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Peter Senior's long-iron clinic has him in front at Harding Park

By Bill Fields

SAN FRANCISCO -- During the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, not on Twitter, it felt like "Throwback Thursday" listening to Peter Senior describe how he shot a first-round 63.

At TPC Harding Park, a par 71 of 7,127 yards for the 50-and-over set's season-ending tournament, the long iron was alive and well in the fine opening salvo by Senior, who at 5-feet-6 is far from a power hitter.

Throwback photo: Michael Jordan chases Sergio Garcia

Senior, a 54-year-old Australian still looking for his first Champions Tour victory, had nine birdies, an eagle, three bogeys and five pars Thursday to take a one-stroke lead over David Frost with Fred Couples another shot behind. Three of his birdies came after 4-iron approaches; two others after requiring a 3-iron to reach the green.

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It was no surprise, then, that Senior said it was "probably the best round of golf that I've played this year" as he tries to recover the consistent form that had left him in recently. "The last couple of months have been pretty poor."

Despite having not won yet on the Champions Tour, Senior has two victories against younger competition since he turned 50. He won the 2010 Australian PGA Championship and the Emirates Australian Open last year. He will journey from California to Queensland for the Australian PGA next week.

"It's only 10 minutes from my house," Senior said of the Australian PGA. "I arrive on a Wednesday and tee it up on a Thursday. I'll be a little buggered, but I always enjoy playing tournaments at home. [The travel] is nothing we haven't done before. Australia and South Africa are always the same -- they've got their tours at the end of every season and if you want to go home and support your own tour that's what we've got to do."

Kenny Perry's "once-in-a-lifetime chance"

Senior, who has averaged 268.2 yards off the tee this year, said the venues Down Under have negated the length of his stronger foes. "You have no idea how far they hit it past me," Senior said. "But [the tournaments] have been on courses where length doesn't matter. Last year at the Aussie Open, at The Lakes, these guys would have been hitting irons off tees, and I'm just blazing away with my driver, so there wasn't as much of an advantage."

As for the rest of the tournament at Harding Park, Senior knows his long irons will be busy.

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News & Tours

The (latest) greatest golf photo of all time? The Arizona Cardinals tee it up

By Sam Weinman

larry-fitzgeral-470.jpgWhy it qualifies:

-- Because in his tweet of the pic, Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald mentions the Cardinals had just finished practice, which is another way of saying, "Sure, we're only 4-4, but we play GOLF AFTER PRACTICE! Try that in Green Bay in late October!"

-- Because our Mr. Style would be heartened to know his emphasis on proper fit is being adhered to in the NFC West.

-- Because amidst his exceptionally well-dressed teammates, one Cardinal is wearing a V-neck T-shirt, camo cargo shorts, AND black socks with white shoes, and he looks like he's just daring you to say something about it.

-- Because if these guys want to play as a tensome, who's brave enough to try to stop them?

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News & Tours

What's the scariest shot you've ever hit? Our editors chime in

It's Halloween today, and that's scary. But golf is pretty scary sometimes, too. So, on this day filled with ghosts and ghouls and goblins, we asked some of our editors about about the scariest shots they've ever hit, and how they turned out.

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Max Adler, Staff Writer
The first hole at Springfield GC in Rotorua, New Zealand isn't particularly scary. But my clubs had been lost by the airlines, and the only set I could borrow had ladies' flex graphite shafts. The other half of the twosome was Danny Lee, the reigning U.S. Amateur Champion. I had flown to the other side of the world to write a profile on Lee, and at this point in my life he was far and away the best golfer with whom I had ever been paired. It had been relayed to Lee that the writer coming to visit him was "about a scratch player."

Result: Towering, 40-yard hook into left rough, at which Lee, a non-native English speaker, exclaimed, "Holy Draw!"


Pete Finch, Senior Editor
I was playing in the pro-am at the 1990 Manufacturers Hanover Westchester Classic. It was my first time in a pro-am, and the first time I'd ever had anyone watch me play. I was deeply nervous. AT&T Chairman Robert Allen -- a good, single-digit golfer at the time -- had advised me on the range just to take deep breaths and remain calm. His group went off ahead of mine. I watched in horror as Allen shanked back-to-back tee shots into the tennis court near the first tee. When my turn came, I could barely pull the club back.

Result: Somehow I made contact and my pro -- the legendary Ed Fiori -- said, "Well, lookee here!" I nearly passed out from relief.


Luke Kerr-Dineen, Assistant Editor
It was the 18th hole at Royal Porthcawl, and I was one up in my match at the 2007 British Boys. The wind was blowing hard right to left towards the out of bounds, where Tiger Woods had hit it to lose one of his singles matches in the 1995 Walker Cup. Thinking about it today still sends shivers down my spine.

Result: Low skanky-heely cut down the right rough. Might have been the best shot of my life, under the circumstances.


Ashley Mayo, Associate Editor
Mine was at a high school golf tournament. I entered a playoff with Rebecca Kuhn, the county's best girl golfer. She attracted a sizable gallery. After we both parred the first playoff hole, she hit it to within 10 feet on a mid-length par 3. I grabbed my 6 iron and stepped up to the tee box, knowing I needed to birdie the hole.

Result: I knocked my ball to within three feet. She missed her putt, and I made mine to win my first high school golf tournament.



Alex Myers, Associate Editor
I was standing on the 18th tee at Caledonia Golf & Fish Club in Myrtle Beach with a two-shot lead in the final round of the 2011 HGGA Championship (don't ask), aka my annual buddies trip. 

Result: Shaking from nerves and having not hooked a ball in years (the slice is my GO-TO miss), I snapped a ball embarrassingly left and out of play with water right. Lucky for me, we play double-bogey max and no one else caught me. I donned our green jacket on the clubhouse steps minutes later, but I was still embarrassed from my choke job. Having not had much experience trying to close out a tournament of any level before, hopefully, I'll be better prepared next time. Hopefully.


Sam Weinman, Web Editor
It was at last fall's Seitz Cup pitting Golf Digest against Golf World. The Cup came down to my match, which meant an entire company of cynical golf writers and editors (and my 7-year-old son!) had gathered around the final tee to watch me hit my tee shot.

Result: I hit a 170-yard 5-hybrid over water and onto the green, setting up the clinching par. I'm not nearly as good as that shot would suggest.

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News & Tours

Phil The Thrill: Mickelson's popularity is unmatched

By Mike Stachura

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Goodtouch: "Serious" golfers respond to Lefty.

No. 1 Tiger Woods holds a big lead over No. 2 Adam Scott and No. 3 Phil Mickelson in the World Golf Ranking, but "serious" golfers still love Phil best. That's what Golf Datatech learned by surveying 1,000 golfers who play more than 15 rounds a year. Asked to name their three favorite professional golfers, 77 percent picked Mickelson, and 74 percent mentioned Woods. That's a 67-percent increase in Mickelson's mentions versus last year. Mickelson was selected "single favorite golfer" by 30 percent of the respondents. Woods was picked by 15 percent, Fred Couples by 7 percent. "No Favorite" got 17 percent of the votes.

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News & Tours

Did Brandel Chamblee make things any better in latest apology to Tiger Woods?

By Alex Myers

Brandel Chamblee has issued a second apology to Tiger Woods. Now we wait to see if golf's biggest name will accept.

blog-brandel-chamblee-1030.jpgChamblee appeared on Golf Channel's Golf Central Wednesday evening with Rich Lerner, and while the analyst spoke openly about his now-famous Golf.com column, he didn't sound very, well, apologetic. In the column, Chamblee insinuated Woods cheated during 2013 and gave him an 'F' for his season. Lerner began the talk by asking if Chamblee, after having time to reflect, would do anything different.

Related: Tiger's long list of enemies

"A few things. In offering my assessment of Tiger's year and specifically looking at the incidents . . . I said Tiger Woods was cavalier about the rules. and I should have stopped right there," Chamblee said. "In comparing those incidents to my cheating episode in fourth grade, I went too far. Now I know what my intent was on that test in fourth grade math test, but there's no way I could know with 100 percent certainty what Tiger's intent was in any of those incidents. That was my mistake."

Lerner then asked, "Do you have a vendetta against Tiger Woods?"

"Of course not," Chamblee said. "My job as an analyst at Golf Channel requires me to analyze the golf and offer my opinions. I'd like to think I'm pretty good at it. Tiger is the best player in the game by miles. Maybe the best player of all time. And over the years, I have said a lot of positive things about Tiger's swing and his accomplishments and at times I've been critical, but that's my job and my obligation to the viewer. To not only talk about Tiger when he plays well, but when he doesn't play well and put in perspective as well as every other player.

"Now at times, I can be a bit forceful with my opinions and some would say too forceful too many times. Fair enough. That was obviously the case in this instance."

Chamblee said that it was his son telling him he should have been "more diplomatic" that prompted him to issue his first apology on Twitter on October 21. He also pointed out that the column appeared on Golf.com and that "no one at Golf Channel knew about it." Woods stated on Monday that it was up to the TV network to take the next step in addressing this issue.

Chamblee said his editor at Golf.com asked him to rewrite the end of his column when he initially sent it in, but that Chamblee didn't listen and now he wishes he had. Chamblee also announced he will no longer write for Golf Magazine, but only for GolfChannel.com and NBCSports.com. "That way, if Tiger and his camp have an issue with something I write, they can at least be yelling at the right people."

The segment lasted four minutes before Chamblee and Lerner moved on to discuss other golf news. It will be interesting to see if Woods and his camp will move on from the issue, especially considering Chamblee's last comment and the fact that Chamblee technically didn't say he was sorry.

Is it possible Chamblee didn't make things any better in this feud on Wednesday night? More incredibly, is it possible he made things worse? Stay tuned.

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News & Tours

The greatest golf photo of all time? Miguel Angel Jimenez smoking with chopsticks

By Luke Kerr-Dineen
Why it qualifies:

-- Because it once again reaffirms that Miguel Angel Jimenez is the coolest golfer of all time.

-- Because it's multicultural.

-- Because the look in his eyes says, "That's right. I'm the boss"

-- Because of the aviators on his head.

-- Because of the hair elastic that almost nearly matches his shirt.

-- Because he knows who he is, and he's proud of it.


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News & Tours

Watch guys hit the ball a quarter of a mile for a quarter of a million dollars

By Alex Myers

So, you think you can hit a golf ball far? Prepare to feel inferior.

The finals of the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship is tonight at 9 p.m. ET on the Golf Channel. Eight competitors, dubbed "The October 8," will compete under the lights at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Related: A long drive champion's swing up close

Here's a preview of what viewers can expect:

The setup looks pretty cool, but as Geoff Shackelford points out with this series of pictures, conditions may be a little trickier than normal for the contestants. Add a $250,000 winner's check and suddenly, ripping 400-yard drives becomes a little more stressful. Should be fun!

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News & Tours

Seven new members of GCAA Hall of Fame

Seven inductees will be part of the Golf Coaches Association of America's Hall of Fame Class of 2013 to be honored Dec. 9 in Las Vegas during the GCAA's national convention.

Bruce Heppler, Georgia Tech
Dave Jennings, Central Alabama
Bud Marsee, Broward CC
John Means, Colorado State/Army/Minnesota/Idaho
Jim Owen, Oglethorpe
Guy Spears, Eaton Golf Pride
Thomas Trueblood, Michigan

Between the six coaches, the group won five national titles, more than 30 conference championships and dozens of All-Americans. Spears earned his spot via the contributors category after working for Eaton for 25 years as a sales manager and Director of Special Programs/Collegiate Golf for the company.

Trueblood, who coached the Wolverines from 1901-35 and was a coach or professor at the university from 1884-1951, will be inductee posthumously
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Style

A carry bag that will make a statement, if not much of a dent, in the golf market

style-blog-varsity-clothes.jpgBy Alex Holmes

A.P.C., the designer clothing label and Parisian purveyor of minimalist design, teamed up with all-American backpacker, Eastpak, to launch a backpack collaboration as well as a trendier take on the traditional golf bag.

"Golf just has this terrible reputation -- boring grown-ups, beige pants with pleats," Jean Touitou, A.P.C's founder lamented. "But at its simplest, it's supposed to be elegant. The swing is just so elegant."

The effort resulted in a retro-looking, leather golf bag that retails for $700. The undoubtedly well-crafted bag reads more like a piece of luggage than a golf bag. I just don't see real players with carry bags like this. A contemporary bag feels more like a pared-down, solid, Sunday bag in black or navy, not this hard case in classic Louis Vuitton shades.

Who knows how many bags they'll actually produce and whether this was just a small, lifestyle addition to a capsule collection. The truth is, like many offerings from the "designer" market, this golf bag may be more of a statement than a commercial product, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. What is clear is that Touitou loves golf and is interested in pushing the envelope on the game's current style stance.

style-blog-apc-bag.jpgDiscussing the launch of the collaboration Touitou added,"And I don't wear all those golf clothes. It's not like skiing or scuba diving, you don't have to be so specific. Cashmere sweater, a woven and, even though you're not supposed to wear jeans in many clubs, I trick them by wearing my dark, dark jeans. I want to look on the course as I would in my life." So, while the golf bag may be a symbol, Touitou's style commentary is something you can actually take to the course.

Golf clothes can just be clothes. Sure, playing golf in Nevada in August may require some sort of sweat-proof, chemically-engineered fabrics, but as we approach the fall this may be the time to leave the performance sleeve separates at home and rotate your favorite sweater back into the game. Merino wool and cashmere sweaters will keep you warm and dry on the course and won't look out of place after the round. Corduroys are a fall staple so, why not work them into your links-wear. Check out a few Fall '13 pieces from A.P.C that will look sharp wherever you decide to wear them. Everything available at usonline.apc.fr/products/men.  

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News & Tours

Video: 5 hacks that solve annoying golfer problems

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

For those readers who may be unaware, a "life hack" is an age-old concept that has been popularized by the Internet. Hacks are essentially just easy, DIY solutions to small, everyday nagging problems.

Usually hacks have to do with food, or dealing with college dorm rooms, but now...we have golf hacks.

Here's what GolfZing.com put together. I must say: the Gatorade one is pretty ingenious, and a fantastic way to help golfers line up their putts if that's something they struggle with.


But this got us thinking: what could some other potential golf hacks be? Here's a few we came up with:

Wipe sand into your clubhead to remove dirt.

Put your hat in the dishwasher to clean it without bending it all funky.

Attach your glove to the side of a cart to air it out when it's sweaty and gross and stuff.

Blowtorch shaft labels to remove them without having to deal with those nasty sticky leftovers.

Putting a bucket over a broom-handle and inserting into your bag to protect your clubs while traveling.

Wrapping a putter grip in gauze tape to make it bigger and more tacky (Scott Verplank does this).

And why stop there when there? Especially when there are so many other little problems that we haven't figured out yet. Is there a hack for never running out of bug spray? What about when someone in your group shows up and has no handicap (oh yea, we've got that one figured out already)? Or what about when I want a cold beer but I'm nowhere near the halfway house?

It sounds like our work's just beginning. We'll start with the beer one.

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