We’re about a month out from the 2019 Presidents Cup — let the official countdown begin. While speculation of who captains Tiger Woods and Ernie Els would pick for their respective teams for the biennial event — each allowed to choose four players instead of just two for the first time in history — the excitement doesn’t really start until the rosters are set.
That time is now.
Ernie Els revealed his captain’s picks Dec. 6, giving the nod to Jason Day, Adam Hadwin, Sungjae Im, and Joaquín Niemann. Els’ picks join Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Marc Leishman, Abraham Ancer, Haotong Li, Cameron Smith, and C.T. Pan to round out the International team, with assistant captains K.J. Choi, Trevor Immelman, Geoff Ogilvy, and Mike Weir.
That’s the team looking to right the ship against the U.S. after 2017 International captain Nick Price and Co. suffered nothing short of a brutal ass beating at Liberty National just two years ago, the Americans’ 10th victory in 12 events. If you don’t remember what exactly happened in 2017, you’re forgiven: the beating was so thorough it made the final rounds on Sunday all but unwatchable, with the U.S. entering the day with a 14.5 to 3.5 lead. As a matter of fact, if it weren’t for pseudo-spoiler wins by Anirban Lahiri and Si Woo Kim on Saturday, the Americans could’ve closed the Internationals out before the Sunday singles rounds even began.
Embarrassing for sure, but that was two years ago. There’s no way the Internationals will let that happen again, right?
Well… here’s the thing: 2019’s version of Team USA is really, really good.
Captained by BDE himself (Tiger Woods) the American team is arguably more stacked than ever. The GOAT’s tapped Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, Patrick Reed, and (as well all had hoped) third-person Tiger Woods to join Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Patrick Cantaly to keep the Internationals in their place. Fred Couples, Zach Johnson, and Steve Stricker round out the American envoy as Woods’ assistant captains.
Skipping the in-depth analysis and laborious breakdowns you can find elsewhere, the Americans laying it on the Internationals once again at Australia’s Royal Melbourne Golf Club is pretty much a guarantee. First, the U.S. has won seven straight against the International team. And with the exception of Kuchar, every player on the American roster is ranked higher than any player on the International team (Scott and Matsuyama are both raked above Kuchar). Els is fielding eight rookies and the youngest team in Presidents Cup history against the American veterans, three of whom — Koepka, Woodland and Woods — won majors in 2019, and all of whom are ranked top 25 in the world. And last but certainly not least, the Americans have the greatest player of all time turning in a card: TIGER FUCKING WOODS, looking to cap off a tremendous comeback season.
In short, USA by a million.
2019 Presidents Cup coverage begins Thursday, December 12, with the fourball opening round followed by the foursome matches on Friday. Saturday brings a full slate with the second round of fourball and foursomes, and closing on Sunday with the singles matches. Tune into the Golf Channel for live coverage Thursday through Sunday, and NBC for a replay of Sunday.
It’s just after lunchtime, two hours before we tee off, and the CGB crew is knee deep in the weeds off a urban trail on the Westside of Colorado Springs. We’ve filled the bed of a pick up with with heaps of garbage — everything from liquor bottles, cigarette butts and your typical litter to mangled shopping carts, bike tires and, of course, discarded underwear — and smiling all the way. It’s not our ordinary pre round warmup, but when @golfinyourstate (Matt Cardis) comes to town, the extra-ordinary should be expected.
GIYS recently launched the Golf Wall Project, a first-of-its-kind initiative inspiring golfers around the country to become more involved in their local communities by volunteering a little time and effort. The Colorado GWP meet up brought us to a busy local trailhead for a little cleanup, but the spirit of the project is much more than that. With trash bags and gloves on hand, Cardis explained that it’s not just about cleaning up the trail for other users, or notching a “good deed” off the list — it’s about recognizing the underlying issues our community faces, what each one of us can do about those issues, and inspiring ourselves and those around us to get involved and stay involved. All the while, Cardis says, the GWP is changing the perception of golf and golfers — removing the well-to-do, uppity, privileged stereotypes, and tossing them into the weeds, quite literally.
Our group, about a dozen strong, made quick work of our stretch of trail along the city’s notorious Fountain Creek, cleaning up the remnants of a few abandoned homeless camps and the areas bordering the paved path and bridge crossing. The immediate impact of the hour we spent out there certainly didn’t change the world or solve all the city’s issues, even though the trail was looking pretty good. But the long term impact the project had on the attendees is what it’s all about.
If you see this guy rolling through your neighborhood, follow him.
“I’m leaving a footprint and you guys are finishing the trail,” Cardis said in an interview with a local tv station that came out to cover the cleanup. “I get these guys out here today, they do this, hopefully they think it’s cool and have fun and they [do it again].”
Here’s a shocker: it was fun, and before the last bag was in the back of the truck we were already brainstorming what we could do next. Mission accomplished.
With the truck full and trail sparkling, it was time for golf. Each GWP initiative is tied to some kind of golf event, and, well, CGB knows how to do golf events. With Cardis’ blessing and help from our sponsor at King’s Deer Golf Club we set up one of our signature group skins games for all the volunteers, with the majority of the proceeds going towards future GWP initiatives.
A twilight money game is CGB’s time to shine.
An epic twilight round ensued, finishing as a group of ten underneath an iconic Colorado sunset. Even after a nine hour day, no one was ready to quit. We gathered in the famous GIYS van for a final recap, and one by one each attendee shared their thoughts on the day’s events. A common theme arose: we normal, everyday, average golfers can change the world for the better with just a little effort, and, more importantly, we feel empowered to do so.
The Golf Wall Project will continue through 2019 and into 2020, criss-crossing the country wherever it’s called. There are a number of ways to get involved including enviable photo experience and golf travel packages — with 50% of the profit going to GWP — volunteering and/or simple donations. Visit golfinyourstate.com/golf-wall-project for more information and to sign up.
Whether you’ve tried it for yourself or not, you’ve no doubt heard of CBD by now. The natural compound known as “cannabidiol,” derived from hemp cannabis sativa plants, has taken the natural health supplements market by storm. Experts say the up-and-coming industry could eclipse $22 billion in 2019 alone, after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill effectively legalized the substance in all 50 states at the federal level (as long as it contains .3% or less THC). Ranging from food and drink additives, raw oils and tinctures, to lotions, topicals, vapes and pet-friendly items, CBD products tout a variety of health and wellness benefits to better just about every aspect of your life — your golf game included.
With steady supply and growing demand in place, CBD purveyors have moved on to finding footholds in a number of markets in a big way, and the golf industry seems to be ripe for the picking. Bubba Watson became the first mainstream PGA Tour pro to openly endorse a CBD company earlier this year, with a number of other pros following suit, and rumors and videos have surfaced of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are using CBD products during tour events (though neither player has confirmed doing so). CBD products are popping up in pro shops across the country, and making headlines in major publications regularly, too. The opportunities seem so great it has some companies going all in with golf-specific CBD products, flooding social media with “influencer” endorsements and ads to gain their share of the market.
And it seems to be working.
“I believe in CBD 100 percent,” says Jeff Mayhall, a PGA teaching pro based in Fort Worth, Texas, who was struggling with chronic back pain. “I used to be a skeptic until I tried it for the first time. Now I can only describe it as ‘life changing.'”
Mayhall traces his back issues to playing and learning the game in the ’80s and ’90s, before equipment makers began incorporating more forgiving technology into golf clubs and balls, and believes the same goes for most players in his age group and older. “You had to learn how to swing a certain way just to get those old golf balls in the air,” he says, “How many hip surgeries did Jack Niklaus have? … Tiger played in that era too and look what he went through. That’s where a lot of that joint pain comes from.”
Among the many purported health benefits of CBD, natural joint pain and muscle soreness relief — without the harmful side effects that come with traditional pharmaceuticals — are among the top selling points for aging golfers. In a recent in-depth Golf Digest report exploring the relationship between CBD and golf, the author notes “a sense that CBD is seen as a critical asset” for players in older generations because of those anti-inflammatory properties. With fewer aches and pains caused by on course wear and tear, older players are likely to remain active in the game — and spend money — for a longer period of time.
“It’s hopefully going get those people who are thinking they have to give up golf stay in the game longer — even helping them come back from an injury,” Mayhall says.
At 41 years old, Mayhall says he reached the point of having tried “anything and everything” to subdue his chronic back pain outside of invasive surgery. “I was ready to accept that I was going to feel awful for the rest of my life, and that golf couldn’t be a priority for me anymore,” he says. “Now I feel like my opportunities are endless.”
For Mayhall, it all started with better sleep, though, his back pain wasn’t relieved overnight. “I could feel pressure points in my back that needed to pop, but I couldn’t get them because of all the inflammation,” he says. “A few days later I was standing at the counter, turned around to pick something up, and felt all that pressure release at once. Ever since then I haven’t had any back pain and I know it’s because of the CBD.”
The benefits of CBD aren’t exclusive to the older generations of players, either. The substance’s anti-inflammatory properties aid in muscle recovery for younger and more competitive athletes too, and brings another wealth of psychological benefits along with it — like better focus and less anxiety — that can boost any player’s overall performance.
“I feel the most normal I’ve felt in years,” Mayhall says. “After my experience [with CBD], I really wanted to get more involved.” Aside from teaching golf, Mayhall is now a brand ambassador and salesperson for Hēl-Zal™ CBD Products**, and helping others find the right products for them. “I’m a walking billboard for CBD, I believe in it so much,” he says.
The CBD industry still has a number of hurdles to overcome as lawmakers scramble to figure out if, how, and to what extent CBD products will be regulated. And given its ties to the other, more controversial cannabis product, THC, many financial institutions, internet and marketing platforms still bar CBD companies from using their services. Last but not least, the industry still faces the ever-present stigma tied to cannabis, something Mayhall thinks will take awhile to overcome. Nonetheless, the industry’s exponential growth continues with no signs of letting up, and it’s making a strong case that it’s good for the game.
**Disclaimer: Hel-Zal CBD Products is a sponsor of the 2019 CGB Tournament Series, the company also employs the author of this story for internet services.
For those of us in more seasonal golf locations, the coming of the Masters each year marks the unofficial start of the golf season. Lord only knows what all’s accumulated in the depths of your golf bag since last season, so before you go trunk slamming to your first tee shot of 2019, it’d be wise to take inventory.
We’re skipping past the obvious golf necessities — count your clubs, clean your grooves and wash your balls — and focusing on what’s in your bag’s extra pockets: tools and accessories. There is no shortage of these products on the market, from gimmicky to practical and everything in between, but the items below are sure to earn a permanent spot in your on-course arsenal.
The tagline “The best divot tool in golf,” is a little misleading when you’re talking about Birdicorn’s claim-to-fame. Don’t get us wrong, it is the best repair tool on the market, but that’s literally a fraction of what this product can do. Birdicorn‘s genius lightweight design packs 6 functions into one easy-to-use tool; a repair tool, putting alignment aid, grip rest, bottle opener, line stencil, and ball mark holder (fits any 1″ ball marker). The compact, ergonomical design fits comfortably in your pocket, meaning you’ll have absolutely no reason to leave pocked greens behind you on the course. Birdicorn tools are made from CNC anodized aluminum for longevity, and come in a wide range of colors and matching ball makers — or you can take it to the next level and choose a custom design. In short, Birdicorn is simply “the best tool in golf.”
Whether controversial or not, CGB believes golf and music go hand-in-hand — there’s nothing like the sounds of Nature when the beat drops. Ampcaddy knows exactly what we’re talking about and has delivered us from the days of shitty cellphone speakers and clunky wired setups. As a matter of fact, the Ampcaddy is a speaker designed specifically for the golf course with directional audio features (keeping the music from disturbing other golfers), an adjustable attachment clamp, a rechargeable lithium battery, 33′ of Bluetooth connectivity and a weather/shockproof housing. Don’t worry about keeping your connected devices safe, secured and fully charged, either — Ampcaddy’s portable charger has two USB ports for multiple devices, and the phone holder keeps your device from going anywhere. Like keeping the tunes to yourself? Ampcaddy’s bluetooth ear buds and beanies keep you jamming on and off the course, anytime, anywhere. Hey DJ, play that song for me.
Electric Golf sunglasses
Your fashion choices on the course are your own business — though we hope you’re at least trying — but protecting yourself from the elements is important stuff. Electric Golf sunglasses represents the best of both worlds with affordable, stylish, and high performing eyewear specifically designed for all golfers. The company’s offerings are a perfect substitute to their often overpriced competitors without skimping on performance, including the Knoxville Pro which earned a Golf Digest Editor’s Choice Award for best eyewear in 2018. Accompanying Electric’s golf-centric designs is a variety of lens options to make sure you get the exact style and performance you’re looking for. As your Electric sunglasses become your go-to, you’ll want to keep an eye out for anything else the company may be up to — its award-winning design team is constantly cranking out some of the hottest golf accessories and apparel you’re going to find.
Pins & Aces headcovers
Sticking with the theme of style and performance, don’t forget about your club heads. Pins & Aces has bust onto the headcover scene with quality, stand-out styles that are sure to draw attention to your bag. While we may be partial to the company’s Colorado Collection, the Keep America Great! collection, sporting a likening of 45 himself complete with a tuft of yellow hair, has become a hot-list item (and a sure conversation starter). Available in sets or driver through rescue, Pins & Aces headcovers are all hand-made from premium leather to ensure the highest quality and longevity. Bigly.
Haywood Golf Slope rangefinder
Haywood Golf is making a name for itself in the golf club game with stunning wedges — rumor has it a full set of irons is in the offing, too — but that’s not all the company is about. HG’s Slope rangefinder is perfect for golfers aiming, quite literally, to up their game. With 500 yards of range, 6x magnification, slope adjustment and even more features, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value for $175. It may seem menial, but knowing your distance from the pin or target area makes all the difference in making a confident swing on the ball. HG’s compact design is easy to hold, water resistant, and also comes with a hard carry case to keep the unit safe in your bag. With a plethora of rangefinders now touting dozens of features, something like the HG Slope is an excellent product to test the waters with at a lower price. You may not find a better value when when you’re shopping for rangefinders.
Uther golf towels
Golf can be a dirty game — in more ways than one. But if you let all the dirt and grime build up on your club heads unchecked, it’ll start affecting your ball striking. Golf towels, the ever-preferred cleaning method, have always been a must-have, and another way to flash a little personal flare on your bag. Uther plays that game better than most by producing the most durable and stylish golf towels we’ve been able to find. Keeping your clubs clean is the easy part, selecting a print from Uther’s ample offerings will prove much more difficult. It’s literally impossible to find a Uther towel you wouldn’t want on your bag — you can even customize your own to make sure of it.
Asher Golf gloves
“Look good, feel good, play better” usually rings true, but like everything else, the difference is in the details. Asher Golf specializes in the details of premium golf gloves. Asher gloves come in a wide variety of colors and styles, including NBA logos and collabs with other brands. Made from high quality leathers and durable velcro and palm inserts, these gloves are also made to last — more than you can say about the wrinkled mass of dried leather at the bottom of your bag. With styles and color sure to match any ensemble, durable materials, and a price point much lower than other premium gloves, there’s no reason not to give Asher a swing.
A tradition unlike any other; an unforgettable experience; the pinnacle of golf excellence — much can be said about the famous $1.50 pimento cheese sandwiches at Augusta National.
Now, if you live anywhere but the American South, chances are you couldn’t care less about a pimento cheese recipe. But just like sweet tea, the difference is in the details, and these recipes are often closely guarded — no kidding. Augusta is already known to take its traditions seriously, slapping many a small business with cease-and-desist orders for just about anything that resembles anything Masters related (even the damn color scheme), and the famous pimento cheese recipe is no different.
Really though, how different can a cheese, pimento and mayo mixture really be? Apparently quite a bit. A quick Google search delivers a myriad of renditions for Augusta’s “original” recipe, though, those who’ve actually made the coveted concoction for the tournament refuse to share the actual ingredients (and are probably subject to non-disclosure agreements, knowing Augusta). In 2013, the last time Augusta’s recipe changed with a new vendor — much to the ire of attendees — ESPN’s Wright Thompson tracked down what could be the authentic version, though he still couldn’t unlock the “secret” ingredient, only that there is one for sure.
Whether this is the bonafide authentic version of Augusta’s famed recipe or not, it’s the one we’ll be using Masters weekend.
Augusta National’s Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
3 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded yellow sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz crumbled blue cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 (4-oz) jar sliced pimentos, drained
1 cup light mayo
2 tbs Dijon mustard
1 loaf of white bread
Combine cheeses, pimentos, mayo and mustard in a food processor and process until smooth. Cover and chill. Spread on bread slices.
Depending on how you look at it, the new Tour’s been enjoying an exciting start to the calendar year, and it’s about to get even better. Over next 6 months, the golf world will be blessed with major tournament after major tournament (literally), keeping us satiated through August.
Here’s a quick break down of the major schedule in store — plan accordingly:
March — The Players Championship
2018 Winner: Web Simpson Dates: March 14 – 17 Course: TPC Sawgrass, Florida Broadcast: Golf Channel | NBC
Everyone’s favorite non major major, The Players Championship, celebrates 45 years in 2019. There has yet to be a back-to-back Players Champion; as of this writing Webb Simpson is sitting at 33/1 odds to be the first, according to betting-directory.com.
April — The Masters
2018 Winner: Patrick Reed Dates: April 11 – 14 Course: Agusta National, Georgia Broadcast: CBS | ESPN
The last several Masters Tournaments have been quite dramatic, with Spieth’s now infamous meltdown in 2017 and the tour’s favorite punching bag, Patrick Reed, joining the green jacket club last year. Here’s to another memorable weekend amongst the azaleas.
May — PGA Championship
2018 Winner: Brooks Koepka Dates: May 16 – 19 Course: Bethpage Black Course, New York Broadcast: CBS | TNT
Inevitable storylines sure to surface at the PGA Championship: How will Bethpage play hosting its first PGA Championship (foreshadowing the 2024 Ryder Cup)? Will this be the year Jordan Spieth caps his career Grand Slam? Will Tiger better his second place finish last year? … The list is endless.
June — U.S. Open
2018 Winner: Brooks Koepka Dates: June 13 – 16 Course: Pebble Beach, California Broadcast: FOX | FX1
The U.S. Open returns to Pebble Beach for a sixth time, but this year is a little more special; the iconic course is celebrating its 100th birthday. Koepka will look to add to his consecutive U.S. Open titles, but others have proven they can go low when the stakes are high, too — 65s are becoming a norm on the U.S. Open leaderboard.
July — The Open Championship
2018 Winner: Francesco Molinari Dates: 18 – 21 Course: Royal Portrush, Ireland Broadcast: Golf Channel | NBC
As the oldest, original major championship, it’s hard to find anything new to say about The Open. But 2019 does signify something of a special reconnection as the tournament returns to Northern Ireland’s Royal Portrush for the first time in almost 70 years.
August — Tour Championship
2018 Winner: Tiger Woods Dates: August 22 – 25 Course: East Lake, Georgia Broadcast: Golf Channel | NBC
Though also not a major, the Tour Championship is A LOT more important in regards to the FedEx Cup. That’s because players who do not win the Tour Championship will no longer be able to claim the FedEx Cup title. According to a breakdown by CBSSports.com, players will come into the tournament with an assigned score based on their FedEx Cup rankings — the no.1 ranked player will begin at 10-under par, no.2 at 9-under, and so on to the bottom 5, whom will start at even par — setting the stage for a dramatic comeback victory or a total blowout to end the summer swing.