Rory McIlroy: A Mensch After Collapse 0 4

(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) April 22, 2011 — There are plenty of reasons for the world to turn away from Tiger Woods — swearing, spitting, farting, club slamming, losing, to name a few — and plenty to turn toward Rory McIlroy.

Listen to this post-Masters collapse interview and you’ll see why the kid from Northern Ireland has what it takes for stardom:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ekBkZqqOn0

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Tiger Woods Has a New Girlfriend 0 3

(JUPITER, Fla.) March 22, 2011 — Tiger Woods has a new girlfriend, Alyse Lahti Johnston, stepdaughter of Alastair Johnston, a big shot at IMG, Woods’ management agency, the New York Post reported. Tiger has known Ms. Johnston, now a 22-year-old MBA student,  since she was 7.

Like his super-model ex-wife, Ellen Nordegren, Johnston is blonde. She’s also athletic. She was a volleyball player at University of New Hampshire.

The New York Post also reported that Nordegren recently bought a $12 million home in North Palm Beach, about 10 miles from Woods’ new mansion in Jupiter, Fla.

–Dan Vukelich

Elsewhere …

Tiger will give golf lessons to kids in South Korea when he visits there next month, according to a Malaysian news agency. …

When the ground shakes: In the quake-jittery Philippines, they’ve designated four golf courses as evacuation centers thanks to the open space they provide, a Filipino news agency reported. …

When a lot is not enough: Donald Trump says he wants a helipad at his Trump National Golf Club in Colts Neck, N.J., but he’ll need local zoning approval, says the Asbury ParkPress. …

Santa Ana anniversary: To celebrate its 20th birthday, Santa Ana Golf Club, which opened as Valle Grande Golf Course in spring 1991, is offering a $45 online-only Friday rate through April that includes cart. More.

Golf, Tovarich? If you mention you’ve played PGA National, be prepared to explain whether it’s the one in Florida or Russia. Braemer Golf is getting ready to break ground on PGA National Russia, along the Ivankovskoye reservoir adjoining the Volga River, 54 miles from Moscow. The course opens in summer 2012.

Free fittings and trade-up: PGA and LPGA professionals will offer free club fitting and trade-ups through April, sponsored by Nike. Click here for the list of participating pros near you.

Is it just me? Or did I get confused by the Branch Law Firm’s advertising profile of UNM Lobo golfer Sam Chavez on Page 2 of the sports section of the March 22 Albuquerque Journal. It says Chavez, grandson of organizer Cesar Chavez, played for Arkansas his freshman and sophomore years, came to the Lobos (as a junior), and quotes him as saying he’ll turn pro during his senior year. Putting a stopwatch to that timetable has him in town long enough to gas up at the Love’s Truck Stop on Interstate 40 before he moves on.

… And speaking of UNM … Does anyone see the disconnect in the threat to close the UNM Championship Golf Course because it loses a couple hundred thousand dollars a year while UNM is willing to spend $3 million to $4 million on a new Lobo baseball stadium. Why a new ballpark? Because, they say, so few fans attend Lobo games played at Isotopes Park that the team loses its home-field advantage. As Harry Carey would say, Holy Sacred Cow!

The Rules? Who Needs to Know Rules, Pros Say 0 3

(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) March 8, 2011. Opinion: What would you think about a defensive cornerback who didn’t know the rule on bumping a receiver? How about a basketball center who didn’t know about the three-second violation. Or a pinch runner who didn’t know how to tag up?

Would it surprise you to learn that many, even most, of the people who compete for $1 million or more in professional golf tournaments don’t know the rules, don’t think they should know them and complain they’re too darned complicated?

Who are these people? What colleges did they go to? What were they doing when they weren’t on the range or putting green?

Besides honing their natural gifts into a professional golf swing, what is more important than knowing the rules to the game that lavishes upon you a gold-plated lifestyle, the best resorts, courtesy cars and endorsements?

In the March 7 issue of Golf World, the appalling lack of knowledge by PGA Tour players about the Rules of Golf becomes evident. What really comes through is the even more amazing sentiment: They think they really shouldn’t have to know them.

Two many clubs in the bag? Caddie’s fault. Grounding a club in a bunker during a major, the officials’ fault. Flicking debris from in front of a ball rolling back at you? Oops.

“I was done studying in college,” Rocco Mediate told Golf World. “I don’t do that stuff. But the basic ones we know. Most of the time.”

A PGA Tour official told the magazine: “They’ve never known the rules!”

OK. The rules are complicated. Or, more accurately the Decisions on the Rules of Golf, are complicated. Despite the legalistic language, as any good coach or rules official will tell you, the rules themselves are pretty simple: Play the ball as you find it, play the course as you find it and count all your strokes. Oh, yeah, and no more than 14 clubs.

Turns out Dottie Pepper, who took a rules seminar to become a better announcer, is one of very few at the highest levels of the game to have done so. Kinda surprising, even though knowing the rules can save strokes .

Beginners, seniors, high handicappers – people who need to be brought into the game or kept from leaving it – maybe they need a looser set of rules — some basic guidelines to get started — but loosening the rules for college-educated people at the top of the golf world earning bazillions from the game they can’t be bothered to learn?

I swear, there can’t be any one population more out of touch than PGA Tour players. It makes me want to cheer every time a rules hawk with an HDTV calls in and alters golf history a tiny bit.

***

This post marks a shift for New Mexico Golf News.com. We’ll continue to scour the Internet, wires and golf publications for the most interesting, readable articles, but we’ll be piping up on all things golf from time to time. We invite you to make your thoughts known, too.

— Dan Vukelich