• TEE TIME: Notes from PGA Valhalla

    Paying to volunteer not that bad a deal

    It takes a lot of volunteers to stage such a massive event as the PGA. People to work in the gift shops to take care of the customers wanting souvenirs. Marshals on every hole to keep patrons away from the players and manning the crosswalks. Scorekeepers to keep everyone up to date on the leaderboards.

    And when you tell someone that you must pay to be a volunteer, they’ll look at you like you’re crazy.

  • GOLF NOTES: Fans get a vote in PGA hole layout at Valhalla

    For the second consecutive year, golf fans worldwide will have a direct impact on a hole location for the final round of a major championship through the “PGA Championship Pick the Hole Location Challenge” hosted by Jack Nicklaus and presented by Samsung.

  • TEE TIME: The PGA is here … Savor the moment

    At last.

    The countdown to the 2014 PGA is ticking down quickly, with less than a week before the best golfers in the world descend upon Louisville and Valhalla.

    And I mean the world’s best golfers.

    The PGA consistently boasts the best field of the four majors. I recall a few years ago that 99 of the top 100 players competed for the Wannamaker trophy.

    And unlike the other majors, the PGA sets up the course so that is it very playable and the winner will finish double digits under par.

  • TEE TIME: And now, on to Louisville and Valhalla

    And now it’s our turn.

    With the crowning of Rory McIlroy as the 2014 Champion Golfer of the Year after winning the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool on Sunday, the eyes of the golf world will be turning to Kentucky.

    Oh, sure, there is the RBC Canadian Open this week and the World Golf Championship event in Akron with the Bridgestone Invitational, but the next BIG tournament is in our own backyard.

    In Louisville.

    At Valhalla.

  • TEE TIME: Golf’s majors provide different tests

    Golf’s four majors may be joined together with the same moniker, but they each provide a different test for golfers, similar to the three races that make up the Triple Crown in horse racing.

    The Masters is the only one of the four played at the same venue each year. Veteran visitors to Augusta National know how to play the course. When the course plays as Bobby Jones wanted it, birdies galore on the back nine make for great television.

  • TEE TIME: Don't let gamesmanship get into your head


    It happens in every sport.

    It’s when a competitor does something minor to try to get into an opponent’s head.

    The late Seve Ballesteros was a master at it, most notably in the Ryder Cup when the head-to-head competition against the Americans was like a one-on-one basketball game.

    In two of the most famous incidents — and in both instances he was correct — he called out his American foes for what might seem to be a minor rules violation.

  • TEE TIME: Beware of sandbaggers ahead

    For about a six-year stretch in the early 2000s, my neighbor Rob Spragens and I would sign up to play in a four-ball tournament at Persimmon Ridge Golf Course.

    And, for about a six-year stretch, I would get a phone call from the tournament director asking me if we were competing in the scratch division or the handicap division. (I could never remember to mark it on the entry form.)

    We always played in the scratch division because we did not have to give or receive strokes. It was pure golf.

  • TEE TIME: Handicaps level playing field

    The Farmers National Bank in Lebanon has hosted a golf outing over the past decade at Champions Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville for residents of Lebanon and/or friends of the late Gene Spragens.

    I received a call from a bank employee a few years ago asking for my handicap as they wanted to balance the teams.

    “My putting, “ I said.

    The line went quiet.

    I smiled as I could tell that she was unsure of what to make of my comment.

    “I am supposed to write down your handicap,” she answered.

  • GOLF: Duncanson wins silver medal in nationals

    It wasn’t the big prize that he wanted, but a Bardstown golfer received a nice gift on his birthday.

    Eric Duncanson was awarded a silver medal on his birthday Wednesday for his play in the National Special Olympics golf tournament that was played this week in New Jersey.

    A final round of 96 was not quite good enough for the Bardstown golfer as he finished second in his flight in the national tournament.

  • TEE TIME: Improve your game with some side betting

    I’ve never been a big gambler when it comes to my golf game, and I’m not sure if it’s because (a) I’m a tightwad, (b) I can’t handle the pressure, (c) I don’t like to cheer against my opponents, or (d) all of the above.

    But a friendly wager with your friends during a round can keep you focused while playing. It doesn’t have to be for so much money that it breaks the bank, but even winning a soft drink or a hot dog will give you bragging rights.