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Throwback Thursday: History could indicate how power will change at the PGA of America

Will November 22 see Derek Sprague become a modern-day Joe Dey? In the wake of the PGA of America's Pete Rose-like banishment of its 38th president, Ted Bishop, we might very well see a style switch similar to what happened 40 years ago when the PGA Tour had a change in power. 

Related: The inside story of how Ted Bishop was ousted as PGA president

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It was in 1974 that Dey, the then tour commissioner and a future World Golf Hall of Famer, was succeeded by Deane Beman, an amateur champion who had decided to end a modestly successful pro career at age 35. Dey, the executive director of the USGA for more than 30 years, moved into the commissioner job in 1969. He is one of golf history's most distinguished administrators, who governed with a low-key, but firm by-the-book style that was well respected. The rules column he wrote for Golf Digest was one of the most popular reads in the magazine's history. And since 1996, the USGA has recognized a volunteer each year with the Joe Dey Award for meritorious service to the game. 

Dey helped smooth the strife that had developed between the club pro and tour pro sides of the PGA of America; the Tournament Players Division was created, and later became the PGA Tour. Dey was 66 when he stepped down, and his fatherly presence was a stark lead-in to the much younger Beman, who faced some opposition by players who didn't like the idea of a fellow professional now at the helm of the ship and determining their livelihood. 

When Dey retired, he responded to a question about what were the best and worst parts of the job. In true Dey disciplinarian style he said the best was seeing how well players police themselves and call penalties because it's the nature of the game and expected of them. The worst part was having to impose sanctions or penalties on a player. 

Beman came into office with the task of governing the career direction of players he just spent several years playing against. One of the first issues he had to deal with was the new policy of "designated tournaments," which, in essence, was where leading players were told three "must events" they had to put on their schedule. That peer dynamic Beman dealt with hit Bishop full in the face in the waning weeks of his presidency. After being removed last week from office due to "insensitive gender-based statements" on social media, it's now being seen how much Bishop had a segment of his fellow club professionals against the way he operated as perhaps the most visible, vocal and outspoken PGA president ever. His maverick style created great animosity and was a vast departure from the traditional president whose only public persona was as the plaid-coated figure at the PGA Championship awards ceremony. 

Sprague, general manager and director of golf at Malone (N.Y.) Golf Club, was in line to be elected PGA president in November, but got moved up to interim president after Bishop's firing. When Sprague, a Malone native, is officially elected at the meeting in Indianapolis -- in the state Bishop is located as director of golf at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin -- his contrast to Bishop's style should be a distinction the PGA of America will be relieved to see. 

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Courses & Travel

TPC Sawgrass is losing one of its most recognizable features

Don't worry, the 17th hole's island green hasn't eroded away, but TPC Sawgrass announced on Twitter the tree overhanging the sixth tee on the Stadium Course will be no more. You know, the one that makes it seem like golfers at the Players are teeing off through an actual window.

Sad from a visual perspective perhaps, but pros probably won't miss the visually-intimidating tree that altered strategy on the short par four. Bob Estes, for one, was quick to chime in.

Related: America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses

"We were only a few years away from having to tee off with a putter. #truth"

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News & Tours

Why Ted Bishop's gaffe doesn't offend me the way some people think it should

It's been almost a week since PGA of America president Ted Bishop posted the tweet and Facebook rant that would end up sinking his career, and I'm still grappling with the emotions that I, as a woman in the golf industry, am supposed to have about it. Sure, I was put off by what he wrote -- but not, at first, because of the sexist nature of the comment. I was stunned to see the president of one of golf's largest organizations resort to a juvenile taunt of a PGA Tour player on social media, completely unprovoked. It wasn't until somebody else pointed out the sexism in Bishop's posts that it struck me just what a giant PR blunder this moment of posturing would turn into.

Related: The story behind Ted Bishop's dismissal from the PGA

Of course the president of the PGA can't use "lil girl" in public. Of course his organization would have to distance itself from him. And of course I was disappointed that he had perpetuated the image of golf as a tone deaf old-boys' sport. But I was much more irritated that he thought it was OK to bully a player on Twitter than I was with the term he used. Because I've heard that term used a million times, always in sports settings. 

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As I've watched the Bishop saga play out over the last six days, I've wavered frequently between appreciation for the unilateral condemnation of his actions and brewing resentment over the demand for more vocal outrage from prominent female golfers. This was a clown act by a man whose ego had been bruised during the Ryder Cup, and one that clearly was unintentionally sexist.

He used a term that he'd become desensitized to -- just like I have -- and didn't think about what it meant. It was wrong and stupid. But as a woman who plays golf -- and watches golf, and reads about golf, and works in golf -- there are so many other things that I'm more offended by.

I'm offended that I can't play in most of my own club's tournaments because the women's events take place on Thursdays while the men's events are played on the weekends, as if women don't work just as hard as men do during the week. I'm outraged that the women's locker rooms at most clubs are a fraction of the size of the men's locker rooms and rarely come close to having the same amenities. I resent that my girlfriends and I are never allowed to play through a group of slower-playing men, or tee off before a group of guys, simply because of our gender. I'm perturbed when I turn on a golf TV morning show and have to watch women I respect present golf news in high heels and cocktail dresses while their male counterparts are wearing slacks and golf shirts. And I hate that 95 percent of golf course design is patently unfair to female players. Basic equality at a grass-roots level -- that's well above eradicating sexist slurs on my wish list. 

We should be upset that Ted Bishop, one of golf's elected leaders, posted those words on social. But as far as real issues for women in golf go, this wouldn't rank anywhere near the top. Let's not pat ourselves on the back too vigorously for a job well done in unseating him. We've still got a long way to go before we've eliminated sexism in American golf. 

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News & Tours

Poulter's past proves derogatory comments more tolerable when not coming from a PGA president


The dust has settled on the Ted Bishop Twitter mishap and it turned out to be the ultimate insider saga after no national organizations or major figures in the women’s game were willing to weigh in on Bishop’s “lil girl” Tweet to Ian Poulter.

As time passes, the forced removal of Bishop -- with 29 days to go in his presidency -- seems like it was driven by personal feelings about the outstpoken Bishop and not, as PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua has claimed, a matter of remaining consistent with the organization’s grow the game focus.  

After all, PGA Tour pros are PGA of America members by default and they’ve said a lot worse things on Twitter. Poulter famously had to delete and apologize just as Bishop did, only his first offense was in 2010 when he referred to “the yids” when speaking of the Tottenham football club.

As recent as March, Poulter invoked an equally demeaning description of women in an Instagram posting. “Funny picture form the range the other day. Looks like I could fish with that girlie shaft.”

This is the same Poulter who told Golf Channel he was shocked at Bishop’s remark.

"Is being called a "lil girl" meant to be derogatory or a put down? That's pretty shocking and disappointing, especially coming from the leader of the PGA of America. No further comment."

At least his Ryder Cup counterpart Lee Westwood apologized for using the term “girly boy trolls” this year during yet another peculiar Twitter rampage that has become a staple of Westwood’s love-hate relationship with social media.

Still, Poulter’s online behavior juxtaposed with Bishop’s mistake makes it clear that if you’re young, popular and not irritating a largely anonymous board of directors, you can get away with a lot on social media and still keep your reputation.

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News & Tours

Michael Jordan just burned Keegan Bradley on Twitter

Michael Jordan took over the Charlotte Hornets Twitter account on Tuesday. Keegan Bradley noticed, so he decided it was a good time to give MJ some grief about his golf game.

Unfortunately for Keegan, His Airness came prepared.

And by the way, here's the 2011 PGA Champ wearing his Air Keegans Jordans on the July cover of Golf Digest.

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MJ 1 Keegan 0


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News & Tours

The Grind: Ted Bishop's exit, Halloween costume ideas, and the pressures of celebrity golf

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we suggest being Ted Bishop if you're looking for a last-minute Halloween costume. Just wear a lot of USA-themed golf clothes and come armed with an outdated sense of humor. Bonus points if you rent a golf cart (make sure the party's venue isn't walking only) and chauffeur around an inflatable Tom Watson. OK, so you'll probably have to explain it to everyone even if you pull off the entire look. But when you win that first-place prize in the costume contest and recoup about one tenth of the money you spent, it'll be sooo worth it.

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WE'RE BUYING

Robert Streb: Last week, it was Ben Martin. This week, it was Streb's turn to pick up his first PGA Tour title. The wraparound season, everybody! No, but seriously, congrats to Streb, who just two years ago finished No. 126 on the FedEx Cup points list following his rookie season. After putting on the putting performance of his life at the McGladrey Classic, he now boasts a two-year exemption and will get to cross off playing Augusta National from his bucket list in April.

Thorbjorn Olesen: On the other side of the world, this young Danish star held off young French star Victor Dubuisson to win the Perth International and claim his second European Tour title. Just another guy the U.S. has to watch out for in future Ryder Cups.

Related: Pictures of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

Streamsong: I had the good fortune of visiting this new golf oasis in Florida -- I had the better fortune of visiting it for work -- and it lived up to its billing. I slightly preferred the Blue Course (Tom Doak), but the Red Course (Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw) was close behind, and there could be more being built in the near future. Keep it on your buddies trip radar.

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That's me hard at work escaping from a nasty fairway bunker on Streamsong Red's 15th.

John Daly: Say what you will about the guy, but he still puts on a good show. At the Mission Hills Pro-Am, Daly amazed playing partner Jessica Alba with his drives and then impressed Kenny G during a performance of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." Seriously, check it out:

Hey, Daly won a PGA Championship. If the PGA of America really wanted to shake things up at the next Ryder Cup. . .

WE'RE SELLING

Ted Bishop: The PGA of America president pulled off quite the social media double-dip disaster when he made sexist comments toward Ian Poulter on both Twitter and Facebook. A day later -- and just 29 days before his two-year term was up -- he was impeached by the PGA and informed he wouldn't be able to serve as an honorary president of the organization.

Related: 11 PGA Tour sleepers to watch in 2014-15

Andrew Svoboda: Tied for the 54-hole lead, Svoboda still had a share of first place on the back nine before a rough finish left him T-8. A third career top 10 on the PGA Tour is nice, but a slightly better finish and we're all talking about the Masters and job security. Pro golf can be cruel.

Champions Tour drama: Michael Allen won the AT&T Championship, but Bernhard Langer locked up the season-long Schwab Cup with a sixth-place tie. The tour's season finale -- which, like the PGA Tour's finale, is worth a ton of extra points to keep the FedEx Cup interesting -- is this week, but no one can catch Langer. In other words, Golf Channel won't need to bring any whiteboards to follow the standings.

ON TAP

The PGA Tour starts the Asian Swing with the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. "I'll recover on the 300-hour flight I have coming," Will MacKenzie said following his playoff loss in Georgia.

Related: 9 things you need to know about the 2014-15 season

Random tournament fact: It's not actually a 300-hour flight from Georgia to Malaysia, but it's pretty darn long.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

-- Someone will do the full Ted Bishop costume: 1 million-to-1 odds

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

-- Ian Poulter will dress up as a "lil girl" to tweak Bishop: 10-to-1 odds

-- Will MacKenzie won't be flying coach to Malaysia: LOCK

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Proof that celebrity golfers are under a lot more pressure to look good than normal golfers:

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But since we're big Jessica Alba fans, we don't want you to get the wrong impression. She's also serious about her golf. Look at her go after it with the driver!

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WAG PHOTO OF THE WEEK

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Apparently, Jillian Stacey and Diane Donald have similar tastes. And no, those are not Ryder Cup-issued matching outfits.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"'You're going to shoot, you know, 63, 64, and you're going to win.' Perfect motivation, right?" -- Robert Streb on what his confident wife told him before the final round. Sounds like we need to consult Mrs. Streb for fantasy golf advice.

THIS WEEK IN LINDSEY VONN MORGAN PRESSEL MAKING US LOOK BAD WITH HER TRAINING

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How in the. . . ?

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK

This is the longest "four-foot putt" ever made. By far. Love the dad's "You gotta be kidding me, you gotta be kidding me!" call as well.

Of course, it's not quite as good as the "It's got a chance, it's got a chance!" call by yours truly at last year's Seitz Cup:

A video posted by @alexmyers3 on

Speaking of which, the 2014 Seitz Cup is next week. I believe a few tickets are still available.

THIS WEEK IN PAULINA GRETZKY-DUSTIN JOHNSON JASON DAY-ELLIE DAY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

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The Days' son, Dash, dressed as Spider-Man. Yep, the Days win Halloween 2014.

THIS AND THAT

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The worst break of the week happened to pro mini-golfer Nuno Cunha at the World Crazy Golf Championships. Watch the clip to see a ball bounce out of the hole and to learn how to handle adversity. . . . South Africa's Lee-Anne Pace won the rain-shortened Blue Bay LPGA. Pace won on the Ladies European Tour the week before. It's safe to say she's having more luck on the course of late than Nuno Cunha. . . . Stacy Lewis had her 21-week reign at No. 1 ended by Inbee Park. Something tells us Lewis will get over it. . . . Congrats to our own Dan Jenkins for winning the Old Tom Morris Award. By our count, that's the 7,832nd award of Jenkins' illustrious career. . . . And finally, a PSA: Don't forget to put sunscreen on the back of your arms!

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

What's the proper etiquette for airplane armrests?

Do more people dress up as Superman or Batman for Halloween?

Is it too late to become a professional mini-golfer?

-- Alex Myers is an Associate Editor for GolfDigest.com. Feel free to email him and please follow him on Twitter since he has self-esteem issues.

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News & Tours

Dan Jenkins receives the 2015 Old Tom Morris Award

The Old Tom Morris Award is given annually by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America to a person who, according to its website, "through a continuing lifetime commitment to the game of golf, has helped to mold the welfare of the game in a manner and style exemplified by Old Tom Morris."

Gerald Ford, Bob Hope and Pete Dye, among others, have gathered the award, and now Golf Digest's Writer-At-Large Dan Jenkins joins that elite group.

"There are few in the media who have ever written more compellingly about golf than Dan Jenkins," said GCSAA president Keith Ihms in a release. "Through his words, we have all felt closer to the greats of the game. We are thrilled to present Dan with the Old Tom Morris Award."

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Here's the full GCSAA statement:

Golf writer Dan Jenkins to receive Old Tom Morris Award from Golf Course Superintendents Association of America

Lawrence, Kan. (Oct. 28, 2014) - Dan Jenkins, one of a handful of writers in the World Golf Hall Fame and someone who covered each of the sport's major championships for more than 60 years, will be the recipient of the 2015 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

Jenkins will receive the award Feb. 25 at the Opening Session, presented in partnership with Syngenta, of the Golf Industry Show in San Antonio. The award has been presented annually since 1983 to an individual, who through a lifetime commitment to the game of golf, has helped to mold the welfare of the game in a manner and style exemplified by Old Tom Morris. Morris, a four-time British Open winner, was the longtime superintendent at St. Andrews in Scotland until his death in 1908. Some of the past winners include Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Ken Venturi, Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam.

In addition to writing about golf for the last 30 years in his own biting, honest and often hilarious prose for Sports Illustrated and now Golf Digest, Jenkins has also published more than a dozen books, with his most famous being the football-themed "Semi-Tough" in 1972, to this year's "His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir."

A native of Fort Worth, Texas, where he still lives, Jenkins, 84, began covering sports while he was still at Texas Christian University, before graduation, and the 1951 Masters was his first golf major. The 1951 U.S. Open later that year remains one of his most memorable, as legendary Ben Hogan shot a final round 67 at tough Oakland Hills (Mich.) Country Club to win.

"There are few in the media who have ever written more compellingly about golf than Dan Jenkins," said Keith Ihms, CGCS, GCSAA president. "Through his words, we have all felt closer to the greats of the game. We are thrilled to present Dan with the Old Tom Morris Award."

Jenkins has covered all the greats: Hogan, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. He has also known almost everyone who has mattered in sports, including Bear Bryant and Howard Cosell.

"I'm honored to win this award, especially named for a guy who I'm almost as old as," Jenkins quipped in reference to Old Tom Morris. "It's terrific. I didn't know a lot about grass, but I knew a lot of superintendents all around town. The profession has made a lot of progress. Courses nowadays are so consistently wonderful with all the things they can do with them."
Jenkins won his first writing award from the Golf Writers Association of America in 1957 while working for the Fort Worth Press and has been a frequent winner ever since. He earned the GWAA's William Richardson Award in 2005 for his contribution to golf.

His friend and golf writer colleague Jaime Diaz put it simply and best in addressing why Jenkins has won so many awards: "He has more talent than the other guys, just like Hogan, Nicklaus and Woods."

Even upon his World Golf Hall of Fame induction in 2012, when he joined fellow Texans Hogan and Nelson, Jenkins couldn't resist offering a sample of his engaging and entertaining style.
"There aren't many writers in here," he said. "It's a small group, and I'm pleased to be part of it. I'd follow Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson anywhere."

Jenkins follows Nelson, along with other golf legends such as Palmer and Nicklaus as a recipient of GCSAA's highest honor, but this time he leads the way as the first member of the media to receive the Old Tom Morris Award.

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News & Tours

John Daly becomes the latest athlete to look tiny next to Yao Ming

John Daly will proudly join the list of elite athletes who have looked tiny posing for a photo next to 7'6" retired basketball star Yao Ming. The two met at China's Mission Hills resort where they are playing in the World Celebrity Pro-Am and where Daly already wowed the a pro-am party with his take on Dylan's Knocking' On Heavens Door, which he also infamously once played for Make-A-Wish Foundation beneficiaries.

Daly looked more human-sized next to actress Jessica Alba even as he sported a skull-and-crossbone motif sports coat...

Myers item on Dylan rendition

ESPN gallery of athletes next to Yao Ming

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News & Tours

This guy got so unlucky in the finals of the World Crazy Golf Championship

Competitive mini-golf events span all across the United States and Great Britain, and people actually travel from different countries to play in the tournaments.

That was the case at the 2014 World Crazy Golf Championship on October 25th at the Seafront Crazy Golf Course in Hastings, England, which calls itself "the home of crazy golf." Chris Harding walked away with the top prize, but not without some late drama.

Nuno Cunha finished in second place at the event and had a birdie putt on the final hole that he thought he holed, until it hit the bottom of the cup and bounced out. That putt itself didn't really matter -- Cunha finished six strokes behind Harding -- but it could affect his season-long order of merit standing. With the season winding down, Cunha sits just outside the top five, in sixth place.

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It was essentially just a miniature version of Joe Daley's ridiculously unlucky putt at 2000 PGA Tour Q-School, which prevented him getting on tour by one stroke.

Here's the full clip of the final hole of the 2014 World Crazy Golf Championship. Word of warning: The guy in the green hoodie (Adam Kelly, he finished T-3), stands over his putts for an annoyingly long time.


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News & Tours

The Day family wins Halloween 2014

Last year, the Cranes put all other golf families to shame with their medieval times-themed Halloween costumes:

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And this year, it's the Day family's turn to dominate the trick-or-treat scene with this super team of superheroes:

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Related: Our golf-themed Halloween suggestions

Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man? That trio should produce quite a haul of candy.

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