The Local Knowlege

Weird Golf News

This is why you don't do radio interviews while you're driving...

Odds are, you've probably heard a few radio interviews regarding the Ryder Cup the past couple days. But we doubt you've heard any that ended quite like this.

Related: 9 Reasons Why The U.S. Lost The Ryder Cup

Melbourne Radio's Mark Allen, a former Australian golf professional, was giving his thoughts on the action at Gleneagles while driving on Tuesday when he rear-ended a car. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Here's the extremely entertaining audio:

SEN Radio host Kevin Bartlett's reaction was the best. First he exclaimed some sort of Australian slang word ("Jingos!"?) before asking, "Not the Mercedes?"

Yep. It was the Mercedes.

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After ending the interview for legal reasons -- and because Allen had to deal with the accident -- an incredulous Bartlett went on.

"Can you believe that he's had a crash while speaking on radio?! That is a first, that is an absolute first! I reckon's that'd make a good promo, don't you think?"

Not sure about that, but golf experts everywhere can learn a lesson from this one. Don't analyze and drive.

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Celebrity

"Fifty Shades of Grey" star Jamie Doran to play in the Dunhill Links

Aside from Rory McIlroy, the only other golfer in the 2014 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship Pro-Am from Holywood, Northern Ireland is Jamie Doran. Doran plays BDSM-enthusiast Christian Grey in the upcoming film "Fifty Shades of Grey."

“I can't wait to play in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship this week. I'll be one of two people playing from Holywood, County Down. The other being Rory McIlroy," Doran said in the press release. "I'd say your money's safer with Rory."

The film is set the debut on February 13, 2015. Here's the trailer for it:


Interestingly, this is now the second connection "Fifty Shades of Grey" has to golf. In the film, Grey's love-interest is played by Dakota Johnson, the daughter of Don Johnson, who played David Simms in the 1996 golf movie "Tin Cup".

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How He Hit That

How He Hit That: Jamie Donaldson's Cup-winning wedge


Jamie Donaldson ended the Ryder Cup on his 15th hole Sunday, but it really was a mercy killing. Not only was the Welshman 4-up on Keegan Bradley, but the board was filled with European blue on a day when the Americans needed to win eight matches just to get close. 

Donaldson's pitching wedge to a foot from 146 yards capped a breakout week for the 38-year-old Cup rookie, who also went 2-1 as a part of partnership with Lee Westwood. Donaldson's simple, repeatable swing has produced three victories on the European Tour to go with what will probably go down as the most memorable pitching wedge of his career. 

"Jamie's arm and body motions put him in a position to hit extremely, powerful consistent shots," says top New York teacher Michael Jacobs, who is based at the X Golf School in Manorville, Long Island. "In the final phase of his downswing, his left arm hangs straight down from his shoulder. It shows his body has moved in the right sequence, and he's in a position where he can transfer all that speed from his wrists into the clubhead. If your left arm floats in a higher position, you waste a lot of that potential energy. That's why he's hitting super high 146-yard pitching wedges and most of us aren't." 

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Even if you can't produce a tour player's clubhead speed, you can get more distance and make more consistent contact if you try to copy that feeling of the lead arm hanging straight down through the last part of the downswing, says Jacobs, the 2012 Metropolitan Section PGA Teacher of the Year. "Get it right and your ball-strking will immediately improve, and you won't be so reliant on perfect timing. That's going to give you confidence when you're playing your own important rounds. 

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News & Tours

Jamie Donaldson gives a hilarious drunk interview after winning the Ryder Cup

Jamie Donaldson won the point that clinched Europe the 2014 Ryder Cup, and he did it hitting the "shot of his life."

Obviously, that all made him extremely happy, and the happiness seemed to spill over into an interview with Sky Sports on Monday morning. A great find from GolfChannel.com writer Ryan Lavner:



The full interview, courtesy of Sky Sports:



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My Usual Game

Naked putting with Jennifer Lawrence! (I mean, a poet laureate for golf)

Billy Collins was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001-’03. He has taught at Lehman College, in the Bronx since 1968, and he is a senior distinguished fellow of the Winter Park Institute, at Rollins College, in Winter Park, Florida. He’s also a golfer. This summer, he wrote to ask for advice about playing golf at Askernish, a restored Old Tom Morris course on the island of South Uist, off the northwestern coast of Scotland. I put him in touch with Ralph Thompson, the club’s chairman, and Collins visited with his fiancee, whose name is Suzannah.

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From Collins’s report:

Just back from the Western Isles to report a near transcendent golf experience at Askernish. When Ralph initially wrote back to me, he mentioned the upcoming Askernish Open, and after reading that sentence my heart sank with the assumption that I couldn't play. But, as you might guess, his next sentence said he was entering me in the tournament.

Suzannah and I took the Oban car ferry (five-plus hours, two of gin rummy) and we drove to our hotel in the dark: the Orasay Inn, on the north end of the island. Next day was spent in churches and cemeteries doing some very unprofessional genealogical work ("Hey, here's another MacIsaac!") but not before a stop at the clubhouse, where Ralph said we could tee off straightaway, if we liked. But we had MacIsaacs to find. Next day, in the Open, I was paired with David Currie, a Toronto guy and an Askernish life member, who holds the golf club cack-handed -- i.e., right one on top. Try that at the range. 

All I can say about the course is that it is pure links, and therefore the purest golf experience I have ever had, never mind my 103, partially the fault of rented, steel-shafted clubs. Glorious weather. And between the eighth and sixteenth greens stood a truck, tailgate down, whose bed was filled with drinks (whisky) and little bite-size salmon things with tiny wedges of lemon on them. I wolfed down about six.

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Here’s one of my favorite of Collins’s poems. It’s the second best poem ever written about golf:

Night Golf

I remember the night I discovered,
lying in bed in the dark,
that a few imagined holes of golf
worked much better than a thousand sheep,

that the local links,
not the cloudy pasture with its easy fence,
was the greener path to sleep.

How soothing to stroll the shadowy fairways,
to skirt the moon-blanched bunkers
and hear the night owl in the woods.

Who cared about the score
when the club swung with the ease of air
and I glided from shot to shot
over the mown and rolling ground,
alone and drowsy with my weightless bag?

Eighteen small cups punched into the
bristling grass,
eighteen flags limp on their sticks
in the silent, windless dark,

but in the bedroom with its luminous clock
and propped-open windows,
I got only as far as the seventh hole
before I drifted easily away --

the difficult seventh, "The Tester" they called it,
where, just as on the earlier holes,
I tapped in, dreamily, for birdie.

The best poem ever written about golf was written by me. Well, I did have a co-author -- Emily Dickinson -- and on a percentage basis she wrote more of it than I did. But I did contribute the crucial word:

Golf is the thing with feathers --
That perches on the soul --
And sings the tune without the words --
And never stops -- at all --

I’ve heard it in the chillest land --
And on the strangest Sea --
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb -- of Me.

Collins gave a terrific TED talk about poetry in 2012. You can watch it right here:


And you can read a poem he wrote about Askernish on the front page of the club's website

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News & Tours

Missing Links: 'It felt like...a funeral for American golf,' and Mickelson, 'who always needs to be smartest guy in room'

Stories of interest you might have missed…

“Twelve American men and their broken old captain walked slowly into a marquee and proceeded to rip each other apart. It felt like a kind of funeral for American golf, like a little bit of it dies every time the US slip to another crushing, embarrassing, demoralising defeat to Europe,” writes Oliver Holt in the Mirror.

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(Getty Images photo)

“While most of his United States team-mates waved the white flag, the 24-year-old Texan revelled in the pantomime of the golf’s greatest team competition. He high-fived, fist-pumped, he roared, he shushed. And when that got him abuse, he cranked up the volume. Above all, he cared.” Patrick Reed won matches and respect in his first Ryder Cup. Ben Rumsby of the Telegraph has the story.

Everyone has an opinion on the Phil Mickelson-Tom Watson flap. Robert Lusetich of Fox Sports comes down hard against Mickelson. “Mickelson -- who always needs to be the smartest guy in the room -- recounted how great Paul Azinger was as captain because he got players ‘invested in the process.’ I could stop right there and say, if you're not invested in the process anyway, then don't play. You're representing the United States, and if you can't get up for that does it matter who captains?”

Those looking for signs of optimism regarding U.S. Ryder Cup prospects can find them in the performances of rookies Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth, writes Andy Farrell in the Independent: “Just where do the Americans go from here? The short answer is to Hazeltine in Minnesota in two years’ time. That they will travel there with any hope at all after yet another defeat will be due to the emergence of rookies Spieth and Patrick Reed.”

Has the Rory McIlroy-Graeme McDowell rift been exaggerated? Jonathan Liew of the Guardian makes the case. “Seconds after McDowell sank his winning putt on the 17th green, the man clasping him in a giant bear hug was McIlroy: friends reunited, or perhaps just united. In that moment, we knew that the rift between the pair had been nothing but a confection: embellished not just by the media and by the likes of Phil Mickelson, with his jibe that the American team did not ‘litigate’ against each other.”

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News & Tours

Rory McIlroy dons a red wig and kilt to celebrate Europe's win. So did Rickie and Bubba, for some reason

Update: Turns out, Rory also donned a wig and kilt, which is easy to see why considering Europe's stellar performance. Looks like a fantastic after-party.


Original: Hunter Mahan tweeted this on Sunday evening, which is a little odd considering the way in which Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson -- and the entire U.S. team, for that matter -- lost the 2014 Ryder Cup. Rickie lost his match to Rory McIlroy 5-and-4 and Bubba lost his to Martin Kaymer 4-and-2.

Golf Channel considers the potential reasons why the pair did this, among them: "They plan to sneak into the European camp and steal their secrets."

Let's hope that's the case.

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Business

Back9Network launches today; is there room for two golf networks?

Four years after it was founded, Back9Network finally begins broadcasting today, and will do so not without some uncertainty. Is there room for a second golf network?

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"I wouldn't have left a nice safe career at ESPN if I didn't think so," Charles Cox, CEO of Back9 Network, said. Cox was Director of International Finance and Business Development at ESPN before joining Back9Network.

"I think it's a no-brainer channel offering. You've got the only sport you can play until you die. You've got a 70-billion dollars annual consumer spend around the lifestyle. Look at other [sports] genres that have a lifestyle around it. There's only one, outdoors, hunting and fishing, and they've got several channels."

The network bills itself as "the world's first multi-platform lifestyle network for golf lovers," featuring wine, food, cars, travel, nightlife and, of course, golf.

"I''ve got the best demographic in golf, the male golfer," Cox said. "Eighty percent of golfers are male. [We're focused on] entertaining the male golfer in prime time."

Related: Back9Network founder Jamie Bosworth is out of the picture

Ahmad Rashad is the executive producer and a host for Back9. He also is close to Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, which figures to give Back9Network some access to both.

It plans to air more than 1,000 hours of original programming in its first year, including a trio of studio shows.

  • "The Turn," hosted by Shane Bacon and Erica Bachelor, will feature golf, pop culture and debate.

  • "Off Par," hosted by actor Marty Blake and model Caite Upton, will be "an inventive look at the world of golf and entertainment, with a comedic twist," a network news release said.

  • Former PGA Tour player John Maginnes, along with long-time Golfweek writer Jeff Rude will host "The Clubhouse," designed to replicate 19th-hole golf conversation.

One early challenge for Back9Network is that initially it will only be available to those with DirecTV.

"We're going to try to get 40, 50, 60 million homes as quickly as possible," Cox said, "and really get some hard-core data on what programs are working. We probably can't exist by having only 20 million homes in the long term. We need to get the other big boys involved."

It has made it easy for potential viewers to lobby cable outlets for inclusion. On the top of its website homepage, it features a link, "I want Back9Network," that has forms to either email or Tweet cable operators requesting that the network be added.

Meanwhile, it will begin with cautious optimism. "It's been a long time coming, but there's still plenty of work to be done," Cox said. "We've got to make sure it's good stuff. It's hard to launch a network in this landscape."

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News & Tours

What They Said, What They Meant: Phil And Tom Edition!

We don't want to overwork our What They Said/Meant algorithm too hard since the entire American Ryder Cup press conference might just implode our carefully crafted formula designed to occasionally interpret what pro golfers are really saying.

You can read all of the key exchanges from the wild and wacky press conference here courtesy of our Alex Myers, but below are a couple of the more nuanced moments. Starting with a follow up to a question of Phil Mickelson who elaborated in brutally honest fashion on why the 2008 Ryder Cup worked compared to 2014.

Q. That felt like a pretty brutal destruction of the leadership that's gone on this week.

PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, I'm sorry you're taking it that way. I'm just talking about what Paul Azinger did to help us play our best. It's certainly -- I don't understand why you would take it that way. You asked me what I thought we should do going toward to bring our best golf out and I go back to when we played our best golf and try to replicate that formula.
Q. That didn't happen this week?
PHIL MICKELSON: Uh (pausing) no. No, nobody here was in any decision. So, no.
 
Algorithm, please translate!
 
Q. That felt like you just said to us Tom Watson is a truly terrible Captain. Go on.

PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, I'm really sorry you're taking it that way because I wouldn't want to be thought of as saying he was merely poor leader, because that's just the tip of the iceberg. This guy couldn't coach a PGA Junior League team! So I'm just talking about what Paul Azinger did that made sense and which no one since has imitated.  At least read the man's book! So you asked me what I thought we should do going toward to bring out our best golf and I go back to when we played our best golf and try to replicate that formula. Azinger in '16 baby!

Q. That didn't happen this week?

PHIL MICKELSON: Uh (pausing) no. No, nobody here was in any decision, as evidenced by the red pants we are wearing, the weird pairings and pretty much everything else that happened. Especially those Ryder Cup sweaters on Friday. So no, we weren't consulted but I swear, I'm not trying to imply Captain Watson did a lousy job!

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For his part, Captain Watson also got in a nice dig according to our algorithm. First, here's what he was asked and said:
 
Q. Every two years the two captains come in and say the hardest part of their job is benching people. Four years ago with all the problems at Celtic Manor, we had everybody playing in every format. Would you like to see that as part of the game? Seems to have 12 of the best players in the world and each time having four sitting in each session.

TOM WATSON: Yes, I would. I would like to see the change in that format. Then everybody knows they are going to go 36 holes and then everybody knows that they have to be in shape to play. That's one of the important decisions that I may have missed is playing, say, Jimmy Walker for four straight rounds, two 36-hole matches. And if that wasn't up to my decision, then every player wouldn't understand that.

And now, after running through our fully copyrighted formula…

Q. Every two years the two captains come in and give us scribblers some nonsense about how the hardest part of their job is benching people. Would you like to see that as part of the game so you truly are nothing more than a chaperon of millionaires?

TOM WATSON: Yes, I would. I would like to see the change in that format. Then everybody knows they are going to go 36 holes and then everybody knows that they have to be in shape to play. Phil, did you catch that part? In shape? 36 holes?  That's one of the important decisions that I may have missed is playing, say, Jimmy Walker because I don't want to use Phil's name here, for four straight rounds, two 36-hole matches. And if that wasn't up to my decision, then every player wouldn't understand that they can't come in here like the fat, bog-mouth schlubs that they are and expect to lollygag. Because they're lollygaggers, really. This group needed two-a-day, Lee Westwood or Darren Clarke-type slimming.

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News & Tours

Chamblee calls Mickelson's criticisms 'close to a one-man mutiny'

Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee slammed Phil Mickelson for his post-Ryder Cup comments, made with U.S. captain Tom Watson sitting on the same dais, calling it “as close to a one-man mutiny” that he’s ever seen.

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(Getty Images photo)

Mickelson and Watson were the principals in what this Golf Digest blog post by Alex Myers called “the most awkward press conference ever,” for the criticism leveled by Mickelson at Watson.

“When I first started playing golf, I heard it was a gentlemen’s game,” Chamblee said on Golf Channel’s “Live from the Ryder Cup” program. “I’ve heard that my entire life. That is the refrain I think lures most of us to the game, the civility with which it is played, win or lose. That was as close to a one-man mutiny that I’ve ever seen. I think that’s a moment that Phil would like to have back.

“If you’re looking for a reason why the United States continues to lose, you just saw it in one man. Phil Mickelson. Phil Mickelson, along with the best players of that era, have so corrupted the experience of the Ryder Cup for their fellow competitors by not having records anywhere near what they should, given their rank in the game.

“Players of an era who are the best go to the Ryder Cup and show off. And not goof off. Phil Mickelson in 2004 changed clubs at the Ryder Cup the week of. And the day before, he went to practice to another golf course. This is yet another example of not coming together as a team.

“He and Tiger had a disconnect in 2004. They refused to come together and play better. Yet every great player had played with the next great player. Jack Nicklaus played with Arnold Palmer. Seve Ballesteros played with Jose Maria Olazabal. Nick Faldo played with Ian Woosnam. They all succeeded. Jack played with Tom Weiskopf and on down the line.

“Hal Sutton [’04 captain] got maligned for pairing Tiger Woods with Phil Mickelson. Why? The whole world wants to see the two best players play together. And they should have steamrolled everybody the way Rory McIlroy steamrolled today. That’s how they should have played. If you’re looking for a reason the U.S. loses, you can beat around the bush all you want. You just saw it.”

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