Still, in advance of this week's Deutsche Bank Championship, the Boston Globe pressed players on the courses remaining on their bucket list. The answers -- and sometimes the lack thereof -- were telling.
Already with exposure to gems like Augusta National and Pebble Beach, many mentioned uber-private destinations like Pine Valley and Cypress Point. Others, like Geoff Ogilvy, said it was more about getting a chance to experience a classic in a more casual context.
Pine Valley is still a good get for many tour players.
“I’d love to do all of Long Island properly, and play them all as the members play them,” Ogilvy told the Globe. “We see these courses in such ridiculous setups.”
Other players, owing to the demands of the profession, admitted to a sort of golf fatigue.
“I don’t play any leisure golf," said Jonathan Byrd. "If I told my wife I was going to take a week and play some courses I’ve never been to before, she’d slap me silly.”
Added Phil Mickelson: "I’ve played them all. All the ones I’ve wanted to, anyway.”
The Globe question was a variation of one Golf Digest posed to some of the game's A-listers in 2011, as part of our package on America's 100 Greatest Courses: Of the countless American golf courses you HAVE played, what ranks in your top 10?
In handwritten responses from the likes of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Ernie Els, we got many of the usual suspects (Pine Valley, Augusta National, Oakmont, and Winged Foot). We got plenty of sentimental favorites: Davis Love III included his hometown Frederica Golf Club on St. Simon Island, Ga., while Palmer went with his own Bay Hill, Pennsylvania's Laurel Valley Golf Club, and Cherry Hills, where he won the 1960 U.S. Open.
And of course we got the expected from Donald Trump. He included five Trump courses, including Trump Bedminster at No. 1.
Missing Links: Sean Foley's reaction ('not a sad day'), and Los Angeles Country Club's change of heart (maybe)
Stories of interest you might have missed
How did Sean Foley handle the news that Tiger Woods had fired him? Better than most, probably. “I know the world won't want to believe that two people can go in different directions without being upset with each other,” he told ESPN’s Bob Harig. “It was a wonderful opportunity. I'm very grateful. This is not a sad day.”
Sean Foley working with another of his charges, Hunter Mahan (Getty Images photo)
“All you see at the entrance on Wilshire Boulevard is a simple numerical address: 10101. Nothing to advertise the expansive clubhouse and championship golf courses behind the trees on either side of the driveway. The 1,500 members can speak of the facility in great detail; not many others can. That is about to change.” The Los Angeles Times' Mike James has the story of the likelihood that the U.S. Open will finally be going to the ultra-private Los Angeles Country Club.
“To listen to [Justin Leonard] talk about his week at Camp Mati is to suspect that Leonard's week in Colorado brought the same measure of satisfaction as being an NCAA champion at Texas, a U.S. Amateur champion, a British Open champion at Royal Troon, a Ryder Cup hero at Brookline or anything else he has done on the golf course.” The Associated Press’ Doug Ferguson writes about Leonard’s experience spending a week at Colorado’s Camp Mati, where kids with cancer and their families for for a respite.
Knowing history sometimes is more problematic than making history, as U.S. Amateur champion Gunn Yang demonstrated last week. Yang, from San Diego State, played a round of golf wilt another Aztec with a U.S. Amateur championship on his resume, Gene Littler. Yang had to Google him to learn that Littler is in the World Golf Hall of Fame, Tod Leonard writes in this story in U-T San Diego.
The headline to this story in the Vancouver Sun was sure to get golfers’ attention: “World’s best golf courses virtually packed into Vancouver’s downtown.” The story is about a restaurant/bar — the One Under, Urban Golf Club — that will feature six golf simulators featuring 22 golf courses (so far), including Pebble Beach and the Old Course at St. Andrews.
When Tommy Morrissey was 13 months old, he began watching golf telecasts with his father Joe and “he’d watch it as though he understood what was happening,” his mother Marcia said.
At 18 months, he began mimicking what he was seeing on those golf telecasts, meanwhile, getting angry when someone changed the channel.
So his parents gave him a plastic club and ball and he began swinging away and hitting the ball with uncommon efficiency for a toddler, more so for one born without a right hand.
“My husband plays golf and I play golf,” Marcia said. “Thomas became obsessed with it. He started watching YouTube instruction all on his own, mostly Bubba Watson, really. So we began nurturing his obsession. It’s unreal.”
Tommy is now three, has real equipment and plays as often as time and his parents allow, which is frequently, given that they’re members at Frenchman’s Reserve Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, near their home in Jupiter, and Linwood Country Club in Linwood, N.J., where they spend summers.
They took Tommy to Linwood’s professional Jeff LeFevre this summer. “He immediately took a very nice, natural square setup,” LeFevre said. “He took the club back to parallel and paused at the top. When he hesitates at the top he looks at the target, then back to the ball.
“He never whiffed one. And after watching him hit a couple hundred balls now it’s amazing to me that he never ever whiffs.”
Doctors at Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia predicted that he’d have exceptional hand-eye coordination, Marcia said. “His body and his brain think he’s right-handed, but without a right hand his brain has to compensate in ways yours and mine would not.”
Marcia, meanwhile, is reading “Imperfect: An Improbable Life,” Jim Abbott’s autobiography. Abbott, who was born without a right hand and played 10 years in the major leagues, often spoke about his indifference to not having a right hand.
The same holds true with Tommy, Marcia said. “Thomas has no idea he’s any different than anybody else,” she said. “He just never even questions it.”
The first time LeFevre saw him hit balls, tears came to his eyes, he said, a reaction others have had, too. “You’re heartfelt for what he’s going through,” he said, “then you realize he doesn’t see it as a handicap, that he was just born with one arm and that’s the way it is.”
As for his passion for the game, he once temporarily lost his putter. “Boy, was he upset. He had such a fit,” LeFevre said. “His passion is just incredible.”
1. "Brangelina": They got married! Last weekend! In France! And the best part? Almost no one seemed to know about it. OK, so it's a little weird that even Angelina Jolie's father, Jon Voight, was kept out of the loop, but at least they spared everyone all the breathless coverage and follow-up TV specials brought on by the recent nuptials of "Kimye." Thanks for keeping it chill, guys.
2. The Emmys: Here's a brief rundown of TV's big awards night: "Breaking Bad" won EVERYTHING. This was made a lot more tolerable since, coincidentally, I started binge watching the series just two days before (I was well into Season 2 by the time of the ceremony). Still, as good as Bryan Cranston is, it's crazy to think that Matthew McConaughey didn't win for best actor -- something I declared was a LOCK after just the second episode of "True Detective." Oh well, he'll have to settle for just an Academy Award and a Golden Globe this year.
3. David Chase: Speaking of TV, the creator of "The Sopranos" chimed in (again) on the much-talked-about abrupt ending to the series finale after a report that Chase had finally divulged the fate of mob boss Tony Soprano. (SPOILER ALERT: There was an abrupt ending to the final episode of "The Sopranos" in which the screen went black and people watching completely freaked out.) Anyway, Mr. Chase said Tony Soprano didn't die -- but he also didn't necessarily live. In other words, his life went on and the audience is supposed to draw its own conclusions. Hmm. So now the debate goes on as well. Seven years later. Well played, David. What do I think happened in that scene? I think Tony ordered more onion rings.
4. Sean Foley: Golf Digest's No. 2-ranked instructor only charges $250 per lesson. If you're struggling with your game, maybe now is the time to give him a call. He's got a lot more openings in his schedule.
5. College football: The season officially got underway on Thursday night so there's plenty to discuss and be excited about. My level of caring, however, completely correlates with how good my alma mater's team is. (*Checks scores.* *Sees Wake Forest lost to Northern Illinois, 17-10.* *Let's out a big sigh.*) So the NFL starts next week, right?
Brendon de Jonge got off to a worse start than most amateur golfers playing over Labor Day Weekend will
After a 280-yard opening drive in the fairway on No. 10 (his first hole of the day), things went bad quickly for the 34-year-old Zimbabwean. De Jonge found the water with his approach shot and after taking a drop, he took four more shots to finish.
On the par-3 11th, he found a greenside bunker. His first shot from the sand didn't get out. His second went well over the green. Three shots later, he had recorded a disastrous second straight triple bogey to start his round. "Triple doubles" are good in basketball. "Double triples" in golf? Not so good.
The top 70 players on the FedEx Cup points list will advance to next week's BMW Championship at Cherry Hills. De Jonge entered this week's event at No. 79 after advancing to the Tour Championship last year for the first time.
De Jonge certainly won't be thrilled with today's round, but he should be more upset with himself about how he finished at the Barclays last week. Following an opening 66, he shot over par the final three rounds to finish T-61 and miss out on a great opportunity to pick up points in the volatile playoff system. Now he needs to pick up shots fast if he's going to make the cut and move on.
Los Angeles Country Club has a colorful history that includes its proximity to the Playboy Mansion (adjacent to the 13th green) and Groucho Marx’ failed bid to join, prompting him to famously say, “Why would I want to belong to a club that would have me as a member?”
Its history, too, has included occasional flirtations with the USGA about playing the U.S. Open on its renowned North Course, the latest chapter revealed on Thursday.
The ’54 U.S. Junior Amateur, meanwhile, was played at LACC and was to be a prelude to its hosting the U.S. Amateur in ’56 (and likely the U.S. Open sometime after that). But when a crowd of 3,500 showed up for the Junior Amateur final, the membership recoiled at the thought of crowds traipsing across its course that it withdrew its offer to host the Amateur.
The last time that LACC entertained U.S. Open overtures was 1982. Sandy Tatum, a past president of the USGA and a powerbroker within the organization, grew up playing LACC (his father was a member) and was a strong advocate on behalf of the 1986 Open going there.
Tatum also had an ally in the club president at the time, Judge Charles Older. His Honor was no obscure judge, incidentally. He was the presiding judge in the trial of serial killer Charles Manson in 1971 and was the man who sentenced Manson to death.
Eddie Merrins, then the head pro at nearby Bel-Air Country Club, once said that Older wished to bring the Open to LACC “so [the public] could see that the members of the club weren't so bad after all.”
Two years before Older’s death in 2006, I reached him by phone to ask about the Open discussions. “I don’t think I want to talk about that,” Older said, hewing to the club’s policy of keeping club business private.
Older reportedly was one of four on the LACC board in favor of the club hosting the Open. But five were opposed. End of discussion. Until now.
Ping's G30 hybrid doesn't have turbulators, but it does have plenty of other technology to talk about
Take the company's G30 hybrid -- a workhorse constructed of 17-4 stainless steel with a heat-treated face designed to improve springlike effect for more distance. Internal weight pads in the heel and toe raise its moment of inertia to assist mis-hits, and a weight positioned low in the sole provides a low-back center of gravity to help launch the ball higher.
The hybrids (street price: $220 each) are available in five lofts (17, 19, 22, 26, 30 degrees) with Ping's TFC 419H graphite shaft in four flexes. Oh, and no turbulators, either.
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