Portrush's 1951 Open Championship: So Much To Savor In Reading About Max Faulkner's Win

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Carve out a few minutes to read John Fischer’s look back at Max Faulkner and the 1951 Open win at Royal Portrush. Fischer covers so much of note about a fascinating character from the past who was rightlyfully remembered as an eccentric who lived an extraordinary existence.

Here is just one of many tidbits of note:

Faulkner had a major weakness: putting. His idol, Locke, seemed to make every putt, but Faulkner missed too many, and he continually changed putters, sometimes even making his own. His most unusual putter had a shaft made from a billiard cue and a head made from a piece of driftwood that Faulkner had found on the beach. He got good press about the odd putter, but it wasn’t that often in his bag.

Here is the official Open site’s write-up of the ‘51 event where hometown man Fred Daly was the favorite son.

There is also this cartoon—yes—recreating the greatest shot final round playing partner Frank Stranahan had ever seen, documented in Fisher’s piece.

Peter Alliss on Faulkner and the 1951 Open. He’s a bit more frail and yet as elegant as ever.

And the old film:

Reminder: "Tom At Turnberry" Doc Debuts At 9 PM ET

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It’s been a decade since a true geezer almost pulled off the unthinkable: winning The Open at 59. I get goosebumps still thinking of how close Tom Watson came to winning at Turnberry, and how silly the Golf Gods were to let him come so close without winning.

Anyway, Golf Channel’s GolfFilms division has produced an hour documentary looking back with all sorts of fun cameos from Watson to playing partner Mat Goggin.

The full description and a trailer is embedded below.

GOLF FILMS’ TOM AT TURNBERRY PREMIERES 

MONDAY, JULY 8 AT 9 P.M. ET ON GOLF CHANNEL

Film to Commemorate 10-Year Anniversary of One of the Most Improbable

Moments in Recent Sports Memory in Tom Watson’s Near Victory at 2009 Open 

ORLANDO, Fla. (July 2, 2019) – On Monday (July 8) at 9 p.m. ET, GOLF Channel will debut its next GOLF Films project, Tom at Turnberry, commemorating the 10-year anniversary of Tom Watson’s inconceivable run (at age 59) at winning The 2009 Open. In one of the most improbable sports moments in recent memory, the film – featuring commentary from Watson along with other key individuals from the week – will detail the circumstances that led to a magical week that no one could have anticipated. 

The film also weaves in flashbacks to Watson’s moments of triumph from his wins at The Open during the peak of his career, earning the “Champion Golfer of the Year” distinction a remarkable five times in the span of nine years (1975-’83). It also touches on Watson’s relationship with links golf, which he initially loathed early in his career for its penal nature, and later learned to embrace and ultimately thrive in. Tom at Turnberry is produced for GOLF Films by 13-time Emmy Award winner Israel DeHerrera and Emmy-Award winning producer Erik Rozentals. 

“We live in a day where we feel like we have to compare everything. There’s

nothing that compares to this. It stands on its own merits.” – Mike Tirico 

THE ULTIMATE LONGSHOT: Despite having won The Open on five previous occasions, Watson was unmistakably a longshot to be in contention – let alone win – in 2009, as the oldest man in the field who was less than a year removed from having his hip replaced. Yet despite the odds stacked against him, Watson (26 years removed from his last victory at The Open) casually alluded to the notion of wrapping his arms around the Claret Jug for the sixth time during his pre-tournament press conference saying, “Now that’d be a story, wouldn’t it?” 

While it isn’t plausible that anyone would have predicted Watson’s fate, in many respects, the stars for the World Golf Hall of Fame member were aligned. His vast experience competing on links golf venues offered an advantage on a field that included only 21 players that competed in the most recent Open at Turnberry in 1994. Watson also was returning to the site of the most-celebrated of his five Open titles, where he masterfully outlasted Jack Nicklaus in The 1977 Open in what is famously known as the “Duel in the Sun”. Above all, early in the week Watson implemented a slight change to his shoulder positioning with his putter that helped him hit putts more solidly. It led to Watson mentioning to his wife on the eve of the opening round that “he could win this tournament.” 

“If Arnold [Palmer] put The Open back on the map, Tom [Watson] really was the

person who took it into the living rooms of America.” – Ron Sirak, Golf Writer

 TURNING BACK THE CLOCK: Thursday’s opening round saw Watson take advantage of calm conditions that were ideal for scoring, with an opening round 65 (5-under) that put him in a tie for second place. Beginning Friday’s second round at 5-over par through 7 holes, it looked as though Watson might fall out of contention, but he rallied to finish even-par for the round, and was tied for the lead going into Saturday. 

Watson’s third round (1-over par, 71), put him in position to enter Sunday’s final round as the solo leader at 4-under for the week, as Saturday saw only five players with an under-par round. In the film, Neil Oxman (Watson’s caddie for the week) speaks to Watson’s self-contained nature helping him to stay in contention, essentially blocking the outside noise and the magnitude of what he was attempting to accomplish by ignoring the totality of the situation. 

“THIS AIN’T A FUNERAL YOU KNOW”: Watson’s two bogeys through 3 holes on Sunday helped contribute to five different men holding at least a share of the lead at one point during the final round. However, when Watson birdied the 17th hole, he walked to the tee on the 72nd hole with a one-shot lead, needing only a par to shatter the record as the oldest major champion ever. 

Following an ideal drive in the fairway, Watson’s 8-iron rolled over the green and when he failed to get up-and-down, his bogey led to a four-hole playoff that Stewart Cink went on to win. In trying to make light of the situation during a post-round press center visit, Watson declared, “This ain’t a funeral you know,” in acknowledging the disappointment of coming up just short of the historic victory. “It would have been a hell of a story, wouldn’t it?”

Q&A With Paul McGinley, Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Host

In recent years we’ve celebrated many venue selections that defied common wisdom about who could host a modern pro golf tournament. From Gullane to Castle Stuart to even places like Detroit Golf Club last week, the game has visited some pretty special spots.

Other than the Old Course, I can’t imagine there is a more unusual golf course in tournament golf history to host than this week’s Irish Open venue, Lahinch Golf Club.

Paul McGinley is the longtime European Tour player and former Ryder Cup captain who will host this week. As a traditionalist and lover of all things Ireland, he’ll be the perfect ambassador. He explains how the idea came about, what will happen to the goats and how he anticipates the blind par-3 Dell will work thanks to an innovative setup.

GS: How did Lahinch’s selection happen?

Paul McGinley: In the South of Ireland, we've always played Lahinch historically. So we're all very familiar with it and we’ve all won around there. The irony is, the only guy of all the Irish guys on tour, other than [Shane] Lowry, that hasn't won there is Rory. All the rest of us have won around Lahinch. So we're all very familiar with it growing up. And the second thing is, everybody seems to love Lahinch.  The fact that the 18th and the golf course goes right up to town, with the town nestling around it, and you’ve got the ocean framing the other side. So when I was asked to host by Rory, I went away and I thought okay, now where are we going to go what venue are we going to? Knowing that The Open was going to be at Portrush and knowing that the commercial market as well as the spectator market was going to be very much gravitated to the south while the top half of the country gravitated towards the Open Championship, we started looking around at potential venues and I thought, “you know what, the one outstanding one here is Lahinch.”

It haven't been held before and I think that's a golf course certainly worthy of hosting. We could make it a par 70, instead of 72, and then the other box that we ticked is of course the people of Lahinch. And there's three people there that I’ve known very well for a long period of time, Padraig Slattery former captain who was very successful in the PR world, John Gleeson who is a retired oil trader and very successful, and Paddy Keane who is the director of golf there.  

I've known these guys personnel for a number of years and I thought, wow, the personnel, combined with the golf course, combined with the opening of the new commercial market, is a package that I believe would work best. Then it was a question of presenting that to the European Tour and the sponsors, Dubai Duty Free, and I became convinced that this is the right place. 

GS: Is there anything comparable that you can think of in terms of design that professional golf has visited in the modern era?

PM: That's a good question, I mean it's old, it's historic and it’s fun.  I always loved Castle Stuart as a Scottish Open venue even though I know it's a modern style golf course,. And I'm a great believer that difficult doesn't mean great.  Lahinch is not the most difficult golf course,  but it's a really fun golf course to play. And that for me is the most important thing. It's a bit like Prestwick, I have to say. In Ireland we refer to it sometimes as the St. Andrews of Ireland. It's quirky in some ways. And then you put in the fact that it's always in great condition and you get quality people down there that will ensure putting on a really good show.

GS: Have you talked to players much about what to expect in terms of holes teeing off across other holes, the Dell and other design elements like that? 

PM: I’m wearing many hats so I’ve put on my players cap and tried to imagine how are player's going to react and how are they going to feel, so the condition of the golf course is important in terms of keeping a close eye and communicating with the R&A as to what they're doing up in Portrush last week. Fairway widths, rough height, green speeds, how the bunkers are going to be raked, the firmness of the greens, really all the things that they’re doing. I'm trying to mirror those down at Lahinch so the players get a really good brief going into Portrush.

GS: So you’ll be involved in the day-to-day golf course set up as well?

PM:  I've overseen it with Miguel Vidaor, who is one of our best tournament directors, of the European Tour. Miguel and I have been keeping an eye on what the R&A have been doing at Portrush. Not that what we’ll do is an exact copy because obviously hole designs are different. But particularly in terms of green speed, we’re trying to mirror it. But I also don’t want to break the guys’ back. I don't want a level par or two or three or four under par winning. I expect a winning score hopefully between ten and fifteen on the par with good weather conditions. If the weather conditions are poor it'll be five to ten under par. That's really good prep in my mind for the guys who are going on to play the Open two weeks later. And also would provide a great champion on a true links course with the really good quality field that we have.  

GS: Will you be camping out at the Dell to see who the guys deal with a hole unlike anything they’ve played in the world of golf?

PM: I've been a bit worried about that, and I’ve been thinking a long time about what are we going to do with the Dell. How am I going to convince the players that this is not a bad idea?  A par-3 where you hit over a stone on top of a hill to a green that is about eight yards wide. So what we've done is with the European Tour’s ok, is rent the house behind the tee box. And there's a huge big front garden where we've put a grandstand in there and to the right of the tee box we've put a huge big TV screen.

So as the players hit the shot, they’l see the ball taking off and their heads will then move to their right hand side, they'd be looking away from where the ball is. The ball will be tracked by a TV camera as it goes over the hill and whether it’s on the green or not. So if they have a hole in one they will know before they leave the tee that it's been a hole in one. So it's just creating a little bit of showbiz around a very traditional hole in the golf course, and also taking away a little bit of the edge of the criticism they might have.

GS: Last thing, will the famous goats roaming the property be present during the tournament?

PM: Unfortunately not. With twenty 25,000 people a day out there and hopefully sellout crowds, their safety would be in question. It would have been nice to have them and we inquired about that, even maybe corralling them just to have them there, but the animal rights groups said no, lets not go there with the crowds. Because if something were to happen it would be a travesty.

GS: And the town will play a major role in the week?

PM: It’s a town and golf course everyone loves. It’s your favorite aunt. And more than anything I wanted to unite the two of them and make it a fun festival for families. Sure, there’s going be a few pubs and the lads like to drink, but there's also going to be lots of fun activities to make it a family day out. The local council have been great, as have the local police in terms of one way systems around the town these small quirky Irish roads. The local council have agreed to close down the town each evening from four o'clock to eleven o'clock for pedestrians only, so you can walk to town where there’ll be a stage with Irish music and food outlets on the street, face painters for the kids and just a real festival with golf being in the middle of it all.

A preview Tweet on the Dell, playing as the 5th this week:

And one more photo…

Nine Things To Know About Detroit Golf Club...

Not a Five Families meeting…

Not a Five Families meeting…

Fine research and listicle-ish reporting from Ben Everill at PGATour.com to get you in the mood for this week’s new PGA Tour stop at Detroit Golf Club, with its fine history and relatively unknown place in the game.

This one blew my mind…

Due to World War II, the Ryder Cup was put on hold. But before the 1939 matches were officially cancelled, most of the U.S. team captained by Walter Hagen had been selected. Gene Sarazen, a member of Hagen’s first six Ryder Cup teams, was not on the list, and he took it as a slight. Hagen said his team could not be beaten; Sarazen said he could pick other golfers who could beat Hagen’s crew. The challenge was accepted and the two “teams” of Americans played a series of matches for charity. The first one, in 1940, was at Oakland Hills, with Hagen’s team (that included Byron Nelson and Sam Snead) winning.

In 1941, the challenge matches were held at Detroit Golf Club. Sarazen was determined to beat Hagen, and so he called in a “ringer,” managing to coax 39-year-old Bobby Jones out of retirement.

Who knew!

Q&A With Israel DeHerrera On Hogan The Documentary

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Debuting Monday and Tuesday June 17-19 at 9 pm ET, Golf Films looks at the life and legend of Ben Hogan.

With limited commercial interruption thanks to sponsor Charles SchwabHogan is narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor Kyle Chandler, and produced for 13-time Emmy Award winner Israel DeHerrera. He answered some questions about how the film came together.

GS: Let’s talk genesis of this film. How long has this been in the works and what was the goal in tackling such a complicated figure?

ID: Was sitting around wondering what was going to be next and was nosing around on YouTube and found an interview Hogan did with Ken Venturi at the 1983 Colonial. It was only about 12 minutes long, but I was immediately transfixed. He spoke in a staccato tone that had me hanging on every word. So I dug deeper and read Curt Sampson's biography. I read it cover to cover in two days and knew that we really needed to try and bring this story into a visual documentary form.

The film has been two years in the making but that coincides with the release of two other films that debuted last year and five others that are currently in production.

GS: When did your fascination with Hogan begin?

ID: When I saw the Commercials for Hogan apex irons in the early 1990's. Seeing Hogan in that yellow sweater at Riviera taking full swings was just mystical.

Q: What is your best interview get and person you most wished you could have interviewed and did not?

ID: Best interview was Curt Sampson. He was our Shelby Foote. We also sat down with Ben's niece Jacque Hogan. It was pretty cool to get a first person account of the accident and the recovery as well as the Hogan family history

Person I wished I could of interviewed is pretty easy…Hogan!

Q: Craziest place or effort made to research Hogan?

ID: We went everywhere: Dublin, Texas, Glen Garden G.C, Shady Oaks, Colonial, Riviera
Carnoustie Scotland, Merion GC, Cherry Hills, et cetera.

But finding the Hogan collectors was HUGE. John Seidenstein of Fort Worth and Mark Baron of San Diego are Hogan freaks. They both have massive collections and exhibits in their homes dedicated to Hogan. We are always looking to add additional layers and give these films a present day feel and this really helped

Q: There are reenactments in the film. Tell us what goes into the thinking on those and is there consternation given in using them given how strong the visuals and storytelling is with a subject like Hogan?

ID: This was a difficult decision. There simply was not enough footage of Hogan's career to be able to tell the story we wanted to tell so we decided to do re-enactments. We found Christo Garcia who spent five years of his life dedicating himself to copying Hogan's swing. We wanted to be as genuine as possible so we flew him to Shady Oaks for a shoot and to Merion to shoot there on the East Course. That said, I was very conscious of that fact that having someone trying to replicate Hogan’s swing was sacrilegious, so we only tried to use tight shots of hands, legs, shoulders etc. We tried to avoid showing an entire full swing.

Hogan’s childhood was another reason we needed to do re-creations. There are only of handful of photos of Ben during his childhood. I am very happy with how these turned out. We spent many hours casting, blocking, searching for the proper locations, actors, props etc. and I think it shows during the childhood scenes and the famous caddie tournament he played against Byron Nelson at Glen Garden. We also rented out an old house in LA to shoot his re-creations of his recovery from the accident.

GS: : Thing that most surprised you about Hogan in your research?

ID: I have to give credit to Curt Sampson here. He really did all the heavy lifting in terms of research and brought Hogan to life for a generation of fans when he released his biography in the late 1990’s. Our goal was to do the best possible job in bringing him to life in a visual documentary form that will hopefully engage and give birth to a whole new audience.

I was just surprised at how difficult this man’s life really was. I knew a little bit about Hogan but not everything. Charles Dickens and Oliver Twist had it easy compared to this guy. He is just an amazing story of perseverance.

A Word About Willie Anderson While We Have The Excuse To Revisit His Three U.S. Open Wins In-A-Row

As Brooks Koepka prepares to tee off and pursue the incredible feat of three U.S. Open wins, Douglas Seaton gives us an excuse to revisit the short life and times of four-time U.S. Open winner Wilie Anderson.

North Berwick born and raised until his family emigrated to America. He was most famous for telling the Myopia members to stick their kitchen-dining plan for the pros:

At the 1901 US. Open played at Myopia Hunt Club near Boston, Massachusetts, Willie and Alex Smith posted a 72-hole score of 331, to tie the tournament. In the first 18-hole play-off in Open history, Anderson won by one stroke, 85-86. At that championship, the American media picked up on Anderson's quote when he growled " No, we're no goin tae eat in the kitchen." Willie was furious when told the professionals could not enter the clubhouse. The players were eventually allowed to eat in a specially erected tent.

Anderson is in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Rory On The U.S. Open Champions Dinner, Checking Out Golf's Most Historic Artifacts

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The Forecaddie tells the fun story of the USGA’s amateur and former champions dinners held this week.

Sounds like quite a swell night. At least based on the incredible photos by the USGA team.

Rory McIlroy’s comments from his Wednesday press conference:

Q. You mentioned a couple of times, can you talk a little about what the dynamic was like at the Champions dinner last night? You don't do it every year. Who else did you have interesting conversations with?

RORY MCILROY: It was awesome. 33 of the 36 living U.S. Open champions. We had a great table. It was Erica and myself; Jordan and his wife, Annie; and Brooks and his partner, Jena. It was just the six of us at a table. And it was really cool. I don't know, even just the stories that we were telling. We were obviously the young table (laughter). We must have stayed about an hour and a half after everyone else had left. We shut the place down, just chatting, and it was really, really cool.

But then talking to Lee Trevino about the Ryder Cup in Walton Heath and it was like '81, and Jerry Pate came into the story, and they played together in the foursomes and they beat Faldo and Sam Torrance. Yeah, just really cool.

And then there was some artifacts from the USGA Museum, Hogan's 1-iron from Merion. The golf ball Bobby Jones won the Grand Slam with. Arnold Palmer's visor that he threw up in the air at Cherry Hills. I'm a golf geek, and I love the traditions and history of the game. And that is so cool.

I sort of walked away from that dinner wishing that they did it every year. But I think it is so special that we do it every five or six years, and you look at that picture. Gary Player stood up and made a great speech about how he came here to the United States with no money. He won, I think -- he won the U.S. Open, it was $5,000 or something. And that was a huge deal back then.

Just how the game has changed and evolved. It just made me really appreciate being a part of that club that have won the U.S. Open. It was a really cool thing. And looking forward to being able to do it for years to come.

Getting In The Mood: 1982 U.S. Open Film, My US Open With Watson

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The cheese factor is high, with a strong late 70s influence in hair, music and kitsch factor, which makes this 1982 U.S. Open film so much fun. It has a happy ending too. And how about PSA for the member’s program!

And here’s a great fast-forward to the present day with Watson talking about ‘82 with highlights.

Mark Broadie's New Scoring Volatility Measure And Tiger's 2000 Season In Perspective

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Strokes Gained founder Mark Broadie has developed another stat called scoring volatility and introduces it at Golf.com.

Now, you may say this one tells us what we already knew: some people make a lot of pars and play steady, boring golf. Like Ryan Moore and Billy Horschel, two recent leaders in non-volatility. Others make plenty of birdies and plenty of bogies.

But as with Strokes Gained, Broadie’s managed to craft a statistic allowing us as fans to put the magnificence of a performance into perspective, while also highlighting what may or may not be holding someone back.

So Broadie went back to Tiger’s epic 2000 season and made some amazing calculations. Certainly read the piece for full context, but this is amazing in terms of putting the greatness of a season-long performance into perspective:

That season, Woods made bogey or worse on a mere eight percent of the holes he played. (The PGA Tour average was 19 percent that season.) Tiger also comes out on top on the birdie side of the ledger—again during the 2000 season—where he won nine events, including three majors.

That year, Woods scored birdie or better at an astounding 32 percent clip, 12 percentage points higher than the Tour average.

Rethinking The Mainstream Golf Vocabulary: Bamberger Is Coming After One-Shotter And Penalty Area

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The former I’ll fight for, the latter is on its own.

Michael Bamberger files a fun consideration of certain golf terms in light of rule book changes along with the desire to shed golf of stuff terms.

Penalty area has been a colossal mistake that needs to be replaced by hazard. Does anyone disagree?

But as a repeated user of one, two and three-shotter, I have to defend those. They’ve been around for a long time, were used by all of the great architects in their writings, and even highlight the silliness of chasing distance (since there are about six legit three-shotters left).

Yes, a par 5. Not a 5 par. Blech. Also grating is three-shotter, two-shotter and one-shotter. And who needs the new penalty area when hazard conveyed it all? As Strunk & White say in Elements of Style, “Be clear.” That doesn’t mean be literal. Golf requires a measure of irony, which is why any body of water, including a gunky Ohio pond on a pitch-shot par 3, may be referred to as a lake. Here are the exceptions that prove the rule: the ocean to the left of 18 at Pebble and the burn crossing the first on the Old Course. Show some respect: Swilcan Burn is not a lake.

I also have to quibble with a few here. A double cross isn’t pretentious, it’s just painful.

These terms are pretentious and should be avoided: hole location, green complex, signature hole, double cross, overseeding, C.O.R., learning center, practice tee, links-style, second-shot course, Championship Course.

Hogan Documentary Coming To Golf Channel June 17 And 18

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Producer Israel DeHerrera kindly let me screen parts of Hogan knowing my affinity for all things Ben Hogan and research into the Hawk’s Los Angeles years. All I can say: it’s the film you hoped would be delivered on Hogan’s incredible life and times.

For Immediate Release (with two other sneak previews at this link):

Hogan: Monday-Tuesday, June 17-18, 9 p.m. ET

Hogan (trailer), a two-part biopic on 64-time PGA TOUR winner Ben Hogan chronicles one of the greatest comeback stories in sports history, reflecting on the Texan’s indelible impact on professional golf in spite of a near-fatal automobile accident that put the prime years of his career in serious jeopardy. Coming from humble beginnings, the film examines Hogan’s incredible journey to becoming one of the greatest golfers of all-time, serving as the inspiration for the 1951 motion picture “Follow the Sun”. Being presented with limited commercial interruption by Charles Schwab, Hogan’s two parts – Monday night’s “Perseverance” and Tuesday night’s “Perfection” – will be narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor Kyle Chandler, and be produced for GOLF Films by 13-time Emmy Award winner Israel DeHerrera.

A Refresher On Ben Hogan's Comeback And Where Tiger's Ranks

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The dust is settling on Tiger’s 2019 Masters win but the proclamations of greatest comeback in sports history are still rolling in. It’s tempting to want to put a stop to some of it but then that would be dulling the necessary excitement and respect for what Tiger has accomplished.

ESPN.com’s Rachel Marcus listed the best individual comebacks in sports, omitting Ben Hogan and overall helping to make the case for both Hogan and Woods since their efforts stand out. This guy nailed it last year speaking about Hogan:

“I think that one of the greatest comebacks in all of sport is the gentleman who won here, Mr Ben Hogan. I mean, he got hit by a bus and came back and won major championships,” he said.

“The pain he had to endure, the things he had to do just to play and just how hard it was for him to walk, and he ended up walking 36 holes (in one day) and winning a US Open.”

That was Tiger Woods speaking at the 2018 Masters.

There are few similarities between the two comebacks and yet they are equally impressive given that Hogan was near death and Tiger had appeared to lose all confidence in his game for longer period than any all-time great. Only maybe Seabiscuit appeared to lose it all before regaining elite form.

Still, Hogan has to get the nod for having played no role in his need to stage a comeback in the first place. Tiger, by his own admission, inflicted some of his pain.

Golf Monthly’s Nick Bonfield filed this excellent look back at Hogan’s plight and what he overcame to win six majors after he was hit by a bus and forever hobbled by the accident.

Again, it does not diminish Tiger’s feat but it’s worth reading up on if you are not familiar with Hogan’s comeback.

The Death Of Hazard, All Square, Dormie And Halve Not Sitting Well

Last week’s match play and next week’s Masters prompted a couple of pieces worth your time on the changing language in the game. While everyone was for simplifying the rules, increasingly folks are not warming up to the idea of simplifying the language of golf. Particularly since so many golf terms are part of the every day lexicon.

For example, to be living under par suggests you aren’t feeling well. But I digress.

David Normoyle in a special to Golfweek expresses his dismay at the death of the hazard and the timeless word now replaced with penalty area.

Personally, I’m not looking forward this April to the first time a player takes on the corner of the 13th hole at Augusta National, with its famous tributary lying in wait to capture the carelessly played shot, only to have the television commentator suggest the fate of the Masters may hinge on whether the ball finds the meandering “penalty area” to the left of the fairway or not.

What would Herbert Warren Wind say about his beloved Amen Corner being defined each year not by the players who fell victim to the confounding hazard that is Rae’s Creek but rather those who cautiously negotiated the yellow penalty areas on their way to victory?

Golfweek’s Alistair Tait points out that during the Sky broadcast of the Dell Match Play, the announce team did not acknowledge the preferred new match play terminology. As Tait writes, “he language of golf is part of its allure” and with a history of some words dating back to Mary Queen of Scots’ day—caddie for instance, some are not ready to say goodbye to several terms.

Sadly, there is no mention of all-square in the new rule book. It’s been quietly deleted in the supposed attempt to make the game more accessible to new players. Maybe the governing bodies think the game’s going to become populated by morons incapable of understanding simple terms like all-square and halved.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that wonderful, unique to golf term “dormie” is edited out of the next edition of the rule book even though it’s been in existence since Mary Queen of Scots pondered the benefits of an overlapping grip over a ten-finger one.

Auctions! Jeff Ellis Puts Up Some Incredible Old Clubs; Another First Masters Program Also On The Market

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Renowned historian and collector Jeff Ellis has some amazing stuff up for auction at his site. The current gallery that includes some incredible early clubs.

And Roxanna Scott notes that bids can start at $5000 for a First Augusta National Invitational program, a fantastic publication that has been reproduced and even had a poster made by the Masters out of its cover.

Southern Pines' Little Nine: "Fallow Ground & Fertile Memories"

The abandoned “LIttle Nine” is on the right

The abandoned “LIttle Nine” is on the right

Bill Fields takes an in-depth look at one of the more unusual battles over an abandoned golf course—the Little Nine of Southern Pines Golf Club, a still wonderful but defaced Donald Ross gem in greater Pinehurst run by the Elks Lodge. The course has sat dormant since 2004 with Ross ties and facing a possible sale by the Elks in the heart of Southern Pines.

But as Fields notes, a conservancy is trying to prevent redevelopment with an eye on green space or even golf returning some day. Given the quality of the land and the game’s popularity in the area, that shouldn’t be tough, right?

The Little Nine opened in time for the 1924 winter season, 18 years after the first holes were constructed at SPGC (then called Southern Pines Country Club) and a decade after Ross revamped the original 18 into the well-regarded layout that exists today. 

“I’m long on record on Golf Club Atlas saying the main 18 at the Elks occupies the best land in Moore County [for golf], and people parrot that back to me in agreement,” says Ran Morrissett, founder of the website for golf architecture aficionados, and a Southern Pines resident and Elks Club member since 2000. “The detail work, the bones of the Ross routing, the fact that you only see homes on a couple of holes — it’s such a compelling environment.”

The third nine, to accommodate a growing tourist business, was built south and east of the clubhouse. Before the 1920s were over, it had been joined by a fourth nine. In a 1930 promotional pamphlet, Ross noted 36 holes at Southern Pines. In accounts during the 1930s, local newspapers credited Ross’ engineer and draftsman, Walter Irving Johnson, with having drawn up the plans.

Video: Jim Nelford Talks 1984 Crosby, Near-Death Experience On Morning Drive

Really extraordinary stuff here from Jim Nelford as interviewed by Gary Williams and Jaime Diaz on the 35th anniversary of his loss to Hale Irwin. Some of the great footage may have been taken out due to rights issues but Nelford is all you need to hear.

The 1984 Crosby went to sudden death after Irwin’s tee shot bounced off the rocks and back on to 18 fairway. Irwin also hit a horrendous pop-up off 16 tee in the playoff and then a miraculous long iron from the bunker. You can see the 18th tee shot in this best of compilation:

The Kordas And The Amazing Winning Siblings Feat

Nelly Korda wins: some trophies are easier to kiss than others.

Nelly Korda wins: some trophies are easier to kiss than others.

We don’t want to get too far removed from the weekend’s action without pausing to consider the remarkable feat of siblings winning on the same tour.

I’m fairly certainly this is Final Golf Jeopardy material here, from Al Lunsford of the LPGA:

With her win, Nelly Korda joined her sister, five-time LPGA winner Jessica Korda, in the winner’s circle on Sunday, making the Kordas just the third set of sisters to win on the LPGA Tour in history.

Annika Sorenstam (72 wins) and Charlotta Sorenstam (one win) were the first to accomplish the feat in 2000, and were joined by Ariya Jutanugarn (10 wins) and Moriya Jutanugarn (one win) earlier this season when Moriya won the 2018 HUGEL-JTBC LA Open.

Imagine that. Two of the three pairings to have done so accomplished the feat in 2018.

Big sister Jessica was a blubbering mess after the win:

Flashback: The Last Time The USA Made Putts And Europe Didn't, 1981 Ryder Cup At Walton Heath

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In searching for some great looks at Walton Heath’s design in anticipation of this week’s British Masters, I didn’t find much. But this 1981 Ryder Cup highlight film narrated by the late, great Jim Huber will remind you of a time Americans made everything while the Europeans struggled on the greens. There is also this: Dave Marr’s USA squad had NINE future Hall of Famers and is quite possibly the best one America ever assembled.



Flashback: When They Used To Shape The Ball, Use The Ground And Hit Woods Into Par-5s!

Fantastic flashback clip from the European Tour social getting us ready for pro golf’s return to the glorious Walton Heath, host of the 2018 British Masters hosted by Justin Rose.

Lee Trevino

Video: Bobby Jones Wins The 1926 Open At Royal Lytham

There is no sound and the Claret Jug ceremony is set in the middle of the footage, but it's still fun to look at the swings, the clothes, the caddies and especially Royal Lytham & St Annes, host of this week's Women's British Open. (Here are the coverage times.)

Note the bunkering at Lytham then--more sand faced--than the sod wall, typical links style you'll see this week.