Championship Flight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brad Nurski

 

 

Carter

 

Patrick D. Carter

2 & 1

 

 

 

Carter

 

Jeff Osberg

 

4 & 3

 

 

Elliott

 

 

Gene Elliott

1 up

 

 

 

8:20-1st Tee

 

Michael Muehr

 

 

 

 

Muehr

 

 

 

Kris K. Mikkelsen

3 & 2

 

 

 

 

 

Mattare

 

 

Matthew Mattare

 

2 up

 

 

 

Mattare

 

 

Michael P. McDermott

1 up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stephen Summers

 

 

 

Summers

 

 

Jeff Knox

1 up

 

 

 

 

Forrester

 

 

Seth Sargent

 

1 up

 

 

 

Forrester

 

 

 

Carlton M. Forrester

3 & 1

 

 

 

 

8:30-1st Tee

 

 

Skip Berkmeyer

 

 

 

 

Cutrell

 

 

 

Arnold Cutrell

19 Holes

 

 

 

 

 

Cutrell

 

 

John Sawin

 

2 & 1

 

 

Sawin

 

Tommy Brennan

2 & 1

 

 

 

 

Second Flight

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Williamson

 

Williamson

Dan Horner

4 & 3

 

 

 

Williamson

Brett A. Williams

 

2 & 1

 

Christovich

 

Patrick Christovich

4 & 3

 

 

7:40-1st Tee

Roger Newsom

 

 

 

Marsh

 

 

Kevin Marsh

4 & 2

 

 

 

 

Marsh

 

Michael McCoy

 

21 Holes

 

 

McCoy

 

Brian Komline

5 & 4

 

 

 

 

 

Hans O. Albertsson

 

 

Van Zandt

 

Matthew Van Zandt

3 & 2

 

 

 

Van Zandt

 

Steve Harwell

 

3 & 2

 

 

Harwell

 

 

Robert C. Funk

2 up

 

 

 

7:50-1st Tee

 

Jeronimo Esteve

 

 

 

Castleforte

 

 

Michael Castleforte

20 Holes

 

 

 

 

Bunch

 

James T. Bunch

 

3 & 1

 

Bunch

William Smith

1 up

 

 

Third Flight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andy Latowski

 

 

Latowski

 

Roger W. Hoit

1 up

 

8:20 - 10th Tee

 

 

Todd R. Mitchell

 

 

 

 

Mitchell

 

 

Robert D. Couture

2 up

 

 

 

 

Robert F. Gerwin, II

 

 

 

 

Haag

 

 

 

Randy Haag

2 up

 

 

 

8:30 - 10th Tee

 

 

 

Benjamin M. Hayes

 

 

 

 

Hayes

 

Patrick Duffy

5 & 4

 

 

 

Fourth Flight

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Biggadike

 

 

Biggadike

 

James F. Donnelly, IV

1 up

 

8:00-10th Tee

 

 

John Brennan

 

 

 

 

Barron

 

 

Peter Barron, III

2 & 1

 

 

 

 

 

Austin C. Eaton, III

 

 

 

 

Patterson

 

 

 

John Patterson

4 & 3

 

 

 

8:10-10th Tee

 

 

 

Bradley Shaw

 

 

 

Lewis

 

Tristan R. Lewis

1 up

 

 

 

Senior Championship Flight

 

 

 

 

Matthew Sughrue

 

Smyers

Steve Smyers

3 & 2

 

 

McClure

John C. Daniel

 

2 & 1

 

McClure

 

John McClure

4 & 2

 

 

8:00-1st Tee

Oscar Mestre

 

 

 

Mestre

 

 

Jack Vardaman

4 & 3

 

 

 

 

Nelson

 

Keith L. Decker

 

2 & 1

 

 

Nelson

 

David Nelson

3 & 2

 

 

 

 

 

Kelly R. Miller

 

 

Vallis

 

Robert Vallis

1 up

 

 

 

West

 

Martin R. West, III

 

6 & 5

 

 

West

 

 

Gayle Sanchez

3 & 2

 

 

 

8:10-1st Tee

 

Glenn Smeraglio

 

 

 

Smeraglio

 

 

Christopher J. Lange

6 & 4

 

 

 

 

Smeraglio

 

Stuart Smith

 

2 & 1

 

Smith

George E. Marucci, Jr.

3 & 2

 

Second Senior Flight

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grady K. Brame

 

 

Davis

 

James C. Davis

19 Holes

 

 

7:40 - 10th Tee

 

Bob Kain

 

 

 

 

Kain

 

 

Gary E. Daniels

4 & 3

 

 

 

 

 

Kent Frandsen

 

 

 

 

Powers

 

 

 

John J. Powers

6 & 5

 

 

 

 

7:50 - 10th Tee

 

 

 

James J. Bryan

 

 

 

Bryan

 

George J. Zahringer III

5 & 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAR HILLS, N.J. (Sept. 21, 2015) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced groupings and starting times for the first two rounds of the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship on Saturday, Sept. 26, and Sunday, Sept. 27, at the 6,864-yard, par-71 Hidden Creek Golf Club.

The U.S. Senior Amateur consists of 36 holes of stroke play on Sept 26 and Sept. 27, after which the field will be reduced to the low 64 scorers. There will then be six rounds of match play, starting Sept. 28. The quarterfinals and semifinals are slated for Sept. 30, and the championship is scheduled to conclude with an 18-hole final Thursday, Oct. 1.

 

Saturday (Sept. 26), hole #1 / Sunday (Sept. 27), hole #10

7:10 a.m./12 p.m. – Chip Lutz, Reading, Pa.; John Gibbs, Augusta, Ga.; Bob Cooper, Monroe, La. 

7:20 a.m./12:10 p.m. – Danny Green, Jackson, Tenn.; Robert Chalanick, Victor, N.Y.; Gary Robinson, Fayetteville, N.C. 

7:30 a.m./12:20 p.m. – Paul Simson, Raleigh, N.C.; Stanley Kinsey, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.; Martin West, Rockville, Md. 

7:40 a.m./12:30 p.m. – Jack Kearney, Peachtree City, Ga.; Randy Reifers, Columbus, Ohio; Jim Lehman, Minnetonka, Minn. 

7:50 a.m./12:40 p.m. – Robert Pomerantz, Des Moines, Iowa; Bryan Norton, Mission Hills, Kan.; Daniel Russo, Hagaman, N.Y. 

8:00 a.m./12:50 p.m. – Rick Cloninger, Fort Mill, S.C.; Bill Leonard, Dallas, Ga.; John Hoffman, San Diego, Calif. 

8:10 a.m./1 p.m. – Steven Liebler, Irmo, S.C.; Richard Jarrett, St. Louis, Mo.; James Volpenhein, Union, Ky. 

8:20 a.m./1:10 p.m. – Bob Stephens, Indianapolis, Ind.; Steve Golliher, Knoxville, Tenn.; Doug Lacrosse, Tampa, Fla. 

8:30 a.m./1:20 p.m. – Don Donatoni, Malvern, Pa.; Mills Brown, Scottsdale, Ariz.; John Lepping, Louisville, Ky. 

8:40 a.m./1:30 p.m. – Rick Doebler, Fullerton, Calif.; David Nelson, Reno, Nev.; Stephen Fox, Barboursville, W.Va. 

8:50 a.m./1:40 p.m. – John Howson, Sparks, Md.; Monty Guest, Solon, Ohio; B. Shawn McLoughlin, Newtown, Conn. 

9:00 a.m./1:50 p.m. – Vance Antoniou, North Barrington, Ill.; Scott Sullivan, Grand Junction, Colo.; Ronald Eubel, Dayton, Ohio 

9:10 a.m./2 p.m. – Michael Turner, Sherman Oaks, Calif.; Bret Pinson, Baton Rouge, La.; Mark Mann, Ann Arbor, Mich. 

 

Saturday (Sept. 26), hole #10 / Sunday (Sept. 27), hole #1

7:10 a.m./12 p.m. – Mike Bell, Indianapolis, Ind.; Earl Ingarfield, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Greg Myers, Twinsburg, Ohio 

7:20 a.m./12:10 p.m. – Douglas Williams, Hong Kong; George Zahringer, New York, N.Y.; Mike Rice, Houston, Texas 

7:30 a.m./12:20 p.m. – Jack Hall, Savannah, Ga.; Matthew Corrigan, Neponsit, N.Y.; Paul Schlachter, Pittsburgh, Pa. 

7:40 a.m./12:30 p.m. – Doug Perry, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Richard Landon, Olathe, Kan.; Sam Manning, Dallas, Texas 

7:50 a.m./12:40 p.m. – Vinny Giles, Richmond, Va.; Lee Sandlin, Dallas, Texas; Douglas Farr, Monroe, La. 

8:00 a.m./12:50 p.m. – Ed Byman, Raleigh, N.C.; Rick Woulfe, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Steve McHugh, Santa Barbara, Calif. 

8:10 a.m./1 p.m. – Don Dubois, Newport Beach, Calif.; Mike Ameen, Shreveport, La. 

8:20 a.m./1:10 p.m. – Kenneth Coutant, Dallas, Texas; Kevin Macy, Oldsmar, Fla.; Brian Secia, Nantucket, Mass. 

8:30 a.m./1:20 p.m. – Mike Booker, The Woodlands, Texas; Randy Haag, Orinda, Calif.; Jim Holtgrieve, St. Louis, Mo. 

8:40 a.m./1:30 p.m. – Todd Hendley, Greer, S.C.; Mark Ellinger, Chester Springs, ; Craig Hammer, Saint George, Utah 

8:50 a.m./1:40 p.m. – Rick Herpich, Orchard Lake, Mich.; David Holmes, Sutton, Mass.; Bob Kearney, Houston, Texas 

9:00 a.m./1:50 p.m. – Charlie Jabbia, Beaumont, Texas; Kevin Cahill, Waukesha, Wis.; Nick Lambos, Canton, Ohio 

9:10 a.m./2 p.m. – Ron Carter, Monticello, Ind.; Stewart Alexander, Gainesville, Fla.; Dan Meyers, Oro Valley, Ariz. 

 

Saturday (Sept. 26), hole #1 / Sunday (Sept. 27), hole #10

12 p.m./7:10 a.m. – Randal Lewis, Alma, Mich.; Cy Kilgore, Beverly, Mass.; John O'Malley, Mantoloking, N.J. 

12:10 p.m./7:20 a.m. – Tim Jackson, Germantown, Tenn.; Michael Podolak, Oxbow, N.D.; Ramiro Romo, Burlington, Wis. 

12:20 p.m./7:30 a.m. – Michael Hughett, Owasso, Okla.; David Szewczul, Farmington, Conn.; Mark Burden, Atlanta, Ga. 

12:30 p.m./7:40 a.m. – Patrick Tallent, Vienna, Va.; Mike Heffner, Westchester, Ill.; Dave Clement, Henderson, Ky. 

12:40 p.m./7:50 a.m. – Kenneth Phillips, Lancaster, Pa.; Michael Staskus, Los Altos, Calif.; Thomas Hyland, Marlton, N.J. 

12:50 p.m./8 a.m. – Brian Rothaus, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.; Shigeru Matsui, Honolulu, Hawaii; Dean Chavez, Ontario, Calif. 

1 p.m./8:10 a.m. – George Marucci, Villanova, Pa.; Matthew Horwitch, Northbrook, Ill.; Steve Bogan, Placentia, Calif. 

1:10 p.m./8:20 a.m. – Buzz Fly, Memphis, Tenn.; Scott Stahr, Barrington, Ill.; Joel Eastman, Dallas, Texas 

1:20 p.m./8:30 a.m. – Ben Brundred, Potomac, Md.; Brady Exber, Las Vegas, Nev.; Pat O'Donnell, Happy Valley, Ore. 

1:30 p.m./8:40 a.m. – Matthew Grandy, Greenville, S.C.; James Wisda, Scottsdale, Ariz.; David Prowler, Manhasset, N.Y. 

1:40 p.m./8:50 a.m. – Pat Thompson, Asheville, N.C.; Roc Irey, Furlong, Pa.; Adam Kugler, Closter, N.J. 

1:50 p.m./9 a.m. – Geno Berchiatti, Greenville, S.C.; Bob Brooks, Bella Vista, Ark.; David Leiss, Houston, Texas 

2 p.m./9:10 a.m. – Joe Zanassi, Fairfield, Calif.; Michael Dunsmore, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Peter Wegmann, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 

 

Saturday (Sept. 26), hole #10 / Sunday (Sept. 27), hole #1

12 p.m./7:10 a.m. – Thomas Roos, Centennial, Colo.; Steve Sabatini, San Tan Valley, Ariz.; Gary Carpendale, Las Vegas, Nev. 

12:10 p.m./7:20 a.m. – Thomas Prevost, McMinnville, Ore.; John Grace, Fort Worth, Texas; Pete Williams, Juno Beach, Fla. 

12:20 p.m./7:30 a.m. – Mike Nixon, Nashville, Tenn.; Glenn Smeraglio, Newtown, Pa.; Doug Roxburgh, Canada 

12:30 p.m./7:40 a.m. – Dave Ryan, Taylorville, Ill.; Bret Voisin, Orlando, Fla.; Mark Morgan, El Dorado Hills, Calif. 

12:40 p.m./7:50 a.m. – Steve Whittaker, Becker, Minn.; Joey Holley, Troy, Ala.; John Pate, Santa Barbara, Calif. 

12:50 p.m./8 a.m. – Dean Channell, Cary, N.C.; Curtis Skinner, Lake Bluff, Ill.; David Pulk, Williamsburg, Va. 

1 p.m./8:10 a.m. – Rick Goolsby, Fullerton, Calif.; Jorge Gaudiano, Mexico; Jeff Belk, Marietta, Ga. 

1:10 p.m./8:20 a.m. – Kent Moore, Cherry Hills Village, Colo.; Edward Parnell, Altamonte Springs, Fla.; Doug Stiles, Athens, Ga. 

1:20 p.m./8:30 a.m. – John Molitor, Soap Lake, Wash.; Jeff Reich, Chandler, Ariz.; Frank Dial, Auburn Al, Ala. 

1:30 p.m./8:40 a.m. – Mickey Jones, Odessa, Texas; Doug Hanzel, Savannah, Ga.; Tom Brandes, Bellevue, Wash. 

1:40 p.m./8:50 a.m. – Jorge Cora, Atlanta, Ga.; Robert Morris, Great Falls, Va.; Patrick Murphy, Provo, Utah 

1:50 p.m./9 a.m. – Bobby Bryant, Ocala, Fla.; Tim Hickman, Westerville, Ohio; Kenneth Bakst, New York, N.Y. 

2 p.m./9:10 a.m. – Kel Devlin, Weatherford, Texas; Dave Macke, Fort Wright, Ky.; Rod Skyles, Eagle, Idaho 

Most fun on TV: Louis Oosthuizen’s brilliant 29 on Sunday on the back nine at the U.S. Open. Here’s a few of his shots compiled in under two minutes. Louie birdied six of last seven holes—and he did it with such apparent ease, like he was out walking his dog in the park.

 

Least fun on TV: Same day... Dustin misses eight putts from inside 10 feet. Yes, the greens were ridiculous, but still. Here’s a list of his misses on Sunday, compiled by Gary Van Sickle at Golf.com.

 

Big question to ponder: Will the USGA go back to Chamber’s Bay for the U.S. Open? My guess is yes. The USGA does not like to admit mistakes, and they won’t, so they have to go back. My guess is 2026 or 2027.

 

Bomber alert: The most impressive swings I saw at the U.S. Women’s Open were by one Morgan Pressel. Big, high draws that were placed with precision. On Saturday on the long, uphill 18th, Morgan took a good rip at her driver and the fans tee-side were perplexed. We all saw the ball head toward the right fairway bunker, but Morgan quickly picked up her tee and started strutting confidently off the tee. A few fans mumbled: "Did she hit it in the trap?" No, actually... she flew the trap, got a decent kick forward and rolled past the gallery crosswalk—while the fans were walking across! The TV didn’t catch the drive, but it did broadcast the second shot.

 

Reviewing the DVR later, I could hear Greg Norman’s voice betray his own mild disbelief when he said: "Only 106 yards left, that's quite a drive." But Greg

 didn’t have enough time to do the math in his head, because no one else was anywhere near that close to the green on that hole. The upshot: 308 yards, by my calculation.

 

Caddie experience: I enjoyed caddying for a friend of mine on the last day of the Pennsylvania Open at Rolling Green Golf Club. It’s a three-day event, and he had another friend lug his bag on the first two days, so I offered to help on the third day because he was on quite a roll. On the first day, he made an incredible eight birdies (but only four pars). After making the cut after two rounds (top 40 and ties), on day three he... well... let’s just say the putts weren’t dropping. (He wasn’t letting me read the breaks, so...)

 

Kudos and kudos: I cannot say enough about the Pennsylvania Golf Association and the Golf Association of Philadelphia. These organizations run really great tournaments. And a lot of them. The courses are set up perfectly every time, and the staff and volunteers are excellent.

 

Putting clinic of another kind: Inbee Park must be one of the best putters on the planet. I think she could give many PGA Tour pros a run for their money. She seems to make most of her 15-20 foot putts, week in and week out. Too bad the LPGA doesn’t have ShotLink, or her dominance on the dance floor could be measured more thoroughly.

 

Alarming statistic: According to a Global Golf Post article by Lewin Mair, there are as many as 2,000 junior girl golfers in Korea with handicaps of scratch or better. Wow.

 

Save the Dates: The USGA has a bit of a love affair with Pennsylvania golf courses. There are three USGA events are slated for 2016.

2016 U.S. Open at the venerable Oakmont Country Club will be June 13-19.

2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship at Rolling Green will be at Aug. 1-7. (This is a recent date change, due to the Olympics.)

2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Stonewall Links near Elverson will be Sept. 10-15.

 

ICYMI: This boy’s one-arm swing will either inspire or discourage you.

 

 

 

TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola
Selection of possible FedExCup scenarios


 

To win the FedExCup - No. 2 Jordan Spieth (Currently leading the tournament)

¥   If he wins the TOUR Championship, he wins the FedExCup

¥   If Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Rickie Fowler or Bubba Watson win the TOUR Championship, he cannot win

¥   If Paul Casey wins the TOUR Championship, Jason Day finishes T13 or worse and Henrik Stenson finishes T3 or worse, Spieth could finish as low as 5th  and win the FedExCup

¥   If Rory McIlroy wins the TOUR Championship, Jason Day must finish T6 or worse, Rickie Fowler finishes 4th or worse, Henrick Stenson finishes 3rd or worse and Bubba Watson Finishes T2 or worse, Spieth could finish as low as 4th and win the FedExCup.  (Under this scenario, if Fowler finishes solo 3rd and Spieth finishes solo 4th it would result in a tie for the FedExCup and a sudden death playoff)

To win the FedExCup - No. 4 Henrik Stenson (Currently 2nd in the tournament)

¥   If he wins the TOUR Championship, he wins the FedExCup

¥   If Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler or Bubba Watson win the TOUR Championship, Stenson can’t win the FedExCup

¥   If Rory McIlroy wins the TOUR Championship, Stenson can win the FedExCup if he finishes in a two-way for 2nd or better

¥   If Paul Casey wins the TOUR Championship, Stenson can win the FedExCup by finishing as low as a solo 3rd

To win the FedExCup - No. 3 Rickie Fowler (Currently T3 in the tournament)

¥   If he wins the TOUR Championship, he wins the FedExCup

¥   If Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson or Bubba Watson win the TOUR Championship, he cannot win

¥   If Rory McIlroy wins the TOUR Championship, Jordan Spieth finishes in a four-way tie for 3rd and Jason Day finishes T6 or worse, Fowler can win the FedExCup by finishing 3rd

To win the FedExCup - No. 22 Paul Casey (Currently T3 in the tournament)

¥   Must win the TOUR Championship AND

¥   Jason Day (No. 1) must finish in a three-way tie for 13th or worse (currently T10)

¥   Jordan Spieth (No. 2) must finish T5 or worse (currently leading)

¥   Rickie Fowler (No. 3) must finish in a three-way tie for 3rd or worse (currently T3)

¥   Henrik Stenson (No. 4) must finish T3 or worse (currently 2nd)

¥   Bubba Watson (No. 5) must finish in a three-way tie for 2nd or worse (currently T8)

¥   Zach Johnson (No. 6) must finish T2 or worse (currently T5)

To win the FedExCup - No. 4 Zach Johnson (Currently T5 in the tournament)

¥   Must win the TOUR Championship, AND

¥   Jason Day (No. 1) must finish T2 or worse (currently T10)

¥   If Paul Casey wins the TOUR Championship and Jason Day finishes T13 or worse, Jordan Spieth finishes T5 or worse, Rickie Fowler finishes 4th or worse, Henrik Stenson finishes T3 or worse, Bubba Watson finishes in a three-way tie for 2nd or worse, Zach Johnson can win the FedExCup with a 2nd 

To win the FedExCup - No. 11 Rory McIlroy (Currently T5 in the tournament)

¥   Must win the TOUR Championship, AND

¥   Jason Day (No. 1) must finish T6 or worse (currently T10)

¥   Jordan Spieth (No. 2) must finish T4 or worse (currently leading)

¥   Rickie Fowler (No. 3) must finish T3 or worse (currently T3)

¥   Henrik Stenson (No. 4) must finish in a three-way tie for 2nd or worse (2nd)

¥   Bubba Watson (No. 5) must finish in a T2 or worse (currently T8)

To win the FedExCup - No. 17 J. B. Holmes (Currently 7th in the tournament)

¥   Must win the TOUR Championship AND

¥   Jason Day (No. 1) must finish in a three-way tie for 10th or worse (currently T10)

¥   Jordan Spieth (No. 2) must finish in a three-way tie for 4th or worse (currently leading)

¥   Rickie Fowler (No. 3) must finish in a three-way tie for 3rd or worse (currently T3)

¥   Henrik Stenson (No. 4) must finish 3rd or worse (currently 2nd)

¥   Bubba Watson (No. 5) must finish T2 or worse (currently T8)

¥   Zach Johnson (No. 6) must finish T2 or worse (currently T5)

To win the FedExCup - No. 1 Jason Day (Currently T10 in the tournament)

¥   Win the TOUR Championship

¥   If Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson or Bubba Watson win the TOUR Championship, he cannot win the FedExCup

¥   If Rory McIlroy wins the TOUR Championship, and Jordan Spieth finishes with a four-way tie for 3rd and Rickie Fowler finishes T3 or worse and Henrik Stenson finishes in a three-way tie for 2nd or worse and Bubba Watson finishes T2 or worse, Day can still win the FedExCup by finishing in a four-way tie for 5th

¥   If Paul Casey wins the TOUR Championship and Jordan Spieth finishes T5 or worse, Rickie Fowler finishes in a three-way tie for 3rd  or worse,  Henrik Stenson finishes T3 or worse, Bubba Watson finishes in a three-way tie for 2nd or worse and Zach Johnson finishes T2 or worse, Day can win the FedExCup by finishing T13 or better.

 

Chip Lutz has been an integral part of golf in Berks County for a long time and, as they say, a fine ambassador of the game and of his home turf. The newly crowned U.S. Senior Amateur Champion started winning Berks County Amateurs at the age of 24, piling up nine of those trophies in the ’80s and ’90s.

 

You could say Lutz has had two careers—but his current career is exceptional. He’s been the No. 1 or 2 ranked Senior Amateur in the world for the last few years, having gone on a 2nd-win-win run at the British Senior Amateur from 2010 to 2012, right after he turned 55, among other high USGA finishes.

 

But when I was growing up, I knew him as the predominant favorite in any local tournament. I got the golf bug around 16 years old when I got my first car and could drive to a range, right when Chip was establishing his creds at Berkshire Country Club.

 

The Berks Amateur is a three-day event, Friday to Sunday, in early August every year. I was fortunate enough to be in the small galleries that followed him around on couple of those Saturday rounds.

 

What did I learn? This: Good amateur golf is boring. I mean that, in regards to Chip, with the utmost admiration.

 

There is nothing flashy about his game or swing. (There still isn’t – video.) He hits it in the fairway, hits it on the green, and either two-putts or one-putts. He makes very few bogeys and hardly ever any "others."

 

The "good golf is boring" axiom has a corollary that my one golf buddy likes to repeat: "Good golf is easy, bad golf is hard." That saying has a few layers, one of which is: "Try to think of it as easy, and simplify your mind, and maybe you’ll do better."

 

The U.S. Senior Amateur win was Chip’s white whale. He had come close a few times, but this year he was not to be denied. In the match play portion this year, he was only ever behind in one match, for a grand total of three holes when he was one down. In the final he went up early and never looked back, carding six birdies in the 15 holes that it took to close out the title.

 

Other things that many might not know about Chip are that his family was a little golf-crazed a generation before Chip and his brothers, Putter and Wedge (all nicknames, just in case you were wondering). His father, Buddy Lutz, was an accomplished player as well, winning Berks County events and two Sunnehanna Invitationals (in ’47 and ’49).

 

For Berks Countians, Chip’s most impressive run as at the Hawley Quier Memorial, having won four times there, played at Moselem Springs CC every August. Also notable was his contribution to keeping the Berks County Golf Association up and running when it hit some troubled times. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, one man, Gerry Gerhart, tried to run the Berks County Amateur almost singlehandedly. At the end of some years, Gerry was not sure there would be a Men’s Amateur the next year. But gradually, the Amateur regained the respectability that Gerry wanted. Gerry made his goal to "Establish your own credibility, and convince the guys that you’re trying to make it a first-class tournament."

 

At a crucial time, Chip Lutz stepped in to lend his name and reputation to the BCGA in support of what Gerry was trying to accomplish, and things started falling into place. A mutual friend of Chip and Gerry, attorney Tom Golden, helped draft the BCGA by-laws based on the by-laws of the Golf Association of Philadelphia. Included in the by-laws was a term limit on the BCGA president – Chip Lutz served for three years, and then Tom Golden served for three.

 

The challenge the trio faced at the outset was how to get all the Berks County private clubs fully on board with the organization concept. The BCGA was going to be reborn into an organization that served and benefited both its playing members and its member clubs. Lutz feels Gerry’s perspective and experience from years running the amateur were invaluable during the rebirth. The culmination of the rebirth came when Moselem Springs joined the cause, at once giving the BCGA respectability, strength, and stability.

 

Chip now calls LedgeRock Golf Club his home course. I can attest personally that LedgeRock, as the USGA is wont to say, is "A thorough test of golf." A test that I’ve gotten an "F" on many times.

 

The picture accompanying this article is the approach shot to the par-four #17 green at LedgeRock (a par five by any measure but LedgeRock’s). Trying to hit a long iron up the impossibly steep climb to a shelf green is one of the toughest golf shots in Pennsylvania. But I’m sure it’s no big deal for Chip.

 

Twitter: @RonMyPhillyGolf.

 

Ron Romanik is principal of the brand, packaging and PR consultancy Romanik Communications (www.romanik.com), located in Elverson, PA. His full bio is here.

Egg Harbor Township, NJ – Hidden Creek Golf Club has donated $20,000 from the 2015 United States Senior Amateur Championship to the Greater Atlantic City Charities First Tee Drive Program. The USGA Championship was held at Hidden Creek from Sept. 26-Oct. 1, and the charitable contribution represents net proceeds from sponsorship revenue and donors.

 

The First Tee DRIVE (Developing Rewarding Inspiring Values for Everyone) program helps shape the lives of kids and teens from all walks of life by introducing them to values inherent in the game of golf. Values like integrity, respect and perseverance. For more information, visit www.thefirsttee.org.

 

A private club located in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, Hidden Creek was designed by the renowned tandem of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.  

 

Hidden Creek was recently named as one of "America’s 100 Best Modern Courses" by Golfweek Magazine for the 12th consecutive year. Hidden Creek was ranked 64th on their 2015 list of the nation’s best modern day courses.

Jason Becker, head pro at a private club in Naples, Fla., was working on a masters degree in adult education a couple of years ago when he got an assignment for another paper.

 

Because much of his work day was spent on the lesson tee, Becker had written about 25 papers on teaching the golf swing by that point.  It’s what he knew.  When he proposed another paper on teaching golf, his professor balked.  Please, not another one.

 

"I wondered what else I could write about," Becker said last week.

 

That’s when Becker began to wonder about the 300,000 people who move to Florida each year, many of them "snowbirds" looking for a soft landing in retirement.  How do those folks decide where to live in the Sunshine state?  And for the golfers among them, how do they choose from the 400-odd clubs in South Florida?

 

"What process was it that would end up with you investing $50,000 or $75,000 into your future," said Becker.

 

Finding out turned into a company

 

Finding out, Becker decided, would become the subject of his next paper.  He called a buddy who was a club pro in the Northeast, who, in turn, put Becker in touch with a dozen potential snowbirds who were approaching the "transition" age, in their late 50s and early 60s.

 

Becker put together a list of questions for each "case study:"  How many days a week do you envision playing golf?  Does your spouse play?  Do you walk when you play?  What other amenities and activities are important to you, like tennis, bocce ball, dining? Do you want to be in a "bundled community," where the club you join is part of a real estate development?  What’s your budget?

 

During his research, Becker learned that Yankees mulling their escape to Florida usually had two methods of gathering information: They’d talk to friends who had already made the move, or they’d go on the internet.

 

"For the average 62-year-old, the internet just wasn’t sufficient," said Becker.  "It’s too daunting, there is too much out there.  And calling a golf club  to talk about memberships is no different from calling a Toyota dealership.  They want to get you out there and put you into something."

 

That’s when Becker realized he had more than an idea for a graduate school paper, he had an idea for a business.

 

"I’ve been here for 15 years and I know all the clubs," said Becker.  "With all that information, I was able to filter in my head, without any data base, what clubs I thought would be a good fit for these folks."

 

 

With backing from several members of his club in Naples – they loved the idea, too – Golf Life Navigators was launched on March 1, 2014.

 

Becker recruited other Florida club pros familiar with the clubs landscape, as well as club pros in the North, who could refer potential clients.  To date, Golf Life Navigators has done 165 client consultations.  Of those, GLN has matched about 40 with clubs.  Many more are still planning their eventual move to Florida or in the "dating" process with the three or four clubs that seem to be a match.  Turns out, the typical client is not a 62-year-old, it’s a 54-year-old looking to the future.

 

Clients pay nothing

 

Best of all for clients, the GLN consultations are free.  Revenue comes from advertising by Florida businesses looking for an introduction to the new arrivals, and from real estate developments.  In addition to matching golfers with clubs, GLN also matches them with houses and condos.

 

Here’s a condensed version of my conversation with Becker:

 

MPG: Different clubs have different cultures. How do you match people with the right club?

 

BECKER: We want to know from the clubs what kind of clubs they have within the clubs?  In other words, do they have a travel group?  Do they have a wine group?  Do they have a lot of people who play bocce?  Because the social aspects of a club are why a lot of people join.

 

We did a survey of 700 members of clubs in Naples to rank in importance of what means the most to them at a facility.  Surprisingly, for men and women, golf was fifth or sixth on their list.  They didn't care about golf as much as they did about other things.  For ladies, the No. 1 draw was landscaping.  For the guys, the No. 1 thing was the social aspects – playing a few holes with the boys and having a beer afterwards, those type of things.

 

But golf is the centerpiece; that’s how we gain our clients. But the clubs within the clubs is what makes the matchmaking work.  How do you find a club with a good gin game?  You can’t find that out on your own.  Personalized local knowledge is so key to this whole model.

 

MPG: Who else works for the company?

BECKER: There are nine of us; we are all PGA members.  The PGA logo gives the sense of security and confidence.

 

I have six PGA professional that work for me 40 hours a week; the other guys are around the state of Florida. If I got a call from somebody who is interested in Vero Beach, I don't know that area that well, so I have a guy up there I would have do the consultation because he has been up there for 20 years.  I compensate them for what they would normally charge for a lesson, because I am taking their time.

 

MPG: What happens when a client comes to you and you realize, for lack of a better term, they are a complete jerk? What club is going to want this guy as a member?

 

BECKER: It is the club’s responsibility to decide who they want to bring in.  I can tell you that most clubs wouldn't turn anyone away at this point.  I let the consumer and the club work it out.  I am kind of the middleman.  If the membership director doesn’t think this person would work out, they just won’t offer them a membership.  Out of 165 consultations, I haven’t run into that yet.

 

When I talk to the membership director, I will give them a heads-up.  I’ll give them a bio, from their profession to their hobbies, then I step away.  I get it down to three or four and now it is time for you to do your due diligence to make sure you buy at the right facility.

 

MPG: So, do people get three or four free rounds of golf?

 

BECKER: Not necessarily free any more. It used to be but now, worst case, you pay a guest fee.  Afterward, they will meet with the membership director, who will then pair them up with a member with similar interest or from the same city.

 

MPG: Is Philadelphia a big market for you?

BECKER: Oh, yeah. Down the East Coast, from Palm Beach County all the way up.  I have a group that I work with that is about 50 Philly guys who come down every march called the Italian Open.  We have lot of Philadelphia connections.

 

MPG: Without mentioning names, can you describe any Philadelphia clients you’ve placed?

 

BECKER: I’m working with about a dozen Philadelphia clients now.    They are all executives any attorneys.  We have one ship captain.  We a lady who is a retired banker.  They are all in the 54- to 58-year-old range.  None of them today have pulled the trigger on a club but they are in the interview process with clubs. They want to invest in a condo now and come down in the winter, until they are ready to become an official snowbird.

 

 

MPG: Which is the bigger component for you, the club or the real estate?

 

BECKER: Real estate.  We have our own brokerage.   When we do the consultation, the last question I ask is, do you want to do your real estate search with us, too?  Every person says, "Yes."

 

Then I talk to our real estate guys to see if any real estate meets their criteria.  Then people will come down, play golf, look at the real estate before or afterwards, then meet with us.

 

 

MPG: There is no cost to the client.  So who pays for all this?

 

BECKER: When we started it had never been offered before, so we were going to charge a consulting fee.  But my partners and I said, let’s figure out a way to have this complimentary. I didn't want anybody not to call because there was a $250 fee attached.

 

What we did was create advertising programs for local businesses, so when you move down here you are going to need a pool service, a dentist.  That was all advertising opportunities to create revenue.  We have vetted vendors.  It’s all there, trusted people.

 

But our biggest revenue stream is real estate.  We represent the buyer.  All our agents are licensed.  The third part is our club affiliations with about 75 clubs here on the East Coast and the West Coast. The clubs pay a yearly advertising.  Clubs also get detailed feedback about why about why people didn't join, what’s wrong. With us, the client is very honest so we can relay that information.

Myerstown, Pa. -- Ben Witter, renowned as one of the greatest golf entertainers and trick-shot artists ever, has died, ending his decades long battle with cancer.

 

Witter died Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, at his home in Myerstown, Pa., surrounded by his family at the age of 51. He had been in hospice care in recent months. 

 

Following a successful collegiate golfing career highlighted by three NCAA All-American Honors, an NCAA National Long Drive Championship, and more than 20 individual titles, Witter played on developmental tours after graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1986 as he pursued his life-long dream of playing on the PGA TOUR. 

 

A cancer diagnosis, cystic carcinoma of the jaw, in 1988 re-routed Witter's career journey from PGA TOUR hopeful to becoming one of the world's premier golf entertainers. During a period of depression while still hospitalized, Witter got his start when his mother gave him a ball and wedge and told him he needed to figure out his life. Witter would routinely spend hours at a time bouncing the ball with his wedge while still hospitalized. 

 

After being invited to play in a Pro-Am golf tournament by some of his doctors, Witter performed tricks at this event and quickly gained acclaim. He went on to perform at hundreds of golf outings all over the world. Over the past 10 years alone, Witter performed exhibitions at more than 500 events in 38 states and 14 foreign countries for corporate, club and professional tournaments. Witter performed at major championships including the US Open. 

 

While not touring as an entertainer, Witter was an accomplished teacher and player. He owned Ben's POWER GOLF Learning Center in Lebanon, Pennsylvania from 2000-2015. He was a 5-time winner of Philadelphia PGA Section tournaments. Among other accolades, Witter was a three-time qualifier for the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship; past winner of the World Golf Trick Shot Championship based on technical merit; GolfWeek's 2012 Entertainer of the Year; and he was a 2008 inductee into the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Athletic Hall of Fame and a 2011 inductee into the Central Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. 

 

Witter went through periods of remission, but battled cancer throughout his adult life since his inaugural diagnosis in 1988, which included bouts with cancer that reached the lung, lower jaw, brain, spine, chest and abdomen. Witter persevered with a steadfast optimistic attitude. He earned recognition as a motivational speaker in tandem with performing his amazing golf tricks - a demonstration of incredible hand-eye coordination, balance, and understanding of his body as it relates to time and space. Witter's performances included a combination of golf instruction, amazing talent, guest interaction, comedy and inspiration. 

 

Witter was profiled in 2011 in the Lebanon Sports Buzz; his favorite quote was his own, "No one gets out of here alive and no one knows their expiration date. All we can do is live every day to the fullest and dare to dream."

 

Witter is survived by his wife Ann and their five children Samantha, Alexandra, Margaret, Gabrielle and Nicolas; and his parents John and Linda Witter. Funeral information is pending.

I take my responsibility to you, the readers, to scour the YouTube for the most useful/entertaining content. It is a responsibility I do not take lightly.

 

If you’re bent on finding some swing theory ideas and mechanical recommendations for your own game, there is no better place than YouTube to disappear down the rabbit hole of high hopes and dashed dreams. Many topnotch instructors have great ideas but less-than-great methods for communicating those concepts.

 

If you scour YouTube long enough, you’ll actually be disappointed in the amount of instruction from the Master himself, Ben Hogan. Little snippets appear here and there and, of course, there’s an endless supply of secondary theory building on Hogan’s precepts outlined in the beloved "Five Lessons" tome. There is one man, under the username "myswingevolution," who has attempted to model his swing as absolutely close to Hogan’s as he can get. He did a decent job, actually.

 

But my favorite YouTube swing analyst has to be Wayne DeFrancesco. If you’ve lived in the Mid-Atlantic region for the last couple of decades, you’ve likely come across his writings in Washington Golf Monthly or GolfStyles magazines. His articles were rather wordy, but he always had interesting things to say, and he’s an undeniably accomplished teacher.

 

At Wayne’s YouTube homepage, you can find detailed analyses of many of the greatest golf swings of all time—and with a bit of humor thrown in for good measure. But my favorite Wayne videos are when he takes TV analysts to task on their sloppy surmizations (yes, I made up that word) on some of the swings they are observing on Tour. Two of his favorite targets are Brandel Chamblee and Johnny Miller.

 

When Tiger was having some control issues a few years back, one common diagnosis among commentators was that he was "dipping" his head excessively on the downswing. After watching a few of Wayne’s video analyses, it has become clear to this misguided golfer that "Keep your head still" is the worst advice possible.

 

In one video analyzing Tiger’s swing, Wayne demolishes Johnny Miller’s comments about the "dipping." Tiger has always done this, as have many greats. Wayne also goes on to show how Tiger’s torso is at an angle to the ground that few golfers have ever consistently been before or since—about 25 degrees from the plane made by the ground. (You can go right to that segment of that video here.) Along with head movement, obviously, is posture.

 

In his analysis, Wayne also calls out Johnny because Johnny himself had quite a "dip" in head position in his prime. (That comes at the 3:00 mark.) Wayne points out that Tom Watson, standing behind, doesn’t even want to watch all the movement that goes on in Johnny’s swing, lest he be infected by it.

 

Indeed, in his prime, Johnny moved just about everything in his swing in a violent fashion, including his feet. Where his left foot started and where it ended are amazing to watch today, as this short video and this short video show. The only golfer I can think of that moves their feet this much is—you probably guessed it—Bubba Watson.

 

Wayne also takes dead aim at "Maintaining Posture" in a swing, and the silliness of that concept in modern golf instruction. All this talk, I believe, amounts to what Mac O’Grady used to call "conservation of momentum."

 

Think of it this way. The closer the club is to the axis of rotation, the faster it can go. Try this experiment. Sit in swivel office chair. Start spinning the chair as fast as you can. Then alternately stick your arms and legs out laterally and pull them in. You’ll find you go much faster with your limbs closer to the axis of rotation. Food for thought, I suppose.

 

The most head movement I could think of is Lorena Ochoa, who takes it to another level. It seems many women pros are okay with "leaving" their head back, or tilted, to promote a consistent plane and a proper release. But that’s just my personal "surmization."

 

But many of the greatest male pros of the last century had a related head movement that is subtle but meaningful. As these players come into the impact zone, their heads, still behind the ball, would move further behind the ball. Sam Snead is a good example, and you can even see it in Tiger’s swing near his prime. This move seems to transfer an extra amount of power from the weight transfer into the ball. More YouTube research is obviously needed.

 

And for one last perspective on head movement, here’s Tiger’s swing from a camera in his hat. Happy YouTube surfing!

 

Holes of the Week:

 

The two holes of the week are similar in style, but mirror images of each other. Great straightaway, or "freeway," holes are not as easy to make interesting, so when they do, it’s an achievement. Both of these holes have length from the tips, which gets your attention right away. In addition, with only minimal elevation change, the fairway hides your view of the green.

 

The Public Hole of the Week is Wyncote’s straightaway par 4 #11, which has no fairway bunkers but begs you to shoot down the left side, closer to rough on a steep slope and closer to OB. The mirror of that is the Private Hole of the Week, straightaway #15 at Doylestown. This hole has fairway bunkers that might come into play with some weaker shots, and OB down the right.

 

Both are better played as slight doglegs. Playing the less aggressive line will give you a bit longer shot, but the landing area away from trouble is actually more forgiving and flatter for your approach.

 

Twitter: @RonMyPhillyGolf.

 

Ron Romanik is principal of the brand, packaging and PR consultancy Romanik Communications (www.romanik.com), located in Elverson, PA. His full bio is here.

 

 

 

 

Here is the video profile and interview that Golf Channel did on Philadelphia-area pro Ed Dougherty, a Vietnam veteran, for Veterans Day.

 

 

Well, it was a good run. A full 40 years of the carousel carnival ride that was Eldrick, in various but cyclical and somewhat predictable left turns of anticipation, drama, tragedy, redemption, expectation—and fun!

 

There are so many somber and clever ways to sum up the greatness of the golfer separate from the man, but one always rang the most true for me. It was an offhand comment by a longtime PGA Tour color-commentator. The conditional sentence he posited crystallized how many felt about Tiger’s obvious supremacy. If the goal of golf is to hit it far and straight and get it into the hole the fastest, Tiger’s particular combination of talents accomplished this with startling efficiency.

 

The commentator in question was Ken Venturi, and I think he hit the nail on the head when he said conclusively (paraphrasing): "If PGA Tour events were played on courses that consisted of 18 580-yard par-fives, Tiger would win every tournament." Hard to argue with that assessment.

 

In February 1997, two months before his dominant first Masters victory, I wrote only semi-tongue-in-cheek:

 

"We are on the brink of a new era, an era of truth, beauty and joy unbounded. A time of feats unequalled in any past time of human endeavor. And I must pay witness to this new age in recorded history. The time before 1975 will be known as B.T., and the current era, now in the year 21 A.T., will be the boldest and strongest in the brief history of mankind...

 

"In addition, the look in Tiger’s eyes has an intensity that I've seen only a couple of times before. To me, it appears that winning isn't enough—he wants to drive his opponents into submission, to bury any doubts of his supremacy, to lap fields of mortals, and to reveal the weaknesses of his opponents so that they'll limp home broken men."

 

Bold predictions of the past now seem a good deal less hyperbolic now.

 

And so we must bid adieu to an era of unprecedented dominance. Indulge me to refer back to some highlights that you might have forgotten, from a number of different perspectives.

 

First, let’s hear from the man himself, with Tiger’s favorite shot of all time. Then there’s Tiger-worshipper Feherty, with his own favorite Tiger shot, and an added bonus of an Ernie Els unbelieving reaction.

 

Two of my own personal jaw-droppers are a shot from Medinah Country Club, at the 1999 PGA Championship, I believe, and at the Memorial on an otherwise routine day.

 

And let’s review the most exciting nine holes I’ve ever witnessed, at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, the back nine on Saturday. The iron shot out of the right rough on 13 to set up an eagle is at 15:52 is just phenomenal, and the slow motion replay at 17:11 is worth studying for its perfection. In that same back nine, the chip-in birdie at 17 starts at 26:40, and the painful 18 tee shot starts at 28:30 (slow-mo at 29:23). Not to mention the hobbled five-wood approach shot that set up the eagle at 18 (at 30:00).

 

(A side note: I had forgotten this was the era of the Tiger pre-shot right-toe-tap-pre-address-stance dance. Fun, yes... but the importance of a consistent pre-shot routine is cannot be underestimated! A small lesson for you kids out there.)

 

And for Tiger haters... Yes, he had fun himself some times, this one time joining fellow pros skipping balls off Augusta National’s 16th pond. And yes, he loved saying "GOD-d***-it!" (Here’s a collection.) And if schadenfreude is your thing, watch a Top Five moments compilation of Tiger in pain.

 

Now if you ever wonder why Tiger has had so many back surgeries, take time to watch this Top Five miraculous shot compilation. The first two crazy swings in the video, #5 and #4, would give a circus contortionist pause, but I recommend freezing the frame at 0:59 and wincing in empathy.

 

And to conclude, I leave you with two over-the-top struts from the Best Ever: I’ve named them "The Hold That Pose I’m the Baddest Badass Walk" (to seal a President’s Cup victory) and "The Twirl with the Foregone Conclusion Walk" (to set up a short eagle putt on 15 at Augusta).

 

Thanks for the memories, Tiger, and thank you YouTube channel compilers for your tireless, thankless work. Revered or smeared, lionized or oft chastised, a man of esteem or the Perennial Mr. 14, indubitably, Eldrick the Great will be greatly missed.

 

Twitter: @RonMyPhillyGolf.

 

Ron Romanik is principal of the brand, packaging and PR consultancy Romanik Communications (www.romanik.com), located in Elverson, PA. His full bio is here.

 

Jaws’ golf empire just keeps growing.

 

The former Eagles quarterback announced today that he and his business partners have acquired Ramblewood Country Club, a popular 27-hole facility in Mount Laurel, N.J.

 

That makes seven courses owned and operated by Ron Jaworski Golf (RJG).  The others are Blue Heron Pines Golf Club in Galloway Township, NJ; Downingtown Country Club in Downingtown, Pa; Honey Run Golf Club in York, Pa; RiverWinds Golf & Tennis Club in West Deptford, N.J.; Running Deer Golf Club in Pittsgrove, N.J. and Valleybrook Country Club in Blackwood, NJ. 

 

For the Ramblewood purchase, Jaws added another quarterback to his stable of partners: Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens.

 

In a statement, Jaws said the Ramblewood course will undergo renovations during the first quarter of 2016, to include irrigation and drainage work, plus bunker and tree work to improve air movement and enhance exposure to sunlight.

 

Ramblewood has three nines.  The Red and White nines opened in 1962; the Blue nine was added in 1972.

 

The Ramblewood clubhouse will be closed immediately for renovations inside and out.

 

Here is my review of Ramblewood in the Philadelphia Inquirer, written in 1998.

 

Here is a 2015 interview with Jaworski, at the grand re-opening of Downingtown CC.

 

 

 

Here is the official press release from RJG:

 

Ron Jaworski Golf (RJG), along with partners Ken Kochenour, Ira Lubert, and Peter Slack, has acquired Ramblewood Country Club in Mount Laurel, NJ.  Also among the partners is Super Bowl winning quarterback Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens. Flacco is a native of Audubon, NJ.

 

Ramblewood becomes the  seventh course owned and operated by Ron Jaworski Golf (RJG) - Blue Heron Pines Golf Club in Galloway Township, NJ; Downingtown Country Club in Downingtown, PA; Honey Run Golf Club in York, PA; RiverWinds Golf & Tennis Club in West Deptford, NJ; Running Deer Golf Club in Pittsgrove, NJ; Valleybrook Country Club in Blackwood, NJ; and Ramblewood.

 

Conveniently located just off Route 73, one-half mile from Exit 4 of the NJ Turnpike and just 25 minutes from center city Philadelphia, Ramblewood CC features 27 holes of affordable daily fee golf with a variety of membership options. Two of the nines (Red and White) opened in 1962, while the Blue nine opened for play in 1972.

 

RJG Executive Vice President BJ Jaworski indicated that the golf course will undergo renovations during the first quarter of 2016, including extensive irrigation and drainage work, extensive bunker work and extensive tree work for optimal sunlight and air movement.

 

"This work will enhance turf conditions and result in consistent, premium playing conditions for our golfers," said Jaworski.

 

According to Ron Jaworski, the clubhouse will close immediately to make way for extensive renovations, inside and out. The renovations will include new contemporary interiors in the banquet room, entranceway and pre-function area. The outdoor wedding ceremony site will also be redone with new landscaping and a pergola with beautiful vistas of the golf course to create an even more memorable wedding experience.

 

"The goal of the clubhouse and wedding ceremony site renovations is to elevate Ramblewood CC as the most spectacular golf club and wedding facility in the area," said Ron Jaworski. "We will also be a premier venue for bar and bat mitzvahs, as well as other parties and group functions."

 

Ramblewood will also be home to a SEVEN Tap & Tavern. SEVEN Tap & Tavern is already a signature at Blue Heron Pines, Running Deer and Downingtown CC. According to RJG President Liz Jaworski, "SEVEN Tap 7 & Tavern is a cool, friendly neighborhood tavern featuring craft beers, an outstanding menu and large screen TVs throughout. It is not your ordinary sports bar."

 

Ramblewood is also a popular choice for golf outings. And it will become even more appealing in 2016 with the addition of an outdoor tented area, complete with brick grills and TVs for after golf celebrations.

 

RJG is purchasing the club from the Goodwin family, which had owned the club for more than 50 years. John Goodman, son of former owner Hal Goodwin, will remain as general manager of the club, while Hal Goodwin, grandson of the former owner, will remain as director of golf outing sales.

 

"We are very proud to add Ramblewood to our outstanding collection of courses under the Ron Jaworski Golf umbrella," said Ron Jaworski. "We invite all golfers to experience the golf course and take advantage of the many affordable membership and daily fee options available.

 

"We are also very excited to preserve and build upon Ramblewood’s reputation as an exceptional wedding, banquet and dining venue," added Jaworski.

Cobbs Creek GC is already back up and running.

 

"We got about 40 golfers on the course right now," Cliff Easum, general manager of the four city-owned courses managed by Billy Casper Golf, said this morning.  "They can’t believe we’re open, either.  Our parking lot is full."

 

Cobbs Creek and sister course Karakung GC had been shut down since fire destroyed the 150-year-old clubhouse late on the night of Jan. 4.   Karakung remains closed; Cobbs reopened this morning.

 

For the next month, until a temporary clubhouse in the form of a trailer can be set up in the Cobbs parking lot, operations will be run out of the city-owned Sports Center on City Line Avenue, also managed by Billy Casper.   They would prefer to move into the trailer sooner, said Easum, but the permitting required by the city takes time;  there will also be heavy equipment in the parking lot, razing the remains of the old clubhouse.

 

There isn’t much to the Sports Center building.  No pro shop, just a counter, a cash register and rest rooms.  If golfers want to enjoy a chat and a cup of coffee after their rounds, there are a few picnic tables outside.  Carts are being run out of the batting cages.

 

Because of the location of the Sports Center on City Line Ave., golfers are starting their rounds on Cobbs Creek’s 9th hole, a short walk away.  No. 8 is temporarily the finishing hole.

 

Although the fire marshal has not yet filed a report on the cause of the fire, the unofficial talk is that foul play is not suspected.  It is known that the fire started in the basement of the clubhouse, where the furnace and boiler were located.

 

The fire came at a time when the city is considering a multi-million dollar restoration of Cobbs Creek, a Hugh Wilson-designed course with a long history and a noble pedigree. The city has issued a RFP (request for proposal), seeking proposals to do the work.

 

Although the old Cobbs Creek clubhouse likely would have been inadequate for a grander, renovated facility, building a new clubhouse was not part of the RFP.  Including that will likely now get consideration.

 

For now, Cobbs Creek regulars are grateful to have their course back up and running, weather permitting.  "We have a lot of members who are antsy," said Easum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Golden Era of Philadelphia Golf as Written by A

Most followers of golf can easily name some of the most influential golfers in the game in America.  There are such legends as Francis Ouimet, Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and, more recently, Tiger Woods (in a few years, Jordan Spieth could become part of the conversation?).  All of these people have helped to grow the game in one way or another.

 

But what about some prominent figures that were not primarily players who helped make the game what it is today? 

 

Many avid golfers would likely suggest the names of course architects, who design and build the wonderful golfing playgrounds -- iconic names from the golden age of American golf, such as Donald Ross and A.W. Tillinghast.  (Readers of MyPhillyGolf may recall the 2014 article I wrote about Tillinghast:  "A treasure trove of golf writing by A.W. Tillinghast."  Tilly was a long-time Philadelphian that for years wrote weekly golf articles for two different local newspapers.)

 

Now, I would like to focus on another important person in the history of American golf, who also has ties to Philadelphia and was neither a player nor an architect.  I’ll get to his name in a moment.

 

Influence on Jack Nicklaus

 

Jack Nicklaus said of this man: "Outside of my father and [his PGA golf instructor] Jack Grout, [he] was the most influential person in my life." 

 

"From the moment I met him, I could tell he was in charge of the game of golf," continued Nicklaus.  "Every time I had a question or a problem about what was right, I always picked up the phone and placed a call to [him].  I always knew I would get the right answer, whether it was what I wanted to hear or not.  We loved him."

 

C. Grant Spaeth, then president of the United States Golf Association (USGA), said the following about this man upon his death in 1991:  "One sentence cannot capture the extent of our reverence, our gratitude or our loss, not simply because [he] was the overpowering force in golf for four decades, but because he lived a principled and exemplary life of service."

 

This mystery man is no stranger to the City of Brotherly Love.  He went to school in Philadelphia and lived worked here for several years, writing hundreds of articles about golf for two local newspapers.

 

USGA and PGA Tour

 

His name was Joseph C. Dey (pronounced "die").  Dey left his indelible mark on the game as the Executive Director of the USGA for 34 years and as the first commissioner of the PGA Tour, a post he held for five years.

 

An extensive bio for Joe Dey is available on World Golf Hall of Fame website, into which he was inducted in 1975.  An excellent obituary was written by Jaime Diaz and published in the New York Times on March 5, 1991.  Another good read on Dey is an extensive article penned by former PGA Tour player Kermit Zarley.

 

I’ll add to the biography with some details I have unearthed over the last couple of years.  Dey was born in Norfolk, Va., in 1907 and grew up in New Orleans.  A 1921 Times-Picayune article states he attended McDonogh No. 14 school for eighth grade.

 

A 1924 Times-Picayune article indicates he graduated from Warren Easton High School that January and gave a commencement speech entitled "Education and Life."  According to Ancestry.com, in 1924 he was still living in New Orleans (1664 Robert) and his occupation listed as a reporter.  His first foray in sports writing was while he was still in high school, where he wrote a handful of articles (track and field and tennis) in the summer of 1923 for the Times-Picayune.

 

He lived and worked in Philadelphia

 

Although I do not know exactly when Dey moved to Philadelphia from New Orleans, he was a student at Wharton during the 1925-6 school year and the College (now called the School of Arts and Sciences) in 1927-8, according to the University of Pennsylvania University Archives’ Timothy Horning, although he never received a degree.  In 1930 he lived in a row house in southwest Philadelphia (5642 Whitby Avenue).  He was single, lived with his parents and still listed his occupation as a reporter.

 

By 1935, Dey was living in Brooklyn, N.Y., as he was hired by the USGA in 1934 to be their executive secretary.  In November 1952, his job title was changed to executive director, a position he held until 1968.  The following year, he was named the first commissioner of the newly-formed PGA Tour, a tumultuous time right after the touring pros split from the PGA of America.

 

If records from my microfilm research are accurate, Joe Dey first began writing in Philadelphia on college sports for the Evening Public Ledger in 1927.  He also wrote for the Philadelphia Golfer magazine starting in 1928, where he penned an informative article on the early history of the Cobb’s Creek Golf Course, which was about to host the 1928 USGA Men’s U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

 

Legacy of golf writing in Philadelphia

 

His most extensive golf writing began in January of 1930 for the Evening Bulletin, a very popular newspaper in Philadelphia that had a long run until it ceased operations in 1982.  His first article was about proposed changes to the LuLu golf course.

 

Some of his most interesting articles were in 1931, called "Golfing Waterloos", where he wrote about prominent golf holes in the area, each of which included a detailed drawing of the hole.  Was it these entertaining "Waterloo" articles that attracted the attention of the USGA?  Perhaps.  But more likely it came from his excellent coverage of Bobby Jones earning golf’s Grand Slam in 1930 at Merion.  One of his first articles on this historic tournament was on a new sprinkler system with an independent water supply.

 

Overall, Joe Dey wrote hundreds of articles for the Evening Bulletin, until his stay ended there in August 1933.

 

Philadelphia Bulletin archives

 

I have gathered all of these articles from microfilm and they are presented in chronological order here:

 

Joe Dey articles

 

Joe Dey was truly a gift to the game of golf.

 

Joe Bausch, creator of The Bausch Collection of golf course photo galleries, is a chemistry professor at Villanova University.  He also oversees the Friends of Cobb’s Creek Golf Course blog.

 

 

The Friends of Cobb’s Creek Golf Course are very pleased to announce that the Philadelphia municipal golf course will be honored this year with induction into the "African American Golfers Hall of Fame" (AAGHOF) at a ceremony this May in West Palm Beach, Fla.

The Friends have been asked by AAGHOF Founder and Chairman Malcolm Knowles to attend and give a presentation detailing the rich multi-cultural sporting history of the golf course at the induction ceremonies. 

The AAGHOF was founded in 2005 and celebrates and honors the achievements of African Americans in the game of golf.  AAGHOF is a major sponsor of grassroots youth golf programs and in concert with corporate sponsors annually donates resources to programs that make a difference in communities and schools across the country.   Past inductees have included such golf luminaries as Calvin Peete, Jim Thorpe, Ted Rhodes, and Althea Gibson.

Cobbs Creek turns 100 this year

Cobb’s Creek Golf Course opened for play on May 30, 1916, 100 years ago this spring.   With the centennial approaching, the Friends of Cobb’s Creek Golf Course has been looking for suitable ways to honor the rich heritage of this unique local sports venue.

It may seem surprising to us today but at the time the course was built most public golf facilities throughout the country had racial restrictions that prohibited African American Golfers from using them.  While many African Americans had been exposed to the game earning money by caddying at both private and public courses, most had very few opportunities to develop their games at any "real" courses, often having to resort to makeshift farm fields and caddie yards simply to enjoy this form of competitive recreation.

Cobbs Creek always welcomed black golfers

Thankfully, this was never the case in the City of Brotherly Love.   From the beginning, Cobb’s Creek offered no such restrictions on race, gender, or creed.   It is therefore not surprising that the course became a magnet for African Americans, fostering the development of such great players as Howard Wheeler, who played in the US Open at Merion in 1950, and Charlie Sifford, who became the first African American to win on the PGA tour.   Heavyweight champion Joe Louis was a regular at Cobb’s Creek whenever he was in town and he helped to fund Sifford’s early career.

Cobb’s Creek also hosted the 1936, 1947 and 1956 "National Negro Open", which was the national championship for African American Golfers, won respectively by John Dendy, Howard Wheeler, and Charlie Sifford.   When the PGA tour’s "Daily News Open" was hosted at Cobb’s Creek in 1955 and 1956, golfers like Sifford and Wheeler and others played alongside Arnold Palmer, Billy Casper, and other tour stars in what was a very unusual situation as most tour events still prohibited anyone but "Caucasians" from participating. 

Preserving Cobbs Creek’s history

One of the primary objectives of the Friends of Cobb’s Creek Golf Course is to unearth and preserve this rich history.  Not as a stale, archival document simply reflecting former greatness but as a perpetual, living example of what’s possible to achieve during modern times.   We believe one of the most fundamental goals is to improve the integration and synergy between the golf course and the surrounding multi-racial communities in west Philadelphia and adjoining suburbs.  

As such, we’ve been fortunate to have the ongoing support of many current and former residents of the city and surrounds who have been invaluable in directing our efforts.   In the case of this nomination, we were assisted by former long-time Upper Darby resident Leo "Jake" Murray, who currently resides in Florida.   Jake not only has a long-time love for the course he grew up playing, but also is a dedicated researcher of the "Underground Railroad".  

Through Mr. Murray’s research, we were able to learn that the land of the Cobb’s Creek Golf Course was owned by Quaker abolitionists during the 1800s.   These "Friends" built underground tunnels below a popular inn they owned on West Chester Pike which traversed down to the creek near today’s 5th hole.   Fleeing runaway slaves would traverse northward up through the creek attempting to lose the scent from bounty hunters and their dogs. 

The Friends of Cobb’s Creek Golf Course would like to thank Mr. Murray for his continued assistance in this process which has resulted in the nomination and coming induction of the golf course to the "African American Golfers Hall of Fame".   More detailed information about the induction ceremony and participants will be provided here as plans are finalized.   Thank you for your interest and continued support.

Mike Cirba, Joseph Bausch, and the Friends of Cobb’s Creek Golf Course.

 

Two-time major championship winner turns 50 on April 28, will compete at The Philadelphia Cricket Club

 

PHILADELPHIA – The Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship, the third major of the year on PGA TOUR Champions, is pleased to announce champion golfer and fan favorite John Daly has committed to play in the championship in 2016, set to be held from June 7-12 at The Philadelphia Cricket Club.

 

"I’m looking forward to competing in the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship," said Daly. "There is a wonderful fan base in Philadelphia, with some of the most loyal fans across all sports. It should be a great week."

 

Daly, who becomes eligible to compete in PGA TOUR Champions events after turning 50 on April 28, is one of the most recognizable players in the game, with a colorful pairing of attire, personality and 300-yard tee shots to match one of the most unlikely runs to stardom in sports history.

 

Daly captivated the golf world in 1991 when, after opening the week as ninth alternate, he famously won the PGA Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., en route to earning PGA TOUR "Rookie of the Year" honors that same season.

 

The Dardanelle, Ark., native won twice in the three years after the PGA Championship, then validated his breakout 1991 win with a victory at the 1995 Open Championship at St. Andrews, where he defeated Italy’s Constantino Rocca in a four-hole playoff after Rocca made a 60-foot putt from the infamous "Valley of Sin" on the 72nd hole to force overtime.

 

Daly’s last PGA TOUR title came at the 2004 Farmers Insurance Open, where he defeated Luke Donald and Chris Riley in a playoff at Torrey Pines Golf Course – one of five top-10 finishes during a season in which he earned the PGA TOUR’s "Comeback Player of the Year" award.

 

 "We are excited to welcome John Daly to his first Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship this year in Philadelphia," said Joe Rotellini, executive director of the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS. "His commitment further showcases the elite field this major championship attracts each year and we are looking forward to seeing him, and all the other stars on PGA TOUR Champions, compete in front of the passionate fans in Philadelphia."

The Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS is one of five major championships contested during PGA TOUR Champions regular season, leading into the inaugural Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, which will begin this fall.

 

The tournament has a strong history of charitable giving, contributing more than $10 million to various nonprofit organizations in areas where the tournament has been held since 1992. In 2015 alone, the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship generated $500,000 for various charities in the greater Boston area.

 

Pro-Am spots are still available for the Official Championship Pro-Am at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship, where participants have the opportunity to tee it up next to legends of the game on Wednesday of tournament week.

 

For more information on corporate hospitality options, tickets and volunteer opportunities at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship, visit cspgolfhospitality.pgatourhq.com or call the championship office at (267) 239-8760.

But is there just one groove? Is there one ideal swing? Well, if you’re a fan of Adam Scott, you might be nodding your head in the affirmative manner, emphatically.

 

As technically sound as Mr. Scott’s swing is, us mortals will never come close to that level of perfection—and repeatability. And there have been so many other odd, unteachable swings that have been quite successful as well. It is for this reason that I believe it’s better to make the most of what you have, and find a way to make the instinctive work with you, not against you. As we’re rebuilding our swings for a new season, I think this is a timely discussion.

 

Or, to put it another way, maybe we should start with looking at your strengths and weaknesses, and admit where we are. And, maybe even start with our unique anatomies, and build from there. Instead of trying to achieve—and ultimately failing—to achieve an unattainable ideal, let’s build a repeatable swing from the ground up, as it were, based on our natural abilities.

 

I was in this vein of deliberation when I came across a tip in Golf Magazine by Jessica Korda. And I was struck by its common sense approach and the fact that I had never heard of this tip before in all my readings and video watchings. The tip posits that everyone has his or her own natural left hand position, and that’s the one you should be using. It’s so easy to try, and it seems to work!

 

Korda instructs: "Stand behind the ball and grip the club with your left hand only. It's simple: Just grab the handle without looking. This sets your left hand in its natural power position." Natural power position? Could it be that easy?

 

Korda goes on: "Depending on your anatomy, your left wrist will be either flat or flexed. What's important is that you maintain your left wrist position as you swing. Changing it disrupts your hitting instinct. Take note of the flex and accept it."

 

Yes! Accept what’s natural because it encourages and supports your hitting instinct. This idea made so much sense to me, I ripped the page out of the magazine and have kept it out on my desk ever since.

 

But now turning to the other extreme, Mr. Hogan, I have long had some rhetorical—and not-so-rhetorical—questions about his alleged "secrets" bouncing around in the back of my head. In the image here are two perplexing parts of his elaborate ruse on the golfing public.

 

First, if Hogan was the greatest ball striker ever, why doesn’t anyone today follow his advice for adjusting the stance for the length of the club? (See image.) Every pro or accomplished player around these days is pretty much square to the target line on every shot. In the image on this page, the top half illustrates Hogan’s strategy on stance. His argument is that the hips need a little more space to get out of the way of an ideal swing plane for the longer clubs. Why no one follows this advice today is probably a conundrum that has no answer, redundancies aside.

 

Another perplexingly revealed element in Mr. Hogan’s quiverful of secrets is when he tries to describe how the wrist (ideally) rotates and bows simultaneously near impact. The dictionary says "supinate" means: "to turn (or hold) a hand so that the palm or sole is facing upward or outward." But it’s always been my assertion that Mr. Hogan had a unique definition of "supinate" in his head that he never shared. One person brave enough to try to parse out anatomically everything that’s going in in Hogan’s wrist at the millisecond before impact—and succeeds as well as anyone—is Kelvin Miyahira, on the Around Hawaii website.

 

Of course, Kelvin says in the title of the piece that you have absolutely no chance of replicating what Hogan does, so you might stop trying before you start. Or maybe try strengthening your left wrist like one Hogan legend claims he did—by banging his left fist down repeatedly on a bedpost. Or maybe we should all just start with what comes natural, like Ms. Korda suggests. That sounds like more fun.

 

Twitter: @RonMyPhillyGolf.

 

Ron Romanik is principal of the brand, packaging and PR consultancy Romanik Communications (www.romanik.com), located in Elverson, PA. His full bio is here.

Just in case you missed it last month, veteran looper Fluff Cowan turned a journeyman into a star in a few short weeks—almost immediately, actually. As his regular bag, Jim Furyk, is still recovering from injury, the tireless 68-year-old was off-duty but glad to take a call from one Sung Kang, a Web.com tour grad.

 

You see, Kang had missed three cuts in a row in his first Big Tour run since 2012. With Fluff on the bag, Kang almost shoots 59 on his second round with the legendary caddie (at the Monterey Peninsula course). He finishes 17th at Pebble Beach, 8th at Riviera, and 10th at PGA National for the Honda Classic.

 

So much for the overrated caddie argument. Three cuts missed to three top-20 finishes. Not too shabby.

 

Just to review, Fluff’s resume is primarily filled with long stints with Peter Jacobsen, Fred Couples, Tiger Woods, and Jim Furyk. All marquee players in their prime, proving the best caddies are teammates, no matter what the astute zeitgeist observer Stephen Anthony Smith opines.

 

Just a reminder, when Fluff got on Tiger’s bag, after stumbling out of the gate with a low finish at the Greater Milwaukee Open, then went 11, 5, 3, 1, 3, 1, 21, 3, 2, 1... and on to the Masters win in 1997.

 

The best PGA Tour caddies bring a number of skills to the table. They have experience on the course, they know their yardages and wind, and they stay out of the way. Many say they also play psychologist on the golf course, delicately managing their players’ emotional ups and downs during a round.

 

That may be true, but I think the most salient talent is instilling confidence in the player at the moment of truth, right before the swing. Fluff is one of the best at this. Others that come immediately to mind are Bones McKay, Squeaky Medlin, and Joe LaCava. I hate to include LaCava—not because he’s another Tiger hanger-on—but because he doesn’t have a good nickname.

 

There’s many things to love about Fluff, though. He’s an International Man of Mystery: Wikipedia editors can’t confirm a birthdate. He’s a certified Deadhead. He has fine taste in golf courses (a member at Congressional). He made two memorable "This is SportsCenter" commercials (This one is the better one, short and sweet). And he tweets at @CaddyFluff, but nearly enough.

 

A shout out to Rick Arnett (@ArnettRick) of www.avidgolfer.com for the tweet of Fluff pictured here.

 

Twitter: @RonMyPhillyGolf.

 

Ron Romanik is principal of the brand, packaging and PR consultancy Romanik Communications (www.romanik.com), located in Elverson, PA. His full bio is here.

 

 

The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Adolph and Rose Levis Museum (PJSHOF) is celebrating its 19th anniversary by honoring eight new individuals, among them golfer Art Jacoby, 1975 Philadelphia Amateur champion.

In addition to Jacoby, the 2016 inductees include Lexie Gerson, the late Phil Glassman, Amy Gross, Glen Macnow, Ira Meyers, Michael Tabas and Moe Tener. Inductees and Pillar of Achievement Honorees from 1997-2015 will be recognized along with the 2015 JCC Maccabiah Games¨ Team Philadelphia graduating athletes.  Bios

Art Jacoby of Wyncote was introduced to the game of golf by his father when he was 10 years old. He won the Meadowlands Club Championship six times and The Philmont Club Championship once. He played for the Cheltenham High School golf team, which was undefeated in 1965. He was named captain and won the prestigious Holden Award for golf.

Next, Jacoby played for the University of Miami golf team and won the University of Miami golf championship in 1968. He transferred to Temple University for his senior year, where he was co-captain of the golf team. Better-ball and team championships include The North-South Invitational at Philmont Country Club, The Philadelphia Senior Four Man Team Championship, and The Senior Bud Lewis Invitational. The highlight of his competitive career came in 1975, when he won The Philadelphia Amateur, defeating Jay Sigel in the semi-finals. 

Jacoby and the other inductees will be honored at a cocktail reception and ceremony to be held on May 26, 2016  at yheGershman Y (401 S. Broad Street).

Tickets may be purchased by May 10 for $136 via credit card by calling (215) 900-7999, emailing to info@phillyjewishsports.org, or by mailing checks to the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, 401 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19147.  Al Shrier is serving as ceremony chairman.

The inductees into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame represent the best of the best, those individuals who, through perseverance, dedication, superior talent and skills, have risen to the top of their respective sports. Their names and achievements are celebrated within the walls of the museum.

Each PJSHOF inductee has been involved in sports as an athlete, coach, manager, administrator, team owner, agent, referee or as a member of the media. They must have at least one Jewish parent and have lived within, or competed within the Greater Philadelphia area. They have joined a special group of approximately 160 past honorees. This year's unique and eclectic class includes a popular sports media jack of all trades, boxing manager, runner, and golfer.

The mission of the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame is to provide the community with tangible and lasting evidence of the past, present and future of Jewish sportsmen and sportswomen in the Greater Philadelphia area and to instill community pride in Jewish accomplishments in the field of sports and the role sports has played in preserving Jewish culture.

The hall and museum reflect the obstacles Jews had to overcome in order to excel in sporting endeavors locally, nationally and internationally; portray the instrumental role sports has played in Jewish life; and provide continuity to future generations of Jewish athletes. The PJSHOF is open Sunday through Friday and provides tours by request.

Please call 215-900-7999, write info@phillyjewishsports.org or visit www.phillyjewishsports.org or https://www.facebook.com/PhiladelphiaJewishSportsHallofFame to learn more.

 

Yes, I root for him. And I’m not ashamed of it.

 

But somewhere along the line my attitude toward Big John changed, or shall I say, became repressed. You see, I became more fascinated at the eternal fascination of his loyal fans than admitting I was still fascinated by the icon, even through the darkest of times.

 

Of course I was amazed when he won the British Open, and I thought at that moment that he could complete the Career Grand Slam. Like everyone else over the years, I was willing to forgive some, or many, indiscretions. For instance, the number of ex-wives one man accumulates does not necessarily reflect poorly on his character, especially when he can joke about it on a song called "All of My Exes Wear Rolexes."

 

The endurance of John Daly’s fame and likeability may come down to his role in our media-driven society as a Modern Everyman. Any other man with so many faults and scandals may have been long shamed and forgotten if it weren’t for his "aw shucks" openness and, one must emphasize, humility. He struggles with life like we all struggle at times, and he doesn’t mind telling you about it. People identify with him because they see in John that a person can both be responsible for his own actions and still be a victim of them at the same time.

 

I don’t mean to gloss over his periods of public infamy, when many wrote him off as hopeless. There were years where he dropped almost completely out of favor. But that’s just the point. Whenever he showed his face again, there were sympathetic fans and empathetic media ready to forgive and forget.

 

And you only have to look at ticket sales and crowd sizes following him around any tournament he managed to get into to prove his enduring appeal. So now he’s on the Champions Tour and expected to draw huge crowds there, and lead the driving distance stats as well.

 

And if you don’t see John as humble, I’d like to quote from an interview early in his PGA Tour career talking about his prodigious length: "Basically, it’s just something that happened. I think it’s more natural ability than anything. It’s a God-given talent, and I just worked at it a lot. And, you can’t really explain it... It’s something that just happens."

 

So I fell under that Everyman spell as well, and I never downplayed his talent. If your memory has revised down the impact he had when he burst onto the scene, and the mystique that followed, I can only say that he was revered like Paul Bunyan, John Henry, or Buffalo Bill—or a combination of all three. His driver had to be made of bulletproof material, for Chrissake.

 

His unpredictability also added to his edge. Because cell phone cameras were not ubiquitous back in the day, one incident was less scandalous than it might have been in today’s social media piranha-like feeding frenzy. A little bored at an exhibition on a driving range, John spun around and launched a full driver over the gallery behind the range. Dangerous, maybe, but let’s be honest, he wasn’t going to miss. He never has.

 

So this past week was Big John’s debut on the Champions Tour, and he led the field with 298-yard driving average. That would also lead for the season stats, if he were to keep it up through the rest of his Champions schedule. He also plans to play the PGA Championship and the British Open. And his all-around game showed some promise, as he made 14 birdies over the 54-hole tournament.

 

He’s a natural talent, for sure, and a feel player. One thing that always drove me nuts is that he takes very little time evaluating the break of putts. Though he makes many, he also misses more than his share of short ones. There’s one moment in golf history that encapsulated both extremes of John’s temperament—and maddening allure.

 

It was the World Golf Championship in October 2005 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. Daly and Tiger were tied at the end of 72 holes, and a sudden death playoff ensued. Tiger drove first, and Nick Faldo called it at almost 350 yards. (And don’t think Tiger wasn’t trying to go toe-to-toe with the longest hitter on tour.) So Daly steps up and outdrives Tiger by almost 15 yards.

 

While both had long-but-makeable birdie putts, Tiger lagged his to two inches short before Daly blasted his by two feet. Daly lipped out the comebacker and the tournament was over just like that. Daly shrugged and ambled off the green, disappointed but not dismayed, perhaps. (Just a side note, Daly was 39 at the time and Tiger was 29. Here’s the drives, and here’s the missed putt.)

 

Yes, I also watched the short-lived "Being John Daly" reality show, as well as the Feherty episode that was oddly uncomfortable as two supposedly clean alcoholics danced around some of the realities of being clean. Two highlights were the opening with an "Animal House" homage and the destruction of Daly’s ugly wall mural (at 37:33) and the unveiling of a much better mural (at 42:14).

 

And then there’s the music. A sampling can be found here on MySpace, and his two albums are available on Amazon.com, but only "I Only Know One Way" is on iTunes. Though the opening track "Hit It Hard" is very popular and a strong country song, my favorite is his rendition of "Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door" with additional lyrics only John could write:

 

Mama, I can’t hit my wedge no more
It’s getting really hard to score
I haven’t made a cut in weeks
My career looks so bleak.

 

Many are excited about an ESPN "30 for 30" episode entitled "Hit It Hard," rumored to be broadcast-debuting July 14th, the week of the British Open. And if you heard about the bobblehead John Daly released last week but missed it somehow, it’s worth a look, sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise. He even looks good in the image shown here, a head shot generously used by the GolfChannel only two years ago, which was certainly not "accurate" at that time.

 

In the end, I believe most fans give John a break because they can see has a good—even generous—heart, has endured some tough times (whether self-imposed or not), and has never taken himself too seriously. An eternal Everyman, if you will, with childlike appetites caught in the webs of adult responsibility.

 

Twitter: @RonMyPhillyGolf.

 

Ron Romanik is principal of the brand, packaging and PR consultancy Romanik Communications (www.romanik.com), located in Elverson, PA. His full bio is here.

Of all the finishing holes in Philadelphia golf, few can match the difficulty and drama of the 18th at Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Wissahickon Course.

 

With a green that sits just beneath the clubhouse’s back terrace, Cricket’s 18th is a 480-yard, par 4 that rarely shows any mercy.  In any ranking of top holes in the region, it’s always in the conversation.

 

Too bad, then, that Cricket’s 18th will not be the finishing hole for the upcoming Constellation Senior Players Championship, June 9-12.

 

It’s not because the hole doesn’t measure up by Tour standards; it’s because there is insufficient room, especially around the green, for fans, grandstands and corporate hospitality tents.

 

"I think people understood," said Dan Meersman, Director of Grounds at Cricket, referring to club members.  "The building space for the scale of this event is not available around that hole.  They are still going to play it; it just won’t be our 18th."

 

For the Senior Players, the 18th will play as the 11th.  For the "tournament routing" for the championship (video), Cricket’s par 4 8th will serve as the opening hole.  Players will conclude their rounds on another of Cricket’s long, testy par 4s, normally No. 4.

 

For championship organizers, the decision to reorder the holes was easy, owing to the need for space and the proximity to the range.  During their initial visit to the Cricket Club, Tour officials concluded that playing the 18th as the 18 was a "non-starter," according to Meersman.

 

Meersman explains it all in this video, which includes the "tournament routing:"