots:

Ray Beaufils, 30, of Australia, is a former rugby player who earned conditional status on the Nationwide (now Tour in 2010. Beaufils, who resides in Phoenix, Ariz., trained with the Australian Institute of Sport and later appeared on Golf Channel’s “Big Break Greenbrier.” He won the 2013 California State Open with a 4-foot putt on the second playoff hole.

David Berganio Jr., 48, of Granada Hills, Calif., has played in six U.S. Opens. His best finish was a tie for 16th in 1996. Berganio, a two-time U.S. Amateur Public Links champion, advanced to the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 through both qualifying stages and tied for 28th. Berganio, who was a University of Arizona teammate of 2003 U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk, was provided his first set of clubs by a local priest.

Aaron Dexheimer, 36, of San Diego, Calif., is a commercial salmon fisherman in Alaska during the summer and a caddie at Del Mar Country Club in the winter. He grinded on mini-tours for more than a decade before taking over his father’s fishing operation.

Allen Geiberger Jr., 29, of Palm Desert, Calif., is the son of Al Geiberger, who played in 20 U.S. Opens and tied for second in 1969 and 1976. Al Geiberger, the 1966 PGA champion, became the first player to shoot 59 in a PGA Tour event, the 1977 Danny Thomas Memphis Classic.

Paul Goydos, 52, of Coto de Caza, Calif., has competed in 10 U.S. Opens. His best finish was a tie for 12th in 1999 at Pinehurst No. 2. Goydos has two PGA Tour and four PGA Tour Champions wins, including last year’s Charles Schwab Cup Championship. He began his career on mini-tours and supplemented his income as a substitute teacher.

Stewart Hagestad, 26, of Newport Beach, Calif., won the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship by defeating Scott Harvey in 37 holes. He produced the largest comeback victory (4 down with 5 holes to play) since a 36-hole Mid-Amateur final was introduced in 2001. Hagestad, the 2016 Metropolitan Golf Association Player of the Year, was the low amateur (tie, 36th) in the 2017 Masters Tournament.

Beau Hossler, 22, of Dallas, Texas, is attempting to qualify for his fourth U.S. Open. He shot a 4-under 68 in the Houston, Texas, local qualifier to advance to sectional play. Hossler, an All-American and two-time Big 12 Conference Player of the Year at the University of Texas, played in the 2011 U.S. Open at age 16 and tied for 29th in 2012. He has competed in 11 USGA championships and was a member of the 2015 USA Walker Cup Team.

Edwin Kuang, 15, of Murrieta, Calif., was the second-youngest competitor in last year’s U.S. Amateur Championship at Oakland Hills Country Club. He shot a 69 to earn co-medalist honors in U.S. Open local qualifying at Andalusia Country Club, in La Quinta, Calif. Kuang is a sophomore on the Murrieta Valley High School team.

Scott McCarron, 51, of La Quinta, Calif., spent four years working in the family clothing business after playing as a collegian at UCLA. He returned to golf in 1992 and won three times on the PGA Tour. He later worked for Golf Channel and Fox as a broadcaster. He has won three PGA Tour Champions events since June 2016. McCarron has played in six U.S. Opens.

Danny Ochoa, 22, of Carlsbad, Calif., miscalculated a jump on his motocross bike eight years ago and broke his humerus bone after his bike landed on top of him. Two metal rods were placed in his left arm, and he was looking at a year of recovery. Ochoa, who is a fifth-year senior on the University of Southern California team, returned in seven months and later placed fifth at the 2010 Callaway Junior World Golf Championships.

Sahith Theegala, 19, of Chino Hills, Calif., reached the quarterfinals of the 2016 U.S. Amateur, losing to eventual champion Curtis Luck, 2 up. Theegala, a sophomore on the Pepperdine University squad, was chosen West Coast Conference Co-Player of the Year and earned first-team All-WCC honors for the second consecutive year in 2017. In February, Theegala won the Collegiate Showcase to earn a spot in the PGA Tour’s Genesis Open and went on to tie for 49th.

Duffy Waldorf, 54, of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., has competed in 13 U.S. Opens, including a tie for ninth in 1994 at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club. He has won four PGA Tour events and twice on PGA Tour Champions. He received his nickname Duffy from his grandparents. He tagged along on the golf course and they called him “Little Duffer.”

Jupiter Hills Club (Hills Course) Tequesta, Fla.; 49 players for 3 spots:

Canon Claycomb, 15, of Orlando, Fla., is one of five 15-year-olds in U.S. Open sectional qualifying. He splits time between Bowling Green, Ky., and Florida. He has played on the Greenwood High School team in Bowling Green since fourth grade. He led the team to a second-place finish at the KHSAA state championship last October when he tied for second. Claycomb won the 2015 Teen World Championship at Pinehurst No. 8 with a 54-hole score of 8-under 208.

Sam Horsfield, 20, of England, has played in 13 USGA championships, including the 2015 and 2016 U.S. Opens. Horsfield, who announced on May 22 that he was turning professional, reached the Round of 16 in last year’s U.S. Amateur. A two-time All-Southeastern Conference selection at the University of Florida, Horsfield was chosen first-team All-American and SEC Freshman of the Year in 2016.

Joaquin Niemann, 18, of Chile, rose to No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ this spring. He won the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley and the AJGA Sergio Garcia Foundation Junior. Niemann also tied for second in the 2017 Latin America Amateur Championship, losing on the second playoff hole. Niemann advanced to the Round of 16 in the 2016 U.S. Amateur and the Round of 32 in last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur.

Andy Zhang, 19, of the People’s Republic of China, was selected to the 2017 Southeastern Conference All-Freshman Team in his first year at the University of Florida. In 2012, he became the youngest player (age 14) to play in the U.S. Open, held at The Olympic Club. He also competed in the U.S. Amateur and European Masters. Zhang reached match play in all four U.S. Junior Amateurs in which he played, advancing to the quarterfinals in 2014.

Hawks Ridge Golf Club Ball Ground, Ga.; 36 players for 2 spots:

Akshay Bhatia, 15, of Wake Forest, N.C., competed in the inaugural Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta National Golf Club at age 12 in 2014. He and partner Grayson Wotnosky qualified for this year’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and advanced to match play. Bhatia, who is home-schooled, finished seventh in the 2016 North Carolina Amateur. His older sister, Rhea, is a sophomore on the Queens University of Charlotte golf team.

Todd White, 49, of Spartanburg, S.C., won the 2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship with partner Nathan Smith and was a member of the winning 2013 USA Walker Cup Team. White has competed in 22 USGA championships, including seven U.S. Amateurs and six Mid-Amateurs. The high school history teacher played in the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.

Davis Love IV, 23, of Sea Island, Ga., shot 69 at the Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., local qualifier to advance. Love, known as Dru, is a fifth-year senior at the University of Alabama. He played in two spring events after missing the fall season due to injury. His father, Davis III, has competed in 23 U.S. Opens and is attempting to qualify in the Columbus, Ohio, sectional.

The Love's are playing for more than a U.S. Open berth:


Woodmont Country Club (North Course) Rockville, Md.; 50 players for 3 spots:

Michael Brennan, 15, of Leesburg, Va., is the youngest player in 2017 U.S. Open sectional qualifying (born 2-9-02). As a freshman on the Tuscarora High School team, he finished fifth in the Virginia 5A State Championship and was the medalist at the Conference 14 and 5A North Region tournaments. Brennan qualified for last year’s Virginia State Amateur.

Chad Collins, 38, of Cloverdale, Ind., has played in two U.S. Opens, tying for 40th in 2014 at Pinehurst No. 2. Collins has played on the PGA, Nationwide, and NGA Hooters tours. He won twice on the Nationwide Tour (now and shot a 60, including a 27 on the outward nine, in the 2013 Utah Championship. He won three NCAA Division III individual titles (1998, 1999, 2001) as a member of the Methodist College team.

Jason Gore, 43, of Valencia, Calif., has competed in four U.S. Opens and played in the final group with Retief Goosen at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2005. Gore, who was a member of the victorious 1997 USA Walker Cup Team, has one PGA Tour and seven Tour victories.

Billy Hurley III, 34, of Annapolis, Md., has played in two U.S. Opens (2014, 2016), finishing in a tie for 48th in 2014. Hurley graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and was the 2004 Patriot League Player of the Year. He was a member of the winning 2005 USA Walker Cup Team. Hurley rose to the rank of lieutenant and served on U.S. Navy destroyers and cruisers.

Canoe Brook Country Club (North & South Courses) Summit, N.J.; 80 players for 5 spots:

Matthew Dobyns, 39, of Lake Success, N.Y., is attempting to advance through local and sectional qualifying for the second time in four years. He was the lone club professional to play in the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, where he missed the cut by one stroke. Dobyns, the head professional at Fresh Meadow Country Club, won the 2012 and 2015 PGA Professional National Championships.

Mike Dunham, 45, of Concord, Mass., is the goaltending coach for the NHL’s New York Islanders. Dunham, who competed in the 2007 and 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateurs, was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 1990 and played for five NHL teams. He also played in three Winter Olympic Games and won a silver medal with Team USA in 2002, in Salt Lake City, Utah. His father, Ron, is the director of golf at Teton Pines Country Club, in Wilson, Wyo.

Scott Harvey, 39, of Greensboro, N.C., won the 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur and was a member of the 2015 USA Walker Cup Team. Harvey, a property manager, was the runner-up to Stewart Hagestad in last year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur and has reached match play in all three U.S. Amateur Four-Balls with partner Todd Mitchell (2015, 2016, 2017).

Jim Herman, 39, of Palm City, Fla., has competed in three U.S. Opens (2010, 2013, 2016). He was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, played on the University of Cincinnati golf team, and started his professional career on the Golden Bear Tour in 2001. Herman, who registered his first PGA Tour win in last year’s Shell Houston Open, served as an assistant pro from 2006-07 at Trump National Golf Club, in Bedminster, N.J., the site of the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open.

Nathan Smith, 38, of Pittsburgh, Pa., is a four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion who holds the record for the most victories in the championship. He won the 2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball title with partner Todd White. Smith, who has played on three USA Walker Cup Teams, works as an investment advisor. He has played in 40 USGA championships, including 16 U.S. Amateurs.

Marc Turnesa, 39, of Jupiter, Fla., is the grandson of Mike Turnesa, who tied for 26th in the 1946 U.S. Open and was one of seven brothers who played golf. Marc, who played in the 2011 U.S. Open, has one victory each on the PGA Tour and Tour. His great uncle, Willie, won the 1938 and 1948 U.S. Amateurs.

Cameron Wilson, 24, of Rowayton, Conn., has played in two U.S. Opens, including qualifying through both stages as an amateur in 2012. Wilson, who competes on the Tour, won the 2014 NCAA Division I individual championship, defeating Ollie Schniederjans of Georgia Tech on the third playoff hole. As a senior at Stanford University, he was a first-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 Conference selection. He is ambidextrous but plays golf left-handed. His twin sister, McKenzie, was a member of the Stanford sailing team.

Brookside Golf & Country Club & Lakes Golf & Country Club Columbus, Ohio; 120 players for TBD spots:

Keegan Bradley, 30, of Woodstock, Vt., has competed in five U.S. Opens, including a tie for fourth in 2014 at Pinehurst No. 2. Bradley, who won the 2011 PGA Championship, was an all-state ski racer before concentrating on golf. His father, Mark, is a club professional and his aunt, Pat, is a World Golf Hall of Famer who won 31 LPGA titles, including the 1981 U.S. Women’s Open.

Patrick Cantlay, 25, of Long Beach, Calif., was the low amateur in the 2011 U.S. Open when he tied for 21st. Cantlay finished 41st the following year at The Olympic Club. He was sidelined from golf for several years due to injuries and personal tragedy but is back on the PGA Tour in 2017. Cantlay, who lost to Kelly Kraft in the 2011 U.S. Amateur final at Erin Hills, was the Mark H. McCormack Medal recipient as world’s leading amateur and was the nation’s top collegiate golfer at UCLA.

Alex Cejka, 46, of Germany, has played in seven U.S. Opens. He advanced through sectional qualifying to Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014. Cejka’s best finish is a tie for eighth in 2010. At age 9, he and his father escaped from Czechoslovakia before settling in Frankfurt, Germany.

K.J. Choi, 47, of the Republic of Korea, has competed in 13 U.S. Opens. His best finish is a tie for 15th in 2005 at Pinehurst No. 2 and in 2012 at The Olympic Club. Choi, a former competitive power weightlifter, has eight PGA Tour wins, including The Players Championship in 2011.

Stewart Cink, 44, of Duluth, Ga., has competed in 19 U.S. Opens and has seven top-25 finishes. He was third in 2001 at Southern Hills Country Club, in Tulsa, Okla. Cink won the 2009 Open Championship, conducted by The R&A, in a four-hole aggregate playoff with Tom Watson. He took time off from the PGA Tour last year to care for his wife, Lisa, who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Cink fired rounds of 62-61 to earn medalist honors at the Columbus, Ohio, sectional qualifier in 2003.

Erik Compton, 37, of Miami, Fla., was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy at age 9 and has since had two successful heart transplants. Compton, a member of the 2001 USA Walker Cup Team, has played in three U.S. Opens. He tied for second at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014.

Ben Curtis, 40, of Kent, Ohio, has played in seven U.S. Opens, with his best finish a tie for 14th in 2010 at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. Curtis captured the 2003 Open Championship, conducted by The R&A, in his first start. He has four PGA Tour victories.

Bryson DeChambeau, 23, of Clovis, Calif., has qualified for the U.S. Open through the Columbus, Ohio, sectional the last two years. He shot a second-round 63 one year ago in sectionals and went on to tie for 15th at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club. In 2015, he became the fifth player to win the U.S. Amateur and NCAA Division I individual championship in the same year, joining Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore.

Joe Durant, 53, of Pensacola, Fla., has competed in seven U.S. Opens, including a tie for 24th in 2001 at Southern Hills Country Club. He has won four PGA Tour events and twice on PGA Tour Champions. Durant, who played at Huntingdon College, won the 1987 NAIA Championship.

Gavin Hall, 22, of Pittsford, N.Y., is an All-America and All-Big 12 Conference performer at the University of Texas. The Longhorns won this year’s Big 12 title and advanced to their 11th consecutive NCAA Championship. Hall tied for 11th at NCAAs. He was the youngest player in the 2013 U.S. Open field at Merion Golf Club when he qualified through local and sectional play. Hall has competed in three U.S. Amateurs and advanced to match play last year. He also holds the record for lowest score in U.S. Junior Amateur stroke play, a 62 in the second round in 2010.

Tom Lehman, 58, of Scottsdale, Ariz., has played in 18 U.S. Opens and tied for second in 1996 at Oakland Hills Country Club. Lehman owns five PGA Tour victories, including the 1996 Open Championship, held at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club. He has won 10 PGA Tour Champions events, including three senior major titles.

Davis Love III, 53, of Sea Island, Ga., has played in 23 U.S. Opens and owns five top-10 finishes, including a tie for second in 1996. Love has 21 PGA Tour wins, including the 1997 PGA Championship. He served as United States captain for the 2012 and 2016 Ryder Cup Matches. His son, Davis IV, is competing in the Ball Ground, Ga., sectional.

Curtis Luck, 20, of Australia, won the 2016 U.S. Amateur by defeating Brad Dalke, 6 and 4, in the final. He became the third Australian to win the Amateur, joining Walter J. Travis and Nick Flanagan. Luck, who turned professional after competing in the 2017 Masters, helped Australia win the 2016 World Amateur Team Championship and won last year’s Asia-Pacific Amateur and Western Australian Open.

Billy Mayfair, 50, of Scottsdale, Ariz., has played in 14 U.S. Opens, with his best finish a tie for fifth in 2002 at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course. Mayfair won the 1987 U.S. Amateur and 1986 U.S. Amateur Public Links, becoming the first player to win both titles. He tied for second in the 2016 U.S. Senior Open in his first year of eligibility for the championship.

Geoff Ogilvy, 39, of Australia, won the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club, in Mamaroneck, N.Y., by one stroke over Jim Furyk, Colin Montgomerie and Phil Mickelson. He has competed in 13 U.S. Opens. Ogilvy, who has at least a top-6 finish in all four professional major championships, won the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in 2006 and 2009.

Rod Pampling, 47, of Australia, has played in eight U.S. Opens, with his best finish a tie for 14th at Torrey Pines Golf Course in 2008. He advanced to the 2014 U.S. Open through the Columbus, Ohio, sectional qualifier with rounds of 73 and 65. His wife, Angela, is a clinical psychologist.

Michael Putnam, 34, of University Place, Wash., is attempting to qualify for his fifth U.S. Open. Putnam was chosen 2013 Tour Player of the Year. He was an All-America player at Pepperdine University and a member of the 2005 USA Walker Cup Team. He lives near Chambers Bay, the site of the 2015 U.S. Open.

Patrick Rodgers, 24, of Avon, Ind., qualified for his first U.S. Open through the Columbus, Ohio, sectional last year. He tied for 46th at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club. Rodgers, an All-American at Stanford University, was a member of two USA Walker Cup Teams (2011, 2013) and played in three U.S. Amateurs and two U.S. Junior Amateurs. He was a quarterfinalist in the 2011 U.S. Amateur, held at Erin Hills.

Sam Saunders, 29, of St. Augustine, Fla., is the grandson of 1960 U.S. Open champion Arnold Palmer. In 2015, Saunders was co-medalist in the Columbus, Ohio, sectional qualifier and tied for 50th in the U.S. Open. He also played in the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club.

Scottie Scheffler, 20, of Dallas, Texas, earned first-team All-Big 12 Conference honors and helped the University of Texas win this year’s Big 12 Championship and place second in the NCAA Austin Regional. He tied for third at the NCAA Championship. Scheffler, who won the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur and qualified for his first U.S. Open last year, has competed in 10 USGA championships and reached match play in last year’s U.S. Amateur.

Ollie Schniederjans, 23, of Alpharetta, Ga., has four top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this season. He won the Tour’s Air Capital Classic last year. Schniederjans was a three-time All-American and two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year at Georgia Tech. In 2014, he won the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the world’s top amateur. He tied for 42nd in the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.

Vijay Singh, 54, of Fiji, has played in 18 U.S. Opens and has seven top-10 finishes. His best finish was a tie for third at Pinehurst No. 2 in 1999. Singh, who has won one Masters Tournament and two PGA Championships, tied for 18th in his second U.S. Senior Open at Scioto Country Club, in Columbus, Ohio, last year.

Richard Todd, 31, of Milwaukee, Wis., is in his first year as assistant golf coach at Marquette University. He played at the University at Alabama (2005-08), where he was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection and competed in two NCAA Tournaments. His father, Richard, was a standout Alabama quarterback for coach Bear Bryant in the early 1970s and a longtime starter for the New York Jets.

Springfield Country Club Springfield, Ohio; 77 players for 4 spots:

Zac Blair, 26, of St. George, Utah, qualified for his lone U.S. Open through both local and sectional play. He tied for 40th at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014. Blair, an All-America player at Brigham Young University, has two top-15 finishes on the PGA Tour this season.

Austin Greaser, 16, of Vandalia, Ohio, survived a 9-for-4 playoff in local qualifying when he birdied the first hole at Kearney Hills Golf Club, in Lexington, Ky. Greaser, a sophomore on the Vandalia-Butler High team, made birdies on holes 17 and 18 to shoot a 1-under 71 and get into the playoff. He lives 26 miles from Springfield Country Club.

Kevin Hall, 34, of Cincinnati, Ohio, has been deaf since age 2 due to a bout with meningitis. He attended St. Rita School for the Deaf and started playing golf at age 9. He won the 2004 Big Ten Conference championship and led Ohio State University to the team title. Hall is playing on mini-tours, including the SwingThought and Advocates pro golf tours. He competed in his first PGA Tour event since 2008 in February, when he received the Genesis Open’s Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption.

Luke Kluver, 16, of Norfolk, Neb., is believed to be the first Nebraska high school golfer to reach U.S. Open sectional qualifying since Tom Sieckmann in 1972. Kluver (who will turn 17 on June 3) won the 2016 NSAA Class A state title by making a 15-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole. His mother, Michelle, was All-Big Eight Conference and an NCAA regional qualifier for the University of Nebraska (1993-96).

Sammy Schmitz, 36, of Farmington, Minn., won the 2015 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship and earned an invitation to the 2016 Masters. Schmitz recorded the second known ace on a par 4 in USGA championship history when he holed his tee shot on No. 15 at John’s Island Club’s West Course in the championship match. He works for a health-care services company.

Germantown Country Club & Ridgeway Country Club Memphis, Tenn.; 108 players for TBD spots:

Sam Burns, 20, of Shreveport, La., was voted 2017 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and helped Louisiana State University win the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional. Burns, who was a first-team All-SEC selection, won the individual regional title. Burns qualified for his first U.S. Open last year and advanced to the Round of 32 in the U.S. Amateur. He won three consecutive Louisiana state high school championships.

Austin Gaugert, 26, of Lake Geneva, Wis., is a substitute teacher for the Lake Geneva School District and an assistant professional at Blackhawk Country Club in Madison. He was an All-Horizon League selection at Valparaiso University, while his father, Jim, and brother, Alex, played at Minnesota and Wisconsin, respectively.

Retief Goosen, 48, of South Africa, won the U.S. Open in 2001 (playoff with Mark Brooks) and 2004 (by two strokes over Phil Mickelson). Goosen, who was struck by lightning as an amateur, has seven wins on the PGA Tour and 14 victories on the PGA European Tour. He has played in 18 U.S. Opens and received a special exemption into the field last year at Oakmont, where he missed the cut.

Jimmy Gunn, 36, of Scotland, caddied at Royal Dornoch and worked as a part-time carpenter before moving to the United States to play on professional mini-tours nine years ago. He aspires to be a professional fisherman. Gunn qualified through local and sectional play to the 2015 U.S. Open, where he tied for 27th at Chambers Bay.

Ian Poulter, 41, of England, has played in 12 U.S. Opens. His best finish is a tie for 12th in 2006. Poulter, who owns 12 PGA European Tour victories, has been a member of four winning European Ryder Cup teams. He tied for second in the 2017 Players Championship.

Steve Stricker, 50, of Madison, Wis., has played in 19 U.S. Opens and has 11 top-25 finishes. Stricker, who was born in Edgerton, Wis., 63 miles from Erin Hills, finished fifth in both 1998 and 1999. He has 12 PGA Tour victories. Stricker was an All-American at the University of Illinois before starting his pro career on the Canadian Professional Golf Tour in 1990. He is fully exempt to play in his first U.S. Senior Open in late June.

Braden Thornberry, 20, of Olive Branch, Miss., won the 2017 NCAA Division I individual title by four strokes with a 72-hole score of 11-under 277. He earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference recognition as a sophomore at the University of Mississippi. He tied for third in the SEC Championship and finished fourth at the NCAA Austin Regional. Thornberry, who won the Jones Cup Invitational in February, will play in the PGA Tour’s FedEx St. Jude Classic.

Brady Watt, 27, of Australia, was a semifinalist in the 2013 U.S. Amateur, where he lost to fellow countryman Oliver Goss. Watt then served as Goss’ caddie in the 36-hole final against Matthew Fitzpatrick. Watt, who has competed on PGA Tour Latinoamerica, qualified for his lone U.S. Open through local and sectional play in 2014. His father, Robin, was a state and national-level softball player in Western Australia.

Lakewood Country Club Dallas, Texas, 58 players for 3 spots:

Philip Barbaree, 18, of Shreveport, La., won the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur by defeating Andrew Orischak in 37 holes. Barbaree set a championship record for largest comeback, coming from 5 down with eight holes to play. As a freshman, Barbaree helped Louisiana State University win its first ever NCAA regional championship. He was chosen 2015 Rolex Junior Player of the Year after winning the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions.

Bob Estes, 51, of Austin, Texas, has competed in 15 U.S. Opens. His best finish is a tie for 11th in 2005 at Pinehurst No. 2. Estes, who has won four times on the PGA Tour, is fully exempt to play in his first U.S. Senior Open in late June at Salem Country Club.

Landon Fox, 22, of Winfield, Kan., is a pro shop assistant at Quail Ridge Golf Course and an assistant tee-ball instructor/sports official for the Winfield Recreation Center. Fox, who is a member of the Southwestern College team, earned first-team All-Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference honors and tied for third in the conference championship.

Cole Hammer, 17, of Houston, Texas, was the third-youngest player to compete in the U.S. Open when he played at Chambers Bay in 2015. He advanced to the Round of 16 in last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur and reached match play in the 2015 U.S. Amateur. Hammer, who was chosen 2016 Southern Texas PGA Amateur of the Year and had elbow surgery last fall, tied for second in the Azalea Invitational on April 2.

Mike McCoy, 54, of Des Moines, Iowa, has played in 50 USGA championships. He was the low amateur in the 2014 and 2015 U.S. Senior Opens and won the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, the second-oldest winner. McCoy, who was a member of the 2015 USA Walker Cup Team, is scheduled to compete in his fifth consecutive U.S. Senior Open in June.

Shuai Ming Wong, 17, of the People’s Republic of China, captured the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball with Frankie Capan on May 31 on Pinehurst No. 2, rallying to defeat Clark Collier and Kyle Hudelson, 2 and 1, in the final match. Wong reached the Round of 32 in the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur, and he also qualified for last year’s U.S. Amateur. Wong, a junior at The John Cooper School, was born in Hong Kong but moved to Beijing at age 6. In 2015, Wong, whose nickname is Ben, won the Shell Houston Open Junior Championship by 12 strokes.

Will Zalatoris, 20, of Plano, Texas, was chosen 2017 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, competing for Wake Forest University. Zalatoris, a junior, tied for fifth at the NCAA Austin Regional to qualify for the NCAA Championship as an individual. Zalatoris won the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur and reached match play in the last three U.S. Amateurs (2014, Round of 16; 2015, Round of 32; 2016, Round of 64).

Tacoma Country & Golf Club Lakewood, Wash.; 70 players for 4 spots:

Derek Barron, 32, of Tacoma, Wash., is an instructor at Tacoma Firs Golf Center. Barron, who previously worked as a construction foreman, once shot a 13-under 59 in a pro-am at Indian Canyon G.C., in Spokane, Wash. Barron played and worked at Fort Steilacoom Golf Course, just 7 miles from Chambers Bay, the 2015 U.S. Open site. Barron competes as a PGA apprentice.

Tadd Fujikawa, 26, of Honolulu, Hawaii, was the youngest (age 15) to play in a U.S. Open when he qualified to played at Winged Foot Golf Club through both local and sectional play in 2006. At age 16 years and 4 days, he made the 36-hole cut at the Sony Open, the second-youngest player at the time to make the cut in a PGA Tour event. Fujikawa was born three months premature and doctors gave him a 50-50 chance of survival.

Jason Preeo, 38, of Highlands Ranch, Colo., is the head boys’ golf coach at Valor Christian High School and an instructor at MetaGolf Learning Center. He has led the program to five Class 4A state championships. Three of his former players (Ross Macdonald, Josh Seiple, Jake Staiano) are competing in this year’s U.S. Open sectional qualifying. Preeo advanced to the 2010 U.S. Open through local and sectional play and tied for 82nd at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links.


WaPo Headline: “Business sags at Trump’s New York golf course as players stay away”

Thanks to all who sent this story and apologies in advance for questioning what I think is a poor bit of headline writing.

Our late, great friend Frank Hannigan always pointed out to me that the New York Times seemed spectacular until they covered a topic near and dear to your heart by exposing their weaknesses or all-out knowledge blind spots.

So while I’d respect the Times and Washington Post’s efforts to scrutinize the goings-on in Washington, the WaPo’s story on sagging business at Trump Ferry Point seemed like a headline reach (“Business sags at Trump’s New York golf course as players stay away"), which didn’t reflect a mostly-balanced piece of reporting from a small sample-size.

After checking with a few folks, it seems the headline overreached in the effort to see if President Donald Trump’s style, stances and overall forceful nature would impact his businesses.

This is certainly something to watch with his overseas properties and more importantly, with corporate sales at tournaments hosted by his courses. And while the story by Drew Harwell and David Fahrenthold presents signs of reduced play, the copy never matches the headline suggesting golfers are withdrawing in mass numbers from Trump Ferry Point rounds.

In reporting a 12% decrease in revenue over the last year, they write:

These records provide an unusual glimpse inside a business unit of the Trump Organization, during the period when Trump was seeking, then winning and then assuming the presidency. Nearly all of Trump’s other business interests are privately held and offer little transparency regarding their revenue and profits.

The reports show that, in the period between April 2016 and March 2017, golfers played 26,127 rounds at the Bronx course. That was a decline of 2,164 rounds — or about 7 percent — from the previous 12-month period.

As the writers concede, “From the records alone, it is impossible to tell whether politics played a role in the business decline at the Trump course.” And credit to them for citing Tom Stine’s assertion that a one-year 12% drop isn’t alarming enough in such a fickle weather market.

The rough summer of 2016 saw a 15% uptick in inclement weather days for Ferry Point according to The Trump Organization when contacted by this website. Also, private outings were limited to free up the tee sheet for residents, also cutting into rounds recorded.

Most interesting, the story does not cite whether play was up, down or flat at other New York City courses where similar weather or other trends could have impacted rounds played.


Video: Erin Hills Ninth Hole Flyover

The 165-yard 9th plays downhill to a green with a false front. Exposed and likely to play tougher than it looks if the wind blows, especially if the breeze is pushing balls toward the back left bunker.

The Erin Hills flyover, shot by the folks at Advexture (their write-up here on the process).



R.I.P. Roberto De Vicenzo

The World Golf Hall of Famer, 1967 Open Champion at Royal Liverpool and runner-up in the 1968 Masters has passed away at 94.

The World Golf Hall of Fame posted this nice note on news of De Vicenzo's passing and also has this page devoted to his career.

Golf Channel broke the news first, with this noted by G.C. Digital:

De Vicenzo enjoyed a decorated playing career, one that included more than 230 worldwide victories across five decades. The pinnacle came in 1967, when he won The Open by two shots over Jack Nicklaus at Royal Liverpool. He also represented Argentina 17 times at the World Cup of Golf and captured the inaugural U.S. Senior Open in 1980 at age 57.

Richard Goldstein's NY Times obit naturally centers around the Masters miscue but also includes much else about De Vicenzo's career.

This was heartening:

De Vicenzo told Sports Illustrated in 2008 that he had earned lucrative appearance fees as a result of the mistake. “I’ve gotten more out of signing the card wrong than if I had signed it correctly,” he said.

“Every now and then,” he added, “I will drop a tear, but I’ve moved on. I got to see the world through golf. No one should feel sorry for me.”

A year ago, John Garrity filed this terrific piece on the incident and De Vicenzo's often overlooked career outside of one week in April, 1968.

For a spectacular (and I mean spectacular) look at the 1967 Open won by De Vicenzo, check out this highlight film posted by Yes, it's 53 minutes long, but you'll love having it on in the background while you work.


Video: Good Look At Royal Portrush's New Holes

Brian Keogh at the Irish Golf Desk says elite amateurs can first test Royal Portrush's "new" holes when the course hosts the North of Ireland Amateur Open from July 10-14.

This will be the first chance to see the two new MacKenzie-designed holes set to replace the current finishing holes when Portrush hosts the 2019 Open Championship.

Two new holes have been added to the famous links and play will now finish at what was originally the 16th. After playing the 189-yard (sixth) Harry Colt’s, a stunning par-three perched above White Rocks beach, players turn right into a valley where they will encounter a new challenge.

Holes seven and eight run parallel to the coast, high dunes concealing the shoreline as play sweeps through previously uncharted territory.

Keogh embeds a video showing the two holes off. New sand dune areas have just begun to be developed, but in two years they should look beautiful.

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