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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Passings, an Apology, Distance, and Facebook

Here are the things making news in the world of golf for June 20, 2018

Green passes away at age 71 | via PGATour.com

"PGA TOUR Champions is saddened by the passing of Hubert Green, a determined champion and a loving family man," PGA TOUR Champions President Greg McLaughlin said. "Hubert will be remembered for his tremendous career and witty one-liners. The game of golf is a better sport because of the impact he made during his Hall of Fame career. Our sincere condolences are with Green's family during this time."

Green was often seen as a spoiler in an era when fans were out in force for Nicklaus, Watson, and Trevino. His unexpected 1985 PGA Championship duel with the later was a performance for the ages. Rest in peace.

Peter Thomson: Golfer who won five Open Championships dies | via BBC News

Peter Thomson, one of Australia's greatest golfers and a five-time Open Championship winner, has died aged 88.

Winning five Open Championships, including a run of 4 out of 5 from 1954 to 1958, is a feat that will likely never be seen again. Thomson was one of the game's greats who's name is too often overlooked. Read more about his amazing career and life here.

Phil Mickelson says he's "embarrassed and disappointed," apologizes for moving ball incident at U.S. Open | by Alex Myers for Golfworld

"I know this should've come sooner, but it's taken me a few days to calm down. My anger and frustration got the best of me last weekend. I'm embarrassed and disappointed by my actions. It was clearly not my finest moment and I'm sorry."

In the end, it wasn't the act that had people as upset as much as his attempt to justify it as a calculated move. No one bought it. Rightly so. If he had issued an apology in the moment, and withdrawn from the U.S. Open, he would have been seen in a much more sympathetic light. Mickelson would have been a symbol of the frustration so many others were feeling about the course conditions at Shinnecock Hills last Saturday. Now, this is just a feeble attempt at damage control. He's done the right thing but only under the pressure of seeing his image tarnished. For many, including myself, it's clearly too little too late. This stops well short of destroying his otherwise amazing career, but, it also becomes a large part of his legacy. Unfortunate.

New Data Shows We're Not Hitting It Farther | by Mike Stachura for GolfDigest.com

Even though golf's ruling bodies are alarmed by the 2.5-yard increase in average driving distance this past year on the PGA Tour, some amateur-golfer distance numbers haven't moved that much in two decades, and many are hitting it shorter than they used to.

Any time someone gathers a batch of statistics and sets out to determine what they mean there's sure to be a debate. Interesting reading though. If nothing else, what I think these numbers indicate is that, for many of us, our abilities can only be improved so much no matter how hard we work or what equipment we buy. The best are getting better because they continue to work hard and are uniquely gifted.

My favorite point is that too many of us are playing from the wrong tees. Do you want to pick up the pace of play at your local course? Stop letting players use tees that turn half of the par-4's into par-5's. I believe, if you really want to play from the tips you should be asked to present a handicap card to the starter proving that you're at least in the single digits.

You'll be able to watch PGA Tour tournament coverage on Facebook starting this weekend | by Kiley Bense for Golf.com

The PGA Tour will offer this new service for eight tournaments in the 2017-18 season. The Travelers Championship will be the first event to offer Facebook Watch streaming. The others will be the Quicken Loans National; A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier; John Deere Classic; RBC Canadian Open; World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational; Wyndham Championship; and the Northern Trust.

A pretty limited slate of tournaments to start with. Clearly, this is an effort to bring more attention to some of the lower rated events on the tour calendar. I hope the experiment is successful and the program can be expanded. I'll never turn down the chance to watch more live golf.

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