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West Virginia Golf Resorts and Tennis Guide West Virginia Golf Resorts and Tennis Guide West Virginia Golf Resorts and Tennis Guide West Virginia Golf Resorts and Tennis Guide West Virginia Golf Resorts and Tennis Guide West Virginia Golf Resorts and Tennis Guide West Virginia Golf Resorts and Tennis Guide
West Virginia Golf Resorts and Tennis Guide West Virginia Golf Resorts and Tennis Guide
West Virginia Golf Resorts and Tennis Guide
West Virginia Golf Resorts and Tennis Guide
Golf News

Fri, 07 Aug 2020 16:01:18 GMT

The Clippers/Lakers NBA return on Thursday won the week (barely), but CBS’s coverage of the WGC FedEx St Jude was the highest rated weekend sports broadcast, according to ShowBuzzDaily. The telecast featured a wild final round eventually won by Justin Thomas.

More impressively, it was played against increased sports competition returning from the COVID-19 breaks and summertime weather that often puts a huge damper in ratings (see the 2019 comparable weekend below).

The numbers marked an upgrade over last year’s dreadfully rated FedEx St Jude and the Wyndham Championship, played on a comparable weekend in 2019.

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The 2019 numbers:

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Fri, 07 Aug 2020 02:08:42 GMT

My story for The Athletic on Tiger’s solid opening round at Harding Park focused on the weird start, group vibe and Tiger’s slight miss at 8 that prevented an opening 67.

ESPN.com’s Bob Harig focused on a similar theme—the surreal start to the round when three of the game’s biggest names were met with silence.

Alan Shipnuck at Golf.com focused on Tiger’s ability to get the most out a so-so day.

Highlights from the featured group that goes at 1:58 pm PT Friday.

Fri, 07 Aug 2020 01:41:31 GMT
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The price of a Starbucks latte.

A Triple-Triple at In N Out.

The student rate for a month of Spotify.

All seemingly good deals.

$4.99 for a month of ESPN+ so that you can watch the pre-ESPN PGA Championship coverage?

The end of the world!

I’d pay $4.99 a day for the next 12 years just to never hear the TNT theme music. Or the neverending promos. Or the mediocre coverage.

Sports fans want to cut the cord because cable is too expensive and ESPN provides something of incredible value with a rejuvenated vibe, yet as Alex Myers notes for GolfDigest.com, a recurring theme of day one of a new deal meant lost of moaning about the subscription price.

As I noted for The Athletic prior to the PGA, ESPN is paying more than CBS in part to add more live sports to ESPN+, their streaming solution for cordcutters and other great stuff. The Worldwide Leader is already delivering on day one with all-day coverage and a great chemistry with main announcers Scott Van Pelt and David Duval.

Now, there is one issue: a cable subscription is needed to watch ESPN’s coverage via the app, a problem that admittedly needs work.

But no promos for Castle, Bones, Rizzoli & Isles, Major Crimes and…you get the point. This is not a major crime.

Fri, 07 Aug 2020 01:26:18 GMT
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The CBS crew and ESPN+ broadcast had plenty of focus on the Featured Group of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, which meant we ended up hearing more than maybe they expected as the players waited on the 4th tee

In a nutshell, Tiger explained to Rory why Dodger fans don’t like the Giants-themed golf bags this week, why both think the NFL is doomed and why Tiger does not see MLB lasting past another outbreak.

Rex Hoggard breaks down the conversations here at GolfChannel.com as they looked at McIlroy’s bag.

“Giants’ colors, couldn’t do it,” Woods said.

“I don’t know enough about baseball,” McIlroy said.

“What team do you root for back home? Soccer?” Woods asked.

The Northern Irishman is a Manchester United fan.

“So, Liverpool. It would be like having Liverpool colors on your bag,” Woods said. “That’s how much we hate the Giants. I wouldn’t do it.”

The clip:

Thu, 06 Aug 2020 19:55:00 GMT
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Jeremy Turnage reports from Augusta on Mayor Hardie Davis saying he wants golf even if means the likelihood of no fans on site for the rescheduled 2020 Masters.

“I think that based on everything I know about what’s taking place at Augusta National, they’ve been on the front lines of reviewing what the PGA is doing. I think, as you see, the tournament’s happening tomorrow -- the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park -- without fans. And that’s likely what probably will happen here in Augusta. We have a tournament without fans.”

Davis did say, however, that he has faith that the ANGC can move forward with a Masters tournament with fans provided the proper precautions are put in place.

“Do I believe that the Augusta National Golf Club can do it better than anybody? Absolutely,” Davis said.

Thu, 06 Aug 2020 18:07:40 GMT
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Add the PGA Tour to the list of organizations cutting staff during the pandemic, reportedly around 50 this week according to several sources. Many of the cuts involved longtime employees presumably offered early retirement. The news comes as the PGA Tour has lost 11 tournaments due to the pandemic, but has not lowered purses for tournaments. Earlier this year, the PGA Tour signed a new $700 million a year television deal with CBS, NBC and Golf Channel commencing in 2022.

The PGA Tour issued this statement:

As a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PGA TOUR – much like many other organizations – has had to identify ways to streamline our operations. While it is never easy to say goodbye to valuable members of the TOUR family, this week’s targeted job cuts will allow us to most efficiently deal with the current climate and prepare for 2021 and beyond.

The news comes as construction continues on the new Foster And Partners designed headquarters where more office space has now been freed up.

Thu, 06 Aug 2020 15:24:22 GMT
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My Thursday contribution to The Athletic looks at how players are adjusting to the northern California climate after two months of playing in hot weather.

Thu, 06 Aug 2020 01:51:00 GMT
The four-day forecast by Stewart Williams as of Wednesday afternoon

The four-day forecast by Stewart Williams as of Wednesday afternoon

I’m sprinkling in investment thoughts for the (fellow) degenerates along with some fun notes from Wednesday at Harding Park. The 2020 PGA Championship kicks off Thursday with wall-to-wall coverage by ESPN+ and ESPN.

—COVID-19 testing has gone perfectly. From the PGA of America’s Kerry Haigh today: “With that, we ended up and are using the same testing entities that have been used for the first ten weeks, Drug Free Sport and Sanford Health, and with only one player remaining to be tested, all players and caddies in the field have cleared our COVID-19 protocol. So I can't tell you how happy I am to hear that, and I'm sure 155 players and 156 caddies are just happy, so thank you to all of them.”

—The forecast (above) is extremely favorable for an on-time finish—no thunderstorm chance for a PGA in August!—but suggests the players may be in for a very tough test. The cold makes 7,200 yard Harding Park play forever and even if we get some clearing, the forcasted breezes and sun (please!) should dry things out. The course is in a very good place to prevent an Olympic Club-style bake out, but I’m going to predict the winning score will be -10, which makes the 269.5 over/under intriguing (four-round par is 280).

—Tiger Woods is a great value at 35-1. Seems the money is going elsewhere according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Todd Dewey. I had my doubts given the climate, his Memorial performance and how he looked at the last three majors of 2019. This week? He’s got a determination to his steps, looks focused, is working hard on the greens and as I noted Monday, is in 100% mode with his swing. The course suits his style of play of these days.

—Woods is using a longer putter to allow him to practice more, said practice round playing partner Steve Stricker (Rex Hoggard reports here for GolfChannel.com.)

—Rory McIlroy praised the setup. This on fairway contours was interesting:

I've always liked how PGA Championship setups have been for me. I think they're fair. It's not as if -- you look down a fairway at a PGA Championship and it's sort of the same width the whole way down to the green. A lot of courses, they try to pinch itin at 320 and try to handcuff the longer hitters, whereas here the courses just let you play, which I like. I think Kerry Haigh and his team do a great job. I think Kerry is one of the best in the business at setting courses up. I've always said that. Like I said, it's a little different than the Match Play five years ago. I think it's a great setup, and everyone is in fora good week.

—Collin Morikawa with a Giants bag. Not right. The Cal grad is a good sport this week, playing his Taylor Made-issued bag with San Francisco Giants colors. He threw out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium last year. He has found a nice way to dispose of the bag at week’s end: “As far as the golf bag, my caddie, J.J. is a big Giants fan,so it is immediately going to him after the tournament ends. It will not be staying in my house, I guarantee you that.”

—”It’s right in front of you.” Popular press conference phrase this week. Player code for straightforward, boring and not particularly provocative.

—Dustin Johnson feels better. Harding Park should suit Johnson and he’s typically a great west coast golfer. So this answer about his win followed by a disastrous missed cut and WD should intrigue his backers:

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, honestly, neither one, Memorial or Minnesota didn't bother me one bit. I was swinging terribly. My back was bothering me just from swinging back. I didn't hurt it doing anything. I hurt it swinging just because I was so swinging so poorly. So that didn't really bother me.I knew, I went home, I rested for four days, got treatment,and then went out and practiced Monday at home and just went back to the basics, worked on the right things and started hitting the ball well again.

—Based on money wagered so far, at least based on this, Tiger is not getting much attention:

—William Hill reports more interest in Brooks Koepka in the UK. That note and others from their early wagering report can be seen here.

Thu, 06 Aug 2020 00:11:31 GMT
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I don’t want to judge and Rory McIlroy can certainly afford the hefty price, nonetheless it was a bit of a surprise when the topic of public golf and majors prompted AP’s Doug Ferguson to ask the last time McIlroy was asked to pay (most courses would pay to have a top player give them the time of day).

That it was a former Ryder Cup site, European Tour event site and rich’s guys place was, well, surprising.

From Steve DiMeglio’s item on McIlroy supporting muni’s for majors and the surprise answer:

“Valderrama, 2005,” McIlroy said. “250 Euros.”

That’s about $375 today.

But it was worth it to play the club that has hosted two different European Tour events, two World Golf Championships events won by Tiger Woods and Mike Weir in 1999 and 2000, and the 1997 Ryder Cup won by Europe.

“I’ve always liked the look at Valderrama,” McIlroy explained his decision to pay to play. “I was in Spain. Obviously Ryder Cup course. The Tour Championship of the European Tour was there for a lot of years. I was there and spent a few months’ worth of pocket money to go and play.”

He had not amassed four majors and two FedExCup’s then, but still pretty funny to imagine the pro shop ringing him up.

Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:25:02 GMT
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There are a couple of super reads to help you enjoy this week’s Harding Park PGA Championship just a bit more. Besides the obvious rare major championship playing at a public course, it’s the stories the Cypress can tell that makes this place different.

The San Francisco City has played such a part in that and Sean Martin looks at its history and the many stories to easily forgotten from that championship, with winners ranging from baggage handlers to future pro stars (with a famous 49ers QB contending a few times, too).

One man and multiple winner of The City stands above all others with his ties to Harding Park: Ken Venturi.

The Athletic’s Brendan Quinn takes a deep dive into the life, times and stammering issues overcome by Venturi when he found golf, a story that will certainly be addressed by his longtime CBS colleague Jim Nantz as the tournament unfolds. Nonetheless, this should give you an idea why the Venturi connection here is so profound:

The Venturis lived less than three miles from Harding. Ken played his first round there using borrowed clubs with hickory shafts. His father’s only advice was to count every shot, no matter what, including whiffs. Ken claims to have shot a 172 on his first 18-hole round. (He later said he quite possibly held the course record at Harding for both the lowest score, a 59, and the highest score, that 172.)

Ken stuck with it, playing alone. Blissful seclusion. Just him, his thoughts and his swing. He learned by replicating the swings he saw when caddying, then picked up lessons along the way. He’d play two balls at once, hitting only draws with one and fades with the other. He talked to himself as he played, finding and hearing his words. He saw a correlation between the rhythm of the swing and the rhythm of a sentence. The course became a second home as Fred stopped selling twine at the marina and took a full-time job running Harding’s pro shop. Ethel eventually joined him there, working alongside him in the shop, turning the place into their own mom and pop operation.

Check out the full story here at The Athletic.

Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:09:26 GMT
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This week’s English Championship on the European Tour will be minus world No. 242 John Catlin and his caddie after the two dined out Tuesday night.

From Ewan Murray’s Guardian report on the strict bubble and consequences for a violation in Europe.

Catlin said: “I apologise to my fellow players and everyone involved with the tournament this week for this error of judgement. I understand the European Tour’s decision and accept the sanction.”

Catlin will be replaced in the tournament by South African Wilco Nienaber.       

Among the other elements in this story noted by Murray: Catlin played last week and was familiar with the “bubble” policies.

Not noted but I can say as a fellow countryman: of course it was an American who couldn’t obey the bubble rules.

The full European Tour statement:

The European Tour has withdrawn American John Catlin and his caddie Nathan Mulrooney from this week’s English Championship at Hanbury Manor following a breach of its Covid-19 protocol.
The duo visited a local restaurant on the evening of Tuesday August 4 outside the tournament bubble, hence compromising the Tour’s health guidelines, and were withdrawn from the tournament with immediate effect as a result.

Catlin said: “I apologise to my fellow players and everyone involved with the tournament this week for this error of judgement. I understand the European Tour’s decision and accept the sanction.”

Catlin will be replaced in the tournament by South African Wilco Nienaber.

Wed, 05 Aug 2020 03:51:52 GMT

If you’ve been watching other return sports of late, you know from the mistakes and other oddities that what the CBS golf team has pulled off in a time of pandemic has been nothing short of astounding.

This week they bring more extras, goodies and personnel to Harding Park for the first major, though they are still working with teams in different parts of the world to bring everyone the PGA Championship.

Ad sales have been brisk, according to CBS Sports head Sean McManus. So, with a new deal starting this year, it seems the PGA of America may have negotiated a package that may make for a cleaner broadcast than with the past (awful) contract.

Dave Shedloski reports for GolfDigest.com:

Regardless, ad sales for the network have been strong, and McManus was proud to point out that only a few units remain unsold, and, more importantly for viewers, 50 percent of the national inventory is of the “two-box” variety, also known as the “Eye On The Course” feature that keeps half the screen on the action.

Host Jim Nantz estimated that the result is an extra 35-40 shots aired per hour.

“I'm going to talk as a fan here … that’s a big deal,” Nantz said. “You start adding up how many shots you're going to be able to see, now that you don't normally have to come back to and get behind on tape, that you're going to be able to show people live, start multiplying that by a two-and-a-half minute window. That’s a tremendous benefit to us.”

On another TV note, while I didn’t have sound up as much as I’d like while working on site, ESPN’s effort is looking to be substantial

Just based on today’s ESPN+ efforts, the worldwide leader is bringing its polish, verve and a different perspective that should quickly help us forget the TNT years. Which, really need forgetting. But more than that, if the early week coverage continues, their role in the week has the potential to elevate the PGA more than any venue, format, date change or “branding” campaign.

Here is their update on ESPN+ coverage streaming Tiger and friends Thursday.

Wed, 05 Aug 2020 03:33:44 GMT
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There wasn’t much from Tiger’s press conference/Zoom Tuesday at Harding Park. He was sharp, all smiles and sounding confident in a quest to win major No. 16.

Bob Harig at ESPN.com covered the most pertinent details, including the lower back talk.

And with temperatures hovering in the 50s in the mornings and likely to not reach 70 for most of the week, the ability to get loose will be part of the struggle for Woods.

"I think that for me when it's cooler like this it's just make sure that my core stays warm, layering up properly," he said. "I know I won't have the same range of motion as I would back home in Florida, where it's 95 [degrees] every day. That's just the way it is.

"Talking to some of the guys yesterday, they were laughing at their TrackMan [a measuring device] numbers already. They don't have the swing speed or ball speed they did last week. It's just the way it is. It's going to be playing longer. It's heavy air weather and whether the wind blows or not, it's still going to be heavy. The ball doesn't fly very far here."

There is also the matter of his putting, which clearly was a focus Monday when he played nine (he did not play Tuesday).

Late in the day Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis tweeted out that a putter change is in store:

Woods did well on the tee time draw. He goes at 8:33 am Thursday with personality and speed compatible peers in Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. He also avoids the quick turnaround of a late/early tee time start, something that appeared to be an issue at last month’s Memorial.

The full field tee times can be viewed here.

Wed, 05 Aug 2020 03:00:13 GMT

Bryson DeChambeau’s disruption of the pro game with his launch angle attack—a rekindling of early 2000’s Bomb and Gouge—meets its first real threat in the form of a major.

We got Bryson’s answer via a Golf Channel interview with Todd Lewis (I could not find it online but will post if it’s linked.)

Dylan Dethier summarized here on Twitter:

Tony Finau, another top player with abnormal length off the tee and a desire to try more aggressive approach, said this in his Tuesday press conference at Harding Park.

TONY FINAU: Yeah, yeah, to answer your first question, I am going to open up a little bit more this week. This golf course allows to you do that. Last week, not so much. But this golf course is a big -- it's a big course. I only played the back nine, but I already saw three or four holes where I can go ahead and give it extra and try and attack this golf course that way.I think distance is a big key this week, and you know, you mentioned the rough, we talked about the rough. You've got to hit the fairways. But if I am going to miss a fairway, I want to miss it as far up as I can to give myself a chance to still hit the green.So I've talked in the past about cranking it up a little bit,and I have done that in the last few weeks. Didn't do that that much last week, but this course allows me to kind of open up and do that, so I will.

Tue, 04 Aug 2020 04:39:43 GMT

I filed this top 20 heading into the PGA yesterday, though after seeing Tiger late Monday and sleeping on it, he may need to move up into the top 5. Oh well, he’s played once since February.

Please check out the list I filed for The Athletic making my case for various players. There are a few names mentioned who may not be getting enough attention. And remember, it’s currently 40% off to subscribe, so the cost alone will help make you some money in states where gambling is legal!

Besides my list, you can run it up against Daniel Rapoport’s field ranking at GolfDigest.com.

Rob Bolton’s always-reliable PGATour.com Power Ranking included many of the same names and thoughts in my piece. Whew!

ESPN.com’s team also makes their picks here.

Tue, 04 Aug 2020 04:13:04 GMT
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With Justin Thomas winning and returning to world No. 1 at the WGC FedEx St Jude, their gelling as a team on short notice, adds one more intriguing pre-PGA Championship story (Rex Hoggard on that for GolfChannel.com.)

I enjoyed Michael Bamberger’s thoughts, prompted by the win, on player-caddie relationships, how we overrate them and underrate them at the same time.

Some years later, Angelo summarized his work with Nicklaus thusly: “He asked me to do two things. When he’s not playing well, one, remind him that he’s the best golfer out there. And two, that there’s plenty of holes left.”

In his own way, that’s pretty much what Joe LaCava does for Tiger. It’s always interesting, watching two people interacting with some meaningful thing on the line. Caddie-player. Husband-wife. Doctor-patient. Pitcher-catcher. This is a big week for Bones and JT.

Tue, 04 Aug 2020 03:32:53 GMT
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Despite the bizarre times, some pretty nice efforts have been made to enhance your connection to this true muni and its lore.

Do not miss Bill Nierkerken’s San Francisco Chronicle slideshow of various tournament and historic moments at Harding Park over the years.

PGATour.com’s Sean Martin files a really super and comprehensive look at Harding Park with a nice range of history and design change information.

I’m getting mixed predictions on one topic he touches upon: balls staying up in the flattop Cypress. It happened in the match play here, and while it used to be more prevalent before the trees received more care, still something to keep an eye on given the launch angle approach.

Harding Park’s curving fairways require players to choose how aggressive they want to be and to shape their tee shots. Players have to be careful to avoid the cypress trees, which are known to swallow golf balls, though.

“I've seen enough (balls) get stuck to where I'm going to try my hardest to avoid cutting off doglegs too much,” Jordan Spieth said before the 2015 Match Play.

Doug Ferguson wrote for AP on the incredible quality of winners at Harding Park over the years. It’s a fascinating juxtaposition with the other course across Lake Merced where all time greats always come up just short in men’s majors.

For The Athletic I dealt with the backstory (well just part of the saga) in Harding’s resurrection and landing the PGA Championship.

The historic San Francisco City has come up in many stories above and you can’t do better than Bo Links summarizing what makes that event so great.

And speaking of Bo, he’s apart of Garrett Morrison’s history of Harding podcast launching tomorrow. A preview:

Tue, 04 Aug 2020 03:31:00 GMT
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Maybe we need This Is Major back? Or, the playoffs just mean that much.

Because Ryan Moore just played in the Barracuda Championship in Truckee, California and is passing up the PGA Championship in San Francisco, reports GolfDigest.com’s Joel Beall.

Some Ricky Bobby in this one…

Moore's camp told Golf Digest's Brian Wacker that Moore didn't want to play both the Barracuda and PGA, and listed as ninth alternate for the PGA at the beginning of last week, decided to play in the Barracuda. When he ultimately got into the Harding Park field, Moore decided to pass, sticking to his original plan. Instead he is opting for rest in hopes for a FedEx Cup posteason run.

Oh, and of course, left unsaid, a late Wyndham Rewards run too. Majors, schmajors!

Tue, 04 Aug 2020 02:00:00 GMT

Not that I’m saying he’s come to some events unprepared, but there was definitely an urgency to the Monday proceedings at Harding Park. Getting comfortable on the green was the primary focus, particualrly given that his swing, ball-striking and body all appear ready to go.

—Short game consultant Matt Killen went nine holes with him and they discussed his putting at times.

—He played one of his approach shots as if a real putt, but with Joe LaCava giving his read first, then consulting the green reading charts, before putting.

—Woods practiced putting one-handed a few times

—Flexibility appeared excellent despite the cool conditions. No 80% swings as we’ve seen in run-ups or early week of majors.

—He took some big swipes at tee shots and reached the 607-yard 4th hole in when the fog had rolled in. His back clearly feels good.

—Mood was great, relaxed and focused.

A couple of Tweets I shared of his swing and putting one-handed:

ESPN.com’s Bob Harig made this observation:

Mon, 03 Aug 2020 14:24:00 GMT
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Greetings From San Francisco!

I covered a lot of ground in this contribution for The Athletic, where I’ll be filing pieces all week from San Francisco (40% off subscriptions, currently, btw and well worth it especially now that the NBA and MLB are in action).

What I did leave out of the list: there is something magical about coastal San Francisco golf and major conditions. It’s some sort of enchanting mix of the fog, crisp blue skies, those incredible Monterey Cypress and the zany city nearby fueling the magic.

So yes, the fans won’t be here, but something tells me we are in for a wild week. Check out the five best reasons to get excited here.

One other note: Ron Sirak reminds us that it’s been over a year since a men’s major. That alone should get you excited!

West Virginia Golf Resorts and Tennis Guide
West Virginia Golf Resorts and Tennis Guide
West Virginia Golf Resorts and Tennis Guide West Virginia Golf Resorts and Tennis Guide
West Virginia Golf Resorts and Tennis Guide

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