Friday, November 14, 2014

News Grab-Bag: 11/14/2014

- Congratulations to Charlie Sifford for receiving the Presidential Medal Of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the country. 53 years ago, Sifford became the first black player to receive a PGA Tour card, paving the way for desegregation within the PGA of America. Sifford won twice on the PGA Tour and was the first black player to be elected into the World Golf Hall Of Fame. Sifford joins Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers to ever receive the medal, though Sifford's award has less to do about his play and more about the profound effect he had on the entire game of golf.

- Congratulations to Lydia Ko, who wrapped up the LPGA Rookie Of The Year race this week. Ko was never seriously challenged for the award, though Mirim Lee did have a great second half to her season that may have made Ko sweat had Lee had a better beginning to her season. Ko was the overwhelming favorite to win the award entering this season after two victories as an amateur, so this does not come as a surprise. At 17, Ko becomes the youngest winner of the award.

- Anyone tired of Ryder Cup talk? I sure am, but there was a few more items of note this week. First, Sergio Garcia discussed the possibility of fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez being named captain for the 2016 event, and Sergio said that Jimenez's poor English may effect his chances. It is worth noting that every captain of the Ryder Cup has spoken fluent English, but I think Darren Clarke's candidacy is more of a hindrance to Jimenez than his English.

- Also on the Ryder Cup front, there is a man who claims to have the answer to all of Team USA's troubles - John Daly. Daly said this week that making either Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods the playing captain would be beneficial to the team, as these two have played on the team in recent years and know a lot about what it takes to win in that setting. Daly also touted himself as a possible assistant captain, saying he would keep the players loose and get them back to having fun. While I'm sure Daly's heart is in the right place, I'm going to assume that the PGA of America is not fielding Daly's calls at the moment.

- Speaking of Mickelson, it was announced early this week that Lefty has taken a job as interim assistant coach of the Arizona State Sun Devils, Mickelson's alma mater. The position is expected to be a short term one, but is a huge pick up for Arizona State, who can now use Mickelson in an official capacity to try and recruit players into the program. Mickelson won three NCAA titles at Arizona State, and his brother, Tim, is currently the head coach of the program. Tim played on Arizona State's 1996 NCAA championship team, which was the last time Arizona State won a national title in golf, though Alejandro Canizares of Spain won the individual title in 2003 for Arizona State.

- Augusta National will be welcome its third female member, as IBM CEO Virginia Rometty has been rumored to be given a membership. This isn't much of a surprise, as Augusta historically offered the CEO of IBM a membership (IBM sponsors the Masters), and women were offered their first memberships in 2012. Don't expect to see Rometty taking weekend trips to Augusta for tee times, however - she's only an "occasional" golfer whose handicap is over 35.

- We have another Ballesteros among the professional ranks, as Javier Ballestaros announced he would be turning pro and beginning his journey to the top on the Alps Tour next year. Javier is the 24 and is the oldest son of Seve, the iconic Spaniard who won five major championships. Javier will have incredibly large shoes to fill, but I wish him the best of luck.

- Six countries are in the running for the 2022 Ryder Cup which will be hosted by Europe - Austria, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey. The biggest news surrounds Turkey, who appears to be out of the mix after environmental concerns surrounding the building of a golf course which would have cut down some 15,000 trees to accommodate grand stands for the event. After initially pulling out, Turkey reentered the discussion, but with all these problems, I do not expect Turkey to be a part of the conversation. In fact, I expect the bid to go to Italy, who has never hosted a major golf tournament but is rising as a golf power.

- While we are on the subject of golf globalization, one of the most beautiful and most scenic golf courses in the world opened this Vietnam. The Greg Norman design looks like something straight out of the Highlands of Scotland. You can see the photos here.

- This past weekend, the USGA held a conference on slow play. They revealed new technology to try and speed up the game on a recreational level. I do not know much about the technological side of golf, but Stephanie Wei has a first hand write up.

No comments:

Post a Comment