Who won the first-ever Donald Ross Memorial Invitational boys individual title?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tiger Woods, a cheater?

The Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee wrote a recent piece giving grades to different golfers for their performances in 2013.

On Tiger Woods, Chamblee gave him an 'F' for Woods' leniency with the rules this past year. He basically called him a cheater.

To find out more on this story, check out tomorrow's Bradenton Herald for the column.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sarasota Open field set

Logo provided.

The West Florida Golf Tour's major championship, the Sarasota Open, debuts Thursday at Laurel Oak Country Club.

The four day, 72-hole tournament pits top mini-tour pros from the area against each other in a competitive stroke play event prior to many attempting to secure passage to the PGA Tour next season through Q-School, which gets underway soon.

For more on this story, check out tomorrow's Bradenton Herald.

For pairings, click here.

Manatee County Amateur Championships begins Friday

The Manatee County Amateur Championships begins Friday at Manatee Golf Course.

The three-day, 54-hole tournament shifts to Buffalo Creek Golf Course for Saturday's round and then heads to River Wilderness Golf and Country Club for Sunday's final round.

For more on this story, check out tomorrow's Bradenton Herald.

The first round pairings can be found here

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Juniors: Philip Knowles captures junior tourney comfortably

Bradenton's Philip Knowles wrapped up an impressive summer slate with a five-shot victory at the Sam Parks Junior Invitational at Belleair Country Club this past weekend.

Knowles fired a 65-68--133 total for the title in the boys 16-18 year old division. It completed a summer schedule that saw some successes, including finishing runner-up in the Florida State Amateur Match Play Championship.

Now the Bradenton Christian junior is turning his attention to the fall high school golf season.

For more on the high school golf landscape for the 2013 season, check out tomorrow's Bradenton Herald.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Monday Recap: FedEx Cup begins with a bang

Adam Scott, who shed the stinging defeat at the 2012 British Open from his memory bank in capturing this year's Masters title, took an important first step toward winning the FedEx Cup this past week.

The Australian fired a bogey-free 66, before watching each challenger misfire on forcing a playoff in capturing The Barclays championship in New Jersey.

Scott's final round produced an 11-under par total, while England's Justin Rose (three-putt on the 18th), Tiger Woods (birdie putt inches short on the 18th) and Gary Woodland (putt just short on the 18th) each missed a chance to force a playoff.

The end result is more important than the $1.44 million first-place prize, if there is such a thing. Yes, there is and that is the race for the FedEx Cup title. Scott's victory earned him valuable points, pushing him to No. 2 on the list. He's 162 points behind Woods following his second win of the year.

Despite not winning more tournaments, Scott has played well when it's counted the most. Besides the major championship he claimed to begin this season, Scott tied for third at the British Open and tied for fifth at the PGA Championship.

The latter came on the heels of the FedEx Cup race, and now he's heading to the site of his inaugural PGA Tour victory. Scott won the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2003, and is having a breakthrough season 10 years ago with the chance to add to his win total. Should he accomplish the feat of winning back-to-back, he'll be in prime position to win the FedEx Cup, which has three events remaining in the playoff portion of the schedule that includes this week's tour stop at TPC Boston.

Only the top 100 players in the standings advanced to this week's tournament. The top 70 progress to the BMW Championship, slated for mid-September, before the top 30 qualify for the Tour Championship.

Friday, August 9, 2013

PGA Championship: Woody Austin's error

We've all brought extra clubs to the course at one time or another without regard in a friendly round.

But when you do it in a competitive round, it sure can hurt your score in a heartbeat.

So when Woody Austin began his second round of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill on Friday,  nothing was askew. But Austin failed to keep a bulky out of his bag that already was at the maximum of 14 clubs. That's a big no-no when it comes to the United States Golf Association's rulebook.

And thus Austin was assessed a two-shot penalty for each hole that the extra club remained in his bag.

The total damage after it was discovered on the third hole was four shots - the maximum for the rule breach.

Austin shared in the responsibility for the miscue, which wasn't noticed until the third hole due to a rain cover blanketing the clubs to keep them dry from Mother Nature.

Austin posted a 75, which left him at 4-over par for the championship after his opening 1-under par 69.

He missed the cut as a result, and would have made the weekend if not for the four-shot penalty.

It's not the first time the mistake has happened in major championship golf. The last time, and probably the most famous outburst in golf, came from Ian Woosnam in the 2001 British Open.

Here's a clip from the mistake that cost Woosnam some momentum and a chance at the Claret Jug:

Hopefully, Austin's caddy doesn't meet the same fate as Woosnam's did following that fateful final round in '01. (Hint: he was fired).

Thursday, August 8, 2013

PGA Championship: Early first round reflections

Glory's Last Shot, oh wait, that moniker was dropped for this year's PGA Championship at the PGA Tour's request.

So what we have is the final major championship getting underway in Rochester, N.Y., at Oak Hill.

Tiger Woods was the prohibitive favorite entering this week on the heels of the victory he secured last Sunday in Akron, Ohio at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

However, some early reflections from the PGA Championship's first round show Woods didn't get off to the start everyone expected. Instead of putting a strong round together, Woods faltered late and posted a 1-over par 71.

Currently, he's six shots behind two men: Jim Furyk and Masters champ Adam Scott.

And while that's not an inconceivable margin to make up over three rounds, the telling stat is this: there are 40 golfers under par at the present time and a total of 58 players ahead of him on the leaderboard.

That's a large number to get by, but Woods is capable of such a feat. So yours truly isn't counting him out of the running just yet. It just means he'll need to figure things out a bit more when Friday's second round rolls around.

Another thought from Thursday's opening round is how Scott has elevated his game this season. After such a heartbreaking performance at the 2012 British Open, Scott could have packed it in and never competed again on the big stage. Instead, he became the first Australian to ever win the green jacket when he caught some late magic at Augusta National for his first major championship.

He also played well at this year's British Open for awhile, despite not walking way with the Claret Jug (that went to Englishman Justin Rose).

Another musing is two-fold: Phil Mickelson is trying to string together a solid start after a tough beginning, and where on Earth has Paul Casey been hiding?

Casey, who ascended to a career-best No. 3 world ranking in 2009, has plummeted to just inside the top 100 in the world coming into this week's tournament.

Yet the Englishman is tied for fifth in the early going after a superb 3-under par 67 leaves him just two off the lead.

However, Casey hasn't put four strong rounds together in majors this year. At the U.S. Open, he was having a respectable tourney until a 79 dropped him into a tie for 45th place. How about the Masters and British Open? Casey didn't play in either.

But that 67 is a solid start for the former world No. 3.

Meanwhile, Mickelson's bid for a second straight major title began in horrendous fashion as Lefty bogeyed and double-bogeyed Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, en route to a 2-over par 37 on the front nine.

Mickelson, though, has birdied three of four holes and is currently playing a par-5 on the back nine.

United States Women's Amateur: Doris Chen into quarters

IMG Academy alum Doris Chen is going to find a familiar opponent awaiting her when Friday's quarterfinal takes place at The Country Club of Charleston at the 113th United States Women's Amateur Championship.

Chen faces Lauren Diaz-Yi, of Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Diaz-Yi knocked Chen off in the final of the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links earlier this summer by a 10-and-9 score that is a record margin for victory in that event's 37 year history.

Now Chen has a chance to redeem herself from a repeat blasting as she defeated two players in Thursday's action in Charleston, S.C.

The University of Southern California rising junior bested Hawaii native Kacie Komoto 3-and-2 in Thursday morning's second round, before knocking off Australia's Minjee Lee 2-and-1 in the Round of 16.

Chen and Diaz-Yi's rematch from earlier this summer is the first quarterfinal conducted on Friday, and is slated for a 1:45 p.m. start.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

United States Women's Amateur: Doris Chen advances to second round

Former IMG Academy star Doris Chen, who made the final of the United States Women's Public Links earlier this summer, earned a first-round 2-up victory at the U.S. Women's Amateur on Wednesday.

Playing at the Country Club of Charleston in Charleston, S.C., Chen was handed the No. 40 seed after two rounds of stroke play where she was a combined 2-over par.

The University of Southern California junior dusted off Silverdale, Wash., native Erynne Lee in a match that went the full 18 holes.

And that early close match could help Chen as she progresses in the tournament, because she'll have more familiarity with tight, high-pressure situations as well as seeing all 18 holes an extra time.

For now, she'll eye a trip to the second round Thursday morning. A victory there pushes her into the afternoon's third round.

The quarterfinals are set for Friday, with the semifinals scheduled Saturday and the 36-hole final slated for Sunday.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Amateur: Philip Knowles goes deep at Florida State Amateur Match Play Championship

Bradenton's Philip Knowles came close to capturing the 23rd Florida State Amateur Match Play Championship that concluded Sunday at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville.

Knowles won five straight matches to earn a spot in Sunday afternoon's final against Juno Beach resident Kevin Jorden.

A champion couldn't be determined in regulation, so the match went into a sudden-death playoff. After both players halved the 19th and 20th holes with pars, Jorden claimed the title on the 21st hole with an 18-foot birdie.

That birdie followed Knowles up-and-down par from the greenside bunker.

Knowles fired a 69 in the seeding round to grab one of the top seeds in the match play portion. From there, he knocked off three opponents with a 4-and-3 victory, one opponent by a 3-and-1 margin and another by a 3-and-2 mark.

The Bradenton Christian rising junior is primed for a big prep season on the heels of the state match play performance and other top state tournaments on both the junior and amateur circuits.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Monday Recap: Tiger's rout and Paula Creamer fades at Women's British

Tiger Woods. Photo courtesy of McClatchy-Tribune News Services.

Tiger Woods earned an easy victory this past weekend, leaving all the drama to rest on Sunday after a scorching 61 in Friday's second round at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio.

That bodes well for Woods ahead of the PGA Championship in Rochester, N.Y. this week.

Woods is searching for that major title to resurrect his chase of Jack Nicklaus hallowed mark of 18 major championships.

Woods has claimed 14 major championships, and Oak Hill is a prime place for him to win his first one since the 2008 United States Open based off last week's performance.

Phil Mickelson is another favorite after he broke the British Open jinx to become one of a select few to have won three different major titles (that dastardly U.S. Open still eludes Lefty).

And Woods should find solace in Mickelson's form leading into this year's Open. Prior to the July major, Mickelson won the Scottish Open in a playoff to show he was capable of winning across the pond.

While the style of the game isn't the question (Mickelson had a horrid history with links courses) for Woods, the issue is on El Tigre's finishing in major championships.

That will remain a question mark until proven otherwise, which didn't require much proof last weekend after such a torrid round that flirted with the magical 59 mark. But Woods is in a good spot entering the final major of 2013 on the heels of such an impressive victory.

Paula Creamer. Photo courtesy of McClatchy-Tribune News Services.

Meanwhile, IMG Academy alum Paula Creamer faded in the RICOH Women's British Open after a 76 in the final round left her tied for 11th place.

Creamer was four shots behind eventual winner Stacy Lewis as the fourth round began Sunday, but bogeys on three of her first four holes doomed her to just missing a top 10 finish.

Creamer has just one major title under her belt, the 2010 U.S. Women's Open. In past seasons, she'd have to wait until next year to fight for another major. But the Evian Masters was added as a fifth major beginning this year, so Creamer still has a chance before the season concludes to get her second major title.

The Evian Masters is scheduled for mid-September in France.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Women's British Open: Paula Creamer starts strong

Paula Creamer at the 2012 Kingsmill Championship. Photo courtesy of McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

 The RICOH Women's British Open is underway at the home of golf, Saint Andrews.

And that means golfers with connections to Manatee County are testing their skill in a major championship.

Here's how things stand after Thursday's first round for the locals:

Paula Creamer is leading the charge for area contenders after a 4-under par 68 leaves her tied for 10th place. The IMG Academy alum is two shots off the pace set by co-leaders Morgan Pressel and Camilla Lennarth.

While Creamer played well on the first day, Bradenton native Jessica Korda (72) and Jodi Ewart Shadoff (76) have more work to do. Korda is tied for 74th and Ewart Shadoff, an English native that lives in the area, is tied for 132nd.

The second round continues from Fife, Scotland on the Old Course on Friday.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Masters Top 10 Shots/Moments List

With the Masters beginning on Thursday, what better way to kick it off here with a Golf Coast top 10 list.

So here is our opinion of the Top 10 Masters shots or moments that aided a player donning the green jacket:

10. Charl Schwartzel, 2011

Schwartzel didn't have one shot that got him an annual invitation to Augusta National for the Masters, rather the South African escaped a maddening final round with four consecutive birdies to earn a two-shot victory. His string of birdies to close that Sunday's action was the first time in Masters history to complete the feat and triumph, and it came in a tournament forever linked to Rory McIlroy's epic collapse.

9. Fuzzy Zoeller, 1979

The importance of Zoeller's winning putt is what makes his inclusion in this list mandatory. It came in a playoff against Tom Watson and Ed Sneed, while the sun was fast setting. But the real point to it all is that Zoeller won the tournament in his first appearance, a historical no-no considering Masters champions usually come after learning the intricacies of Augusta National over time.

8. Phil Mickelson, 2004

Lefty entered that year's edition still holding the tag of "Best player to never win a major." That was shed as he dropped a birdie on the 72nd hole. The putt is one we've seen several champs convert on the final hole such as Mark O'Meara and Vijay Singh, but Mickelson's winning putt resonated with everyone that had witnessed the left-hander implode down the stretch at too many majors in the past.

7. Jack Nicklaus, 1986

The Golden Bear was past his prime. He was washed up, and wasn't a contender because he hadn't won a major in years. Or so it was said leading into the 1986 edition. The momentum shifted firmly in Nicklaus' favor when he delivered a birdie on the 17th hole on the final day for his first lead in the 72-hole tournament. He sealed things up on No. 18 and watched as his challengers faded.

6. Jack Nicklaus, 1975

Yes, the 18-time major champion is listed twice. And back-to-back, for that matter. There's a good reason as Nicklaus drained a 40-footer on the par-3 16th that led to another Masters title. The putt was much-needed for the Golden Bear as Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf were in the mix, threatening to take the green jacket for themselves.

5. Larry Mize, 1987

Most people would rate this shot higher, and perhaps I have it a little low. Well, the significance and pure shock of Mize's chip-in to defeat Greg Norman in a playoff in addition to the length (over 100 feet) is enough to make it standout as possibly the greatest shot ever. However, this writer feels there are four better ones.

4. Tiger Woods, 2005

Perhaps it's recent history swaying my mind, but I feel Tiger's chip-in on the 16th was really difficult to judge despite the slope aiding in his conversion. The crowd was loud on an epic level, and Nike had the perfect advertisement as the ball stopped briefly before falling into the cup with the company's swoosh logo visible to a global television audience. Despite having gravity aiding the effort, Woods had to throw the ball quite high on the ridge as he was short-sided and then hope it stayed on the path toward the hole. It did, and he found another green jacket.

3. Phil Mickelson, 2010

Nobody has ever confused Lefty as the conservative type in his course management, and he took the bold approach to a whole new level on the par-5 13th at the 2010 Masters. Facing an improbable 207-yard shot over water from the pine needles with some branches affecting his shot, Mickelson's choice seemed clear: lay-up and try making birdie with a wedge. Alas, Mickelson didn't do that and the result was one that is forever etched in the memory of that year's tournament. Fitting it in between two trees and just getting it past Rae's Creek, Mickelson reached the green in two and was quite close. He failed to make the eagle putt, but made birdie and was on his way to another green jacket.

2. Bubba Watson, 2012

This might seem like a tiring trend of so many 21st century shots included, but there's been quite a lot of good ones in the past 10 years. This one is no exception as Watson's winning shot from what seemed like an impossible angle in last year's playoff, easily is deserving of its high ranking. He hooked a wedge 50 yards, displaying his own style of golf, in captivating the crowd en route to his first major.

1. Gene Sarazen, 1935

We go old school with the top shot and/or moment in Masters history. The Squire's double-eagle with a 4-wood on the par-5 15th hole enabled him to get into a playoff with Craig Wood and come way with victory. The shot came with little fanfare in the second Masters tournament as there weren't as many spectators nor the power of television like there are today. Nonetheless, it was dubbed, "The Shot Heard Round the World." And it was memorialized at the course in subsequent years. Why not? The double-eagle is the hardest shot to attain, making a two on a par-5 or an ace on a par-4. It doesn't just take luck, but supreme skill in hitting two shots (in Sarazen's case) so precise to come away with what used to be called an albatross.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Golf Boys release second video

Who says golf is boring?

Leave it to 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson and fellow PGA Tour players Ben Crane, Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan to lighten things up with their boy band musical group, "Golf Boys."

The quartet splashed onto the scene last year with a gnarly music video that was quite funny.

Now they're back at it again.

Crane, the ring leader, got his brethren together for the latest video, which was launched in early March.

Here it is:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pro golf: Victorian Open leader DQ'ed

Golfers get disqualified from tournament competition for rules infractions. At the top level, it usually comes from a player not knowing they committed the penalty and were called out by a viewer that was sitting at home.

Well, how about the latest DQ in professional men's golf?

It wasn't because of the aforementioned viewer calling out the pro. Rather it's the pro failing to do the simplest of tasks: signing your scorecard.

New Zealander Nick Gillespie posted a 7-under par 65 that tied the course record at Thirteenth Beach Golf Links at the Victorian Open in Australia.

That was good for a two-shot lead heading into Friday's second round.

Except Gillespie didn't sign the scorecard and was promptly DQ'ed.

So local golfers should heed the above as a lesson: when playing tournament golf, double-check your scorecard and make sure you sign the card as well as sign for the correct scores on each hole.

Otherwise, you might cost yourself some big-time cash or a chance at a tournament title.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Poll: Tiger Woods

Will Tiger Woods win a major in 2013? That's one burning question heading into the new season that starts Friday with the PGA Tour's Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Of course, it's been a question every season since Woods last claimed a major title, the 2008 United States Open on a bum knee.

The subsequent scandal of his infidelities broke globally and Woods hasn't been the same since.

But in 2012, he won three times. It's a sign that his game is recovering. Yours truly tabbed Woods to win either three or four times without a major leading into the 2012 season.

I've made some more predictions for 2013.

What are they?

Find out by picking up Saturday's edition of the Bradenton Herald.

Until then, make your voice heard by voting yes or no to the poll asking if Tiger Woods will win a major in 2013.