The Local Knowlege

News & Tours

Royal Nepal G.C. has been transformed into a refugee camp to help earthquake survivors

With thousands confirmed dead from Saturday's 7.8 magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks in Nepal, and the number likely to rise as volunteers continue rescue efforts, one of the country's few golf courses has been transformed into a refugee camp for survivors.

Royal Nepal Golf Club is nine-hole course in Kathmandu that, according to a report in The Telegraph, is now home to more than 2,000 living in tents and under tarpaulins as they attempt to figure out what comes next following the natural disaster.

loop-royal-nepal-golf-club-350.jpgAfter the initial earthquake, crowds began appearing near the course, according to its head professional, Deepak Thapa Magar. Magar said that 15 club members met and quickly decided to let displaced families stay, setting up camps in several fairways.

"These are very dangerous times," Magar told The Telegraph. "We have to help them."

Having the camp located at the course made sense, given its location adjacent to the Tribhuvan International Airport, where supplies and aid can be flow into the country. The course is also close to the main road into Kathmandu.

While the conditions in the camp are difficult, with little food and other services, living outside is better than the alternative for some. Staying inside damaged buildings comes with the risk that they might collapse from more aftershocks.

According to the Napal Golf Association, Royal Nepal was first established in 1917 by a Nepalese general, Kiran Shumshur, who saw the sport played while in Scotland. The course received its "royal" title from Napal's King Mahendra in 1965. This is not the same royal designation conferred by the British monarchy in courses in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Membership to Royal Nepal is 30,000 rupees or around $495 for the year. In better times, this was a promotional video used to market the the golf course.

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Deal of the Week: Chase The Slammer at the Homestead

It's saying something when a resort's Donald Ross-designed course isn't the most prestigious of the three on the property. That's the case at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Va., where the circa-1913 Old Course expanded by Ross from bones of the original 19th-century six-holer is a charmingly quirky understudy to the William Flynn-designed Cascades--which has played host to the U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Amateur and NCAA Men's Division I championship. 


The mountainous Cascades is one of the most challenging courses in the eastern U.S., with dramatic elevation changes, tight fairways and deep rough. The Old is a more manageable 6,200 yards, and was the favorite of presidents McKinley, Coolidge, Truman and Nixon--four of the 23 U.S. leaders who have stayed at the resort. The first tee has been in continuous use since 1892, and McKinley was the first president to play golf anywhere when he went off it in 1901. 

The rest of the resort isn't any slouch, either. Originally constructed as an 18-room lodge in 1766, the hotel now features 483 luxury rooms across its two vast brick wings, along with a first-rate spa, shooting club and the eponymous hot spring pools. Secluded deep in the Allegheny Mountains on the Virginia-West Virginia border, the Homestead does takes a bit of commitment to reach. It's four hours by car from Washington D.C. and one and half from Roanoke, the closest decent-sized airport.

You can experience it all with attractive springtime golf packages for either the Old or the Cascades (or both) for about $450 a night midweek. The Cascades Unlimited Golf Package offers unlimited golf for two on Sam Snead's old stomping grounds--Snead was a lifetime resident of the Hot Springs area. Post your score, then compare it to one of the original scorecards on the wall at Sam Snead's Tavern on the property to feel just that much more inferior to The Slammer--who shot a 60 at the Lower Cascades course in 1983, at age 71.  

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News & Tours

There's a method behind the madness of rerouting Harding Park

One glance at TPC Harding Park's rerouting is enough to make your head hurt. 

As haphazard as the rerouting seems, there's a smart method behind the madness. Hole Nos. 14-18 represent the course's toughest (and greatest) stretch. And since the majority of match-play matches end on No. 16, playing TPC Harding Park as is would mean most golfers would never even reach the course's finest gems. The re-routing is meant to maximize thrills and entertainment.

wgc aerial.jpg
While the routing for the 2005 WGC-American Express Championship and 2010 Charles Schwab Cup Championship followed the daily public layout, the 2009 Presidents Cup featured a similar layout to this week's Match Play, although it used Harding's 18th as its 15th (this week, Harding's 18th will serve as the WGC's 14th). This week's routing might just be the perfect guinea pig for the 2025 Presidents Cup, which will be held at TPC Harding Park.

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The Grind

Golf gets its own big-fight hype, Natalie throws out a first pitch, Tiger meets Yao, and an all-time best tour WAG match up

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we wish every week had the build-up of this year's WGC-Cadillac Match Play. A 90-minute selection show? Bingo machines spitting out ping-pong balls? Big boards?! Forget about the NFL Draft, this was exciting stuff (if you're really, really into pro golf). We're surprised "Group of Death" wasn't trending on Twitter. Maybe next year, the PGA Tour and Golf Channel can even take it a step farther and stage some promotional pre-match photos like the ones you see in boxing:


Man, Jordan Spieth looks intimidating. . . OK, time to shift from thinking about what's going to happen to what already did. There's a lot to get to -- and we don't have Golf Channel's army of analysts to break it all down.


Justin Rose: Rose was one over through six holes Thursday at the Zurich Classic and only shot 69. Then he posted rounds of 66, 65 and a 66 to win his seventh career PGA Tour title. Speaking of 66, that's how many holes in a row Rose finished without making a bogey -- the longest streak to close out a tour win in 25 years. With a runner-up at the Masters and this victory under his belt, Rose looks poised for a huge season.

Lydia Ko: On Friday, Ko turned 18. And on Sunday, Ko kept doing what she's been doing since she was 15: winning on the LPGA Tour. Ko defended her title at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, beating Morgan Pressel in a playoff for her seventh career LPGA Tour title. To put it in perspective, Rose was also a 17-year-old phenom once and it took him until he was 34 to win seven PGA Tour events. By the time Ko is 34, she's going to need a separate house just to hold all of her trophies.

Related: The Match Play selection special retro diary

Match Play format: We love the group-play/round-robin concept. Having guys fly all the way to this event only to get knocked out after 10 holes (Sorry, Stephen Ames) isn't fair or fun for the fans. This new format ensures we'll see a lot more golf from the biggest names and even more great match-ups. While picking the juiciest match or deciding on a "group of death," the best tour WAG match up is easy. In the opening round, we'll get former Miss Idaho Melissa Jones vs. Paulina Gretzky:


Their husbands might have pretty big crowds on Wednesday.

Jake Olson: If you haven't read John Strege's story on this young man, you should. Here are the broad strokes: Jake is a blind senior in high school who has shot a 78 and who will walk onto the USC (Yes, as in the Trojans) football team in the fall as a long snapper. We're all rooting for you, Jake!


Erik Compton: Speaking of inspirational stories, on Saturday night the two-time heart transplant recipient went to bed with a share of the lead and in great shape to pick up his first PGA Tour victory. But on Sunday, he only shot three under for his 30 holes to fall to T-12. Compton keeps coming close to being perhaps the most unlikely winner in tour history. Stop getting our hopes up and get it done, Erik!

Related: Pictures of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

Excavators as prizes: This was what a player would have won had he made a hole-in-one during the Volvo China Open:


First off, Volvo makes excavators? Secondly, unless you're a tractor nut like Louis Oosthuizen, I'm pretty sure a typical tour pro would much rather have a sports car.

Sitting on gators: Donnie Kuhlman is a PGA Professional and a world-class daredevil. Here he is sitting on a gator in the middle of a golf tournament he was playing in Tampa:


This brave foolish man lived to tell the tale, but we wouldn't advise you trying the same thing.


The PGA Tour heads to San Francisco's TPC Harding Park for the WGC-Cadillac Match Play, aka the most unpredictable event of the season.

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

Random tournament fact: Victor Dubuisson made the greatest back-to-back up-and-downs of all time from the desert in the final against Jason Day last year. That may sound like an opinion, but it's a fact.


-- Justin Rose will wind up with more career wins than Lydia Ko: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds

-- NBC's Roger Maltbie will say "(Insert player name) would have a better chance of escaping Alcatraz than getting this up-and-down": 10-to-1 odds

Related: The top 25 golf viral videos in 2014

-- Roger Maltbie will say "vagaries of match play": LOCK



Sorry, Yao, but when you're that tall, that joke never gets old.


Rory McIlroy may be the world's best golfer, but apparently, he's not the sport's top-ranked arm wrestler. McIlroy got dusted by 17-year-old golfer Brad Dalke.

OK, so Dalke isn't your typical 17-year-old golfer. Even McIlroy, who spends as much time in the gym as he does in the golf course, was impressed by his biceps. Still, that's got to be a blow to the reigning Men's Health cover boy.


Meet Katrina Brodsky:

#kellerrose x @nikegolf

A video posted by Katrina Brodsky (@keller_rose) on


"I felt like I had gone cold in my round. I started off hot, had gone cold and [my caddie] said, 'Come on, just remember Steph Curry.' He went cold, but he kept wanting the ball. He kept shooting threes. He kept believing in himself. That was our mentality." -- Justin Rose comparing his strong finish to Curry after attending a Warriors-Pelicans playoff game on Friday in which the Golden State star hit a clutch three-pointer to send the game to overtime. Guess we know who has Justin's vote for NBA MVP.


The Dallas native was honored by Mark Cuban at a Mavericks game with a personalized jersey, which he used to rile up the team and the home crowd in Game 4 of Dallas' first-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets:


It worked. After losing the first three games of the series, the Mavs won Game 4 to keep their season alive. Jordan Spieth is so hot right now.


Happy Birthday My Love much fun!! Taking down SF!!👫🌁🌲🍀🍒

A photo posted by Rickie Fowler (@therealrickiefowler) on

Very sweet. But did the lovebirds visit Alcatraz? Nothing says romance like visiting a former prison and reciting lines from "The Rock" to each other.


Behold Natalie's super-human strength:


While in the Bay area, Gulbis also threw out the first pitch at the Oakland A's game:

Phew. I know it doesn't show it made it to the plate

A video posted by Natalie Gulbis (@natalie_gulbis) on

Nice toss, Natalie! Good to see all the work in the gym is paying off.



Rory McIlroy plans to attend the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight in Vegas on Saturday night in the middle of the WGC-Match Play. If he makes it to Sunday's 36 holes, his fitness will be put to the test again. . . . Phil Mickelson won't attend the WGC- Match Play for a fourth straight year, citing "personal reasons." No word on whether "personal reasons" just means he doesn't like the event or whether he'll be at the big fight. . . . Bruce Jenner will address learning to play golf with breasts on an upcoming docuseries. Thanks to TMZ for that bit of breaking golf news! . . . And thanks to the GolfBeer Brewing Company for sending a large shipment of Graeme McDowell, Keegan Bradley and Freddie Jacobson beers to me in the office. In other words, the party for me winning my first Golf Digest major championship rages on!


How much are Rory and Phil betting on the fight?

Why hasn't Lydia Ko won a major yet? (Kidding)

Why wasn't there ever a sequel to "The Rock"? (Not kidding)

-- Alex Myers is an Associate Editor for Feel free to email him and please follow him on Twitter since he has self-esteem issues.

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Bruce Jenner will discuss learning how to play golf with breasts on his upcoming docuseries

Bruce Jenner's big interview with Diane Sawyer was mostly serious in tone and carried an important message. Apparently, his upcoming docuseries will have a different feel.

TMZ reports the eight-part series will include its share of lighter moments and that Jenner's "golf game will be front and center." That will include Jenner discussing what it's like to learn how to play golf with breasts.

A source told TMZ: "If all you have is a downer, you don't have a show." Instead, the show will be a mix of "the dark moments, the lighthearted moments and moments that are just plain hilarious."

Jenner, 65, didn't start playing golf until he was 50 when his ex-wife, Kris, got him a membership at Sherwood Country Club. "I didn't know whether she was just trying to get me out of the house, was sick of me, or what," he said in a 2009 column he wrote for Golf Digest.

Related: Our favorite celebrity golfers

Jenner has played in the Bob Hope Classic Pro-Am (now the Humana Challenge) and golf helped him get through his breakup with Kris after 22 years, according to Jenner's son, Brody. Little did we know at the time,there was a lot more going on with Jenner. We hope his love of golf helps him get through his latest transition as well.

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My Usual Game

Has anyone else had this problem with their rangefinder?

Last June, I bought a Bushnell Tour Z6 laser rangefinder. It’s not as good at picking up distant targets as my ancient Bushnell PinSeeker 1500 was, but it’s small enough to fit in a pocket, and the battery lasts a long time, and I like it. (I had made myself believe that the PinSeeker was broken, but as soon as the Z6 arrived I discovered that it still worked fine. So I sold it to Kevin for $48 and a ball-marker.)


My only beef about the Z6 is that the eyepiece, which keeps sunlight off the lens while you’re using it and is the thing you turn to adjust the focus, looks solid but is actually a cheap, floppy rubber tube that’s held in place by nothing but some kind of not-very-strong glue. Here’s the eyepiece:


Mine came almost all the way off one of the first times I used it, but I pushed it back on and tried to be careful with it. At some point during a round today, though, it disappeared. Here’s what my Z6 looks like now. You can see a tiny, booger-like remnant of the old glue, over on the lower right:


Has this happened to anyone else?  I didn’t handle it roughly, a lesson I learned with my first rangefinder. I just used it while playing golf. And -- Hey, Bushnell! -- what am I supposed to do now? Is my rangefinder still waterproof? Can the eyepiece be replaced? Should I try to trick Kevin into selling me back my PinSeeker?


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How the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight could affect Rory McIlroy's chances of winning the Match Play

Rory McIlroy is the Las Vegas favorite (9/1) to win this week's WGC-Cadillac Match Play. But is Vegas factoring in McIlroy's expected Vegas trip while the tournament is going on?

According to the Daily Mail, McIlroy plans to be ringside for Saturday night's much-anticipated fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand. McIlroy says he'll fly a private jet after play ends Saturday in San Francisco, watch the fight and fly right back (1,140 miles round trip).

Related: 23 pictures that prove a tour player's life is way better than yours

Even factoring in McIlroy's youth, fitness and private jet, doing all that and playing 36 holes of match play on Saturday and Sunday would be quite a feat. Of course, it may not even matter. On Monday, McIlroy found out he will be playing in the toughest group -- at least, according to cumulative Official World Golf Ranking -- Wednesday through Friday at TPC Harding Park. McIlroy will have to win his four-player group that includes Billy Horschel, Brandt Snedeker and Jason Dufner just to advance to Saturday's Round of 16.

If McIlroy were to make it to Saturday morning and win, he'd play a quarterfinal match that afternoon. The semifinals and final are scheduled for Sunday.

What if Saturday's afternoon match goes extra holes, though? Again, private jet. Oh, and those big boxing matches start pretty late. Making the fight shouldn't be a problem. But waking up for his own big match the next day might.

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News & Tours

The 9 matches we're most looking forward to at the WGC-Match Play

This year's WGC-Cadillac Match Play has a new venue (TPC Harding Park) and format. Instead of starting with a bracket of 64 golfers, there are now groups consisting of four players each. One winner from each of the 16 groups -- which were chosen at random with ping-pong balls on Monday -- will advance to the weekend's knockout rounds, a la the World Cup.

Here are the nine "group-play" match ups on Wednesday-Friday we're most looking forward to watching.

Group 1: Rory McIlroy vs. Billy Horschel

The last time these two played each other in match play, they were representing their respective sides at the 2007 Walker Cup. Horschel got the best of McIlroy that week and got under the Northern Irishman's skin for his on-course celebrations. The two claimed they've put the matter behind them, but that doesn't mean they won't each get a little extra pleasure by beating the other at Harding Park. --Alex Myers

Group 2: Jordan Spieth vs. Mikko Ilonen

On paper, this might look like a mismatch between the recent Masters champ and the veteran European Tour member who is only in the field because Phil Mickelson withdrew. Think again. For one thing, as we've seen year after year, no one is a safe bet in this event. And secondly, Ilonen has more match play chops than you might realize. The Finnish player had his finest season in 2014, winning twice, including the Volvo World Match Play Championship, in which he bested Henrik Stenson in the final. Of course, Spieth is the No. 2 player in the world, though, and he's had plenty of match play success as a two-time U.S. Junior Amateur champ. --A.M.

Group 4: Bubba Watson vs. Keegan Bradley

Two of Team USA's strongest contributors in recent years, Bubba and Keegan both won't be easy outs. Keegan doesn't have a stellar WGC-Match Play record (1-3), but when paired with Phil Mickelson in the Ryder Cup, he comes alive. Maybe he should ask Phil to walk with him in the galleries at TPC Harding Park to pump him up and slap him on the butt. --Stephen Hennessey

Group 5: Jim Furyk vs. Martin Kaymer

These two didn't face each other on Sunday in the "Meltdown at Medinah," but their reactions on the final hole seemed to be the event's most lasting images. Furyk hunched over in agony and Kaymer raising his arms and fist-pumping after sinking the winning putt. Both are also U.S. Open champions and have squared off in this event before with Furyk winning 4 and 2 in a 2009 second-round match. --A.M.

Group 7: Jason Day vs. Zach Johnson

Day is the defending champion and owns a 14-3 record in the Match Play -- which along with his stellar 3-1 record at the last Presidents Cup -- makes him one of the most feared match-play opponents in the world. But when he faces Zach Johnson, he's going up against one of the most fearless players in the world. Johnson can get hot with the putter, and he just recently switched back to his trusted Seemore. This might be an upset if ZJ wins but it wouldn't be hugely surprising to us. --S.H.

Group 8: Dustin Johnson vs. Victor Dubuisson

Dig the long ball? Well, these are two of the longest hitters in the world. Dubuisson announced himself to golf fans around the world with his uncanny recovery shots in last year's WGC-Match Play final when he took Jason Day to 23 holes. And he took down another fellow bomber, Bubba Watson, last year. DJ is 2-6 in past WGC-Match Plays, but his game wasn't really suited to the past venue, the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain. He's been solid in Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups and has been playing great in 2015, so this should be an interesting match. --S.H.

Group 11: Jimmy Walker vs. Ian Poulter

Pitting perhaps, the best golfer on the planet in 2015 not named Jordan Spieth in Walker versus a Ryder Cup legend in Poulter. The Englishman has more pro match play experience in singles than anyone in the field with a career record of 34-14-5. But Walker proved himself in this format at his Ryder Cup debut last fall. Still, as a No. 1 seed, no one could blame him for feeling unlucky for drawing Poulter right away. --A.M.

Group 13: Rickie Fowler vs. Graeme McDowell

There's a ton of match-play experience in this group. Rickie is a two-time Ryder Cupper and owns a 7-1 record in two Walker Cups. McDowell won the clinching point in his 2010 Ryder Cup defeat over Hunter Mahan, and went 3-0 in 2014 at Gleneagles. G-Mac hasn't played great this year, but the guy thrives in this format as evidenced by his victory at the 2013 Volvo World Match Play Championship. --S.H.

Group 14: Matt Kuchar vs. Hunter Mahan

The U.S. Ryder Cup teammates will make up the only group-play match involving two former champions of this event. Other than Jason Day, Kuchar has the best current match play winning percentage (69) of anyone in the field. Mahan isn't far behind at No. 4 (66 percent) and he nearly matched Tiger Woods as the only repeat winner of this event. Who stopped him in the 2013 final? That's right, Kuchar. --A.M.

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Career records show Jason Day is the current king of match play -- but it's close

This week's WGC-Cadillac Match Play is one of the most fun, but unpredictable events of the PGA Tour season. Thanks to Adam Sarson, though, we at least have the complete match-play records of all 64 players in the field to help with our educated guesses. That includes their record in this event as well as in singles at the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup and their records in other events like the Volvo World Match Play on the European Tour. So who are the best golfers in this format?

Three players, Anirban Lahiri, Marc Warren and Tommy Fleetwood, actually have perfect records (Watch out for Anirban Lahiri!). But since they've combined to win a total of five matches, we're not going to count them (OK, maybe don't watch out for Anirban Lahiri).

Related: How to fill out your match play bracket

Of players with at least 10 matches played, Jason Day, leads the way with a 79 winning percentage. The bulk of Day's 15-4 record comes from his 14-3 record in the WGC Match Play, which he won last year. Day is 1-1 in President Cup singles play.

Right behind Day is another former WGC Match Play champ, Matt Kuchar, at 69 percent. Kuchar, a former U.S. Amateur winner as well, is 17-4 in the event, but his overall record is brought down by a 1-4 mark in Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup singles.

Graeme McDowell is third on the list at 68 percent. McDowell has a 3-1 Ryder Cup singles record, but has actually done most of his match play damage at the Volvo World Match Play, where he's gone 18-5. Surprisingly, he's just 9-8 in the annual WGC event.

Hunter Mahan (66 percent) is next on the list followed by some familiar European Tour Ryder Cup names: Ian Poulter (64 percent), Rory McIlroy (63 percent), Victor Dubuisson (58 percent), Martin Kaymer (55 percent), Paul Casey (55 percent), Henrik Stenson (52 percent) and Sergio Garcia (52 percent).

Thongchai Jaidee (57 percent), Rickie Fowler (54 percent) and Jim Furyk (51 percent) are the only other players with at least 10 matchest that have a winning percentage higher than 50. In other words, it's tough to have a great match-play record as a pro, which is why we've seen Tiger Woods win this event three times, but also lose to players like Nick O'Hern (twice!) and Peter O'Malley.

Speaking of Woods, his 45-15-2 record would give him the second-highest winning percentage (73) behind Day. With three U.S. Amateur titles and three U.S. Junior titles, it's tough to argue Woods isn't the best ever in match play, but his low world ranking has him out of this week's field. Phil Mickelson and his modest 23-21-3 record qualified for the event, but has withdrawn for personal reasons.

Related: Pictures of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

So who isn't particularly good in match play? Two members of the victorious 2014 European Ryder Cup team, Stephen Gallacher and Jamie Donaldson, have the worst records of anyone with 10-plus matches. Gallacher is a near-impossible 1-10, while Donaldson is 2-7-2. Of course, one of those two wins for Donaldson came in his Sunday singles match against Keegan Bradley to clinch the Ryder Cup for Europe. Clutch!

Notable U.S. players with poor records include Dustin Johnson (4-7), Bill Haas (1-6) and Bradley (1-6). Not so clutch.

What does it all mean for this week's WGC-Cadillac Match Play? It's tough to say. There will be a new group-play format that will feed into the bracket and the tournament will be played at Harding Park for the first time after eight years in Arizona.

Online bookmaker Bovada lists McIlroy and Masters champ Jordan Spieth (3-3 in match play as a pro) as the co-favorites (9/1). Sarson's numbers say Day (14/1) is the better pick, but there's still a better chance of him losing to Anirban Lahiri than repeating as champ.

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Musician Mat Kearney made this hilarious video to demonstrate how his wife feels about golf

Mat Kearney, folk/rock/amazing musician, is a self-proclaimed golf addict. And while we're all right there with him, it looks like his wife isn't. 

Kearney put up this hilarious video on Instagram, of his wife shooting a laser beam out of her palm that blows up the TV on which Mat was clearly trying to watch the final round of the Zurich Classic. Rude!  

What @anniekearneys thinks about my Sunday golf addiction.

A video posted by MAT KEARNEY (@matkearney) on

Mat, since you clearly didn't get to watch the end of the event yesterday, we want you to know that like your TV, Justin Rose was on fire, and won at 22 under. 

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