Highlights Tours

Tiger Woods fuels hopes for participation in the 2022 PGA Championship

It’s reminiscent of the scenes that sent the golf world into hysterics a couple of weeks ago: a plane being tracked and a practice round that raised hopes of a appearance in a major. Only this time the surprise is not quite so great, given the feat Tiger Woods had achieved at the US Masters in 2022. Now the superstar was out on a practice round at Southern Hills Country Club to gauge the strain for the 2022 PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods on a practice round at Southern Hills Country Club

On Thursday, the 15-time major winner’s private jet touched down at the airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after which Tiger Woods played a practice round at Southern Hills, where the second major of the year will be played in about three weeks. Woods completed the 18 holes alongside Cary Cozby, the golf club’s head pro, reports the Golf Channel, and was spotted by numerous cameras; his putting drills were even filmed from a helicopter. According to a “Golf Channel” reporter, Cozby said that “Tiger had great speed with swing and was engaged regarding the lines to take with shots and the differences in green complexes since winning there in 2007.”

On his round, the 46-year-old was spotted wearing shorts that exposed a view of his damaged right leg, which is encased in a compression sleeve. On his feet, Woods is wearing the Footjoy shoes that first made his participation in the prestigious major at hilly Augusta National possible.

Immediately after the tournament, the five-time Masters winner announced that he would participate in the second Major of the year if possible and set his sights on the 150th Open Championship. Hall-of-Famer sources now say that after his practice round, Woods intends to play the 2022 PGA Championship in May, provided there are no further setbacks. This is reported by Golf Digest, which goes on to say that they will wait to see the body’s reactions to the increasing strain in the coming weeks before making a final decision on participation.

PGA Championship 2022 in Oklahoma

The PGA Championship 2022 will be held at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa from 19 to 22 May. Originally, the second major of the year was to be held at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, but after the riots at the beginning of 2021 with the storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters, the former US president’s club was stripped of its hosting status.

Tiger Woods has already played two major tournaments at Southern Hills; in 2007 he won the PGA Championship there for the fourth and for the moment last time. In 2019, however, the course was thoroughly renovated and therefore presents a new challenge this year. It was only recently announced that the golf legend is on the list of participants for the most important tournament of the PGA of America, as is defending champion Phil Mickelson. With the practice round, participation becomes more and more likely.


How far do amateur golfers hit their ball?

For years there has been discussion on the men’s professional tours about whether pros can hit the ball too far, and what effect that has on amateurs and on golf courses. A small study by a golf portal together with ShotScope show how far the amateur can hit his drive in all handicap classes, the comparison to the pros is enormous.

90 meters between professional and 25 handicap

The statistics show the average drive length for various handicap ranges. The scratch golfers among the amateurs hit the ball the farthest. They manage a solid 234 meters on average. The higher the handicap, the shorter the drives among amateurs. A handicap of 10 brings the ball into play at around 206 meters, but from handicaps of 15 and above, the distance of the tee shot drops well below 200 meters.

If you compare a player with a handicap of 25 with a tour pro, the difference is really serious: While the amateur hits the ball 172 meters with the driver, the average player on the PGA Tour drives 267 meters down the fairway. That’s more than 90 meters, and in our sport, of course, it’s worlds apart.

Even the comparison between scratch golfer and tour player is huge at this level. When the tour player hits 30 meters further than the scratch golfer the advantage is so great that once again you have to raise the question of whether the normal amateur can even grasp how the tour pro plays. Golf courses also face this problem. Many of the old courses, for example the Old Course at St. Andrews, are now actually too short for the pros. On the other hand, many of the newer courses are built to the length of the pros. The result is courses that are too long for the average golfer.

How to decrease the distances?

The fact is that many people are thrilled when Rory McIlroy or Bryson DeChambeau send the ball more than 300 meters down the fairway. But there is, firstly, an ever-growing faction that is not so happy about the whole thing. In addition, the R&A and USGA have to ask themselves how far they can and want to go with this game. The tours hit the ball further in each new decade than in the previous one, but this trend does not exist with the amateurs.

The first concepts on this subject are already being discussed. One idea, for example, is a flight-reduced ball for the pros. But even if one is convinced of the idea at the first moment, even such a simple solution brings with it a huge rat’s tail of problems. How does this ball behave? When will the amateur who wants to become a professional switch to this ball so as not to be at a disadvantage compared to those who have played with it for years in the future? To what extent do such ideas change the buying behavior of the broader golf community?

Golf’s elites must ask themselves these questions, and at some point there must be an answer to these questions. After all, courses can’t continue to grow in all directions, and the discrepancy between amateur and professional will eventually be so great that perhaps a broad mass will feel disconnected from professional golf. And nobody really wants that. The first regulations on drivers have already been issued by the organizations, but there is still a lot of work to be done.


Dog walk on the golf course becomes a nightmare

Last Sunday, an unbelievable scene occurred on the Delray Beach Golf Course in Florida. A 74-year-old pensioner attacked a man ten years younger than him because he was walking his dog across the golf course. According to police, the golfer even pulled out a gun and fired several shots at the pedestrian.

Verbal fight on the golf course ends in shooting

It was just before sunset on Sunday evening at Delray Beach Golf Course when 74-year-old Robert Levine stood on the 15th hole of the course. At the same time Herbert Merritt, who is ten years younger, was walking his dog, according to his own statement, next to the golf course. As local television channel WPBF News reported, Levine then made his way to the walker and started a loud discussion because he was on the golf course with his dog without permission. Shortly thereafter, Levine pulled out a gun and shot his opponent. In doing so, he struck the 64-year-old’s left ankle. Merritt took flight and seeked shelter behind a tree. According to witnesses, a total of five shots were fired.

Levine goes to jail – Merritt to hospital

As if the shooting wasn’t bad enough, Levine allegedly used physical force as well. As local television channel WPBF News reports, witnesses saw Levine kick Merritt in the head, go back to his cart and get a club and begin beating Merrit with the club while holding the gun in his left hand. Deputies said they found shell casings on the ground and two golf clubs with what appeared to be blood on them.

Merritt was immediately taken to the hospital after the attack. Luckily, he did not suffer any life-threatening injuries. Levine, on the other hand, is under arrest for attempted first-degree murder.

An absurd story, which probably comes unsurprisingly from the US state of Florida. Because even if it is of course not allowed to walk your dog on a golf course, there are numerous other ways to solve such a situation. Herbert Merritt will probably not forget this nightmare walk and possibly choose a different route for the next round with his four-legged friend.


Two weeks after surgery: Bryson DeChambeau trains one-handed

Two weeks ago, Bryson DeChambeau underwent surgery on his left hand, and now he’s back on the golf course. But even “The Hulk” has not made a miraculous recovery after this short time, but uses an unusual technique to hit a few balls despite his handicap. On the video platform TikTok, he presents his attempts at a one-armed golf swing – with success, mind you. As unusual as it may seem at first, the exercise makes perfect sense.

“DeChambeau out-hits our group one-handed”

First, DeChambeau posted a video from the driving range on Monday. You can see (of course) a drive of the longhitter, including the spin of the club after the shot.

But that was not the end of the story for DeChambeau. Together with former NFL kicker Josh Scobee, they went out for a round of golf and there, too, DeChambeau showed that you can also make up a few yards with just your right hand. His teammate’s comment: “No big deal, just Bryson DeChambeau hitting the ball one-handed past our group.”

Playing with one hand as a useful training method

Regardless of whether it is forced or voluntary, it makes sense to play one-handed strokes from time to time. Due to the lack of support from the second hand, the muscle groups are used more during the stroke and the swing movement occurs more consciously. In addition, the stability in the core of the body is strengthened and due to the higher strain on the muscles, the strength training for more length is also included. To train on the range with this technique you don’t need any special equipment, just a golf club and a few balls.
To start, it should be a short iron. With this iron, you first make a few practice swings with the right hand and focus especially on the movement of the shoulders, hips and back. A little tip: For more control over the club, you can grip a little lower than usual. Then follow up with a few strokes with the ball, keeping the unused hand on the hip or back. Repeat with the left hand before hitting a few balls with both hands and the normal golf grip.


150th Open Championship expects more spectators than ever before

From July 14 to 17, 2022, the Open Championship will take place in St. Andrews. For the 150th time, the world’s best golfers will compete for the Major title. After the tournament had to be cancelled altogether in 2020 due to the Corona pandemic and was still held under tightened conditions last year, attendance figures are expected to break records in this year’s edition.

150th Open Championship: “Extraordinary demand from fans”

The previous attendance record for the Open Championship in Scotland was 239,000 in 2000, when Tiger Woods won his first European Major title here. That record is set to become history in this anniversary year. There is no shortage of demand in any case. “The 150th Open at St. Andrews will be a major event for golf, and that is clearly reflected in the extraordinary demand from fans,” announced Martin Slumbers, the R&A’s chief executive. More than 1.3 million fans are said to have applied for the popular tickets. 290,000 of them are expected to get the chance to be up close and personal at the event.

Fostering enthusiasm among young fans

Golf is known to be a sport where the older generations are most likely to be found. Attracting young talent and promoting youth sports also plays a role in the last Major of the year. Out of a total of 290,000 tickets, 20 percent of the tickets will be given to under-25s, including 20,000 free tickets for under-16s.

The R&A is already in talks with the Scottish Government and its health advisors in view of the high visitor numbers, in order to be able to offer the greatest possible security during Major week. Martin Slumbers is confident and full of anticipation: “We really appreciate their passion and enthusiasm for the Open and look forward to setting a new attendance record, far exceeding the previous best set in 2000.”

PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson signs up for PGA Championship and Saudi opener

The first tournament of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series kicks off in less than a month, and it will feature 15 golfers from the top 100 in the world rankings. This was reported by Sport Illustrated, citing a statement from LIV Golf. Among the 15 players is probably Phil Mickelson, who despite increased criticism in recent months wants to keep open the chance to participate in the first event in London. But that’s not the end of Mickelson’s return to tournament golf. The defending PGA Championship champion would like to start his comeback to the PGA Tour at this very tournament.

Phil Mickelson’s return to the tournament stage

Phil Mickelson is planning his return to the PGA Tour after withdrawing from all upcoming tournament starts for the time being in February as a result of heavy criticism. His proximity to the LIV Golf Invitational Series (formerly the Saudi Golf League) repeatedly brought him into the negative media spotlight last year, but now he wants to make his comeback and will start at the PGA Championship. Mickelson won the second major of the golf season last year. But his start at Southern Hills Country Club is not enough for Mickelson. At the same time, he applied for a permit to play in the first Saudi League tournament in June. A statement from his agency said, “We have also applied on his behalf for clearance to play in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational in London from June 9-11. This request meets the April 25 deadline set by the PGA Tour to participate in a competitive Tour event.” It is unclear at this time whether he will take advantage of this release, but he wants to keep all options open, the statement added.

15 players from the top 100 will compete in London

According to Sports Illustrated, 14 other players from the top 100 in the world rankings are taking advantage of the 30-day period before the start of the tournament. The names of those players remain non-public and are subject to confidentiality agreements, according to a spokesperson for the LIV Golf Invitational Series. So far, about 70 players have registered for the event, but with a planned field of 48 players, not all professionals will be able to compete. It remains to be seen how and according to which criteria the field of participants will finally be put together. It also remains to be seen how the PGA Tour will handle future Saudi Tour events on American soil. At this point in time, the PGA Tour does not want to issue any permits for participation in these events. This would affect at least two of the eight tournaments, with the tournament in Portland in early July, as well as other events at Trump National Golf Club and the scheduled team finale at Trump National Doral in Miami in late October.

Daly pleads for merger of tours

John Daly sees a simple solution to the eternal back-and-forth between LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. Daly is calling for the Saudi Tour and the PGA Tour to merge. To him, he says it’s the easy solution and also a great opportunity for golf. “I mean, you want to keep golf going and keep it strong, and the foundation of the European Tour and the foundation of the Asian Tour and the Australian Tour and all the tours and our tour the players have built through a lot of great sponsors that we’ve had. I just think it would be really good if they could work together instead of competing against each other.” He himself has not been offered a starting spot on the new tour, but he likes the concept and sees a great opportunity in the increase in prize money.


In the PGA Championship field: Next major for Tiger Woods?

It took over a year for Tiger Woods to be capable of full tournament participation again. In February 2021, the legend nearly lost his right leg. Whether he would ever be able to play golf again was unclear for a long time. His participation in the PNC Championship together with his son Charlie raised hopes. Then, shortly before the US Masters in 2022, the surprise: Tiger will be competing! His participation in the first Major of the year should not be the last. Recently, it was officially announced that Woods is on the list of participants in the PGA Championship in May.

Tiger Woods: “Only the big events”

It has been clear to Tiger Woods for some time that he will probably never play another full tournament season on the PGA Tour. The car accident has affected his right leg too much. Woods’ participation in the Masters showed that while he struggled and limped on the highly demanding terrain toward the end, he is perfectly capable of handling a four-day tournament again. His Masters participation, in which he made the cut and finished tied for 47th, solidified his plans for the future: “I’ll never play a full schedule again, just the big events.”

Last afternoon, the PGA Championship released the list of participants for the 104th PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, May 19-22. Lo and behold, Tiger Woods is one of the announced participants.

St. Andrews is especially close to Woods’ heart

While it was not 100 percent certain for Tiger Woods whether he will compete in the PGA Championship, it was clear to him that he will definitely travel to St. Andrews for the British Open in July: “The tournament is something that is very close to my heart. It’s my favorite golf course in the world, so I’ll be there.” The fact that the golf course is a particularly flat course with no slopes to speak of will definitely suit Woods.

However, Tiger Woods already seems to have largely recovered from his start at the particularly strenuous Augusta. We can still hope for a participation in the PGA Championship at Southern Hills. Phil Mickelson, who withdrew from the public eye for weeks, is also on the official list of participants in the PGA Championship.

European Tour

The K Club to host Horizon Irish Open in 2023, 2025 and 2027

The Horizon Irish Open will return to The K Club as part of a long-term deal with the DP World Tour, which will see the island of Ireland’s national Open played at the former Ryder Cup venue in 2023, 2025 and 2027.

The K Club’s commitment to the development of Irish professional golf is further enhanced by the news that the resort’s second Arnold Palmer-designed course, Palmer South, will also play host to the Challenge Tour’s Irish Challenge in the intervening years, beginning this July and again in 2024 and 2026.

The announcement continues the momentum surrounding the Horizon Irish Open, with Horizon Therapeutics – the global biotechnology company headquartered in Dublin – having signed a six-year title sponsorship deal in February, beginning with this year’s event at Mount Juliet Estate from June 30-July 3.

Next year will be just the second time The K Club has hosted the Irish Open, having done so for the first time in 2016, when four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy claimed a famous victory which will live long in the memory of Irish sports fans.

First Irish venue to host the Ryder Cup

Ten years prior to that momentous occasion, the stunning Kildare venue made history when it became the first Irish venue to host the Ryder Cup. Under Captain Ian Woosnam, Europe marched to a commanding 18½-9½ victory over the USA – with recently-announced European Captain for 2023, Henrik Stenson, holing the winning putt on his debut in the biennial contest.

Guy Kinnings, the DP World Tour’s Deputy CEO, Ryder Cup Director and Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We share a special connection with The K Club through their hosting of the 2006 Ryder Cup, and we thank them for their commitment to the development of Irish golf through this long-term deal with both the DP World Tour and Challenge Tour.

“This news, along with the announcement earlier in the year of Horizon as title sponsors of the Irish Open until at least 2027, underlines the strength of our sport in Ireland, as we build towards the return of the Ryder Cup to Irish shores for its centenary edition in five years’ time at Adare Manor.”

Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers TD, said: “Ireland has a rich tradition in producing world-class golfing talent and I am particularly delighted to see so many Irish golfers in the field for the 2022 tournament.

“The Government’s investment in the Golf Ireland Professional Scheme continues to assist Ireland’s emerging professional players as they strive to progress through the ranks. The Horizon Irish Open is a wonderful showcase for Irish golf and for Ireland as a tourism destination.

“Our passion for golf, combined with our renowned tradition of hospitality, makes us want to share our courses and our companionship with visitors. The K Club will be the perfect host for the spectators present and for an international audience, following play from around the world.”

Paul Heery, General Manager of The K Club, said: “The K Club has always been well known as a venue for hosting successful, international golf events and now with the guidance and fresh energy from new ownership, we are delighted to be back hosting tournaments of this calibre once again.

“Establishing a new legacy at the resort”

“The K Club is evolving. We are on a journey to establish a new legacy at the resort where supporting the golfing community in Ireland is an extremely important focus for us. The team at The K Club are incredibly proud to be making this long-term commitment to Irish golf which will see us host six years of high profile tournaments in Ireland.

“We very much look forward to welcoming players from all over the world to The K Club and watching the dramatic action unfold on the fairways of our Arnold Palmer designed courses once again.”

Timothy P. Walbert, Chairman, President and CEO, Horizon Therapeutics: “To have this historic tournament associated with one of Ireland’s most prized golf venues signifies the momentum that is building for the sport and for the Horizon Irish Open.

“As we continue to grow as a company in Ireland, we also look forward to doing our part to grow the interest in the island’s national open and are excited for what the future will bring with The K Club and the DP World Tour partnerships.”

Dr Una May, CEO Sport Ireland, said: “It’s an exciting time for this tournament and I look forward to working with the DP World Tour and all of the tournament hosts over the next few years to help bring this great event to new levels of success.

“I am delighted that Sport Ireland, through its sponsorship of the Horizon Irish Open, has been able to offer two invitations to emerging Irish golfers. This will provide players with the opportunity to play in a top class DP World Tour event on home soil, and help further their careers as professional golfers.”

Like the Ryder Cup, the Irish Open was also first played in 1927 and it is now one of the world’s most famous national opens, boasting former champions such as Seve Ballesteros, Sir Nick Faldo, Pádraig Harrington, Bernhard Langer, Rory McIlroy, Colin Montgomerie, José María Olazábal and Jon Rahm.

Tournament is a part of the Open Qualifying Series

The 2022 edition will once again form part of the Open Qualifying Series, with the top three players not already exempt earning a coveted place in the 150th edition of the Open Championship, taking place two weeks later on the Old Course at St Andrews.

The Irish Challenge returned to the Challenge Tour back in 2015 and has been played every year since – barring 2020 due to the pandemic.

The Ladies European Tour, meanwhile, will return to Irish shores for the first time in ten years when the Women’s Irish Open takes place at Dromoland Castle this September.

It was announced in February that all general admission tickets for Sunday at the 2022 Horizon Irish Open have sold out, the earliest sell-out day in the history of the DP World Tour. Limited tickets still remain for the Wednesday Celebrity Pro-Am, as well as the first three tournament days – Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Premium Experience hospitality packages are also selling fast, with The Range Club – an ideal offering for smaller groups wishing to relax in style and enjoy outstanding service in a relaxed hospitality environment – already sold out on Sunday.

(Text: DP World Tour)


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