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Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals Rescheduled for April 2021



Originally scheduled on the eve of Masters week, this year’s Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals has been rescheduled for April 2021.

Announcing the decision Friday, Augusta National Golf Club canceled this year’s event but said that it will invite each national finalist to compete at Augusta National in the same age division for which he or she previously qualified, regardless of their age on that date. The event has been rescheduled for April 4, 2021.

When Augusta National previously announced the postponement, on March 13, there was optimism that they’d be able to host the Masters and the other amateur events (including the Augusta National Women’s Amateur) “at some later date,” once the threat of the coronavirus has passed. But the club, guided by public health experts, has instead decided to cancel this year’s competition.

As a result, the 2020-21 Drive, Chip and Putt qualifying season, which was set to begin May 2, will also be canceled.

The club added that the cancelation of the DCP does not affect its Masters Tournament rescheduling efforts.

“We share in the disappointment of all those who were anticipating the start of Drive, Chip and Putt local qualifying, as well as this year’s National Finalists, who worked so hard to prepare for this April,” said Augusta National and Masters chairman Fred Ridley. “These decisions protect the health and well-being of the program’s many important constituents and were made independently from our Masters Tournament rescheduling efforts. With no qualifying this summer, we are pleased to maintain this wonderful tradition by welcoming these 80 boys and girls to Augusta National next April.”

Those who bought tickets to the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals will be refunded in May and guaranteed the opportunity to purchase tickets for next year’s championship.





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Who is the greatest golf course architect ever*? Golf Digest’s March Madness Bracket Challenge seeks to find out


The inaugural Golf Digest March Madness Architects of Golf tournament, born out of desire for the actual NCAA basketball tournaments never played and inspiration from a course-enthusiast on Twitter, Eric Hart, began last week—featuring competition between 70 architects or architectural teams, each represented by one golf course. Following a series of play-in games to pare the field to 64, golf fans on Twitter voted on each round of match-ups to decide who would advance (see the bracket below).

More than 50,000 votes were tallied in the first two rounds, yielding many predictable results and also a few surprises. Though the merit of these Twitter votes can be debated, the results are assuredly an indication of where hearts—if not heads—are when it comes to golf courses and those who build them.

Now we’re getting down to serious business, as we’re ready for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight voting to determine our Final Four. Almost every team still alive—the architect/course team, that is—is a powerhouse. The match-ups in these next two rounds will be epic and include many of America’s greatest courses, and we’re eager to see how the votes line up.

(This bracket reflects two rounds of completed results. Voting continues in the Sweet 16 on Thursday.)

Here are breakdowns of each region from me, and from Golf Digest Senior Editor for Architecture, Ron Whitten.

RON WHITTEN’S EAST REGION OVERVIEW

Click on the Twitter links below to vote:

Everything is proceeding by form in this Regional as the top four seeds square off. I still think these four courses could easily have constituted the Final Four. If we’re voting on the architect as represented by the course and not the course itself, C.B. Macdonald (National Golf Links) ought to win comfortably over Pine Valley, seeing how it’s the Father of Golf Architecture against a one-time Armchair Architect. But in a head-to-head contest between the respective courses, it’s much, much closer. I see it as top seed Pine Valley by a vote or two over fourth-seeded National Golf Links of America, although personally I think NGLA is the more architecturally sound golf course.

Same scenario with second-seeded Oakmont versus third-seeded Shinnecock Hills. William S. Flynn (Shinnecock) has a far greater portfolio than H.C. Fownes, another one-and-doner. But the Twitter world is focused on the product not the pencil, so Oakmont prevails.

So the regional final will pit the two most notorious examples of penal golf architecture in America. Which proves golfers who hang around Twitter are masochists, just like the rest of us.

Derek’s take:

Many voters have expressed regret that these four courses and architects are confined to this region—any one of them could conceivably with the entire tournament. But there’s no getting around the fact that an overwhelming number of important, architecturally groundbreaking American courses were founded in the Northeast. Geography and history are to blame.

National Golf Links of America and Pine Valley are two of the most influential courses ever built. Macdonald’s NGLA, an archetype of strategic design, has informed a distinct lineage stretching from protégé Seth Raynor all the way to contemporary creations. I would argue Pine Valley is even more significant: combining wild indigenous terrain with an unabashedly penal code of ethics, it created a new, distinctly American golf nomenclature, whereas NGLA’s roots are distinctly British.

The other half of the bracket is the tournament division: 19 professional majors (including 14 men’s U.S. Opens) have been contested at Shinnecock Hills and Oakmont (Pine Valley and NGLA have combined to host zero). This is Mozart vs. Beethoven, with Shinnecock’s flowing yet assertive melodies playing off Oakmont’s relentless, almost Germanic persistence. A Pine Valley/Oakmont final would pit together two one-hit wonder owner/architects (Crump and Fownes), while if NGLA and Shinnecock advance it will be the battle of property lines—they neighbor each other.

RELATED: Golf Digest’s latest ranking of the Best Courses in Every State

RON WHITTEN’S MIDWEST REGION OVERVIEW

Click on the Twitter links below to vote:

Three present-day architectural firms in the final four in this region, and you can bet every one of them worships the architecture of Perry Maxwell, the one long-gone architect represented (still alive?) in the Midwest. Coore and Crenshaw’s top-seeded Sand Hills in Nebraska was inspired by Maxwell’s second-seeded Prairie Dunes in Kansas, and I still believe those two will square off in the regional finals.

But let’s give a shout out to David McLay Kidd, whose sixth-seeded Mammoth Dunes (the only public-access course on the entire left-side of the bracket) pulled a genuine upset of third-seeded Lawsonia in the second round, and a shout, too, to Mike DeVries, whose fourth-seeded Kingsley Club outscored my beloved No. 5 seed Erin Hills. But it’s the end of the line, Mike and David. I don’t expect a mammoth upset by Mammoth Dunes, and Kingsley will not be King of this region.

Derek’s take:

Two of the tournament’s most closely contested games took place in the Midwest last week. Erin Hills held a lead for most of the day over Kingsley Club, until a strong contingent of Kingsley fans rallied late to turn out the vote and push it past its Wisconsin rival. Mammoth Dunes and Lawsonia were also nip and tuck, with David McLay Kidd’s course at Sand Valley outlasting a strong showing from the old Langford & Moreau favorite.

One might think Sand Hills is bullet-proof at this point, but if ever there was a contender to knock it out this round it would be Kingsley, a course that checks all the necessary boxes: extreme architectural variety, artistic shaping, an incredible and spacious site, a serene and undisturbed playing experience and a fervid following.

Mammoth Dunes and Prairie Dunes will be interesting. More people have probably played and enjoyed Mammoth, but that doesn’t seem to effect voters’ actions in this tournament. These are two courses that are wildly fun to play in different ways, but the thought here is that it will be Sand Hills vs. Prairie Dunes in a Great Plains battle royale to represent the Midwest.

RON WHITTEN’S SOUTHEAST REGION OVERVIEW

(Sweet 16 voting in the Southeast and West regions will take place Friday. Scroll up to vote in the East and Midwest regional semifinals.)

The most topsy-turvy of any region, with five of the top eight seeds already gone, two of them in the opening round. Tenth-seeded Sweetens Cove has become the darling of the tournament, but let’s face it—its architect Rob Collins is a great guy with a ton of imagination, but he’s still just a one-hit wonder at this point, with a nine-hole course no less. Beating Pete Dye and TPC Sawgrass was a stunning achievement, and now he’s squaring off against Papa Jones, the legendary Robert Trent Jones, who pretty much made golf course design an actual money-making profession, and whose 50-years of accomplishments overshadows Collins’ by 49 years.

But third-seeded Peachtree was not, in my estimation, the best Trent Jones work to seed in the tournament, and I’m surprised it has come this far. Thus, I predict the fantasy for Sweetens Cove will continue for one more round, as it upsets Peachtree. As for top-seeded Pinehurst No. 2, Donald Ross’s masterpiece (retooled by Coore and Crenshaw, but we’re not supposed to mention that, are we?), against fifth-seeded Tobacco Road, the masterwork of the late Mike Strantz, my heart continues to feel it’s Tobacco Road’s to lose, but my head tells me Pinehurst No. 2 will prevail. And the winner might have its work cut out against the Cinderella of this bracket, Sweetens Cove.

Derek’s take:

The Southeast is the most disrupted region, at least by seed. The story here is Sweetens Cove, a nine-hole course in Tennessee that many, including my colleague Ron Whitten, didn’t think should even be in the tournament. Clearly, in a Twitter competition, they should be. Sweetens has run from a play-in game all the way to the Sweet 16, propelled by a nation of ardent worshippers who vote in unison.

Given Sweetens’ early-Bernie Sanders-like voting strength, it might take a Biden-like consolidation of votes from the other three courses to knock it out.

The other semifinal, Pinehurst No. 2 and Tobacco Road, will be an entertaining a clash of old and new, subtle and flair. No matter which course advances, the regional final should be fascinating. In one scenario we will find out if Sweetens Cove loyalists (assuming they show out versus Peachtree) actually think it’s a better course and architect combo than Pinehurst No. 2 and Donald Ross. In the other case, it will be a battle of polarizing favorites, with the late, beloved Mike Strantz and Tobacco Road going up against an upstart course that clearly admires and takes cues from the former’s the unconventional extremism.

RELATED: Golf Digest’s latest ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Courses

RON WHITTEN’S WEST REGION OVERVIEW

(Sweet 16 voting in the Southeast and West regions will take place Friday. Scroll up to vote in the East and Midwest regional semifinals.)

Another region where the top four seeds advanced and thus has lacked much excitement. With three of the four courses bordering the Pacific, you’ve got to feel second-seeded Riviera is the underdog in this region, since it’s a couple of miles from the shoreline and has no ocean views whatsoever. But this is George C. Thomas Jr. versus Tom Doak, two literate designers who’ve written extensively and authoritatively on golf architecture when not producing stunning designs. This is another heart versus head struggle for me. My heart is with Thomas and his underdog Riviera, but my head tells me Doak’s Pacific Dunes will prevail.

As for top-seeded Cypress Point versus fourth-seeded Pebble Beach (Just a four seed? Really?), Cypress has everything in its favor, a legendary architect in Alister Mackenzie, a stunning set of ocean holes and holes in sand dunes as well. Pebble has a less accomplished architect (although Jack Neville did more designs than just this one—check out his modest back nine at Pacific Grove Municipal, for instance) but Pebble has more ocean holes than Cypress Point, and better ones, too. Still, when you put the contest as MacKenzie versus Neville, it’s no contest. Cypress Point wins, and faces Pacific Dunes for a spot in the final four.

Derek’s take:

There were no major surprises in the West—in fact, there have been very few closely contested matches. We’re left, however, with a situation where one of these teams is not like the others.

Three of the four courses here showcase some of the game’s greatest views and oceanfront holes. Riviera, however, is landlocked, and views are neither part of the architecture nor the experience—unless you count the scenic, elevated tee-shot at the first just outside the clubhouse door, or the climb toward eighteen with the iconic clubhouse beyond.

Cypress Point vs. Pebble Beach is a battle for the ages. Cypress has historically held the head to head advantage in most rankings, but this game will measure voters’ affection for a place as much as their assessment of its architecture. In the other game, Pacific Dunes’ wind-whipped and rhythmic intensity battles Riviera’s clean presentation of classical architectural concepts. It’s often debated whether Pebble Beach or Pacific Dunes offers the public a better show along cliffs, but Pacific Dunes may get a crack at an even bigger prize: Cypress Point.

RELATED: Golf Digest’s latest ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Courses


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Notes: Olympic delay help or hurt Tiger Woods’ chances of making U.S. team?


Unlike other sports where athletes had already qualified, golf was not thrown into any significant chaos when the Olympics were postponed until 2021 because of the new coronavirus.

Eligibility for each country is determined by the world ranking about a month before the start of competition. The ranking was frozen during the shutdown in golf, and one can only speculate when the sport will resume.

Justin Thomas said he was ”bummed” to hear about the postponement, though he understood and said it was the right decision.

”Whenever it’s played, it’ll be great and I hope I’m a part of the team,” Thomas said in a text message Tuesday.

Antony Scanlon, executive director of the International Golf Federation, said from his home in Switzerland the news was too fresh to determine the next step. It’s likely that whenever the Olympics are scheduled, the cutoff for the world ranking will be set accordingly.

The question going forward is which players it helps or hurts.

And that starts with Tiger Woods, whom Olympic organizers would love to see in Tokyo chasing a gold medal.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have officially been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Woods was No. 4 among Americans going into the year (as many as four players from a country are eligible if all are in the top 15) but has slipped to No. 6 after playing only twice this year. He has said his back wasn’t ready to play in Mexico City and at Bay Hill and The Players. And now there’s no golf for at least two months.

That wouldn’t have helped his chances. Now he gets another year. He’ll also be another year older, 45, and Woods already is starting to reduce his schedule.

Brooks Koepka was leaning against the Olympics because of the slow start to his season brought on by injury. Now he might rethink the schedule depending on where the Olympics fall in 2021. Dustin Johnson indicated even before COVID-19 became a pandemic that the Olympics would make it difficult for him to be ready for the FedExCup.

For the women, it could be a bonus for Inbee Park, the defending gold medalist.

Currently, Park would be the first reserve among the South Korean powerhouse team. She added to her schedule at the start of the year to improve her ranking and now gets more time. Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland, who turned pro late last year after a decorated career at Stanford, currently holds the final spot in the women’s field. She qualified for the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016 as an amateur.

”This was one of the reasons I decided to turn professional. I knew that it would be hard to qualify, but that if I played in enough tournaments, and made some cuts, I would have a fair chance,” Valenzuela told GolfChannel.com.

The rest of the outcome is based on form, always fickle in golf.


LPGA ROOKIE WAITS: Three tournaments into her rookie season on the LPGA Tour, Patty Tavatanakit was disappointed by cancellations brought on by the spread of the new coronavirus.

She had been given exemptions on the Asia swing to play before a home crowd at the Honda LPGA Thailand, and in the HSBC Women’s Championship in Singapore. They were among three LPGA Tour events called off because of COVID-19.

That turned out to be only the start of a wait without knowing when she could play again.

The LPGA tour’s last event ended Feb. 16 in Australia (Feb. 14 for Tavatanakit, who missed the cut). The next tournament on the schedule, for now, is May 14 in Florida.

An LPGA rookie class has never navigated more uncharted waters. The uncertainties continue to mount with each lost or postponed event.

”It’s not ideal not playing,” Tavatanakit said Tuesday from Florida. ”I don’t know how many events we’re going to play this year. But whatever it is, we all have to take it from there. If there’s 10 tournaments, then there’s 10 tournaments.”

She at least has full status from having finished No. 2 on the Symetra Tour money list last year, meaning she should get in just about every event but the majors. The 21-year-old UCLA alumna is using last summer to calm any concerns about how much she has to do in a shorter time.

Tavatanakit won consecutive tournaments and had an outside shot at the money title in just 11 events.

”If I have the opportunity in hand, I have a good chance of keeping my card this year,” she said. ”I’m just worried about when we’re getting out of this break.”

Her best move was leaving California for Florida, where she has been practicing with her boyfriend at Isleworth.

”I can’t imagine how hard it is to be in L.A. right now,” she said.

Even so, the words of Rory McIlroy when he left The Players Championship rang true. McIlroy wondered that day what it would be like to practice without knowing when he was going to play again.

”I actually was thinking about. I was putting for 20 minutes and it was like, ‘What am I practicing for?”’ she said. ”You just have to be solid about your goals and have a picture of what kind of golfer you want to be, pushing forward and working hard. And I have a clear image of that. I’m a rookie. I’m trying to get up there. I have a lot to work on.”

Tavakanakit at least has high status for a rookie. Jiwon Jeon, who played at Alabama, is lower down the list, having earned a card through the Q-Series. She has played one tournament, the Vic Open, where she opened with a pair of 69s and shot 86 to miss the 54-hole cut.

Jeon was in Los Angeles working with swing coach Ted Oh and preparing for the Founders Cup in Arizona when the LPGA Tour shut down.

”It is very frustrating that I was only able to play one tournament so far, but I respect the decisions of the LPGA postponing the few events for our health and safety,” Jeon said in an email.

She since has returned home to South Korea and is practicing, preferably outdoors.

”Due to new government regulations for COVID-19 pertaining to using indoor facilities (having to get temperature checked to enter and using the gym, etc.), I am trying to avoid indoor facilities and try to spend time outdoors playing golf,” she wrote. ”If I have to be indoor, I wear masks.”


STRONG VOICE: The PGA Tour posted a ”message to our fans” in which the voice was as powerful as the words.

It was narrated by Phil Mickelson.

”The PGA Tour has always been my home, my second family, and during this unprecedented moment in our world, it is time we all join together,” Mickelson says. ”To support each other, to inspire each other, to unify as one.”

What made the narration so compelling is Mickelson has been looked upon as a possibility of leaving the tour for the Premier Golf League. He played with organizers during the pro-am at the Saudi International and said he was ”intrigued” by the idea. Mickelson had said at the end of the West Coast swing that he might be ready to speak about his intentions at The Players Championship. That week was torn apart by the coronavirus that has shut down all sports.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Dustin Johnson is the only player to win a PGA Tour event on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.


FINAL WORD: ”At the end of the day, Jay has the most moving parts. He has been incredibly open and fair. Every time he gives a date up, it’s one he doesn’t have. That’s real money.” – PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh on PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.





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Tua Tagovailoa looks ready to go number one overall


Ladies and gentleman, the Cincinnati Bengals are on the clock. Since LSU stormed their way to the National Championship, it’s been widely assumed that the Bingles will make Joe Burrow the number one overall pick. Not even a nine-inch hand size spooked off Kiper and the rest of the Big Board soothsayers, who still have the Southern Ohio kid staying put. But what if we told you that a new contender has stepped into the ring and that that contender was, in fact, the only contender all along? What if we told you his career-threatening hip injury looks just fine? What if we told you, after watching these videos posted to IG on Monday, that Tua Tagovailoa will be the actual first QB off the board come April? What would you say to that?

The footwork is crisp, a rhythmic machine gun ratatat. The release is smooth, not quite the Marino framerate glitch, but still upper echelon. But it’s the lateral movement that’s really gonna send Todd McShay scrambling for his dry erase marker. This is what the hip dislocation and resulting posterior fracture were really going to impact, the experts said. It’S tHe SAmE iNJuRy tHaT eNdEd bO jACkSon’S cAreEr! Well, apparently not. Even King of Quarterbacks Trent Dilfer approves, and if you’re not listening to Trent Dilfer, then who the hell are you listening to?

RELATED: Do these women look angry that their Bachelorette party was ruined by the NFL Draft?

Still Team Joe? Well consider 2018, when Sam Darnold was the presumptive number one overall pick until the Mayfield portfolio went through the roof the week before the Draft. Come Draft Night, the flashy tape monster was first to the podium while your dad’s quarterback had to wait until number three. Granted, that was the Cleveland Browns, but this is the Cincinnati Bengals. Potato, potahto.

So yeah, we’re not saying bet the house on it . . . but maybe the car.





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Instructor Pete Cowen ‘feeling horrendous,’ believes he has COVID-19



LONDON – Instructor Pete Cowen tells The Daily Telegraph in Britain he has all the symptoms of the new coronavirus and says he has told all his players to follow health and government guidelines on COVID-19.

”I’m feeling horrendous and wouldn’t wish this on anyone, no matter how young and fit they may be,” Cowen said.

Cowen works with Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka, Gary Woodland and Graeme McDowell, among many others, putting in long hours on the practice range at the biggest events. He was at The Players Championship before it was canceled last week after one round because of concerns over the coronavirus.

The Telegraph says Cowen has not been tested, but believes he has COVID-19.

”After a few days of self-isolation, we decided to ring the ambulance and the medics said I ticked every box on the corona sheet,” Cowen said. ”They were fantastic, but said they were not allowed to test me unless I was admitted to hospital and then the staff there decided to keep you in.

Cowen says he decided to stay home in England because he’s in good shape.

”I don’t want to alarm anyone, and I might just have been particularly vulnerable to it,” Cowen told The Telegraph. ”But I’m not sure how anyone with an underlying illness could cope with this.”

Woodland said in a text message to Golfweek that he’s spoken with Cowen over the last few days and ”he’s said he thinks he has the virus and has been in isolation feeling horrible.” Woodland says he and his wife and three young children are healthy and have no symptoms.

Victor Lange of South Africa, who played one time on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica earlier this month, is the only player known to have tested positive for the corona virus.





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Paul Lawrie’s golf career takes a twist as he dives into sports management


In a strange new world in which professional golfers suddenly have time on their hands (and feet, legs and just about every other part of their anatomies due to the coronavirus), Paul Lawrie is suffering less than most. The 1999 Open champion has never had much trouble finding things to do, no matter the circumstances.

One of only eight men to have played more than 600 events on the European Tour—where he won eight times and twice represented the Old World in the Ryder Cup—the now 51-year-old Scot was last season’s rookie of the year on the Staysure (European Seniors) Tour, winning the Scottish Senior Open along the way. Lawrie also competes as and when he can on the PGA Tour Champions (invitations have, however, been less than plentiful), in between helping out at his eponymous Golf Centre just outside his home city of Aberdeen.

Away from the tour, Lawrie and his wife, Marian, organize and run the Paul Lawrie Foundation, its core aim to get as many juniors as possible playing golf. Since its formation almost two decades ago, more than 30,000 youngsters have taken part in the various activities that run weekly from April to October every year.

And there’s more. On the back of helping European Tour player David Law with his various sponsorships two years ago, Lawrie founded the Five Star sports agency, which now boasts six clients, including himself. The company is also involved in running and promoting events like Lawrie’s own invitational pro-am, the Brewdog Northern Open and the Farmfoods Scottish Par-3 Championship.

That relatively modest operation suits Lawrie just fine, at least for the moment. Long experience has shown him the many pitfalls that can await a management group that gets too big, too fast. And, having made a few mistakes himself along the way, he brings to his still newish role a neat combination of enthusiasm and cynicism.

RELATED: Paul Lawrie joins select company with honorary degree from the U. of St. Andrews

All of a sudden, for example, Lawrie has gone from always being able to get people on the phone, to having some not return his calls. It’s a strange feeling, one he sometimes struggles to understand. To him, it does seem like bad manners.

“I’ve always enjoyed meeting business people and being involved in any deals that result,” Lawrie says. “It’s not quite the same as playing, of course. But when I come away from a meeting with a good deal for a player, I get a huge buzz. So for us to take on more than we have at the moment, I would have to hire someone. I don’t want to do that just yet. As things stand, I can do all that I need to do and play a bit too. Six of us is enough at the moment because of how much I am involved.”

And on the other side of that equation?

“I’ve always been hard but fair with agents,” Lawrie says. “But I hammered them for not letting me know what was going on. If they had a meeting with someone, I wanted to know what happened straight away. I wanted to know what was said. Basic communication is huge with me. Plus, I like honesty. I’ve had situations in the past where I have signed with someone who told me their intent was to have only three or four players on their books. Then, six months, on they have a dozen, which affected how much time they devoted to me. That won’t be happening at Five Star.”

paul-lawrie-competing-abu-dhabi-2020.jpg
Ross Kinnaird

Lawrie says he hopes to continue to play some golf, after winning rookie of the year honors on the European senior tour in 2019.

Indeed, as a manager, Lawrie is impressing on all of his clients the importance of creating a close relationship with each and every sponsor. Which is how he operated as a player.

“I was always a little different from most players,” Lawrie says. “I wanted to really know my sponsors, which is unusual. Most players leave everything like that to their agents. They meet sponsors only rarely. But I have always maintained contact with those giving me money. I go and see them. I call them on the phone. I email. I often play nine holes with some of my longer-standing sponsors. I don’t pester them. But a few times a year it is nice to meet up and talk about things.

“When I set up Five Star, I drummed that approach into all the players,” he says. “It has worked for me. I am someone who has had sponsors for long periods. I’ve been with Aberdeen Standard Investments since 1999. I like to think there are good reasons for that.”

Lawrie’s charges can also expect their agent to take advantage of every opportunity. Living up (or down) to the careful-with-cash image of every Aberdonian, he was always well covered in company logos. “Festooned” might be a more accurate description.

“I had as many as 12 sponsors pretty much my whole career,” says Lawrie with a smile. “That is both sleeves, both sides of the chest, both collars, back of neck, hat, glove, ball, clubs, shoes. At the moment, David Law has only his left chest for sale.”

RELATED: Golf is still being played at St. Andrews, but the R&A Clubhouse closes

Looking forward, Lawrie sees only slow expansion for Five Star, mainly because he isn’t quite finished with his own playing career. Despite on-going issues with his feet and lower back, he still intends to play 14-15 events in any “normal” year. But not on what Lee Trevino famously called the “flat bellies tour.”

“I’ve enjoyed my time on the European Tour,” Lawrie says. “I’ve had a good career. But it’s over now. I can’t compete at that level. I still hit the ball far enough. But my body is letting me down. I don’t enjoy playing rubbish. I can’t do what I used to be able to do. I hit 100 balls now and my back is loupin’ [aching]. So I can’t do the things you need to do to maintain the level of play you need on the main tour. But I can still compete with the seniors. There’s no cut and although the standard is good it is nothing like the European Tour.”

So there’s still a lot going on for Paul “Chippy” Lawrie. Oh, one last thing, he also helps out his clients with their short games. The man never stops.


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Anna Nordqvist wins playoff as mini-tours continue during pandemic


PHOENIX – Anna Nordqvist drained a birdie putt on the second playoff hole, pumped her fist and gave a slight wave to half-dozen people clapping near the green. The tournament title in hand, the two-time major champion turned to playing partner Lisa Pettersson and hesitated.

The customary post-round hug was out of the question, so the Swedish players touched elbows and walked off the green with a laugh.

The major golf tours may have shut down during the coronavirus outbreak, but a handful of mini tours are playing through.

Here’s a look at some events on primary tours that have been canceled or postponed amid the COVID-19 concerns.

“I’m sure there’s a lot of people questioning why we’re playing, but everyone is playing golf anyway,” Nordqvist said after winning a Cactus Tour event at Moon Valley Country Club on Friday. “Everyone got their own cart or they’re walking, you keep your distance and the golf course is a great place to be right now.”

The spreading coronavirus caused a ripple effect across the sports landscape as just about every major sport postponed or cancelled events and seasons. The LPGA joined the fray, postponing tournaments scheduled through the end of April and pushing the ANA Inspiration, its first major of the season, to September.

The LPGA announced Friday that the ANA Inspiration has been rescheduled to Sept. 10-13.

The Cactus and Outlaw tours have pushed on in Arizona, which has among the fewest coronavirus cases in the United States with around 64.

The Outlaw Tour, a men’s tour with events across the Phoenix area, held a three-day tournament this week at Western Skies Golf Course in Gilbert. Jared de Toit, a PGA Tour Latinoamerica player, shot a final-round 59 on Thursday, but lost in a playoff to fellow Canadian Wil Bateman.

Nordqvist shot a final-round 66 at Moon Valley to tie Pettersson and won it with a roughly 12-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole. England’s Holly Clyburn also won an Eggland’s Best Tour event in Lake Mary, Florida, this week.

“It’s definitely strange, but we’re taking precautions,” Pettersson said.

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan is leading his tour during uncertain times. ‘If this continues,” Whan said, ‘we’re going to have to make some of those tough choices.’

The Cactus Tour’s Moon Valley stop featured a limited field of 27 players and had preventative measures in place to protect from the coronavirus.

All carts were sanitized before each of the three rounds and those players who didn’t walk were limited to one per cart. The players were asked to space out on the course to follow social distancing guidelines and the post-round hugs often found in women’s golf were replaced by waves – and one last high-elbow.

Even the group photo at the end had social distancing; Cactus Tour director Mike Brown had the players stand arm’s length apart before taking the picture.

“We followed all the guidelines,” Brown said. “It’s safer for them for a chance of getting something doing what I did because they’re all individuals, not cramming into a golf cart right next to someone. But we’re obviously keeping an eye on how things go.”

The Cactus Tour has been an early stepping stone for LPGA players since its inception in 2005, holding women’s tournament across the Southwest, primarily in Arizona. The tour added the tournament at Moon Valley to its schedule this week and two others after players started calling Brown.

The Cactus Tour has events scheduled through a tournament Aug. 3-5 in Beaumont, California.

“The girls wanted to play. I didn’t call any one of them,” Brown said. “They want to play and they’re already playing anyway. I’ve gotten some bad press, but with all the things that are going on they’re already playing.”

Is it OK to continue to play golf at a country club or public course? Yes, but only with proper precautions.

The LPGA Tour’s U.S. schedule typically kicks into full gear in the spring, but now players are scrambling to find places to play.

Nordqvist tied for 25th at the Women’s Australian Open on Feb. 13-16, but tournaments in China, Thailand and Singapore were all canceled as the coronavirus spread across Asia.

With the LPGA season on hold, Nordqvist began searching for places to play.

She led last week’s Outlaw Tour event – she was the only woman in the 56-player field – after an opening-round 64 before tying for 28th at Moon Valley. Nordrdqvist stayed in the Phoenix area and picked up a win worth $2,000 in the Cactus Tour, where she hadn’t played since 2009.

“It’s been a rough stretch, obviously,” she said.

At least she and other players have a place to play – for now.





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Golf

Couch to Course: Fitness – Golf Digest


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Prepare your body for the demands of the golf season with a top-notch fitness routine. This workout series from Golf Digest 50 Best Golf-Fitness Trainer Kaitlyn Pimentel will teach you how to prime your golf muscles to swing with power and efficiency. Just follow along, do what Kaitlyn does in the videos, and you’re on your way to getting golf-fit.

Whether you’ve been working out during your lay-off or took a bit of an off-season, this golf-centric fitness series will help you build a foundation for a better, healthier game. Kaitlyn starts off with a routine that will improve your mobility and posture. Her Level 2 workout focuses on strengthening your core golf muscles. Level 3 and Level 4 are all about getting more explosive, developing speed and adding cardio.

Move through the four-part program at your own pace, and set yourself up for success this season. Then, come back to “Couch to Course” whenever you take a break from the game, or simply use it as your everyday workout routine. Take your fitness—and your game—to the next level!



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Golf

European Tour cancels GolfSixes, postpones Made in Denmark



The total number of European Tour events canceled or postponed because of the coronavirus, COVID-19, has risen to eight.

Following Tuesday’s postponement of the Andalucia Masters, European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley announced that two more events were being affected. The tour’s GolfSixes event, originally scheduled for May 9-10 in Cascais, has been canceled while the Made in Denmark has been postponed from its May 21-24 date.

“We will continue to monitor this global situation in relation to Coronavirus and evaluate its impact on all our tournaments, with public health and well-being our absolute priority,” Pelley said. “Discussions regarding the possible rescheduling of all postponed tournaments are ongoing and we remain hopeful of European Tour action resuming in Ireland at the end of May.”

After these latest changes, thee European Tour would, at the earliest, resume at the Irish Open on May 28-31.





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Golf

How any golfer can build a home gym for less than $300


During this time of self-quarantine because of COVID-19, working out isn’t just a great way to help stay healthy, it’s the perfect combatant to cabin fever. Though gyms are closing, you can still get a lot done. We’ve selected nine fitness items you can order now to build your own home gym—all for less than $300. When golf courses re-open, your body will thank you.

RELATED: The Best Fitness Equipment for Golfers
*All products featured on Golf Digest are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Kettlebell 12 lbs, $20.50

Kettlebells are a versatile strength-building tool that you can use for core and full-body workouts.

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Jump rope, $8

You might be getting flashbacks to middle-school gym class right now, but your P.E. teacher was onto something. Jump rope is great cardio, and you’ll find coordination benefits for golf, too.

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Gold’s Gym Vinyl Dumbbell Set, 40 lbs, $25

Though you’re probably used to having a full rack of weights to work with at the gym, this set includes 40 lbs of plates that can handle all of your curl, press and squat needs.

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Speed Stik, $99

Every golfer’s home gym needs a golf-specific tool. Taking swings with the Speed Stik will help you build swing speed.


Superflex Bands, 40 and 80 inch, $11-$31

Get both of these bands and you’ll be surprised by the variety of workouts you can do, while building lean muscle and increasing your flexibility.

RELATED: Can you play golf amid coronavirus concerns? With proper precautions, yes


Gaiam Yoga Mat, $28

Yoga mats are great for, well, yoga. But they also make perfect surfaces for core sessions.

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Body Fitness Bar, $48.50

It’s like the bar at the gym, but it’s made of rubber so it won’t damage the floor of your home.

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TriggerPoint Core Foam roller, $18

After working out, your body will be happy to see this foam roller. Roll out to help with soreness and tight muscles.

BUY NOW

RELATED: Give your muscles a break with these recovery rollers

Golf Digest fitness editor Ron Kaspriske contributed to this breakdown.

RELATED: 5 lingering pro golf questions in the wake of the coronavirus


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