Tiger has follow-up procedure, resting and doing well

Tiger Woods announced Friday that he underwent a successful follow-up procedure to his September back surgery. This was done to relieve discomfort.

"It's one of those things that had to be done," Tiger said. "I have an outstanding team of doctors, and I'll be back as soon as I can."It was performed late Wednesday in Park City, Utah, by neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Rich.

"Tiger is doing well, and we expect him to make a full recovery," Rich said.

There is no timetable for Woods' return to the PGA TOUR.

Woods is on bed rest and will miss his final design visit Thursday, Nov. 5, at Bluejack National, a Tiger Woods Design golf course outside Houston.

"I'm extremely disappointed not going to Bluejack, but I'm very excited about our grand opening in the spring," Tiger said. "It's a fantastic course, and we're very proud of our first U.S. design."
Woods is expected to attend and host the Hero World Challenge, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, but won't be able to play.

The tournament will take place Dec. 2-6 at Albany in the Bahamas and will feature 18 of the world's top-ranked golfers.

"I look forward to being at my event," Woods said. "Hero is a tremendous supporter of my foundation and particularly our scholars. I appreciate everything that Mr. Munjal (chairman, managing director and CEO of Hero MotoCorp) and his company do for us."

"My family and the fans' concern and support have helped a lot," Tiger said. "I'll be back, and I'll be ready to compete."

The Booming Business Of Golf In Turkey

Is Turkey the rising star of the golf industry? It is a question that deserves attention as the 2015 Turkish Airlines Open is underway at the beautiful Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Belek, Turkey. Dozens of golf courses are currently under construction in the region, players appear thrilled with existing courses’ condition and amenities and there is talk about Turkey having real potential to host the 2026 Ryder Cup.

The business of golf is booming in Turkey, but challenges remain in order for the country’s lofty goals to be achieved.

A Focus on Course Development and Dream Destinations

“You have something incredibly special in Belek. You must never underestimate the quality of what you’ve got here,” said David Maclaren, Director of Properties & Destinations at European Tour. “All of us who work in golf have been to different resorts and different parts of the world, but you have something here in terms of the quality of golf facilities, presentation of golf facilities, and must always use that as something to promote golf in Turkey.”

Maclaren joined Turkish Golf Federation President Ahmet Agaoglu, Lagardere Senior Vice President Golf Roddy Carr and Financial Times Associate Director Ian Edwards for a panel discussion hosted by KPMG’s Golf Advisory Practice during the second round of the Turkish Airlines Open.  Carr joined Maclaren in his praise for the golf courses of Belek.

“This is the dream of every destination,” said Carr. “ This was a blank sheet of paper designed without question to be the best five star, all inclusive destination in all of the world. Eat as much as you want, play as much as you want. The closest you get to this are the resorts in the Caribbean.”

Edwards added, “It’s one of the best golfing experiences I’ve had as a player.”

There are currently only 18 golf clubs in Turkey, which makes up a small portion of the roughly 1,480 golf facilities in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea per European Golf Association (EGA) and International Golf Federation statistics. The leading countries are France, Spain and Italy with 597, 348 and 275 golf clubs respectively. However,  Turkey has shown a commitment to improving on its ranking through the addition of 35 courses throughout the country with more than half of them to be situated in the Belek region. A total of 7 golf facilities were built in Turkey over the past 18 years.

Tiger Woods Tops Forbes' Fab 40 List

Tiger Woods has fallen below names like Robert Dinwiddie and Sunhoon Kang on the Official World Golf Ranking, but he still, somehow, holds the top spot in Forbes' Fab 40 list. The annual feature ranks the world's most valuable sports brands, breaking them into four categories: athletes, businesses, events, and teams.

Woods comes in at No. 1 among athletes at $30 million. That number isn't how much he earned in endorsements in 2015, but how much more he earned than the average endorsement income of the top 10 earners in his sport. This is done to figure out how much an athlete's name or brand alone is worth. Woods' earnings have decreased since his scandal in 2009, and in this metric, he fell $6 million from the previous year.

The 30-million figure kept him just ahead of Phil Mickelson, whose brand is worth $28 million, according to Forbes. The two golfers are just ahead of NBA superstar LeBron James and tennis great Roger Federer, who both check in at $27 million. A third golfer, Rory McIlroy, cracked the top 10 for the first time with a brand value of $12 million.

Not surprisingly, Woods and McIlroy's biggest sponsor, Nike, is the No. 1 sports business brand at $26 billion, $9 billion more than No. 2, ESPN. Under Armour is up to No. 4 at $5 billion, no doubt helped by the rise of Jordan Spieth, who won two majors in 2015 and was named PGA Tour Player of the Year. We can also assume that it won't be long before Spieth, 22, shows up on this list.

Also interesting to note is Sky Sports being ranked No. 5 in the business category. The satellite sports channel will take over Open Championship TV rights from BBC beginning in 2016.

Golf didn't make the cut in the sports event category, which was easily led by the Super Bowl at $580 million. The New York Yankees were the most valuable sports team at $661 million.

Should the Cuban People Have the Right to Play Golf?

HAVANA TIMES – Cuban golf has made international headlines again this October. On this occasion, we read rumors that the island may create a Cuban Golf Federation.
During a gathering held at the beginning of the month (probably very elegant and refined, as the “updating” of the revolutionary process demands), The Iberian Culture Day Golf Tournament was held under the auspices of the Spanish embassy in Havana.
According to the magazine OnCuba, the vice-chair of the Cuban National Sports and Recreation Institute (INDER), Gladys Becquer, attended the gathering, and Antonio Castro Soto del Valle, the enthusiastic golfer and son of former President Fidel Castro, was among the VIP guests.
In the words of Juan Francisco Montalban Carrasco, Spanish ambassador to Havana, the son of the former leader is “yet another Cuban golf enthusiast.” Let us not forget that, in addition to race cars and exotic vacations, Castro has a keen taste for golf. In Varadero, he won the Esencia Cup during the 2012 Montecristo Cup tournament.
Antonio is one of 65 competitors from 11 different countries who signed up for the 14th Iberian Culture Day Tournament this year.
Different press agencies report that representatives of the US Professional Golfers Association, such as Rich Beem and Gary L. Schaal (who has been an industry leader for more than 30 years) also attended the function.
The president of the Spanish Golf Federation, Gonzaga Escauriaza, and the head of the newly reopened US Embassy in Havana, Jeff DeLaurentis, were also in attendance.
According to international press agencies, the vice-chair of Cuba’s sports institution did not offer any details about the creation of a national golf federation or about the candidates being considered for its leadership. “That’s being assessed at the moment,” she replied.
What seems certain is that the old slogan which proclaimed sports as a “people’s right” is being left out of these new plans to implement the Guidelines of the Cuban Communist Party.
There will always be those who say I am opposed to progress. This is understandable. But I won’t cease to express my dismay at seeing how the effort to make sports a popular right – an activity free from the vulgar professional mechanisms where money and personal glory reign supreme – is being betrayed.
Perhaps the government never took this effort seriously in the first place, but that’s quite simply their problem.
To top things off, they aren’t satisfied with exporting team and individual sports that are part of our country’s traditions, and insist on importing one that is intrinsically destructive of the environment and foreign to our culture, a sport that is reserved for a wealthy elite (which, in Cuba, is intertwined with political and military cliques).
An 18-hole golf course consumes about 1.5 million liters of water a day. Can you imagine what that would mean for an island like Cuba?
According to the book Cuba: “Impact of Climate Change and Adaptive Measures”, rainfall will continue to diminish towards the island’s eastern regions and draughts will become more common, intense and protracted. Coupled with high rates of evaporation, this will contribute to the deterioration of soils and the dwindling of water reserves.
The intense and prolonged draught has hit Cuba’s south-eastern regions most severely. Since 2012, scant rainfall has increasingly led to the partial or total exhaustion of more than 350 sources of water in the region.
Closer to the island’s center, 90% of the province of Cienfuegos has suffered the consequences of scant precipitation since November of 2014, a situation which persisted until April of this year. All the while, Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism is developing nine golf courses there, with over 22,400 hotel rooms around it.
Cuba’s west has not lagged behind and has presented record high temperatures and water shortages. There, they have already announced the construction of several golf courses within the Ganahacabibes Biosphere Reserve. This is a place, incidentally, that Cubans are not allowed to access.
Little by little, without consulting the public (and sometimes not even the experts), making it impossible to effectively oppose any of these measures, the Cuban government moves forward in its self-preservation efforts, no matter what the costs.
If it has to hand over its culture and natural resources on a silver platter to achieve this, these will quite simply become collateral damage that the powerful can bemoan, while gracefully swinging their golf clubs and drinking a refreshing mojito.

Poulter tips rookie Fitzpatrick for Ryder Cup debut

Ian Poulter has tipped rookie Matt Fitzpatrick to win a place in Europe's team when they defend the Ryder Cup against the United States at Hazeltine, Minnesota next year.

The 21-year-old Fitzpatrick has performed consistently well in his first full season on the circuit and claimed his maiden victory in this month's British Masters at Woburn, a tournament hosted by fellow Englishman Poulter.

"It wouldn't be a shock to see Matt (in the team)," Poulter told reporters ahead of this week's Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya.

"It's lovely to see young blood playing great golf. I've known Matt now for a couple of years, I played in a practice round with him at the British Open and knew he was a great player."
However, Fitzpatrick, who has soared from 413th to 53rd in the world rankings since the end of 2014, is playing down his Ryder Cup ambitions.

"The Ryder Cup is not something I'm focused on, it's just in the background," he said. "I'm just trying to play golf and work hard to keep improving and keep doing the right things.

"The rest will take care of itself. It's still weird to say that I've won. The aim now is to finish the year inside the top 50."

The $7 million Turkish Open is the first event in the four-tournament Final Series and features world number three Rory McIlroy's first appearance in Europe since May's Irish Open.

Read More: http://asia.eurosport.com/ 

Tiger Woods On Turning 40, His Back and Ryder Cup

If you think Tiger Woods is planning to slow down, you’re wrong. At the press conference at the Bridgestone America’s Golf Cup in Mexico City, he made it clear that his 14 majors are not the end of the road for him.

“I would love to — when all is said and done–to have won more than 18 major championships,” Woods remarked confidently. “My career is not over yet. I’m only trailing in basically two categories and that’s major championships — I got 14, Jack’s got 18 — I’ve got 79 wins on tour, where San Snead ( has), 82.

After pointing to his record and his accomplishments, he indicated that he not only has a great last 20 years, he intends to have very good next ten years.

“The next time I do play on tour, I will be 40, and hopefully my forties will be as successful as what VJ’s (Vijay Singh) forties were.” Woods added. Singh won more tournaments in his forties than anyone, eclipsing what was thought to be an impossible task, beating Sam Snead’s post-40 record. Singh won 20 times, including the PGA Championship, after age 40. Snead won 17 times including the Masters.

“I’ve been at the highest level for so far 20 years, and, hopefully, for many more to come. But first of all, I got to get healthy,” he said.

In fact, he said that longevity and playing against living legends was one of the best things about golf.
“The guys I use to play practice rounds with and guys I used to play against and who I have been beaten or I have beaten down the stretch  in tournaments are now on the Champions Tour,” he said. “I’m getting towards there and already facing the younger crop of guys, and it’s neat to see the Spieths and the Days and the McIlroys and the next young 20-year-olds doing what they’re doing.”
He said he had discussed the topic with Jack Nicklaus.

“Jack played with Hogan, he played with Sarazen and then he had Player and Palmer and played against Trevino, Watson, Miller, Seve, Langer and you name ‘em,” Woods explained.
“In my particular case, I’ve had four knee operations and two back operations, so six total is six too many, but you know we’re asking our bodies to do something that it is probably not meant to do,” Woods said about his most recent surgical experience.

Since his surgery, his biggest physical activity has been watching his children play soccer. He said he’s ready to start being goalie, but refuses to dive for balls at this stage. He’s not ready for that.
“I hope it doesn’t take that long for me to be pain free because there’s a process to go through,” he added about the rehab process. “Then I have to get explosive. Then I have to build that explosive endurance, build the practice for long periods of time, then eventually play for long periods of time.”
Complicating it all is the fact he had just gotten to the point where he was comfortable with his swing before the recent surgery and now he’s back to square one.

“It is the chicken and the egg,” he said. “How do I change my golf swing? Well I got to practice more. I can’t practice more because I got to rehab. Rehab more, that means I can’t practice as much. So it was it was a tough situation going through that.”
It pretty much describes his last 18 months. Unfortunately, comebacks are now becoming as much of his legacy as his victory record. Should he come back from this latest procedure to win 20 more tournaments, it would be a superior accomplishment.

No doubt he has his eye on Ryder Cup play. But for now, he’s sidelined, although he participated in the much discussed Ryder Cup task force and was part of the committee formed by the task force.
He thinks the committee, comprised of veteran players, has come up with the right plan.
“I’ve been a part of the Ryder Cup since 1997, and Jim (Furyk) was on the same team as me, and ‘97 made our appearance in Valderrama,” Woods recalled. Steve Stricker, he said, played on the Presidents Cup starting in 1996, and Phil Mickelson made his first Ryder Cup in 1995. In addition, there is the experience of former and current captain, Davis Love III.

Woods explained that in their deliberations, the committee was thinking about the future, not the past.
“That Ryder Cup committee, we’re trying to, not set it up for just this Ryder Cup coming up in 2016,” he explained. “This is a ten Ryder Cup process, so you’re looking at 20 years. This is going outlive us, outlive our playing days.”

He quote Mickelson who, according to Woods, said that they were not going to win the next ten Ryder Cups, but they are shooting for seven out of the next ten. The committee wanted a long-term game plan instead of having captains trying to reinvent it every time.
“The Europeans have done a fantastic job of creating a blueprint that has worked well for them,” he added. “We’re trying to do the same thing right now with our Ryder Cup culture, and having the team leaders being guys have been part of cups for over 20 years — or around 20 years — I think it was an important move and a very important strategic move for us.”

When will we see Tiger Woods next? If the stars are aligned, it will be in April at Augusta National Golf Club. For anyone with 14 majors, the next one is the most important.

LITTLE BIG MAN: How Zach Johnson outflexes the bombers, wins majors and makes a Hall-of-Fame push

It's the story of his life, though public credit has been in short supply. The buzz kill that many felt at St. Andrews was reminiscent of a similar reaction when Johnson won at Augusta in 2007. "I get it," Johnson says. "People wanted Tiger to win then. People wanted Jordan to win last week." Even in the four-hole playoff, the crowd favorite was the phlegmatic South African Louis Oosthuizen.
It doesn't bother Johnson. He knows he's colorless on the course. "I like to play what I call a-motional golf," he says. "Emotion doesn't grab me that much." In small groups, he has a disarming and winning way of playing off his image. "How are my eight hairs looking?" he asks a video technician before an interview, patting his thin dome. His clean, self-aware performance reading David Letterman's Top-10 List after the Masters victory included deadpanning the line, "Even I have never heard of me."
Of course, modesty is mandatory for Iowans. Johnson's father, Dave, a Cedar Rapids chiropractor, says knowingly, "Everyone in the state would be disappointed if Zach handled his success any differently."

The Red Bull Billionaire Behind Wentworth’s 733 Percent Golf Price Hike - It now costs almost $200,000 to join one of England’s most famous clubs.

The billionaire owner of one of the U.K.'s most prestigious golf clubs is charging a rich price for membership. On Tuesday, members were informed annual rates would double and cost of joining would rise to £125,000 ($192,000) from £15,000. That's a 733 percent increase. Existing members were asked to pay a one-time fee of £100,000.

It's a steep price, one that makes Wentworth Club, in Surrey, England, one of the most expensive rounds of golf in the world. And it's a long way from owner Chanchai Ruayrungruang's humble beginnings.

Also known by his Chinese name, Yan Bin, he owns Wentworth Club through his closely held Beijing-based conglomerate, Reignwood Group. He's the 2nd-richest person in Thailand, and the world's 153rd-richest, worth $7.9 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Reignwood is best known in China for distributing the energy drink Red Bull, though it's also involved in energy, property and financial leasing, among other industries. Red Bull China had 20 billion yuan ($3.2 billion) in revenue in 2014, according to its company website.

Born to a poor family in China's eastern province of Shandong, he moved to Thailand with his family when he was young, where he acquired the Thai name, Chanchai. Little is known about the details of the billionaire's rags-to-riches journey, though he is reported to have shown an unusual entrepreneurial flair even in his poorest days.

Chanchai founded Reignwood in 1984 as a trading and tourism business. After making a small fortune in real estate, the tycoon started to invest in his homeland. In 1995, he introduced China to Red Bull, the highly caffeinated beverage invented in Thailand in the 1970s. Outside of beverages, the group also owns several marquee real estate projects around the world, including Ten Trinity Square and the Corn Exchange at 55 Mark Lane in London.

Out of the bunker: Local golf courses recover from recession; seek youthful infusion

At the turn of the century golf seemed to be positioning itself to take over hockey as America’s fourth “major” sport – behind football, baseball and basketball.
The 1990s brought an unprecedented boom in golf course construction at the same time Tiger Woods exploded onto the scene – which massively fueled television ratings of professional golf. By 2007 one survey estimated golf enthusiasts spent nearly $75 billion on the sport. New course construction boomed in the 1990s and early 2000s to the point of over-supply.
Golflink.com noted “the emergence of Tiger Woods boosted the game’s popularity, turning it into a hip pastime for many who never would have considered playing it before.”
With the economy flying high and a younger generation wanting to “be like Tiger,” golf seemed to be shedding its image among some as an elitist sport reserved mainly for sales people closing business deals by the 18th tee.

The great decline

And then the movement nationally suddenly sliced a shot into a St. Andrews-style bunker. Within the course of less than 24 months from 2007 to 2009, Tiger’s career and the economy came to a crashing halt.
“During the ‘90s we built just a ton of golf courses to meet demand,” said Baraboo Country Club golf pro Clint Hutchens. “They kind of overdid it. And now all of us are in this tough environment as far as trying to get every last dollar we can.”
According to the National Golf Foundation, there were 30.6 million golfers in 2003 and by 2012 the number had dipped to 25.3 million – a 17 percent drop. The foundation also reported a peak number of 16,052 golf courses in the U.S. in 2005 – slipping to 15,516 by 2013. The organization also reported only 14 course openings in 2013 while 157 closed.
The demise of Woods’ career has diminished television ratings and perhaps his influence on inspiring others to play the game. During his historic winning run he drew viewers to their televisions that had never picked up a golf club. Everyone wanted to know what Tiger would do next.
The golf industry cannot blame one athlete’s career slide on the downturn of the entire sport. Even professional golfers acknowledge it is one of the hardest games ever invented to master – one contributing factor that may partially explain why only about 5 percent to 7 percent of Americans play. Over the last six to seven years, time and the expense of the game have been the industry’s nemesis with regard to maintaining a current client base and gaining new, younger players.
Jack Nicklaus told CNN in an interview in January, “I’d like to play a game that can take place in three hours. I’d quite like to play a game that I can get some reasonable gratification out of very quickly – and something that is not going to cost me an arm and a leg.”
Golf course managers traditionally expected a group of golfers to complete 18 holes of play in four hours. Over the years, that standard has extended to four and one-half hours. Add in travel and warm-up time and an 18-hole round of golf now takes almost six hours of one’s day.
The late 1990s and early 2000s Tiger Woods-influenced-golf boom may have contributed to the problem of lengthening a round of golf. “I feel like we had a huge influx of golfers who grew up not playing the game,” Hutchens said. “They were never taught golf course etiquette and ways to play faster.”

Dealing with adversity

Today’s world is busier and many recreational players have decided they cannot invest the amount of time they did 15 or 20 years ago playing the sport.
“We’ve definitely seen a shift from 18-hole play to more nine-hole play,” said Hutchens. “More and more people don’t have the time to devote six hours of their day to a round of golf, but they can devote three hours.”
Golf course accountants are dealing with the consequences of patrons cutting their business in half. In addition, with a low percentage of Americans playing the sport, golf courses have a limited market for promotions.
Hutchens said his club has lost full members – who are offered unlimited golf – as they have opted for daily fee golf, or pay as you go.
Declining revenue also has been an issue at the Portage Country Club where club pro Mark Braska said the course has succumbed to players’ need to save money by offering various specials such as a “Monday Super Golf Special” and twilight golf.
“Not too many people full-boat anymore,” he said. “They’re on some kind of a special.”
While Braska acknowledges specials have kept a steady flow of patrons coming through his club and others, at some point the bottom line must be met to offset the high price of maintaining a golf course. “We’re just trying to break even if we can,” he said.

Benefiting from the Dells

Despite the difficulties, there remains a sense of optimism among the course managers and pros in south central Wisconsin. While Hutchens also acknowledged Baraboo Country Club’s goal at this point is to break even, he was enthusiastic about how many of the courses in Sauk, Columbia and Juneau counties feed off of each other and work together.
“Between us and Reedsburg and Trappers and Wild Rock, we’re kind of spoiled in this area,” Hutchens said. “We all benefit from the Dells. When the Dells is busy, we get overflow play.”
He also noted how he and other pros in the area, like Bob Feller at the Reedsburg Country Club, work together exchanging ideas and referring players to other courses when one becomes full.
Feller shared Hutchens’ enthusiasm and optimism for the future of the sport.
Many Wisconsin Dells-area golf courses have been shielded from the national downturn in golf.
“Nationally I think it’s down as a whole but we’re certainly doing very well,” Feller said. “In the Dells area golf has been doing very well. If anything, it’s on the up-rise over the last three years. Our revenue has steadily increased over the last 10 (years) as far as cart fees and greens fees.”
Resort courses like Trappers Turn and Wild Rock not only are highly ranked by various golf industry associations, they also benefit from being located in one of the biggest tourist destinations in the state.
Scott Mowatt, tournament coordinator at Wild Rock Golf Club in Lake Delton, said his club continues to enjoy a steady flow of customers.
“This is one of the busiest years we’ve ever had,” he said.
Mowatt said the combination of being a resort course and offering high-quality playing facilities are two key ingredients to success.

Seeing the future

The business models of many industries lean on generating future revenue by creating demand from younger generations. The golf industry is no exception but certainly may have some road blocks ahead.
Many course managers agree that creating an interest in golf for kids under 18 is a key component for the success of a course’s future. Those kids eventually will have expendable income and in turn teach the sport to their children.
“You’re trying to get the younger generation hooked on the game and they’re your next members,” said Braska, noting that also creates a trickle-down effect. “The parents are so excited their kids are not sitting in the house playing video games all day and they’ll end up buying a family membership.”
Golf – while popular with many kids in grade and middle school – seems to lose the battle to more popular high school sports. Hutchens spoke of a “really healthy junior program” at the Baraboo Country Club with 60 kids this year, but said “we lose the kids once they get into their high school years. I lose them when they’re playing baseball, tennis and these other sports because of how involved (with golf) you have to be to be competitive. The kids just don’t have the time for it.”
Mauston High School golf coach and math teacher Kurt Andreasen not only had the problem Hutchens referred to but also has to contend with economics. “We don’t have a lot of the golf families. There doesn’t seem to be that love of the game and there’s also the poverty. Roughly 50 percent of our students qualify for free or reduced meals.”
Andreasen decided to take matters into his own hands and made it his mission to inspire kids simply by talking about golf and showing his students his passion for the game. “I’m doing everything as a coach I can to find other ways.”
His efforts also included requesting grants from the Wisconsin State Golf Association – three of which have been granted thus far. He also reaped generous golf equipment donations from community members. Andreasen was proud to note that participation on the high school team has risen from five members seven years ago when he took over as coach to an average of 18.
Chris Johnson, club pro at Lake Wisconsin Country Club outside of Prairie du Sac, said he also contends with losing youth golfers to more popular sports like football and basketball in high school. Despite losing kids to the sport in their teenage years, he still thinks it’s vital to get the kids involved early – citing his own experience. “As soon as I finished with school (playing football and basketball) I felt golf was something I could go out and do athletically.”

Turning the corner

Johnson said Lake Wisconsin Country Club had a successful summer youth program and he believes the club as a whole was finally turning the corner from the recession seven years ago – noting it was the first time in several years the club saw an increase in new memberships.
The sport has seen exciting signs of new life. A majority of the top 10 golfers on the PGA tour are young and creating a new television ratings buzz. Players like Rory Mcilroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day are all in their 20s and overpowering veterans such as Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
While many local golf courses across Wisconsin and the rest of the country are battling to stay alive, they do have one mitigating factor on their side. As people age and realize they no longer may be able to run a 5K race or rush the net on a tennis court, golf will always remain a physically low-impact sport.
“It remains arguably the only sport you can really play until the day you keel over,” Hutchens said.

Chinese Communist Party Bans Golf Club Membership, Extramarital Affairs

China’s ruling Communist Party has banned its 88 million members from playing golf, having sex outside of marriage and partaking in “extravagant eating and drinking,” according to the country’s state media .

The new rules announced earlier this month by the Communist Party, part of an ongoing anti-corruption drive by President Xi Jinping, are intended to be a “moral ethical code that members must abide by,” according to China’s Xinhua News Agency . Members are barred from "obtaining, holding or using membership cards for gyms, clubs, golf clubs, or various other types of consumer cards, or entering private clubs.” Chinese authorities banned the construction of new golf courses in 2004, but they have continued to be built in the decade since, the AFP reports .

The bans on playing golf and ostentatious displays of eating and drinking are included as violations for the first time, says Xinhua. While party members were already prohibited from “keeping paramours and conducting adultery,” the new rule against “having improper sexual relationships with others” is stricter.

Additional rules for the party’s 88 million members include bans on forming cliques and engaging in nepotism, Al Jazeera reports . Xi has tried to drive down corruption within the party since assuming office in 2012, but a number of high-profile cases have drawn international attention over the past few years. In June, the former domestic security chief, Zhou Yongkang, was sentenced to life in prison on corruption charges , including taking bribes worth 128 million yuan ($21 million), The Washington Post reports .

While the new regulations don’t explicitly outline the punishments for rule infraction, Xinhua reports that party rule is considered stricter than and above the law. Many critics see the crackdown as a way for Xi to purge the party of unwanted rivals rather than cleaning up its image.

China is ranked 100th out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Index.

Cigar-smoking golfer Miguel Angel Jimenez wants to represent Spain at the Olympics

ONE of the world’s most flamboyant golfers has his sights set on the 2016 Olympic games.
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Cigar-smoking Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez says he ‘is very interested’ in making the grade despite turning 50 last year.
With just 10 months until the teams are selected, Jimenez is currently in line to partner with compatriot Sergio Garcia for Spain.
“Of course I would like to be in the Olympics,” he said.
“Can you imagine Miguel Angel Jimenez in Rio with a big fat cigar, walking through the middle of the Olympic Village with all of the athletes around? I would love that.”

Three to receive 2016 Distinguished Service Awards at Golf Industry Show

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) leaders David Fearis and Paul McGinnis, and longtime Penn State University professor Al Turgeon have been selected to receive the association's 2016 Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Award.
The three will be recognized at the 2016 Golf Industry Show, on Feb. 9 during the Opening Session, presented in partnership with Syngenta, at the San Diego Convention Center.
The award is given to individuals who have made an outstanding, substantive and enduring contribution to the advancement of the golf course superintendent profession. The award was renamed in 2009 in honor of Col. John Morley, GCSAA's founder and first president. He was the first to earn the Distinguished Service Award, in 1932, and he received it again in 1940.
"These gentlemen embody what the Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Award represents," said GCSAA President John O'Keefe. "They have made significant contributions to the game of golf and have dedicated themselves to the advancement of the superintendent profession through teaching and leadership."
Fearis, 68 and retired, was a golf course superintendent for 29 years, earning the distinguished title of certified golf course superintendent (CGCS). A graduate of Purdue University, he started in the profession as superintendent at the Country Club of Peoria (Ill.), but became totally immersed in his career when he landed the superintendent job at Blue Hills Country Club in a suburb of Kansas City, Mo.
"I am honored and flabbergasted to receive this award," said Fearis, who served on the GCSAA board with McGinnis. "It is an extra special honor to be recognized alongside Paul (McGinnis). I was always taught to give back what was given to you, and I hope I have done that. It all has been a very rewarding experience.";
Fearis served as a GCSAA board member for eight years and was president of the association in 1999. He has also been active in the Heart of America GCSA, the Central Illinois GCSA, The First Tee of Kansas City, the Midwest Regional Turf Foundation and the Illinois Turfgrass Foundation.
McGinnis, a CGCS and the 64-year-old director of golf course maintenance at Pebble Creek Golf Resort in Pebble Creek, Ariz., has been a GCSAA member for 38 years. He served on the association's board of directors for nine years, including a term as president in 1997. He has also been a three-time president of the Cactus and Pine GCSA.
McGinnis is passionate about the role superintendents play in environmental stewardship. He served on the Governor's Panel for Water Conservation and is currently a Grassroots Ambassador for GCSAA, a program that seeks to link superintendents with a member of Congress to improve communication on behalf of the golf industry.
"Having been on the GCSAA board and knowing first hand what they are looking for makes this really special," said McGinnis. "I am incredibly honored and humbled. I am not sure what I did to deserve this, but I will sure enjoy it. It's a great day when you get that kind of call from the president."
Turgeon, 72, has been educating students in turfgrass management for four decades. After earning his Ph.D. from Michigan State University, he started as head of the agronomy department at Penn State in 1986 and today holds the position of professor emeritus. His teaching career has brought him significant recognition, but none more than being named one of the top 10 contributors in turfgrass science over the past 50 years by the Crop Science Society of America.
In addition, Turgeon received the Distinguished Service Award from the Illinois Turfgrass Foundation and was recognized with an Outstanding Teacher award from Penn State. A longtime GCSAA member, he has taught education sessions at the annual Golf Industry Show from 1975 to 2012.
"This award is quite an honor and quite a surprise," said Turgeon, who taught the first education seminar at GIS in 1975, in New Orleans. "It is totally unexpected, but it is nice to be recognized when you have given your life to a profession. It is been a great ride, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I feel I have gained more than I have given to the teaching profession."
The GCSAA Board of Directors selects the winners from nominations submitted by affiliated chapters and/or association members.

How Much Is Tiger Woods Worth?

Tiger Woods has fallen a long way from the top in recent years. Rocked by a public infidelity scandal in 2009, the golf superstar has had not just his reputation tarnished, but he also has yet to regain his top form, He hasn't won a major event since 2008. As a result, both his net worth and income have suffered. Having said that, he still was one of the 10 highest-paid athletes last year and he still has a net worth most of us won't even attain in our wildest dreams.
Tiger Woods by the numbersBecause of lingering injuries, Woods has only made the cut in seven of his past 13 events, which is a startling fall for a player who once made a record 142 straight cuts. However, despite not performing as well as he once did, Woods still made $50.6 million this year, according to Forbes. That ranks him as the ninth highest-paid athlete in the world and the second highest-paid golfer behind Phil Mickelson at $50.8 million. Those earnings have pushed Woods' total career earnings up to more than $1.37 billion since turning pro. He's likely on his way to making more than $2 billion before all is said and done.
That being said, Tiger Woods is not a billionaire today. And while how much Tiger Woods is worth is still open to debate, he is thought to have a current net worth of around $600 million, the bulk of which has come from endorsement deals and not from golf earnings. In fact, Forbes pegs his tournament prize money at just $600,000 this year, while in his best year he earned only $10.8 million playing golf and his career earnings from the PGA Tour are just a shade over $100 million. On the other hand, Woods' biggest endorsement deal is with Nike, which he has been with since turning pro in 1996, and it is estimated to pay him as much as $20 million per year. The company is one of the few that have remained with Woods since his scandal broke, as well as in spite of his poor play in recent years.
Tiger Woods could be worth much more
Speaking of Woods' scandal, it has significantly tarnished his reputation, cut deeply into his earnings, and took a huge chunk out of his net worth. While we can't put a price tag on his reputation, we can say that Woods his deals with the likes of Accenture, AT&T, PepsiCo, Gillette, and Electronic Arts, many of which surely valued his reputation as much as, if not more than, his ability to play golf. While Woods has attempted to rebuild his endorsement empire in the years since the scandal broke, his $50.6 million in earnings this year will be well off his peak in 2007m when he earned $122.7 million. Meanwhile, his now ex-wife, Elin Nordegren, was awarded $110 million as part of their divorce settlement, taking a big chunk of his net worth.
Woods is no longer the superstar he once was on or off the field. However, he has tried to rebuild his financial empire by signing new endorsement deals in recent years, including an $8 million-a-year deal with Indian motorcycle and scooter company Hero. However, while Woods isn't exactly hurting financially, he's a long way from his former peak.
TakeawayClearly, Tiger Woods is worth a whole lot of money, but he has lost a lot in recent years because of his infidelity scandal. His reputation, income and net worth have all experienced serious blows. That's a life lesson to us all, and the lesson isn't to avoid getting caught, but to avoid the situation in which one's reputation can be tarnished entirely. It's just not worth it, and as we can see from Tiger Woods' own experience, it's hard to clean up a tarnished reputation -- not to mention the potential impact that can have on one's net worth.
The other takeaway is that Tiger Woods makes far more money outside his day job playing golf. It's a subtle reminder that there's often money to be made in things relating to our jobs -- such as consulting, for example -- that can have a big impact on one's net worth.

Sergio Garcia and Darren Clarke sign up for new event

Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn donned their evening suits to launch a new tour event in Asia in December. 
They will play in the Ho Tram Open at a spectacular new links coure in Vietnam. 
According to Sergio: “Vietnam has always been an intriguing destination for golf and one I have been paying close attention to. We are blessed with a lot of great tournaments around the world, but the opportunity to experience a new destination, a new course and a new challenge is very appealing to me.”
“This is great news for sports fans in Vietnam and for the Ho Tram Open,” commented Ben Styles, Vice President Golf & Residential. “Sergio has been one of golf’s most charismatic figures and he will give us considerable impetus in putting the destination on the map.”
In addition to Sergio and Clarke, Robert Rock, former US Open Champion Geoff Ogilvy, Ryder Cup legend Thomas Bjorn and Vietnam’s No.1 Michael Tran will be joining the Asian Tour’s best for the event from December 3-6. 
“Sergio is at the pinnacle of the sport, which coupled with his charismatic style and his spirit of entertainment give us the perfect package for the Ho Tram Open,” said Jed Moore, Tournament Promoter Ho Tram Open. “The event will be a great advert for Vietnam and Ho Tram and with Sergio’s addition gives us even greater potential.”
Since opening in October 2014, the links-style layout located two hours southeast of Ho Chi Minh City has been hailed by many of the world’s leading authorities on golf. In January, GOLF Magazine named it one of the world’s best new courses. In July, the Australian Financial Review called it “as pretty a course as you’ll find on the entire Asian continent.”
For more information about the Ho Tram Open including player bios and sponsorship options, visitwww.hotramopen.com and follow @HoTramOpen.
If you happen to be in Vietnam in December, tickets are free and can be downloaded on the Ho Tram Open website www.hotramopen.com

Pondering Tiger and Phil as future Ryder Cup captains

It was sometime during Phil Mickelson's undefeated Presidents Cup week that Tiger Woods, according to a Golf Digest report, called Fred Couples. Couples in turn passed the phone over to Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, who listened as Woods reportedly said that he'd been thinking about strategy for next year's proceedings at Valhalla and wants to be included as part of the team in some way
Those two actions -- Woods' call and Mickelson's performance -- were independent of one another. Yet because this is golf and because they just happen to be the two biggest lightning rods in the game over the past two decades, they converged into a rapidly percolating hot-button issue: Should Tiger and Phil be Ryder Cup captains someday?

This is the type of question that fuels the talk-show circuit for hours on end, every interested observer offering a viewpoint that can't be immediately affirmed or expunged. In fact, even if each of them ends up serving in the role, we might still argue whether they were right for the job or were simply handed the position because of their elevated status as players.

Too bad there's an easy answer: of course they should.

Say what you will about ousted PGA of America president Ted Bishop, but he changed the game. The role of Ryder Cup captain had previously served as a way of honoring the greatest players. Everybody step up, take your turn at bat, then let another guy have a chance. (Except for you, Larry Nelson. Never you.) That didn't mean the powers-that-be didn't want to win, only that they wanted to keep the position as a revolving door for the next legend who fit the criteria of being 50-55 years old and having played on multiple teams.

The appointment of Tom Watson could be filed under "unmitigated disaster," but it did prompt a change in the evolution of the captaincy. Since the U.S. has won just a single Ryder Cup this century, there is now a blueprint to install the best person available, revolving door be damned.
All of which gets us back to Tiger and Phil.

Some contend that because each owns a subpar Ryder Cup record and has suffered through a losing culture during the latest era, both should be bypassed for the captaincy. Which makes no sense. That would be analogous to an NFL team hiring only a coach who had won the Super Bowl as a player, rather than the best man for the job.

Now, I've long advocated for the PGA of America to name a permanent captain, much like other national teams -- perhaps in conjunction with the PGA Tour, and including the Presidents Cup, too. It would retain a semblance of consistency that teams have lacked from one competition to the next each year.

If that doesn't happen, though, then of course the two winningest and most respected American players of the past two decades should be offered opportunities to lead the team. Just as players of past generations might have felt a little extra motivation to win -- or, at least, not lose -- for men such as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, Woods and Mickelson would instill similar attitudes in team members.

If there's a line of demarcation separating U.S. players from their European counterparts, it's that the former value individual accomplishments, especially major championships, more than these team events, while the latter have often prioritized winning as a team. That shouldn't be viewed as a major criticism of the Americans, though -- and it shouldn't keep the two biggest names from future captaincies.

The role is no longer an honor for legendary players, but that's not what Woods or Mickelson would want anyway. Just because they might not have wanted to win Ryder Cups more than, say, green jackets, that doesn't mean they didn't want to win. It also doesn't mean they aren't the right men for the job -- someday.

Comienza la invasión del Club de Campo de Madrid: Carmena se carga al director

La alcaldesa de Madrid, Manuela Carmena, ha destituido al director gerente del Club de Campo de Madrid, Alfonso Segovia, tras el consejo de administración que ha celebrado la entidad. Carmena pretende que el Club se convierta “en un parque público”, lo que ha provocado la disconformidad de los abonados del club que pagan religiosamente sus cuotas.

La alcaldesa de Madrid ha hecho alarde de su vena autoritaria y ha destituido al director del Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, Alfonso Segovia, comenzando la invasión de la institución deportiva que está siendo capitaneada por la nueva presidenta y delegada de Cultura y Deportes municipal, Celia Meyer.

Según ha podido saber Okdiario, Meyer intentó destituir a Segovia antes del consejo de administración que se celebró ayer, a lo que el director se negó por ir contra los Estatutos de la entidad. Tras la reunión de los consejeros, a la que asistió Segovia, se ha producido su despido en el día de hoy.

Carmena pretende que el Club se convierta “en un parque público”, lo que ha provocado la disconformidad de los abonados del club que pagan religiosamente sus cuotas.  La alcaldesa quiere que la institución sea un lugar donde se reciban visitas de escolares y unir con una carretera el Club con la Casa de Campo. Todo ello deberá ser sufragado por los abonados, bien mediante un aumento de las cuotas o con la prestación de menos servicios.

Los socios temen que el club sea una víctima más de la ofensiva de Carmena por ceder espacios a organizaciones okupas, como los del Patio Maravillas, que han solicitado la cesión municipal de un edificio histórico en la madrileña calle de Alberto Aguilera. Por ello, los abonados estudian organizarse para defender sus intereses ante la toma de control que está haciendo Carmena de la institución deportiva.

Antes del verano Manuela Carmena tomó por las bravas el máximo órgano de gobierno del Club de Campo de Madrid, al situar a Meyer de presidenta y sentar en la mesa del consejo de administración al concejal de Hacienda, Carlos Sánchez Mato, anticapitalista reconocido que ha roto el contrato con las agencias de calificación crediticia, con las auditoras internacionales y que ha iniciado una ola de nacionalizaciones en la economía de la capital.

Otros miembros del consejo nombrados por Carmena son a la concejala de Medio Ambiente, Inés Sabanés, el director general de Deportes, Francisco Javier Odriozola y la directora general de Sector Público, Marta Fernández-Pirla. Un desembarco en toda regla para tomar posesión de las 200 hectáreas de instalaciones que tiene el Club.

La institución se financia mediante las cuotas de sus socios (que aportan unos 22 millones de euros anuales), dinero que sirve para pagar a los 300 empleados, las instalaciones hípicas, los 36 hoyos de golf, la escuela de tenis, los dos campos de hockey, las piscinas al aire libre y los servicios de restauración. Todo ello peligra con la llegada de Carmena a la alcaldía.

Alfonso Segovia había tendido puentes con el ayuntamiento para intentar frenar el golpe y conciliar los intereses municipales y de los abonados. El ex director había manifestado que todos los ciudadanos que así lo desearan podían acceder al Club pagando una justa cuota de siete euros para utilizar las instalaciones. Hasta ahora Segovia estaba tranquilo porque pensaba que su posible cese debería aprobarse por todos los partidos, pero la cacicada de Carmena le ha expulsado de la institución.