WHERE ARE YOU PLAYING?/ All around Florida

ONE IN A SERIES

Once again Rory Spears and Len Ziehm are combining efforts on our experiences from various golf destinations. This one is on Florida courses.

Living in the Sunshine State now, I’ve always felt that Florida golf is most enjoyable in those months after the snowbirds leave for the season. In normal times that would be about now.

Warm weather is still in abundance – though 90-plus degree days are not really an exception. The greens fees generally drop at this time, the courses are more accessible and pace of play is notably faster.

This year, due to pandemic concerns, Florida’s winter visitors have tended to stay longer. More and more playing restrictions have been lifted and more and more facilities are completely open. It’s virtually a day to day thing.

Some of those great, big resorts — Innisbrook, PGA National, PGA Golf Club, TPC Sawgrass, Bay Hill, Mission Inn, Doral, World Golf Village, this list goes on – are still in limbo, though, and they’re tending to limit play and wait until all systems are go.

That’s not to say the resort courses are empty. They’ve just been largely opened to only members. That should change soon.

In the meantime public play has stepped up and greens fees are most accommodating – especially on Florida’s East Coast where Len lives. Already visited this year are some old favorities – Meadowood in Fort Pierce; St. Lucie Trail, Champions Turf Club at St. James and The Saints, in Port St. Lucie; Crane Watch (formerly Evergreen), The Fox Club and Hammock Creek, in Palm City; and Jensen Beach (formerly Eagle Marsh) in Jensen Beach.

Jensen Beach Golf Club is in transition with its new flags are among the best I’ve ever seen.

Big things are happening in Palm City, a community about 30 miles from Jupiter – the home of Tiger Woods and a flock of other PGA Tour players. There were ownership changes at Evergreen Club and Hammock Creek (a creation of the Nicklaus Design group) and The Fox Club, a long-time private venue, has gone public.

Jensen Beach, under new ownership from Sweden, has taken on a name change and is undergoing a major transformation. It’ll be more user-friendly than Eagle Marsh was once the work is completed.

Rory and I both have enjoyed Florida’s vast array of resort layouts over the years and look forward to their full re-openings. Rory was an early visitor to Streamsong, a rare Florida layout that stresses walking golf. It’s located near the bigger town of Lakeland.

“I first visited Streamsong shortly after it opened,’’ said Rory. “I played both the Red Course, by architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, and the Blue Course, designed by Tom Doak.

The Red starts out a little tough, even with a good drive on the first hole. The second shot is slightly uphill and long. No. 2 has a “the island fairway,’’ with water short, right and left. Then there’s 16 really enjoyable holes including a two great, fun par-3s on the back nine.

Rory enjoyed the Blue Course the most, especially its famed par-3 seventh hole. Caddies say that the Blue Course greens are harder to putt than the ones on the Red.

The par-3 seventh hole on the Blue Course may be the most memorable hole at Streaming.

Gil Hanse’s Black Course is my favorite, though Rory says most consider it the second-best on the property.

Innisbrook, in Palm Harbour, is the home of the Copperhead Course and the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship. Copperhead is one of four courses at the resort, all of them designed by the late former Chicago architect Larry Packard. The North and South layouts have had recent green renovations and the double-sided driving range has been popular.

The guest rooms have been completely renovated, and the new look is off the charts good. From the kitchens to the living rooms and bedrooms luxury and comfort are obvious. We both love Innisbrook, and Packard’s Steakhouse is one of our favorite upscale dining places in the entire U.S>

Hammock Beach Resort, in Palm Coast is – like Innisbrook – a Salamander property that is clearly upscale. Its Ocean Course, a Jack Nicklaus design, was remodeled after enduring hurricane damage several years ago. Being on the ocean and in the northern part of the state, it’ll be a bit cooler when Florida’s hot summer temperatures kick in.

Florida also has PGA Tour sites in PGA National, in Palm Beach Gardens – home of the Honda Classic, and Bay Hill, in Orlando – home of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Those are more famous but Len also is a big fan of Mission Inn, in Howey-in-the-Hills, near Orlando. Mission Inn’s El Campeon is one of the oldest and best preserved courses in Florida.

Innisbroook’s Copperhead Course has always been a popular stop for PGA Tour players.

Golf was different, but McIlroy was still the star of the show in return to TV

Rory McIlroy celebrates his shot that was closest-to-the-pin on the last shot at Seminole.

It was, at the very least, a good start. Live televised sports competition returned on Sunday, and the TaylorMade Driving Relief event didn’t look much like the golf played by Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff at the last PGA Tour event on March 12.

On Sunday the players all wore shorts, carried their own bags, cleaned their own clubs and were allowed to use range-finders. Caddies weren’t allowed, and neither were spectators at Seminole Golf Club, a storied Donald Ross-designed layout in Juno Beach, FL. Only PGA Tour staffers were allowed to touch the flagsticks or rake the bunkers.

NBC staffers were largely absent as well. Telecast host Mike Tirico was at his home in Michigan and conducted long-distance interviews with President Trump, Bill Murray and Jon Rahm. Analysts Paul Azinger and Gary Koch watched the broadcast from PGA Tour headquarters in St. Augustine, FL. Only on-course reporters Steve Sands and Jerry Foltz were at Seminole.

All that was in done in an effort to adhere to social distancing guidelines and other requirements to help COVID-19 relief efforts.

After a nine-week layoff the players’ games weren’t always sharp. Johnson hadn’t been on a course between the March 12 cancellation of The Players Championship and a practice round at Seminole this week.

The four players are all on the TaylorMade staff, and they donated their services. McIlroy and Johnson played in the two-man skins competition for the American Nurses Foundation and Fowler and Wolff represented the Center for Disease Control Foundation. Those organizations were the main beneficiaries as $5.5 million was raised from the Sunday event through corporate sponsorships and outside donations made during the telecast.

There was no wild cheering, due to the absence of fans, and the players couldn’t even give high-fives – all part of the social distancing effort. Only a few TV cameramen and PGA Tour officials, many riding in carts, accompanied the players around the course. Still, the event didn’t lack drama. The McIlroy-Johnson team earned $1,850,000 and the Fowler-Wolff team $1,150,000.

No skins were earned in the final six holes, so the match went an extra hole – to a closest-to-the-pin contest on a 120-yard hole. McIlroy, the world’s No. 1 golfer, won on the last shot of the day. His shot was slightly closer than Wolff, who was the surprise of the day.

Fowler-Wolff, both former Oklahoma State golfers, weren’t accorded much of a chance against the game’s No. 1 and No.5-ranked players but Wolff, a 21-year old PGA Tour rookie with a quirky swing, earned some surprise bonus points by winning two long-drive competitions.

McIlroy and Johnson are two of the longest hitters in the game, but Wolff did better on Sunday. He was the NCAA individual champion last year and won in only his third start on the PGA Tour.

“There were probably a lot of people asking why I was in it,’’ said Wolff, “but I wanted to prove to them that I can play with the best in the world.’’

“It was an awesome day,’’ said McIlroy, whose father Jerry is a Seminole member. “It was nice to be back on a golf course and get back to some kind of normalcy.’’

Another potentially lucrative charity exhibition is on tap for next Sunday, featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and legendary quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. They’ll play at Medalist Club, another South Florida facility.

That’ll set the stage for the PGA Tour’s return to tournament play on June 11, at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial in Fort Worth, TX. That event, along with the next four tournaments on the schedule, will be played without spectators.

“The Tour is obviously taking it very seriously,’’ said Fowler. “They’re taking all the measures needed to make sure when we do Colonial that it’ll be the safest environment possible.’’

“We miss competing,’’ said Johnson. “It’s been nice to be at home and enjoy time with the family, but I’m ready to get back out there and play.’’

Seminole has long been one of America’s most famous courses, but it wasn’t on TV until Sunday.

Golf starts the return of live TV sports events — and I can’t wait

It won’t be long now. Live televised sports competition is about to return, and golf is leading the way. While tentative tournament schedules were drawn up months ago, now there’s something concrete and – as a purely personal perk – the first two big events will be conducted almost in my Florida backyard.

A four-player charity skins game put on by equipment manufacturer TaylorMade will kick things off on Sunday. It’ll have three of the game’s top stars – Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler – participating along with a promising up-and-comer, Matt Wolff.

They’ll play at Seminole Golf Club, a famous course in Juno Beach that has never been seen on television. McIlroy and Johnson will take on Fowler and Wolff, both Oklahoma State alums, in a four-hour telecast that will be played without spectators. It’ll raise at least $4 million for COVID-19 relief efforts.

Not only that, but the event — called TaylorMade Driving Relief – will provide the first look at what tournament golf will be like in the “new normal.’’ The players won’t have caddies. They’ll be carrying their own bags, practicing social distancing and adhering to a variety of new policies designed to make golf safe in these trying times.

Seminole, an ultra-private club, usually closes for the season on Mother’s Day but the Donald Ross design that opened in 1929 is staying open a few more days to help raise money for pandemic relief efforts.

“We have a big responsibility on ourselves to make sure that we practice all the guidelines that the PGA Tour is going to set in place,’’ said Johnson. “Obviously everyone is going to be watching what we’re doing, so it’s very important for us to do it all correctly.’’

“It’s really cool to be able to bring some live sports back,’’ said Fowler. “Everyone is taking the right measures to make sure it’s done the correct way.’’

Next week the first major tour event since the pandemic concerns kicked in will tee off. The Korean LPGA Championship will have three members of the world’s top 10 — all Korean players — among those competing for a $1.8 million purse. There won’t be any American players or TV coverage for that one, but on May 24 another televised event will put the spotlight back on South Florida.

“The Match: Champions for Charity,’’ another four-player televised event featuring Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, will be played at Medalist Club in Hobe Sound, which is 18 miles from Seminole. This will be more of a fun thing, with legendary quarterbacks rounding out the foursome. Woods will team with Peyton Manning and Mickelson with Tom Brady.

There’s some interesting, off-course sidelight to this one, which also won’t have spectators. Mickelson is in the process of establishing a residence in South Florida and is joining Michael Jordan’s new club, Grove XXIII, which is also in Hobe Sound. Brady, who signed with a new team – the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – in football’s off-season, recently became a member at Seminole.

Medalist is where Tiger Woods does most of his practicing. Before May is over Medalist will host another Woods-Phil Mickelson match, but this one will be much different than the one they staged last year because both will have partners.

Golf is already in full swing, since the last of the 50 states re-opened their courses for play this week and there have been some smaller events played. One is this week’s Outlaw Tour Scottsdale (Ariz.) Open, and Wheaton’s PGA veteran, Kevin Streelman, was in the field.

Streelman, along with other PGA Tour players, received a 37-page Health and Safety Plan from PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan this week that outlined the procedures that will go into effect when tournament play resumes. The men’s PGA and Korn Ferry Tours will get into the swing of things on June 11, the PGA in Texas for the Charles Schwab Challenge and the backup Korn Ferry at Ponte Vedra, FL., for a new event.

“The message from Jay was that we’ve talked to doctors, talked to professionals, talked to politicians. These are the steps we need to take to be safe,’’ Streelman told reporters at the Scottsdale Open. “Now are you guys comfortable playing competitive golf in this arena? The answer was a resounding yes.’’

The last televised golf was played on March 12, at the first round of The Players Championship. The PGA Tour cancelled the remainder of the tournament and a series of cancellations followed. Last year the PGA Tour schedule had 49 events. This year, if all still scheduled are held, the total will be 36. The Korn Ferry had 28 events last season; this year’s it figures to be 17.

Billy Horschel is one PGA Tour player who has made the most of the difficult stretch without tournaments. He hunkered down with his wife and three children in Ponte Vedra.

“We’re just fine,’’ said Horschel. “We’re very fortunate that my wife and kids and our friends are all healthy. We’ve been getting by just like everyone else. Every day is a different day. Every day seems to be Groundhog Day with my kids. We have a lot of the same meltdowns and timeouts – all those things you have with three kids under 5, but it’s been an enjoyable time to spend with them.’’

Horschel, who has five PGA Tour victories and won the FedEx Cup and its $10 million bonus in 2014, also did some business during the time away from tournaments. He became in investor in beam CBD, a wellness product.

“I’m very happy because it looks like we’ll have some special golf in the future,’’ said Horschel. “I never had any doubts that we’d play again, but it was just when. With sports we provide a sense of relief that allows fans to take their minds off their own worries and struggles. It’ll be nice to see the world get back to a sense of normalcy.’’

CDGA cancels its two oldest tournamentsf due to pandemic concerns

The Illinois golf calendar took a big hit on Friday when the Chicago District Golf Association announced the cancelation of its two biggest and oldest championships.

The CDGA Amateur, which was to be played for the 101st time June 22-25 at Bull Valley in Woodstock, and the Illinois State Amateur, slated for its 90th playing at The Club at Wynstone in Barrington July 21-23, were dropped due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Friday’s announcement followed last week’s decision by Mistwood Golf Club, in Romeoville, to call off the Illinois Women’s Open. The Western Golf Association also had also cancelled its Western Junior and Women’s Western Junior Championships. The IWO was scheduled for July 13-15 and the two Western events were to tee off on June 15.

State government officials allowed Illinois’ courses to re-open on May 1 with a series of restrictions in place. While allowing for limited recreational play, those restrictions hinder the conducting of major tournaments.

“We continue to rely on the guidance of international, national and local health organizations and administrators, as well as the Golf Operational Restrictions set by the State of Illinois, when it comes to making decisions on our events,’’ said Robert Markionni, the CDGA executive director. “Based on current information from these entities we do not think it is feasible to begin safely conducting qualifiers for these events in late May and early June at the standard we are accustomed to, thus unfortunately necessitating the cancelation of these prestigious events.’’

This is the first cancelation in the history of the Illinois State Amateur, which was created in 1931. The CDGA Amateur last endured a cancelation n 1945, during World War II.

Both the Western Golf Association and Mistwood also cited travel restrictions for the decisions to cancel their tournaments.

The CDGA, which has now has cancelled four of its tournaments, also conducts qualifiers for many national events staged by the U.S. Golf Association. The CDGA is targeting July as the month it can begin to conduct qualifiers and the corresponding championships. Its tournament season runs through Oct. 8.

Next event on the CDGA schedule is the June 10 Radix Cup matches, an annual duel between the CDGA’s best amateurs and the leading professionals from the Illinois PGA at Oak Park Country Club. That event is currently listed as postponed.

The IPGA, still hoping to reschedule most of its tournaments, has listed the bulk of its events as “postponed.’’

Trio of Palm City, FL., courses are poised to bring in more golfers

Strategically-placed hedges are a striking feature at the Fox Club.

PALM CITY, Florida – With many restrictions lifted on Florida’s golf courses this week, some encouraging developments in one south Florida community came into focus.

Palm City, a town of about 25,000 located off Interstate 95 between the PGA Golf Club – the “winter home of the PGA of America’’ – to the north and PGA National Resort – home of the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic — to the south.

Those are golf meccas, but it’s been in Palm City where new things have been happening since the last days of 2019. Public golfers should take note now, just as Corey Hamlin and business partner Jon Whittemore did no less than two years ago. Both are members of Advanced Golf Partners and worked at PGA National during its 2007-10 rebirth period.

Now they own a Palm City course, Hammock Creek, in addition to two courses on Florida’s west coach – Legacy at Lakewood Ranch and Serenoa. On Feb. 21 they took ownership at Hammock Creek, one of three Palm City public courses that have taken dramatic changes in the last few months despite the restrictions caused by pandemic concerns.

Those restrictions were reduce on May 4, which meant more attention for the good things going on in Palm City – especially at Hammock Creek.

“We were looking at courses for two years — on the Treasure Coast as well as the Carolinas, Georgia and the west coast of Florida,’’ said Hamlin. “We liked the growth in Martin County and Palm City. We’re poised for that growth.’’

Others liked the possibilities at Palm City courses as well, and each facility has a story to tell.

The movement all began when The Fox Club opened up for public play last fall. That was a big deal. The Fox Club opened in 1989 as Cobblestone, the first creation of architect Roy Case. It became The Fox Club after a 2004 ownership change and Darren Clarke, a former British Open champion, and Eoghan O’Connell concocted a re-design in 2017.

As a private club Fox Club regulars included PGA Tour Champions members Gene Sauers, Fred Funk and Jesper Parnevik, and Larry Laoretti, the 1975 U.S. Senior Open champion, has been a long-time member. The decision to go public opened the way for a new wave of players, among them LPGA veteran Christina Kim.

The Fox Club has remained a championship layout (distance is 7,115 yards and slope is 148 from the tips) despite a series of changes over the years. Its 18th hole is the most memorable – a par-5 that hooks around a lake and seems to go on and on. (It’s 586 yards from the back tees).

Well-conditioned greens, interesting bunkering, lots of forced carries and lengthy drives from greens to tees are trademarks of The Fox Club layout, and its clubhouse is very much that of an established club.

Meanwhile, The Evergreen Club — another one-time private club — is the best revival story of these Palm City courses. It had been closed for eight months until a group of investors from Pennsylvania took over the ownership in early December.

In two months the course was re-opened and had a new name – Crane Watch Club – and that’s not all.

Reviving the course required new agronomic practices under the leadership of course superintendent Chris Thatcher. The greens were revived, new sand was put in the bunkers and the irrigation system was repaired and upgraded. Though in hardly ideal condition the course was playable when players returned on Feb. 3.

Most eye-catching change at the club is the construction of a short-game area in the front of the clubhouse. The putting green was resurfaced and a new Club Car fleet of carts was brought in. General manager Dave Salerno put out progress reports several times a week throughout the pandemic, when play was limited almost entirely to Martin County residents. The report reached a new high in the May 4 reduction in restrictions when dining in the clubhouse – including evening dinners – was granted approval.

At Hammock Creek it’s been a different situation since the ownership change. There weren’t any alterations to the course, designed by the father-son team of Jack and Jack Nicklaus II. It opened in 1995.

“We love the golf course,’’ said Hamlin. “It’s very customer-friendly and has no pace of play issues. We had no intention of changing anything with the golf course.’’

The new ownership quickly signed a licensing agreement with Nicklaus Design and there was no changing of the staff, either. Rod Curl Jr. remained as director of golf with Hamlin becoming the on-site managing partner. Like Hamlin, Curl is a 20-year member of the PGA of America.

“We loved the staff,’’ said Hamlin. “We’ve kept 100 percent in the transition. Then we started to renovate and improve the restaurant.’’

The new owners want to name the restaurant, and are welcoming suggestions. Negotiations are also underway to bring in a golf academy from the immediate area.

WHERE ARE YOU PLAYING NEXT? Myrtle Beach

The Myrtle Beach World Amateur is a truly international event, as shown by the flags decorating the Myrtle Beach Civic Center during last year’s event. With over 3,000 entrants expected again the World Am is scheduled for its 37th staging in August.

ONE IN A SERIES

Rory Spears and Len Ziehm are combining efforts on golf travel destinations they’ve visited over the years. This one is on Myrtle Beach, S.C.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Golf courses here – and there’s about 100 of them – are ready for players, and they have been for quite awhile. This is what we’ve been told as April winds down.

The courses are open. Over 18 of them overseeded wall-to-wall – fairways, tees, greens and rough. The other 73 overseeded everything but the rough.

Said one long-term Myrtle Beach golf booster: “We had a real mild winter and a beautiful March – the March we’ve been waiting for. Everything is in spectacular condition.’’

Yes, hotels are still restricted to short-term rentals and can’t take reservations through April 30. Restaurants are closed, but curb-side pickup and carryouts are readily available. The hopes and expectations in Myrtle Beach are for that to change in early May – ideally very early May, or mid-May at the latest.

Restrictions now include one person per cart, but people are allowed to walk at many of the Myrtle Beach courses.

I’ve played in the Myrtle Beach World Amateur twice and am awaiting my third appearance in a few months.

Lots of travel-minded golfers consider Myrtle a home away from home. There’s so many great options available, complete with prices that can fit most budgets.

The younger member of our team tabs the Greg Norman Course at Barefoot Resort one of his three Myrtle Beach favorites, the others being Tidewater (one of the prettiest courses in the area and a clubhouse with great dining) and Grande Dunes. He also likes the oceanfront hotels, particularly the Double Tree by Hilton with its Ocean Blue Restaurant.

This, more experienced, collaborator for this new series has been a Myrtle Beach devotee for many more years, and he leans toward Caledonia Golf & Fish Club and its partner course True Blue as his favorite destination in the area. Then again, Tidewater and Grande Dunes are great. So is the Dye Course at Barefoot Resort.

Gifts, prizes and plenty of fun abounds at the World Amateur.

Of course you can’t leave out Pine Lakes, which dates back to 1927; the Dunes Club, Pawley’s Plantation and Founder’s Club. And TPC Myrtle Beach is something special, too – especially since PGA Tour star Dustin Johnson recently made a dramatic expansion of its teaching facility.

There’s a reason why Myrtle Beach can, with plenty of justification, call itself “the Golf Capitol of the World.’’

And then there’s the area’s biggest event – the 37th staging of the Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship. It’s over 72 holes (plus a playoff) for competitors in nine divisions and features the World’s Largest 19th Hole and over $100,000 in prizes will be distributed. In short, it’s an event like no other.

This year’s version is August 31 to Sept. 4, and the usual 3,000-plus players are expected. Even with this year’s obstacles the tournament is expected to be held and entries are being accepted. I, for one, wouldn’t miss it. Neither should you.

FINALLY, A BULLETIN TOO HARD TO RESIST: Wisconsin courses are scheduled to open on Friday, April 24. Those that will include the four courses in Kohler, including Whistling Straits – site of this year’s Ryder Cup matches. Season-opening green fees there are just $195 – a very low number for a course poised to host a big event.

JDC’s 50th anniversary staging maintains its spot on revised PGA Tour schedule

While the PGA Tour schedule remained in a state of flux on Thursday, there were some noteworthy developments. Two involved Illinois tournaments.

The Evans Scholars Invitational, scheduled as the next event on the PGA’s alternate Korn Ferry Tour, won’t make its scheduled May 20-24 playing at The Glen Club, in Glenview. It’s not being cancelled, though.

And the John Deere Classic, the annual PGA Tour stop in the Quad Cities, will not only remain on its July 6-12 dates at TPC Deere Run, in downstate Silvis. It is also being targeted as the first PGA stop to allow spectators since the coronavirus pandemic forced a series of postponements and cancellations on both circuits.

It’s a big year for the JDC. The tourney will be celebrating its 50th anniversary and its volunteer staff was alerted on Thursday that it should be prepared to welcome spectators. According to the PGA Tour’s revamped schedule, released on Thursday, the first four tournaments will be closed to the general public. That policy could change, though, based on recommendations of local and state authorities in each market.

The latest schedule has the PGA Tour resuming play at the Charles Schwab Challenge, at Colonial in Ft. Worth, TX., the week of June 8-14. That event was to be played from May 18-24 – the same dates as the Korn Ferry event at The Glen Club – but was pushed back as other dates opened up.

The RBC Heritage, at Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina, is getting a second chance at playing. The tournament was to be played the week after the Masters in April. Now it’s scheduled for June 15-21 – the dates originally planned for the U.S. Open.

Also preceding the JDC are the Travelers Championship, in Connecticut, June 22-28 and the Rocket Mortgage Classic, in Detroit, July 2-5.

The John Deere Classic is traditionally held the week before the British Open, but the British has already been cancelled. Taking over the British dates is Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial tournament in Ohio July 13-19. It had originally been scheduled in May.

There will be only three major championships this year instead of the usual four. The PGA Championship, at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, is Aug. 3-9 and PGA officials say it will go on without spectators if conditions demand it. The PGA of America, adamant about using those dates, said the tourney could also be moved if conditions require it.

The U.S. Open, at New York’s Winged Foot course, is on Sept. 14-20, a week before the Ryder Cup matches between the U.S. and Europe at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. The Masters tournament has been rescheduled for Nov. 9-15 in Georgia.

With 22 events having been played through the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, the adjusted season-long schedule – again subject to change – will consist of 36 events including three Fed Ex Cup Playoff events. The second of those is the BMW Championship. It was previously moved back a week, to Aug. 24-30, and will remain at Olympia Fields in Chicago’s south suburbs.

Thursday’s announcements also revealed that the Canadian Open and Barbasol Championship on the PGA Tour have been cancelled and the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic has been moved to Sept. 21-27. It’ll be played opposite the Ryder Cup matches.

In addition, A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier won’t be on the PGA Tour’s fall schedule. It’s ending its 10-year run by mutual agreement with the tour. It was under contract through 2026 at the West Virginia resort owned by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice.

As for the Evans Scholars Invitational, which made its debut on the Korn Ferry circuit last year, the Western Golf Association is working with the PGA Tour on finding dates later in the year. Three other Korn Ferry tournaments were cancelled on Thursday.

“We conduct the Evans Scholars Invitational to raise funds and greater awareness for the Evans Scholars Foundation’s scholarship programs for caddies, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to hold the invitational at a later date,’’ said Vince Pellegrino, the WGA’s senior vice president for tournaments. “We’re disappointed that we won’t be able to conduct the Evans Scholars Invitational in May. However, our first priority remains the health and safety of the players, fans, sponsors, volunteers and everyone in the local community.’’

The Korn Ferry features 28 tournaments played in 20 states and four countries outside the U.S.. That league’s season culminates with the Korn Ferry Tour Finals in August. Its top players have a direct path to the PGA Tour for the 2020-21 season. The Korn Ferry is scheduled to return to competition with a new tournament in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, the week of June 8-14 without fans in attendance.

Cheers to Caddyshack on the movie’s 40th anniversary

If ever a movie – especially a sports-themed one – merited an anniversary celebration it’d be “Caddyshack.’’ This movie didn’t really have a plot. It was just a series of memorable scenes with actors Bill Murray, Chevy Chase and Rodney Dangerfield the lead characters. Still, over the years its fan base grew and the movie became a classic.

Now Caddyshack is getting an anniversary celebration – and a beer to go with it.

Production on the movie started in 1979 and it was released in 1980 – 40 years ago. To commemorate the 40th anniversary the Flying Dog Brewery of Frederick, Md., introduced a beer called Night Putting.

Flying Dog is billing itself as “America’s most disobedient brewery,’’ and that’s in keeping with the raucous nature of the film. The beer, a reinvented pale ale, is being sold in 16-ounce cans and is available in four-packs.

“When conceptualizing this beer we knew we wanted to pay homage to the classic comedy, so we created a beer designed specifically for golfers,’’ said James Maravetz, Flying Dog’s marketing director.

You have to be a Caddyshack devotee to appreciate all the humor, but the colorful beer can matches the shirt that the Judge Elihu Smails character (played by Ted Knight) wore when he met Al Czervik (the character played by Dangerfield). Their meeting started all the fun.

The Night Putting reference was coined by Chase’s Ty Webb character, and Murray played the nutty golf course superintendent Carl Spackler. The “plot’’ for Caddyshack was created by co-writers Brian Doyle-Murray (Bill’s brother) and Harold Ramis. The general story was based on the Murray brothers’ caddie days at Indian Hill Club in Winnetka during their teen-age years.

A book has already been written about the wild life involving the cast and crew that was going on behind the scenes as the movie was being made. A sequel to Caddyshack was also made, but it wasn’t nearly as well received as the original version.

The original was made primarily at an upscale public course called Rolling Hills, in Davie, FL., near Ft. Lauderdale. A lot has changed there over the last 40 years. Wayne Huizenga, who at one time owned football’s Miami Dolphins, baseball’s Miami Marlins and hockey’s Florida Panthers, bought the golf club in 1999 and converted it into a private venue called Grande Oaks. The course was re-designed by PGA Hall of Famer Ray Floyd shortly after Huizenga bought it.

Golf tournament schedules have taken on a completely new look

The tournament schedules of the pro golf tours have turned into a mess, the result of the coronavirus pandemic. Chicago’s premier tournament, the BMW Championship, won’t undergo much of an adjustment, however.

The FedEx Cup Playoff event was moved only one week as part of a schedule revampment announced on Monday by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. It’ll remain at Olympia Fields Country Club, but the dates will be Aug. 27-30 for the tournament rounds. The old dates had been Aug. 20-23.

“We’ve been working closely with the PGA Tour, BMW and our host club to ensure a smooth transition to our new dates while focusing on the healthy and safety of all involved,’’ said Vince Pellegrino, senior vice president of tournaments for the Western Golf Association.

As for the rest of the season, planning wasn’t so easy.

As part of Monahan’s announcement the last regular season PGA Tour event will be the Wyndham Championship, in Greensboro, N.C., from Aug. 10-16. The next week the playoffs begin, with The Northern Trust on Aug. 17-23. The BMW will follow the next week and The Tour Championship will be held from Sept. 1-7 at East Lake, in Atlanta, to conclude the playoffs. Some bigger, more attractive events will be played after that, however.

“It’s a complex situation, and we want to balance the commitments to our various partners with playing opportunities for the world’s best players while providing compelling competition to our fans,’’ said Monahan. “But all that must be done while safely navigating the unprecedented global crisis impacting every single one of us.’’

Tickets already purchased for the BMW Championship, held last year at Medinah Country Club, will be honored at Olympia Fields on the days of the week noted on the tickets. The tournament will again raise funds for its sole beneficiary, the Evans Scholars Foundation. Last year’s event at Medinah drew 130,000 fans and raised $4.4 million for the charity.

“We’re committed to hosting a safe and entertaining event,’’ said Pellegrino, “while also continuing to provide the Evans Scholars Foundation with vital funding for college scholarships for deserving caddies. As we navigate this challenging time we remain committed to fulfilling our mission to help young men and women build better lives for themselves while building stronger communities.’’

The PGA Tour plans to resume its tournament schedule at the Charles Schwab Challenge, at Colonial Country Club in Ft. Worth, TX. May 21-24. Eight tournaments have already been cancelled but Illinois’ other PGA stop — the 50th anniversary staging of the John Deere Classic — remains on tap for July 9-12 at TPC Deere Run in downstate Silvis.

The WGA will conduct five of its six tournaments in the Chicago area this year, the next being the Evans Scholars Invitational, also on May 21-24 at The Glen Club in Glenview. That tournament, part of the PGA’s developmental Korn Ferry Tour, is the planned return of competition on that circuit. Six Korn Ferry tournaments have already been cancelled and two others postponed.

New dates have already been announced for three of golf’s major championships. The PGA Championship, planned for May at Harding Park in San Francisco, is now Aug. 3-9. The U.S. Open had June dates at Winged Foot, in New York, and now will be played Sept. 17-20. The Masters, played annually in April at Augusta National in Georgia, is now Nov. 12-15.

The year’s planned final major, the British Open at Royal St. George’s in England, has already been cancelled and the Olympic Games golf competition in Japan from July 30-Aug. 2, has been postponed with no new date set as yet. The Ryder Cup matches remain at Wisconsin’s Whistling Straits course from Sept. 25-27.

The cancellation of the British Open marked the first time a major championship has been cancelled since 1945 during World War II. Only the PGA Championship was played that year.

More changes are possible, as the PGA Tour listed three now vacant weeks – June 18-21, July 16-19 and July 30-Aug. 2 – as “potential’’ tournament dates.

The U.S. Golf Association, meanwhile, cancelled two of its national championships — the U.S. Senior Open and the U.S. Senior Women’s Open. The USGA had cancelled its first two championships — the U.S. Senior Amateur Four-Ball and the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball — last month.

On the Ladies PGA Tour the next scheduled tournament is the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship July 19-21. The LPGA has already rescheduled two of its major tournaments. The ANA Inspiration is now on tap for Sept. 10-13 at Mission Hills, in California, and the U.S. Women’s Open has been given Dec. 10-13 dates at Champions Golf Club, in Houston.

A change in plans: Illinois golf courses are closed again

The opening of Chicago area golf courses was short-lived.

Many, under the impression that Gov. J.B. Pritzker had given his approval, opened on Wednesday in an announcement made by a group named the Allied Golf Association. Its members encompassed the Illinois Section of the Professional Golfers Association, the Chicago District Golf Association and Midwest Association of Golf Course Superintendents and the Greater Chicago Chapter of the Club Management Association of America.

That announcement was made after Governor’s Executive Order 2020-10 was issued to Illinois golf facilities on Tuesday night.

“That interpretation was correct and actionable at the time it was communicated. However, that interpretation has been overturned, ‘’ the Allied Golf Association announced Thursday. No further explanation was available.

According to Thursday’s announcement maintenance will be permitted on the courses, and clubs can provided carry-out food service – but no golf.

The Illinois Municipal League and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity gave this explanation in a joint statement:

“No recreational sports businesses, including golf courses, are considered essential businesses under the executive order.’’

Golf’s ruling bodies across the country have been in disagreement as to whether players should be allowed on the course during the coronavirus pandemic. According to a survey conducted by the Golf Course Superintendents of America and published in GolfWorld magazine only six states – Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennylvania and Wisconsin – had banned golf prior to Thursday’s Illinois announcement. California and New York were listed as pending.

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