Promises, promises, and is it tee time again already?

Trump on golf courseI know we are in the middle of winter, but I didn't want to let this issue escape my scrutiny. Besides, it is sunny in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Remember during the presidential campaign of 2016 how often candidate Trump complained about how many times his predecessor took time off to play golf? Quite a bit as I recall. I also recall quite vividly candidate Trump promising not to play golf if elected because there is so much to do there won't be enough time to play golf.
He stated over and over again how he will be working, not playing. How he would “stay in the White House and work his ass off.” He accused his predecessor of playing more rounds of golf than Tiger Woods, than the players on the PGA tour. Quite a difference between promises made during a campaign and the reality after election. Especially when it comes to golf and the presidency and Donald J. Trump!
Now for some of that post-election reality as it relates to golf and vacation days as a whole. Reality: Donald J. Trump during his first year in office took five times more vacation days than his predecessor Barack H. Obama.


Local pros, amateurs and celebs mix it up at the Quicken Loans Open

  • Published in Sports

POTOMAC — Celebrities across many professions descended upon the newly redesigned golf course at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm on Wednesday to take part in the 2017 Quicken Loans National Pro-Am Golf Tournament.

 Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and Washington Capitals defensemen John Carlson and Justin Williams were among those to join the professionals. The marquee group of the day, however, was made up of professional and the ninthranked golfer in the world Rickie Fowler, Cleveland Cavaliers starting shooting guard J.R. Smith, ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter and Bill Emerson, the vice-chairman of Rock Holdings, the parent company to Quicken Loans.

Of the group, Smith was easily the most impressive amateur. Smith’s drives left dropped jaws among the crowd following the group, as his shots sailed through the air like bullets. On the 16th hole, Smith’s drive was tracked at 296 yards. But Smith’s most impressive shot of the day came on the par three ninth hole. Smith used an iron for his tee shot, and unleashed a near perfect shot, coming within inches of a holein-one.


Stanley wins Quicken Loans National

  • Published in Sports

MPI QLN 3048 EditedNobody was happier or more surprised than golfer Kyle Stanley after winning the Quicken Loans National. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  POTOMAC – Kyle Stanley was overcome with emotion following Sunday’s playoff win over Charles Howell III in the Quicken Loans National at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm.

“I wish I didn’t cry so much, to be honest,” said Stanley who rose six spots on the final day to capture his second PGA Tour victory.

The win helped Stanley, a native of Washington State, earn his biggest paycheck to date and marked the former Clemson University All-American’s first victory on the PGA Tour since the 2012 Phoenix Open.


Long-awaited renovations in Potomac greeted with enthusiasm at tourney

  • Published in Sports

POTOMAC — The Quicken Loans National golf tournament was played for the first time at the newly-christened TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm. With the renovations now finally complete, the golf course was set for a new beginning.

In 2006, the same tournament, then known as the Booz Allen Classic, had been held almost exclusively at the location then called TPC Avenel. However, that would be the last year that the venue hosted a PGA Tour event for over a decade.

Maligned for its poor design as well as drainage issues, PGA golfers no longer wanted to play an event at TPC Avenel. Numerous complaints from many pro golfers, most notably Tiger Woods, led to redesigning and renovating the entire course.

The vast majority of golfers had never seen the course before, and many did not know what to expect coming into the tournament given the history. But after four rounds of golf, the reviews from the golfers of the TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm golf course were a total reversal from 11 years earlier.

“Yeah, it’s really good,” said Kyle Stanley, the winner of the 2017 Quicken Loans National, “One of the most difficult courses we’ve played this year.”

“I think that this is a good venue for the PGA Tour,” said Billy Hurley III, who won the tournament in 2016.

“I love the challenge, I think it’s a very difficult golf course,” said Bryson DeChambeau, “It’s a great golf course, great conditions, and hopefully one that we will come back to in the future.”

“I love it, I think it’s a great golf course,” said golfer Patrick Reed, who is ranked 17th in the world, “It’s hard.”

“It’s hard, but very fair,” said Lucas Glover, “...You hit a good shot, you get rewarded. You hit a bad shot, you get penalized. But that’s how a tough course should be.”

The positive feedback did not stop with just these golfers. All across the board, players love the challenge that TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm presented. Some thought that the high, thick rough and firm greens were similar to what one would see a major championship like the U.S. Open.

“You could 100 percent host a U.S. Open here starting tomorrow,” said 12th-ranked golfer Justin Thomas after the Pro-Am on June 28, “I mean, you really could.”

“You definitely could,” Reed said when asked if a major championship like the U.S. Open could be played at this course, “and it would be a hard U.S. Open if they got the rough even thicker.”

While many golfers also seemed to like the possibility of rotating the event between Congressional Country Club and TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, it was clear that the renovations have changed the way this course is viewed in the eyes of PGA Tour golfers, and have set the stage for years to come with future PGA Tour events.

TPC Avenel first opened in 1986. It was the home of the PGA Tour’s annual event, the Kemper Open, which existed from 1987 until 2002. When the tournament’s sponsor changed in 2003 from Kemper Insurance to the investment banking firm Friedman Billings Ramsey, the tournament was renamed the FBR Capital Open. Then the technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton became the sponsor of the event in 2004, and it was renamed the Booz Allen Classic. In 2007, AT&T and Tiger Woods took over as sponsors, and the event was renamed the AT&T National.

It became known as the Quicken Loans National after Quicken Loans replaced AT&T as tournament sponsor in 2013.




'Elite' 13-year-old headlines golf tourney

  • Published in Sports

Faith Choi 1Faith Choi tees off in PGA Junior League Golf Tourney.  PHOTO BY MARK POETKER

DERWOOD – A battle between all-stars took place Saturday at Needwood Golf Course as the Montgomery County North and South All-stars squared off in PGA Junior League Match play.

The North, led by 13-year-old Faith Choi of Frederick, won a chip-off, the second sudden-death tiebreaker.

In addition to hitting the best chip, Choi, who is ranked ninth in the country for iron play, headlined the match as the best golfer on the course.

Her coach, Adam Fishman, described her as an “elite” level talent.


Hurley captures first PGA tour victory at Congressional

  • Published in Sports

MP1 4417Maryland resident Billy Hurley III celebrates his victory at the Quicken Loans National while Tiger Woods applauds in the background. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

BETHESDA – Maryland resident and Naval Academy graduate Billy Hurley III earned his first PGA Tour victory on Sunday in the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club.

The 34-year-old shot a 2-under par 69 and finished with a four-day total of 17-under par 267 to hold off runner-up Vijay Singh by three strokes.

The Anne Arundel County resident said he could not have scripted a better spot to pick up his first win on the PGA Tour than the friendly confines of Congressional Country Club in his home state.

“Yeah, this is definitely the one,” said Hurley, who pocketed a first-place check worth $1,242,000. “You know, just being so close to home, close to the Academy, close to where I grew up. And then just being a part of the event on the PGA Tour that does the actual most to honor our military here at Quicken Loans National, just couldn’t script a better one for me to win my first Tour win.”


Tiger Woods returns to Montgomery County

Tiger Woods was back in Montgomery County this week.

The California native was uncertain if he would be able to play next month in the Quicken Loans National, the PGA Tour event scheduled for Bethesda’s Congressional Country Club on June 20-26.

“I have been practicing at home and I’m progressing nicely,” Woods said on Monday during Quicken Loans National Media Day. “I’m hoping to play. I don’t know if I’m going to play. That’s the overriding question I keep hearing, when are you coming back, when are you playing? I get it all the time.”


RedGate problems again

  • Published in Local


RedGate1The RedGate golf course in Rockville. PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH

ROCKVILLE – More bunker improvements are slated for the RedGate golf course this year, though the public-private partnership still has more than 20 other projects left to complete.

On March 21, five leaders from Billy Casper Golf and RedGate offered their annual report about the state of RedGate, a publicly owned, privately run golf course within the city's boundaries.

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