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Monday After Bellerive

Monday After Bellerive

By ED TRAVIS

Brooks Koepka beating Tiger Woods for the Wanamaker Trophy and the 100th PGA Championship gave us some great golf and wonderful competition on a demanding course, but it is increasingly apparent the fourth major needs something to distinguish it from not only the other majors but the week to week traveling circus a.k.a. the PGA Tour.

By way of comparison the Masters, Bobby Jones’ tournament, has the tradition of being played early in April at the same course conveniently timed just as the weather is warming for golf in much of the country. The U.S. Open is our national championship and typically played on courses so difficult they would bring tears to the eyes of most amateurs. The British Open is the oldest, most historical, theoretically open to anyone in the world and often on linksland which requires an entirely different style of golf virtually unknown in this country.

The PGA really has nothing unique other than the mythic determination that somehow, it’s a “major” even though the field includes 20 club professionals. The schedule change next year to May between the Masters and the U.S. Open could be a real shot in the arm. But truthfully it still needs a singular uniqueness to better establish its identity…push it towards the front of the pack that not only includes the other three majors but the four World Golf Championship events, the FedExCup and other big tournaments during the year plus the Olympics every four years and the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup annually.

Even though television executives may not like it the time has come to convert the PGA Championship to match play as it was until 1958. Keep the PGA professionals as part of the 156-man field and simply have a 36-hole qualifier on Wednesday and Thursday to select an elite 32 for match play.

One last thought on the PGA—the possible venues could be expanded by going outside of the states occasionally to gain not only the publicity but more international fans. As I said just a thought.

Tiger Woods: A seeming lack of focus on the 14th hole of the final round and wide right drive into the hazard on 17 sealed Woods’ chances for winning his fifth PGA and 15th major. However, his final round 64, his lowest round ever in a major championship, had fans glued to their televisions. It’s not going out too far out on a limb to say not only will he soon win again and his position now at 11th in the Ryder Cup points list means a role as a playing vice-captain on the Ryder Cup team is a given. Woods comeback to tournament winner and major champion will be of the same magnitude as Ben Hogan returning after his 1949 collision with a bus.

Disappointments: Play in the PGA by much of the U.S. Ryder Cup team was not inspiring and except for Justin Thomas none were ever in contention. Dustin Johnson finished T-27, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler T-12, Webb Simpson T-19 and Bubba Watson who along with Phil Mickelson missed the cut.

TV Coverage: You would think that TNT, which covered the first two days of the PGA Championship in conjunction with CBS Sports for the weekend, could have done a better job but it was refreshing to hear the critics going after someone other than the coverage on Fox of the U.S. Open.

Photo credit: PGA of America

Ben Hogan® Apparel Brand Ambassador Stewart Ci…

Ben Hogan® Apparel Brand Ambassador Stewart Cink T-4 at the 100th PGA Championship

Ben Hogan® Apparel congratulates brand ambassador Stewart Cink on his T-4 finish at the 100th PGA Championship.  

“With four rounds in the 60s, Stewart’s major championship pedigree showed throughout the week en route to his T-4 finish at the year’s last major,” said Jack Voith, president of the Golf Division at Perry Ellis International. “Three top five finishes in his last six events has Stewart peaking at the right time as he heads into the FedEX Cup Playoffs.”

“It was a pretty intense atmosphere out there, a lot of fun to play well in a major and to feel that tingle and excitement again,” said the 45 year-old Cink. “Part of the tournament is to manage yourself in the hot humid weather. My Ben Hogan® Performance Apparel kept me cool and comfortable throughout the week. It made a big difference and it was an exciting week.”

About The Ben Hogan® Aparel  

Legendary golfer Ben Hogan had it right: “The most important shot in golf is the next one.” It’s as true in the golf apparel business as in the game. The line is styled, designed and infused with the top-notch performance he demanded. He prided himself on the idea that “there are no shortcuts in the quest for perfection.” This has become the brand’s mantra. The Ben Hogan® collection is reflective of the legend himself – exceptional style sense with a passion for excellence.

About Perry Ellis International
Perry Ellis International, Inc. is a leading designer, distributor, and licensor of a broad line of high quality men’s and women’s apparel, accessories, and fragrances. The Company’s collection of dress and casual shirts, golf sportswear, sweaters, dress pants, casual pants and shorts, jeans wear, active wear, dresses, and men’s and women’s swimwear is available through all major levels of retail distribution. The Company, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, owns a portfolio of nationally and internationally recognized brands, including: Perry Ellis®, An Original Penguin® by Munsingwear®, Laundry by Shelli Segal®, Rafaella®, Cubavera®, Ben Hogan®, Savane®, Grand Slam®, John Henry®, Manhattan®, Axist®, Jantzen®, and Farah®. The Company enhances its roster of brands by licensing trademarks from third parties, including: Nike® for swimwear, and Callaway®, PGA TOUR®, and Jack Nicklaus® for golf apparel, and Guy Harvey® for performance fishing and resort wear.  Additional information on the Company is available at www.pery.com

Kyle wins the #golf internet tonight! @KylePor…

Kyle wins the #golf internet tonight! @KylePorterCBS

Brooks Koepka held off the challenges of a res…

Brooks Koepka held off the challenges of a resurgent Tiger Woods and Adam Scott to win his second Major of the season at the US PGA Championship. Photo by Getty Images

Linda Wessberg and Cajsa Persson of Sweden wit…

Linda Wessberg and Cajsa Persson of Sweden with their gold medals and trophy – Ladies European Tour 2018. European Championships, PGA Centenary Course. Gleneagles, Scotland August 8 -12 2018. Credit: Tristan Jones #golf @LETgolf

Johanna Gustavsson of Sweden jumps for joy as …

Johanna Gustavsson of Sweden jumps for joy as she holes a long putt for birdie on the first play-off hole for the bronze medal in the mixed fourball competition – Ladies European Tour 2018. European Championships, PGA Centenary Course. Gleneagles, Scotland August 8 -12 2018. Credit: Tristan Jones #golf @LETgolf

Marianne Skarpnord of Norway during the Great …

Marianne Skarpnord of Norway during the Great Britain 2 match against Norway – Ladies European Tour 2018. European Championships, PGA Centenary Course. Gleneagles, Scotland August 8 -12 2018. Credit: Tristan Jones #golf @LETgolf

Jack Nicklaus® Apparel Congratulates Kenny Per…

Jack Nicklaus® Apparel Congratulates Kenny Perry On Winning The 3M Championship

Jack Nicklaus® Apparel, developed by global fashion leader Perry Ellis International, would like to congratulate Brand Ambassador Kenny Perry on his victory at the 3M Championship.  

Buoyed by a third round 12 under par 60, Perry won the 3M Championship for the third time while capturing his 10th PGA Tour Champions tournament.  “This golf course fits me to a T,” stated Perry.  “It’s an honor, incredible to win here three times.”

“We are thrilled for Kenny’s recent victory and Jack Nicklaus’s Apparel first win on tour,” stated Andy O’Brien, senior vice president of marketing for the Nicklaus Companies. “Kenny is the ideal representative for Jack Nicklaus where our multi-functional apparel combines the latest in technically advanced fabrics, enhanced style and performance. We look forward to Kenny’s continued good play and further success.”

About The Nicklaus Companies

The Nicklaus Companies are dedicated to promoting excellence in the game of golf, preserving its great traditions, and growing the game.  For nearly 50 years, its mission has been to enhance the golf experience, and to bring to the national and international consumer, golf-related businesses and services that mirror the high standards established in the career and life of record 18-time major champion and golf course designer Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus-branded products have been marketed worldwide since 1962.  Jack Nicklaus Apparel is available in several markets worldwide, including domestically at high-end green grass pro shops. In addition to apparel, the Jack Nicklaus and Golden Bear-branded lifestyle collection of products also includes:  ice cream; restaurants; beverages; wine; golf academies; home appliances; flooring; cabinets; footwear; and golf equipment. Products and services also include golf course design and the development of golf and real estate communities. For more information on the Nicklaus Companies, please visit www.nicklaus.com.                            

About Perry Ellis International

Perry Ellis International, Inc. is a leading designer, distributor and licensor of a broad line of high quality men’s and women’s apparel, accessories and fragrances. The company’s collection of dress and casual shirts, golf sportswear, sweaters, dress pants, casual pants and shorts, jeans wear, active wear, dresses and men’s and women’s swimwear is available through all major levels of retail distribution. The company, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, owns a portfolio of nationally and internationally recognized brands, including: Perry Ellis®, An Original Penguin® by Munsingwear®, Laundry by Shelli Segal®, Rafaella®, Cubavera®, Ben Hogan®, Savane®, Grand Slam®, John Henry®, Manhattan®, Axist®, Jantzen® and Farah®. The company enhances its roster of brands by licensing trademarks from third parties, including: Nike® for swimwear, and Callaway®, PGA TOUR®, and Jack Nicklaus® for golf apparel and Guy Harvey® for performance fishing and resort wear. Additional information on the company is available at www.pery.com.

Pinehurst Resort to Debut Gil Hanse Reimaginat…

Pinehurst Resort to Debut Gil Hanse Reimagination of No. 4 on Sept. 20

Pinehurst Resort & Country Club will unveil a completely reimagined No. 4 course on Sept. 20, the work of renowned golf course architect Gil Hanse.

Visually stunning from tee to green, exposed sand areas, vast cross bunkers and native wire grass meld with the site’s rolling topography and natural ridge lines to create dramatic vistas and strategic options on every hole. Hanse’s design of No. 4 is a brand new and bold expression of pure, timeless Carolinas Sandhills golf.

“We’ve returned the original landscape to the course, and from there, we then created the features, slopes and green locations,” says Hanse, architect of the 2016 Olympic Course in Rio de Janeiro. “We believe golfers are going to appreciate how No. 4 fits into the Pinehurst lineup and elevates the entire golf experience.”
The par-5 9th hole is a shining example of how No. 4 has been reinvented through Hanse’s vision and touch.  More than 25 pot bunkers are replaced with sprawling, sandy native areas, and a massive crossbunker spans the width of the fairway, connecting with nearby holes and tying together the natural landforms. Green complexes throughout the course have been lowered to fit the landscape, and are complemented by Hanse’s unique bunker designs.

“Among Pinehurst’s nine golf courses, No. 4 has always held a special place in the resort’s history,” says Bob Dedman, Jr., in speaking for the Dedman family, the owners of the resort. “We entrusted Gil and his team to interpret and execute the vision of making No. 4 more natural and authentic to the Sandhills of North Carolina. Gil, Jim and the team have been great to work with and have far exceeded our expectations.”

The USGA has already named No. 4, along with No. 2, as co-hosts for the 2019 U.S. Amateur Championship. It marks the third time the prestigious event will be played at Pinehurst and the first since 2008. Stroke play will be contested on both courses with the match play championship held on No. 2. Hanse says this is exactly the type of symbiotic relationship that should exist between the two courses.

“No. 4 is a companion in the landscape, but it is not a tribute to No. 2 in the features,” Hanse says. “The greens are different, the approaches are different and we wanted to take advantage of the landforms, which are much more dramatic than those on No. 2.”

Completion of No. 4 is bittersweet for Hanse, who spent parts of the past two years onsite with partner Jim Wagner and his construction crew, “The Cavemen,” working both on No. 4 and Pinehurst’s short course, The Cradle.  He describes living in the Dornoch Cottage – Donald Ross’s home in Pinehurst – as “one of the most meaningful things that has ever happened to me.”

The reimagination of No. 4 is the latest in a series of bold moves for one of the world’s most iconic golf destinations. The restoration of No. 2, acquisition of No. 9, the opening of The Cradle and an expansion of the 18-hole putting course Thistle Dhu are complete, as are restorative enhancements to Pinehurst No. 3. The Pinehurst Brewing Company will open this fall, located in the village’s historic steam plant.

“There’s never been a more exciting time to visit Pinehurst,” says Tom Pashley, President of Pinehurst Resort. “All of the recent changes and enhancements have resulted in a new energy level and fun factor that’s contagious. I can’t wait for visitors to see the stunning transformation with the new Pinehurst No. 4.”

About Pinehurst Resort & Country Club

Established in 1985 in the Sandhills of North Carolina, Pinehurst Resort & Country Club is a 2,200-acre property featuring nine outstanding golf courses, a 9-hole par-3 course, 16 clay tennis courts, an award-winning spa, other recreation and social activities for families, and elegant accommodations across one hotel, two inns and condos.  Widely known as the Cradle of American Golf, Pinehurst hosted more single golf championships – including the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, PGA Championship, the Ryder Cup and PGA TOUR Championship – than any other site in North America.  In 2024, it will again welcome the U.S. Open. The resort is slightly more than an hour from Raleigh-Durham International Airport, 90 minutes from Charlotte Douglas International Airport and only a half-day drive from many east coast cities.

To book tee times and golf packages: www.pinehurstresort.com, 855.235.8507.

An Early Ryder Cup Call

An Early Ryder Cup Call

By ED TRAVIS

At this writing it’s still two months until the Ryder Cup will be played at Le Golf National outside Paris. Italian star Francesco Molinari’s British Open win over two likely European Team and two possible American team members plus a final day push from Tiger Woods was the impetus for many to start speculating on team makeup and which squad will triumph in France.

Well, I enjoy speculating as much as the next guy and felt it might be worth the exercise to look at teamed picked based on the respective current Ryder Cup points list with Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) and PGA Tour putting rank used to select the captain’s picks. Obviously, this isn’t perfect but then no method is without flaws. What is true though is the OWGR shows how players have done against every other ranked player and because the Ryder Cup usually comes down to putting, the relative prowess of the two teams is relevant.

For all its shortcomings the OWGR is a way to compare players over the world’s professional events not just those on the European and PGA Tours but I have always taken them with a healthy dose of skepticism. Without belaboring the point, Rickie Fowler earned 48 ranking points for wining the Hero World Challenge against a field of just 18 players. If I was one of the world top 25 and didn’t get an invitation from the host who happened to be Tiger Woods that would really have upset me.

It’s hard to make a case for including limited field events in the OWGR calculations and the fact is two weeks later Justin Rose won the Indonesian Masters but due to the strength of the field earned just 24 OWGR points. Still it was a full field event not a just a dozen and a half however, they didn’t ask me if this is fair nor do I expect they will.

The other indicator for Ryder Cup performance is putting performance ranking and these statistics are fairly straightforward.

Team USA will be made up of the top eight in Ryder Cup points through the PGA Championship with Captain Jim Furyk having four picks. European Captain Thomas Bjørn will have the first four players on the Ryder Cup points list plus the top four on the World Points list and four captain’s picks. Since many of the European stars play much of the season on the U.S. tour the qualifications were modified. Team lists presume those qualifying on points will stay the same and the only leeway is in those tapped by the captains.

Two caveats. First is the information used was current as of the British Open and second my crystal ball broke in 1983. Here is my list of who will be on each team.

Team USA

Qualifying on Points: Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson

Captain’s Picks: Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Tiger Woods, Xander Schauffele

Team Europe

Qualifying on Points: Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Tyrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Alex Noren, Paul Casey

Captain’s Picks: Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Thorbjorn Olesen, Matthew Fitzpatrick

Some comments and rationalization about the captain’s picks. Furyk will pick Lefty and Tiger almost regardless of how they are playing and since Woods is already one of the team’s vice captains it will save a set of uniforms. DeChambeau and Schauffele are the best of the young talent but its tough to leave veterans Matt Kuchar or Kevin Kisner out unless of course one of them wins the PGA.

The European Team’s first big question is can Molinari continue to be the world beater he has been the past six weeks? Chances are the answer is no…the same answer as to whether McIlroy’s putter will show up and whether Rahm can control his emotions. Poulter is a pick for the same reason as Sergio. Bjørn needs them and though Sergio is playing poorly Poulter won the Houston Open the week before the Masters. In any event you can’t imagine a Euro team without them.

With Ryder Cup experience an important factor the European team appears to have a disadvantage with five rookies (Hatton, Fleetwood, Rahm, Olesen and Fitzpatrick) versus three for the USA (Thomas, DeChambeau and Schauffele) and this might be a big difference. Team USA has an average OWGR of 15.5 to 19.1 which again may be an indicator of performance. In putting, which is often the difference in winning and losing, American’s have a definite edge with an average rank in total putting of 58.9 versus 69.3 for the Europeans. This could help to make up for the European fans who are expected to be a loud and partisan.

After all this that passes for analysis my guess is Team USA retains Samuel Ryder’s cup 16 to 12.