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News & Tours

For Billy Horschel, it was about the money — $13.5 million

It isn’t about the money, we often hear disingenuously in sports, but this time it was about the money, and Billy Horschel unapologetically has said as such.

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Billy Horschel on the 16th green (Getty Images photo)

“I come from a very blue-collar family,” he wrote on his website early in 2013. “My family never had lots of money. I wasn’t a country-club kid, so I always wanted to make it big to be able to repay my family for all they had done for me.”

He didn’t shy from the question of money on Saturday, when he held a share of the lead with Rory McIlroy. “I've been honest with you guys this whole week,” he said. “It’s not the easiest thing in the world. You know what all that money can do for you and what it can do for my family and everyone else that’s near me.”

However he chooses to repay that debt, he can afford to so in the wake of a Tiger-in-his prime three-week stretch. This is what making it big looks like:

  • On Sept. 1, $597,333 for finishing second at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
  • On Sept. 8, $1,440,000 for winning the BMW Championship.
  • On Sunday, $11,440,000 for winning the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

It adds to $13,477,333 in the span of two weeks, but the payoff ultimately could be substantially larger by virtue of his confidence now equal to his talent.

“Billy Horschel, I’m not sure you’re not seeing a star in the making,” NBC’s Johnny Miller said. “This is not a fluke. The guy is just good. He hits a decent distance. He’s accurate. The irons are fantastic.

“You can sort of knock on the door and you’re trying to be confident and all of a sudden you get this run and you say, ‘this is really me. I can keep this up.’ He might be hot for a couple, three years. You never know. He might be the best player in the U.S. right now in this run and maybe he’ll keep it going.”

Horschel shot in the 60s in the final 12 rounds of his season, his scoring average for those three tournaments 67.1, this after missing the cut in the Barclays and longing for the off-season and a chance to regroup.

“I remember flying home, talking to my wife, and she’s like, ‘you’re probably just waiting until the season’s over to start a new season,’ just because it hasn’t been a great year,” he said. “I sort of was. I was sort of looking towards the fall and the start of the 2014 and 2015 season. At the same time I knew my game was in the right shape and I just needed to get out of my own way, needed to allow my golf game to show, and did it show the last three weeks.”

The deciding blow came after he drove into trouble off the 16th tee and still managed a par by holing a 31-foot putt. The rest was a victory lap.

“Hottest player in the world right now,” Miller said of this man who a few weeks earlier wanted the season to end. Now, were it not for the impending birth of his daughter, he would have preferred it continue indefinitely.

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News & Tours

Golfer makes a hole-in-one, wins a trip into outer space

From luxury cars to mortgage payments, prizes for making a hole-in-one are nothing new. But a trip into space? Now that's original.

During the final round of the European Tour's KLM Open, Andy Sullivan holed a nine-iron from 163 yards on the par-3 15th hole. The ace not only helped him to a third-place finish in the event won by Paul Casey, it earned him a brief, but unique journey.

Related: More weird golf news

XCOR Space Expeditions sponsored the prize valued at $100,000. The company will provide "a half-hour suborbital flight to 100km (330,000 feet) and then return to a landing at the take-off runway," should Sullivan choose to go. But will he?

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According to Sky Sports, Sullivan was treated for altitude sickness in Switzerland just last week at the European Masters. Still, he seems to be leaning toward seizing the opportunity.

"I'm not sure if I'll go, I'll check with the missus," he said. "I'm not great with heights or flying! I might have to pluck up some serious courage, but it is a once in a lifetime experience, so I'm going to have to do it."

(h/t Sky Sports)

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News & Tours

Greg Norman says he's "one lucky man" after chainsaw accident

Greg Norman described himself as "one lucky man" after suffering an injury while using a chainsaw on his property in Jupiter Island, Fla. The former World No. 1 golfer posted a picture on his Instagram feed Saturday showing him lying in a hospital bed.



The post begins: "Working with a chainsaw ALWAYS be respectful of the unexpected." The 59-year-old continued by writing: "Damaged, but not down & out. Still have left hand."

According to Bart Collins, president of Great White Shark Enterprises, Norman underwent surgery to repair nerve damage, which was successful. Collins said Norman suffered no damage to arteries or tendons.

This was not Norman's first reference to using a chainsaw on his Instagram account. On Sept. 6, Norman posted a photo showing him trimming some trees with one with a now ominous message: "Never ask someone to do something that you can do yourself."


Photo: Instagram (shark_gregnorman)

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Gear & Equipment

Clubfitter helps design latest KZG putter

loop-kzg-DS-2-Angle-Black-300.jpgWhen your company is popular among clubfitters, it makes sense to engage that audience as much as possible. KZG has done that with its Designer Series putter line by having one of the company's top-100 fitters create each model.

Gary Tozer, owner of Aussie Custom Golf Centre near Sydney, Australia, was chosen to create the DS-2 model, a putter reminiscent of the classic Wilson 8802 blade. Tozer created a putter he says has "a slightly beveled section at the heel to prevent drag on the green, a design more suitable for those with a rotational-type stroke."

The DS-2 ($299, brushed satin or matte black) is only available through professionals listed on the company's dealer locator at kzg.com.

Interested in more stories on equipment? Signup to receive Golf Digestix, a weekly digital magazine that offers the latest news, new product introductions and behind-the-scenes looks at all things equipment.

 

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Style

Ode to Arnie: Five cardigans The King would love

After celebrating Arnold Palmer's 85th birthday we thought it'd be appropriate to commemorate the King's classic style with a salute to his most iconic sweater -- the cardigan.

The Cardigan sweater was originally conceived as a naval knitwear piece and was first popularized in the mid-1850s when tales of Major General James Bundell and his fleet's defeat of the Russians at the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War spread across the British Empire. Major General Bundell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, is the namesake for the 160-year-old soldier style.

The cardigan sweater remains a menswear mainstay and has a place in every man's closet. Dig back in to the Arnie achieve and you'll find tons of shots of the stud on and off the course in cardigan sweaters. Throw yours over a T-shirt and some jeans or layer it under a suit. Either way, check out five of our favorite sweaters and try adding a cardigan into your rotation for fall.


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J. Crew Merino Wool Navy Cardigan
$90
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A basic that will never go out of style, layer this in everywhere from the office to the course to the bar.

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Uniqlo Merino Wool Gray Sailor Stripe
$50
uniqlo.com
Naval stripes are still on trend for fall and this banded cardigan fits right in. 


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J. Lindeberg Wool/Silk Solid
$225
trendygolf.com
The king of sharp style brings it again with this wool and silk stone-colored blend. 


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Puma Teal Full Zip
$175
trendygolf.com
Puma executes the modern take on the classic cardigan in a pop color and a zip front.


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Joe Fresh Cashmere Retro Button Front
$129
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If you're trying to channel the vintage vibe and go old school Arnold, rock this mustard sweater with some navy chinos and you're all set.

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My Usual Game

Two golf dreams, featuring St. Andrews and Stevie Wonder

I've often wished that I'd taken up golf twenty years earlier, not only so that I could have wastedkatieredgown.JPG my physical prime on golf courses instead of in classrooms, libraries, and bars, but also so that I could have attended the University of St. Andrews instead of the college I did. I'd have bought a student golf ticket, which would have enabled me to play virtually free rounds on the Old Course and all the other Links Trust courses until I flunked out -- and I still could have ended up in my current profession, since writing about golf requires no education at all. Instead, I'm forced to live vicariously through Slade, whose granddaughter Katie (in the sharp red gown in the photo at right) just matriculated at St. Andrews. As far as I'm concerned, she's living the dream. And I know that the rest of the Sunday Morning Group shares my conviction that no one ought to pass her college career without frequent visits from her grandfather and his friends, who will be happy to camp out on the floor in her truly awesome-looking dormitory, which is barely a thousand yards from the first tee:

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Closer to home, my friend Ellis recently had a golf-related dream, which had nothing to do with the Old Course but is of special interest because Ellis doesn't play golf. Here's his account:

My wife or girlfriend is Naomi, who is a real person I dated in the 1970s. She's present when I'm approached to take part in some kind of TV event during which I'm to pretend to be Stevie Wonder. No singing, no makeup or disguise, just regular white old me, saying I'm Stevie Wonder. I say OK. We go to this big motel room, where there are a lot of TV tech people and others, plus broadcast equipment. I am given two golf clubs (a putter and an iron), and there is talk of a saxophone. Everyone behaves like this is an ordinary event, and nobody says, Hey, wait, you're not Stevie Wonder.

There aren't even any formal questions, or even a host. I kind of stand around, with the golf clubs, chatting with people. And that's it. I realize that the event is over, and the crew starts packing up. One tech guy complains to me about his device and I nod as if I know what he's talking about. I have a general sense that nobody really knows what they're doing. Finally, Naomi and I leave, traverse some distance to "go home," and end up at a wall covered with fabric. At the base of the wall is some sort of concealed hatch. She goes through it, I push down on it with whatever object I've been carrying, and prepare to go through it myself. And then I wake up.

And I hadn't known Stevie Wonder was a golfer. The things we learn from dreams.


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News & Tours

Missing Links: Another critic of Tom Watson's captain's picks, and 'taking the mickey' for the team

Stories of interest you might have missed…

Derek Lawrenson of the Daily Mail is the latest to analyze U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson’s captain's picks and wondering whether he erred. “Watson overlooking Chris Kirk in favour of Webb Simpson is looking a bigger mistake with each passing day,” he writes, “while Billy Horschel’s emergence a week late for wild card consideration is indicative of the sort of misfortune America can ill afford.”

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(Getty Images photo)

“Taking the mickey" is a British term for teasing someone, and Sam Torrance, the European Ryder Cup captain in 2002, took one for the team on the eve of the competition. One of his players, Pierre Fulke, called with an urgent problem that “only you can solve,” as recounted in this Telegraph story by Jim White on Torrance’s experiences as captain. “I wrap a towel round me and open the door and he’s standing there in his suit, shirt open. He’s ashen….Then he brings his tie from behind his back and says: ‘I can’t do my tie’. The little ... But that’s exactly what I wanted. Brilliant. Talk about taking the mickey. I knew from then on we’d be OK. Relax with the captain, take the mickey, that’s the way to build a team.”

The last time the Ryder Cup was played in Europe, in Wales in 2010, inclement weather pushed the finish to Monday. “Contingency plans are in place for a similar scenario this time around, but match director Edward Kitson insisted one weather hiccup in the build-up wasn’t giving him any undue concern,” Martin Dempster writes in the Scotsman in this look at the fall weather in Scotland and the potential for calamity.

“The tradition and history makes getting a tee time at St. Andrews a tough proposition. St. Andrews’s daily ballot system…is wonderfully democratic but it’s also a long-odds lottery, especially during the busy summer months. The other four Scottish courses on the Open rotation aren’t much easier.” Fionn Davenport of the Irish Times writes about the difficulty obtaining tee times on the renowned Scottish links and offers up some appealing alternatives.

One-fourth of the victorious European Solheim Cup last year was made up of Spaniards. “Honestly, I am less and less surprised every day,” Marta Figueras-Dotti said of the success enjoyed by Spain’s women’s golf contingent. Figueras-Dotti, a former LPGA player, has been the principal figure in the Spaniards’ rise on the international stage, according to this story by Lisa Mickey in the New York Times.

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Gear & Equipment

Lots of technology behind Srixon's 2015 line of metal woods, hybrids and irons

It has been known for some time the focus on golf equipment at Cleveland/Srixon was going to concentrate more on Srixon in 2015 -- and now we know what those products are going to be. Srixon unveiled its club line for next year, and it's an extensive, nearly full-line offering with two drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, a pair of iron sets and a utility iron.

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The drivers -- the Z545 and Z745 -- each boast a cup-face construction with a titanium body and high-strength 6-4 titanium face. The face has been thinned in the heel and toe areas to boost ball speed on mis-hits, and the clubs are adjustable for face angle, lie angle and loft (via a 12-way adjustable hosel). The center-of-gravity position is also moveable with the use of three adjustable weights (3, 7 and 11 grams). The primary difference between the two drivers is size. The Z545 is 460cc while the Z745 is 430cc. Both drivers come in lofts of 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5 degrees and come standard with Mitsubishi's Kuro Kage Black HBP 60 shaft.

The company also touts a "Dual Speed Technology." The fancy term translates to a higher balance-point shaft, lighter grip and slightly heavier head. The theory behind it is that even though the head is slightly heavier, by reducing weight in the grip and raising the balance point in the shaft, the club can be swung faster and more efficiently, delivering more speed to the ball. This is similar to what Ping has done in recent years with its G and i series drivers, which have a higher balance-point shaft and heavier head as well. Both drivers sell for $400.

The Z F45 fairway woods (available in 3+-, 3- and 4-woods, $280) feature a similar adjustable hosel and weights as the drivers, along with a HT1770 maraging steel face for added zip. The same material is used for the face of the Z H45 hybrids ($230), which come in 2- 3- and 4-hybrid models. But unlike the drivers and fairway woods, the hybrids do not feature any adjustable elements.

loop-srixon-Z745-6-Iron-300.jpgThe hallmark of the Z 545 and Z 745 irons (both $1,000 for a set of eight, steel shafts) is a tungsten weight placed in the toe area of the 3- through 6-irons, to produce more forgiveness in the harder-to-hit long irons. Both irons are forged from 1020 carbon steel and feature a new sole design that increases the leading bounce and decreases the trailing bounce to enhance turf interaction.

On the face, a double laser-milling pattern (one parallel to the grooves and the other on an angle) is designed to augment spin consistency. The cavity-back Z 545, which is more of a game-improvement club than the muscle-cavity Z 745, has a thinner, stronger steel face to bolster distance.

The same face material as the Z 545 is used on the new Z U45 utility iron (lofts of 18, 20 and 23 degrees). The hollow-construction, iron-like club ($180) has plenty of weight placed low to assist launch.

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News & Tours

Is a disaster looming for California golf courses battered by drought?

None of the news on the California drought front and its impact on golf has been good, but it has taken another unfortunate turn.

The El Nino weather pattern that was expected to bring vast amounts of rain to the state this fall and winter has been downgraded by the Climate Prediction Center, a National Weather Service agency, in its latest monthly report.

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Gleneagles Golf Course (Getty Images photo)

The CPC report said there's still a 60 to 65 percent likelihood that an El Nino will develop, but that “a majority of models and the multi-model averages favor a weak El Nino.”

“If we have another drought year, I think the implication will really be disastrous,” Vaughn Kezirian, executive director of the Northern California Golf Association, said on Friday. “I would believe there would be course closures.

“Let’s not even talk about El Nino. We just really need to have a normal winter. A normal year would be something that would take us out of the critical situation.”

There already have been course closures. Two 36-hole facilities in central California — Diablo Grande Golf & Country Club and Ridgemark Golf & Country Club — are now 18-hole facilities.

Meanwhile, Gleneagles Golf Course in San Francisco (shown above), once ranked 17th on a list of the 25 best nine-hole courses in America by Golf Digest’s Ron Whitten, saw it water rates increase by 50 percent, which made it “a non-performing business,” its general partner, Tom Hsieh, told the Bay Area’s CBS affiliate.

Related: How to reconcile a drought with 124 desert golf courses

Down south, one course, Rancho San Marcos in Santa Barbara, is “in trouble,” Craig Kessler, director of governmental affairs for the Southern California Golf Association said. “The well ran dry and it has no access to the state water system.”

Even those courses that use reclaimed water, including the courses in Pebble Beach, are affected, “because of all the conservation programs,” Kezirian said. “Flow doesn’t go in and flow doesn’t go out. The gallons are restricted.”

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Travel

Places We Like: The Longoria's BBQ in Fort Worth

The basic building blocks of barbecue are universal -- ribs, brisket, pulled pork, sausage and chicken. The genius is in the execution, and Texas has no shortage of geniuses. 


A little family-run place outside Fort Worth has staked out a unique -- and tasty -- piece of barbecue ground. At The Longoria's BBQ in Everman, the specialties are variations on the classic brisket theme -- smoked brisket sausage and a smoked brisket cheeseburger.

Owner David Longoria shakes your hand when you walk in the nondescript shack just across the border of southeast Fort Worth, and he'll load your styrofoam plate with any combination of three meats. The ribs are terrific, but he isn't joking when he says people have come from Australia to try to the brisket sausage. 

Longoria's father -- who was sitting in a booth near the door during our visit -- came up with the first iteration of the spice mixture for the recipe while attempting to make venison sausage taste less gamy. Longoria and his brother substituted brisket and created a classic. It has a completely different kind of smoky zip than standard barbecue sausage links, and it's easy to taste why some large distributors are trying to come up with their own version. Longoria holds the recipe close -- so close that he torpedoed a planned segment on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" because producers wanted to reveal the recipe on their website. 

The smoked cheeseburger might be the most underrated thing on any Texas barbecue joint's menu -- and the next thing you should try on your own grill. Longoria takes raw ground brisket and smokes it for an hour in the same pit he uses for his ribs. Then he takes the flavored patties and grills them like traditional burgers. Bite into it and you'll wonder why somebody didn't think of it before. 

Everman isn't exactly centrally located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, but you can get there in 30 minutes from DFW airport. It's worth the drive. 

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