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Oct 21, 2015 | 02:52 pm

Charity Starts at Home

First Sammy Schmitz made an ace on a par four to help secure his win in the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at John's Island Club earlier this month and then he scored another one when he raised more than $25,000 in less than three days to help pay for his prepation for the Masters (the winner of the Mid-Am has always gotten an invite). A regional director for a healthcare company, Schmitz, 35, lives in River Falls, Wisc. with his wife, Natalie, and two daughters. He was planning on putting his clubs away for the long winter before his unexpected win. When he won, he realized there was no way he was going to be able to lay off all winter and show up at Augusta ready to compete, so Natalie set up a GoFundMe page with a goal of $30,000 for him to make a few trips to Augusta and practice. "One of his life-long goals was to be able to take his Father to the greatest golf tournament in the world," she wrote. "Now he gets to play!!" Schmitz lowered it to $25,000 "in order to make sure my estimated spending was below dollars spent as opposed to having a surplus." He met his goal with just 228 donations. To avoid any amateur-status issues, Schmitz will fund his expenses through the Minnesota Golf Association, with any unused money going to them. Donators were also required to give anyonymously per the USGA.

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Oct 20, 2015 | 08:53 am

Irish Eyes Are Smiling

The R&A announced today that the 148th Open Championship will be played at the Dunluce Course of Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, July 18-21, 2019, marking an historic return to that nation after an absence of nearly 70 years. The 1951 Open at Royal Portrush, won by Englishman Max Faulkner, marked the only playing of the Championship outside Scotland and England. Work is underway to create two new holes—the 7th and 8th, using land from the adjacent Valley Course—that will replace the current 17th and 18th holes, and 200 hundred yards will be added to the course along with three bunkers, bringing the total to 62, still the fewest of any site on the Open rotation. The 2019 Open is expected to be the biggest sporting event ever held in Northern Ireland, generating more than $100 million of economic impact and destination marketing benefit.

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Oct 19, 2015 | 10:23 am

Sandra Spuzich, 1937-2015

Sandra Spuzich, winner of the 1966 U.S. Women’s Open, died on October 6 at age 78. She holds the record for being the oldest LPGA player to win twice in one season—which she did at age 45 in 1982—and had a total of eight victories. Spuzich was a talented amateur who turned pro in 1962, a time when purses were very low and the tour struggled. Along the way, she befriended fellow pro Joyce Kazmierski; they became life partners and were married just a few months before Spuzich died. The contrasts between golf, and life, today and 50 years ago are sharply illustrated in a very candid interview Kazmierski gave to The Daily Beast website. It is a fascinating read.

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Oct 16, 2015 | 06:48 am

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

America’s Pastimes will overlap November 6-8 when the home of baseball’s San Diego Padres will be transformed into “The Links at Petco Park” and golfers can play a nine-hole course inside the stadium. The Padres and Callaway Golf (which is based just up the road in Carlsbad and will supply the equipment) are creating this one-of-a-kind two-sport experience, which begins in the home team’s dugout, heads to the upper deck (hitting from the seats onto the field), and continues around the ballpark until finishing on the rooftop of the adjacent Western Metal Supply Company building. Each hole (see map, above) will have a theme and opportunities to win prizes like Callaway’s new Great Big Bertha driver, and the “19th hole” will be one of the ballpark bars transformed into a Callaway clubhouse. “Green fees” start at $50 per person (bookings must be for twosomes or foursomes) and include a nine-hole round, parking, food and drink, and a limited-edition hat; other deals include a Padres-branded club and tickets to a 2016 Padres game. More information and reservations are on the website.

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