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News & Tours

Injuries might end Funk's year on Sunday

TOLEDO, Ohio - The U.S. Senior Open will be Fred Funk's last tournament for a while. In fact, the 55-year-old, who has a pair of operations scheduled next week, might be done for the year.

Funk has a torn ligament in his left thumb and pain caused by scar tissue in his right knee, for which he had a total replacement on Nov. 16, 2009. Dr. Tom Graham is scheduled to repair Funk's thumb Monday at the Cleveland Clinic. Funk plans to have knee surgery three days later in Jacksonville, Fla.

"The artificial knee itself is good - I've got tremendous range of motion and everything is functional, but it's like I'm stepping on a nerve with every step," Funk said after the third round at Inverness Club.

Funk injured his thumb at this year's Greater Hickory Classic. "I swung a stretch stick right into a porch railing warming up and snapped my ligament," he said. "I got a cortisone shot and for four weeks it didn't bother me at all. I never had it checked and didn't think it was that bad. Then the cortisone wore off and it got really bad."

Funk vows to be patient in his recovery from both pending surgeries. "If I'm done for the season, so be it," he said. "I'm not going to rush this. I rushed last time [after knee replacement]. I think I pushed it too hard, and that's how I think I got the scar tissue."

-- Bill Fields

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News & Tours

Fields: Warmly recalling Burke's Open win

TOLEDO, Ohio - It's been hot and humid at Inverness Club for the U.S. Senior Open. A couple of caddies were wobbly coming off the 18th green. A fellow who usually has a 40-pound tour bag over his shoulder but is playing instead of caddieing this week, Damon Green, said after a steamy second round that, "My legs gave out on me. I was hitting every shot left, left and left, and I just fought to shoot even par. It was a battle." Joey Sindelar, his slacks sweat-soaked to his knees, looked as if he had been through a car wash.

The thermometer will be pushing 90 degrees Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, the forecast for the final round calls for a high of 96. That makes it a perfect time to toast the late William Burkowski, aka Billy Burke - preferably with a Gatorade in Inverness' air-conditioned locker room.

This summer marks the 80th anniversary of Burke's remarkable - indeed, singular - victory in the 1931 U.S. Open at Inverness. No one else ever won an Open the way Burke did, and no one ever will.

It was a long, hard week - and then some.

Northern Ohio was broiling before and during that Open, which was scheduled for July 2-4, 1931 - 18 holes each of the first two days with the customary double-round conclusion scheduled for the third day. Seventy-two holes would have been tough enough, but this bizarre Open would go two more days and 72 more holes - a marathon playoff unique in golf annals.

Temperatures encroached on the century mark in Toledo leading up to the championship. Animals and people in Toledo perished in the sweltering conditions. One man died in his office, another on the street, a third, a transient, in a railroad box car. Wise golfers (and that was much of the field) limited their practice. Walter Hagen showed up for a warm-up of only a few holes on the eve of the championship. Visitors from Great Britain, including Abe Mitchell, whose likeness is on the Ryder Cup trophy, was near collapse after nine practice holes.

"A searing sun sprayed Inverness with its terrific heat," a Toledo newsaper reported. "Staunch, veteran warhorses toiled and staggered under those roasting rays." Gene Sarazen, the 1922 U.S. Open champion, predicted that "this terrific heat gives anyone who can weather it a better chance." Inverness' small greens were complemented by the narrowest fairways the U.S. Open had ever implemented.

It turned out that Burke, Sarazen's fellow New Englander and another golfer who had grown up the hard way, was the right man for the job.

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News & Tours

Woods and Foley jump headfirst into preparation for return

Tiger Woods isn't going into the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational totally cold. Woods has been hitting balls since Tuesday and worked with swing instructor Sean Foley on Thursday-Friday, debunking the speculation that he would miss the remainder of the season with knee and Achilles issues and that he's looking for a swing coach as well as a permanent caddie. Their work was cut short on Thursday by a thunderstorm but Tiger played a quick 18 holes Friday morning riding a cart at Medalist GC in Hobe Sound, Fla., Woods' new club near his Jupiter Island home. Most of the time they spent together was on short game as Woods is listening to doctor's orders about managing his injuries by limiting his ball count. This was the first time Foley worked with Woods since Tiger's WD in the Players 11 weeks ago, but they have been communicating on a regular basis.

--Tim Rosaforte
Follow Tim Rosaforte on Twitter: @TimRosaforte

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Saturday Morning Tip: Nicklaus on how to make the big putt

Last month, during the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village, I had the good fortune to conduct a one-on-one interview with Jack Nicklaus about a variety of instructional topics. Every time I sit down with the man who won 18 professional majors plus two U.S. Amateurs, I'm amazed how his thinking process works and the attention to detail he displays in his thoughts about the game in general and the swing in particular. I asked him what his mindset was when he had to make a big putt--and along with Tiger he made more big putts than anyone. Here's what he told me. I hope his insight helps your game this weekend, and remember to follow me on Twitter @RogerSchiffman.

Roger Schiffman
Managing Editor
Golf Digest

blog_putting_nicklaus_0728.jpgJack Nicklaus: "In a big situation, I just told myself I had to make it. That's the simplest answer I know. I never stroked a putt until I was ready. What was I thinking? I was trying to make sure I had the feel and that it was lined up. I was simply getting ready to put the ball in the hole and not get sloppy with it.

"I see guys today, and they just put the putter down and hit the ball. They have an automatic routine and stick with it. How can they even think about what they are doing? Not me. I could hit a putt in one or two seconds, 10 seconds, 20 seconds, because I'm not concerned with how long I'm over the ball, I'm concerned that I'm ready to play the shot.

"And I'm thinking of fundamentals, too. One is that my eyes are over the putting line. I'm thinking to make sure I keep my head still, which is usually my last thought. If I've done all the other things right, but then move my head, I'm not going to make the putt. So that's why it is the last thing I say to myself."
(Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)

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News & Tours

Kuchar: "People are just crazy about Tiger"

EDISON, N.J. -- While fans and members of the media speculate on how Tiger Woods' latest return will go, it appears his peers are just as interested.

"People are just crazy about Tiger Woods, they love Tiger Woods," Matt Kuchar said during Barclays media day at Plainfield Country Club. "There's a lot of excitement that surrounds him and a whole lot of curiosity as well. He's put himself in such a spotlight. We want to know more, we want to guess about things going on, how well he will play, how strong he is. There are a lot of question marks."


Kuchar happened to play with Woods at the Players during his last competitive round -- well, half round. Woods withdrew during the first round after a front-nine 42, citing knee and Achilles injuries. That remains his only tournament appearance since finishing T-4 at the Masters.

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Gear & Equipment

Acushnet announces sale complete

As expected, the sale of Acushnet Company from Fortune Brands to a consortium led by Fila Korea and Mirae Asset Private Equity was completed today, according to an announcement from Acushnet. 

The deal originally was announced May 20 and was reported to be for $1.2 billion. According to the Acushnet press release, under the terms of the sale, Acushnet "will remain as a standalone company through separate operation from Fila Korea, with its worldwide headquarters remaining in Fairhaven, Mass."

According to the release, Acushnet's new owners will include Fila Korea, which also owns the worldwide Fila brand; Mirae Asset Private Equity, Korea's largest private equity firm; and the National Pension Service of Korea, the fourth largest pension fund in the world. The release also notes that the Korea Development Bank, Korea's largest government-owned bank, is providing financing for the acquisition.
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Courses & Travel

Golf in Chicago: The Rainy City?

Lately, I've been a part of a lot of Twitter exchanges about golf in Chicago. Is Cog Hill a buddies-trip destination? (Yes.) What's the best former private course, now available to the public? (Ravisloe.) Colleague Pete Finch was just in the Windy Rainy City, and filed this trip report:

I played five Chicago-area golf courses last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. When you write about golf for a living, that isn’t so unusual. But what made these rounds extraordinary was . . . well, did you get a look at the Chicago weather last weekend? A couple of major rainstorms pounded the city, flooding golf courses and closing highways. The City of Broad Shoulders was on its knees Saturday. (Check out this video.)

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News & Tours

Senior Open: Weather delays second round

TOLEDO, Ohio -- Heavy rain and thunderstorms Friday morning have delayed the start of the second round of the 32nd U.S. Senior Open at Inverness Club.
The second round, scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m., will commence at 10:15 a.m. The final afternoon pairing, which was supposed to go off at 2:45 p.m., is now 5:15 p.m.
There is a chance of scattered thunderstorms Friday afternoon in northern Ohio, but the forecast for Saturday and Sunday is good.
Olin Browne shot a seven-under 64 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead over Michael Allen and Mark O'Meara.
-- Bill Fields 
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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Hey, you, don't forget the sunscreen

Editor's note: Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. This week he talks about how to avoid sun damage and skin cancer. Look for Saturday Morning Tip tomorrow and remember to follow me on Twitter @RogerSchiffman.

Roger Schiffman
Managing Editor
Golf Digest

Here's Ron: We're more than a month into summer and this is usually the point when even diligent users of wide-brim hats and SPF-30 sunscreen start to get lazy. My advice? Don't. One-in-five Americans (including one-in-three Caucasian) will contract some form of skin cancer in their lifetime -- so says the Skin Cancer Foundation. While most forms are treatable, some forms, especially melanoma, often result in death. You can't do anything about the damage the sun already has done to your skin, but you can stop further damage with generous and frequent applications of sunscreen (including lip balm with SPF), clothing that has a UPF rating (ultraviolet radiation protection), and some common sense to take cover whenever possible. Dr. Michael Kaminer, a frequent contributor to Golf Digest and an avid golfer (4.8 Handicap Index), says the mistake most golfers make in applying sunscreen is that they forget it won't last as long as a typical round of golf. In fact, it sometimes wears off before the turn.

"It's partly the fault of sunscreen companies that advertise SPF higher than 30," he says. "You think you're getting great protection for a longer duration. In truth, most sunscreen wears off within two hours no matter what the SPF is."

Skincare is a big part of staying golf fit. So in addition to checking your own skin for moles, abrasions and other nasty things that could be precancerous cells, it wouldn't hurt for you to see a dermatologist once a year. For more on the subject, here are two articles I've authored in the past few years that should answer any questions:

Ron Kaspriske
Fitness Editor
Golf Digest
Follow Ron on Twitter @RonKaspriske

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News & Tours

Bryon Bell to caddie for Tiger Woods at Bridgestone

For a guy who hasn't hit an official shot in three months, Tiger Woods still has a knack for sending the golf world into a tizzy.

First came news that Woods will end his three-month layoff next week at the Bridgestone Invitational. Then we learned his good friend Bryon Bell will inherit Steve Williams' caddie bib and take over Woods' bag.

bell_470.jpgBryon Bell has caddied for his friend Tiger Woods on a fill-in basis before.
Photo by Getty Images

That last nugget came courtesy of Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman, although still to be determined is whether Bell is filling in on an interim basis or if he will be the third permanent caddie of Woods' pro career (the other being Mike "Fluff" Cowan). 

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