The Local Knowlege


Watch The Caddy Girls get turned down on ABC's "Shark Tank"

For the second time in a month, golf played a large role in ABC's "Shark Tank." This time, however, there wasn't as happy of an ending.

Meghan Tarmey went on Friday's episode to pitch her business, The Caddy Girls, which she started while she was still a cheerleader at Costal Carolina University in 2005. As you can probably gather from the name, it's a group of female caddies that golfers can hire to make their rounds more entertaining.

Related: Watch a putter company's emotional sales pitch on "Shark Tank"

Tarmey came on the show asking for $100,000 for a 20-percent stake in her company. However, she did not walk away with a deal, getting turned down and then turning down a $100,000 counter offer for half of her business. Here's the clip:

It wasn't all bad, though. Tarmey was praised by the Sharks, even by the show's tough guy, Kevin O'Leary, for her pitch. And the appearance on the show has already sparked a lot of interest in her company. Tarmey told she had received about 50 independent investment offers by noon on Saturday.

In the season premier of the show, putter manufacturer Kronos Golf struck a deal after an emotional presentation. But The Caddy Girls still have Kronos Golf beat in one area: calendars.

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News & Tours

An 81-year-old man had three holes-in-one in three consecutive days

There are hot streaks, and then there's this.

Dom Debonis is an 81-year-old Pennsylvania with a 14-handicap who, on a recent buddies trip to Myrtle Beach, had three aces in three days, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Considering the odds of making a hole-in-one at all for a golfer of that skill level are about 12,000-to-1, it's tough to understate how unlikely making three in three days actually is. The odds are likely so astronomical, no one's even bothered to calculate them.

Here's a selection from the article:

Nobody, though, would have expected this. On Day 3 of their trip, Mr. DeBonis and his group played at Blackmoor Golf Club Oct. 8. Sure enough, four holes into the round, he did it again -- holing an 8-iron from 118 yards for his third hole in one in three days.

Unlike the first two, Mr. DeBonis and the other members of the foursome didn’t see this one go in the hole.

"There was a tree in front and a shadow over the green, but I said, ‘Oh, my God, I think it went in,’" Mr. Debonis said. “We couldn’t see it. One of the guys said, ‘I think it’s in.’ So we walked up to the hole and there it was. I just couldn’t believe it. It was the most memorable week."

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Meet Tony Finau, the PGA Tour's newest long-driving, par-5 destroying star

From "The Big Break" to the big leagues, Tony Finau was bound to be a popular rookie on the PGA Tour this season. The fact that he's also a big hitter (it's not just "chicks" who "dig the long ball," after all) certainly doesn't hurt, either.

In the first two starts of his first PGA Tour campaign, Finau, 25, has already been turning heads with his prodigious length off the tee. He's hit drives of 374 and 373 yards and he has registered five of the 20 longest drives of the young season.

Related: Finau and 10 other PGA Tour sleepers to watch

Overall, his driving average of 321.9 puts him second right now behind Daniel Berger (Bubba Watson led the tour with a 314.3 average last season). Unlike Berger, though, a fellow rookie who has missed the first two cuts of the season, Finau's all-around game has been equally as impressive as his performance off the tee.


After a T-12 in the season opener in Napa, Finau finished T-7 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open over the weekend. Not bad for someone who had only three previous tour starts, the last of which was in 2011.

Finau is 24 under through two tournaments and not surprisingly, a lot of those red numbers have come on par 5s. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound bomber is a staggering 20 under on the 28 par 5s he's played thus far.

A former high school basketball star in Utah, Finau and his younger brother, Gipper, turned pro instead of playing in college. After bouncing around on mini-tours (Gipper is currently trying to earn his Tour card), Finau finally ended up on the Tour in 2014 and finished 12th on the tour's final priority ranking to earn his PGA Tour card for 2014-15.

After earning nearly as much ($310,833) in two PGA Tour starts as he did in 27 starts on the Tour last year, Finau is off to a great start in making sure he stays where he wants.

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News & Tours

Missing Links: Ian Poulter has written a book that Nick Faldo won't like one bit

Stories of interest you might have missed…

Ian Poulter’s autobiography, “No Limits,” will be released this week and based on this story by Derek Lawrenson it promises to be an interesting one. “Ian Poulter has slammed Sir Nick Faldo for calling Sergio Garcia ‘useless’ during the Ryder Cup and claimed he has lost the respect of Europe’s top golfers,” Lawrenson wrote in the Daily Mail. “Poulter revealed the home locker room was fuming about the remark and said Faldo had gone from being his hero to zero. He accused him of sour grapes and being embittered because he is the only losing European Ryder Cup captain this century.”

Poulter Faldo.jpg
Ian Poulter and Nick Faldo at 2008 Rydcer Cup (Getty Images photo)

The World Golf Hall of Fame largely got it right (finally), the PGA of America got it wrong (as usual), and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews got it right or wrong (not sure). John Huggan in the Scotsman has myriad opinions on a hectic few days in the golf world. Example: “They round up almost everyone involved in this almost-unbroken run of defeats and ask them what they think. You’ve got to laugh,” he wrote about the PGA of America’s new Ryder Cup task force.


Mike Keiser already has a place in golf lore with Bandon Dunes. But the Chicago-based developer wants more and has turned his attention to Town of Rome, Wisconsin. Keiser's vision is what Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writer Gary D’Amato called possibly “the most ambitious golf project ever undertaken in Wisconsin. If all goes according to…Keiser’s plan, someday there will be five courses and lodging on 1,500 acres a few miles south of Wisconsin Rapids — a resort that would provide hundreds of jobs in depressed Adams County and further enhance Wisconsin's reputation as a world-class golf destination.”


It was a special weekend for Jay Haas and his family. Haas’ son Bill joined him in the Wake Forest Hall of Fame on Friday, and on Sunday Jay, 60, won the Greater Hickory Kia Classic to become the 22nd player in the history of the Champions Tour to win in his 60s. “It’s just great for him that he can still do it,” Bill Haas told John Dell of the Winston-Salem Journal. “I think what is really underrated about his game through the years is his ball-striking. I couldn’t be happier for him.”


Mikko Ilonen, the winner of the Volvo World Match Play Championship over the weekend, has had to overcome a malady that has driven some from the game: The yips. ”I’ve had my problems with the putter and I never wish anyone to experience the problems I had,” he said in this story by Reuters’ Tony Jimenez. “I changed my grip a couple of years ago, it's a reverse interlock with the left hand going into the middle of the right hand…I’m trying to eliminate my left hand completely. My left hand is no good. I would cut it off if I could.”

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News & Tours

Here are pictures of the pool scene at the Shriners, which didn't seem weird at all

Last month the PGA Tour announced it would scatter six swimming pools around the grounds of the 2014 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open so tournament-goers can have a quick dip while they watch some live golf. It's the latest initiative drummed-up by the powers that be to increase interest in the game. On Sunday, pictures of people playing in the pools surfaced on Getty Images.

Call me crazy, but I'm not sure these women just stumbled upon the pool.

Forget golf. Volleyball!

Hey, check out that logo!

'Wait, there's a golf course behind me?'

That bear's wearing a fun hat.

'All this not-watching-golf is exhausting. Time for a selfie.'


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Winner's bag: What Ben Martin used to win the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open


Seeking his first win on the PGA Tour, Ben Martin needed a fast finish at TPC Summerlin as Kevin Streelman had snuck ahead during the final round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. That's when Martin's Scotty Cameron by Titleist GoLo Tour putter came alive.

Related: Ben Martin rallies in Vegas for first win

After a three-foot tap-in for birdie on the par-4 15th, Martin put his approach from 196 yards on the par-5 16th on the green but 46 feet, 5 inches away and made the bomb for an eagle to take a one-shot lead. Needing just two putts at the last from 19 feet, Martin and his heel-shafted GoLo Tour holed one final putt to secure victory.

Here's the rest of Martin's clubs, which were all Titleist except for a Ping i25 3-wood.

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist 910D3 (Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 7X), 8.5 degrees
3-wood: Ping i25, 14 degrees
Hybrid: Titleist 913H, 17 degrees
Irons (3, 5-PW): Titleist CB 712
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM5 (50, 54 degrees); Titleist Vokey TVD-K Grind (58 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist GoLo Tour

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News & Tours

It's Vegas, not Quad Cities. Where have you gone John Daly?

No news is not good news, not when the PGA Tour spends a week in Las Vegas and the local gossip columnist whose dogs were named Rumor and Scandal came up empty on golfers.

Ben Martin.jpg
(Getty Images photo)

There was a time that Norm Clarke of the Las Vegas Review Journal, his distinctive black eye patch drawing attention to his column, would report on the comings and goings of noted PGA Tour stars who weren’t spending their after hours in evening vespers.

It was, if not the best part of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, often the most entertaining part. Alas, Clarke failed to turn up any dirt or even dust on PGA Tour players last week. Where have you gone John Daly?

Related: See the clubs Ben Martin used to win

This is not to suggest that the PGA Tour’s annual stop in Vegas has become dull, though a winner named Martin (and we don’t mean Kaymer) doesn’t help. What, Smith and Jones weren’t entered?

Still, it was more fun when golf’s rogues put Vegas on their schedule because, well, they’re rogues and it’s Vegas, more entertaining when “The Hangover” wasn’t just a movie about rogues’ lost weekend in Vegas but a condition with which to be reckoned on the first tee the following morning.

The closest we could uncover from this field was that the winner, Ben Martin, lists “The Hangover” as his favorite movie. Scandalous.

Actually, Martin, 27, is a quality player (he earned more than $1.4 million last year) who has youth and potential on his side. This was his first PGA Tour victory in this, his third season, and it isn’t likely to be his last.

“He wasn’t one of the high recruited players,” his college coach, Larry Penley of Clemson, said on Sunday. “As a matter of fact, he was a kid really just looking for a spot on the team. But you could tell very quickly he was bound for some great things. He did everything the right way. He worked extremely hard. Very intelligent kid. Very athletic kid.

“Ben was lucky enough to have Kyle [Stanley] as a teammate for three years. Kyle was the hardest worker that I’ve ever had maybe next to Jonathan Byrd. Ben took it to heart. I kept telling him, if you want to make it on tour, do what Kyle is doing.”

Working hard is better for careers than it is for gossips. Quality putting is the ace in the hole, in Vegas or elsewhere, for golfers, and it was not a strength of Martin’s game until hours and hours on the practice green made it one.

“He’s really had to make himself a good putter,” Penley said. “Watching him get better with that putter has really been the difference.”

Related: 11 PGA Tour sleepers to watch out for in 2014-2015

Martin played the final four holes in four-under par, which included an eagle at 16 and birdie at 18 on holed putts of 46 feet and 19 feet.

“It was an awesome way to finish,” he said. “I didn’t really feel like I had much going all day, but to finish four under on the last four was awesome.”

It will surely make headlines in Vegas newspapers on Monday, but for all the wrong reasons. It’s Vegas, after all. Give us rumor and scandal.

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My Usual Game

The frost is on the Jagermeister

Google Now is an app that automatically displays certain useful information when you launch Google on your phone or other mobile device. Exactly what it displays depends on a number of factors: your current location, data you’ve provided to other Google services, and subjects that you’ve asked the app to follow for you, such as professional golf. It knows where my house is, because I’ve entered my home address on Google Maps, and it knows I’m interested in the results of certain post-season baseball games, because I’ve looked them up, and when I’m traveling it suggests nearby activities. It still has a few bugs, though. For example, it thinks I “work” at my golf club -- presumably because when I leave my house each day that’s the place I’m the most likely to go. Come on, Google! You sound like my wife!

Last Sunday, we had our first frost delay of the year. Reese, whose turn it was to bring lunch, also brought two bags of apple-cider donuts and a bottle of Jagermeister, the traditional cold-weather intoxicant of the Sunday Morning Group. The bottle made a handy weather gauge, because it was as frosty as the greens. 

While we waited for the bottle to clear, we putted on the floor of the golf shop, which, unlike the clubhouse, is sort of heated. Addison jammed a red plastic beer cup between two golf bags full of demos, and we aimed for that.

Our golf shop closes for the year at the end of the month, and if you have golf-shop credit you have to spend it before then. Now is a good time to do that, because everything is on sale. 

Stanley wears size-thirteen-and-a-half shoes. The biggest ones Corey had in stock were thirteens, but Stanley almost bought them, because he figured he could stretch them. Then he came to his senses. Meanwhile, Gary, our terrific superintendent, was mowing the practice green, which had finally melted -- almost time to tee off:

Something we always have trouble with on Sunday mornings is getting an accurate head count. Some guys hang out on the practice green, where they're hard to see from the first tee, and some guys disappear into the bathroom in the clubhouse, and some guys hold putting contests in the golf shop, and nobody stands still. On Sunday, though, I had a eureka moment: instead of counting people, count bags:

It took me almost twenty years to think of that.

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News & Tours

Why Navy SEALs will be invading Pebble Beach next month

If you happen to be in California next month and you see hordes of Navy SEALs descending on the Monterey Peninsula, don't be alarmed. It's all part of the Legends Invitational, a celebrity golf event in its 24th year.


The annual fundraiser that includes a bunch of former NFL stars like Marcus Allen, Tim Brown, and Eric Dickerson along with other sports celebrities will take place Nov. 14-17 at Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill and Spanish Bay. This year's event will support efforts of the Navy SEAL Museum, which honors SEALs and helps care for the families of fallen heroes.

Related: NFL stars who love to play golf

To kick off the event, teams of SEALs will take part in tactical demonstrations from parachuting to rappelling with canines out of a helicopter onto Spanish Bay. And then, of course, there will be a lot of golf.

For more information, visit the event's website.

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Book Review: The Leadbetter Golf Academy Handbook

The Leadbetter Golf Academy Handbook: Techniques and Strategies from the World's Greatest Coaches, by Sean Hogan, Kevin Smeltz and Allen Richardson Triumph Books, $22.95, paperback, 224 pages


David Leadbetter, currently No. 5 on Golf Digest's list of America's 50 Best Teachers, has been highly visible on a worldwide level for more than 30 years as a teacher of Hall of Fame players such as Nick Faldo and Nick Price. His brand is also worldwide, with 26 golf academies all over the globe. The final third of the worldwide trifecta is the Leadbetter methodology and strategies, which he has promoted and taught extensively in Golf Digest since becoming a Golf Digest Teaching Professional in January 1990.

Related: David Leadbetter's archive of Golf Digest tips

Leadbetter hasn't spread his brand alone, however, and two of his academy proteges have produced Leadbetter's techniques in a well-written, smartly illustrated manual. Hogan is a Master Instructor at the Leadbetter academy at ChampionsGate Golf Resort in Orlando, and Smeltz served as Director of Golf Instruction at the Leadbetter academy at Ishizaka Golf Club in Japan. They've joined to produce a comprehensive full-game instruction book that helps the golfer feel reinforced about his technique through the use of simple-to-use drills. There are also sections on fitness, nutrition, and equipment advice, including selecting the right golf ball to suit your game.

I particularly enjoyed: The short-game instruction. The authors rightfully call a good short game "the great equalizer in golf," and they systematically break down the putting and short-game skills everyone can improve upon. What will be most effective for readers is a host of drills to ingrain technique along with good visuals on the strokes for putting, chipping and pitching.

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