Dec 17, 2014 | 08:09 AM

Numero Uno

After almost eight years in business, Tiger Woods Design finally opened up its first course yesterday, El Cardonal at Diamante in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. With a mariachi band accompanying him to the first tee and a few hundred guests in attendance, Woods played all 18 holes on the edge of the Pacific under bright blue skies. The 7,430-yard, private course features stunning ocean and mountain views, as well as wide fairways and big greens open in front to make the course enjoyable for all handicaps. The first few holes plays through giant dunes before the routing gives way to arroyos and hillsides. After false starts in Dubai and North Carolina, Tiger Woods Design is picking up the pace and will open its first U.S. design, Bluejack National, outside Houston next fall. He also just signed a deal to do another course in Dubai that Donald Trump will operate. “We knew this day would come," Woods said yesterday. "We as a design team probably didn’t think it was going to come outside the United States first...You always want to have a first sometime. It’s nice to finally have this opportunity and to do something that I think people are going to find is different, a different experience.”

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Dec 16, 2014 | 10:22 AM

Lydia Ko, Look Out!

The world’s best golf swing, pound for pound, may belong to five-year-old Hannah Pearson of Tucson, Arizona. She was just 14 months old when her non-golfing parents brought home plastic clubs, and she has been swinging—with uncommon grace and rhythm—ever since. At age 4 she placed fourth in her division of the San Diego Junior Masters, competing against a field of girls two years her senior, and this week she won her division of the U.S. Kids Golf Tour, having notched victories in five events in the 7-and-under division. For each of the past two years Hannah’s swing has been voted the Best Pee Wee Golf Swing in the World. 

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Dec 15, 2014 | 03:42 PM

In Their Cups

In the world of international team golf, most recent attention has focused on the Ryder Cup, with the American “task force” having held its first meeting last week. No one is talking much about the details, but early indications are that the session was positive and open, with the PGA of America listening to the suggestions from the panel's players—Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, and Steve Stricker—and former captains Raymond Floyd, Tom Lehman, and Davis Love III. Also, rumors are that Fred Couples has been asked about being the U.S. captain in 2016, but no official announcement has been made. And there’s news from the other team event, the Presidents Cup. Captain Nick Price is asking for changes since his International squad has lost the last six matches. Price—who was captain in 2013 and will be again in 2015, when the U.S. Captain is Jay Haas (both shown above)—told Golf Channel that PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has approved only one adjustment so far, switching the order of play so four-ball matches could come before foursomes. Supposedly, Price and his players want to reduce the number of team matches: The Presidents Cup presently features 22, while the Ryder Cup has 16 matches before the final-day singles. Price was quoted as saying that 16 points “doesn’t really let one team run away with it…. It allows for something to be exciting on Sunday.”

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Dec 12, 2014 | 11:14 AM

Blown Away

File this under “good news, bad news.” After about five years of severe drought, California is finally getting some relief as a huge storm pounds the west coast, bringing torrents of rain. And that’s the good news. The bad is that yesterday’s deluge claimed a notable victim, one of the two cypress trees that sit about 300 yards off the tee on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach. You know the two: A big one in the middle of the fairway, a small one just in the right rough, perfectly guarding the landing zone on one of the game’s most recognizable holes. Perhaps surprisingly, it was the small tree (to the left in the photo above) that was “the only casualty of the day,” according to Pebble Beach officials, coming down in 40-mph winds. It will be interesting to see if a new specimen is planted, Augusta National-style, before the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in mid February. And, as the storm moves south, if other Golden State courses suffer significant damage. But at least they got some much-needed rain.

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