The WGC – Accenture Match Play Championship begins tomorrow without Tiger Woods, a three-time winner, who is still on the self-imposed hiatus from tournament golf and according to his last public statement, repairing his marriage.
Qatar – Matthew Moucharafieh, a student at Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy (Hank Haney IJGA) in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, just recently competed in the 2010 Qatar Pro-Am at the Championship Course of Doha Golf Club. For the second straight year, Moucharafieh, a native of Lebanon, was paired up with PGA Tour veteran Retief Goosen of South Africa. As defending champions of the 2009 Qatar Pro-Am, Moucharafieh and his team of two others were invited to compete in the event again alongside Goosen. While Moucharafieh and his team did not walk away with the victory in 2010, he was excited about the opportunity to play with Goosen and the improvements in his golf game.
To golfers Florida is a wonderful place to live or visit or watch their favorite professionals tee it up and with more than 1,200 golf facilities the state has the largest golf economy in the country. It is instructive to look at the numbers of this $7.5 billion Florida golf economy as much for what they tell us as what they do not. The numbers and a couple of related points are particularly important for those who love golf to understand in light of the disingenuous image of the game as a “rich man’s sport’ being pushed by politicians with other agendas.
During the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla. last month two items on the agenda has particular significance. First the Florida Golf Impact Task Force showed the golf industry as a major employer which generates in the Sunshine State a significant amount of revenue for hotels, restaurants and other tourist related businesses. Second, with truly long range national significance was the announcement of WE ARE GOLF by four golf organizations to improve golf’s image in the eyes of national leaders.
The National Amputee Golf Association, (NAGA) announced today that its Board of Trustees has elected to include a division for for men and women with disabilities other than a major joint amputation to be able to compete in both the annual NAGA National Championship tournament for golfers of any age, and the Senior National Championship for golfers over fifty years of age.
Last July at the 2009 British Open, Tom Watson reminded us that age is just a number. He came within just one misjudged club selection of raising the Claret Jug. Watson was thinking about hitting a 9-iron from the middle of the fairway, but then settled on an 8-iron. The ball soared right at the flag, then bounced hard and fast over the back of the green. His putt back up the slope ran 8 feet past the hole. We all know if that ball stopped a foot or two short he’d be heading to St. Andrews this year as the reigning British Open Champion. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. But that hasn’t stopped Watson from playing great golf well in to his “senior years”.
Yesterday Ryder Cup Captain, Cory Pavin, announced the selections for his assistant captains for the 2010 Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup will be played October 1-3 in Wales. For the first time in a while, the U.S. team is the defending champion after beating Europe in 2008 at Valhalla.
In spite of reports the missing Tiger Woods will return to PGA Tour competition at the Accenture Match Play Championship in two weeks, don’t count on it. The original news story appeared in an Australian newspaper yesterday and was subsequently picked up by other news outlets.
At last week’s PGA Merchandise Show two topics dominated many conversations with the first being the Tiger Woods debacle. His fall from grace and his return to the PGA Tour was discussed endlessly with a significant minority raising the question of “if he will return” rather than “when.” However, since speculation is at best only grist for tabloids, the second and less sensational topic was the controversy over the groove change imposed on short irons.