1. In this year’s Utah Open, amateur Patrick Fishburn won with a three-day total of 26-under-par — nine shots better than defending champion and former Web.com Tour player Zahkai Brown.
The record-setting performance, though, doesn’t tell the complete story. In the final two rounds, Fishburn — who plays for the Brigham Young University golf team — drove a combined 10 par-4s on a layout that played over 7,000 yards. Add to that the fact that the four par-5s at Riverside Country Club were reachable in two, and the actual par for Fishburn was 63. He carded rounds of 63-64-63.
Current PGA Tour player Zac Blair finished third, 10 shots off the pace.
2. There is an art to taking great photographs, including learning the nuances of the camera, lens and light. Around the time the iPhone 10 was released last month, the New York Times published an article that detailed, in a humorous way, what Apple’s first smartphone doomed when it was introduced 10 years ago, including calendars, alarm clocks and small talk.
Also included in the list was the camera — a real camera, not a cell phone version — which is unfortunate. As someone who spent more than a decade with a daily newspaper as a combination sportswriter/photographer, I came to respect the amount of talent needed to take great pictures on a consistent basis.
Nonetheless, the amount of fantastic photos taken with smart phones by superintendents and grounds crew members that I see on my Facebook page and Twitter feed is amazing. From what I’ve seen, the photographs can be broken down into four categories.
The first is dogs, which is pretty much self-explanatory.
Second would be art — photos with subjects like a lone green mower in the morning mist, sunsets or hawks perched in trees.
The third would be disasters, such as broken pipes, vandalism and storm damage. Lately they’ve been a bit worse.
The last classification I call, “What the hell is this?” These are images of weird-looking turf. I saw a lot of them earlier this year, when much of the northern U.S. was in an extremely cool spring and the grass wasn’t really sure what to do, other than display colors that apparently many superintendents had never seen on their courses before.
3. I didn’t think PXG clubs would be the hit that they are. I couldn’t imagine people — even those with low handicaps and cash to burn — would be willing to spend more than $3,000 for a set of irons and $700 for a driver. But they are everywhere at the private clubs I’ve been to this year. Five hundred dollars for a putter? Really?
4. During the first four days of September, TPC Boston hosted the PGA Tour’s Dell Technologies Championship, part of the season ending FedEx Cup. The “big” news was the 12th hole, which had been redesigned by architect Gil vHanse, and the controversy that ensued — including some players electing to play down the 13th hole.
Overlooked is what a money pit the Arnold Palmer design has been since it opened in 2003. Less than 24 months after its completion, Hanse — along with PGA Tour player Brad Faxon — were completely redesigning the course.
The 18th green and its surrounds alone have undergone at least four changes in their short existence. Throughout the 18 holes, the original clusters of small bunkers have been eliminated or replaced with trendy, sandy waste areas. The alterations are so substantial that the road leading into TPC Boston should be changed from “Arnold Palmer Boulevard” to “Perpetually Under Construction Avenue.”
5. Now that it’s apparent that the repeated blows to the head suffered by football players invariably leads to the degenerative brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), I find it increasingly difficult to enjoy watching football games — especially because the condition starts for some while still in high school. The fact that many CTE victims commit suicide makes watching the helmet-to-helmet hits gut-wrenching. At least golf’s trauma is self-inflicted.