Spy on Golf: When Pros Attack

October 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Golf Courses, Golf News, Pro Insider, Spy Blog 

For a so-called gentleman’s game, golf sure can turn acrimonious.

The latest examples include the revelation of a years-long, alpha-male spat between Greg Norman and Tiger Woods, and Rory McIlroy’s stunning split with agent Chubby Chandler. While no nasty words have been exchanged (publicly, at least) in the latter instance, it’s surely not an amicable parting.

Greg Norman

Greg Norman

Who needs reality TV when golf gives us this kind of drama?

All that, plus word on a jaw-dropping new course on the Chinese coast and an adult beverage bearing Arnold Palmer’s name and mug, in our weekly roundup of entertaining golf news.

Shark vs. Tiger

We were thinking Norman’s most recent comments about Tiger’s unworthiness as a Presidents Cup captain’s selection might have been spurred by Woods breaking the course record – shared by Norman – at the Medalist Club in Hobe Sound, Fla.

BTW, Norman designed the course, too. Double-ouch.

Turns out the animosity between the two goes back more than a few weeks, according to this article by Robert Lusetich. Apparently, sharing Butch Harmon’s time when both were under his tutelage was more than these supposed grown-ups could handle.

Norman tried to defuse the rancor in an email to Lusetich. “I have said this before and I will say it again, I hope Tiger does turn his game around,” Norman wrote. “It would be great for golf.

“I have said all I need to say about this.”

Let’s hope not. We’re kind of enjoying this little spat.

Big Mac attack

Another off-course bombshell dropped Friday morning, when news of McIlroy’s defection to Horizon Sports Management hit the wires. The 22-year-old U.S. Open champion spent his formative years with Chandler’s International Sports Management group, whose clients won four of five majors starting with the 2010 Open Championship.

Chandler has been praised for his delicate handling of McIlroy’s career since the Northern Ireland phenom turned pro at age 18. No definitive answer yet as to why McIlroy jumped ship to Horizon, a relatively new firm based in Dublin whose stable includes Ernie Els and Graeme McDowell.

Will this episode become another black eye for the likeable McIlroy, following his dismissive remarks about links golf and a Twitter spat with a TV announcer over McIlroy’s caddie?

Or is it just another sign that McIlroy has an inner ruthlessness that belies his outward charm? Image be damned, that could bode well for his future.

Chinese fireworks from Coore & Crenshaw

We don’t have much to say about the new Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw course in Shanquin Bay, China, except that it looks spectacular. This being a Coore-Crenshaw design and seaside, to boot, it should draw plentiful attention from architecture aficionados.

Darius Oliver has a detailed review and terrific pics at Planet Golf.

Arnold Palmer Hard Malt beverageSorry Arnie, we’ll stick with beer

Not sure about the sales prospects for the new Arnold Palmer Hard Malt beverage – half ice tea, half lemonade, and 5 percent alcohol – but I do know one golfer who won’t be trying it.

That would be me. If Arnie ever slaps his name on a hoppy pale ale or toasty imperial stout, count me in.

Arnold Palmer “The Godfather”, denies DiMarco from Bay Hill!

March 25, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Pro Insider 

palmerIt is unquestioned that Arnold Palmer, "the King" is one of the most popular golfers of all time. In addition to his Hall of Fame credentials, he's also well known for his charitable giving and being an "everyman" traced back to his blue collar Pennsylvania roots. However, don't think this easy going personality prevents him from being tough when comes to business. He can act as swift as any Mafia Don when someone crosses him. It is well documented that when Peter Kessler was critical of the King for promoting a nonconforming driver to be used by recreational players, he was promptly "let go" by the Golf Channel.

His latest victim appears to be Chris DiMarco, the popular die hard Gator golfer. In the past Chris made some comments regarding Bay Hill's greens being unfair or something to that effect. Thereafter, he started skipping Bay Hill and going on vacation with his family as his kid's spring break was at that time. This year his children's spring break did not conflict with the tournament, so he requested a sponsor's exemption, but was denied. Its hard to believe that a popular local golfer with DiMarco's credentials would be denied, unless he had said or done something that "the Don" didn't like. We'll let you be the judge.

Lastly, we want to make it clear that this article is not meant to be a slam against Arnold Palmer. We love Arnie and his army, and we definitely don't want to be "sleeping with the fishes."

UPDATE 3/26/09: Andres Romero withdrew from the tournament, so now DiMarco gets in as first alternate. Should be interesting.

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