Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday Nite Talk with Senator Bob Hedlund

Senator Bob Hedlund with guests PGA Pro Mike Gibson and Liza Churchill
My friend PGA Teaching Pro Mike Gibson and I were guests on WATD's "Monday Nite Talk with Senator Bob Hedlund" tonight! We chatted bout Mike's recent project, Titleist Inspiration and the Goldie Bounce Golf Show! It seems as if Senator Bob's favorite golf movie is "Caddy Shack" and his favorite part of the movie was when Rodney Dangerfield began playing the Journey song, "Any Way You Want It" from a boombox in his golfbag! How very interesting! He agreed to stop by "Gibby's Crib" at Harmon Golf and Fitness to run a gammet of tests to see if his golf game can be salvaged, seems he's got some issues due to his "Softball Swing." Oh and not to worry Senator, I'll be vlogging your progress....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Top Dawg - Tour Pro Erik Compton

Huge Congrats to PGA Tour Pro Erik Compton who made it through the first stage of the annual PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament in Port St. Lucie, Fla. this past week. Erik finished up in first place posting a score of -22 (266) on the PGA Golf Club - Wanamaker Course! Erik, a two-time heart transplant survivor just launched a PSA video series entitled "Titleist Inspiration," in conjunction with fellow PGA Professional Mike Gibson, Titleist and the Golf Channel. In the PSA Erik talks candidly about his life's journey through his golf game and the inspirational lessons he's learned along the way. For more info on "Titleist Inspiration" go to www.titleist.com/inspiration. Oh what an inspiration you are Erik!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mike Gibson's Titleist Inspiration

Mike Gibson with PGA Tour Pro Nick Watney at 2009 Deutsche Bank Championship

Mike Gibson will tell you that "yes, he's special - but so is everyone else!" An honorary member of the PGA of America, Mike lost his arm in a tragic boating accident when he was 14. He refers to the accident as, "his longest day" but chooses to embrace life and live, not delve deep into depression or self-pity. When one comes in contact with Mike, it's like one of those chance encounters in life where you leave thinking - I just met one of those "one in a million people!" Mike's positive dynamic approach to life and golf can't help but inspire those around him to the infinite possibilities that life has to offer - if your willing. Mike's a Nationally Certified Club Fitter and PGA Teaching Professional at Harmon Golf and Fitness in Rockland, MA. He's got a new and exciting project in conjunction with Titleist Golf and the Golf Channel that has just launched, entitled "Titleist Inspiration." Mike and 2 time heart transplant survivor and PGA Tour Professional, Erik Compton talk about their paths in life through their golf game and the inspirational life lessons that they've learned. They touch upon the fact that golf can inspire others as well, no matter what your circumstances. Mike told me that, "the Titleist Inspiration video series started out as a PSA for the Golf Channel and is now blooming into something bigger." Not surprisingly, Mike's just enjoying the ride and goin with the flow, embracing this newest endeavor to the fullest - where ever it may lead him! Titleist has set up an interactive Facebook Fan Page where one can post their own stories of inspiration at www.facebook.com/pages/Goldie-Bounce-Golf/89608275059?ref=ts#/Titleistinspiration?v=wall&ref=ts and you can also find Titleist Inspiration at www.titleist.com/inspiration

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

High Stakes Shoot Out!

2009 Turning Stone Resort Championship Winner Matt Kuchar Here at the 2009 Turning Stone Resort Championship Matt Kuchar reigns supreme! What a match! It was a nail biting sudden death 6 hole high stakes shootout with Vaughn Taylor in overtime no less! Due to the blistery cold weather here "preferred lies" were still in play and Kucher defeated Taylor on hole #13 with a par 4. Kucher said that "hole #13 has been my nemesis all week and it was great to seal the deal there!" Matt remarked that "it's hard to describe what a great feeling it is to it is to win a PGA Tour event because they are so difficult to win." Case in point, his last PGA Tour win was 7 years ago at the 2002 at the Honda Classic. After receiving his well deserved bling he said, "this is one of the kooler trophies in golf and I am certaintly excited to be putting this up at home." This marks Kucher's second PGA Tour career win and he sits at 25th place on the PGA Tour money list going into the final four Fall Series events. Now, it's off to Vegas baby for the Justin Timberlake Shriner's Hospitals for Children Open! (Photo Courtesy of Herm Card hermphoto@aol.com)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

It's Sudden Death here at Turning Stone







Vaughn Taylor vs. Matt Kucher in overtime







As if blistery wet playing conditions weren't enough to spice things up here at the 2009 Turning Stone Resort Championship, a sudden death playoff cheated by darkness surely did the trick! Matt Kucher and Vaughn Taylor tied for the lead late this afternoon and thus found themselves in a sudden death playoff! They completed the first two playoff holes, #18 and #12 before the match was called due to darkness. The pair will resume on the final playoff hole, #13 at 8:30am on Monday. This makes the fourth Monday finish this year for the PGA Tour. Matt moves to within the top 25 on the PGA Tour Money List with his finish here at Turning Stone and Vaughn has achieved his goal of breaking into the top 125 to maintain his PGA Tour Card! Matt and I have something in common - it's my first PGA Tour Playoff too!!!! Make sure to tune into WATD 95.9 FM tomorrow morning for the Rob Hakala show (5 - 9am) 'cause I'll be calling in for a pre-playoff broadcast live from the Atuynote Golf Club here at the Turning Stone Resort! (Photos Courtesy of Herm Card - hermphoto@aol.com)

Aussie John Senden

PGA Tour Professional John Senden
Australian PGA Tour Pro John Senden ended up finishing tied for 5th place along with Jimmy Walker here at the 2009 Turning Stone Resort Championship. John's had 7 top ten finishes this season - most recently tying for 10th place at the PGA Tour Championship. After posting his final score, I talked with John about his play here at Turning Stone. He told me that "Atunyote was in fantastic condition" but that "the weather did not cooperate and so we had a wet soft golf course." Apparently about 20% of the events played during the season use the lift clean and place ruling so it's nothing new to John. John also cited 2006 as probably his best year out on tour and said that "this season has been a consistent year and I've been really happy with my results this year and making the Tour Championship was a bonus!" Thanks for stopping John!

Kevin Streelman - Kodak Challenge Leader

Kevin Streelman's leading the charge at 13- in the Kodak Challenge after his finish here at the 2009 Turning Stone Resort Championship! In the final chase for the $1 million winner take all bonus, 17 of the top 22 Kodak Challenge contenders were here this week to compete on the Kodak Challenge Hole #11 (par 3, 230 yards) at the Tom Fazio designed Atunyote Golf Course. Kevin has played 17 Kodak Challenge holes this season and has committed to the final four Fall Finish events on the PGA Tour. I asked Kevin what he thought about leading the Kodak Challenge and he told me, "I'm trying not to think about it too much to be honest because it's one hole at a time but it's exciting I know I got a one shot lead with 4 holes to go so see if I can hold on." Kevin said that his favorite Kodak Challenge hole is, "the 16th hole at the FBR which is in Phoenix where I live now, whenever we can sleep in our own bed its a nice week on tour so that's my favorite week on tour." With just four holes to go, the Kodak Challenge wraps up on November 15th at the Children's Miracle Network Open at Disney's Magnolia Golf Course in Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Vince Farrar, Director of Food and Beverage -Turning Stone Resort

Vince Farrar at an outside grill on the Atunyote Golf Course

I'm not gonna lie, I'm a food lover for sure! Ergo, I've always wondered just how all the food is put together at a PGA Tour event. Vince Farrar, the Director of Food and Beverage here at the Turning Stone Resort was more than happy to fill me in on the process! He took me on a wild ride around the food stations out on the Atunyote Golf Course - it was raining of course but we braved the conditions, I mean if the Tour players can deal with it, so can I! Vince was throwing all sorts of facts and figures at me and boy was I having a hard time keeping up 'cause it's really hard to even tally up my daily calorie stats, not to mention what he's got goin' on! Each day here at the golf tournament, Vince is in charge of providing breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and beverages to 1100 Volunteers, 500 Staff Members, about 75 Media in the Media Center, 132 PGA Tour players and their families, 12 Hospitality Suites and Villas, Spectators, all of the Vending Carts and lets not forget the 22 Restaurants at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino! Vince told me that the "Volunteer's Tent, where they feed the 1100 volunteers during the tournament, is ranked #1 on the PGA Tour!" How kool is that? He also said that "the Atunyote Golf Course is the least played course on the PGA Tour, so when the players arrive, it's usually in superb condition!" Now if only the fickle weather would cooperate! Thanks for the gorgeous sushi Vince!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Steve Powell - Director Kodak Challenge

Liza Churchill and Tour Pro Dave Mahoney at the Kodak Fan Photo Zone
Here at the 2009 Turning Stone Resort Championship I had the pleasure of chatting with Steve Powell - the Director of the PGA Tour Kodak Challenge! I really was excited to talk to him because seriously during the season I had been rather confused by the whole FedEx Cup points system (BTW I know I am not the only one?!)! After talking to Steve it seems that the Kodak Challenge is really simple! Steve told me that, " the Kodak Challenge is the first of it's kind competition for PGA Tour Players and fans" and that "it kicked off at the Mercedes-Benz Championship at Kapalua in Hawaii in 2009." He also said that Kodak picked a Kodak Challenge hole at 30 different PGA Tour stops throughout the season and that each player must play at least 18 of the Kodak Challenge holes throughout the season to be counted. They then choose their best 18 scores and whoever has the lowest score relative to par receives the winner take all $1,000,000 bonus check! The Kodak Challenge Trophy will be presented at the Children's Miracle Network Classic held at the Magnolia Golf Club at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida on November 14th! This week at the Turning Stone Resort Championship, the Kodak Challenge hole is the Par 3, 230 yard 11th Hole. It's been said to be the most difficult hole on the Tom Fazio designed Atunyote Golf Course. Kodak also has really fun promotions for the golf fans too! At each of the PGA Tour Kodak Challenge events, there's a Kodak Fan Photo Zone set up out on the course, here it's hole #13, which gives spectators a complimentary photo as a souvenir for attending the event. Since there are no cameras allowed at PGA Tour events it is nice touch. As you can see from my Fan Zone pic it was absolutely freezing here in Oneida Nation! Kodak also has the "Smile Get Spotted and Win" promotion where prizes are randomly given away to spectators who are wearing the Kodak Smile and Win lanyards. The prizes are great - hats and blankets - even Kodak pocket video cameras! Kodak's new slogan for the PGA Tour Fall Series is "It's Time to Smile!" How fitting, no doubt the winner of the $1,000,000 Kodak Challenge bonus check will most certainly be smiling from ear to ear! Go to www.kodakchallenge.com for more info!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

DePuy Mitek PGA Tour Mobile Fitness Center

Scott Reihl - PGA Tour Strength and Conditioning Coordinator

Traveling week to week with the PGA Tour is the DePuy Mitek Mobile Fitness Center and the Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Clinic. These two pimped out trailers house state of the art work-out equipment and top-notch staff therapists and chiropractors and in the case of a serious injury, the PGA Tour also has an on-call Orthopedic Surgeon! During each tour event, the trailers are usually parked in close proximity to the Clubhouse in the player's parking lot so it's very convenient for the players to utilize the facilities before and after their rounds. Scott Reihl gave me a kickin tour around the Fitness Facility! The PGA Tour and DePuy Mitek provide the facilities free of charge to the PGA Tour players. Scott's been running the program since it's inception 9 years ago and he coordinates an assessment of each players specific needs and builds a work-out program. He travels with the tour 30 to 35 weeks out of a year living out of hotels and eating out every nite but Scott loves his job and many of the tour players have become close personal friends. Scott said, "It's not a typical week for the PGA Tour here at the Atunyote Golf Club - the weather conditions are brutal so alot of guys are coming in for their workouts and stretches to warm-up before they play to prevent injury." Scott's seen "steady growth in the program from 20 to 25% of the players utilizing the facilities to 80 and 85% of the field every week." Scott says, "alot of players are seeing the benefit of a healthy body as it relates to their golf swing" and that "Gary Player is probably the Father of Fitness here on the PGA Tour, he's been working out for bout 50 years now and his good friend is Jack LaLanne, so working out is nothing new to the tour but Tiger's success has definitely put the fitness end in the forefront!" Sounds good to me, Rock on Guys!

2009 Turning Stone Resort Championship

The Fall Series has begun! The First Round of Competition at the Turning Stone Resort Championship kicks off today in Verona, NY at the Tom Fazio designed Atunyote Golf Club (pronounced uh-DUNE-yote) at Turning Stone. Atunyote is an Oneida Indian word that means Eagle. A field of 132 players are vying for $6,000,000 in prize money with $1,080,000 as the Winners share. Defending Champ Dustin Johnson is teein' it up at 12:35 today and local Cape Cod Touring Pro Mike Carbone is making his bid on the 10th tee at 1:15! BTW it's no day at the beach here in Verona! The current temp is a bone chilling 38 degrees coupled with raw and wet playing conditions! Today at daybreak, pink balloons were launched on the first tee to commemorate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month - now that was really fun! Yesterday's Pro Am was won by KJ Choi and his team with a score of 59. Country Star Trace Adkins and Actor Steven Baldwin finished up in 3rd place with a score of 62! Follow all the action in real time on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TSchampionship and Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Turning-Stone-Resort-Championship/65024263593?v=wall