Johnny Miller Jinxes Spencer Levin? 0 6

(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) March 28, 2011 — No sooner had the praise for Spencer Levin left Johnny Miller’s lips than Levin’s ball became possessed by golf devils.

On Day 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando, Levin was a putting and driving machine until mere seconds after Miller said this (paraphrasing):

Levin, if he starts winning, would be a strong pick for the Ryder Cup. He is a grinder. He is a scrapper who drives you crazy in a match.

The words had hardly left Miller’s month when Levin missed badly right on No. 15, bogied that hole, bogeyed the next and fell two strokes behind leader Martin Laird.

The jinx continued through Sunday morning with five bogies for a front-nine 41. Levin limped in at the end of the day in tie for sixth, looking frayed around the edges.

Levin was a bit uneven when he was a Lobo golfer, but please, don’t let Johnny Miller say anything nice about you on TV if you’re ever in the hunt.

— Dan Vukelich

Elsewhere …

There’s a flap in India currently over the Indian Army’s vast golf course holdings — 97 courses covering at least 8,000 acres, according to the press reports out of Britain.

Imagine what would happen if similar criticisms were raised in the United States, where military golf courses have been largely off-limits to non-military non-military retirees since 9/11.

New golf-course product: Tapinz is new marker for hazard boundaries, OB boundaries and fairway yardages. It’s a colored metal tube within a second tube buried in the turf.

In the extended position, the inner tube is held up by magnets, but a tap to the top by a maintenance crew member or player drops the extended tube into the larger tube.

Only problem we see is players forgetting to re-extend the vertical tube, so OB and hazard boundaries remain a mystery. Click here to see a YouTube demo.

Sex and  the PGA Tour: In a tell-all book that she says will make Tiger Woods “look like a saint,” John Daly’s ex-wife describes the groupies who follow the tour, reports the New York Post. More.

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Ewart Wins Euro Ladies Tour Qualifier 0 5

(MURCIA, SPAIN) Jan. 20, 2011 — Former Lobo golfer Jodi Ewart won the Q School event to gain full status on the 2012 Ladies European Tour. She had already won full status on LPGA Tour.

Ewart claimed first place in the Euro qualifier on Thursday in Murcia, Spain, finishing five rounds on the La Manga North and South courses at 11-under, edging Swiss amateur Anais Maggetti by two shots. Ewart, 24, held the top spot for the final four rounds.

“I mean, fourth on the LPGA and now winning the LET; it’s a pretty good off-season if you ask me,” the Yorkshire, England, native said. “It feels good and I’m really looking forward to this year.”

Ewart heads home to Florida before beginning her inaugural LPGA Tour season Feb. 9, at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in Victoria, Australia.

The interview below was shot by us as she finished her Lobo golf career.

— Dan Vukelich

PING CEO: Change the Golf Ball, Save the Courses 0 4

(PHOENIX) Jan. 3, 2012 –The chairman and CEO of Ping says three different balls should be approved by rule-makers — one longer, one the same as and one shorter than balls currently approved for play.

Shorter balls could then be mandated as a condition of play on classic courses hosting PGA Tour events — keeping them competitive. Longer balls could be allowed for amateur play. Ball distance could even be factored into handicaps — like course slope ratings, says PING head John Solheim.

The proposal is a radical departure from the principle underlying the Rules of Golf that a single ball with a single distance limit be played by players at all levels, even though many golf authorities believe the length of the modern golf ball is the single biggest factor in making some of the great courses of the 19th and 20th centuries obsolete for professional play.

In a letter to the USGA and the R&A, Solheim proposed  a “Ball Distance Rating System” to categorize balls into three distance categories. “This concept addresses the unique talents of the top 0.1 percent of the world’s golfers without hurting the other 99.9 percent,” Solheim said.

A “silver dot” rating could apply to balls that conform to the current distance limits, a “gold dot” rating to balls that are longer (perhaps 30 yards longer), and a “bronze dot” rating for balls that are shorter than today’s ball limit (again, maybe 30 yards shorter),” Solheim said.

“More BDR levels could be added, if needed, to address future increases in driving distance by Tour professionals,” he said.

“Most courses hosting professional tour events were built with, or have added, sufficient length to challenge the world’s best golfers. Perhaps a small number of tournaments, those played at some of the game’s classic courses, would find it exciting to put the original design elements of the layout back in play by requiring shorter rated golf balls,” he said.

Higher handicappers could play a longer ball to make them competitive against longer courses, Solheim said.

Click here for John Solheim’s complete statement.