The Local Knowlege

My Usual Game

Awwwww. Have I told you about my compression shirts?

By David Owen

In the April issue of Golf Digest, I have an article about high-technology golf clothing. Among the garments I mention are compression shirts, of which I now own three: one made by Under Armour and two made by a company called IntelliSkin. (When I discovered I didn’t mind the tightness of my first IntelliSkin shirt, I bought a second one that was one size tighter.) Stretchy clothes that squeeze your body are said to have numerous athletic benefits, including improving your posture, making you cooler, making you warmer, helping your muscles recover faster after exertion, and enabling you (in the case of IntelliSkin) to become a “Full Time Human.” Harry Vardon once said that every golfer should play in a jacket and suspenders, to keep the swing compact, and my compression shirts feel something like that.

thunderdog.jpg

I wonder also whether they might not reduce the risk of gagging over three-foot putts, in the same way that a gently compressive vest called the ThunderShirt is said to relieve anxieties in nervous dogs and cats. A couple of years ago, my wife, out of curiosity, bought a blanket from a company called Peace Weighted Products. Weighted blankets are used in various kinds of therapy, but they are just about the greatest thing in the world to take a calm, yip-free nap under.

weighted blanket chart.png

Still, wearing super-tight clothing requires a certain firmness of purpose, even if no one else can see it. In theory, a compression garment should make you look thinner, but the first time I glimpsed myself in a mirror in profile I thought, I really need to start ordering salads instead of fries with my bacon cheeseburgers. You also have to deal with what my sister identified—while wearing upper and lower Spanx “shapewear” at the wedding of her middle son—as the critical interface between your love handles and your muffin top. (Shapewear used to be known as girdles. Spanx also makes shapewear for men—including, I’ve been told, Butch Harmon.)

spanx.jpg

During the past few months, I’ve developed something in my right shoulder which I have Web-diagnosed as mild rotator-cuff tendinosis. One of the things you’re supposed to do for it is to stop slumping your shoulders like an old lady. My IntelliSkin shirts make good posture semi-automatic, by helping to un-slouch me and keeping me that way once I’ve gotten myself started. The only challenge is peeling the things off without dislocating the joint I’m trying to mend.

John Cook is an IntelliSkin "ambassador." He talks about the shirts in the video below. (The slightly scary-looking guy in the red hat is the company's founder.)

... Read
PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson grabs Tom Fazio out of his own gallery, then praises his changes to Quail Hollow

By Stephen Hennessey

philmickelson-tomfazio.jpeg

Phil Mickelson and Tom Fazio chat in front of the 16th tee at Quail Hollow.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tom Fazio thought he could blend in.

No such luck. When you're one of the best-known course designers, walking a future major-championship course where you made major changes, you're going to get noticed.

Especially when Phil Mickelson has the chance to pick your brain. Behind the 11th green, Fazio was pulled inside the ropes to chat to Mickelson for a solid five minutes in the middle of Mickelson's pro-am round Wednesday before the Wells Fargo Championship.

Everybody at Quail Hollow is talking about the significant changes made after last year's tournament. Even Lefty -- with high praise.

"This is perfect. I'm having such an enjoyable time playing this," Mickelson told Fazio as Lefty waited to tee off. "This has become in my mind one of the best courses I've ever played. The beauty is in its simplicity."

As he walked, then outside the ropes, Fazio described the significant changes he and his team made  from May through Labor Day last year to the site of the 2017 PGA Championship.

Related: Who will play well at Quail Hollow?

Mickelson praised the new green contours around the course, which were redone with a hybrid Bermuda grass (mini-verde), as opposed to bentgrass.

"Shot selections are different from the bentgrass to this hybrid bermuda, which allowed us to change elevations with pitch and speed, where different pin placements will be," Fazio said. "Now, with this firmer turf, we can have longer slopes on the greens where he feels like he can bounce the ball, roll the ball more to the hole, which he likes a lot."

Pointing across the 15th hole to the 16th fairway, Fazio detailed how he moved the 16th green into where the pond was before, and the fairway about 40 yards over, which really changes the start to the Green Mile.

The whole feel of the closing holes is different. It's now a fan-friendly spot to post up and catch action on the 16th and 17th holes. It'll be fun this week, and for 2017's PGA.

... Read
Travel

Unofficial Guide: Cigars, barbecue and NASCAR in Charlotte

By Matthew Rudy

Smoke 'em if you got 'em

It's a shame Miguel Angel Jimenez isn't in the Wells Fargo field this week in Charlotte. He'd feel right at home at Cutter's Cigar Bar in the Marriott City Center. Not only is Cutter's one of the last legal cigar bars in the state, it also has a stash of legal pre-Castro Cuban cigars. Of course, it would also help to have made $432,000 at the Masters. Fifty-three-year-old Cubans start at $500 apiece. Pair it with a shot of Remy Martin Louis XIII and you can put your bartender through his next semester at UNC-Charlotte just on the tip.

Whole Hog

After investigating the heart of Texas barbecue country last month in conjunction with the Tour's Texas swing, it would be meat malpractice not to mention the subject again the week of the Wells Fargo in Charlotte. The Piedmont-style barbecue found in eastern North Carolina (along with the contiguous regions in South Carolina and Virginia) features slow-cooked, chopped pork shoulder with a vinegar-based sauce. The historical epicenter is in Lexington, N.C., an hour northeast of Charlotte. You won't get a bad sandwich anywhere in town, but if you only have the time or metabolism for one, order the chopped barbecue sandwich with slaw (a cole slaw relative that has ketchup in it instead of mayo....just go with it) at Lexington Barbecue, near the intersection of state roads 52 and 70. A sandwich, fries, soda and slice of pecan pie will run you less than $10.



If you can't venture that far from the tournament venue in South Charlotte, Block & Grinder is on the cutting edge (so to speak) of a different kind of meat. Owner Jed Kampe had a butcher shop in Charlotte and was interested in getting into the restaurant business. He combined the two, and Block & Grinder offers both fine cuts of meat to to retail customers and the freshest, most carefully prepared beef and specialty burgers in the region. Order the chopped steak burger topped with house-made pimento cheese and a fried duck egg and you'll start looking around for the rest of the herd.  


loop-nascarhof.jpeg

Shake and Bake
NASCAR and golf don't have exactly the same fan demographics, but anybody with an appreciation for guts and glory would enjoy a quick pilgrimage to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Uptown Charlotte. The 40,000-sq-ft hall is packed with memorabilia and complete cars from seven decades of racing. And if you have a child between the ages of five and 12, the Glory Road exhibit is a must-see. Marshall Teague's original 1952 ride--the Fabulous Hudson Hornet--is there, decked out in its iconic No. 6 grey, yellow and white colors. Your kids will know it as the inspiration for Paul Newman's Doc Hudson character in the animated movie Cars. You'll be impressed that people were brave enough to get inside what were essentially regular production cars and crash around at 120 miles per hour with bad tires and lap belts.   

... Read
News & Tours

An amateur tournament that was 45 years in the making

By Dave Shedloski

BRADENTON, Fla. -- It's amazing how one small gesture of sportsmanship 45 years ago continues to resonate throughout golf history with ever larger meaning and growing influence. A conceded two-foot putt sure has had a lot of mileage.

To wit, the inaugural Concession Cup, a biennial amateur team competition, begins Thursday at The Concession Club, a private course co-designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin, the protagonists in the aforementioned moment that came on the final hole in the final singles match of the 1969 Ryder Cup at Royal Birkdale. After sinking a five-foot par putt, Nicklaus picked up Jacklin's marker to concede a two-footer to the reigning British Open champion (below), resulting in a halve of their match and the first tie in Ryder Cup history.

loop-jacklin-nicklaus-concession-putt-518.jpg

"To think we'd be standing here in this club talking about hosting a tournament inspired by something that happened 45 years ago, obviously it was very special what Jack did, and the hope is that it continues to be an influence through this event for years to come," Jacklin said.

"If I hadn't given him that putt, we wouldn't be sitting here," Nicklaus joked before turning serious. "Here we are today getting ready to start a significant event. ... It's good for golf, it's good for amateur golf, and it's good for sportsmanship, camaraderie with the players."

loop-concession-cup-logo-260.jpgThe Concession Cup features 18 amateur players representing the United States against 18 men from Great Britain and Ireland. The teams are comprised of eight mid-amateur players (25 and older), eight seniors (up to age 65) and two super senior competitors (65 and older). The three-day format calls for nine foursomes matches Thursday followed by nine four-ball matches Friday and 18 singles Saturday.

Nicklaus and Jacklin are serving as the honorary captains while the playing captains for the respective sides are Vinny Giles of the U.S., a past winner of the U.S. Amateur and British Amateur, and Garth McGimpsey of Northern Ireland, a former British Amateur champion.

The U.S. team features 10 former Walker Cup players, including super senior Jim Holtgrieve, captain of the winning U.S. side at last year's Walker Cup. Mid-amateurs Nathan Smith and Todd White played for Holtgrieve on that squad. The GB&I roster has five former Walker Cuppers.

The event intends to be played in Great Britain or Ireland in 2016 at a site to be determined.

"The idea of representing your country just really resonates, and that's a message I keep hearing, especially from the younger mid amateurs is how proud they are," Giles said. "We have a young man who actually just won the Coleman [Invitational at Seminole G.C.] on Saturday named Patrick Christovich from New Orleans … he said, 'Well, I was hoping some day I might be able to represent my country, but I never thought I'd be on a team where Jack Nicklaus was the captain.' "

"I think this event has all the ingredients to be something special," said former U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger, a member at The Concession Club and the honorary chairman for the inaugural Concession Cup. "When you have two iconic honorary captains like Jack and Tony, that's huge."

That the Concession Cup commemorates the extraordinary events that unfolded decades ago was not lost on the competitors. "I think we're all aware of the tradition and the history that we're buying into here, and we're going to play it in a friendly but competitive spirit," McGimpsey said.


GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND ROSTER
Mid-ams
James Bunch
Matthew Clark
Robbie Cannon
Harry Diamond
Eoghan O’Connell
Edward Richardson
Ben Westgate
Martin Young

Seniors
Garth McGimpsey (Playing Captain)
Ian Brotherston
Maurise Kelly
Adrian Morrow
Arthur Pierse
Andrew Stracey
Richard Latham
Richard Partridge

Super Senior
Peter Hedges
Ian Hutcheon

UNITED STATES ROSTER
Mid-ams

Patrick Christovich
Gene Elliott
Scott Harvey
Tim Jackson
Trip Kuehne
Mike McCoy
Nathan Smith
Todd White

Seniors
Vinny Giles (Playing Captain)
John Grace
Doug Hanzel
Chip Lutz
Pat Tallent
Paul Simson
Martin West III
George Zahringer

Super seniors
Jim Holtgrieve
Robert Lewis


Photo: AP Images

... Read
Courses & Travel

Like it or not, the new Master of the Golf Universe is Donald Trump

By Ron Whitten

Forget Jack and Arnie, Tiger and Phil. The Master of the Golf Universe is now Donald Trump. I came to that realization during an extended telephone conversation with the man on Tuesday. 

Trump was telling me how he'd just closed on the purchase of the famed Turnberry Resort in Scotland the previous evening. "It really wasn't on the market," he said, "but I made [resort owner] Leisurecorp a very attractive offer."

Trump told me his contract with the Dubai corporation prohibited him from revealing the purchase price. The London Independent reported the deal at $63 million. If true, that's darned cheap.

blog-donald-trump-0430.jpg

Now, this was just months after his purchase of Doonbeg in Ireland.  He'd previously bought the Ritz Carlton Golf Club in Florida, now renamed Trump National Jupiter, and had Jack Nicklaus revise his design there. He has Tom Fazio redoing his original 18 at Trump National Washington D.C., what had been Lowes Island Club on the shores of the Potomac.

Related: Trump finally lands a men's major championship

The man collects golf courses like I collect bag tags.

He builds them, too. Trump has Gil Hanse constructing a course in Dubai. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw have contracted to do one for him on the old Kluge Estate near Charlottesville, Va. Martin Hawtree is set to do another 18 at Trump International Scotland once Trump succeeds, as he insists he will, in defeating a plan to establish a windmill farm just off the coast of his Aberdeenshire resort. (According to reports, Trump also can look forward to hosting the 2022 PGA Championship at his Trump National Bedminster course in New Jersey.) Hawtree may also redesign the Greg Norman course at Trump International Golf Links Ireland (the old Doonbeg).        

"The big problem Greg had at Doonbeg is that he wasn't allowed to use the good land, the real dunes," Trump says. "Because of some snails. We're going to get permits to use that land, to put some holes in the best dunes. That will make a big difference."

As for Turnberry, Trump says he hasn't yet decided whether he'll rename it, but give him another 24 hours. "It's a great course, but the resort would do better with my name on it," he says. "To golfers, my name means quality."

He'll definitely gut the Turnberry Hotel, Trump says, and may have Hawtree remodel Turnberry's Kintyre Course, but won't touch the Ailsa Course, site of many memorable British Opens, without the approval of the R&A.

Related: Photos of Trump's course in Scotland

I asked Trump for his response to the claim that he's buying Turnberry simply to buy a spot on the Open rota. "I'm buying one of the great golf properties of the world," he said. "The Open just happens to be part of it."

I suggested to him that most financial analysts must think he's nuts, buying into golf at the time of a bear market. "Yeah, but I'm buying into a bear market at really good prices," he said. Indeed, he picked up the Kluge Estate in Virginia from bankruptcy and other golf courses he's acquired in recent years, including Doral, were distressed properties.

I then asked him if he were concerned that he might be overextending himself.  "Listen, my primary business is real estate, not golf," he said. "I also have a tremendous business in television. I buy these golf courses out of cash flow. None of them have any mortgages."

There's no concern on the part of his family that he's squandering the kids' inheritance. Sons Donald Jr. and Eric and daughter Ivanka are all part of the business. Indeed, it was Ivanka who negotiated the purchase of the Doral resort for a "bargain basement" $150 million just weeks after giving birth to a daughter.

No one else presently in golf seems as bold and as well-funded as Trump. That's why I call him Master of the Universe. Personally, I'd prefer someone far more humble, someone more dedicated to affordable golf and to promotion of the game for future generations. (To his credit, Trump says the new municipal course his company will operate in the Bronx, Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, will offer free golf lessons this summer to youngsters.)

Related: 7 things to know about the new Blue Monster

But beggars like me can't be picky. I want the game I love to survive and if it takes a gilded edge to accomplish that, so be it.

At the close of our conversation, Trump offered to show me his books sometime, to prove that all his golf operations are profitable. I plan to take him up on that. Not because I don't believe him, although it does seem fanciful that his courses are making money when most others right now are money pits. I just want to know how he does it. I want to learn from The Master. 

... Read
News & Tours

Someone hit a football through a basketball hoop with a golf club

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

The headline pretty much says it all. We're not sure how this is possible, or why someone even thought to try this in the first place. But for whatever reason, they did, and this is their gift to the world:


We appreciate the fade, but how about a nice, high draw next time?

... Read
News & Tours

The Donald gets his men's major: 2022 PGA going to Trump Bedminster

By Geoff Shackelford

Trump National Bedminster, less than six miles from USGA headquarters and host to the 2017 U.S. Women's Open, has agreed to host the 2022 PGA Championship according to multiple sources with knowledge of Thursday's scheduled press conference.

trump-national-518.jpg

A formal announcement will be made at 11 a.m ET May 1 from Trump Tower in New York City, where PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua, PGA president Ted Bishop and Donald Trump will discuss the decision to bring the major championship to suburban New Jersey.

Trump National Bedminster was thought to be in the running for a U.S. Open after it had the chance to showcase itself during Women's Open week in 2017. Sources, however, say that the USGA is more intrigued by Trump Ferry Point, a course still in development in the Bronx designed by Jack Nicklaus and to be managed by Trump's company. The city-owned Ferry Point, set to open in spring 2015, has a price tag of $236 million, according to a recent unbylined New York Daily News story.

The PGA of America will host the major championship in the shadows of Golf House and just three years after taking the PGA Championship to Bethpage State Park on Long Island and only two years prior to the 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage. The U.S. Open will be played at Long Island's Shinnecock Hills in 2018 and outside New York City at Westchester County's Winged Foot in 2020.

A Senior PGA Championship will also be announced as part of the package with Trump National Bedminster. 


UPDATE -- Thursday, May 1: The PGA of America officially awarded the 2022 PGA Championship to Trump National Bedminster in New Jersey, as reported above. Additionally, the association also announced that it would bring the 2017 Senior PGA Championship to another Trump facility, Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Va.

"Certainly when you have courses, when you get acknowledged to have one of the majors ... having the PGA is a very, very big deal," Trump said at the news conference. "So it's very important to me. It's a great honor for me and it's a tremendous honor for both of those clubs." 

... Read
Courses & Travel

Tiger Woods is designing another golf course, this time in Houston

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

Tiger Woods' golf course-designing career has been fairly stop-start so far.

His first course, El Cardonal in Mexico, is reportedly nearing completion, but a bad economy slowed his project at The Cliffs in North Carolina and his project in Dubai was shelved completely.

But not to be discouraged, Bean Land Development announced in a release Wednesday that Tiger Woods and Bluejack National are teaming-up to build an 18-hole golf course in Montgomery, Texas. If all goes according to plan, it'll open in the fall of 2015 as Woods' first golf course in the U.S. As part of the project, Tiger will also design a short-course at the site.

"The turf will be maintained at a single height of fairway cut, the under growth will be cleared and the forest floor will be covered with pine straw, making it easy to find and play wayward shots,” Woods said in the release, adding that the contours on the course's greens will be kept simple to allow for fast green speeds.

140430-tiger-woods-518.jpg
Here's the full release:

TIGER WOODS TO DESIGN NEW GOLF COURSE AT BLUEJACK NATIONAL

Scheduled to be the first Tiger Woods Design golf course to open in the U.S.

HOUSTON, Texas -Beacon Land Development announced today that PGA TOUR superstar Tiger Woods and his company, Tiger Woods Design, will design the 18-hole golf course at Bluejack National, a world-class private club and community currently under development in Montgomery, Texas near Houston. Construction of the golf course is expected to begin during the summer of 2014 with its completion slated for the fall of 2015. Bluejack National is scheduled to be the first golf course designed by Tiger Woods to open in the U.S.

 

Formerly the home of Blaketree National Golf Club, Bluejack National is set among 755 acres of gently rolling and beautifully wooded countryside dotted with natural lakes and streams. The original golf course was popular with Houston-area players; however, Bluejack National’s developers believe a completely new design is required to make the best use of the area’s spectacular terrain and natural view corridors. Tiger Woods, the world’s number-one-ranked player and winner of 14 major golf championships, was selected to design the new course following numerous conversations and site visits with Beacon Land Development.

 

"I’ve known Michael Abbott and other members of Beacon Land Development for many years. I have tremendous respect for their ability and their commitment to excellence, and I am proud to be a part of Bluejack National," said Woods. “Bluejack National has one of the best natural settings for golf I have seen. With its changes in elevation, the beautiful pines and hardwoods, Bluejack National is reminiscent of the pinelands of Georgia and the Carolinas. The opportunity is here to create a golf course unlike any other in the Houston area, and our goal is for it to be among the best in the nation."

 

"We are thrilled to have Tiger working with us to develop the golf course for Bluejack National," said Michael Abbott, Partner, Beacon Land Development. "He spent a lot of time getting to know the property and understanding its potential. Throughout the process it became clear that his vision for the golf course perfectly aligned with ours, and he shared our passion for bringing it to life."

 

Beacon Land Development is in partnership with Lantern Asset Management, a Dallas-based firm with a strong track record and experience in luxury resort and mixed-use residential communities. "I’m proud to be partnering with industry leaders such as Tiger Woods Design and Beacon Land Development to create something truly special on an exceptional piece of land," said Andy Mitchell, President, Lantern Asset Management. "When you witness the passion this team brings to the creative process, it generates tremendous enthusiasm for the development of Bluejack National, and for the lifestyle it will provide to its future members and residents."

 

Strategically, Woods said the golf course will require players to think and make decisions throughout their rounds. Successfully challenging hazards will reward players with preferred angles of play for their next shot. He said green contours will be kept simple to allow for fast speeds, and the areas around the greens will be maintained firm and tight to promote shot options and creativity from the chipping areas.

 

Yet despite its challenge for the accomplished player, Woods said the Bluejack National golf course will be very accessible to golfers at every skill level. "The turf will be maintained at a single height of fairway cut, the under growth will be cleared and the forest floor will be covered with pine straw, making it easy to find and play wayward shots," Woods said.

 

In addition to the 18-hole golf course, Woods will design a Short Course for Bluejack National, providing a creative, high-quality alternative to the 18-hole golf experience. The Short Course will be expertly contoured and meticulously maintained, making it ideal for short-game practice. The exact routing will largely be left to the imagination of the players, giving friends, families and associates the opportunity to create their own challenges and games.  Adjacent to the Short Course will be The Porch, an inviting hangout for players before or after their rounds. The Porch will provide casual fare in a relaxed, elegant setting. A "speak-easy" style bar will serve signature cocktails and offer a fine selection of cigars. For overnight stays, The Porch also will feature comfortably appointed private Member Suites.

 

For those who wish to stay a little longer, Bluejack National will offer nearly 400 private residences with options ranging from member suites to cottages, Sunday homes and estate home sites. Corporate Compounds also will be available providing ideal facilities for retreats, outings, conferences and entertaining.

 

Bluejack National membership opportunities will be available by application and invitation only. In addition to golf, the club’s thoughtfully selected amenities will accentuate the beauty of the topography and further enhance the lives of residents and members by cultivating unique opportunities for outdoor recreation and adventure. These will include: "The Fort" - featuring , a bowling alley, movie theater, game room, pottery room and a classic American "burger joint;" as well as zip lines; a ropes course; archery range; sport courts and additional outdoor fun. The Blake Fishing Dock will provide everything members need to enjoy catching bass and other game fish from the club’s private, stocked fishing ponds. The club also will offer numerous dining options ranging from casual club fare and comfort foods to exceptional fine cuisine; and signature surprises such as a fresh fruit stand, gourmet coffee shop and more. 

 

"Our goal is to create a truly distinctive environment where families and friends can reconnect, enjoy their time together and create lasting memories and traditions they’ll cherish for years to come," said Casey Paulson, Partner, Beacon Land Development. "Michael and I have years of experience developing and delivering these types of experiences at some of the world’s most celebrated private clubs and resorts. At Bluejack National, we have the opportunity to build upon all of that know-how to deliver a lifestyle unlike any other to our members."

 

In fact, Abbott and Paulson have a combined 50 years of experience in the private club and luxury resort industries. They built their reputations by creating new paradigms for service, member experience and lifestyle at are some of North America’s most distinguished private clubs and resorts, including:  Vaquero Club and Four Seasons Resort and Club, Las Colinas in Texas; Hideaway and Madison Club in California; Kukio and Four Seasons Hualalai in Hawaii; and El Dorado Golf & Beach Club and Diamante in Mexico.

 

For information about Bluejack National, visit www.bluejacknational.com, call (866) 810-5885, or email info@beaconld.com.


... Read
News & Tours

Fantasy Fix: Our picks for the Wells Fargo Championship

By Alex Myers

After some unfortunate conditions last year, it seems like the green is back in Quail Hollow's "Green Mile" and a star-studded field returns as well to the Wells Fargo Championship. Who do we see emerging from the pack in Charlotte? Our weekly fantasy lineup:

The Grind: Belen Mozo channels her inner Miguel Angel Jimenez

Starters -- (A-List): Phil Mickelson. Rickie Fowler let us down in this spot last week, but we still almost used him again. We decided to take a gamble on Mickelson since we haven't started him once in 2013-14. The risk is all health-related. Phil has finished in the top five here in five of his 10 starts.

(B-List): Rory McIlroy. With a win and a runner-up at this event, McIlroy is an 8-to-1 favorite, according to Golfodds.com. He also owns the course record with a 62, which came in the final round of 2010 when he picked up his first PGA Tour title.

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

(B-List): Jim Furyk. The Grinder has gone T-6, T-14, and T-7 his last three starts. In his last eight starts in Charlotte, he has four top 10s.

blog-rory-mcilroy-0430.jpg

(C-List): Seung-Yul Noh. Last week's winner finished T-9 here in 2012. The victory in New Orleans was only his second top 10 of the season, but he also hasn't missed a cut since October.

Bench/Backups: Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Webb Simpson, and Nick Watney.

Related: 11 sleepers to watch in 2014

Knockout/One-and-done pick: Rory McIlroy. Rory not having a win yet in 2014 is disappointing, but he's played better than most people realize with top 10s in four of his five stroke-play starts. Birthday girl Lydia Ko won on the LPGA Tour last week and we're feeling a similar result coming from McIlroy, who will turn 25 on Sunday. After a rough couple weeks of picks, we're willing to personally sing to him if he comes through.

Previously used: Keegan Bradley (Doral), Tim Clark (Sony), Graham DeLaet (Phoenix), Luke Donald (Valspar), Rickie Fowler (Honda Classic), Jim Furyk (Heritage), Bill Haas (Farmers), Billy Horschel (Zurich), Charles Howell III (Humana), Freddie Jacobson (Valero), Dustin Johnson (Northern Trust), Martin Laird (Kapalua), Graeme McDowell (Bay Hill), Adam Scott (Masters), Jordan Spieth (Houston), Jimmy Walker (Pebble -- winner!).

... Read
News & Tours

Missing links: Quail Hollow's new greens, Turnberry's new owner, bicycling the new golf

By John Strege

Stories of interest you might have missed

“We’re so much better off than last year, it’s unbelievable,” Quail Hollow superintendent Chris Deariso said, while the Wells Fargo Championship emits a huge sigh of relief. A year ago, the course’s bentgrass greens were on life support (see photo below), Jeff Shain writes at PGATour.com. Quail Hollow has replaced the bentgrass with MiniVerde Ultradwarf grass.

Quail Hollow.jpg
(Getty Images photo)

The sale of storied Turnberry on the west coast of Scotland has been completed. Ewan Murray has the story in the Guardian. Iain Carter of the BBC, meanwhile, speaks with Royal & Ancient Chief Executive Peter Dawson, who does not see Trump’s ownership having any impact on Turnberry’s place in the British Open rota.

Is cycling replacing golf as a business networking vehicle? CNNMoney says it is. "Unlike golf, cycling is also a great equalizer," said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. "You're the same as the person riding next to you. So it makes people more approachable."

Joe Queenan, who has contributed to Golf Digest, writes in the Wall Street Journal that "tennis should get rid of the net. Just ditch the damn thing." In response to the quest to grow golf with 15-inch diameter holes, Queenan is offering ways to improve other games.

Why did Jason Dufner grab his wife’s posterior in the wake of his victory in the PGA Championship last year? “Natural instinct,” he said in Milwaukee on Tuesday. “Everybody wants to grab their wives' butts. Actually, everybody wants to grab my wife's butt.” Dufner was there to promote the 2015 PGA Championship going to Whistling Straits and Gary D’Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the story.

... Read
Subscribe to Golf Digest
Subscribe today