Golf.com Retracts Reference Suggesting Billy Walters Was Phil Mickelson's Bookie

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An online retraction has been posted and a Golf.com column by Michael Bamberger removed that suggested jailed gambler Billy Walters “was, court documents make clear,” Phil Mickelson’s “bookie.”

On June 17, 2018, GOLF.com published an article with the headline “It’s complicated: To understand Mickelson’s controversial actions, you must first understand Phil.” The article refers to Billy Walters as Phil Mickelson’s “bookie,” the accuracy of which Walters disputes.  The court records referenced in the article do not specifically refer to Walters as Mickelson’s “bookie” and GOLF.com has not been able to substantiate the claim. GOLF.com has removed the article and retracts the reference to Walters.

Of course, Walters merely offered stock advice that turned out to get him in big trouble for insider trading. The former AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am winner is currently serving time and believes his “ex-friend” Mickelson could have exonerated him had he testified in the trial that ultimately sent Walters to jail.

The original Bamberger story can still be read via Google’s cache search option.

It’s been a tough start for the new owner of Golf Magazine and Golf.com, Howard Millstein, who also owns Nicklaus Design and quickly gave one of his companies a “Best U.S. Renovation” award, with a special story highlighting the accomplishment (a note explaining the relationship was later added to this online entry.)

A similar “holding company” tagline was also eventually added to this story on Miura irons posted at Golf.com, but well after eyebrows were raised at the lack of basic transparency.

AT&T At Trinity Forest Draws Decent Enough Field

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The PGA Championship’s move to May and lush inland golf, when combined with Trinity Forest’s eccentric Coore and Crenshaw links-style design, would seem to make it an easy stop to pass up.

Bill Nichols reports that while the field is not at the level it was when last played in Irving, the field is better than last year (5 of world top 50), headlined by Brooks Koepka, who liked what he saw on television last year.

"He told me he really liked how the course played on TV," said Nelson tournament director Jon Drago. "He said it looked like a lot of fun."

Word of mouth and the PGA Tour's schedule change, with the Nelson immediately preceding the PGA Championship, has strengthened the field. An influx of Europeans created the largest spike.

The Nelson field will feature 14 of the top 50 players in the World Golf Ranking: No. 3 Koepka, No. 19 Patrick Reed, No. 22 Marc Leishman, No. 28 Hideki Matsuyama, No. 31 Rafa Cabrera Bello, No. 33 Alex Noren, No. 36 Jordan Spieth, No. 40 Henrik Stenson, No. 42 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, No. 43 Lucas Bjerregaard, No. 45 Justin Harding, No. 46 Branden Grace, No. 48 Charles Howell III, and No. 50 Thorbjorn Olesen.

The normally firm and fast course was slowed down last year to ensure players were not turned off by the bold design features. Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch wasn’t a fan of that move and pleads with the PGA Tour to not dumb down the setup. However, this spring the weather has made it nearly impossible to present such a course, with more potentially violent storms expected Wednesday.

The course, while maybe not television friendly, is sensational. If you didn’t see it, Geoff Ogilvy filed a fantastic video tour last year that should remind you of its merits.

PGA Approves John Daly's Use Of Cart At Walking-Only Bethpage Black

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AP’s Doug Ferguson reports on the PGA of America’s approval of a cart for 1991 winner John Daly, who is going to try to play next week’s championship at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course.

"I hope I don't get a lot of grief from the fans," Daly said in a telephone interview. "My knee is screwed. I had the meniscus cut out. I have osteoarthritis so bad ... I can walk up a hill, I just can't walk down one."

The PGA of America said Daly applied to use a cart through its American with Disabilities Act policy and provided "the requisite information to allow for a review of his request by the PGA's medical team."

Daly tells Ferguson he’s been suffering from diabetes and dizzy spells during a drive to Birmingham for the Tradition. Daly has subsequently set up shop in front of slot machines in Mississippi hoping to improve enough to make the drive to New York.

Bethpage’s Black course is walking only during its season.

Videos: Smarter Every Day Guys Testing The Mechanical Limits Of A Golf Ball; Mark Rober's Rocket Powered Driver

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Thanks to reader Jeff for this most entertaining 16 minutes of SmarterEveryDay content focusing on what they could do to make a golf ball…squirm.

Seriously geeky fun stuff here with some epic camera work…

Mark Rober, best known as the glitter package guy to 62 million viewers and counting, created the rocket-powered driver seen in the above video and posted this a few weeks ago. Al Czervik, eat your heart out:

Wacky Times: From A Villa Ribbon Cutting At Doral To A Rose Garden Medal Of Freedom Ceremony

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Golf.com’s Michael Bamberger provides some on-site observations from Tiger Woods’ Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House. He reminds us that it was just five years ago these two were cutting the ribbon on a Woods villa at Doral.

Woods is studiously apolitical. He takes his cues not from Steph Curry but from Michael Jordan. Why he said nothing about his foundation work or learning from his past mistakes is hard to imagine – he had tens of millions watching – but what he did say was heartfelt, that was clear.

Anyway, this country, which takes so many of its cues, social and sporting and otherwise, from Great Britain, does ceremony well, and Monday night at the Rose Garden was pure ceremony. Dozens of cameramen filed out of the grungy White House press briefing room, as crowded and stifling as an inter-island commuter plane, and setup their cameras beyond the white ropes that defined the seating area. The band played “Hail to the Chief.” Tiger was referred to as “Eldrick.”

Also of note, Woods controlled the guest list that was mercifully free of representatives from golf’s major families.

The full ceremony as it aired on Golf Channel:

Koepka Explains Why He Escalated Chamblee Manspat; Admits To No Photoshop Skills

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Golf.com’s Dylan Dethier talks to Brooks Koepka about why the top golfer took to Twitter to post a photo of Brandel Chamblee sporting a clown’s nose after the Golf Channel commentator’s latest criticism of the three-time major winner.

During the Masters, Chamblee ripped Koepka for his recent weight loss by suggesting that the 29-year-old lost the weight for vanity reasons. It has been rumored that Koepka lost the weight ahead of an appearance in ESPN‘s The Body Issue later this year.

“He’s done it a lot, he’s always got an opinion on something,” Koepka said. “And I don’t really respond too much. I know he said a bunch of things at Augusta and I never responded, that’s not really my style.

“But there comes a point where you just don’t care, and like I said, a picture’s worth more than a thousand words.”

Koepka does admit the image came from a buddy in a group text exchange. I smell an opening for Brandel!

Meanwhile, the saga has generated debate about who can discuss and critically analyze careers and we discussed today on Morning Drive:

Medal Of Freedom Ceremony At 6 PM ET: Will Tiger's Foundation Work Be Acknowledged?

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I’m ambivalent on Tiger Woods receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the grand scheme of world issues. It’s an award. A special one at that. And he probably would have gotten it at some point in his life.

The timing seems odd a week before the second major of 2019 given that Woods seems to be back into his win-at-all-costs mode and in a year he has a phenomenal chance to pick off another major or…three.

But he’s only mildly superstitious compared to other athletes, and it’s not exactly an award you can ask to be delayed. Nor is it a ticker-tape parade down Broadway.

The timing could also be viewed as a negative given that Woods should receive this award both for his contributions to sport and culture, but also because of the foundation he has established with already-tangible results in changing lives. So far, it seems like his charitable work has been getting little play in the build-up to today’s 6 pm ET ceremony from the White House (that will be carried live on Golf Channel).

In today’s NY Times front page story by Annie Karni and Kevin Draper, the odd business ties between Woods and Donald Trump are revisited, as are some of the past ties between presidents and medal recipients.

But by honoring him, the president leaves the appearance of using his office to reward a business partner.

“Tiger Woods is obviously a very talented golfer,” said Aaron Scherb, the director of legislative affairs for Common Cause, a watchdog group. But Mr. Trump awarding him the Medal of Freedom “shows he’s willing to use any tool of government to benefit his business and political allies.”

The White House defended Mr. Woods’s selection. “The president thinks Tiger is not only a tremendous athlete but also has a great comeback story,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary. “He is undisputed as one of the great golfers in history and has broken barriers in the game.”

Both the story and the press secretary never once mention the Woods foundation efforts. Again, not a huge shock and maybe not appropriate until the ceremony takes place, but it’s also a disappointing element to what should be a primary reason for receiving this prestigious medal. If it ends up just being a chance for the President to enjoy positive attention off of Woods’ Masters win, that will be a shame.

The Morning Drive gang’s discussion touched on the Medal making Earl Woods’ declaration many years ago look a bit more prophetic:

Homa Goes From Hitting Seven Provisionals A Week To PGA Tour Victory At Quail Hollow

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What a journey it’s been for the 2013 Pac-12 and NCAA individual champion from Cal, Max Homa, who, like so many, was on a can’t-miss trajectory before losing his game.

After making just two cuts in 2017 and returning this year to miss his first six, he won the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship in convincing fashion.

As Sean Martin notes for PGATour.com, the win was a victory for persistence and over an impressive roster of names.

The reigning FedExCup champion, Justin Rose, finished four back. Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler, Paul Casey and Jason Dufner all tied for fourth. Rory McIlroy was two shots back at the start of the day, but faded to eighth place with a 73 on Sunday.

“I told (caddie Joe Greiner) on one of the holes that I felt like I was going to throw up, but my hands felt unbelievable on the club,” Homa said.

He couldn’t say the same in 2017, when he shot a cumulative 61-over-par in 17 starts on the PGA TOUR. But ‘resilient’ is a word that multiple people used to describe Homa. He has a similar word, ‘RELENTLESS’ tattooed on his wrist.

From Bob Harig’s ESPN story that does a great job chronicling Homa’s return to great play and life-changing win.

Even after returning to the PGA Tour this season, he missed his first six cuts, then slowly began to find some success -- although he never contended until this weekend. He began 2019 ranked 836th in the world and was 417th at the start of the week.

Improved driving has been a big part of the turnaround, leading to confidence.

"Whenever I drive it well, I feel great,'' Homa said. "I went through some real lows with my driver a couple years ago out here. I don't remember what my worst one was, but it was embarrassing. I was hitting like seven provisionals a tournament.”

A big Dodger fan, Homa received a congratulatory call from Tommy Lasorda, reports GolfChannel.com’s Rex Hoggard.

The win gets Homa into the PGA Championship next week and the 2020 Masters.

The final round highlights:

Pelley "Perplexed" Why European Tour Is Singled Out For Saudi Arabia Event

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Whatever bloom was on the Keith Pelley rose is in pieces on the garden ground after last week’s executions in Saudi Arabia are juxtaposed against the European Tour Chief’s latest comments.

Speaking to Andrew Both of Reuters, Pelley defended the moribund embarrassment of a tournament hosted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the story notes the killing of American-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Embassy last October, though even more incredible human rights violations have since occurred, from beheading teenagers last week and the escalating human rights crisis in Yemen.

“It was the right decision for our tour,” Canadian Pelley told Reuters.

“We will be back in Saudi and we’ll continue to grow that event. We believe our role will help the evolution of the country.”

Grow, as in get the spectator count over 100 and pad those appearance fees for players.

Pelley whined about golf getting singled out, though he neglected to mention that three of professional tennis’s biggest names ultimately took a rain check on accepting the Crown Prince’s money last fall. Pelley sounds smitten:

“I went over there first and listened to his Excellency (Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman) at a sports conference, talk about how ... the country wanted to change, needed to change, wanted to use sports as a catalyst, was committed to golf.”

I don’t think golf is going to attach heads savagely taken off by sword in a public square and I’m pretty sure there won’t be a charitable component next year to help starving children. But maybe the European Tour chief knows something we do not?

On a much less significant note, Pelley’s determination to stage this event with such a vile creature permanently stained his legacy as rumors continue to have him with one foot out the door. By digging in and making comments tone deaf to the humanitarian issues, he may stain the sport by not simply keeping his tour away out of a business relationship with a dark, disturbed and deplorable man.

He Wins Majors, Photoshops Too: Brooks Koepka Ups Manspat With Chamblee

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You know Brooks Koepka is annoyed when he takes back control of his Twitter account from sponsors to post this jab at Brandel Chamblee, Golf Channel analyst and recent critic of the three-time major winner.

In the latest installment of Chamblee’s views of Koepka, he tells Jaime Diaz on their podcast that there are “likely two” players who can “hang” with the revitalized Tiger Woods. From Dylan Dethier’s Golf.com account:

“In the aggregate, you’d have Dustin and Rory who are the likely two who could hang with him,” he said. “Jon Rahm’s still got a lot to learn. His iron play’s not as sharp as it needs to be to be the best player in the world, and it forces him to have to pitch the ball…his pitching, generally speaking, is not as good as it needs to be. And Spieth’s game has fallen off. So it’s really only two players who could challenge him. 

“Irrespective of the world rankings, I think all of us know what we need to know without the world rankings telling us, and it’s Rory and it’s Dustin Johnson and it’s Tiger Woods, but Tiger’s simply not going to play enough to get the points that he needs to get.”

Koepka has won three majors over the previous two seasons and was in contention at the Masters again this year, finishing T2, one back of Woods.

In reply, Koepka posted this image of Chamblee with a retweet:

We will be discussing this and other weighty issues on Monday’s Morning Drive.

Though I will say for now that I think a few more layers taking some shine off the nose and adding a bit more dimensionality would suggest Koepka needs to quit his day job.

Tone Deaf Shirtless Shark Now Proudly Growing The Game In Saudi Arabia

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Greg Norman’s propensity to post shirtless photos on Instagram is well known, even when he’s nearly cut his arm off trimming hedges or after scintillating jabs like this one from Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch:

Bulletproof self-belief has been the hallmark of many a Masters champion, men with the ability to temper emotion and summon clarity, even in the midst of a thrilling, chaotic shootout. That character trait is why Jack Nicklaus owns six green jackets, why Woods has five, why Nick Faldo has three, and why Greg Norman is often naked on Instagram.

And based on the former Fox announcer’s most recent post, you know he was working with extra talented stylists and applicators of products when he thanks the team: “And thank you all for making my 2 weeks in Alaska not noticeable.

Soon after, Norman announced new efforts to grow his bank account under the grow the game moniker. Last we heard on this front he was consulting China’s Olympic team, rolling out revolutionary golf cart technology that included actual speakers for listening to music, but now, the gruesome, revolting and morally bankrupt “Kingdom” of Saudi Arabia:

Judging by the comments so far, even many of his remaining believers are curious if all those days in the hot sun have finally gone to his head.

Pro Golfers See USGA, Rulemaking Madness In Kentucky Derby Race Reversal

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As a fan of horse racing, I was saddened that the likely best horse could not be crowned the Kentucky Derby winner, but the rules are explicit and the sport came within inches of a catastrophic pile-up when Maximum Security drifted badly and deserved to be disqualified.

There will always be bickering over the decision and plenty of unanswered questions over the oddity of a jockeys Flavien Prat and Jon Court having to lodge an objection when the Inquiry sign should have gone up after the race concluded. And while I don’t expect pro golfers to know some of horse racing’s rules, particularly given how things went down, it was still fascinating to see a few players lump golf’s governing body in with the Churchill Down stewards (Golf.com’s Pat Ralph with a roundup.)

That’s an ignorant notion on many levels, but particularly when the rules mocked are designed to protect lives. Time will vindicate the Derby decision, but the jump-to-conclusion mentality working against rules enforcement these days can’t bode well for the future of rules and rulemaking in sports.

Video And Podcast: The Fried Egg On Rustic Canyon

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It’s a treat to see the continued interest in Rustic Canyon 17 years after it opened, but as we knew at the time, the opportunity to work on a sandy site not far from a major U.S. city was something special.

So it’s an honor to have contributed to Andy Johnson’s Fried Egg podcast to discuss the design and his stunning drone photography of the place this winter.

Garrett Morrison looks at the design, what it meant to the region at the time and more, in this review with some fantastic still images.

Andy clipped out some of my comments on behalf of the design team—Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner as well—to provide these views:

Bubba Breaks The CBD Barrier In Golf Despite Recent PGA Tour Warning About Such Products

Todd Kelly reports for Golfweek on Bubba Watson signing with cbdMD to push cannabidiol-based products to deal with a variety of issues. .

“I was taking the product, I love the product and for me, you know, it’s all about safety,” Watson said in an interview with The Street. “So for me, on a performance level, I got to have safety, I’ve got to [take] drug tests, I’ve got to do all these things and to protect myself and be able to play competitive golf.”

The news comes as the vaunted MarijuanaMoment.net reported a recent warning by the PGA Tour that CBD products containing THC will put players in violation of their policies and that some CBD products may contain levels putting the player in risk of suspension.

Full coverage from TheStreet.com on Watson’s announcement on the floor of the New York Stock Excxhange where the two-time Masters champion wore his best hoodie to announce the partnership.

USGA Downsizing: Where Has The Money Gone?

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It’s a question that will ruffle the feathers of Executive Committee members and USGA groupies, but after the news reported by Rex Hoggard at GolfChannel.com that downsizing in Far Hills is a thing, the question must be asked: where has the money gone?

From $37 million a year in NBC/ESPN money to $93 million under Fox through 2026, and yet, as Hoggard writes, the organization confirms 63 employees 55 and older have been offered a benefit plan closed to new participants in 2008. So far, he reports, 50 have taken the offer, kissing goodbye to oodles of institutional knowledge, insight and wisdom at a time the organization needs it more than ever in its history given issues the game faces.

From Hoggard’s report the USGA confirmed the program:

“As the USGA continues to evolve its organizational structure in an effort to drive greater impact and sustain a strong financial future, we have offered a voluntary retirement incentive plan to a segment of our staff,” the USGA said in a statement provided to GolfChannel.com. “It provides eligible employees with enhanced pension and retiree health benefits, with no obligation to participate.”

The deadline to accept the plan was Tuesday, and although employees still have a window of seven days to decide if they want to participate, sources have told GolfChannel.com that at least 50 have volunteered.

Costs for all businesses rise and the USGA has done its part to up purses for the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open, while better compensating host venues to pick up costs that come with the U.S. Open. They’ve improved Golf House, protect golf history when it’s called for and invest in some “grow the game” programs, it’s still hard not to wonder where the Fox money has gone.

Hoggard writes:

The move is surprising for an organization that appeared flush with cash from a 12-year television deal the USGA signed with Fox Sports in 2013.

According to various reports, the television rights deal is worth $93 million per year and the association reported $214 million in total revenue in 2017 according to tax forms.

Since we can’t really pick apart the budget, the news of layoffs and reorganization provide a wonderful opportunity to revisit where the organization was supposed to be with the Fox millions. That means re-reading Ron Sirak’s definitive Golf Digest story on the deal and what it would do for the USGA.

Of course, it’s cringeworthy reading given proclamations in Sirak’s story by the deal’s visionaries Glen Nager, Gary Stevenson, Tom O’Toole, Mike Davis, Casey Wasserman and Sarah Hirshland. Four of those names have all moved on to leave the mess behind to Davis.

Let’s catch up with them!

While this review is no comfort to those who are taking early retirement to help the USGA keep the lights on, it’s hard to say anyone but Wasserman has landed in a better place.

Nager is representing a dreadful Chinese company suing the United States and looking even more miserable than ever, Hirshland is dealing with the unfixable US Olympic Committee mess and stepping in it early on, while Stevenson has an MLS job and Pac-12 network launching on his resume, a notch above “former Enron executive” in the current sports business world. O’Toole, meanwhile, has not turned up in a green coat at the Masters but has been seen driving around carts with Fox logos at recent U.S. Open’s. I’m not sure if he’s working as Joe Buck’s go-fer, or just a friend of the network, but it’s not a great look for all involved.

Wasserman’s highly successful and generally well-regarded agency is still collecting USGA consulting checks as the engineer of the deal, but I can’t imagine his word in the golf world carries the weight it once did given Fox’s failure to deliver the USGA to the promised land of increased prominence and Masters-level ratings dreamed of by Nager.

The U.S. Open became golf’s lowest rated major in 2018.

Furthermore, Fox Sports 1 has not provided what was predicted by Hirshland in the Sirak story, and the organization has consolidated its exposure to a smaller audience. Maybe the documentaries portion is true:

"Financials are absolutely important, but that was not the only factor," says Hirshland, neither confirming nor denying the monetary terms of the deal. "First, we get the opportunity to expand our exposure and tell our story to a broader audience. We also get the opportunity to create some distinctiveness about the role we play in the game through ancillary programming like previews of major events, wrap-ups of lesser events and documentaries that use our archival material."

While Fox Sports 1 has finally stabilized in terms of programming, ratings and vision for the future, this AP story by Joe Reedy today mentions many things, but no plans to expand its place in golf.

Which brings us back to those who have devoted their lives to the sport serving the USGA and have institutional knowledge to share, but now face early retirement: if the Fox money and massive revenues of the U.S. Open—plus nearly $500 million in the bank according to the latest tax filings—are not enough to keep the USGA from needing to downsize, then where is the money going? What has happened?

Sadly, the folks who made the decisions possibly leading to this day have all moved on to other jobs while many of the folks they left behind are giving up theirs. It’s hard to see how this could possibly be good for the good of the game.

Sue Nyhus Has Qualified For Every USGA Championship She's Been Eligible For

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Beth Ann Nichols tells the story of a very unusual and pretty incredible feat by Sue Nyhus, having qualified for eight different USGA championships now after adding the U.S. Senior Women’s Open to her resume.

What a grand statement about longevity, devotion to the game and consistency of skill. Way to go Sue.

Oh, and it sounds like the qualifying for that most recent effort was a real test of that devotion!

Wells Fargo Extends For Five Years Except When Quail Hollow Hosts The Presidents Cup, Reminding Us Of News We'd Tried To Forget

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Congrats to all for extending Wells Fargo’s sponsorship of the Charlotte stop at Quail Hollow, the oft-remodeled and over-extended design that was probably once very charming.

In 2021, when Quail lulls us to sleep during the Presidents Cup, the Wells Fargo will go north to the TPC Potomac outside Washington D.C. where players will experience “Scottish style bunkering”.

Also note this extension takes Quail Hollow through 2024 as host of the Wells Fargo. Remarkably, the club is believed to be a candidate for the 2026 PGA Championship as well. Currently that date is open, which is saying something given that almost all PGA dates have been filled or penciled in until 2031.

Wells Fargo Extends Sponsorship of Wells Fargo Championship by Five Years
Quail Hollow Club remains host site of prestigious event in Charlotte 

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – April 30, 2019 – Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), the PGA TOUR and tournament host organization Champions for Education announced today that Wells Fargo has extended its sponsorship of the Wells Fargo Championship through 2024 after signing a five-year extension. The announcement was made today by leaders from Wells Fargo, the PGA TOUR and Champions for Education.

Quail Hollow Club, home to the Wells Fargo Championship since its PGA TOUR debut in 2003, will continue to host the event.

“Since 2003, the Wells Fargo Championship has established itself as a premier event in the sports-rich city of Charlotte, with a supportive fan base, outstanding host venue and highly engaged title sponsor,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “It also continues to impact the community through the charitable efforts of Champions for Education, for which Wells Fargo has played a major role. The Wells Fargo Championship is a favorite stop among our players, and we are excited to announce that this relationship will continue for an additional five years.”

The 2018 Wells Fargo Championship generated more than $1.5 million for Charlotte-area charitable organizations, raising the tournament’s all-time total to $22 million.

“The Wells Fargo Championship is one of the most engaging expressions of our brand, and we’re thrilled to continue to delight golf fans, Wells Fargo team members, PGA TOUR players and the greater Charlotte community with our sponsorship of this event,” said Jamie Moldafsky, Chief Marketing Officer of Wells Fargo. “We’re especially proud of the positive impact we are able to generate in the greater Charlotte community in support of organizations including the Championship’s three primary beneficiaries: The First Tee of Greater CharlotteLevine Children’s Hospital and Teach for America.”

Jason Day returns as defending champion, winning last year by two strokes over Aaron Wise and Nick Watney. It was his 12th career PGA TOUR victory.

“The Wells Fargo Championship is an important part of the fabric of the community and today’s announcement allows us to continue to support our charitable efforts,” said Wells Fargo Championship Tournament Director Gary Sobba. “It is also an exciting time for our 2,300 volunteers—many of whom are Wells Fargo team members. We are fortunate that our tournament has become a popular spring tradition for PGA TOUR players, our partners and fans throughout the Carolinas.”

Quail Hollow Club President Johnny Harris said, “Today’s announcement is special for Quail Hollow Club members and staff. From the beginning, our goal was to create an exciting environment for the players, patrons, and partners as we gather to celebrate the game of golf and incorporate the tremendous support of the community. We are so honored by the success of this annual event and are grateful for all who have helped us along the way. We have been fortunate to host the best players in the world and are looking forward to welcoming them back for years to come.”

Because of the Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Club in 2021, the event will move for one year to TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm in Washington, D.C. Known for its natural rolling terrain and Scottish-style bunkering, this well-regarded venue has played host to past PGA TOUR events.

MyGolfSpy's Comprehensive Ball Testing Shows 17.43 Yard Difference Between The Longest And Shortest Performing Golf Balls On The Market

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The gang at MyGolfSpy has undertaken an extensive testing study of all major golf balls on the market and boy is it one Hot List!

The same folks who elevated the Kirkland ball from Costco to cult status still say that’s a nice value, but the Snell MTB-X appears to be the new MyGolfSpy hero of the golf ball world while Callaway’s Chrome Soft ball landed on the list as the shortest flying ball in their testing, 17 yards behind the Snell.

So much for the statement that all of these balls are just about the same these days. Their key conclusions:

  • Driver Distance (115 MPH): The average carry distance between the shortest and the longest ball in our test is 17.43 yards.

  • Driver Distance (85 MPH): The average carry distance between the shortest and the longest ball in our test is 7.6 yards.

  • Wedge Spin: There is an average of 1425 RPM difference from highest spinning to the lowest spinning ball in our test.

If that is not enough to convince you, consider this; at the fastest speed tested, the distance between the longest single ball and the shortest in the test was an astonishing 38.77 yards. For most golfers, that’s a 3+ clubs difference.

The ball that rolled back the ball! Without trying. Intentionally.

A few of their other Tweets that will undoubtedly have the industry buzzing:

They will be discussing their results on May 1 via YouTube:

Jason Day's Ball Speed Drops 13 MPH Using The Original Taylor Made Metal Wood

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Nice bit of data posted here by Golf.com’s Luke Kerr-Dineen of Jason Day on the Quail Hollow range after the Aussie hit the original Taylor Made driver.

Day’s current 2019 PGA Tour ball speed average is 177.2. His clubhead speed average is 118 mph, but in a follow up Tweet posted a screen shot showing a 111 clubhead speed with the much smaller head (275cc?).

No word on how Athleticism and Agronomy are feeling right now after a simple change in driver head size ate into the huge advantages they’ve given today’s players.

Sports Illustrated May Become A Licensing Play For Greg Norman To Give Golf Tips, Among Other Awful Ideas

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That is a bleak assessment of Jean Palmieri’s WWD report on Authentic Brands Group’s pursuit of Sports Illustrated, which will likely die as a print publication and become “primarily a licensing and digital play.”

Even if they tried to resuscitate the brand, this should kill it:

According to sources, the print magazine would continue to be published for at least the next two years as ABG works to capitalize on its content to extend the brand’s reach into a number of sports-related businesses. That could include everything from camps for kids to sports rehabilitation clinics, sources said.

AGB owns 50 brands, 45 percent of which are in the fashion space, and is the world’s fourth-largest licensing company. It has $9.3 billion in annual retail sales. Among its sports-affiliated brands are Greg Norman, Shaquille O’Neal, Muhammad Ali, Prince, Spyder, Volcom, Hind, Above the Rim and Julius Erving.

One source close to the company said a Sports Illustrated site could potentially include golf tips from Norman or basketball strategy ideas from O’Neal. “This would be very different from just making Sports Illustrated jackets,” the source said. “That’s not the business they’re going into.”

While it’s a sad state of affairs, at least think of the comedy in imagining someone on the business side thinking this is a good idea.