Monday, May 22, 2017

USGA Announces 27 Additional Players Exempt for 117th U.S. Open Championship

U.S. Amateur champions Matthew Fitzpatrick and Byeong Hun An among latest group

(FAR HILLS, N.J.) – The United States Golf Association announced that 27 additional golfers, including U.S. Amateur champions Matthew Fitzpatrick and Byeong Hun An, have earned full exemptions into the 2017 U.S. Open Championship, to be played June 15-18 at Erin Hills, in Erin, Wis. These exemptions bring the number of fully exempt players to 78.

All 27 exemptions were awarded to players who earned a place in the top 60 of the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as of May 22. Fitzpatrick, who won the 2013 U.S. Amateur, is ranked No. 41. He will compete in his third U.S. Open. He tied for 48th and was the low amateur at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014. An, who won the 2009 U.S. Amateur, is ranked No. 56. He has played in three U.S. Opens, including a tie for 23rd at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club last year.

The other players who earned full exemptions through the current Official World Golf Ranking are: Wesley Bryan, Rafael Cabrera Bello, Ross Fisher, Tommy Fleetwood, Bill Haas, Adam Hadwin, Brian Harman, Tyrrell Hatton, Russell Henley, Charley Hoffman, Billy Horschel, Yuta Ikeda, Brooks Koepka, Marc Leishman, Francesco Molinari, Alex Noren, Louis Oosthuizen, Pat Perez, Thomas Pieters, Jon Rahm, Brendan Steele, Hideto Tanihara, Jeunghun Wang, Lee Westwood and Bernd Wiesberger.

Horschel moved into the OWGR top 60 after winning the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship in a playoff on May 21, his fourth PGA Tour victory. Horschel, who advanced 32 spots from the previous week to No. 44, will compete in his sixth U.S. Open. At No. 12, Rahm is the highest-ranked player in the current OWGR who was not previously exempt into the U.S. Open. Rahm, who won this year’s Farmers Insurance Open in his first full PGA Tour season as a professional, was the low amateur in the 2016 U.S. Open, when he tied for 23rd.

Oosthuizen, who is No. 17 in the OWGR, finished as runner-up with Dustin Johnson to champion Jordan Spieth in the 2015 U.S. Open, held at Chambers Bay. Oosthuizen will play in his eighth U.S. Open.

The winner of the European Tour BMW PGA Championship (May 25-28) will also earn an exemption. The number of fully exempt golfers may increase with the addition of the top 60 players from the OWGR as of Monday, June 12.

The first of two international sectional qualifiers for the 2017 U.S. Open was held on May 22, in Japan, where four spots in the 156-player field were determined. England will host qualifying for the 13th consecutive year on Monday, May 29. Those players who qualify are in addition to the 78 fully exempt players listed below.

Sectional qualifying in the United States, at 36 holes, will take place at 10 sites on Monday, June 5. The sites are: Big Canyon Country Club & Newport Beach Country Club, Newport Beach, Calif.; Jupiter Hills Club (Hills Course), Tequesta, Fla.; Hawks Ridge Golf Club, Ball Ground, Ga.; Woodmont Country Club (North Course), Rockville, Md.; Canoe Brook Country Club (North and South Courses), Summit, N.J.; Brookside Golf & Country Club & Lakes Golf & Country Club, Columbus, Ohio; Springfield Country Club, Springfield, Ohio; Germantown Country Club & Ridgeway Country Club, Memphis, Tenn.; Lakewood Country Club, Dallas, Texas; and Tacoma Country & Golf Club, Lakewood, Wash.

The U.S. Open will be contested in Wisconsin for the first time. Erin Hills is hosting its third USGA championship and its first since the 2011 U.S. Amateur, when Kelly Kraft defeated Patrick Cantlay, 2 up, in the 36-hole final. The U.S. Open will be contested in the Midwest for the first time since 2003, when Jim Furyk won at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club.

A list of the 78 golfers fully exempt into the 2017 U.S. Open as of May 22 (not including the four international sectional qualifiers from Japan) is below. It can also be found at this link: http://www.usopen.com/qualifying/exemptions.html.

More information about the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, including local and sectional qualifying, is available at www.usopen.com.

Key to Player Exemptions:
1. Winners of the U.S. Open Championship the last 10 years (2007-16)
2. Winner and runner-up of the 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship (must be an amateur)
3. Winner of the 2016 Amateur Championship, conducted by The R&A (must be an amateur)
4. Winner of the 2016 Mark H. McCormack Medal (top-ranked in WAGR & must be an amateur)
5. Winners of the Masters Tournament the last five years (2013-17)
6. Winners of the Open Championship, conducted by The R&A, the last five years (2012-16)
7. Winners of the PGA of America Championship the last five years (2012-16)
8. Winners of the Players Championship the last three years (2015-17)
9. Winner of the 2017 European Tour BMW PGA Championship
10. Winner of the 2016 U.S. Senior Open Championship
11. Winner of the 2016 Olympic Gold Medal
12. From the 2016 U.S. Open Championship, the 10 lowest scorers and anyone tying for 10th place
13. Those players who qualified for the season-ending 2016 Tour Championship
14. Top 60 point leaders and ties from the current World Ranking as of May 22, 2017
15. Top 60 point leaders and ties from the current World Ranking as of June 12, 2017
16. Special exemptions selected by the USGA

For more information about the USGA, visit usga.org.

Troon Introduces Golf Benefits for Visa Infinite and Signature U.S. Cardholders

(Scottsdale, Ariz.) – Troon, the leader in golf course management, development, and marketing, is proud to announce that it is working with Visa to offer a unique golf benefit to U.S. Visa Infinite and U.S. Visa Signature cardholders. These cardholders and their card issuers now have special access to Troon’s industry-leading golf loyalty program, Troon Rewards, extending benefits at more than 100 golf properties around the world.

Through the relationship, U.S. Visa Infinite and U.S. Visa Signature cardholders are eligible to receive accelerated rewards through Troon Rewards, providing special pricing on merchandise and golf fees at 96 participating resort and daily-fee courses worldwide. Visa Infinite cardholders also have additional limited-access to more than 15 private clubs in Troon’s portfolio. Visa Infinite and Visa Signature cardholders can sign up for Troon Rewards and learn more about these golf benefits by visiting www.TroonGolfRewards.com.

“Troon’s relationship with Visa introduces cardholders and issuers to the unique and luxurious experiences found at Troon properties around the world by unlocking valuable golf benefits through the game’s premier loyalty program, Troon Rewards,” said Mike Ryan, executive vice president, co-chief operating officer, Troon. “This is an exciting opportunity for Troon, our managed-facilities and for guests playing Troon courses.”

U.S. Visa Infinite and U.S. Visa Signature issuers also have the opportunity to provide their cardholders with customized golf experiences at Troon properties around the world. These experiences include member-for-a-day events at select Troon clubs and facilities, as well as instructional experiences led by certified instructors through the Troon Golf Academy.

“Our goal is to offer Visa’s issuing partners unique experiences their cardholders can take advantage of in their everyday lives,” said TS Anil, head of global products, Visa Inc. “Because of our collaboration with Troon, Visa Infinite and Signature cardholders in the U.S. can now enjoy special benefits across a number of Troon properties.”

For additional news and information, visit www.Troon.com.

Bridgestone Golf Signs Multi-year Endorsement Deal with Cheyenne Woods

LPGA Tour Star to Exclusively Play Company’s Golf Balls in Competition

(COVINGTON, GA) – Bridgestone Golf, innovator of premium golf balls, clubs and accessories – announced today it has signed LPGA Tour player Cheyenne Woods to a multi-year agreement to exclusively play and promote its high-performance golf balls.

Cheyenne Woods
Woods, the niece of legendary golfer Tiger Woods, selected the Bridgestone Tour B330-RX ball after thoroughly testing it against competing models. As part of the partnership, she will be featured in digital and social marketing as a Bridgestone Golf ambassador. Playing her third year on the LPGA Tour, the 26-year-old has recorded a victory at the Australian Ladies Masters, among many other top-10 finishes worldwide.

“The Tour B330-RX fits my game perfectly and gives me the confidence to hit any type of shot. It is long and straight off the tee and easy to control around the green,” said Woods.

Specially crafted with AMATOURcore and SlipRes cover technology, the Tour B330-RX helps players generate more power for faster ball speed and optimizes spin for longer, straighter shots.

“Cheyenne is one of the LPGA Tour’s rising young superstars and is an excellent addition to our large and growing stable of influential ambassadors,” says Corey Consuegra, Senior Director of Marketing. “She is the latest example of a player switching to our products because they provide superior all-around performance over any of our competitors.”

Bridgestone’s professional staff features 14-time major championship winner Tiger Woods, FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker, Olympics bronze medalist Matt Kuchar, Masters winner Fred Couples, three-time major champion Nick Price, and rising stars Bryson DeChambeau and Hudson Swafford.

More information: bridgestonegolf.com.

Golf Digest Ranks Forest Dunes Among America’s 25 Greatest Public Golf Courses

(Roscommon, MI) – Forest Dunes, the premier golf destination in northern Michigan, has once again earned a spot among Golf Digest’s elite list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses. The highly-acclaimed Tom Weiskopf designed course was ranked No. 25 on the list.

The publication's biennial review of America's top public courses appears in the June 2017 issue. Golf Digest used nearly 1,000 low-handicap male and female golfers on its Course Ranking Panel and asked each to submit ballots based on seven criteria including shot values, resistance to scoring, design variety, memorability, aesthetics, conditioning and ambience.

“We are very excited to once again be recognized by one of the leading golf publications and rater panels in the industry as one of America’s greatest public courses”, said Chad Maveus, general manager at Forest Dunes. “To continue being rated among the best in the country is a testament to the quality design by Weiskopf, and our maintenance staff who maintains the courses world-class conditions on a daily basis.”

Forest Dunes, which opened in 2002, is ranked No. 4 overall in Michigan, No. 2 public by Golf Digest. The resort destination is also one of Golf Digest’s Best Resort’s in the America’s.

Tom Weiskopf, who has designed more than a hundred golf courses around the world, feels Forest Dunes is one of his top three designs in the United States. The course, which is cut through the beautiful Huron National Forest, is unlike any other in northern Michigan. The front nine features parkland-style holes meandering through corridors of red and jack pines, with elaborate bunkering and sandy waste areas on the sides. The back nine is quite different, featuring even more open and exposed rugged native sand areas with scruffy underbrush bordering and crossing fairways and greens.

New for 2017 has been the highly-anticipated opening of The Loop, the innovative 18-hole reversible golf course designed by Tom Doak. This revolutionary course can be played in one direction one day and another direction the next using the same 18 greens and fairways. Golf Digest named The Loop as the Best New Public Course in 2016.

In terms of play for golfers, the result is three golf courses and a versatile 54-hole golf package that is as cool and unique as the destination itself. When building a stay and play golf package at Forest Dunes, golfers can simply combine a lodging rate with the golf rates. Lodging options include the Lake AuSable Lodge, golf cottages, or the new golf villas.

For more information and to book a stay and play package, click on http://www.forestdunesgolf.com/lodging/accommodations/stay-play-packages.

For more, visit www.forestdunesgolf.com or follow them on Twitter @forestdunesgolf.

Northwestern Maintains Lead Following Round 2 of NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships

(SUGAR GROVE, Ill.) – Leading by two strokes after Friday’s opening round, Northwestern extended its lead at the 2017 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships with a team total of 298 in Sunday’s second round at Rich Harvest Farms. The Wildcats have a 36-hole team score of 599 to hold an eight-stroke advantage over Kent State heading into Monday’s final round of stroke play.

"I was really proud of the way our kids came out of the box on the back nine and played really solid,” said Northwestern head coach Emily Fletcher. “We played a good round of golf. We can't be discouraged, this is a big golf course. There are a lot of holes where you just can't let up. You have to play it a shot at a time. We made some mistakes out there. There were some things that got away from us, that we could control, that we need to do better tomorrow.”

Stephanie Lau leads a trio of Northwestern student-athletes in the top-10 with a two-round total of 149, tied for eighth overall. Kacie Komoto and Janet Mao are tied for 10th with a 36-hole total of 150.

Stanford, who matched Northwestern for the best team total of the day at 298, is currently third with a 36-hole total of 609, two strokes behind Kent State. Ohio State and Baylor round out the top five, the Buckeyes registered a second round score of 299 for a two-round total of 610 while the Bears posted a 300 for a 36-hole score of 611.

South Carolina (613), Southern California (618) and Miami (FL) (619) hold the final spots in the top eight going into Monday’s final 18 holes of stroke play.

Jennifer Kupcho of Wake Forest holds the individual lead at even-par 144 following a second round, two-under 70, tied for the low round of the day. Kupcho recorded an eagle on the par five second hole, along with four birdies, and holds a one-stroke lead over first round co-leader August Kim of Purdue who carded a second round 73, which included a trio of birdies.

“Today was really good,” said Kupcho. “I was hitting the ball really well. It started getting really windy so it definitely started getting a little tougher the last six holes but I held it together. My coach and my assistant coach supported me when I was making bogeys.

“The course played way easier today just because there was no rain. It's always going to be windy out here so you kind of come into it just expecting that.”

Monica Vaughn of Arizona State and Ainhoa Olarra of South Carolina are tied for third, one stroke behind Kim. Olarra posted a two-under 70 to tie Kupcho for the low round of the day as she recorded four birdies and just a pair of bogeys in the second round.

Monday’s final round of stroke play at the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships is scheduled to begin with first tee times at 6:45 a.m. Golf Channel will be on the air Monday beginning at 3 p.m. CT with pregame coverage, followed by live coverage of the final round starting at 4 p.m. CT.

By Jeremy Reid, NIU Athletic Communications

Eyeking Expands Under Armour Eyewear Golf Specialty National Sales Team

(Melville, NY) – Under Armour Eyewear, the worldwide leader in performance eyewear, announced the expansion of its golf specialty sales force to more than 35 representatives across the country.

The growing sales team highlights Under Armour Eyewear’s dedication to becoming the brand of choice for all golfers. New sport performance styles like Octane and Propel for 2017 include comfortable features like UA AutoGrip self-articulating temples, and performance-driving UA Game Day lenses that will heighten color contrast on the course.

“For golfers, Under Armour Eyewear performance styles feature color-enhancing Game Day lenses that protect course players from 100% of harmful UVA/B/C rays,” says Tom Cox, Vice President of Sales. The dynamic lenses contrast and sharpen the white ball against the green grass. Cox continues, “Under Armour Eyewear is designed for both professional tour players and amateur golf fans that spend many hours outdoors in all types of course conditions. Our new sport styles also include comfort features like UA AutoGrip self-articulating temples and adjustable nose pads to complement any player’s face shape.”

The new Under Armour Eyewear golf representatives will have a lot to discuss this year, in addition to innovative product designs and technology. Under Armour Eyewear & Eyeking has partnered with the Association of Professional Tour Caddies (APTC) for 2017. More than 25 professional tour caddies including Michael Greller, Jimmy Johnson, Paul Tesori and Kevin Baile are wearing Under Armour Eyewear sport performance sunglasses on the course. In addition to the APTC, the brand is also working with charitable organizations like Liberty Mutual Tournaments and Caddy for a Cure.

For more information on Eyeking, visit www.eyeking.com.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

SCNS Sports Foods to Celebrate 10th Anniversary at ING Spring Conference

(UPLAND, CA) - SCNS Sports Foods, marketer and distributor of the popular 1st Tee and 10th Tee nutrition and energy bars, will celebrate its 10th anniversary by exhibiting at the 27th Annual ING Spring Conference.

This annual gathering of media and golf industry executives is set for May 21-25 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, FL, and marks the first time SCNS Sports Foods will be an exhibitor. This year, conference attendees will have the opportunity to join in the anniversary celebration by learning about SCNS and sampling its 1st Tee and 10th Tee nutrition and energy bars.

"What better way to celebrate the last ten years than with so many of our peers in the golf industry at this year’s Spring Conference,” explained Sheila Barnard, East Coast territory manager at SCNS Sports Foods. “It has been a remarkable ten years and we can’t wait to see where we go from here.”

SCNS Sports Foods will be an exhibitor in the popular ING One-On-One Appointment Show. This is a series of 15-minute meetings over two days meant to expand coverage and develop relationships between business and media attendees.

SCNS Sports Foods, which launched in 2007, distributes seven different types of nutrition and energy bars: 1st Tee Plus+ Oatmeal Raisin Bar, 1st Tee Plus+ Chocolate Peanut Bar, 1st Tee Dark Chocolate Chip Trail Mix Bars, 10th Tee Plus+ Peanut Honey Bar, 10th Tee Plus+ Chocolate Peanut Caramel Bar, and 10th Tee Cranberry Trail Mix Bar. All 1st Tee and 10th Tee bars are free of high-fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors.

SCNS bars are sold and marketed to golfers through 2,500 green grass outlets and online through the company’s website, www.golfenergybar.com.