The Local Knowlege

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: The World Golf Hall of Fame's Grand Opening 40 years ago in Pinehurst

After a one-year hiatus to revamp its selection process -- creating a 16-member Selection Commission to determine inductees -- the World Golf Hall of Fame announced Oct. 15 the four new members who’ll make up the Class of 2015: Laura Davies, David Graham, Mark O’Meara and A.W. Tillinghast.

The news came a little more than a month after the World Golf Hall of Fame first opened its doors -- albeit in a different locale -- on Sept. 11, 1974. The original WGHOF was built in Pinehurst, N.C., adjacent to the resort’s famed No. 2 course. On opening day 40 years ago, President Gerald Ford was present to cut the ribbon and address the assembly who were there to see the inaugural 13 inductees be honored.

loop-throwback-wghof-player-518.jpgLike the initial class that entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939, which had the likes of Ruth, Cobb and Wagner, the WGHOF class recognized golf’s early legends Bobby Jones, Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet, Babe Zaharias and Walter Hagen. Enshrinees attending included Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Patty Berg, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Sam Snead.

loop-throwback-wghof-hogan-350.jpgThe creation of the WGHOF had been a long time coming, and officials had high hopes that it would become a mecca for golf visitors. Along with the presence of President Ford and a parachute exhibition by the Golden Knights, the assemblage of eight of the game’s royal legends gave the Hall of Fame an extra-special start. The ceremony was also notable for a rare dressing of Player—the Black Knight—wearing white, and the normally serious Hogan laughing broadly.

But the lure of Pinehurst wasn’t enough, and low attendance, among other issues, forced the hall to close in 1993, having witnessed 71 member inductions. In May 1998, the WGHOF opened in a new location, St. Augustine, Fla., just a high-handicapper’s wedge shot off I-95. It is the main attraction of the World Golf Village, but it’s also still working to find its niche in the golf world. Election of new Hall members had been a major concern in recent years, some feeling the threshold for entry was too easy, allowing popular players who might not have proven their worth for an entirety of their career to be inducted to make the ceremony a must-see event.

The WGHOF now has 146 members, and artifacts from those members alone are enough to provide a significant history of the game. So the WGHOF is putting out great effort to fulfill its mission to “preserve and honor the history of the game of golf and the legacies of those who have made it great.” And the fulfillment of that all started 40 years ago in Pinehurst.

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News & Tours

Tom Watson resurfaces from Ryder Cup exile at the World Series

Longtime Kansas City Royals fan Tom Watson has kept a low profile since his less-than-stellar Ryder Cup captaincy and the ensuing brouhaha over his communication skills. But the Kansas native resurfaced at Game 2 of the World Series Wednesday proudly wearing a classic Royals jacket and the team's alternate white cap, rooting on the team he's supported through thick and thin.

Multiple Tweeters noted the golfing legend's presence but it was a photo with Major League Baseball's Joe Torre that got the most social media traction. It didn't hurt that Anchorman star Paul Rudd and Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt joined the shot. Watson undoubtedly left a happy man as the Royals evened the World Series at 1-1 with the San Fransisco Giants after a resounding 7-2 victory.

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Gear & Equipment

Adidas' newest additions to its Tour 360 x shoe line have plenty of tech to talk about

The latest entry to the Tour360 shoe line from Adidas Golf -- the Tour360 x -- features a new outsole and additional cushioning in the midsole for comfort. The Tour360 x's nine-cleat design is intended to increase stability and reduce the shoe's weight.

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Also joining the line is the Tour360 x Boa, which uses a dial on the tongue to adjust for comfort and fit.

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The Tour x ($140) will be available in six colors—three of which: white/silver/black, blue/gray/white and silver/white/black—go on sale Nov. 1. The other three colors will be available in February. The Tour360 x Boa ($180) will be offered in two colors and available Dec. 1.

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Video

Eagle takes and then returns golf ball; headline writers everywhere rejoice

The problem with a video about an eagle on a golf course is the bad golf puns are inevitable. Come on, an eagle? It's too easy! Make us work for it!

Anyway, here's Part 1 of a two-part nature drama in which an eagle takes a golfer's ball on the 12th green of North Bellingham (Wash.) Golf Course, presumably for good.


 

But no! The eagle actually returns the ball on the 13th tee, as revealed in Part 2.



What a good eagle! Meanwhile, theories abound on why the eagle took the ball off the green, only to return it.

1. He had the seen the guy putt and was trying to spare him further humiliation.

2. The eagle thought he wanted the ball, but he only plays Titleist, so he gave it back. (It was probably a Pinnacle).

3. The guy had inadvertently hit into the eagle's group, and this was the eagle's passive-aggressive way of telling the guy he should have waited ... or at least yelled "Fore!"

Attempts to reach the eagle through his publicist were unsuccessful.


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Celebrity

Recalling the rarest of breeds: A newspaperman who brought down one president and played golf with another

The Internet has been overflowing with tributes to Ben Bradlee, the charismatic former executive editor of the Washington Post who died Tuesday at 93. Bradlee was arguably the most important newspaper editor in history, presiding over the Post's groundbreaking coverage of Watergate while also publishing the controversial Pentagon Papers that detailed the United States war effort in Vietnam. 

When it came to golf, Bradlee had a lesser known but almost as impressive distinction: he was a frequent playing partner of President John F. Kennedy's.

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President Kennedy teeing off with Ben Bradlee, First Lady Jackie Kennedy and Antoinette "Toni" Bradlee looking on. 
Photo from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Although hardly the only newsman to score a tee time with a Commander-in-Chief -- our Dan Jenkins, for one, has written about his rounds with President George H.W. Bush -- Bradlee's relationship with the former President predated Kennedy's ascent to the White House to when they were neighbors in Washington in 1958. By many accounts, JFK was said to be the most naturally gifted golfer among the presidents, but once in office he played less and less, in part because of the demands of the job but also his troublesome back. Still, as Bradlee told Golf Digest's Dave Kindred for a story in the June 2011 issue, Kennedy was "competitive as hell, and had just a beautiful swing. He could hit it a ton, but, like all of us, often had no idea where it was going." 

As Bradlee told Kindred, the two men played a dozen times, very often near the Kennedy compound on Cape Cod. The last time they played, at Newport (R.I.) Country Club, was just two months prior to Kennedy's assassination.

In a book, Conversations With Kennedy, Bradlee wrote about about the "harrowing experience" of playing with the president.

In the first place, if you play golf with a president you are apt to play at some fancy country club whose code of dress requires clothes that I do not have in my wardrobe . . . like golf shoes, for openers. As a result I hit off the first tee in old sneakers, and I feel like I was three down before I hit a shot. In the second place, if you play golf with a president you are dead sure to be watched by a crowd of people who either play golf better than you do and therefore you know they’re going to laugh when you shank the ball, or who line the roads and shout to be recognized by your partner. In any case, that’s another two down. In the third place, there are Secret Service men all around you, carrying guns in dummy golf bags, and that doesn’t do anything for your game. And finally, if you play golf with this president, his patience is so limited that you can never stop to look for a lost ball, and that doesn’t suit my game at all.



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Travel

Deal of the Week: Escape to perfect weather in Palm Springs

There's a reason fancy folks in L.A. and San Diego go to Palm Springs in the fall and winter. Temperatures sit in the high 60s and low 70s with abundant sun, and nights dip into the great-sleeping-weather 50s. The roads are wide, the steaks are large and the wine lists are lengthy. 

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If you have some flexibility to make a midweek trip, it's hard to beat Troon Golf Vacations' four-night Palm Springs Sensation stay-and-play package. For rates as low as $76 per person per night, you get four rounds at PGA West -- two at the Greg Norman Resort course and one each at the Jack Nicklaus Tournament and TPC Stadium Course -- and four nights at the La Quinta Resort and Club. The Nicklaus and Stadium courses are longtime homes of Q school's final stage, and the Norman Resort course matches plush green target areas with vast expanses of crushed marble sand and nine ponds. Rates move up to about $200 if you pick certain weekend or prime dates.  

La Quinta Resort is a comfortable place to relax at the end of the day, especially at chef Jimmy Schmidt's award-winning restaurant, Morgan's In The Desert. The farm-to-table menu changes daily, but you can almost always get the braised short ribs. And you should. 

Out into Palm Springs, reserve one morning for breakfast at Cheeky's, which features the must-order Bacon Flight -- five custom-seasoned varieties of smoked pig. If you only need one kind, order it in the Blondie's eggs benedict, pair it with your choice of fresh-squeezed juices and sit in the sun with your Wayfarers on, pretending to be Steve McQueen circa-1970. 

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News & Tours

Rickie Fowler takes over our Twitter feed, weighs in on mullets, swing tips and Bubba Watson

We spent some time with Rickie Fowler on Tuesday afternoon, and he used that opportunity to take over the @GolfDigest Twitter account. (All the cool kids are doing it.) The 10th-ranked player in the world answered 24 questions that covered a wide range of topics. We now know, for example, that the biggest difference in his swing under Butch Harmon is his takeaway, he has "definitely" considered growing a mullet, and that he thinks the 18th hole at TPC Sawgrass is the hardest hole on the PGA Tour. Enjoy.
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News & Tours

Missing Links: 'McIlroy's court case could put Masters bid in rough'

Stories of interest you might have missed…

The headline to this Kevin Garside column in the Independent is ominous: “Rory McIlroy’s court case could put Masters bid in rough.” McIlroy and his former agency, Horizon, are embroiled in a dispute that will go to court in February, “two months before the tournament he has made it his priority to win,” Garside writes of McIlroy’s bid to complete the career grand slam. “He…has showed that he is vulnerable when matters spiral beyond his control, as this case might with devastating consequences for his reputation, should the judge decide in the opposition’s favour.”

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(Getty Images photo)

Jason Dufner withdrew from the PGA Championship in August with a neck injury and hasn’t been seen since. Until now. Dufner returns to competition at the Perth International in Australia. “I took three weeks off in the middle of the year because I had a gut full of feeling like I wasn’t getting out of it what I was putting into it,” he said in this story by Chris Robinson in Perth Now. “You just you can’t underestimate how valuable taking a week or two off is. Doing this is such a grind that you’ve got to really, really, really want to be there. If you take a few weeks off you get pretty itchy to go play golf. That can be the difference.”

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“No-one needs to persuade me about the merits of Wales’s finest-ever golfer,” Derek Lawrenson writes in the Daily Mail regarding Ian Woosnam’s omission from the World Golf Hall of Fame. Lawrenson was one of 16 members of the selection commission. “I’ve written about Woosnam my whole working life. At a time when Hall of Famers like Seve, Greg Norman, Sandy Lyle, Tom Watson and Sir Nick Faldo were at their peak he was, for a time, quite clearly the best golfer in the world. It’s a horrendous omission.” Woosnam’s response: “After seeing the results of the golf world hall of fame, I think it’s time to say goodbye to golf and retire.”

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The odds weren’t good for Carlos Ortiz’ bid to join the PGA Tour. Or for any other Mexican player, either. “Only five Mexican-born players had ever made it to the PGA Tour,” Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press writes in this look at the PGA Tour rookie. “Two of them won tournaments a generation before he was born, the most recent title by Victor Delgado in 1978 at the Ed McMahon-Jaycees Quad City Open.”

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“Fatherless black kid. 8th grade drop out. Broken home. Running with the wrong crowd,” Gerald Ensley of the Tallahassee Democrat writes in this profile of an aspiring professional golfer, Kamaiu Johnson. “I was going down a dark road when I found golf,” Johnson said. “There is no doubt, golf saved my life.” He is turning professional this weekend.

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Health & Fitness

An easy stretch to ease foot pain

Plantar fasciitis, the inflammation of the connective tissue along the bottom of the foot from heel to toes, is a painful condition that many golfers experience. There are a number of reasons it can occur including a lack of ankle mobility, improper footwear, fallen arches, etc. You'll know you have this condition if you feel a sharp, stabbing pain near the heel of your foot and this seems to be at its worst when you take your first few steps after long periods of minimal activity such as sitting or sleeping.

The inflammation will eventually subside, but it could take months and reoccur if precautionary steps aren't taken—especially for golfers who like to walk a lot. One stretch that helps eliminate pain was designed by Dr. Benedict DiGiovanni at the University of Rochester. If you want to try it, follow these steps:the-loop-foot-massage.jpg

1. Sit with the ankle of the afflicted foot resting on the knee of the other foot.

2. Stretch the arch of the foot by pulling the toes toward the shin bone.

3. Hold for a count of 10 and repeat several times (two or three times daily)

4. To make sure you're stretching the tissue, take your thumb and press against the middle of the foot near the heal as shown. Note: This might be slightly painful.


Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.

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Gear & Equipment

This video will make you feel less lazy about wanting your own personal golf-ball teeing system

A personal golf-ball teeing system seems, at first glance, like a bit of an indulgence. Yet the utility of the Neuroswing, particularly for instructors working on a lesson tee, makes this latest accessory to surface on Kickstarter more than just a curiosity. Unless, that is, you're chiropractor, in which case it might be your own worst nightmare.

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The portable device assembles in less than a minute and holds 42 balls, according to company co-founder Pascal Perrin. It requires no power to use because golfers manually control the tube that feeds balls to the tee.

Does it really take that much effort to bend over and tee up a golf ball? No, but when you start to read Neuroswing's promotional material and see the potential for reducing strain on your back from repeatedly bending over, suddenly it doesn't seem so unnecessary after all.

Here's a video that shows how it works:


Perrin hopes to raise $35,000 before the Kickstarter campaign ends Nov. 16. The plan is to begin production in 2015 with the hope of shipping units, which would retail for $100 to $150, in the summer.


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