Offseason? There's a golf offseason? True, it may be measured in weeks instead of months, but there is indeed a pocket in the schedule that features no golf of consequence. So with Tiger Woods' World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club in Thousands Oaks, Calif., serving as most tour players' season finales, we asked a few what they had planned for their brief time away from the tour.
By Alex Myers
Golf was pretty much forgotten during ESPN's critically-acclaimed series of documentaries, dubbed "30 For 30." In the network's second go-round of films, though, the sport is finally in the spotlight. Well, sort of...
A new "30 For 30 Short" on Grantland.com tackles the topic of Arnold Palmer, but more specifically, the drink that bears his name. With comedian Will Arnett as a host and interviews with Palmer, other pro golfers and random people in the street, the video addresses the history of the iced tea-lemonade concoction.
Some interesting tidbits come from the video, including when Arnie first thought up the drink and how it started to "spread like wildfire." And then there are the stats concerning the drink that has been distributed by AriZona Beverage Co. since 2002 -- something that has only added to Palmer's wealth. For 10-straight years, sales have increased by more than 10%, and the company will sell 400 million units in 2012.
And because it never gets old, here's the classic ESPN commercial in which SportsCenter anchors Scott Van Pelt and Stuart Scott watch in awe as Palmer makes one of his signature drinks in the company's cafeteria:
In recent years, an "Arnold Palmer" mixed with vodka has become known as a "John Daly." Unlike Palmer, however, Daly has not embraced having a beverage in his name.
Of course, Palmer probably wasn't the first person ever to think mixing iced tea with lemonade would be a good idea, but he clearly made it popular. He's also very clear on how he thinks it should be made.
"Oh, iced tea has the dominant side. That dominates the drink," Palmer says at about the 3:30 mark of the film. "If it doesn't, then it really isn't right."
Hey, when The King speaks, you listen.
What did Michael Jordan do to fall out of favor with the high-end La Gorce Country Club in Miami Beach? Take a divot out of one of the greens? Toss his clubs into a lake?
No, according to the New York Post, the basketball great was wearing cargo pants, which was in violation of the club's dress code of collared shirts and Bermuda shorts. Given the opportunity to change, Jordan apparently refused, and now the newspaper quotes a club source saying the Hall of Famer won't be invited back.
Related: Gof's Most Debatable Rules
A Jordan rep confirmed that Jordan opted against changing his outfit, but was unaware that Jordan is out at La Gorce for good. "I guess it's their loss -- as MJ is a great golfer, and a great guest," the rep told the Post.
This is not Jordan's first run-in with the golf fashion police. A passionate player who has been a constant at U.S. team events the last 15 years, Jordan was criticized for walking inside the ropes at Medinah Country Club this past Ryder Cup in jeans.
Related: 10 Rules from Michael Jordan
But while most clubs are consistent in their opposition to denim, cargos remain a point of contention, even when it comes the President of the United States. What do you think? Are they really that bad? Do those extra couple of pockets make a difference?
Perhaps that's overstating it. Nonetheless, the Golf World senior writer saw fit to include Rory McIlroy among his honorees in his 2012 edition of The Rosies on Golf Channel's "Morning Drive" -- and not just for the world No. 1's exploits on the golf course.
See for yourself in the video below:
From the November 26 issue of Golf World Monday:
European players might be signing up for PGA Tour membership in increasing numbers, but some U.S. events aren't in a position to benefit. Case in point are the two Hawaii stops, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open.
The 2013 season opener at Kapalua Resort, in particular, has struggled for several years to attract top international players, and with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship scheduled to begin Jan. 17, there are indications there won't be many more players in Maui than the 27 who showed up in 2012.
Photo by Getty Images
We're told that the world's top two players, Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald, won't be going. Neither are Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia -- and that's surprising since each has won at Kapalua's Plantation Course.
It doesn't help when the top two American draws, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, have been long-time Maui no-shows. Hyundai's sponsorship expires with the completion of the 2013 edition, though secondary sponsor SBS is still on the hook for an additional six years.
What's a sponsor getting for its money? Good U.S. players but not the full complement of qualifiers. What a shame.
By John Strege
The curly one, as his tennis star girl friend Caroline Wozniacki routinely calls him, punctuated his remarkable year with an exclamation point on Sunday. Or rather she did. Three of them, in fact, none superfluous. "Woohoo! Great year from the curly one! Amazing finish!" she wrote on Twitter.
It was Tiger-like, chillingly efficient, Rory McIlroy closing his round and his season with five straight birdies that gave him a two-stroke victory in the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
(Photo by Getty Images)
The payoff was Tiger-like, too. He previously had clinched the Race to Dubai, for which he received a $1 million bonus. The tournament victory pushed his Sunday take to $2.4 million, and he earned nearly $12 million for the season.
Comparisons to Woods are unavoidable, given McIlroy's ascent to No. 1 in the World Ranking and the dominance with which he is flirting. Context advises caution, however, notwithstanding the similarities: At 23, each won the PGA Championship, the second major for both, and each was named the PGA Tour player of the year.
McIlroy might be close to matching strides with Woods at a similar age, but Tiger had located a gear that separated him from history. In 1999, at 23, he won eight times. The following year, he won 10, including three major championships. The curve rapidly got steeper.
But context is no fun, unlike McIlroy, who exudes an infectious joy. In this regard, McIlroy has separated himself from Woods. Tiger's unsurpassed talent gave us a multitude of reasons to admire him, but none to embrace him. He steadfastly refused to let the outside world in, even for a glimpse. He named his yacht "Privacy" for a reason.
The curly one, conversely, has no aversion to allowing the outside world in. There was the photo he posted on Twitter of Wozniacki, head on arms, asleep, presumably in the clubhouse, during a long day at the Barclays Singapore Open a few weeks ago. She in turn posted a photo of McIlroy asleep on a Dubai beach the following week. "Just getting my revenge," she wrote.
Early last week, Wozniacki, a welcome interloper in a McIlroy news conference at Dubai, asked, "If you win this week, am I going to get a really nice Christmas present, and what am I going to get?" The banter that followed bespoke a man comfortable in a spotlight that is burner brighter by the week.
McIlroy won three of his last five starts on the PGA Tour and one his last four on the European Tour (finishing second and third in two of the other three). He also defeated Woods in an exhibition match in China.
Tiger's aversion to losing is second only to that of his surrendering preeminence. Keep that in mind moving forward. The next few years promise to be interesting, thanks to the curly one's emergence as a bona fide rival and threat. Woohoo! indeed.
By Alex Myers
An exciting 2012 PGA Tour season is in the books, but that doesn't mean it still can't teach us things. A look through the final statistics reveals plenty about what happened -- and some things we can expect going forward. Here are five observations that stood out:
Strokes gained-putting has become the go-to putting stat: Let's hear it for math! First, Nate Silver showed up traditional polling methods by correctly predicting all 50 states in the recent presidential election and now the PGA Tour's newest metric has reached a similar point of infallibility: Brandt Snedeker -- this year's FedEx Cup champion, who is widely regarded as the game's best on the greens -- was ranked No. 1. It goes beyond that, though, with Luke Donald (last year's top-ranked putter) checking in at No. 3 and guys like Aaron Baddely and Zach Johnson being tied for eighth. In other words, this stat developed in part by MIT researchers and introduced last year isn't just a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. Keep that in mind as we tackle the next two topics.
Camilo Villegas should call Dave Stockton: Remember Camilo Villegas? You know, that guy who does the "Spider-Man" routine on the greens? Well, apparently, it's not working anymore. The Colombian had perhaps the most disastrous season of any tour player, finishing 144th on the money list to lose his tour card and make him an unlikely competitor at this year's Q School. For a guy who still ranked fourth in greens in regulation, putting is obviously the main culprit. Going back and forth between traditional and belly putters, he ranked 164th in strokes gained-putting. Oddly enough, Villegas also shot 65 or better in four opening rounds this year, but wound up finishing no better than T-19 in any of those events. While he's got his phone out, maybe he should give Bob Rotella a ring as well. . .
Villegas' 2012 struggles stemmed from bad putting. (Photo: Getty Images)
Imagine if Lee Westwood could chip and putt? Westy was his usual consistent self in 2012 racking up seven top 10s in just 15 PGA Tour events, while missing the cut only once. However, the Englishman finished dead last (191 out of 191) in scrambling percentage and 175th in strokes gained-putting. So how did he still produce such great results? Well, it helps being third on tour in greens in regulation. Still, if Westwood wants to finally stop coming up short in majors, he should start by giving a long look at his short game.
Bo Van Pelt and Robert Garrigus are due for a win: Van Pelt had 10 top 10s, tied for first on tour with Rory McIlroy, and Garrigus racked up the most runner-ups on tour with four -- and that doesn't count a recent T-2 at the tour-sanctioned CIMB Classic in Malaysia. But if you think they didn't take home any trophies because they didn't play well under pressure, you'd be wrong. BVP had the 19th-best final-round scoring average and got out-dueled by a certain 14-time major winner wearing a red shirt in his closest call at the AT&T National. Meanwhile, Garrigus closed even better by breaking par in all five of the final rounds in which he finished just off the pace, including 68s at his first (Humana Challenge) and last (Disney) events of the year and a 64 at the Transitions Championship, where he lost to a birdie by Luke Donald in a playoff. If these guys continue to play this way in 2013, there's a good chance both could graduate from being one-time PGA Tour winners.
"Badds is" still bad at ball-striking: He may have won at "Hogan's Alley," Riviera CC, in 2011, but that's as close as Aaron Baddeley will ever come to being compared to "The Hawk." No matter what swing (At one time, he was the poster boy for the "Stack & Tilt" method) the Aussie uses, he just can't seem to improve his game from tee to green. This year, he ranked 179th on tour in ball-striking, but in the past decade, he has never finished higher than 120th, with most of those years being just as bad, if not worse than this past season (196th in the 2005 campaign being the low point). Considering he's been a pro since 2000, we find little reason to believe this trend will change in the near future. Then again, Baddeley has more than 15 million reasons in just PGA Tour earnings to not be too concerned.
They were friends for more than 60 years, though not necessarily tight. Arnold Palmer and Jim Flick were golf teammates at Wake Forest University, and, briefly, they were roommates, thrust together under tragic circumstances through which they formed a bond that was both unbreakable and unbearable.
Flick, the noted golf instructor, died Nov. 5 at age 82 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. It's doubtful that many people are around who knew Flick longer than Palmer did, but Palmer had no idea Flick was ill when they talked on the phone in September.
"He called me and we chatted about a few things, but he didn't say a word about it. I'm not even sure he knew he was sick then," Palmer said at his office at Bay Hill Club in Orlando. "You know, we talked a bit from time to time. We'd run into each other through the years. He'd call me or I'd call him, and we'd talk about things going on in the game, things he was working on, whatever."
Palmer, 83, described Flick as a good friend, but regretted they weren't closer. And the reason for that, he said, was largely due to a tragic event they had to confront together, one that still elicits strong emotions.
On Oct. 14, 1950, Palmer lost his best friend, Bud Worsham, in a one-car automobile accident that also claimed the life of Flick's roommate, Gene Scheer. The two men had traveled to a Durham hotel that night to attend Wake Forest's homecoming dance, but Palmer and Flick decided to remain on campus and instead went to a movie together.
Palmer and Flick learned the following morning what had happened, that the Buick Worsham and Scheer had been riding in on the way home from the dance skidded off a narrow bridge and landed upside down in a rocky streambed, crushing both of them. Flick moved his things into Palmer's room the next night and they roomed together for the remainder of the semester before Palmer left to join the Coast Guard.
Worsham, whose brother, Lew, won the 1947 U.S. Open, was the reason Palmer attended Wake Forest, and he had helped Palmer get a golf scholarship.
"That was a bad time in my life," Palmer said, choking back emotion. "It shook me enough that I finished the semester and then joined the Coast Guard that January. I didn't know what to do. I was very dismayed, unsettled. I lost my best buddy. And Gene, too, was a good friend.
"I remember Bud standing in the room, and he said, come on go with me. I told him, 'I'm going to stay here. I don't want to go to a dance in Durham.' People have asked me through the years, 'What was the chance that you wouldn't go?' The chances were pretty slim, but this time I just decided I didn't want to go. And Jim Flick ... the circumstances were unbelievable, and we went through it together. And it's something you just never really get over."
From the November 19 issue of Golf World Monday:
By Jaime Diaz
Unlike the argument by sabermetricians that Mike Trout and not Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera should have been awarded the American League MVP, there are no statistics that support anyone other than Rory McIlroy being Golf World Monday's PGA Tour Player of the Year.
The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland won four times -- including a major and two playoff events -- and was first in scoring average and on the money list. Tiger Woods' three wins without a major and Brandt Snedeker's FedExCup victory simply aren't comparable in quantity or quality.
Photo by Getty Images
McIlroy's comprehensive eight-stroke victory at the PGA Championship put an exclamation point on a season in which he showed a marked improvement in his course management and short game, but particularly and most importantly in his putting. McIlroy also demonstrated an increased comfort with big moments, especially in his surgical and crucial Ryder Cup singles victory over a hot Keegan Bradley.
In 2012, McIlroy parlayed awesome physical talent with improved internal and external organization to become the official and undisputed No. 1 player in the world. As long as he can maintain his current upward trajectory against the increasing and often corrosive forces of fame and fortune, it will take something monumental (by Woods?) to replace him as the best in the game.
Click here to see Golf World Monday's pick for PGA Tour rookie of the year.
By Alex Myers
A friendly competition between long drive champion Jamie Sadlowski and Golf Channel's Gary Williams on the network's "Morning Drive" program got a little expensive today. And its not because the two made a wager.
Sadlowski went first, teeing up a ball in front of the studio's simulator. Let's just say the simulator lost:
Sadlowski's power caused the ball to punch a hole in the massive screen and made Williams laugh in disbelief. We assume whoever has to pay to replace it, however, had a slightly different reaction.
Golf Digest has worked extensively with Sadlowski the past few years. Hopefully, his tips -- like the one below -- have helped readers add some pop to their own drives. Just keep in mind, it's probably best to keep practicing outside. . .