Monday, August 24, 2009

Obama Plays Farm Neck Golf Club

President Obama begins vacation on Martha's Vineyard with round of golf


Monday, August 24th 2009, 6:40 PM

OAK BLUFFS, Mass. - President Obama has been known to talk some trash on the basketball court, but on the golf course he leaves pride behind.

"I just want to say ahead of time that I am terrible," the First Duffer told a crowd of onlookers Monday as he began his vacation on celebrity-studded Martha's Vineyard with a round of golf. "Thank you."

With that, Obama stepped up to the first tee at the Farm Neck Golf Club, took two casual practice swings, then clubbed his drive a solid 200 yards or more - and into the woods left of the fairway.

The crowd cheered anyway, and Obama - dressed in a black golf shirt, brown pants, a beige cap and two-tone golf shoes - acknowledged his gallery with a small bow.

"Look at that - no mulligan," one woman exclaimed after Obama - said to be a stickler for the rules - declined to take a do-over.

Obama golfs regularly, but almost never in front of an audience. Experts on hand for Monday's rare peek at his form declared themselves impressed - to a point.

"He has a naturally athletic golf swing, very well-coordinated," said Farm Neck golf pro Michael Zoll, a PGA member who watched Obama warm up. "He does what few golfers do, and that is he trusts his wrists at the top of his backswing. And he generates a lot of club head speed not by trying to muscle the ball, but as a result of the natural timing he has."

On the other hand . . .

"He did push the ball to the left," noted Zoll, "and that came from his picking his club up, as opposed to swinging his arms more freely. . . . That kept the club face slightly open at impact."

Left unknown was the President's final score Monday in a round that included included UBS CEO Robert Wolf, Chicago pal Eric Whitaker and White House aide Marvin Nicholson. Once the foursome left the first tee, Secret Service agents kept the public and the press away.

Obama's sporting day also included a round of tennis with First Lady Michelle Obama at the family's rented 28-acre compound.

The President has no calls or meetings on his schedule at the moment, presidential spokesman Bill Burton said, but he is staying up-to-date with developments on the economy, health care and foreign policy.

Burton hit back at Republican critics who said Obama should forgo his week-long vacation when many Americans are struggling economically.

"As I recall, the previous President took quite a bit of vacation time himself, and I don't think anyone bemoaned that," Burton told reporters, referring to George W. Bush's month-long summer getaways. "I think it's important for the President, as with anybody, to take a little time, spend time with his family, and recharge his batteries."

Obama's plan for the week is not to have one, Burton said. "You know, he's on vacation, so everything is a little bit loose," Burton said. "You know, you wake up, you have some breakfast, you work out and then you decide, oh, what do I feel like doing today? He's doing that just like anybody else."

Mammoth tooth found on course

11,000 year-old 10 pound mammoth tooth found on course

A groundskeeper at a Michigan country club found an 11,000-year-old-tooth from a mammoth while cutting weeds on the golf course, The Detroit News reports.

Scott Beld, a research specialist at the University of Michigan's Museum of Paleontology, tells the paper the tooth appears to be from a Columbian mammoth, which can grow as tall as 13 feet.

The 10-pound tooth appears to be from a female adolescent, Beld says.

The owners of the Morrison Lake Country Club in Saranac are pleased by the rare find but are keeping the exact location secret to keep people from tromping on the fairways, The News reports.

Wood TV 8 of Grand Rapids reports that paleontologists say they believe there are many more bones at the site. Watch the TV report below or click here for a link.

Girls Win Solheim Cup

August 24, 2009


United States Wins Third Consecutive Solheim Cup


Morgan Pressel delivered the clinching point with her 3-and-2 victory over Anna Nordqvist on Sunday, and the United States won its third consecutive Solheim Cup with a 16-12 decision over Europe in Sugar Grove, Ill.

After Nordqvist missed an 8-footer that would have kept the match going, Pressel’s teammates, who had been watching at the side of the green, leapt up and started celebrating.

“This is so important to us,” Pressel said. “It’s not about pride. It’s not about money. It’s about country. It’s about our teammates.”

Michelle Wie, whose 3-0-1 record this week was the best of any player on the United States team, grabbed an American flag and held it aloft as the crowd cheered.

The Americans were heavy favorites. They had some of the top players in the world; four of Europe’s players were ranked 125th or lower. They had won the last two Solheim Cups and were unbeaten in the United States.

But the European captain Alison Nicholas worked to inspire her team, including playing video messages from Seve Ballesteros and José María Olazábal. Midway through the day, Europe was leading in 6 of the 12 matches.

“Most of the day, I didn’t think it was going to happen,” the United States captain Beth Daniel said.

Angela Stanford gave the Americans their first boost, beating Becky Brewerton, 5 and 4, to give the United States the first point of the day. Paula Creamer followed with a victory over Suzann Pettersen, and Wie rebounded to beat Helen Alfredsson, 1 up.

FIRST-TIME PGA WINNER Ryan Moore won for the first time on the PGA Tour with a birdie on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff to beat Kevin Stadler at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C.

Moore and Stadler could have avoided the playoff, but they each bogeyed No. 18. Moore, who had five consecutive birdies on the back nine, had two chances to seal the victory after his approach on the third playoff hole rolled to 6 feet. He then sank a putt.

REID CAPTURES TRADITION Mike Reid made a 12-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to beat John Cook and win the Jeld-Wen Tradition in Sunriver, Ore., for his second career major title on the Champions Tour. Reid’s only other tour win was the 2005 Senior P.G.A. Championship.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

2009 Walker Cup at Merion

Merion Golf Club is privileged to host the 42nd Walker Cup Match on September 12th and 13th, 2009. The Walker Cup pits the finest amateur golfers from Great Britain and Ireland against those from the United States. While Merion has hosted many other USGA events, this is the first time that we will host the Walker Cup. We’re quite proud that Buddy Marucci, a Merion member, will captain the United States team, as he did for the 2007 U.S. victory at Royal County Down.

The Walker Cup features spirited, intense competition between the two teams in an atmosphere that captures the utmost in sportsmanship. Merion and the USGA are eager to welcome a knowledgeable gallery, and Merion will be able to accommodate up to 10,000 spectators each day.

We hope that you will enjoy this website and that you will want to attend and support this marvelous amateur golf competition. Ticket information is available by clicking on the "Tickets" heading above. Merion looks forward to welcoming the finest amateur golfers in Great Britain and Ireland and those from the United States for this exciting match.


Rick Ill, President
Merion Golf Club
Rod Day, Chairman
2009 Walker Cup Committee

Eight Players Named To US Team for 2009 Walker Cup Match
Far Hills, N.J. (Aug. 9) – Eight of the 10 amateur players who will comprise the 2009 USA Walker Cup Team have been selected by the International Team Selection Committee of the United States Golf Association. The 2009 Walker Cup Match will be played Sept. 12-13 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.

The eight players are:

Bud Cauley, 19, of Jacksonville, Fla.
Rickie Fowler, 20, of Murrieta, Calif.
Brendan Gielow, 21, of Muskegon, Mich.
Brian Harman, 22, of Savannah, Ga.
Morgan Hoffmann, 19, of Saddle Brook, N.J.
Adam Mitchell, 22, of Chattanooga, Tenn.
Nathan Smith, 30, of Pittsburgh, Pa.
Drew Weaver, 22, of High Point, N.C.

To view the US Team Photo Gallery, click on the photo below.

The final two players of the team that will compete against 10 amateurs representing Great Britain and Ireland will be named following the conclusion of the 2009 U.S. Amateur Championship, scheduled to be played Aug. 24-30 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.

The captain of the USA Team is George “Buddy” MarucciJr.,57, of Villanova, Pa., a playing member of the 1995 and 1997 USA Teams, as well as the captain of the victorious 2007 USA Team at Royal County Down in Newcastle, Ireland. Marucci is the reigning USGA Senior Amateur champion, though he will not be able to defend his 2008 title due to a scheduling conflict with the Walker Cup Match.

The biennial Walker Cup Match consists of 16 singles matches and eight foursomes (alternate shot) matches. The USA Team has won the last two Matches, posting one-point victories at Chicago (Ill.) Golf Club in 2005 and Royal County Down in 2007. The USA leads the series overall, 33-7-1.

You can read short bios about the USA team members on the USGA website .
About the USGA

The USGA is the national governing body of golf in the USA and Mexico, a combined territory that includes more than half the world’s golfers and golf courses. The USGA annually conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open, 10 national amateur and two state team championships. It also helps conduct the Walker Cup Match, Curtis Cup Match and World Amateur Team Championships.

The USGA also writes the Rules of Golf, conducts equipment testing, provides expert course maintenance consultations, funds research for better turf and a better environment, maintains a Handicap System®, celebrates the history of the game, and administers an ongoing “For the Good of the Game” grants program, which has allocated more than $65 million over 13 years to successful programs that bring the game’s values to youths from disadvantaged backgrounds and people with disabilities. For more information about the USGA, visit

GB&I Walker Cup Final Squad Announced

August 3, 2009, St. Andrews, Scotland

Ten players have been selected to form a final Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup squad for the match against the USA at Merion Golf Club, Pennsylvania, on 12 - 13 September.

The ten players in the squad are as follows:

Wallace Booth (Comrie)
Gavin Dear (Murrayshall)
Tommy Fleetwood (Formby Hall)
Luke Goddard (Hendon)
Matt Haines (Rochester & Cobham Park)
Stiggy Hodgson (Sunningdale)
Sam Hutsby (Liphook)
Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin)
Chris Paisley (Stocksfield)
Dale Whitnell (Five Lakes)

Squad reserves:

1. Paul O'Hara (Colville Park)
2. Rhys Enoch (Truro)

The squad will make a trip to Valderrama Golf Club in southern Spain on August 9-12 as part of advance preparations for the match.

This group will ultimately be named as the confirmed team subject to no British or Irish player winning the US Amateur Championship (to be held at Southern Hills, Tulsa, on 24 - 30 August) and claiming automatic selection to the team via that route.

The announcement of the final team of ten to compete at Merion will immediately follow the conclusion of the US Amateur, or the point in time at which no eligible British or Irish player remains in that Championship.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Obama's Game Makes Time,29307,1873056,00.html

See: Photo of Obama and Biden putting on the White House green.

By Michael Scherer

Presidents, like normal people, tend to seek in others what they admire about themselves. Which brings us to the par-5 12th hole at Woodlawn golf course in Fort Belvoir, Va., on Father's Day. Vice President Joe Biden, an 8 handicap, has leaked a 3-wood into the trees near the green. He stands amid the underbrush, talking with his match-play teammate, the President of the United States. (See pictures of presidents at the beach.)

Take a drop or risk the trees? A few inches off either way, and the ball will ricochet into the forest. The stakes aren't high: Barack Obama, who has golfed almost every weekend since it got hot in Washington, plays a dollar a hole. But these leaders have more than money on the line. They are facing down their aides, men a fraction of their age. And no one wants to lose. (See pictures of the worst golf fashion.)

After a time, Obama steps away, and Biden reaches for his wedge. The ball miraculously splits the trunks and bounds onto the green, less than 20 feet from the pin. Amid the caravan of golf carts, including those of the Secret Service detail, a doctor and the ever present nuclear-code-toting military aide, there is an eruption of applause. "Calm under pressure," Obama calls out, bequeathing to Biden his own most valued attribute. "That's why he's my Vice President."

Since Dwight Eisenhower evicted the South Lawn squirrels tearing up his putting green, every President but Jimmy Carter has been a golfer. John Kennedy was known for low scores and a graceful swing. Ronald Reagan, whose scores were a state secret, putted down the aisle of Air Force One. Bill Clinton established a reputation for fudging his score — cheating, some said — in rounds with campaign donors while chewing an unlit cigar on the tee. George W. Bush played the way his father H.W. did, like a race against time, until the last years in office, when the son banned himself from the game because he didn't want to send the "wrong signal" to the mothers of the Iraq-war dead. (Read "Ronald Reagan's Golf Balls? Step Right Up!")

Obama, who took up golf in his mid-30s as a relaxing alternative to basketball, did not find much time to play during the campaign. But now that his game is out of the closet, it is clear that he duffs in much the same way that he tries to govern. "You can really tell a person's personality by the way he plays golf," says Wellington Wilson, a longtime golf buddy. "He just goes with the flow. Not too high. Not too low." (Read "How Good is Barack Obama at Golf?")

Whereas Clinton was known to shout, curse and rehit balls until he liked his shot, Obama never cuts a corner in golf, say his companions. No mulligans. No five-foot gimme putts on the green. "I've never seen him get to the point where he just picks up," says Marvin Nicholson, the White House trip director and a regular partner. "I've seen him write a 10 down. I've seen him write an 11 down." (See the top 10 U.S. Open golf duels.)

But that doesn't mean the President always behaves like a gentleman. As in basketball, Obama is a trash-talk enthusiast who tries to get into the heads of his opponents and sucker them into taking more difficult shots. "He is very strategic about his use of it," says Eugene Kang, the 25-year-old White House special-projects coordinator, who played with the President at Andrews Air Force Base in late June. "It's always fun to make the putt and give him a nice little look at the end." (See pictures of Barack Obama's college years.)

The jawing can get especially fierce when the opponent is press secretary Robert Gibbs, with whom Obama shares some golfing characteristics. "His game is severely handicapped, as is mine," Gibbs says. (Estimates of the POTUS handicap, for which there is no official documentation, vary from 16 to 24.)

Most of the President's longtime golfing buddies say the First Game is improving. After a brief flirtation with a new Nike driver, Obama has returned to his Titleist and is still struggling to master his new hybrid woods. He putts solidly and is working on his bunker shots, once an Achilles' heel.

The President keeps the game in perspective. Most days Obama does not win or lose more than a few dollars. The Father's Day outing ended with Biden and Obama each collecting $2, though Biden paid for the hot dogs after the front nine. Wilson, who has been playing with Obama since 1999, keeps all his Obama winnings in an envelope, which he has promised as a college fund for Sasha and Malia. As of early July, the envelope contained $2.25.,8599,1914663,00.html