Nick Watney wins second of the year with AT&T National title

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Nick Watney wins AT&T National

Nick Watney wins AT&T National

Never mind that Nick Watney was the highest-ranked player at the AT&T National, or that he won a World Golf Championship in March. Stepping to the first tee Sunday in a tie for the lead at the AT&T National, he had reason to feel overlooked.

After being announced, one fan called out, “Go, Rickie!” Several other fans in the large gallery wore bright orange shirts and flat-brimmed caps to show their support for Rickie Fowler, a 22-year-old who was tied for the lead and going after that first PGA Tour win.

“He’s obviously a very popular player. I think his time is definitely coming,” Watney said. “I would say there were probably a few more Fowler fans out there. But it is what it is. Sometimes you play away games or whatever.”

Watney doesn’t have the panache of Fowler, but his game is starting to get plenty of attention.

Playing the weekend at Aronimink in a staggering 12 under, and going the final 27 holes without a bogey, Watney closed with a 4-under 66 for a two-shot victory over K.J. Choi (67) to win for the second time this year and move to No. 10 in the world.

Watney, whose other win this year was a World Golf Championship against an elite field at Doral, also put himself atop the FedExCup standings and the PGA Tour money list for the first time.

“It’s a very addictive feeling to be out there and under the gun,” said Watney, who had rounds of 62-66 on the weekend. “To be able to hit good shots and putts is why I play, really.”

And to think that with only 27 holes left in the tournament, Watney was trying to keep from getting left behind. Ten birdies, an eagle and no bogeys later, he was posing with the silver trophy of a Liberty Bell and wondering how much better he could get.

Watney finished on 13-under 267, tying the tournament record by Tiger Woods in 2009 when it was played at Congressional. The tournament is scheduled to return to Congressional next year.

Charles Howell III earned quite a consolation prize. He played bogey-free in the final round for a 6-under 66 to tie for third with Adam Scott (68) and Jeff Overton (67). That made him eligible for the British Open in two weeks as the top finisher from the top five who wasn’t already exempt.

Fowler had another learning experience.

He fell out of the hunt early with a double bogey on the second hole when he hit three straight shots without losing his turn. From a tough spot in the bunker, he came up well short of the green, barely got his putt up the slope, then ran his bogey attempt a nervy 3 feet beyond the hole. That became a three-shot swing when Watney made birdie, and Fowler never caught up. He finished with a 74 to tie for 13th.

“I just couldn’t get anything going today,” he said.

Watney didn’t give anyone much of a chance. He took the outright lead with a wedge into 10 feet for birdie on No. 2, and holed a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-5 fifth. Despite leaving himself in a tough spot in the bunker on the par-5 ninth, he blasted out to 2 feet for another birdie.

Even so, his biggest putts were for par.

Watney saved par from bunkers on No. 4 with a 20-foot putt, and from No. 7 with a putt from about 12 feet. His biggest par save might have been the par-3 eighth, which yielded only two birdies in the final round.

Overton had reached 9 under and was making a move, and Choi had birdied the previous to also reach 9 under. Watney’s shot went over the green, and he putted up the slope to 18 feet. He made the par putt to keep his cushion.

“That was big not to drop a shot after hitting a good shot, and keep momentum heading to the back nine,” Watney said.

The final challenge came from Choi, who trailed by four shots at one point. He slowly made up ground, then closed in on Watney after the turn with a bending, downhill birdie putt on the 11th and a pair of long birdie putts on the 12th and 14th holes, the last one tying for the lead.

Momentum was with Choi, only the South Korean knew better. The par-4 15th played at 503 yards into a slight breeze, following by the par-5 16th that was reachable in two.

“When I tied him on the 14th hole, I knew that there was still a lot of holes to go, and I knew the remaining holes were more favorable to Nick Watney,” Choi said. “I knew the 15th hole would be a turning point. That was a key hole, and I missed it. So I think that was the turning point of the match.”

Choi pulled his shot into the left rough, then tried to hit 5-wood toward the green. The thick grass shut his club and sent the shot into a bunker, some 60 yards from the pin, and so close to the side that his legs were pressed against the edge of the bunker. Choi hit a solid shot, but it took one more hop into the rough, he chipped out to 12 feet and missed the putt.

Watney was just short of the green and lagged his putt from 75 feet to 5 feet, converting yet another important par.

On the next hole, Watney used his power to smash a drive that left him only a 7-iron to the green, and he again hit a good lag for a two-putt birdie. His seventh and final par save came from just behind the 17th green, and his chip stopped 2 feet from the cup.

Watney earned $1.116 million and became the first player this year to top $4 million on tour.

“I’m overjoyed to be in here as the winner,” Watney said. “It was a very difficult, long day. K.J. played great golf and he kept coming and coming. And that makes it even more rewarding.”

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Woods passes on US Open Golf due to injuries

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Tiger Woods passes on US Open

Tiger Woods passes on US Open

Tiger Woods pulled out of the U.S. Open on Tuesday because of lingering issues with his left leg, leaving him uncertain how soon he can resume his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record for major titles.

 

It will be the first time Woods has missed the U.S. Open since 1994, when he had just graduated high school.

“I am extremely disappointed that I won’t be playing in the U.S. Open, but it’s time for me to listen to my doctors and focus on the future,” Woods said on his website. “I was hopeful that I could play, but if I did, I risk further damage to my left leg. My knee and Achilles tendon are not fully healed.”

Woods said he hoped to be ready for the AT&T National, which starts June 30 at Aronomink, and the next two majors. Then again, he said two weeks ago he would do everything possible to be ready for the U.S. Open, which is far more significant.

“We’re very disappointed that he won be playing in the National Open,” USGA executive director Mike Davis said, whom Woods called Tuesday morning. “He certainly brings excitement to the event. He’ll be missed, but the U.S. Open will go on. The event is bigger than one player, but he certainly will be missed.”

The U.S. Open starts June 16 at Congressional, where Woods won the AT&T National two years ago and tied for 19th when the U.S. Open was last played there in 1997.

He hasn’t won since the 2009 Australian Masters, a stretch of 22 tournaments. He not only lost his No. 1 ranking late last year, he has plunged to No. 15 in the world, his lowest spot in the ranking since the spring of 1997.

Woods announced his decision on Twitter: “Not playing in US Open. Very disappointed. Short-term frustration for long-term gain.”

The Masters is now the only major Woods has played every year since turning pro. He was recovering from knee surgery in 2008 and did not play the British Open and PGA Championship.

“It’s been a frustrating and difficult year, but I’m committed to my longterm health,” Woods said. “I want to thank the fans for their encouragement and support. I am truly grateful and will be back playing when I can.”

The question is when he returns.

Woods is recovering from injuries to his left knee ligaments and left Achilles’, and his Achilles’ is believed to be giving him more trouble.

“My man is hurting,” Arjun Atwal, a close friend and frequent practice partner, said last week at the Memorial. “He’s in a boot, he’s on crutches. Not doing good.”

The most recent of four surgeries on Woods’ left knee came a week after the 2008 U.S. Open, which Woods won in a playoff for his 14th major. He had reconstructive surgery and was out for eight months, then returned and won seven times the following year before his personal life imploded on Thanksgiving night in 2009.

Woods was tied for the lead at the turn in the final round of the Masters this year and wound up in a tie for fourth. But he said he hurt his knee and Achilles’ hitting from an awkward stance in the pine straw on the 17th hole of the third round at Augusta National, and he was limping toward the finish on Sunday. He described it as a “minor injury” in April.

Woods sat out the Wells Fargo Championship, then tried to play in The Players Championship, only to withdraw at 6-over par after nine holes because of what he called a chain reaction of pain in his knee, Achilles’ and eventually his calf.

He later said he tried to come back too early.

The U.S. Open will be the 12th straight major without Woods winning, the longest drought of his career. He remains four majors short of the 18 professional majors that Nicklaus won, the ultimate benchmark in golf.

“I still have plenty of time, and I feel that going forward, I’m excited about playing major championships and playing golf again,” Woods said two weeks ago while promoting the AT&T National. “I just want to be healthy and solid, and I feel like I can give it a go.”

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Rookie Keegan Bradley wins first PGA event

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Walking down the 18th fairway during a playoff and realizing he was about to get his first PGA Tour victory, Keegan Bradley got emotional thinking about a cowbell.

The one that is in the World Golf Hall of Fame. The one his grandmother rang after every win by his famous aunt, LPGA Tour great Pat Bradley, whose 31 victories included six majors.

“It was like pull it together, don’t start thinking about the cowbell,” Keegan Bradley said. “The cowbell in my family is an iconic thing.”

Bradley settled himself and won the HP Byron Nelson Championship, parring the first hole of a playoff with Ryan Palmer on Sunday. Bradley sank a 2-foot par putt at the 419-yard 18th hole in the playoff, while Palmer’s approach went into the water before a 13-foot bogey putt.

Bradley, a PGA Tour rookie who never won on the Nationwide Tour, got his first professional victory nine days before his 25th birthday. He looked forward to talking to his aunt.

“She is a lot calmer on the golf course than she is watching me. I’m sure she was by the TV going crazy,” Bradley said. “I talk to her regularly through text messages and phone calls about tournaments and what it’s like to come down near the end. … This is the closest thing we ever had in common in terms of playing.”

About an hour before the playoff, Bradley finished his closing round of 2-under 68 with a par at No. 18, dropping into a squat and hopping a few times in frustration when his 10-foot birdie chance slid by the hole.

Palmer (72) and Bradley finished at 3-under 277, the highest winning score on the PGA Tour this year — and the highest in relation to par in a non-major since 1999. It was the fifth playoff in six weeks and 10th overall.

Palmer forced the extra hole with a 6-foot putt at No. 18 for only the second birdie there all day. When that putt dropped, Palmer punched his right fist in the air and then raised both arms over his head.

Bradley and Palmer then played No. 18 again, both going way right with their tee shots to start the playoff.

Tournament volunteers quickly dismantled and moved a temporary lemonade stand to give Bradley, a Vermont native who played at St. John’s, a line of sight to the green and avoid the necessity for a drop.

Bradley’s approach was dangerously close to sliding off the side of the green into the water, but stayed up. Palmer went in the same direction but his ball didn’t stay dry.

“I had a clear punch shot but it’s so easy to hit it left when I’m trying to hit a punch like that, and it squared left a little bit,” he said. “Then my putt, just wanted to tease myself a little more, I guess. But I got into the position to win the golf tournament and that’s all I can ask for.”

On the 172-yard 17th hole, Bradley sank a 12-foot par-saving putt and responded with an emphatic fist pump. After Bradley tapped in his par putt at No. 18, third-round leader Palmer was in one of the five groups still playing.

Bradley then sat for a few minutes before going to the practice range to prepare for a playoff that almost wasn’t necessary for him to become the PGA Tour’s sixth first-time winner this season.

“It was funny. I was really, really nervous and then when (Palmer) made the birdie I calmed way down,” Bradley said. “I felt my heartbeat slow down. I calmed down.”

Ryuji Imada (71) and Joe Ogilvie (70) finished a stroke back at 2 under. Imada bogeyed three of his last four holes after getting to 5 under.

Defending Nelson champion Jason Day (67) was fifth at 1 under, the last player under par this week at TPC Four Seasons. There were brutal scoring conditions, particularly for both weekend rounds when the wind was sustained at 25 mph with gusts howling near 40.

After Palmer blasted from a greenside bunker to 3 feet for a birdie at the 523-yard 16th hole to get back to 3 under, he gave that stroke right back when he missed a 7-foot par putt at No. 17.

Imada was 5 under after his 11-foot birdie putt trickled in at the 170-yard 13th, then blasted out of a greenside bunker to inside a foot at 14th to save par. He missed a 3-foot par chance at No. 17 and then was unable to save par again out of a bunker on the closing hole.

“Obviously I was a little nervous out there. I haven’t been in that position in a while,” said Imada, whose only victory was three years ago. “I didn’t finish off like I wanted to, so it definitely leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But overall I played well.”

Sergio Garcia, the 2004 Nelson champion who hasn’t won since 2008 and hasn’t locked up spots this year in the U.S. Open and British Open, began the day one stroke off the lead and in the final group.

Garcia missed a 4-foot par putt on the opening hole, then slammed his putter down on his bag walking off after his bogey putt. Things only got worse from there on way to a closing 77. He had a double bogey at the par-4 fourth hole after needing four shots to go the final 12 feet — his first chip rolled back to his feet and he ended with a double bogey.

Day, the runner-up at this year’s Masters, had his fourth top-10 finish in his last five tournaments.

After a bogey-free front nine with three birdies to get to 1 under for the tournament, Day was even par over a seven-hole stretch without a par on any of the holes. His birdie at No. 10 got him to 2 under before consecutive bogeys, a birdie, a double bogey and then consecutive birdies.

Bradley’s playing partner was local teenage amateur Jordan Spieth, who had a rough finish. The 17-year-old player closed with two double bogeys and two bogeys for a 7-over 77 to finish at 6 over and tie for 32nd. That was 10 strokes higher than he shot last year at TPC Four Seasons, when he tied for 16th.

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Darren Clarke captures his 13th. European Title at Iberdrola Open in Mallorca

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Darren Clarke wins again

Darren Clarke wins again

Darren Clarke came from four behind to capture his 13th European Tour title at the Iberdrola Open in Mallorca.

The Northern Irishman used all his experience to grind out a final round 69 and deny Chris Wood his maiden victory.

The Ryder Cup Vice Captain had reduced Wood’s overnight advantage to one within three holes, but a double bogey at the 11th after finding water looked to have cost him a first win since the 2008 KLM Open.

But Wood encountered numerous problems on the back nine – three-putting the 12th and 13th and driving out of bounds at the 15th as he came back in 40, despite coming within millimetres of a hole in one at the last.

And Clarke finished in style, holing a putt from the fringe at the 14th, nailing his approach to six feet at the 15th, saved par with a brilliant approach from a fairway bunker and then chipping in to scramble par at the next.

The 42 year old finished with a six under par total at the Pula GC course designed by his final round playing partner José Maria Olazábal, with Wood tying for second with compatriot David Lynn.

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“A Quick Nine” for both Facebook Fans and PGA fans

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Quick-Nine-640_0It seems this week’s question for our, “A Quick Nine,” feature was such a hit with our dedicated PGA.com Facebook fans, that we had to make a little adjustment.

Trimming the best answers we got down to just nine isn’t possible with all the great responses we received to the question: Do you employ any superstitions in your golf game?

Plus, I’m feeling generous. You see, up here in the Northeast, the weather is finally taking a turn for the better and slowly but surely, golf courses are beginning to open for the 2011 season. Because of that, here’s, “A Quick 18,” to help scratch the itch of the 18 holes I’m dying to play!

Let’s see what you offered up (and, by the way, many of you have issues — we love it!):

1. “My lucky 1881 large US Penny. I use it as a ball marker because it reminds me of my goal to play “18″ holes in “81″ strokes.” — Walt Shuler

2. “Before I tee off, I’ll slap my driver out of my bag and catch it in mid air. If I don’t do that, I shank it left or right. But a perfect catch results in a drive.” — Justin Jj Collums

3. “I carry and use my late father’s St. Andrews divot repair tool, and carry a Canadian “Loon” as a ball marker.” — Glenn Forsyth

4. “I hit a bucket prior to the round and ALWAYS tee up the last ball and walk away without hitting it. It all started because I wanted a way to recognize all the fallen heroes that fought and died for my freedom and will never hit another ball, to remind myself that it’s OK to walk away from the game, and finally that it’s not the last shot that matters but the next one. TOTALLY improved my mental game.” — Brian Duffee

5. “I always carry the broken shaft from the first driver I used when I first started playing. The head is on my fireplace mantle in rec room.” — GeorgeDebbie P. DeCota

6. “I mark my golf balls with the initials of whatever girlfriend I have at that time. It reassures me that no matter what I shoot, I’m getting a kiss at the end of the round.” — Justin Mattheis

7. “I pencil my desired score before I tee off. I feel if I have a target and keep thinking about it, I will acheive it. Also keeps my ambitions in check.” — Upen Sachdev

8. “I always fix at least one extra ball mark on each green — I figure if I am good to the greens they will be good to me and maybe I’ll sink a few more putts — so far so good.” — John Davis

9. “If I hit my first ball in the woods, I call it a day!” — Carlos Avila

10. “Never wash your ball on a ‘water hazard’ hole.” — Larry W Lindstrom

11. “I always approach the tee box from behind the markers, never walk through the front of them.” — David White

12. “If I play well in a round, I won’t wash my ped socks and will wear the same unwashed pair for the next round.” — Ric Pomeroy

13. “Never say, “good putt,” until the ball drops in the hole.” — John Keefer

14. “I never use a ball I made a double with on the next hole. It’s either back in the back or out for a swim.” — Holden Crago

15. “Delete my number off her phone.” — Alan Kielan

16. “Little nod to the Gods… and then Grip it n Rip it!!! Just on the first tee.” — Gina Clark-Linna

17. “Lucky ball mark from my commanding general from when i was in Bosnia 11 years ago… BIG RED ONE… HOORAH!!!!” — Jeremy Mathews

18. “I always make five 3-footers in a row on the practice green before I play. If I don’t or I forget, I tend to have a bad putting day.” — Kevin Blue

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Jerry Kelly trying out new equipment simulator for 2011 season

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Jerry Kelly

Jerry Kelly

Interactive Sports Technologies™, the makers of High Definition Golf™ simulators, is pleased to announce that PGA Tour Professional Jerry Kelly has selected HD Golf™ for year round training, practice and equipment testing in his home in Wisconsin. Kelly won the 2009 Zurich Classic of New Orleans and recently finished in third place at an exciting Honda Classic at PGA National in Florida.

“The High Definition Golf simulator is an amazing piece of leading edge technology. It allows me to train at home with my coach in a very realistic golfing environment and provides me with detailed feedback after every swing,” says Kelly. “The simulator makes a full series of highly accurate measurements, and I can use it to make adjustments to my game and test new equipment with the confidence of knowing of what works in the simulator will also work on the real golf course as well, which is really a tribute to the development team at HDG. And, it looks and plays like real golf, which is has been a real benefit during our long stretches of bad weather here in Wisconsin. I can even practice on PGA National before I play the Honda Classic,” Kelly added.

High Definition Golf™ has developed a totally integrated professional golf instruction studio which is easy-to-use, completely modular in design and includes diagnostic tools for detailed shot analysis, video swing analysis, swing dynamics and weight transfer/balance analysis. These professional-grade tools operate seamlessly from a single computer system, providing comprehensive data collection and various simultaneous display options. The system also generates a variety of performance reports that are customizable and can be uploaded to “Player Lockers” on the web that the student can use to access and review lessons, statistics, video swing files and club fitting information, as well as sign up for tournaments and league play.

“Jerry spent many hours testing and putting the simulator through its paces during visits to Interactive Sports. He reviewed his swing using our video swing analysis module, was in impressed with the club shaft measurements gathered by our swing dynamics system and even played a round on Pebble Beach® with some of the HD Golf staff,” said President & CEO Todd Richardson. During his visit, Jerry also spent time consulting with our engineering teams, providing some valuable feedback from his perspective as a veteran PGA Tour player. The recommendations he shared, and customers like him, help make the product better and drives innovation,” added Richardson.

High Definition Golf™ pioneered computer vision technology for the golf simulator industry, and their systems make more measurements more accurately than any other simulator currently on the market. These include distance (carry and roll), ball speed, club-head speed, efficiency (“smash factor”), launch angle, swing-path (outside/in, inside/out), club head angle at impact, ball position (re: club-head at impact) and the very important ball spin and spin axis. The simulator will also measure angle of attack, club head acceleration, position of maximum club head speed, club head speed at impact and swing tempo. HD Golf™ is also the only simulator with the unique capability to dynamically measure shaft flex and load factor, allowing club fitters to make precise shaft recommendations.

For more information on High Definition Golf™ call 1-866-323-0095 or email sales(at)hdgolf(dot)com.

About High Definition Golf
High Definition Golf™ is the only golf simulator that looks and plays like the real thing. Spectacular photo-realistic capabilities capture the true beauty of some of the world’s most renowned golf courses including: Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pinehurst, Kiawah Island, Spyglass Hill, Doral, Harbour Town, Troon North, Bethpage, Banff Springs and many others. Revolutionary image processing software combines high resolution digital imagery and satellite data into 3D models of golf courses that not only look real – they are completely accurate everywhere on the course. Every tree, bunker and hazard is faithfully reproduced exactly as you would see it playing the actual course! This has made HDG a favorite in golf academies, luxury homes, indoor golf centers, golf course clubhouses, recreation centers, hotels & resorts. For more information please visit http://www.HDgolf.com.

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Jordan Spieth has accepted a sponsor exemption to play in the 2011 HP Byron Nelson Championship

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Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth

The Salesmanship Club of Dallas announced today that Dallas amateur Jordan Spieth has accepted a sponsor exemption to play in the 2011 HP Byron Nelson Championship.

Spieth will return to the TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas where he made national headlines in 2010. After making the cut in the 2010 Nelson, Spieth went on to finish T16, which is the best amateur finish on record in the tournament’s 43-year history.

“Jordan added a great energy to the tournament last year,” said 2011 tournament chairman John Beckert. “And he certainly proved that he could compete at this level. I’m sure everyone will be interested to see how he follows that up on the course this year.”

Spieth is currently ranked No. 2 on the Polo Golf Rankings, with his most recent American Junior Golf Association victory recorded this week at the 2011 HP Boys Championship at Carlton Woods. Spieth, who was the 2009 U.S. Junior Amateur Champion, led the 2010 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team to victory by winning all three of his matches. Spieth also claimed a win at the 2010 Ping Invitational.

The 2011 HP Byron Nelson Championship will be played Memorial Day weekend, May 23-29, at the TPC Four Seasons Resort and Club Las Colinas in Irving.

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Former PGA Professional National Champion BobBoyd of Wilmington, N.C loses battle with leukemia

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Bob Boyd

Bob Boyd

Former PGA Professional National Champion BobBoyd of Wilmington, N.C., died Feb. 21, after a five-year battle with leukemia. Boyd had undergone a third bone marrow transplant in mid-January at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill, but his body rejected it. He was 55.His wife, Pam, posted the following notice, Feb. 21, on her husband’s caringbridge.org journal page:

“It is with Great Joy that I tell you that Robert McLean Boyd Jr. took his last breath on this earth at 8:00 a.m. this morning. I believe there was a tee time that he was trying to make. McLean & I along with the bunch of fabulous family members and friends that came up had a wonderful last night with him. He rested very well, as did we, at his bedside thanking him for the wonderful life that he provided for us. We will be forever grateful that we were blessed with Bob Boyd and that God chose us to be his Earthly family.”

Boyd was the most prolific PGA of America playing professional of the Carolinas PGA Section, winning 26 individual and 20 team major Section championships and seven Section Player of the Year titles. A graduate of the University of Maryland, who turned professional in 1977, Boyd was elected to PGA of America membership in 1980.

“Bob Boyd represented the consummate competitor in everything he did,” said Carolinas PGA Section President Karl Kimball of Hillsborough, N.C. “He leaves us with 26 CPGA major championships and seven player of the year titles. The Carolinas PGA Section mourns the loss of Bob and extends to his family the deepest of sympathy. We are grateful for the memories and achievements that Bob has left us with but the void that is left behind will never be filled.”

Boyd competed in 20 PGA Professional National Championships, capturing the 1988 title in his home state. He defeated fellow Carolinian Rick Morton on the second hole of a playoff at legendary Pinehurst No. 2. Boyd went on to post five top-10 and 11 top-25 performances in the National Championship.

“Bob competed in life like he did on the golf course,” said Carolinas PGA Executive Director Ron Schmid. “He never wanted to lose, and he applied that spirit in fighting this disease. He was the greatest playing professional ever to wear the Carolinas PGA logo.”

Boyd extended his professional career by competing on the European Senior Tour, winning the 2005 Open de Espana Senior. He registered 15 top-10s and finished four seasons in the top 30 on the Order of Merit on that Tour.

Known for accurate driving and exceptional iron play, Boyd was inducted into the Carolinas PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame in February 2008 and the Section’s Player of the Year award was named in his honor. A fierce competitor with an outgoing personality, Boyd played in 10 PGA Championships and five U.S. Opens. He made the cut in four PGA Championships and was the low PGA Club Professional on each occasion. He competed on the PGA Tour from 1983-84, with his best finish a share of sixth in the 1983 Houston Open.

Boyd recorded his career-best round of 59 in 2001 at Pine Valley Country Club in his hometown of Wilmington. He also made 11 career holes-in-one.

First diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia early in February 2006, Boyd underwent a successful bone marrow transplant procedure that June and reached full remission by the following year. He returned to tournament golf on a limited basis in 2007 and received what he described on his Caringbridge website page as a “a second mini-transplant” that allowed him to resume a full European Seniors Tour schedule in 2008.

He competed in his second Senior PGA Championship in May 2010 at Colorado Golf Club, with his son, McLean, serving as caddie. He finished tied for 69th and had remained as confident as ever about his comeback.

“When I look back upon the past several years, I feel like I was certainly saved for a reason,” Boyd said at the time. “If I can’t come back and play well, then I have no excuses.

“It meant everything to me to get back and play. I always enjoy the competition. I may have a business management degree from the University of Maryland, but I have always been in love with golf.”

Chest tumors were discovered during a doctor’s visit in August 2010, a couple weeks after Boyd competed in the Senior British Open at Carnoustie. After receiving a stem-cell transplant on Jan. 12, he remained under treatment in Chapel Hill. Boyd was diagnosed with HVGD (host-versus-graft-disease) on Feb. 18.

Boyd is survived by his wife Pam and son, McLean. A visitation is scheduled Thursday, Feb. 24, at 12 p.m., at Coble-Ward-Smith Funeral Home in Wilmington, N.C., followed by a Celebration of Life ceremony at 1 p.m.

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Nicklaus Golf Club Anguilla saved by Middle East money

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Nicklaus Hotel In Anguilla

Nicklaus Hotel In Anguilla

Thanks to a little money from the Middle East, Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Anguilla has new life.

The club made a big splash in the spring of 2008, when, during a three-day sales event, its developers rang up deposits on more than $70 million worth of membership packages that included some prime real estate on Anguilla’s southern coast. There were 27 buyers, each of whom pledged $1.6 million or more to join what was arguably going to be the world’s most exclusive golf club. As it was conceived, Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Anguilla was to be a link in a chain of 25 ultra-luxurious private enclaves built on properties personally selected by Jack Nicklaus.

As they dreamed about playing golf on delectable courses in some of the planet’s most desirable locales – Tuscany, Patagonia, Scotland, and St. Lucia, among others – the buyers were most likely all thinking the same thing: Membership has its privileges.
Of course, just months later, as a spokesman for the club now puts it, “the world fell apart.” Money disappeared. Economies collapsed. Fairmont, the Canadian company that had signed on to operate the club’s hotel, bailed out. Those 27 deposits had to be returned. And Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Anguilla, like so many splendid and ambitious real estate ventures, sank into development limbo.

It has been rescued. Its white knight is Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, the Dubai-based, government-controlled hotelier. Jumeirah, a division of Dubai Holding, has agreed to operate the 140-room hotel on Anguilla and become a part-owner of it.

This is welcome news not only for the club’s developers, a group that operates as Conch Bay Development, Ltd., but for golf projects in need of revival all over the Caribbean. Joyce Kentish and George Lake, Conch Bay’s principals, hope to break ground on the hotel this year, with an opening tentatively scheduled for 2014.

At build-out, Jumeirah Anguilla Resort will also have 460 Jumeirah-managed houses, a spa, meeting space, restaurants, the usual recreational amenities, and two private beach clubs. The 370-acre site includes about two miles’ worth of beaches and offers views of nearby St. Maarten.

Nicklaus has designed a 7,363-yard, links-style track for the property, with a few holes to be located along the water. For now, Conch Bay says its course will simply be a Jack Nicklaus “signature” track. However, a source close to the negotiations tells us that the parties are trying to work out a financial arrangement that will maintain a Jack Nicklaus Golf Club on the property.

If that happens, it would also be welcome news for Nicklaus and his partners, as their club could use a revival of its own. Though it was once viewed as a can’t-miss proposition, today there are barely a handful of Jack Nicklaus Golf Clubs in operation, and two of them – the ones at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio and Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Florida – were built before idea for the club was hatched. A club in South Korea opened last year, but the Great Recession has claimed most of the others. The club has a website, JackNicklausGolfClub.com, but no news has been posted on it since 2009.

The golf course on Anguilla is being developed by PN Holdings LLC, an entity formed by companies affiliated with Nicklaus and Robert A. Petrallia, a New Jersey-based developer. Nicklaus and Petrallia have been doing business together for years, since they tried unsuccessfully to build a Jack Nicklaus Golf Club on St. Lucia.

Howard Gintell, one of Petrallia’s partners and the marketing coordinator for Conch Bay, tells us that work on the golf course could begin this year. The course will be just the second on Anguilla, joining the Greg Norman-designed layout at Temenos Golf Club. And if you’re wondering whether the club’s members will have to share the course with the hotel’s guests, the answer is yes.

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Are you picking the right club in every situation?

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300px-Wood_putter_ironWhen playing golf, the most important part of the game is to pick the golf club that will work well for the particular situation that you are in. Everything about the course will play a role in deciding which club you remove from your bag, and therefore it is important to know how all of these different factors work together. If you are looking to become more serious about your golf game, or you even want to become a professional, then it is a good idea to learn about these things. Here I will outline some of these main things to look for. You will get a very basic idea of how to choose a club, and hopefully you will practice enough to become even more knowledgeable at choosing them.

When you first start out the game, you usually won’t have much to worry about in the way of obstacles and bends in the course, so you can stick with the larger clubs and hit the ball as far as you can. However, you want to make sure that you are comfortable hitting the ball as hard and as far as you can without making it go completely off its desired path. Many golfers choose to take a step up with the club, then take a lower grip and hit the shot as hard as they can. Having the lower grip will allow for more control over the swing, and reduce the chance of a mistake while increasing the distance that your ball flies. This strategy may not work for you, but enough golfers use it that it might be worth trying, just to see if you are comfortable with it.

The wind also plays a huge role in deciding with what club and with what technique you will hit your shot. If the wind it coming straight at you, you will have a different technique than if it was at your back. When the wind is coming from behind you, you will want to make a completely normal swing. However, you will have to pick a more lofted club. Grip the club with the ball positioned a little bit ahead of the center than regular. Use a mid-iron, with one of the longer lengths that are available in your club bag. If the wind is coming straight at you from the front, you will have to use a stronger club and hit the ball hard enough to make up for the wind that is coming at you.

Choosing the right club in a given situation will not necessarily make your shot perfect. You will have to adjust your technique as well, and make sure that your stroke is clean and accurate. This combined with the right club will eventually make for the perfect shot, but it may take years and years of golf practice. Both the club choice and the technique take a long time to master, so besides reading information about them you should also go out and practice plenty so that you can really get it down. This will help better than any other guide that you could possibly find. If you don’t have constant access to a golf course, it may be a good idea to buy a membership or even find some sort of alternative way to practice.

No matter what you do, you have to remember that golf is a game of patience. If you play every day and you see absolutely no improvement in your technique, you should not worry. Just do everything you can to find out more about what to do in certain situations, and you will find that this is the best way that you can see noticeable results in your abilities. Being good at golf is a great way to impress people, and being good at golf takes nothing more than time and experience.

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