2017 Presidents Cup To Honor Arnold Palmer – Ambassador & Humanitarian

By Leonard Finkel

 

Arnold Palmer, known world-wide as golf’s greatest ambassador, will be honored for his dedication to the game and lifelong humanitarian efforts when 24 of the world’s greatest golfers compete in the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club, September 26-October 1. A World Golf Hall of Fame member, Palmer served as Captain for the victorious U.S. Team in the second Presidents Cup in 1996.

As part of the 2017 event, members of both teams, volunteers and staff – more than 1,500 people – will receive commemorative pins featuring a silhouette of Arnold Palmer. The silhouette is the new logo of Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation (AACF), the nonprofit organization created last year to continue the legacy of Palmer’s work toward creating a healthier world for children and their communities. Arnie’s Army, the movement ignited by Palmer’s admiring golf fans in the 1960s, grew to attract a legion of passionate followers and volunteers to his philanthropic work over the course of his long and successful career.

For decades, Arnold and Winnie Palmer gave generously of their time and resources to improve children’s health and well-being in their own communities, especially in Orlando where they helped create the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. In Arnold’s hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, they established the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve. Succeeding generations of the Palmer family will support the Foundation’s leadership to ensure that the nonprofit continues to be responsive to new needs and new generations of supporters.

“We are dedicated to elevating Arnold Palmer’s legacy by continuing the good work he started and working tirelessly, as he did, to improve children’s lives,” said Kevin Bingham, CEO, Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation. “Like Arnold Palmer, we are committed to giving generously of our resources and our efforts to help make a better world for generations to come.”

More information about Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation can be found on arniesarmy.org.

 

Leonard Finkel is the author of The Secrets to the Game of Golf & Life and former editor in chief of Golf Journeys Magazine. His work has been featured in almost 200 publications including Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Golf Illustrated, Golf Tips and Player Magazine. He has written more than a dozen cover stories for Golf Today Magazine. He has written extensively about golf and travel and has added poker to his writing repertoire. Finkel also works as a marketing and public relations consultant. His specialty niche is writing advertorial copy. Prior to his career in golf, Finkel owned a chain of retail stores and a consulting and import company based in Asia. He attended the University of Utah.

Sun Mountain 2Five Golf Bag

By Leonard Finkel

 

Since its introduction, Sun Mountain’s 2Five golf bag has been among the lightest, full-featured bags on the market. Weight-saving components include carbon-fiber legs, high strength-to-weight plastics and an ultra-lightweight fabric. For 2018, the new 2.5+ will have increased durability and comfort plus additional storage space.

 

“We added the equivalent weight of two golf balls but raised durability, comfort and pocket space,” said Ed Kowachek, President of Sun Mountain Sports. “We’re satisfied with that trade off and think golfers will be, too.”

 

Some details on the improvements include:

  • Added durability with a move from 70 denier to 100 denier fabric
  • Increased comfort with wider shoulder straps and more cushiony padding
  • Added storage with a new, zippered spine pocket and a dedicated beverage pouch

 

2.5+ is a full-size golf bag featuring a 9” top and four, full-length club dividers. It doesn’t skimp on conveniences, offering five pockets including a full-length clothing pocket, velour-lined valuables pocket, two accessory pockets and a beverage pouch.

Other features also include a durable top with built-in handle, sturdy bottom with the patented Roller-Bottom leg mechanism for quick and strong leg action, Sun Mountain’s proprietary X-Strap Dual Strap shoulder strap system, lumbar hip pad with AirFlow System, umbrella attachment, towel holder, top-mounted leg mechanism for added stability, pen holder and a color-coordinating rain hood. The bag is available in eight separate color combinations.

 

For the Sun Mountain retailer nearest you call 800-227-9224 or visit www.sunmountain.com.

 

 

Leonard Finkel is the author of The Secrets to the Game of Golf & Life and former editor in chief of Golf Journeys Magazine. His work has been featured in almost 200 publications including Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Golf Illustrated, Golf Tips and Player Magazine. He has written more than a dozen cover stories for Golf Today Magazine. He has written extensively about golf and travel and has added poker to his writing repertoire. Finkel also works as a marketing and public relations consultant. His specialty niche is writing advertorial copy. Prior to his career in golf, Finkel owned a chain of retail stores and a consulting and import company based in Asia. He attended the University of Utah.

My Favorite Mobile Scanning Apps

By Scott Kramer

Scanning documents on your smartphone has become a superior experience to using a flatbed scanner. It’s loads more convenient, you nearly always have it with you, and the scan quality has met — and in some cases surpassed — that of desktop models. I’ve tested out many of these scanning apps, and have some favorites.

Far and away, my most-used is the one built into Google Drive for free. If you’re an Android user, just open the Google Drive app, press the plus sign that appears in the lower right corner of your screen, and then press “scan” to activate it. From there, you can turn on the phone’s flashlight to remove any shadows and scan multiple pages into one document. You can also rotate individual pages to the proper orientation, easily crop and trim edges, convert it to black-and-white or color, or make it into my favorite — a color drawing. This essentially lets you remove most of the visual noise from a photographed document, so that you can read anything like penciled-in notes on lined paper while whitening up the background to make photos and fonts pop better. This feature is sometimes referred to as a whiteboard effect.

With the newest phones — which tend to have better cameras — the clarity of the scans is simply outstanding. I always try to take my scans in the best-possible lighting conditions — even venturing outside sometimes. That helps make images the clearest. But the phone’s flashlight works wonders.

Even though Google offers format options for your saved scans, I typically put mine in pdf mode. And I’ve noticed that the pdf files have gotten progressively smaller in size over the years, efficiently taking up less space on the drive or wherever you’re storing the document. As a devout Chromebook user, I also love that when I store a scan on my phone it is instantly available on my Chromebook, as well. Incredibly convenient and fast.

On my iPhone 6, however, the app just lets me save scans as a JPG photo. Which is why for iPhone users, I really like CamScanner, which has been another go-to scanning app I’ve used the past few years. It has even more personal settings than the Google app and does things more automatically. For whatever reason, I love that it lets you rotate the document in either direction. That can save some time over other like apps, but storing it can require a little more work. Speaking of, it has a nice “email to myself” option that I find myself using fairly often. It also has a cool “ID card” upgrade option that essentially lets you scan the front and back of an ID card — before placing both sides onto one document page.

Scanner Pro is another app I’ve used on the iPhone. It has a really good Optical Code Recognition mode that lets you convert pdf documents you scan into a readable and thus text-searchable format. I know a lot of people are also fans of Office Lens, which is a Microsoft Office app. If I used Office more frequently, I might rely more on this scanning app.

Regardless, if you’ve still been laboriously using a large desktop scanner to digitize your documents, it may be time to see how much better and easier the process can be on your phone.

 

Scott Kramer is a veteran, Southern California-based writer primarily versed in golf and personal technology. Studying Computer Sciences in college, and then working as a programmer/software engineer for about a decade, triggered my passion for today’s high-end, high-tech gadgets. I can’t help myself whenever I see any kind of cool new personal technology. I feel compelled to further check it out and see what it’s all about. And even if I have no use for it personally, I’m always thinking who it might best suit. There are exciting new innovations emerging daily that are shaping the future and simplifying life. And I hope to be your eyes to that world, through the words of this column.

10 Players to Watch: Tour Championship

By Tom LaMarre – Courtesy The Sports Xchange

  1. Jordan Spieth, United States — Even though he has not won, Spieth has played better overall in the playoffs than any of the other top guns, losing in a playoff to Dustin Johnson in The Northern Trust, finishing second to Justin Thomas in the Dell Technologies Championship and tying for seventh in the BMW Championship. He leads the point standings heading to the Tour Championship and can claim the FedExCup for the second time in three years if he wins at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta or finishes near the top of the leaderboard if the others in the coveted top five fail to win. Spieth has finished in the top 10 on 11 occasions this season, including eight in the top three, winning the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, the Travelers Championship and the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. Spieth captured the FedExCup in 2015 when he won the Tour Championship by four strokes, and he also tied for second in the 2013 finale, closing with a 64 to finish three shots behind Henrik Stenson of Sweden.
  1. Jon Rahm, Spain — It’s been a remarkable first full season on the PGA Tour for the 22-year-old who graduated from Arizona State last year, and he can capture the FedExCup with a victory this week in his first appearance in the Tour Championship at East Lake. Playing courses for the first time doesn’t faze Rahm, who has finished in the top five in his initial starts in the first three tournaments of the playoffs. He tied for third in The Northern Trust, tied for fourth in the Dell Technologies Championship and tied for fifth in the BMW Championship last week. Those results gave him 10 finishes in the top 10 during the 2016-17 season, including five in the top five, one of them his first victory on the PGA Tour in the Farmers Insurance Open. Phil Mickelson said early in the season that this guy already was one of the top players on the planet, and Rahm has proven him to be correct by climbing to No. 5 in the world golf rankings.
  1. Marc Leishman, Australia — The Aussie thrust himself right into the middle of the FedExCup race by winning the BMW Championship by five strokes last week, jumping to fourth in the point standings and giving himself a chance to win the Cup with a victory this week in the Tour Championship. He opened with a career-best 62 and led virtually from wire-to-wire in claiming his third victory on the PGA Tour and second this season. Leishman might have tied the playoff record shared by Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Rory McIlroy and Billy Horschel for two straight playoff victories, but he blew a two-stroke lead on the back nine in the final round of the Dell Technologies Championship and finished third. That came after he missed the cut in the playoff opener, The Northern Trust. He has seven top-10 finishes this season, including a victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He is making only his second start at East Lake, having tied for 28th in 2009, when he was the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year.
  1. Dustin Johnson, United States — Johnson has four victories this season, including a playoff win over Jordan Spieth in the Northern Trust to open the playoffs, and is third in the FedExCup point standings thanks to eight results in the top 10 this season. However, he has not had his best stuff the last two weeks, tying for 18th in the Dell Technologies Championship and tying for 33rd in his title defense in the BMW Championship. Johnson led the point standings after winning the BMW last year and would have won the FedExCup had Rory McIlroy not drilled a 15-foot birdie putt on the fourth playoff hole to beat Ryan Moore and Kevin Chappell to win the Tour Championship. Had Moore or Chappell won the tournament, then Johnson would have claimed the Cup after finishing in a tie for sixth. The top-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking is making his eighth start in the finale at East Lake and has finished in the top 10 each of the last four years, also tying for 10th in 2012, finishing fifth in 2013 and tying for fifth two years ago.
  1. Justin Thomas, United States — Entering the Tour Championship as the leader in the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year race, Thomas would like to finish off what has been a breakthrough season with another strong performance in the Tour Championship. The 24-year-old has won five times this season, including his first major title in the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow and a victory in the second event of the playoffs, the Dell Technologies Championship. He also tied for sixth in The Northern Trust to start the playoffs and is second in the point standings on the strength of 11 results in the top 10 this season, despite a disappointing tie for 47th last week in the BMW Championship. Thomas made his debut in the Tour Championship last year at East Lake in Atlanta and took a liking to the course right away while posting a tie for sixth in the finale. If he wins this week, he will take home the FedExCup in addition to locking up that Player of the Year Award.
  1. Rickie Fowler, United States — Fowler was nudged out of the coveted top five in the point standings when Leishman leap-frogged him by winning the BMW Championship last week, but he is playing very well and could possibly win the FedExCup by winning the Tour Championship this week. He has finished in the top 25 in eight consecutive events including ties for fifth in the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship, and is sixth in the points. Fowler, who claimed his fourth PGA Tour victory early this year in the Honda Classic, opened the playoffs with a tie for 20th in The Northern Trust, then tied for 13th in the Dell Technologies Championship and tied for second last week in the BMW Championship. That gave him 10 results in the top 10 this season. Fowler is playing for the fourth time at East Lake, having tied for 23rd in 2012, finished solo eighth in 2014 and tied for 12th last year and would love to claim the first playoff victory of his career this week in the season finale.
  1. Justin Rose, England — Playing his best golf late in the PGA Tour season, Rose has finished in the top 10 in each tournament during the playoffs, tying for 10th in both The Northern Trust and the Dell Technologies Championship before tying for second behind Leishman in the BMW Championship. He has not won since the Olympic Games last summer in Rio de Janeiro, but has posted seven results in the top 10 this season and ranks eighth in the point standings. That means Rose will need to win the Tour Championship this week and hope those in the top five fall for him to claim the FedExCup. He is making his eighth start in the Tour Championship, and even though he has never won at East Lake, he has not finished outside the top 20. Rose’s best results in the finale were a tie for second behind Spieth in 2015, and he held the lead heading to the final round in 2012, but closed with a 71 and wound up second, three strokes behind Cup winner Brandt Snedeker.
  1. Jason Day, Australia — Finally playing the way he did the last few seasons, Day has made a run in the playoffs, but it might be a little late. After tying for ninth in the PGA Championship, he opened the playoffs with a tie for sixth in the Northern Trust, then tied for 25th in the Dell Technologies Championship and finished fourth in the BMW Championship last week. Those results lifted Day to 15th in the point standings, but he needs too many players in front of him to falter in order to win the FedExCup with a victory this week in the Tour Championship. He is making his seventh start at East Lake and has finished no worse than a tie for 17th in 2010, other than last year, when he withdrew because of a back problem after opening with a 67. Day, who claimed two playoff victories in 2015 only to have Spieth steal the Cup by winning the Tour Championship, tied for fourth in the final event of the season in 2014, tied for sixth in 2011 and tied for 10th two years ago.
  1. Hideki Matsuyama, Japan — Although he has three victories on the PGA Tour this season and led the FedExCup standings much of the way, Matsuyama slipped from fourth to seventh in the points after a third straight finish out of the top 20 during the playoffs. He opened the postseason by missing the cut in The Northern Trust, tied for 23rd in the Dell Technologies and tied for 47th in the BMW Championship last week. Still, he could capture the FedExCup with a victory in the Tour Championship this week if the players in front of him falter in the finale. This will be his fourth start at East Lake and he finished 22nd three years ago and tied for 12th in 2015 before really getting the hang of the course in Atlanta last year. He was tied for the lead with Kevin Chappell at 66 after one round before finishing alone in fifth place. Matsuyama’s late-season slump started after he tied for second in the U.S. Open, tied for 14th in the Open Championship, won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and tied for fifth in the PGA Championship.
  1. Paul Casey, England — Perhaps flying under the radar more than any of the top players heading into the Tour Championship, Casey has a chance this week because he plays East Lake about as well as anyone. This is his fourth appearance in the finale in Atlanta, and he tied for fourth in 2010, tied for fifth two years ago and finished solo fourth last year by closing with a 64. Casey has finished in the top 10 eight times this season, with most of them coming in the second half of the season, before he stumbled a bit last week with a tie for 33rd in the BMW Championship. That came after he opened the playoffs with a solo fifth place finish in The Northern Trust to open the playoffs before he tied for fourth in the Dell Technologies Championship. Before last week, he was out of the top 25 only once in 12 tournaments, and that was 26th in the U.S. Open. Casey, 10th in the point standings, claimed his only victory on the PGA Tour in the 2009 Shell Houston Open.

 

Tom LaMarre has been a sportswriter and copy editor for more than 50 years, including 15 years with the Oakland Tribune and 22 with the Los Angeles Times. He was the Tribune’s beat writer for the Oakland Raiders for seven seasons in the 1970s, highlighted by their 32-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and collaborated on a book, Winning Offensive Football, with quarterback Ken Stabler. He also covered the Oakland Athletics when they won three consecutive World Series during the 1970s and the Golden State Warriors when they won the NBA championship in the 1974-75 season. With the Times, he wrote columns on golf, football and skiing. These days, he is the Golf Editor for The Sports Xchange. LaMarre graduated from Skyline High in Oakland and attended the University of San Francisco.

French Lick Resort Fall Stay-and-Play Packages

By Leonard Finkel

Golfers seeking a premier Midwest destination to experience fall colors combined with championship golf should proceed directly to French Lick. Nestled among the Hoosier National Forest, at one of the highest elevation points in the Midwest, is French Lick Resort.

Over the next few months, the resort’s historic and championship level golf is the perfect activity among the hardwoods that turn to scarlet, rust, gold and orange and frame views that extend 40 miles in many directions. It is amongf the most spectacular fall color golf opportunities anywhere in the country.

Savvy golfers will be impressed by the colorful views combined with great value. The best way to take advantage of this opportunity is through the Hall of Fame Package. This fall is the last chance to experience the 100th Anniversary Donald Ross Package.

Hall of Fame Package

The resort’s most popular golf package includes playing the resort’s two legendary courses designed by Hall of Fame architects – Pete Dye and Donald Ross. Each are ranked among the Top 100 in America’s Greatest Public Courses and are currently ranked as the No. 1 and 2 “Courses You Can Play” in Indiana.

The package includes a one-night stay at either resort hotel, a day of unlimited golf on The Pete Dye Course, a day of unlimited golf at The Donald Ross Course, unlimited use of the driving range and practice facility, bag storage, and shuttle service.

100 Years of Legendary Golf Package

In celebration of the Donald Ross Course 100th anniversary in 2017, a limited-edition package is still available through the fall season. Take a step back in time and experience the history of Donald Ross at French Lick. This package includes a one-night stay at either resort hotel, two days of unlimited golf on The Donald Ross Course with cart, breakfast at Hagen’s Club House Restaurant and a LIMITED EDITION collectible gift with a retail value of $299.

For more information and package pricing, visit frenchlick.com/golf/packages or call (888) 936-9360.

 

Leonard Finkel is the author of The Secrets to the Game of Golf & Life and former editor in chief of Golf Journeys Magazine. His work has been featured in almost 200 publications including Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Golf Illustrated, Golf Tips and Player Magazine. He has written more than a dozen cover stories for Golf Today Magazine. He has written extensively about golf and travel and has added poker to his writing repertoire. Finkel also works as a marketing and public relations consultant. His specialty niche is writing advertorial copy. Prior to his career in golf, Finkel owned a chain of retail stores and a consulting and import company based in Asia. He attended the University of Utah.

Legendary Headwear CLOUD-FIT Technology

By Leonard Finkel

 

Legendary Headwear, creators of innovative headwear, introduced a new Perfecto-C cap featuring its revolutionary CLOUD-FIT technology.

 

The Perfecto-C is a stretch fit cap featuring a half pipe CLOUD-FIT sweatband, a soft performance, fabric-lined memory foam that is infused with temperature regulating gel.

 

“In my opinion, this is the most comfortable hat in the market,” said Steve Cunliffe, Legendary Headwear President. “Not only does it feel great when you put it on, the gel actually helps you feel cool immediately. The Perfecto-C is a popular design for us and we are pleased to now offer it with this great new technology.”

 

The Perfecto-C CLOUD-FIT cap is fashioned with structured cotton and comes in two sizes; S/M and L/XL. It is available in 5 colors – white, black, navy, khaki and stone.

 

 

Leonard Finkel is the author of The Secrets to the Game of Golf & Life and former editor in chief of Golf Journeys Magazine. His work has been featured in almost 200 publications including Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Golf Illustrated, Golf Tips and Player Magazine. He has written more than a dozen cover stories for Golf Today Magazine. He has written extensively about golf and travel and has added poker to his writing repertoire. Finkel also works as a marketing and public relations consultant. His specialty niche is writing advertorial copy. Prior to his career in golf, Finkel owned a chain of retail stores and a consulting and import company based in Asia. He attended the University of Utah.

10 Players to Watch: BMW Championship

By Tom LaMarre – Courtesy The Sports Xchange

  1. Jordan Spieth, United States — Even though he had his chances to win the first two playoff events before finishing second to Dustin Johnson in The Northern Trust and to Justin Thomas in the Dell Technologies Championship, Spieth leads the FedExCup standings heading to the third playoff event. He is guaranteed to be in the top five next week at the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta, where anyone in that number who wins the tournament would take home the Cup. Spieth, ranked No. 2 in the world behind Johnson, has finished first or second in four of his last six tournaments, including victories in the Travelers Championship and the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. He is playing in the BMW Championship for the fifth time and has finished no worse than a tie for 16th. His best result was a tie for eighth in 2014 at Cherry Hills and he also was ninth last year at Crooked Stick. Spieth tied for 13th in 2015 and tied for 16th in 2013, both at Conway Farms, this year’s venue.
  1. Dustin Johnson, United States — Johnson has claimed two of his four career playoff victories in the BMW Championship, including last year. He won by three strokes over Paul Casey of England at Crooked Stick, where he took charge with a 63 in the second round. Johnson also beat Casey by one stroke in 2010 at Cog Hill. He is playing in the third playoff event for the eighth consecutive year and has two other finishes in the top 10, including a tie for seventh two years ago at Conway Farms. The top-ranked Johnson struggled for much of this season after sustaining a back injury on the eve of the Masters after winning three straight events, but he is back in form with top-20 results in his last five starts, including a victory in The Northern Trust to open the playoffs. He is third in the FedExCup standings behind Spieth and Justin Thomas, and can salvage his season by winning the Tour Championship and collecting both trophies next week at East Lake in Atlanta.
  1. Justin Thomas, United States — Despite claiming his fifth victory of a breakthrough season two weeks ago in the Dell Technologies Championship over his pal Spieth, the fourth-ranked Thomas still finds himself second behind Spieth in the FedExCup points standings heading to the third playoff event. However, that will be good enough to put him in the top five next week in the Tour Championship at East Lake, where a victory would give him victory in the season-long chase. Thomas started the season quickly with three early victories, and after a bit of a lull, has won two of his last three outings including his first major title in the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow. He also tied for sixth in The Northern Trust to start the playoffs. Thomas is making his third start in the BMW Championship, having tied for 13th two years ago at Conway Farms, this week’s venue, after opening with a 65. He also tied for 32nd last year at Crooked Stick, where he saved his best for a last-round 68.
  1. Jon Rahm, Spain — Although he is not eligible for the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year Award because he played seven events late last year after graduating from Arizona State, Rahm is unquestionably the best on the circuit among those playing a full schedule for the first time. He claimed his first victory in the Farmers Insurance Open and has eight other results in the top 10 while rising to No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Rahm has continued his stellar play in his first foray into the playoffs, tying for third in The Northern Trust and tying for fourth in the Dell Technologies Championship, and enters the third event of the postseason at fifth in the point standings, which keeps him in the running for the FedExCup. He is playing another new course this week, Conway Farms, but has figured things out pretty quickly on almost on every venue this season. Rahm simply goes out and plays golf the way he knows, which is good enough.
  1. Jason Day, Australia — Trying to salvage what has been a disappointing season, Day has played some of his best golf lately and this week comes to a course where he has played some of his best golf in the playoffs. Day collected his second of three victories in the postseason two years ago in the BMW Championship at Conway Farms by starting 61-63, which lifted him to No. 1 in the world. He also tied for fourth on the same course in 2013 by closing with a 66. In 2015, Day won the Barclays to open the playoffs and held the FedExCup points lead heading to the finale at East Lake in Atlanta, but Spieth stole the Cup and the No. 1 ranking from him by winning the Tour Championship. The Aussie, battling injuries and family issues this season, has put himself on the edge of playoff contention at 28th in the point standings by finishing in the top 25 in each of his last four starts, including a tie for ninth in the PGA Championship and a tie for sixth in The Northern Trust.
  1. Rickie Fowler, United States — Even though he hasn’t won since the Honda Classic in February, the 10th-ranked Fowler is on quite a run, with seven consecutive finishes in the top 25. Included in that stretch are ties for fifth in the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship, plus a tie for 20th in The Northern Trust and a tie for 13th in the Dell Technologies Championship to open the FedEx Cup playoffs. Fowler has recorded nine results in the top 10 this season, including four in the top three, and has been remarkably consistent with 15 finished in the top 25 in 19 events. He is sixth in the point standings and needs another high finish this week in the BMW Championship to climb into the coveted top five heading into the Tour Championship. This is his eighth start in the third playoff event, with his best results ties for fourth in 2014 at Cherry Hills and in 2015 at Conway Farms, this week’s menu.
  1. Hideki Matsuyama, Japan — Third-ranked Matsuyama should have benefited from the one-week break in the playoffs because he seemed to be running out of gas after winning seven times around the world in the last year, including three victories on the PGA Tour. He missed the cut in The Northern Trust to open the playoffs and was nowhere close to the leaders after three rounds of the Dell Technologies Championship two weeks before closing with a 66 that lifted him to a tie for 23rd and might give him momentum this week. Matsuyama, still a solid fourth in the FedExCup point standings, is making his fourth start in the BMW Championship and has finished in the top 25 in the previous three. Not only that, his best result was a tie for seventh two years ago at Conway Farms, this week’s venue, where he shot 63 in the second round and 66 in the last. In addition to his three victories on the circuit this season, he has three runner-up finishes and seven in the top 10, and can win the FedExCup if he regains that form.
  1. Paul Casey, England — His only victory on the PGA Tour came in the 2009 Shell Houston Open, but Casey has overcome injuries that threatened to short-circuit his career and has put together a season that includes eight finishes in the top 10 to reach eighth in the FedExCup point standings. He has finished outside the top 25 only once in his last 12 tournaments on the PGA Tour, when he was 26th in the U.S. Open at Erin Hills. Among those strong finishes were solo fifth in The Northern Trust and a tie for fourth in the Dell Technologies Championship to open the playoffs. Casey, who has climbed to 14th in the world rankings, has recorded five straight top-10 finishes during the playoffs, including solo second behind Johnson in the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick last year. He also finished second behind Johnson in the 2010 BMW at Cog Hill and tied for 23rd in the third event of the playoffs two years ago at Conway Farms.
  1. Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland — The defending FedExCup champion is on the verge of being eliminated from the playoffs after being slowed by injuries this season. The sixth-ranked McIlroy hasn’t won since the Tour Championship to claim the Cup at the end of last season, and the best he has done in the 2016-17 PGA Tour season is tie for fourth three times, in the WGC-HSBC Champions, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. That leaves him lagging at 51st in the point standings and in need of a high finish this week in the BMW Championship to climb into the top 30 and qualify to defend his title next week at East Lake in Atlanta. McIlroy certainly is capable, having won the BMW in 2012 by two strokes over Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood of England, one of his three top-10 finishes in the tournament. He also tied for eighth in 2014 at Cherry Hills and tied for fourth two years ago at Conway Farms.
  1. Justin Rose, England — Having climbed into the playoff picture at 17th in the FedExCup point standings by recording ties for 10th in The Northern Trust and the Dell Technologies Championship, Rose figures to be a factor this week in the BMW Championship. That’s because he claimed his only playoff victory by two strokes over John Senden of Australia in the 2011 BMW at Cog Hill. He has seven top-25 finishes in the third event of the playoffs, including a tie for fifth in 2007 at Cog Hill, and a tie for 13th two years ago at Conway Farms, where the tournament is being played this week. Rose, ranked 15th in the world, probably needs a victory this week to climb into the magic top five heading to the Tour Championship, and he is a real threat in the finale at East Lake. Rose has finished in the top six each of the last four years in the finale, including solo second in 2012 and a tie for second last year. And he’s due to win, with the last of his 18 pro victories coming in the 2016 Olympic Games.

 

Tom LaMarre has been a sportswriter and copy editor for more than 50 years, including 15 years with the Oakland Tribune and 22 with the Los Angeles Times. He was the Tribune’s beat writer for the Oakland Raiders for seven seasons in the 1970s, highlighted by their 32-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and collaborated on a book, Winning Offensive Football, with quarterback Ken Stabler. He also covered the Oakland Athletics when they won three consecutive World Series during the 1970s and the Golden State Warriors when they won the NBA championship in the 1974-75 season. With the Times, he wrote columns on golf, football and skiing. These days, he is the Golf Editor for The Sports Xchange. LaMarre graduated from Skyline High in Oakland and attended the University of San Francisco.

LG’s Upcoming V30 May Be Its Best Smartphone Yet

By Scott Kramer

“Is that the new Samsung phone?” I’ve been asked that several times the past few weeks, as I’ve been testing out LG’s upcoming V30 smartphone. And I get it, as the phone is thin, black-fronted, sleek, large, and has rounded edges with a big screen that covers a massive area. No doubt that at quick glance, the resemblance to what I’ve seen of the Samsung Galaxy Note8 in photos is close.

 

And because I regularly use a two-year-old Samsung phone, I’ve noticed that the similarities extend beyond sheer looks. For instance, the V30 has a vibrant screen. It’s the best one I’ve seen on an LG phone yet. Colors are intense while blacks are pitch dark. Photos truly pop — something that I find beautiful in all of the latest Samsung models but lacking in recent LG phones. In this case, LG attributes that radiance to “QHD+ resolution” plus a 6-inch OLED display. Apparently, self-lighting pixels help generate infinite contrast. Sparing you the tech jargon, it’s just a terrific display that can be adjusted to be very bright — although it doesn’t quite max out as bright as the display on my Samsung.

 

This makes looking at photos and videos a pleasure. Speaking of, the V30’s rear cameras — there’s a standard 16 megapixel and wide-angle 13 megapixel camera — are outstanding at capturing crisp, clear photos in true color. The main camera has a f/1.6 glass lens, a relatively wide aperture that allows more light than many other smartphone cameras to pass through to the image sensor. That glass-and-aperture combination translates to less photo noise, which is especially noticeable in low-light shots. I took some closeups of my dog in a darker room — no flash — and they came out better than expected. There’s also a 10-bit HDR image sensor, which helps add color range and depth. The flash is powerful, yet doesn’t seem to wash out the image subject.

 

I’m not much for taking video, but LG touts a “point zoom” feature that’s pretty cool. Essentially it locks focus on a subject and then you can zoom in on it — no pinching, just using an on-screen slider — while focus stays crisp on that target. It’s smooth.

 

Browsing the web on the V30 was fast — enough so that I informally bench-marked it several times against other phones and was surprised that it was significantly quicker at landing on various websites and also completely loading the pages. YouTube videos cued up in a snap and played without stuttering. Sound was nice and loud, when I wanted it to be.

 

The phone is also water-resistant. And in my testing, battery life was impressive. It will have the capability to be charged wirelessly, promises LG. For those of you who still make phone calls with your phone, expect quality sound through the phone speaker and on speakerphone, as well.

 

Obviously with Apple’s new iPhone expected to be announced next week, and with Samsung’s Galaxy Note8 coming to the market, you already have some solid high-end choices. But the V30 — of which LG has not announced release dates, except to say it’s “is being rolled out by carriers in the coming weeks” — is definitely one you should check out before making your final purchase, provided you can wait.

 

 

 

Scott Kramer is veteran, Southern California-based writer primarily versed in golf and personal technology. Studying Computer Sciences in college, and then working as a programmer/software engineer for about a decade, triggered my passion for today’s high-end, high-tech gadgets. I can’t help myself whenever I see any kind of cool new personal technology. I feel compelled to further check it out and see what it’s all about. And even if I have no use for it personally, I’m always thinking who it might best suit. There are exciting new innovations emerging daily that are shaping the future and simplifying life. And I hope to be your eyes to that world, through the words of this column.

Tour Edge Launches New Exotics CBX Iron-Wood

By Leonard Finkel

 

Tour Edge is introducing its Exotics CBX Iron-Wood, a club that features high-tensile steel ‘L’ cup face that pushes the classic iron-wood design to provide maximum forgiveness and explosiveness off the face. Delivering greater distance with minimal spin, the CBX takes aim at players who want hybrid performance combined with the feel and workability of a traditional forged iron.

 

The ‘L’ cup face design combined with a hollow-style body achieves a maximum CT measurement (Characteristic Time), the testing method used to determine if the spring face effect of a clubhead conforms to USGA rules. Company test results verify that achievement of the maximum CT produces irons one club stronger than current irons.

 

“As one of the first companies to debut hybrids back in the late 90s, we have come a long way in technology advancements and design aesthetics,” said David Glod, President and Founder of Tour Edge Golf. “Our new CBX Iron-Wood brings the best of both together with a forged cup face and is available in either a traditional silver finish or the limited edition black pearl finish. The CBX, more than any previous models, gives you feel, power, and workability all in one versatile, streamlined club.”

 

The ‘L’ cup face drastically increases the CT level across a greater surface area of the club face. The bottom of the ‘L’ acts as a hinge allowing the entire face to flex at impact, not just the center of the sweet spot. A thinner leading edge provides a powerful spring-like effect throughout the face for forgiveness on miss-hits either off the toe or the heel.

 

 

The combination of the L-cup technology with forged Japanese HT 980 steel produces added distance, while the hollow body allows for precise weighting and improved forgiveness for players of all levels. The heavily beveled leading edge easily glides through any turf.

 

Available in four lofts; 2 (17 degree), 3 (19 degree), 4 (22 degree), and 5 (25 degree). Suggested retail is $199.99 and it is projected to ship to authorized Tour Edge dealers September 12, 2017. A limited edition Black Pearl finish will also be available at a suggested retail of $249.99.

 

Premium shafts include the Project X HZRDUS series and Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage Silver Dual Core, a standard Lamkin Z5 grip for comfort.

 

 

 

Leonard Finkel is the author of The Secrets to the Game of Golf & Life and former editor in chief of Golf Journeys Magazine. His work has been featured in almost 200 publications including Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Golf Illustrated, Golf Tips and Player Magazine. He has written more than a dozen cover stories for Golf Today Magazine. He has written extensively about golf and travel and has added poker to his writing repertoire. Finkel also works as a marketing and public relations consultant. His specialty niche is writing advertorial copy. Prior to his career in golf, Finkel owned a chain of retail stores and a consulting and import company based in Asia. He attended the University of Utah.

Golf in the School Cafeteria – Of Course Says TGA

By Leonard Finkel

 

The fastest growing junior golf program in the industry is bucking the mainstream trend of how to grow participation. By vesting local stakeholders to grow golf through a unique youth sports franchise model, TGA is growing faster than industry programs such as PGA Junior League (33,000), Youth on Course (18,000), and Drive, Chip, Putt, and at the same time becoming a significant feeder program into each of them.

 

As schools across the country welcome the return of students, TGA Premier Golf (670,000 participants to date) will be front and center with over 55,000 youngsters ages 5-12 registering this fall for its school based golf enrichment programs. Among those registering, 65-70 percent or their millennial parents have never played golf before.

 

“TGA (Teach Grow Achieve) Premier Golf fills a void in the industry by delivering introductory programs and bringing the sport directly onto school campuses while solving junior golf’s primary barriers to entry: accessibility, cost, time, transportation and fun,” CEO Joshua Jacobs said.

 

When TGA in was started 2003, their model was contrary to the industry beliefs of how to grow the sport. The industry relied on philanthropic, volunteer or charitable endeavors where the norm was to provide free golf programs for primarily lower socio-economic demographics.

 

Meanwhile core sports like soccer, lacrosse and others, which charged participation fees for their introductory programs, flourished and grew fast. TGA recognized, especially in individual sports such as golf and tennis, that retention was often tied to how much time and money a family invests in that sport.

 

By making golf available and bringing introductory programs to the masses in a cost-competitive way, it gives TGA a higher probability of bridging the gap from school programs to professional instruction and recreational programs at golf courses and driving ranges as well as retaining them for the long term.

 

The self-sustaining, no funding needed business model is putting golf on a level playing field with other mainstream sports and is creating a healthier and safer environment at schools for students to be introduced to and learn golf. The program can also be utilized anywhere on school campuses regardless of weather, including gymnasiums, hallways, cafeterias, fields and blacktops.

 

What differentiates TGA from other industry programs and initiatives is the for-profit turnkey franchise business that vests passionate entrepreneurs whose livelihoods are based on growing golf participation throughout their local community. In addition, the TGA program, with its classroom like curriculum, incorporates education subjects and STEM/STEAM Labs using golf as the conduit, as well as physical fitness and health components.

 

TGA also provides all the equipment at no cost for its classes. This includes its own line of TGA youth golf equipment providing age and height customized equipment with a low-cost access point into the game.

 

The majority of the 1.5 million families TGA reaches across all facilities they serve are from middle to upper income areas allowing the model to be fully sustainable through parent funding. The lower income areas in the communities they serve are backed by TGA’s 501c3 non-profit arm that provides grants and subsidies to ensure no child is left behind who wants to learn golf.

 

After activating participants and their families in these introductory programs, TGA partners with local golf courses and driving ranges (around 200 across the U.S.) that bridge participants from non-traditional golf programs to recreational golf programs such as camps, parent/child events and local leagues. It is a true player pathway.

 

An exciting byproduct of working with this age group is gaining a platform to communicate with their millennial parents, a coveted and elusive golf group the industry is only beginning to tap. TGA has learned that if you engage juniors, the probability of engaging the parents increases as golf becomes a fun family activity. TGA franchises are now providing parent clinics to get them started in the game.

 

 

 

Leonard Finkel is the author of The Secrets to the Game of Golf & Life and former editor in chief of Golf Journeys Magazine. His work has been featured in almost 200 publications including Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Golf Illustrated, Golf Tips and Player Magazine. He has written more than a dozen cover stories for Golf Today Magazine. He has written extensively about golf and travel and has added poker to his writing repertoire. Finkel also works as a marketing and public relations consultant. His specialty niche is writing advertorial copy. Prior to his career in golf, Finkel owned a chain of retail stores and a consulting and import company based in Asia. He attended the University of Utah.

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