Mar 20, 2014 | 11:05 AM

Open Drought

It’s official. The U.S. Open is returning to Torrey Pines in 2021. But will Tiger be there? Six years have passed since he won his third U.S. Open with an epic playoff win there over Rocco Mediate. Who thought then that Woods would go six years without adding to a major total that still stands at 14? And given his past and current injuries (back spasms knocked him out of Bay Hill this weekend), odds are against him being a favorite at age 45 when the national championship returns to his native Southern California in 2021. Still, he’s not the first multiple U.S. Open champion to go through a lengthy drought between titles. Here are the golfers who have gone the longest between U.S. Open wins:

11 Years – Hale Irwin (1979-1990)

11 Years - Julius Boros (1952-1963)

10 Years – Gene Sarazen (1922-1932)

8 Years – Payne Stewart (1991-1999)

8 Years – Jack Nicklaus (1972-1980)

7 Years – Andy North (1978-1985)

7 Years – Billy Casper (1959-1966)

7 Years – Cary Middlecoff (1949-1956)

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Mar 19, 2014 | 10:14 AM

Bush League

One of the stranger news items in the last few weeks was that police were investigating gambling at the city muni in Tarpon Springs, Florida, northwest of Tampa. Police were shocked—SHOCKED!—to hear that league wagering was taking place and decided to look into it because course manager Chuck Winship is a city employee. Doing what golfers do everywhere, members of 14 different leagues threw the money into a pot for low score, closest to the pin, etc., but a disgruntled former employee reported Winship, who oversaw one league pot, after he was fired. “We didn't look into individual players or somebody making a $2 wager on the back nine,” Tarpon Springs police Capt. Jeffrey Young told the Tampa Bay Times. “The focus of the investigation was on city employees possibly being involved in illegal gambling activities.” Thankfully rational heads prevailed and last week prosecutors said they wouldn’t peruse the case because they can’t prove a crime was committed. The ordeal wasn’t without one casualty, however: Winship, 65, resigned his position because of the pressure and publicity surrounding the investigation.

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Mar 18, 2014 | 03:15 PM

The Winter That Won't End

According to Drew Rogers, a golf course architect based in Toledo, Ohio, the effects of the winter just ending (we hope) won’t stop just because temperatures rise. “I think it’s safe to say the good men and women who tend to your favorite golf courses are experiencing trepidation toward spring that borders on dread, especially those with greens made up of predominantly poa annua (annual bluegrass) turf,” says Rogers. “Unlike most varieties of bentgrass, poa annua is hyper susceptible to extreme cold, long periods of snow cover, and ice. At way too many courses this spring, when the snow and ice finally fade, there is potential for some serious and widespread death—what we call ‘winter kill.’ Greens that are predominantly made up of bentgrass will better withstand the Winter of 2014, but there are more than a few courses out there with predominantly poa annua greens.  They tend to be the older, classic courses and are the ones where concern should be the greatest. So don’t be surprised if your club or favorite course limps its way into the upcoming season. I’m betting there will be plenty of greens showing the ill effects of ice. Please be patient and supportive of your course superintendent while greens are overseeded and nurtured back to health. Just like your local meteorologist, he/she can’t control the weather."

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Mar 17, 2014 | 11:25 AM

Cold Comfort

Another week of bone-chilling temps and snow covering much of the country has The Buzz desperate for warm weather and the chance to play a beautiful golf course. And it doesn’t help that we’re still weeks away from The Masters. But it’s easy to get all hot and excited thanks to a terrific gallery of photos of the new Anvaya Cove Golf and Sports Club in The Philippines. Sitting along the West Philippine Sea about 2 hours from Manila, the 7,030-yard course, designed by Kevin Ramsey of Golfplan, soars from beachside to ridges 300 feet above sea level, and includes holes cut through thick tropical jungle, as well. “Truly great golf courses can exist in a single environment, but I prefer those that play through a diversity of environments,” said Ramsey. “There’s a lot of wow out there. Holes 11 through 13 account for some of that. They form our own Amen Corner, only this one’s at seaside.” Uh-oh, wait till Augusta National hears about that!

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