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News & Tours

Betting on Tiger Woods in 2011

Tiger Woods' regrettable, forgettable year is over, so what are the odds that he'll rebound? Ladbrokes, the U.K. bookmaker, has them, at least regarding the major championships.

Woods is a 3/1 favorite to win the Masters. Curiously, Lee Westwood, who ended Woods' reign as No. 1 in the World Ranking, is 14/1 to win the Masters. Will the U.K.'s own punters have enough faith in their own to bet him down to odds closer to Woods'?

Odds on Woods winning one major championship in 2011, meanwhile, are 11/8; two majors 8/1; three majors 33/1; the Grand Slam 100/1.

-- John Strege

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News & Tours

Tiger turns 35, still tops the Golf Digest 50

Golf Digest has released its exclusive ranking of the top 50 earners in golf, both on and off the course. The eighth annual list was put together with the help of countless Golf Digest interviews and compiled by Ron Sirak.

Not surprisingly, Tiger Woods, who turned 35 on Dec. 30, leads the way once again. What may turn some heads, however, is that his overall earnings for 2010 went down a cool $48 million from what he made in 2009. In other words, Woods lost more money than any other player made, including No. 2 Phil Mickelson.

Then again, considering all he has gone through in the past year, perhaps it's even more amazing that Woods still managed to make $74.2 million.

Other impressive stats? How about 81-year-old Arnold Palmer pulling in $36 million despite not playing in one official event to place third. Or Jim Furyk jumping up six spots to No. 6 thanks in large part to that big bonus for winning the FedEx Cup. And Lee Westwood may be the current No. 1 player in the world, but he only checks in at No. 9 on this list to barely pass a player who had to take a break from the game altogether in Sergio Garcia.

Of course, sometimes there's a lag between success on the course and a player cashing in. Graeme McDowell ($9,714,379 total) went from unranked to No. 14 following a dream season that included claiming the U.S. Open and becoming a Ryder Cup hero. But you can be sure the native of Northern Ireland will easily crack the $10 million barrier next year when the new endorsements he's picked up start to kick in.

Same goes for Matt Kuchar and Martin Kaymer, who each earned more than $9 million this year despite making a relatively small amount from things other than tournament earnings. And who knew the soft-spoken and not-particularly-flashy Zach Johnson made more money off the course ($4.5 million) than Michelle Wie?

But regardless if a player saw his/her earnings rise or fall in 2010, one thing is for sure. If you're on this list, you're doing pretty well for yourself.

-- Alex Myers

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News & Tours

Obama: 56 (or 57) rounds, but who's counting?

Emily Miller is. An editor at Human Events, Miller has been tracking President Obama's golf and, via Twitter, reporting on it in the wake of his Hawaii rounds this week and setting in motion a string of commentary that somehow came to include death panels.

"President Obama played golf today in Hawaii, his 56th round since taking office," she wrote on Tuesday.

A short time later, she posted this: "whoa. third time playing golf in hawaii? if so then I have to adjust my count to 57 for presidency. SERIOUS BUSINESS."

Then this: "I need to keep my golf tracking up to date. Do you count 56 or 57? I had 52 on Oct 10. Played 2x in DC, 3x"

Whatever the number, John Kim, a coordinating producer at PGA.com, chimed in with this: "That's more than me! But then my job is ...golf. Wait, that doesn't seem right."

Kim's post was re-tweeted by Miller, who added this: "Obama golfs more than a PGA producer?!"

Kim's turn again: "the old adage is: those who work in golf never get to play. Guess I need to run for President to hit the links!"

That prompted this response from Doug Powers, writing at michellemalkin.com, beneath the headline, "PGA Producer Wishes He Could Golf as Much as Obama": "Kim later noted how he should get elected president so he'd have more time to play golf. Careful dude, those deat... er, I mean -- 'end of life counseling committees' -- aren't just going to be for old people, you know.'"

-- John Strege

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Courses & Travel

Weather Beats Travel By A Score Of 10&8

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Stranded. On. A. Tarmac. 

That would be four words that elicit the foulest of the four letter words. 

Everyone can relate to the horror of a pilot trying to explain that there’s no available gate for deplaning. A 30-minute delay can end up being an hour, or even an hour and a half. Two hours on a tarmac is enough to inspire the Dalai Lama to storm the exit door and pull the cord that inflates the big yellow slide.

What I can’t relate to is what passengers of Cathay Pacific flight 840 from Hong Kong to New York went through on Monday.

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News & Tours

Only Putter Boy is on the golf course today

There isn't much golf weather around the continental U.S. today. Even Pinehurst's Putter Boy is knee deep in snow, as shown in this photograph taken by Golf World Senior Editor (and North Carolina native) Bill Fields:

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Fields has posted other photos from Mid Pines Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C., on Twitter.

-- John Strege

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Courses & Travel

Christmas Card

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Merry Christmas to you and yours . . .

I feel blessed to be a member of this exclusive community made up of avid golfers, public courses and memorable destinations.

I look forward to a year of short security lines, on-time arrivals, sweet deals on stay-and-play packages, perfect playing conditions, favorable bounces, smooth greens and finishing every round with a birdie.

When I was working for Sports Illustrated in 1997, this photograph was shot by Bob Martin and was used on the opening spread of a story by Steve Rushin, who wrote about his search for the world's northernmost golf course. It's still one of my favorite stories about golf and travel.

Now get back to eating, drinking and cleaning up the mess around the tree. Out here on the North Shore--days away from the northernmost golf course--we're going for the traditional family surf in Kawela Bay.

--Matty G.


(Photograph courtesy of Getty Images.)
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News & Tours

Report: Gillette ends relationship with Woods

Tiger Woods, who previously lost endorsement deals with AT&T, Accenture, Gatorade and Tag Heuer, will no longer represent Gillette, effective the end of December, the company has announced.

"His contract ran its full term like many other athletes that were part of the Champions program," the company said in a news release. "We are ending the Gillette Champions program after three years. Like any brand, we refresh our marketing efforts to ensure they continue to be relevant for our consumers."

A month ago, Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, told CNBC's Darrell Rovell that Woods was close to adding endorsement deals, that Woods would "have a bag deal with a new partner and within time I am confident there will be a global brand that will be using his name and likeness. We're close to a deal coming out of Asia and we're in discussions with a number of companies interested in being on his golf bag."

-- John Strege

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Courses & Travel

Update: Fifth Course At Bandon Dunes

I received a recent tweet from @andrewganey: “Any inside word on when Bandon’s 12-hole par-3 course will open?”

I just got off the phone with Old Macdonald’s golf professional, Jeff Brinegar. Bill Coore and Ben Cranshaw (of Bandon Trails), will begin construction on the 12-hole par-3 course in February. What owner Mike Keiser originally thought would be called “Conservation Course” is scheduled to open in June of 2012. (I'm told several names are still being considered.)

While I had him on the phone, Brinegar said that in the first year of business, Old Macdonald exceeded their expectations. On the subject of how business is going at Bandon, Brinegar said the resort will enjoy the busiest January and February since it opened in 1999.

Click here for a recent story about Bandon Dunes.

Click here for a story about an Ambush at Bandon Dunes.

If you want to follow or communicate with me via Twitter, click here. My handle is @Matt_Ginella.

--Matty G.

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News & Tours

Why you shouldn't get hit by a golf ball

A ruling by a New York judge says golfers are not liable for not yelling "fore" when they hit someone outside of their target line. This is yet another reason why you should avoid getting hit in the first place.

A June 1999 Golf Digest story examined the ramifications of players getting hit by errant balls and even clubs. At the time of the story, some 40,000 people were admitted annually to emergency rooms from such injuries. The good news is the cases of fatalities are low, but seeing how the New York case stemmed from a player who was blinded in one eye, golf still presents risk.

So what measures can you take to avoid injury? Read the full story here.

-- Sam Weinman
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Courses & Travel

More Good Deals On Golf

Where am I? I’m enjoying the comforts of the North Shore of Oahu for my ninth annual Christmas trip to spend time with my brother and his family. I’ll be playing both courses at Turtle Bay all week. I just looked at the listed rates; right now visitors can play the Palmer for $175 ($110 after 2:00 p.m.) and the (George) Fazio course for $125/$75. The twilight rates are what they’re worth, but it’s Christmas week and Turtle Bay doesn’t have much competition on the North Shore.

Luckily for me I know about the Kahuku Golf Course, which is just down the street from Turtle Bay. Kahuku is a 9-hole course with more holes along the ocean than Turtle Bay’s Fazio and Palmer combined. Locals pay $12 for 18 holes during the week; I pay $24.

On the subject of reasonable green fees and sweet deals, here’s another list of e-mails I’ve received recently: 

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