Saturday, November 18, 2017
We, the golfers and golf fans of the world, are lucky to have the Solheim Cup on our television screens every two years.At the most recent Solheim Cup, which ended August 20, the fact that women from the United States defeated women from Europe was almost incidental, because the Solheim Cup demonstrated foremost that it is a joyous celebration...
Some golfers are superstitious about colored golf balls, as in, "Hey, man, I don't wear colored underwear and I don't play colored golf balls." That being said, colored balls have been around for almost 100 years. Golf, an undeniable game of fashion, has never suppressed brightly colored apparel or golf balls, in spite of the superstitions that may be harbored...
Some say it was 67 years in the making, although the idea took root rather recently. Many legends of women’s golf will take the stage at the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship presented by Old National Bank®, to be played July 10-12, 2017, on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort, in French Lick, Indiana. The event is a long-awaited...
Augusta, Ga. The U.S. Open is our national championship. Regardless, the Masters attracts golf's most interesting crowd. The 2017 Masters, for example, brought together two senior golfers -- two acclaimed world record holders -- who were Masters spectators. One came from Texas, the other from Oregon. They had never met, although golf has a way of bringing people together. These two seniors...

Consider, If You Will, a Revised Masters Playoff Format

Look, I love the Masters as much as the average guy. Maybe more.

So I state my position with admiration and affection: In case of a tie after 72 holes, I dearly wish the Masters would implement a three-hole aggregate playoff over the greatest three-hole stretch in all of golf.

That would be 10, 11 and 12 at Augusta National Golf Club. Can you imagine the first major championship of the year coming down to the 12th, the world’s most interesting par-3?

The prospect of playing the 12th for all the marbles would give Jordan Spieth goosebumps on top of goosebumps.

However, it is unlikely that Masters officials would ever take such a bold step. Why? Television.

On Masters Sunday, the final twosome goes off at 3 pm. Eastern time, give or take a few minutes. The strategy is to attract the largest possible television audience, and a 7 p.m. wrap-up at the Masters often provides a compelling finish.

A three-hole aggregate playoff would be even more intriguing, but Sunday starting times would have to be moved up to provide enough daylight for the possibility of a three-hole playoff.

The playoff would be stretched beyond three holes if the players remained tied.

The real problem, of course, does not lie with the concept of a three-hole playoff. It lies with the potential lack of a playoff, because the tournament would be over and off the air by 6 p.m. or so. That’s not late enough, because Masters officials want their tournament to join us for Sunday dinner.

Fair enough. This is golf’s most celebrated Sunday. It has been said many times before, but there is often nothing in golf to compare to the back nine on Sunday at the Masters.

The Masters is a tradition unlike any other because the tournament is right there in our houses for most of the afternoon and early evening. It is a welcome companion.

Three holes for the Masters title? It would quickly become the biggest attraction in worldwide golf.

The Open Championship and PGA Championship already have gone to the aggregate playoff system (three or four holes, depending on the layout). The first aggregate playoff at the Open Championship was staged 28 years ago, in 1989, when Mark Calcavecchia beat Wayne Grady and Greg Norman. The initial aggregate playoff at the PGA Championship was held in 2000, when Tiger Woods outlasted Bob May.

The Masters should follow suit. So should the U.S. Open, for that matter, but let’s take one step at a time.

Try to imagine the intensity of a three-hole Masters playoff. Television broadcasters talk continually about Masters pressure, but such banter would be nothing compared to a three-hole aggregate playoff ending on Augusta National’s 12th. There likely would be sweaty palms, herky-jerky swings and a few mental meltdowns.

Of course, there would be heroes. The Masters has a knack for identifying golf’s bravest warriors.

I can only dream about a three-hole playoff to decide the Masters champion. Be still, my fluttering heart.

Jim Achenbach           Senior Golf Insider          achenslice@aol.com

 

I escorted this fancy new golf book to the scale in my workshop. The scale said 7.9 pounds. That's not a book, it's an Olympic event. And the Putter Went...PING is the name of a comprehensive book that tells the story of PING golf clubs and the Solheim family that has owned and guided PING for more than 50 years. The book...
Dr. Edwin B. Cottrell is a rare bird. Known as “Cotty” to his legions of friends, this World War II veteran has made a lasting imprint on an untold number of lives, in the world of golf and beyond. And now, at age 95, he continues to do so. “When I first met Cotty, in the mid-1970s, it was easy to...
There is much to be admired about Ernie Els, who shot an even par 72 in the extremely windy first round of the Masters. Not only has Els won four major championships, but he also has emerged as a humanitarian. He helps other people. In last year's Masters, though, he couldn't help himself. On the first hole, he appeared to be...
AUGUSTA, Ga. How ironic that here at Augusta National Golf Club -- site of the year's first major championship for men -- much of the conversation has been focused on a woman. Lexi Thompson. Did she or didn't she deserve four penalty strokes for her failure at the LPGA's initial major, the ANA Inspiration, to properly replace her golf ball on the...
Lake Forest, Calif. On the afternoon of December 5, 2006, golf club designer Dave Boone left his Orange County, Calif., apartment for a walk. He never came back. Boone's acclaimed Parallax irons, manufactured and sold in the 1990s by Lynx Golf, had won both the Masters and U.S. Open. At 56, though, Boone was missing and eventually presumed dead. Some figured he might...
Palatka, Fla. The grand old sport of golf has always been a little different at Palatka Golf Club, the municipal course that is 92 years old and counting. During World War II, The U.S. Army took over the back nine. However, golf was not forgotten. Army Jeeps were used as golf cars. Big money games were commonplace. One of the Jeeps...
Howey-In-The-Hills, Fla. I am 100 years old. Well, not really, although the golf course beneath my feet is indeed 100 years old. Golf has been played here at Mission Inn Resort & Club since 1917. I could be in a time machine. One minute it's 2017, with all its craziness. The next minute it's 1917, where everything is slower and more relaxed....
Here comes more golf history. When the 10th annual Moot Thomas Invitational is played March 3-5, 2017, at Ocala Golf Club, in Ocala, Fla., included in the field will be some of the most accomplished amateur golfers from around the country. They will assemble not only to honor the tournament’s namesake, Marion Moultrie “Moot” Thomas Jr., but to be part of...
Orlando, Fla. "Hey, I'm Mr. Pink." Volvik has turned the golf world upside down with its distinctive variety of colored golf balls. It seemed inevitable that one of the top golf ball manufacturers would offer a rainbow of colors in various models, and Volvik stepped forward. How serious is Volvik? The company signed Bubba Watson as its primary spokesperson -- that's how...
La Quinta, Calif. Am I crazy or what? Please don't answer that. Okay, here goes: Teaching professional Chris Walkey has invented a marvelous little swing aid that can help many golfers -- skilled or not-so-skilled -- and I am about to pronounce this simple device to be the most effective training aid in a very crowded marketplace. His invention is called the...
Looking back at 2016, the golf tournament I remember most vividly was the U.S. Senior Amateur at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis. Part of the reason was very personal: I grew up on the same golf course as the winner, 62-year-old Dave Ryan of Taylorville, Ill. Taylorville Country Club was no ordinary layout. It was a 9-hole course with...
Lake Suzy, Fla. The national senior amateur golf circuit is known for its wondrous assortment of excellent golf courses. None of the other courses, however, can match Kingsway Country Club for a survival tale. Kingsway, located near Port Charlotte, Fla., opened in 1976. Thus it celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2016. The course hosts the annual Kingsway Senior Invitational, won this year by...
The Gateway Senior Invitational rarely lacks for drama. Last year, it took a one-hole sudden-death playoff for Sam Till Jr., of Fort Wayne, Ind., to claim victory. He defeated Bob Kearney, of Houston, after two-and-a-half inches of rain and snow saturated the golf course, resulting in the tournament being shortened from 54 to 36 holes. The only playable hole, the...
Yes, golf in 2017 is troubled. The problem: Too many courses, not enough dedicated players. The solution: Expose more men, women and children to the game through instruction programs, clinics and a variety of fun-based golf activities. The message: Golf is for everybody, including those who have never played the game. One area of golf that has remained largely healthy, however, is the...
Four years ago, Fred Griffin, PGA, director of Grand Cypress Academy of Golf in Orlando, Fla., received a phone call from an 81-year-old gentleman who was unsure about whether to come in for a lesson. “I play twice a week with my buddies, but they give me a hard time about wanting to taking lessons,” the gentleman said. “If I...
Calling all Pingsters. Ping currently is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the famous Anser putter, which was conceived and first produced in 1966. In these 50 years, more than 500 tournaments on the world's significant professional tours have been won by players using Anser putters. To commemorate the creation of the Anser putter, Ping has manufactured and serialized 1,550 right-handed replicas...
The first commandment of sports journalism is never to cheer or root for one team or one individual. Journalists must maintain their neutrality and objectivity. No hooping and hollering, no matter how great the temptation. No overblown praise. So, however difficult it may be, I will try to contain myself when...
Over the years, his boyish appearance was responsible for many references to Huck Finn. Even today, at 67, Tom Watson resembles a younger man looking for an adventure. He is something of a latter-day Roy Rogers, riding horses on his farm in Stilwell, Kansas, while displaying enough vigor to temporarily outrace Father Time. What is age, anyway, but a number?...
Virtually every sport has its Hall of Fame, and long driving is no exception. We should distinguish between golf and long driving, because they remain as different as balata and Surlyn. Whereas golf can be called a finesse sport, long driving is a muscle sport. In 2015, the World Long Drive Championship, along with the Long Drivers of America tour, was...
The design of drivers has changed dramatically. Today's drivers are nothing like yesterday's drivers. Golfers who don't recognize this are hurting themselves -- often with inferior distance and questionable accuracy. Drivers went from wooden heads to metal heads. Driver shafts went from steel to graphite. Drivers, along with other clubs, grew...

We would like to encourage our readers to recount their own Arnold Palmer stories, whether they talked with him, met him, observed him, were influenced by him, or just admired him as a skilled golfer and charitable human being. Please send any emails to jim@seniorgolfinsider.com.

A hush settled over the room. The King was about to speak. “The future of golf rests on your shoulders,” Arnold Palmer told 16 collegians from the United States and Great Britain and Ireland. “Carry the mantle well.” It was July 9, 1997, at the opening dinner of the inaugural Palmer Cup (now called the Arnold Palmer Cup). There was a...
Arnold Palmer was a friend of mine. I figure his friends number in the hundreds of thousands -- or even millions -- as he seemed to bond with everyone who was lucky enough to spend time with him. He displayed warmth and genuine interest to all the people he encountered, even during short conversations. Whether he was interacting with golfers...
Listen as Jay Golden recites his high energy tribute.   Jay Golden, a teaching professional for more than 40 years, is a Life Member of the PGA of America. As heard in this audio, his immense admiration for Arnold Palmer has no boundaries.
Oh, happy days. The United States has recaptured the Ryder Cup. You may attribute the victory to America's Ryder Cup Task Force, but the name sounds too self-important and militaristic to me. Thus I credit the outcome to good old hardnosed golf. This impassioned display of USA shotmaking was a thing...
Think about the magnitude of her achievement: Career amateur Ellen Port has captured seven U.S. Golf Association championships. The only other golfers in history to win seven or more USGA championships are Carol Semple Thompson (7), Anne Sander (7), JoAnne Gunderson Carner (8), Jack Nicklaus (8), Bobby Jones (9) and Tiger Woods (9). On Sept. 22, Port claimed her third...
St. Louis I swear this is true. Here at the U.S. Senior Amateur, I watched every shot Tuesday in the third-round match between Dave Ryan and Paul Simson. On the 14th hole, I decided to hike up to the green rather than stand beside the teeing ground, as I did on...
St. Louis, Mo. The often-broken rule of sports journalism is that writers should never take sides. They should never root for a team or individual in competition. They should remain objective. To which I have to say: Go Ducks. I am a longtime Oregonian, and invariably I cheer for the University...
­This is the third USGA championship played at Old Warson, designed by architect Robert Trent Jones Sr., and opened in 1954. The club hosted the 1999 U.S. Mid-Amateur, captured by Danny Green, and the 2009 U.S. Women’s Amateur, won by Jennifer Song. Green, seeking a rare USGA championship double on...
His real name is John, but Chip Lutz of Reading, Pa., is nicknamed for something he does very, very well -- chip a golf ball. His two brothers, also named John, go by Wedge and Putter. Now that's an unusual golf family. Meanwhile, Tom Brandes of Bellevue, Wash., could have been...
I have a message for all golfers who want to create an abbreviated, dumbed-down version of the Rules of Golf: It may be time to sell those Sam Snead Blue Ridge golf clubs and find another sport. The Rules of Golf are the foundation of the game. They establish the blueprint that global golfers are asked to follow. They make...

Tour Edge Exotics XJ1 driver

There is a simple reason that Tour Edge is famous for its fairway woods. They perform well under a variety of conditions. This may be traced to the meticulous nature of Dave Glod, who 30...

Pink Ping for the Bubba Watson Foundation

Behold the limited edition pink Bubba driver. Ping has done this before -- releasing a limited number of pink drivers similar to the one used by Bubba Watson -- and these pink war clubs are...

Tour Velvet Grip Wins Two Majors, R.E.L. Ace Takes Olympics

Change your grips. Perhaps this advice is wasted on seasoned golfers, but it is worth repeating: New grips are one of the most effective, least expensive ways to add confidence to your golf game. Some touring...
As a golfer, Mary Bea Porter-King is widely known for scaling a backyard fence -- during a 1988 qualifying round for the LPGA Standard Register Turquoise Classic -- and administering CPR that saved the life of a three-year-old-boy, Jonathan Smucker, who had fallen into a swimming pool at Moon...