Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What to Watch on TV

Sometimes it's nice to sit back, put your feet up and watch some golf on TV, and this evening would be the perfect time to consider exactly that. Have a look at these sneak peak video previews of a few golf shows airing tonight on Golf Channel...

Big Break Greenbrier - Tuesdays 9 PM ET
Voting is now open for Big Break Greenbrier Fan Favorite: www.golfchannel.com/fanfavorite

Chasing the Dream - Tuesdays 10 PM ET

Monday, November 19, 2012

McIlroy May Lighten Load in 2013

After my post last week 'McIlroy Wins PGA Player of the Year', we thought we'd check in and see how he's handling the additional spot light attention...

Following a surprising missed cut at this week's UBS Hong Kong Open, world No. 1, Rory McIlroy hinted that a lighter schedule may be in the cards for him in 2013.

"I've probably played an extra couple tournaments too much and I have learned from the last few years," the Ulsterman explained to reporters. "That's why I'm cutting back my schedule even further from next year."

Including next week's season finale in Dubai, McIlroy will have played in 24 events this year in addition to two exhibition events - the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final and the Duel at Jinsha Lake with Tiger Woods. Last year, he played in 22 events as well as four exhibitions.

"I now look back over the last couple years and wonder why did I stretch myself so much," he added.

Having wrapped up the Race to Dubai title with a third-place finish at last week's Barclays Singapore Open, McIlroy explained that a dip in on-course performance may have been inevitable.

"When you achieve something that you want to achieve so bad, like the Race to Dubai, there is a letdown considering there are still two events remaining," he told media members.

As the 2012 season winds down - one in which he won a major, ascended to the top of the OWGR and captured the money titles on both the PGA and European Tours - McIlroy notes that this year may have taken a larger toll than he anticipated.

"I'm not sure if the energy in trying to sew up the Race to Dubai and competing in the FedEx Cup has taken more out of me than maybe I thought," McIlroy commented. "Because while I am feeling OK physically, mentally I feel really tired."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

McIlroy Wins PGA Player of the Year

In what seems likely to be his first of several year-end awards, Rory McIlroy was named the PGA of America Player of the Year and Vardon Trophy winner on Monday.

The 23-year-old Northern Irishman won his first Player of the Year award by finishing with 100 points, while Tiger Woods, a three-time winner in 2012, was runner-up with 66 points.

McIlroy’s adjusted scoring average was 68.87, based on the 60-round minimum. Woods, however, was ineligible for the award after withdrawing during the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on March 11. The incomplete round resulted in a .10 penalty, bumping his adjusted scoring average from 68.90 to 69.

Woods is the all-time leader in season-ending awards, having won 10 PGA Player of the Year awards and eight Vardon Trophies since 1997.

Other season-ending awards still be announced include the Arnold Palmer (leading money winner) and Byron Nelson (lowest adjusted scoring average) awards.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Youngest Player Ever Qualifies for 2013 Masters

Chinese teen sensation Tianlang Guan made history Sunday by capturing the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and an invitation to the Masters in the process.

Guan, 14, fired a 1-under 71 Sunday at Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand, to finish the event at 15-under 273 and hang on for a one-stroke victory. The youngest player in this week's field, Guan completed a wire-to-wire victory and will become the youngest competitor in the history of The Masters.

Guan will be 14 years, five months and 17 days when he tees it up at Augusta National next April. The previous record was established by Matteo Manassero in 2010, when the 16-year-old earned an invitation after winning the British Amateur Championship in 2009.

"I'm excited. I'm really happy to become the youngest player at the Masters and look forward to going there," Guan said after the round. "I don't know what's going to happen there, but I know I just want to do well."

Guan began the day with a two-stroke lead and saw his advantage balloon to five during Sunday's final round. Once Pan Cheng-tsung of Chinese Taipei, the No. 2 amateur in Asia, closed with a 7-under 65, Guan's lead was trimmed to one shot as he played the final hole. After his chip rolled five feet past the hole, Guan calmly holed his par putt for the historic win.

Both Guan and Cheng-tsung will also receive a spot in International Final Qualifying for the 2013 British Open.

Australian teen Oliver Goss, who entered the final round in second place, finished in third at 12-under, three shots behind Guan. Two-time defending champion Hideki Matsuyama, Asia's top-ranked amateur, closed with a 4-under 68 to finish fourth at 10 under.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Yao Ming Tries His Hand at Golf

Ahhhh retirement ... nothing but piƱa coladas and working on your handicap. While we're not exactly sure how good former NBA superstar Yao Ming is at sipping tropical drinks, (we suspect he uses an unusually long straw) his golf game could use a little work.

Yao was playing at the World Celebrity Pro-Am in Haikou, China along with actors and celebrities like Ryan Reynolds, Michael Phelps, and Minka Kelly. Chinese actor Wang Zhiwen won the celebrity side of the event while Matt Kuchar took top honors in the professional portion.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

'Our Longest Drive' Premieres Tonight on Golf Channel

Four Golfing Buddies – One Deceased – Set Out from Chicago to the Arctic Circle for One Last Round of Golf in Series that Explores Friendship, Loss and Discovery

Six-Part Series Premieres Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 10:30 p.m. ET

“It was a living metaphor for where we were in our lives. It was traveling fifty-five-hundred miles to where the road ends … to a place where you can play golf in the endless light at midnight of the longest day. So, we had to do it.” – Vic Zast

“I think they went on this trip because they fear death. I think it was an opportunity for them to think about immortality. About, you know, can we have the longest-ever life? Mike represents what they’re facing. Mike represents what’s ahead for them. The guy in the box is going to be all of us one of these days.” – Cheri Allen, Mike’s ex-wife

“What’s funny is that it would be impossible to make this trip with Mike if he was still alive. But you know what’s ironic? Having Mike with us – the dead guy in the box – seems to be teaching us something about what it means to be alive.” – Jim Thompson

ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct, 2012) – With his ashes in tow, three Chicago golfing buddies take a journey of self-discovery to the Arctic Circle to play one last round of golf in honor of their deceased friend in a new, six-part Golf Channel series titled Our Longest Drive, premiering Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Filmed along a journey of more than 5,500 miles in an RV – traversing seven U.S. states, two Canadian provinces and two Canadian territories – Our Longest Drive follows Vic, Dan, Jim and Mike (whose ashes are along for the ride in a cherry wood box) on an adventure of a lifetime. All past retirement age, each with health issues and no previous experience traveling in an RV, it becomes apparent that these men are not ideally suited for the trek ahead. In fact, not 45 minutes into their trip, Vic needs a bathroom break and refuses to use the RV’s toilet. Nonetheless, each man shares a love of golf and for each other, and embraces a common goal to honor Mike with this journey.

Vic Zast is the ringleader of their small group, who has played golf together for more than 20 years at Westmoreland Country Club in Wilmette, Ill. Vic is an entrepreneur who is accustomed to fancy living and it’s no secret that he loves the attention – he spikes his hair with mousse and downs a tray full of heart medications with a beer chaser. He calls golf an “intoxication” and pitched the trip to his friends so they could honor Mike and play golf with him one more time. “It was much more than just a trip or an adventure. It was a way for us to connect with the game we love and with each other,” Vic said.

Jim and Dan thought Vic had a screw loose. “The guy can’t change a light bulb, and yet he wants to drive fifty-five-hundred miles to the Arctic Circle,” Dan said.

Dan Johnson is the worry-wart who obsesses over every detail, especially safety. When the group reaches the Arctic Circle and decides to have a cookout, Dan inexplicably worries about starting a forest fire in the treeless, barren tundra surrounding them. From the very start, his preoccupation is a fear of everything.

Jim Thompson is the introvert. An ex-ad man and diplomat to the core, Jim initially questions Vic about the purpose of the trip but, ultimately, discovers that purpose takes on many forms. He faces his own personal challenges along the way and, with the help of his friends, comes to grips with one of his biggest fears. “It’s not exactly your all-adventure team going to the Arctic Circle, but there we were anyway,” said Jim.

Viewers also learn about Mike Allen – the “dead guy” as they call him – as friends and relatives share remembrances about the way Mike lived his life and how he failed to cope with divorce, depression and diabetes. According to Vic, all Mike had left before he died were his friends and Saturday morning golf. The wooden box that contains his ashes – which is seen in nearly every scene – seems to become another character in the series.

Our Longest Drive joins Big Break Greenbrier (9 p.m. ET) and Chasing the Dream (10 p.m. ET), bolstering Golf Channel’s Tuesday primetime lineup of original series this fall.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

PGA Tour Season Closes

This weekend marks the end of the PGA Tour season as 30 players vie for the FedEx Title in Atlanta. The Tour Championship is played at Eastlake GC and while it is easy to pull for the standard stars in Rory McIroy, Tiger Woods or Phil Mickleson, now is a good time to show that Northwest pride in putting your hopes behind Robert Garrigus. Eastlake is always a great opportunity for anyone, but a Garrigus triumph would provide a pleasant topping to his year.

The 35-year-old Garrigus, who attended Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis and also won the 4A State Championship there, currently resides in 20th place in the chase for the FedEx Cup. Only those in the top five (McIlroy, Woods, Nick Watney, Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker) are assured the title with a win. Hence, if Garrigus should pull off the victory and being somewhat distant from the top to start the tournament, he would need some help to win the overall Cup points. If momentum counts for anything, his chances are better than most coinciding with a T-4 at the BMW Championship (last tournament played in the playoffs).  Although he finished T-71 at The Barclays and T-42 at The Deutsche Bank Championship (the other two playoff events), relatively average finishes, he did improve his position in the standings going from 31st to 20th .

With an overall scoring average of 70.61, Garrigus has six Top-10 finishes this season as compared to three in 2011. In 23 events entered (26 last season), he has compiled 11 Top-25 finishes while ending in second place three times (only once in 2011). His career appears to be on the upswing with a world ranking rolling in at number 45. Long hitters such as Tiger and Phil (twice) have won the Tour Championship. With Garrigus having an average driving distance of 310.3 yards and his first appearance at Eastlake, this bomber should fit in well on such a layout. Furthermore, with solid putting at the BMW (draining a 60 and 35 footer in the final round), he appears to getting all the pieces of the puzzle in the right place at the right time.

Every golfer looks for the landmark victory which springboards their career to newer heights. The Tour Championship, albeit the end of the season, provides the ideal venue for such an occurrence. Garrigus is in perfect position. Here’s hoping that northwest flavor kicks it up a notch and takes the title.

Short Putt: Portland native Ben Crane finished 66th in FedEx Cup points and did not qualify for the season ending Tour Championship.

Short Putt: Although Eastlake concludes the regular season, the Ryder Cup (Europe vs. USA) will be played September 28th - September 30th.

Check out other great articles at Oregon Sports News.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Zach Johnson Reflects on his Recent Win

It was an amazing feeling to raise the trophy at Colonial as Crowne Plaza Invitational champion. My game has been really strong and I've taken advantage where it's been appropriate to attack the course. This is a good time to be playing well, carrying positive momentum into the U.S. Open.

Another highlight this year has been joining GolfLogix. On the PGA Tour we are fortunate to have caddies and detailed yardage books for every course. You have a tool that's just as good, with aerial flyovers, club tracking, precise distances to the pin or other key points on a hole and the ability to write digital yardage book notes. I've really enjoyed using these tools within the coolest app in golf.

In addition to the app itself, getting to know the GolfLogix leadership and interacting with the community has been outstanding. The team in Scottsdale is smart and innovative, creating incredible technology that we all enjoy to play better golf.

I've also received generous support from many members, who have sent me Twitter messages about their GolfLogix experiences and my performance on Tour. Believe me when I say that I read them all. Thanks for your encouragement. Keep it coming!

Hope you're all in full swing with your golf seasons. If you haven't yet tried the new GolfLogix features, check them out. They'll have a positive impact on how you play.



Click here to see my entire round, hole-by-hole in the GolfLogix online community!