Welcome to the fourth and final post looking back at 2011 for myself and Hooked On Golf Blog. I start this post in July 1 2011, which happens to be when I’m on an airplane to golf’s home, St. Andrews, Scotland. What comes up first is the trip of a lifetime and the shot of a lifetime.
My first July golf blog came on the 2nd, Greetings From St. Andrews. It was a quick hello from the home of golf. Not much time to write, too much golf to be played and pubs to be experienced.
My 2nd July post is Great times in St. Andrews, more to come. Look at the killer pic of my golf group standing in the Road Hole bunker.
Within a couple of hours of arriving in St. Andrews, we were teeing off on the Old Course. Having traveled all day and having no feel for the huge difference between American golf and Scottish golf, I was happy with my 81.
Shot Of A Lifetime
At 7:00am the next day, we played the Old Course again. This is where I hit the shot of a lifetime–the greatest par I’ll ever have on the Road Hole, the 17th. To cap that off I make birdie on #18 to shoot a satisfying 77.
Picking my ball out after holing out from 196 yards, Road Hole – St. Andrews, Scotland
Other courses played while in St. Andrews include the amazing Castle Course, the unbelievable Kingsbarns, Strathtyrum, Jubille Course, New Course and the Eden Course.
Interviewed Robert Duvall
I had the great pleasure of interviewing Academy Award winning actor Robert Duvall about his starring role in the golf movie Seven Days In Utopia.
In August I had the pleasure of seeing my golf writing appear in an actual print magazine. My article on the Solstice Golfathon appeared in the Utah Golf Association’s Fairways Magazine.
On August 8th I posted a review of one of the best courses in Southern Utah, Coral Canyon.
The HOG World Tour headed for some sea and sun to southern California and the beach. While there I took some time away from basking in the sun to visit the Cleveland/Srixon world headquarters.
Part one and part two of my look back at 2011 covered the professional golf world, Tiger Woods, PGA Tour etc. Part three today covers the first half of 2011 for Hooked On Golf Blog as well as my own unique experiences. I’m lumping them together because it is too hard to separate them. So here’s a sequential look at January to June 2011 through the HOG and TK filter:
January is always a big post month because of the start of the PGA Tour season, and because of my annual trek to do live blogging from the PGA Merchandise Show. At the PGA Show I did a ton of interviews including Titleist, Taylormade, Bridgestone Golf, Cleveland/Srixon and many others.
Unfortunately in January I separated my shoulder skiing. I was blogging and shooting photos with one arm in a sling. The injury caused me to miss the annual Battle of the Golf Blogs in Orlando at the PGA Show. My role became photographer, reporter, tweeter and videographer.
Nike Machspeed Black Driver - click for review
My new Nike Machspeed Black driver review was posted.
Did a review of the Hexcaliber, a golf ball compression and roundness testing device. Very cool.
Nailed down Nike Golf as the grand prize provider for 2011 HOG/Space fantasy golf. I rule.
There were many newsworthy items in the 2011 golf world and obviously I can’t mention all of them. But here are a few which stand out in my mind, with relevant links to the original HOG posts. Part One of my look back at the golf world of 2011 covers professional golf, January to June. Part two, tomorrow, covers July to December.
2011 was a year of parity. No player won more than two times on the PGA Tour in 2011.
The official world golf rankings were about as volatile as John Daly in a Hooters. The #1 golfer in the world position seemed like a hot potato, switching from Lee Westwood to Martin Kaymer to Lee Westwood to Luke Donald.
Feherty joins Golf Channel
Ben Crenshaw recorded a 59, his 59th birthday.
David Feherty joined Golf Channel.
Camillo Villegas signed with TaylorMade. Later he was disqualified at the Tournament of Champions.
Tiger Woods begins his free fall from the top of the world golf rankings.
Rookie Vegas wins Bob Hope in 3-way playoff.
The billion dollar Tiger Woods golf project in Dubai is scrapped – Abandoned Dunes.
People freak over Bubba's $525,000 watch
Martin Kaymer moves to #1 in the world, Luke Donald #2.
People freak out because Bubba Watson wears a $525K watch which was loaned to him by watch sponsor.
The PGA Tour allows mobile devices at their tournaments.
Tiger Woods “spit gate” in Dubai. Later Tiger apologizes via Twitter.
Sandra Gal records first LPGA win
Tiger Woods puts his yacht “Privacy” up for sale for $20 million. My attempts to get 20 million people to each chip in $1 and buy it with me fail.
Mega hot LPGA player Sandra Gal wins first LPGA tournament.
During a time when Tiger Woods’s swing was not working well, the Tiger Woods golf swing app is released.
I interview Fred Funk. What a cool cat.
Team Lake Nona wins the Tavistock Cup.
Japan earthquake and tsunami rocks the world. (more…)
Twice in the last week and a half we’ve had some severe winds here in northern Utah. This time of year these winds are funneled down the canyons and hit areas near the mouths of the canyons. The first set of winds hit farther north, up in the Davis County area with winds that were clocked as high as 102mph. Unfortunately there has been some heartbreaking damage to some beautiful golf courses up in that area.
One of two large pines taken down by high winds at Bonnevillie's 12th green
Davis Park golf course has lost some 450 trees, while I’d heard that Oakridge Country Club lost 100+. I do know that the pro at Davis is quite heartbroken about the damage and says that the course will never look the same. The tree lined fairways of both those courses are what gives them much of their personality.
One of my home courses, Bonneville in Salt Lake City, was also a victim. They only seemed to have lost a couple of trees. The two shots here are from my round on 12/11/11. The two trees are near the 12th green. Very sad to see these big pines go down. (more…)
It is a good time to be an international golf star, at least for now. Chinese tycoons have been engaging in purse wars, luring big golf stars with millions in prize money and appearance fees to their resorts and tournaments in Asia. I knew I should have taken up golf sooner.
I’ve read a couple of stories this morning regarding these silly season tournaments in Asia and the insanely high purses and appearance fees. Rory McIlroy just won the Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters recently and collected the largest single tournament prize in golf history, $2 million. The relatively new and unknown tournament also paid out an estimated $20 million in appearance fees to the field, which was only 30 players. You do the math.
In November pro golfers pocketed around $20 million in Asian prize money, not to mention the countless millions in appearance fees.
Chinese tycoon Tenniel Chu is one of those tycoons who has been shelling out big bucks. He must be feeling a little sore. That’s either because he’s been shelling out the bucks to the players and not seeing a real benefit, or because he was trumped by a competing family, the Shis, who put on the Shanghai Masters. Chu is asking for a cap on the prize money.
“China has deep pockets but the last thing we want to do is to raise financial expectations to levels which are non-proportional to tradition and established events.”
China seems to be today’s version of what Dubai was a few years ago, luring big stars like Tiger Woods to play there for millions in appearance fees and huge purses. Wonder if they see the writing on the wall? Will their projects, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars, “turn to dust” like the billion dollar Tiger Woods development in Dubai?