2017 PGA Championship…A Preview

By Joe Hines, Noted Club Pro

The final major of the golf season, the PGA Championship, is coming up this week at Quail Hollow Golf Club in North Carolina. Plenty of subplots pepper the landscape;  a schedule change has just been announced by the tour for this tourney, beginning in 2019 when it will move to a slot in May from its usual August schedule. The goal presumably, is to wrap up the bulk of the competitive season before the start of football season. Golf doesn’t do all that well in ratings, to begin with, so it only makes sense to give it the best opportunity for the most eyes on it. Since the NFL will lead its minions down the path to gape mouthed wonder as sweaty fat men whack each other beginning just after Labor Day, the PGA would prefer to be done by then. And there is still plenty to be had in the silly season between September and April when the Masters reappears on our screens.


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Open Championship Third Round Recap;l Birdies and Bogeys

By Joe Hines, Noted Mover

The third round of any golf tournament is referred to as moving day. It’s the day when especially at Major Championships, the men are separated from the boys. Though at the tender age of twenty, Austin Connelly could certainly be referred to as a boy, though I would guess he would prefer something a little more dignified, like a young man. Regardless, watching him play this third round of the Open brought back memories of what I was doing when I was twenty. Or the lack of memories, because what I was doing at the age of twenty was being drunk every day. Oh well, live and learn. For the record, young Austin fashioned a 66 to finish the day at -5 for the tournament. Well off the lead, but what the hell were YOU doing when you were twenty? He played like a man today.

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The Open Championship 1st Round Recap; Birdies and Bogeys

By Joe Hines, Weekend Hack

The 146th rendition of the Open Championship (don’t you dare call it the British Open) is being held at venerable Royal Birkdale, where Arnie, Jack, and Tiger have all won before. Who will it be this year? Rory?  We wouldn’t have thought so after 6 holes of his round. Phil? Sorry, he didn’t have a birdie and finished at -3, 8 shots off the pace. Tiger??? Please.

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Birdies and Bogeys from Day 2 of the US Open

By Joe Hines Always making the cut

We’ve made it through round 2 of the US Open, and if you aren’t doing anything, pre-tournament picks Jason Day(picked by yours truly) and Rory McIlroy could use a ride home since they won’t be playing this weekend. The experts proclaimed this long, open track as advantageous to those two, among the game’s longest drivers, with ball flight approaching the heavens. As luck would have it, golf is still golf, and as such tends to bite you in the butt, just when you think you have it figured out. Whether watching or playing.

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Birdies & Bogeys: 2015 PGA Championship Final Round Recap

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Welcome to my final round coverage of the 2015 PGA Championship, otherwise known as the coronation of Jason Day.

The young Australian began the Day with a two-shot lead, which he never relinquished. He fended off challenges from South African Branden Grace, Englishman Justin Rose and his Sunday playing partner, Jordan Spieth. [Read more…]

2015 PGA Championship First Round Coverage

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

A new perspective is always a good way to refresh the body and soul. So in lieu of the usual style that I use when describing one of the four major golf tournaments each year, birdies and bogeys, my take on this year’s first round of the PGA Championship will be from a decidedly more personal point of view. Because for the first time in the years I have been following golf, numerous indeed, I had the opportunity yesterday to attend the festivities at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. Occasionally there is a payoff for suffering interminable winters here in the Midwest.

One of the first discoveries on makes upon arrival to Whistling Straits, is it isn’t so much a day in the sun, as it  is an endurance test. For players AND spectators. Very hilly with rough terrain along the shores of Lake Michigan in the East Central part of Wisconsin, the plat of land architect Pete Dye transformed into one of golfs sternest tests, is stunningly beautiful. Ribbons of fairways lined by hazards and with the lake offering vistas only available in these parts greet players and patrons.

I imagine that the views are similar at Chambers Bay in Washington, site of the just past US Open. But you know what? When you are standing on the shore of either Lake Michigan or the Pacific Ocean, you cannot tell the difference. But you know that, so I will just leave it there. Both large bodies of water where the opposite shore can’t be seen. Believe me, the view is spectacular. Television coverage does not do it justice. You cannot see the contours of the land or the breathtaking nature of the views along the lake.

One other thing apparent right away, is the parking lots are a LONG WAY from the main golf course entrances. This isn’t like pulling up to the lot at Texas Stadium, or whatever your ballpark of choice is. Be prepared for at least a mile long hike once the car is parked.

OK, back to golf.

The early wave of players beat the worst of the gusty winds, with the morning stroke average much below the afternoon wave, to combine for a field-wide average of 74 on the par 72 track. Perennial fast starter Dustin Johnson, at the site of his famous grounded club in 2010, led the field after the first round with a 66. Notables such as Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy who each played in the afternoon gale, and yes, Tiger Woods, wallowed around even par. Spieth and McIlroy finished at 1-under 71, while Woods stumbled to a 75.

Physical limitations didn’t allow for the freedom around the course that I would have liked. For that reason, for much of the day, we were parked around the 18th green and first tee. It didn’t allow for easy following of the field, other than the real-time updates to the large scoreboards that dot the course.

Hopefully, my firsthand experience at the golf course will enhance the coverage I can offer you the rest of the tournament. The majors are exciting, different than other tournaments that I’ve attended.

I will have the usual allotments of birdies and bogeys for the last few rounds of this years championship. I hope you take time to follow it.

Enjoy the golf, and I’ll be back later today for a second round recap.

Peace.

British Open Birdies & Bogeys: Final Round Recap

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staffer & Chicago Guru

After four rounds of golf over five days, the 2015 edition of the British Open went to its unique playoff format. Of course it did.

Photo Credit: AP

Photo Credit: AP

American Zach Johnson, Aussie Marc Leishman and South African past champion Louis Oosthuizen finished regulation play tied at -15. Notably absent from the threesome was Jordan Spieth, American wunderkind. [Read more…]

Birdies and Bogeys: 2015 US Open Third Round

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

I tuned into the third round of the US Open this afternoon, eagerly anticipating the competition having cathartically cleared my brain of any of the nonsense that went along with the coverage on FOX. The clock struck one, and there on my screen were the linchpins, such as they are, of the network’s golf coverage. But as I said, I had come to accept their shortcomings, even sort of sympathetically excusing them and vowing to give them more of a chance in the last two rounds, and for the ensuing 12 YEARS! [Read more…]

Birdies and Bogeys: 2015 US Open Second Round

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

It took me a good night’s sleep and a bit of shock therapy to recover from the first day of US Open coverage on Faux Sports. I woke up in a cold sweat, the result of the all too real nightmare of a Greg Norman American history lesson, and Joe Buck sounding like he is calling a tackle on every shot.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

Saturday’s second round seems to have taught FOX some lessons from the first round though. My new friend Holly Saunders was much less visible, I only saw two segments with her in 11 hours of broadcast, and her format was different. Today she was appearing in front of a giant superimposition of the interviewees scorecard. The huge score seemed to distract a bit from the typically trampish look of FOX. The resulting interviews, while still vapid, were not as aesthetically awkward. That’s saying something when the improvement is a large picture of a scorecard in the shot. [Read more…]

Birdies & Bogeys: Jordan Rules, 2015 Masters Final Round Recap

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Young Jordan. He really is quite something. He saw every challenge, such as it was. He never blinked. Mr. Spieth may or may not be someday regarded with the same reverence as Hogan, Nelson and Palmer. But one thing is certain. At the age of 21, Jordan Spieth can compete at the highest level of golf.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

As Sunday’s final round came to the end, Spieth, with finality, saved a par on 16 after a wayward tee shot, the gallery (sorry Augusta) erupted and from their feet sent the new champion on his way toward the 17th tee. [Read more…]

Birdies & Bogeys: Moving Day, 2015 Third Round Masters Recap

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Another fairway. Another green. Ho hum. The Jordan Spieth coronation continues unimpeded in this 2015 Masters. His urgent call for his ball to obey after each vicious strike becoming familiar by now. Begging each shot to become even more perfect than what it inevitably is in flight. Fairways and greens. The only way this young man from Texas loses the 2015 Masters is if the golf gods wrap their spindly fingers around his throat and clench the life out of him.

Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Coverage of Saturday’s third round began with the modern version of the triumvirate of golf, McIlroy, Woods and Mickelson charging early, birdies dropping like rocks. What an exciting final round it could be with those three charging toward the top, if it wasn’t for this snot nosed little 21-year-old prodigy who doesn’t seem to know any better. He has parred every hole he should par, birdied the par 5’s with regularity. Two bogeys in his third round, the second and third of his tournament, were the only hiccups. Charley Hoffman got within three, Phil tickled the top of the leaderboard for a moment. That notwithstanding, Spieth charged on with his birdie on the 16th hole opening a seven-shot advantage over his closest rival. It is indeed surprising when a shot veers even a little bit away from his intended target. Golf is not this easy yet young Spieth is making it seem so. He doesn’t bomb the ball with the likes of a Dustin Johnson, isn’t likely to be miraculous around the greens like Mickelson. He doesn’t have the silky smooth putting stroke of his mentor Ben Crenshaw. But he does command all facets well, and the lack of weakness in his game is what serves him well and consistently over the course of this tournament. All hail the boy king!

Other highlights from Round 3, along with a bogey or two: [Read more…]

Birdies & Bogeys: 2015 Second Round Masters Recap

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Welcome to my second round Masters recap, otherwise known as “Who is Playing for Second?” Jordan Spieth has made a mockery of the rest of the field, and really, fabled Augusta National, blitzing the field to the tune of 14-under par, 130 through 36 holes. He set a record for lowest 36-hole total in a major, second youngest to lead a major at the halfway point, yada yada yada… You get the idea.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Spieth’s second round came while TV coverage was dark due to the antiquated policy of Augusta National of showing only limited coverage of the tournament. His closest contender is Charley Hoffman who came in at minus-9. His total any other year would be good enough to place him atop the leader board, but this isn’t any other year. Young Jordan is making it look easy. He is too young to realize that golf, and particularly Augusta National, is not that easy. He’ll learn, as all others have. Tiger learned. Sure it was after winning 14 majors, but he learned. [Read more…]