Friday, February 27, 2015

PGA Launching Airport-Based "Golf Experience" Starting in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Contruction photo of PGA MSP via Facebook/PGAmsp

The PGA of America, in partnership with a Minneapolis based company named Wexford Golf, is launching a new concept in March of 2015: Large "golf experience" zones within a major airport that include golf simulators, club fitting, pro shop, plus dining and lounge options. And it's open to all airport travelers, but also to non-travelers.

The first such retail/driving range area is called PGA MSP Airport; MSP Airport being the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, which serves 35 million travelers annually.

According to the PGA, it will be the first "golf lifestyle facility" located in an American airport. What will visitors find? First, lots of space - PGA MSP will encompass 12,000 square feet of space inside the MSP Airport.

  • Golf simulators: All ages and skill levels will be accommodated on leading golf simulators, which will allow golfers to play many of the world's top courses.
  • Practice areas: A putting green and a virtual driving range.
  • Help from PGA Professionals: PGA pros will be present to offer instruction or clubfitting.
  • Pro shop: The newest equipment from all the top brands, and golfers will be able to test the clubs on the simulators.
  • Food and beverage: A restaurant, a lounge, and other food and drink options throughout the facility.

Visiting the pro shop or the Champion's Grille will be without an admission fee; there will be a $10 entry fee for the simulators and other golfing areas. Non-travelers will be able to purchase a day pass that gets them into the airport and into the PGA MSP area.

Want to know more? Visit the website.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Reality Show About the Wild, Wacky Parnevik Family Coming to TV

Jesper Parnevik was always an odd duck on the international golf scene, first in Europe, then on the US PGA. The Swede's nickname - Spaceman - tells you a lot about him. And today's social media tells you a lot about his family, which seems to be populated with its fair share of spacemen and spacewomen.

Soon, the whole crazy crew of Parneviks will hit television screens in a reality show. The Parneviks begins airing on March 16, at 8 p.m. on Sweden's TV3 network.

Will the Golf Channel pick it up and air it in the United States? The show was taped by/for Swedish TV so, naturally, the Parneviks and other "characters" are (mostly) speaking Swedish. But if it's entertaining enough, who knows? It could be dubbed, or maybe even Season 2 could be taped bilingually. We'll have to wait and see if the show is any good, of course.

Jesper's daughter Peg - whose full name is Ida Josefin Peg Parnevik - posted a preview video on Instagram:

A video posted by Mia parnevik (@miaparnevik) on

Jesper and wife Mia's other children are named Penny Parnevik, Phoenix Parnevik and, I'm not making this up, Pebble Peach Philippa Parnevik. Who presumably goes by Philippa, not by Pebble Beach.

Jesper comes from an entertainment family. His father is a famous-in-Sweden impersonator named Bosse Parnevik.

The Parneviks TV series was taped at the family home in Florida beginning last October.

With this crew, one thing we can probably say for sure is that whether the show is good or bad it will at least be entertaining.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Video: Watch Michelle Wie's Acting Debut on 'Hawaii Five-O'

Michelle Wie made her acting debut on an episode of Hawaii Five-O that aired on CBS on Feb. 20, 2015. Did you catch it? She played herself, but working as a caddie for Five-O boss Steve McGarrett in a big match. Check it out:

What do you think: Does The Big Wiesy has a future on the big screen?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New Golf Movie 'The Squeeze' Endorsed by Nicklaus, Mickelson

The Squeeze is the name of new golf movie debuting on April 17 (Masters Friday). Is it any good? Well, we'll have to wait and see. But The Squeeze has already gotten two thumbs up from a pair of golf legends: Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson. Both of those golf superstars provided promotional quotes for the movie's marketing releases:

Jack Nicklaus: "I watched The Squeeze and really enjoyed it. It's a fun movie that tells an interesting story, and the golf elements are so real you actually believe it could happen."

Phil Mickelson: "The Squeeze is a wonderful golf movie because it's so authentic. It hooks you in the beginning and stays interesting and entertaining right to the end. I'm looking forward to seeing it again."

Whether the movie-reviewing skills of Nicklaus and Mickelson are anything close to their golf skills remains to be seen. But the simple fact they are willing to attach their names to this project is a major coup for an independent movie like this.

How did Nicklaus and Mickelson get involved in "blurbing" The Squeeze? Through its writer and director, Terry Jastrow. Jastrow's name is very well-known in the field of sports programming; he's a 17-time Emmy nominee and 7-time Emmy winner over his 24 years as a director and producer at ABC Sports. There he produced or directed 68 major championships, not to mention a few little other things called the The Super Bowl, The Indy 500 and The Kentucky Derby. His credits as producer also include a season of Shell's Wonderful World of Golf and a 2000 TV movie called Killer Golf.

Less well-known is the fact that Jastrow was a top-notch competitive golfer as a junior and collegian. He won the 1966 Texas State Junior Golf Championship and played collegiately on the powerhouse University of Houston golf team. He is a member of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame.

Jastrow is among several listed producers of The Squeeze, too, along with his wife, the actress Anne Archer.

So what is The Squeeze about? Here's the description from the movie's distributor, ARC Entertainment:

The Squeeze is a caper about a notorious gambler who discovers a modest young man in a small rural town with uncommon golf skills. Seeing his potential, the gambler convinces him to abandon his dreams of winning the US Open and start playing in high-stakes matches. They don't lose. The stakes grow higher and higher until the game becomes "life or death."

And the cast (with best-known previous roles) includes:

  • Jeremy Sumpter (Friday Night Lights, Peter Pan)
  • Christopher McDonald ("Shooter McGavin" in Happy Gilmore)
  • Katherine LaNasa (The Campaign)
  • Jillian Murray (Bad Ass)
  • Michael Nouri (Flashdance)
  • Jason Dohring (Veronica Mars)

The Squeeze will debut on premium video-on-demand and in theaters in 12 top markets on April 17, 2015. We'll update when more specific release information is available, as well as a trailer.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

They Went Looking for the Loch Ness Monster, But Only Found Golf Balls

Did you hear the story about the American TV show that scoured Loch Ness for the legendary Nessie, but all they found were golf balls?

Well, golf balls aren't all they found - they found other debris, not to mention plants and animals. But the golf balls - thousands of them, in some estimates hundreds of thousands - were the big surprise.

Here's what happened: Back in 2009, the television series Monster Quest - a show that pretended to take paranormal, cryptozoographic stories seriously, and that originally aired on the History (!) Channel - hired a team to operate a robotic sub and search Loch Ness for its supposed Loch Ness Monster.

And that's what the SeaTrepid did; the little submersible, remotely operated, dipped beneath the surface of Scotland's Loch Ness.

But, of course, the sub found no sign of Nessie, because the Loch Ness Monster doesn't exist. (The photo at the top is the one that started the Nessie myth back in the 1930s, but it was hoaxed.)

The SeaTrepid was picking up something unusual, though, in a constant stream of little white things. Mike O'Brien of SeaTrepid told CNN, "At first we thought they were mushrooms, there were so many. But when we lowered the camera, we were surprised to see that they were, in fact, golf balls."

You can see what the SeaTrepid was seeing in this brief video:

How did the golf balls get into Loch Ness? How do you think? For decades, golfers have apparently been standing on the shores of the massive lake, beating balls into the water. Most of the golf balls were found within several hundred yards of shore, although some had drifted out into the more remote parts of the lake.

News of the golf balls was originally met with some consternation - could that many golf balls at the bottom of a lake have a negative environmental impact? Do golf balls contain materials that could be dangerous in large quantities?

Golf balls are found in much higher concentrations in, for example, golf course lakes. Yet no adverse effects have ever been noticed. That doesn't mean the issue is settled, however (golf balls do contain minute amounts of some heavy metals, such as zinc), and there are environmental groups - some working with the Danish Golf Union - studying the issue.

Speaking of the Danish Golf Union: The DGU did a study on the lifespan of lost and discarded golf balls. It takes from 100 to 1,000 years for a standard golf ball to degrade, the organization learned. Up to one thousand years!

So, while Nessie doesn't have to worry about orphaned golf balls (because Nessie is a myth), the rest of society does: By one estimate, 300 million golf balls a year are lost or thrown out every year in the United States alone.

So let's be safe now to avoid being sorry later: Never hit golf balls into woods, bodies of water or other natural environments that aren't part of a golf facility.

Or, if you simply must, hunt down the few biodegradable golf balls that are on the market and stock up.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Rory's Ex in Sports Illustrated's 2015 Swimsuit Issue

Can you believe Rory McIlroy say goodbye to Caroline Wozniacki? The tennis star is part of the 2015 Swimsuit Issue from Sports Illustrated. Here's video of her her:

Here's she is again:

Congrats Rory. You've now dumped two women hotter than most of will ever get turned down by. You dumb bastard.

View Caroline's swimsuit pics on SI.com

Sunday, February 8, 2015

You Won't Believe the Amazing Week These Pro Golfer Lovebirds Had in Australia

Photo via PGA of Australia

Tour professionals Richard Green and Marianne Skarpnord got engaged only about 10 days ago. That was a pretty amazing week for them. But what happened this week is even more amazing - at least for the rest of us.

First up was Green, playing in the Oates Victorian Open pro-am in his native Australia, where he made a hole-in-one. Not just any ace - an albatross. An ace on a par-4. Green hit driver and didn't even realize he'd aced it after seeing his ball go into a greenside bunker. But golf balls take funny bounces sometimes, and Green's definitely did:

Perhaps one of the unlikeliest holes-in-one ever caught on camera!

Is it possible that Green could top that hole-in-one in the tournament proper? Maybe the only way he could was to win the tournament - which he did, in a 2-hole playoff.

But what about Skarpnord? Surely she was completely overshadowed by her boyfriend's exploits. Wellllll, not so fast. Marianne was playing in the Ladies Oates Victoria Open - and she won, too! Green and Skarpnord, engaged to be married, and tour winners on the very same day! The men's Vic Open was part of the PGA of Australia tour; the women's Vic Open part of the ALPG Tour.

There haven't been a ton of husband-wife or boyfriend-girlfriend couples on the pro golf tours, fewer than you might imagine, in fact. But among those that have existed, none have ever posted matching, his-and-her wins on the same day.

What an awesome week for Green and Skarpnord. It was so awesome that they deserve the creation of a new word: They aren't lovebirds, they are lovebirdies.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Here's Why You Should Never Take a Practice Swing Directly Behind the Golf Ball

Sometimes even the best golfers in the world - pro golfers, tour golfers - do boneheaded things on the golf course. Such as taking a practice swing directly behind the golf ball. When you do that, and you accidentally chunk a divot on that practice swing, bad things can happen. Very bad things. Such as that divot flying forward and hitting the ball.

But it's happened at the highest levels of golf. In fact, in 2013 it happened on the PGA Tour and the Web.com tour on back-to-back days!

On Sept. 14, 2013, Justin Rose's practice swing divot struck his golf ball during the BMW Championship:

And on Sept. 15, 2013, during the Web.com Tour's Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship, Hudson Swafford did the same thing - hit his golf ball with a practice swing divot:

Dumbasses! (C'mon, you know you wanted to say it, because now you don't feel so bad about the dumb things you've done on the course.)

What's the penalty? One stroke (Rule 18-2). And you have to put the ball back where it was to start with.

I love the expressions and the body language after it happened (Swafford's caddie doesn't even want to look at him):

You know what they're thinking: I can't believe I just f'ing did that. We can't either, fellas, we can't either.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Video: Tiger's Swing 1997 vs. 2015

Tiger Woods is playing in his first round 2015 today as this is written, at the Phoenix Open. That's the tournament where, in 1997, he famously aced the 16th hole as a rookie. And kudos to the PGA Tour for quickly posting a side-by-side comparison video of Woods' swings at the Phoenix Open, comparing 1997 to 2015. Here you go:

Tiger's 1997 swing vs. Tiger's 2015 swing.

A video posted by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on

No surprise that, equally quickly, Brandel Chamblee had a pointed take. Here's his tweet; you can click to read the comments and debate that ensued:

Watch: 101-Year-Old Woman Still Golfing

Here's a great little video, only one minute, 29 seconds long, discovered via Twitter. Its subject is Ida Pieracci, who holds the San Jose Country Club record for most holes in one. She's 101 years old in the video (102 now in real time) and still going strong, golfing 4-5 times a week. She seems much younger than that, and perhaps a clue why is in her response to the question, "What's the key to a long, happy life?"

"Just being a good kid!" she replies.