The Golf Wish Blog

Tiger Joins Social Networking Frenzy

December 1st, 2010

Tiger Woods has joined the millions of tweeters to share his thoughts and answer fan’s questions. Who would have imagined? I just checked out his Twitter account and discovered that he had 299,999 followers and growing;  within minutes that number jumped to 300,126. The number two in the world can certainly draw a crowd quickly.

Tiger setup his official Twitter account in June with one tweet, “Welcome to my new Twitter page at www.twitter.com/TigerWoods “ Based on his second tweet, he also setup a new Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Tiger . And the third announced his new website at www.TigerWoods.com . Then all went silent until November 17 when he resurfaced with a “What’s up everyone? Finally decided to try out Twitter!”

Two weeks later, Tiger surprised his followers with 23 tweets within an hour on November 30 after his on camera interview with Golf Channel’s Steve Sands where Tiger discussed the past, present and the future. After all the ups and downs of the past year, Tiger is opening up to his fans and trying to reconnect with all by answering questions for all the world to read.

Based on how quickly his base of followers is growing, he’ll be sure to bypass fellow golfer Ian Poutler’s crowd of followers (over 1 million followers) before long if the pace of new followers continues to grow by 150+ followers per half hour! Tiger already has approximately 1.5 million friends on Facebook. Are you a Tiger follower or friend?

How much does Tiger mean to the PGA?

August 10th, 2010

A lot. Sunday’s viewership of the tournament held at Firestone Country Club was a 2.0 share compared to 4.3 last year. What was the difference this year? Tiger wasn’t on TV except for the highlights of his dismal performance. And last year? Well, Tiger what it all. Click here for the complete article by Darren Ravell of CNBC.

The Weather and Golf

August 9th, 2010

Everyone else is blogging about Tiger Woods’ and Phil Mickelson’s collapse this weekend. I am going to change gears. I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal this weekend. It is about the impact this summer’s weather has had on golf courses. Pretty interesting read. A few courses have had to shut down completely.

Who is to blame? According to this article….well…..everyone has a little blame.

Cristie Kerr Becomes Number One

June 30th, 2010

Cristie Kerr lead the LPGA Championship held at Locust Hill Country Club during all four rounds with a final score of -19, overtaking the rest of the field by 12 strokes. She went into the fourth round leading by 8 strokes and ended with a birdie on 18 for a final round of 66. Her game was definitely on during this tournament resulting in her second major champhionship title. Kerr is the first American to win this major since 2000 when Julie Inkster took the title.

By winning this major event, Kerr moves into the number one LPGA world player position. Hats off to Cristie! The number one player position has shifted quite a bit over the past three weeks. Kerr is the third player in three weeks to become the world’s best. Last week Ai Miyazato had the number one slot as a result of her ShopRite LPGA Classic win; the prior week, Shin was number one. Kerr has won 14 tournaments in her 14 year career with the 2010 LPGA Champhionship making her the world’s best LPGA player.

Over the years, Annika Sorenstam lead the world. After going into retirement, the reigns were taken over by Lorena Ochoa. In April Ochoa retired, leaving the lead role open to all.

“It means a tremendous amount,” Kerr said about the No. 1 ranking. “It’s something that I’ve wanted my whole life, I worked for my whole life. I take great pride in being the top American.”

Congratulations to Cristie Kerr for her LPGA win and the coveted number one ranking!

Graeme McDowell Wins the 2010 US Open

June 21st, 2010

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland claimed the victory for the 2010 US Open. McDowell finished with a 74 (+3)… just 2 putts on the 18th hole to win. This was one great tournament and certainly challenged the best. Going into the final round, Dustin Johnson was leading by 3 strokes. But the table suddenly turned when he shot a triple bogey on the second hole and a double bogey on the third hole. After that it only continued to decline for Johnson as he finished his round with an 82 and tied for 8th place.

Els, Mickelson, Woods, and Havret all struggled to work some magic on the course to take the lead. Only one player could withstand the pressure of the tournament and the challenges of the course and that was Graeme. “I can’t believe how difficult this golf course was,” McDowell said. “No matter how good you play … good golf got reward, and bad golf got punished really badly.”

This is McDowell’s first major tour win. He’s the first European to achieve the feat since Tony Jacklin did it 40 years ago at Hazeltine. McDowell turned pro in 2002. Prior to becomng a pro, McDowell won the Fred Haskins Award as the United States’ top collegiate golfer. Two weeks ago, he won his fifth title at the Celtic Manor Wales Open. McDowell has earned a five year exemption as a result of his victory should he decide to join the PGA Tour. And why wouldn’t he? It’s a golden ticket to playing both the U.S. circuit and the European Tour.

McDowell’s victory was the perfect Father’s Day gift for his dad, Kenny, who has been by his side since he began playing golf in his junior years. For those of you who watched the final shot and green’s celebration, I’m sure you all caught that “Hallmark” moment when father and son hugged in glorious celebration. Congrats to Graeme McDowell for his well-deserved US Open win!

2010 U.S. Open – Round 2 Recap

June 18th, 2010

What a difference a day makes! Phil Mickelson rallied with 5 birdies in the first 8 holes and another on #11 for a final score of 66 in Round 2, placing him one shot behind the leader, Graeme McDowell, who posted a 68. That’s a nine shot variance from Round 1 where he shot a birdie-free round of 75. Mickelson’s score of 66 is just one shot shy of the U.S. Open record lowest score at Pebble Beach. Phil’s focus is that of Bobby Jones…. “play against old man par”…. and that’s exactly what Phil did during today’s round finishing tied for second and placing him in great position for the rest of the tournament.

Tiger Woods finished at +4 with a round of 72. He had 3 birdies and 4 bogeys after his birdie-free Round 1. He’s right in the middle of the pack for the weekend. If he can rally in Round 3 like Phil did today, he’ll be right in the hunt. “ I’m right there in the championship,’’ he said. “I just need to make a few more birdies, a few more putts on the weekend and I’ll be right there.” If Phil and Tiger can get in the groove, Round 3 will prove to be exciting.

Other notable finishes: The “young gun”, Ryo Ishikawa, posted an even par 71 to maintain his second place finish for Round 2. Ernie Els posted a 68, moving him from #27 to tied for second. Dustin Johnson shot a 70 finishing tied for second.

U.S. Open – Round 1 Recap

June 17th, 2010

The U.S. Open seemed to be a challenge for the majority of the field during Round 1 at Pebble Beach. Both Woods and Mickelson shot a birdie-free round; a first in any PGA Tour round. Mickelson posted a 75; his first round in on the PGA Tour without a birdie since the first round of the 2007 U.S. Open. On the other hand, Woods posted a 74, his first birdie-free round during a PGA Tour Major since the 2003 Masters. So how do they fare in the overall standings? All in all, not too bad; both are in the top half of the field in scoring.

Only three players posted a score under 70: Shaun Micheel, 69; Paul Casey, 69; Brendon de Jonge, 69. One of the lead “young guns”, Ryo Ishikawa, posted a respectable 70. (At age 18, Ishikawa, holds seven Japan Tour championships.) Along with Ishikawa, Cabrera-Bella, Choi, Weir, Poulter, and Cejka posted a first round of 70.

The late afternoon created a challenge for all on the putting surface. The fast, bumpy poa challenged the world’s best players. Those that are teeing off in the morning for Round 2 should find a kinder course on the greens.

How to Attract More Kids to the Game of Golf

May 25th, 2010

The golf industry continues to look for ways to attract more golfers to the sport. Over the years programs such as U.S. Kids Golf and the First Tee have been established to teach our youth the game of golf. Our golf industry leaders continue to emphasize the importance of getting kids involved in the game of golf as today’s kids are the lifeline to growing the game of golf throughout the world.

So what can be done to attact more and more kids to the game? As we all know, in order to maintain the interest of kids, they need to first and foremost have fun. Now, if taking them out to golf on a traditional par 72 golf course is to be considered fun, think again. For kids, golf needs to be “easy” as well as fun. For a kid, a par 3 hole at 120+ yards over the hazards just does not equate to fun and ease! A 6,679 yard course is way too much of a challenge for a kid to really expect them to get hooked on the game. So, what’s the alternative? How about this little par 3 gem of a course….Boyne Rapids Adventure Golf Course in Boyne City, Michigan.

The folks at Boyne Rapids have designed a “pint” size course that is perfect for our future golfers. This course is all of 701 yards long with all the traditional features of a regulation course except for the hole distances. With its well-maintained Blue Grass tees and fairways and Bent Grass greens, the longest hole is only 95 yards and shortest two are 12 yards each! Imagine, your little one being able to par a hole or two! Now, that would get them hooked on the game. Remember, kids want fun and ease as well as a sense of accomplishment.

Perhaps short par 3 courses populated all over the world is the answer to get our kids getting hooked on golf. Not only will it hook the kids but might very well hook the adults too…..imagine, playing 18 holes in an hour and a half versus the traditional four or four and a half…. sounds pretty enticing to me!

Posted by Marilyn Harris

Golf Grows in China

May 10th, 2010

China is becoming a golf mecca in its own right and is now positioned to experience a 50% growth rate over the next 10 years. China is now in their 26th year of developing golf as a sport; all in all, still in the infancy stages of growing the game. There are currently approximately 4 million golfers in China and about 400 golf clubs. Each year they experience about 50% growth in golf. With those numbers, it is projected that China will overtake the United States with the largest population of golfers by 2020!

The average greens fees in China are between $150 to $200 a round. One of the neat things that the Chinese can do is go golfing anytime of day or night. Yep, that’s right….at night. The last tee time being midnight; therefore allowing one to golf until 2 in the morning! This certainly caters to those night owls out there and all those folks that work all day and want to play a round on a nice evening.

When it comes to player expectations…. for the Chinese culture, service and hospitality are in the forefront. A lesson our American culture should certainly take more to heart! As the United States continues to look for ways to grow the game of golf through junior programs, the We Are Golf efforts, special women initiatives, family golf events, and creative pricing options, we might think about the roots of the game and refocus efforts on the core values that made this sport so special. Remembering that exceptional customer service throughout the entire golf experience is what keeps bringing that golfer back time and time again.

The game of golf is an addictive sport and one that many truly enjoy. It creates character and integrity and offers unique challenges all with a nice walk in the park. Let’s all take a few lessons from the Chinese culture on service and hospitality and work on our own turf to grow the game of golf as well!

Posted by Marilyn Harris

Golf’s New Kids on the Block

May 4th, 2010

Rory McIlroy shot a 10-under 62 on Sunday en route to capturing the the Quail Hollow Championship. Rory is the ripe ole’ age of 20. He became the youngest player to win a PGA Tour event since Tiger Woods in 1996.

Meanwhile, halfway around the world, Ryo Ishikawa shot a record 58 on Sunday to win the The Crowns Championship in Japan. This is his seventh Japan Tour win. By the way, he is 18.

In my opinion, this is what golf needs.  We need Rory, Ryo and the Anthony Kims of the world to step up and start winning tournaments like this.  All three have a certain sense of flair like one Tiger Woods.  And let’s face it, we need a little flair to drive us to the TV sets and watch golf.  No offense against the Steve Strickers or the Lucas Golvers of golf.  They just don’t do it for me like these other guys.  Would you rather be watching a 20 year old kid who looks 13 with black curly hair hanging out of his cap who stands all of maybe 5′ 9″ who also has energy and enthusiasm?  Or would you rather watch Stricker, Glover, Weir, etc.?  I know the answer for me. Go young guys!!!!

Posted by Rod Snyder