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    Betsy Rawls, Winner of Eight Golf Majors, Dies at 95

    With a strong short game, she won four Women’s opens and a total of 55 L.P.G.A. Tour events between 1951 and 1972. She also had leadership roles with the tour.Betsy Rawls, who won eight major golf championships, including four United States Women’s Opens, in the first two decades of the L.P.G.A. Tour, and as an executive and tournament director helped propel the arrival of the women’s pro circuit as a big-money attraction, died on Saturday at her home in Lewes, Del. She was 95. Her death was confirmed by the Ladies Professional Golf Association.Rawls was the first four-time Women’s Open champion, winning in 1951, 1953, 1957 and 1960, a record matched only by Mickey Wright, who captured her fourth Open in 1964. From 1951 to 1972, Rawls won a total of 55 events on the L.P.G.A. Tour, which was founded in 1950.Her other major victories came at the Women’s Western Open in 1952 and 1959 and the Women’s P.G.A. Championship in 1959 and 1969. She was a three-time runner-up during the 1950s in the other major tournament of her time, the Titleholders Championship, and was among the six original inductees into the L.P.G.A. Tour Hall of Fame in 1967. She was also inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.Rawls received the 1996 Bob Jones Award, the United States Golf Association’s highest honor, and the L.P.G.A.’s 50th Anniversary Commissioner’s Award in 2000 for her contributions to women’s golf. She was selected in 1980 as the first woman to serve on the rules committee for the men’s United States Open.Elizabeth Earle Rawls was born on May 4, 1928, in Spartanburg, in northern South Carolina, one of two children of Robert and Mary (Earle) Rawls. In the early 1940s, the family moved to Texas, where Betsy’s father worked as an engineer at an aircraft plant in Arlington, a suburb of Dallas, during World War II.Robert Rawls, who had played golf as a young man in Indiana, hired Harvey Penick, one of the game’s most renowned teachers, to give Betsy her first lesson when she was 17. Penick charged $3 for that one-hour session at the Austin Country Club and remained her coach, free of charge, for her entire career.“He always brought me back to the basic mechanics on which a good swing is built,” Rawls recalled in “Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings From a Lifetime in Golf.”Her strong suit was the short game. “I had a reputation of being able to get the ball up and down out of a garbage can,” she told The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., in 2010. “The sand wedge, off the fairway or out of the rough, was my best club. I could get it down in two from almost any place. I was a good putter under pressure.”Rawls graduated from the University of Texas in 1950, earning a bachelor’s degree with concentrations in physics and mathematics. She also finished an astonishing second, behind Babe Zaharias, as an amateur in the Women’s Open in 1950, the L.P.G.A. Tour’s inaugural season.She turned pro in 1951 after Wilson sporting goods recruited her to join its staff of leading players who were giving clinics on its behalf around the country. That year Rawls bested Louise Suggs by five strokes to capture the Open.At the time, Wilson paid her expenses, along with a salary that she recalled was about $3,000 a year (around $35,000 in today’s dollars), since prize money at the time was meager.She led the tour in victories in 1952, 1957 and 1959, when she set single-season records with 10 wins (including two majors), $26,744 in earnings and the lowest scoring average per round, 74.03, bringing her the women’s Vare Trophy.She got a break in winning the 1957 Open, at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y.Rawls received the winner’s trophy at the 1957 Open. Jackie Pung, who was disqualified from the tournament for an incorrect scorecard, can be seen at left, with her head in her hand.Bettmann ArchiveJackie Pung of Hawaii finished with a four-round total of 298 to Rawls’s 299. But officials quickly noticed that Pung’s playing partner, Betty Jameson, who was keeping score for Pung, had listed a 5 on the fourth hole of the last round, though she had actually scored a 6. Pung had made the same error in keeping score for Jameson, who wasn’t in contention for the victory.Although Pung’s card showed a correct total score, she was disqualified, as was Jameson, the automatic penalty under golf’s rules for a player who hands in a card with an incorrect score on any hole.So the championship, along with $1,800 in prize money, went to Rawls.“It’s always great to win, I guess, but I sure hate to do it this way,” United Press International quoted Rawls as saying. “I feel sorry for Jackie.”But Pung wound up as the No. 1 money winner: Members of the Winged Foot Club, distressed over her losing the title on a technicality, raised about $3,000 to ease her loss.Rawls was the L.P.G.A.’s president in 1961 and 1962 and its tournament director for six years following her retirement from competition in 1975. After that, she was the executive director of the McDonald’s Championship, which was discontinued in 1994 when it became the longtime sponsor of the L.P.G.A. Championship. Continuing in her post with that major event, she helped raise millions of dollars for charity.Rawls in 2005. She helped raise millions of dollars for charity in her later years.Al Messerschmidt/Getty ImagesRawls was treated for breast cancer in 2000 but continued overseeing the L.P.G.A. event, held at the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Del. She retired from her executive director’s post in 2002 but stayed on as the tournament’s vice board chairman.Rawls’s brother, Robert Rawls Jr., died in 1992. She left no immediate survivors. Rawls earned $302,664 in her 25-year career on the pro tour, landing below the top 450 on the L.P.G.A.’s current earnings list.“Today I look at the money they play for with amazement, but not with envy or bitterness,” Rawls told The Philadelphia Inquirer shortly before receiving the Bob Jones Award. “In the beginning, we played for so little that money wasn’t the motivating factor. But when I won, it seemed like it was a lot of money at the time. I enjoyed winning when I did.” More

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    Andy Bean, 11-Time Winner on the PGA Tour, Dies at 70

    “One of golf’s most appealing players,” he was an imposing and emotional presence on the course. Three times he came in second in major tournaments.Andy Bean, who won 11 times on the PGA Tour winner and three times was a runner-up in major tournament play, died on Saturday in Lakeland, Fla. He was 70.The PGA Tour said the cause was complications of double-lung replacement surgery, which he underwent in September. He was reported to have developed severe respiratory problems after a bout with Covid-19. He was a longtime resident of Lakeland.At 6-foot-4 and about 210 pounds, Bean was an imposing presence on the tour. In 1978, the columnist Dave Anderson of The New York Times called him “one of golf’s most appealing players.”“He’s big and strong and emotional,” Anderson wrote. “Whether it’s a tee shot or his annoyance at a bad shot, he lets it all hang out. The other touring pros call him Li’l Abner for his strength.”He was known to win bets in bars by biting a chunk out of the cover of a golf ball.Bean’s best year was 1978, when he won three times, including back-to-back weeks at Quail Hollow, in Charlotte, N.C., for the Kemper Open and then at the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic in a playoff over Lee Trevino. He finished third on the money list that year.His 11 victories — he also won twice on the Japan Golf Tour — covered 1977 to 1986. In March 1986, Bean became the first golfer on the tour to win the Doral Eastern Open, in South Florida, three times, defeating Hubert Green on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff. Bean had come back from five strokes behind with nine holes to go in regulation to force the playoff.His 11th and final tour victory, by one stroke, came that May, at the Byron Nelson Classic, outside Dallas.Bean also played on the Ryder Cup teams in 1979 and 1987.In major tournaments, he made a late charge at Royal Birkdale, in northwest England, in the 1983 British Open, finishing one shot behind Tom Watson. In 1980, he finished second to 40-year-old Jack Nicklaus in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y. And he was runner-up by one shot to Payne Stewart in the 1989 PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes, outside Chicago.A three-time winner on the PGA Tour Champions, Bean retired from competition in 2014 because of wrist injuries from a car accident.Thomas Andrew Bean was born on March 13, 1953, in Lafayette, Ga., near the Tennessee border, and grew up in Jekyll Island, on the Atlantic coast. His father, Tom Bean, was a club pro. The family moved to Florida, settling in Lakeland when Andy was 15. He played golf for the University of Florida on a team that included Gary Koch, Woody Blackburn and Fred Ridley, the former U.S. Amateur champion and now chairman at Augusta National.He is survived by his wife, Debbie; their three daughters, Ashley, Lindsay and Jordan; and grandchildren.Aside from biting chunks out of golf balls, Bean was known for having once subdued an alligator while trying to qualify for the PGA Tour. The story got out that he had wrestled with the animal and threw it into a pond.But he threw cold water, so to speak, on that story. The incident “was nothing big,” he told Anderson, for his Sports of The Times column. “I just saw a little five‐foot alligator once near a water hole in Florida and flipped it over by its tail. That’s easy. But the guy I was playing with made it sound like I wrestled it.”The Associated Press contributed reporting More

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    Ryder Cup: Home Team Gets a Course Advantage

    This year the competition is in Rome, which means the European team controls the course setup and can adjust it to its players’ strengths.Max Homa returned from a scouting trip to the site of this week’s Ryder Cup in Rome incredulous with how the course had been set up.Not only were the fairways reduced in width where a tee shot might land, but the rough was grown so thick, high and gnarly that slightly errant shots could disappear.“One day someone hit it over a bunker, and we just lost it in the regular rough,” Homa said. “The whole first day I didn’t see a single ball from the rough hit the green.”The one exception: Justin Thomas hit a ball in the rough onto the green from 100 yards away, a distance where touring pros are thinking about getting the ball to within a few feet from the hole, not just on the putting surface.“The rough is borderline unplayable,” Homa said. “There’s going to be the highest, highest premium placed on being in the fairway, but they’re narrow.”In other words, this sounds like a typical setup for a Ryder Cup played in Europe, where the home team hasn’t lost the biennial competition in 30 years.Luke Donald playing his way out of a bunker at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club during the Italian Open in May.Andrew Redington/Getty ImagesThe Ryder Cup, which alternates between Europe and the United States, is the rare event in elite golf where the home team has an advantage, given that it gets to determine how the course will be played. At regular professional events, the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour work with local tournament directors to bring consistency from week to week. For the major championships, the governing bodies dictate how the courses will be set up, and typically lay them out in predictably difficult ways.But the Ryder Cup is different: What the captain of the home team says goes, right up until Sunday night of tournament week. And it’s codified in the Captains’ Agreement, which starts: “It is recognized that the home side has the opportunity to influence and direct the setup and preparation of the course for the Ryder Cup. It is hereby agreed that any such influence, direction and/or preparation will be limited to course architecture/course design, fairway widths, rough heights, green speed and firmness.”This year, there’s an added bit of home team advantage at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, because very few of the U.S. players are familiar with the course under any conditions. Several players on the European squad have at least played the course when it hosted the Italian Open on the DP World Tour.In the hope of getting an understanding of how the course would be set up for the Ryder Cup, Zach Johnson, the U.S. captain, took the team on a scouting trip earlier this month.“This is a course that most if not all of our guys have not played,” Johnson said in an interview. “To get their feet on the ground of Marco Simone ahead of the Cup is very important. Having some practice time there can only make a very trying, different, sometimes difficult week of the Cup that much more manageable and comfortable.”Johnson, a five-time Ryder Cup player, knows the setup gambits both sides play. “Because it’s in Europe, there are tendencies their team seems to employ, with regard to course setup among other things,” he said. “We will utilize past experiences and data to make decisions.”The setup shenanigans ultimately equal out. One of the most famous setup tweaks came when Paul Azinger, captain of the 2008 U.S. squad, set up the course at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., to take advantage of his players’ ability to drive the ball farther off the tee than their European opponents.All the hazards — bunkers, much thicker rough — were in the areas where the shorter-hitting Europeans were likely to land the ball, while the rough past the bunkers was cut shorter to make it easier for the American side to escape from wayward drives.A view of the first tee grandstand for the 2023 Ryder Cup. After visiting Marco Simone, Max Homa noted that the rough on the course was so thick and high, errant shots could disappear. Naomi Baker/Getty ImagesIn 2016, at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., Davis Love III, the U.S. captain, put many pins in the middle of the greens, making it easy for the player, but less exciting to watch.The European side has historically gone with a setup that features narrow fairways and higher rough, under the premise that American golfers are less accurate, along with greens that are much slower than those typically found on the PGA Tour. This year was no different, Homa said.That leaves an obvious question: Why do the officials allow this?The Ryder Cup is jointly sanctioned by the P.G.A. of America and Ryder Cup Europe, which is a blend of three organizations in Britain and Europe. Officials at the P.G.A. of America and Ryder Cup Europe said the setup was fair and it could reward or penalize players on either team.Zach Johnson, the United States team captain, talking with reporters in Rome earlier this month. Johnson took his team on a scouting trip to the course to increase their familiarity with it. Andrew Medichini/Associated Press“You are looking for it to be tough, but fair, and provide an exciting challenge,” said David Garland, director of tour operations for Ryder Cup Europe.Kerry Haigh, chief championships officer at the P.G.A. of America, said: “The Ryder Cup is unlike our other championships in that the home captain has a lot of influence as to how the golf course is set up. Our aim is to make any Ryder Cup golf course setup fair for both teams.”Once play starts, it’s up to the officials to maintain the course as it was at the outset. “If you want six-inch rough, four-inch rough or two-inch rough, that’s what we’re trying to do,” Haigh said.Setup aside, both officials emphasized that this year’s course has some shorter holes that are meant to increase the excitement of the matches.“There are a couple of drivable par 4s, the fifth and the 16th, which are both over water,” Garland said. “The course was completely rebuilt a few years ago for the Ryder Cup with the drama of match play in mind.” More

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    Ryder Cup Has Decades of Drama Between United States and Europe

    It began in 1927 and has had many nail-biters over its almost 100 years. Here are some of them.Nothing is at stake — no prize money, individual titles or world ranking points — for the 24 players who will participate in the 2023 Ryder Cup, which begins on Friday at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome.Nothing and everything.The members of Team Europe and the United States will play for something bigger and as we’ve seen, in recent decades especially, the biennial three-day match-play competition, which began in 1927, is bound to generate memories.Here, in chronological order, are 10 Ryder Cups that stand out.1933, Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club, EnglandThe course in Southport was packed with about 15,000 spectators, and they weren’t cheated.The outcome came down to the final hole of the singles match between Syd Easterbrook of England and Denny Shute of the United States. With their match even, both players faced par putts of roughly 30 feet.Easterbook, who went first, missed his attempt. All Shute had to do was two-putt, and the United States would retain the Cup.Shute knocked his putt four feet by the hole and missed the next one, too, handing the victory to the British team. The rest of Europe wouldn’t be included in the Ryder Cup until 1979.The American golfer Sam Snead in 1949 at Ganton Golf Club in England.S&G/PA Images, via Getty Images1949, Ganton Golf Club, EnglandThe Americans had the great Ben Hogan on their side, but as the captain, not as a player.Hogan was still recovering from a car accident that would keep him on the sidelines until 1950. Also unable to play was Cary Middlecoff, the United States Open champion who wasn’t a member of the P.G.A. of America.Even so, the United States, because it captured six of the eight singles matches, rallied from two points down to win the Ryder Cup for the fourth time in a row at the course in northeast England. The major champions Sam Snead, Jimmy Demaret and Lloyd Mangrum were among the winners.1969, Royal Birkdale Golf Club, EnglandThere wasn’t any one shot that makes this year so memorable.It was, rather, a gesture of sportsmanship.It came from Jack Nicklaus on the final hole of his singles match versus Tony Jacklin at the course near Manchester. Nicklaus picked up Jacklin’s ball mark to concede a two-foot putt that left their match, and the overall competition, all square. The United States, because it was the defending champion, retained the Cup.“Here he was, the [British] Open champion, the new hero, and all of a sudden it felt like if he missed this putt he would be criticized forever,” Nicklaus later said. “This all went through my mind in a very, very quick period of time, and I said, ‘I’m not going to give Tony Jacklin the opportunity to miss it.’”Jack Nicklaus, left, and Tony Jacklin after a singles match at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in 1969.PA Images, via Getty Images1983, PGA National, United StatesOne sensational shot was hit by the young Spaniard Seve Ballesteros; the other by an American, Lanny Wadkins at the course in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.From a fairway bunker 240 yards away on the par-5 18th hole, Ballesteros sent the ball to the fringe of the green, and from there he was able to get a par and halve his match with Fuzzy Zoeller.Wadkins knocked the ball from 60 yards away to within a foot on the 18th hole to then halve his match with José María Cañizares and clinch a one-point victory for the United States.1985, the Belfry, EnglandWith Jacklin as the captain, Team Europe captured the Ryder Cup on this course near Birmingham for the first time since 1957. The period of American dominance was over.Two players from Spain, Ballesteros and Manuel Piñero, were outstanding. Piñero won four points for the Europeans, while Ballesteros, one of the game’s brightest stars then, collected three and a half points.Craig Stadler, a former Masters champion, also played well, though he missed a short putt on Saturday morning that cost the United States an important half point. Team Europe went on to win three of the four afternoon foursome matches to take a 9-7 lead into Sunday.The Spaniards Manuel Piñero, Seve Ballesteros, José María Cañizares and José Rivero after Team Europe won in 1985 at the Belfry in England.David Cannon/Allsport, via Getty Images1987, Muirfield Village Golf Club, United StatesFor the first time, the United States lost on its own soil. The final: 15 to 13.The Americans had been 13-0 at home before coming up short on the course near Columbus, Ohio, that was designed by Jack Nicklaus, the U.S. captain. Down by five points, the U.S. team rallied in the singles, but the deficit was too large.Ballesteros was in top form again for the Europeans, earning four points in five matches. Contributing with three and a half points apiece were Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam; Sandy Lyle and José María Olazábal won three points.On the other side, Ben Crenshaw was 0-3, while Tom Kite and Hal Sutton were the only Americans with three points.1991, Kiawah Island Golf Resort, United StatesIn the end, it came down to one putt at the Ocean Course in South Carolina.The putt was from six feet away, and if Langer were to knock it in, he would win his match over the three-time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin, and Team Europe would keep the Cup.If he were to miss, the United States would take possession for the first time since 1983. It is difficult to imagine a player feeling more pressure. Even in a major tournament.Langer missed, and the Europeans returned the Cup to the Americans, not winning it back until 1995.Bernhard Langer of Germany after he missed a putt on the 18th hole in the final singles match in 1991 at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in the United States.David Cannon/Getty Images1999, the Country Club,United StatesTrailing by four points entering the singles matches on the final day, the United States captain, Crenshaw, still believed in his team.With good reason.The Americans picked up eight and a half points on Sunday to edge Team Europe by one. Among those who came through with big victories were Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Davis Love III and David Duval.The event, held just outside Boston, also provided its share of controversy with the U.S. players rushing onto the 17th green after Justin Leonard made a birdie putt from 45 feet. The match, and the competition itself, however, wasn’t over just yet. Olazábal faced a birdie putt of his own that would have kept the players all square heading to 18. He missed.2010, Celtic Manor Resort, WalesAs it did in 1991, the Ryder Cup, staged for the first time in Wales, came down to the final singles match, with Europe’s Graeme McDowell squaring off against Hunter Mahan of the United States.After knocking in a 15-foot birdie at the 16th hole to go two up, McDowell prevailed when Mahan struggled on 17.The Europeans had a three-point lead heading into the final day, but had to hang on as Woods, Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Jeff Overton and Zach Johnson put full points on the board for the United States. Another key contributor was Rickie Fowler, who rallied to secure a half point against Edoardo Molinari.A view of the 18th green at Medinah Country Club in 2012.Jamie Squire/Getty Images2012, Medinah Country Club, United StatesIt felt a lot like 1999.Only this time, it was Team Europe’s turn to come back from a four-point deficit heading into the 12 singles matches on Sunday, and on its opponent’s territory, no less.With clutch victories on the course just outside Chicago by Justin Rose over Mickelson, Sergio Garcia over Jim Furyk, and Martin Kaymer over Steve Stricker, Europe outscored the United States eight and a half to three and a half on the final day. Only Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner won their matches for the United States.Kaymer of Germany clinched the victory with a six-foot putt on the 18th green. More

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    Ryder Cup: Zach Johnson Tries to End a 30-Year Drought for U.S. Team

    As captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team, he is attempting to win in Europe for the first time since 1993.Zach Johnson, a five-time Ryder Cup player and a two-time major champion, is at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome this week as the captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team. He’s trying to do something no American captain has done in 30 years: beat the European squad on its home turf.It’s an illustrious list of captains who have tried to bring the Cup back to the United States but failed that includes Jim Furyk, Corey Pavin, Tom Kite, Curtis Strange — all major champions. The last time the U.S. squad won in Europe was in 1993 when Tom Watson, in his first stint as captain, led a team that won at the Belfry in England.The interview has been edited and condensed.How did you mature as a player over your five Ryder Cups?The Ryder Cups I participated in without question helped pave the way for many of my wins, especially the major championships, and instilled in me a confidence that is hard to capture anywhere else. If a player can execute in the Cup, he will be able to execute shots under duress in a major or any other event with real confidence. That confidence I gained in 2006 — even though the team lost — carried over to the 2007 Masters and beyond.What were the lessons you learned that you imparted on this year’s squad?First, regardless of what the media says or whatever any of the outside noise may be — it’s still just golf. There is a tee, a fairway, a hole. You know how to play golf, and you’re here because you’re one of the best in the world at it.Second, just because it’s the Ryder Cup and the pressure is immense, it doesn’t mean you, as a player, have to do anything different. Just be yourself, do the things you’ve always done to have success and trust what got you here.Third, what’s happened in the past, either good or bad, doesn’t matter. This is a new team with new members on a new course presenting a new opportunity.How did the selection of players work?It’s a collaborative process involving my vice captains as well as input from the guys making the team. I rely on my vice captains for sure. Many of them have sat in my seat before and bring so much to the table. We also utilized our statistics team that brought us both objective and subjective data to help make the best-informed decisions to put our best team of 12 together.What have you learned from past captains on how to make a team gel?One, the more we can be together as a team, to any capacity, the better. Two, picking a team doesn’t have a perfect formula. There’s current form of play, what the golf course demands, best pairings, experience or lack thereof, and many more aspects. Three, a good team has ownership and investment by its players. That will be a primary goal from the beginning. Having some of these players take on leadership roles — some vocal, some by example — will be paramount.What was the idea behind the scouting week in Rome before the Ryder Cup?This is a course that most, if not all, of our guys have not played. To get their feet on the ground of Marco Simone ahead of the Cup was very important. Having practice time there can only make a very trying, different, sometimes difficult week of the Cup that much more manageable and comfortable. Plus, we were together as a team, hanging out, eating together, seeing Rome together, bonding.You and Luke Donald, the European captain, are contemporaries. Has knowledge from playing against him factored into your decision making?My friendship or past experiences with Luke on or off the course will not dictate any of my decision making. Neither one of us is hitting any shots.What will be the biggest challenge of playing in Rome?The European team is stacked with stars like Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland. We will be playing in front of a hugely partisan crowd in Rome trying to break a 30-year drought by winning away from the United States, playing as an underdog. With this being said, our team sees this as a great test and opportunity to go compete on the grandest stage in golf and bring the Cup back home. More

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    Ancient Earthworks Trodden by Golfers Become a World Heritage Site

    The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has recognized the Octagon Earthworks in central Ohio as a cultural marvel.Nine months after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a country club must sell its lease to the state historical society that owns the land containing Native American earthworks, golfers are still pushing carts over the mounds and whacking at them with 3-irons.But now those Octagon Earthworks, which Native Americans constructed about 2,000 years ago as a means of tracking the movement of the sun and the moon through the heavens, have officially been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.“Inscription on the World Heritage List will call international attention to these treasures long known to Ohioans,” said Megan Wood, the executive director and chief executive of the Ohio History Connection, which worked with the National Park Service and the Interior Department to have a combination of eight earthworks sites in central Ohio recognized.Those sites, collectively known as the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, include the Octagon Earthworks in Newark, which were created one basketful of earth at a time with pointed sticks and clamshell hoes.The designation, announced on Tuesday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, puts the earthworks among just over 1,000 World Heritage sites. There are only 25 in the United States, among them the Grand Canyon, Independence Hall and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.“The historical, archaeological and astronomical significance of the Octagon Earthworks is arguably equivalent to Stonehenge or Machu Picchu,” Justice Michael P. Donnelly wrote in the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision in favor of the state historical society, which upheld two rulings by lower courts.The recognition comes after a yearslong battle between the Moundbuilders Country Club, which had leased the land since 1910 and operated a private golf course atop the earthworks, and the Ohio History Connection, which owns the site and intends to open it as a public park.The History Connection sued the country club in 2018 in an attempt to acquire the lease, which runs through 2078. Federal officials had told the historical society that securing World Heritage recognition, which brings international acclaim and legal protection, would be impossible without full public access to the site.The club had argued that ending the lease was not necessary to establish public use and had contended that it had preserved and cared for the mounds. Its members, the president of the club’s board of trustees, David Kratoville, told The New York Times in 2021, “come out for a day and clean up sand traps and plant flowers.”After the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling last year, the country club filed a motion for reconsideration that was quickly denied.Kratoville wrote in an email on Tuesday that the country club had been good stewards of the Octagon Earthworks and welcomed their World Heritage recognition.“All we have ever asked for through this long-drawn-out situation was to be compensated fairly, thus allowing our business to continue somewhere else for our members, our community and the 100 or so people we employ,” Kratoville said.The club had said it was willing to move before the lease was up, but the parties are millions of dollars apart in their negotiations. The value of the lease will now be determined in a jury trial that is set to begin Oct. 17. More

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    Five Players to Watch at the BMW PGA Championship

    The golf world is looking toward the Ryder Cup later this month, but the field in this week’s BMW PGA Championship is packed with top contenders.In two weeks, all of golf’s attention will be on the Ryder Cup matches in Rome.In the meantime, though, there’s a big tournament that begins Thursday: the BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England.As usual, the field is packed with top contenders. Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood and the defending champion, Shane Lowry, are all set to play before they join Team Europe, which will try to capture the Cup for the fifth time in the last seven competitions.Here are five other players to keep an eye on.Andrew Redington/Getty ImagesAdam ScottIn 2014, the future could not have looked brighter for Scott. The year before, he became the first golfer from Australia to win the Masters Tournament, and he had now ascended to No. 1 in the world. In his early 30s, Scott, possessing one of the best swings in the game, was still in his prime.Those days are gone.Scott, 43, who has 14 victories on the PGA Tour, hasn’t won since the Genesis Invitational in early 2020. At the majors, he hasn’t finished in the Top 10 since tying for seventh in the 2019 United States Open at Pebble Beach. His best showing in the majors this year was a tie for 29th in the P.G.A. Championship at Oak Hill near Rochester, N.Y.Still, there is reason to believe that he’s not done just yet. From May through August, Scott, ranked No. 43, finished in the Top 10 in four of his nine starts, coming up just short of qualifying for the FedEx Cup playoffs.He tied for 14th at Wentworth in 2021 and tied for 42nd in 2022.Michael Reaves/Getty ImagesLudvig AbergA bright future may also await Ludvig Aberg of Sweden.Aberg, 23, who turned professional three months ago, won the Omega European Masters in Switzerland earlier this month. The next day, he was one of the Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald’s six picks to be a member of Team Europe.Formerly the world’s top-ranked amateur, he caught Donald’s attention in January during a tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.“He was drawn alongside [the vice captain] Edoardo Molinari that week, and he let me know how impressed he was with this young guy from Sweden,” Donald told Golf Digest.“And it was my job as captain to keep my options open for anyone to make the team,” he added.Aberg, who played golf at Texas Tech, became the first player to secure his tour card in the United States by finishing first on the 2023 PGA Tour University Ranking. He has made the cut in six of his seven tour starts since turning pro, his best performance a tie for fourth at the John Deere Classic.Jared C. Tilton/Getty ImagesTom KimFor Tom Kim of South Korea, 21, who is making his debut in this tournament, the future may be here already. Kim, ranked No. 18, qualified for the Tour Championship at East Lake, the final event of the playoffs, and finished in a tie for 20th.He had an impressive 2022-23 season, recording nine Top 10 finishes in 26 starts, including a victory at the Shriners Children’s Open in Las Vegas, a tie for second at the British Open at Royal Liverpool and a tie for eighth in the U.S. Open at the Los Angeles Country Club. At the Shriners event, Kim became the first player since Tiger Woods in 1996 to win twice on the PGA Tour before turning 21.Kim, who has been a professional since he was 15, is an entertaining player and provided one of the most amusing moments of the year when he fell in the mud at Oak Hill and washed his clothes off in the creek.Harry How/Getty ImagesJon RahmRahm, ranked No. 3, needs to get back in form and fast — for his own sake and for the sake of Team Europe.The No. 1 seed heading into the playoffs, he tied for 37th and 31st in the first two events and closed at East Lake with another disappointing showing to tie for 18th in the final standings. Rahm, who is from Spain, didn’t win once in 10 appearances after his comeback victory over Brooks Koepka in the Masters. In fact, from May through August, he compiled only two Top 10 results, one of those being a tie for second at Royal Liverpool.Rahm, 28, who had held the top spot for 30 consecutive weeks, is not a fan of the current playoff format.“You can win every single tournament up until this one,” he told reporters at East Lake. “You have a bad week, you finish 30th, and now you’ll forever be known as 30th in the FedEx Cup this season. I don’t think that’s very fair.”Rahm tied for second with McIlroy at last year’s event at Wentworth, a stroke behind Lowry.Jared C. Tilton/Getty ImagesBilly HorschelWhile he won’t be on the U.S. squad heading to Rome, it’s still a big week for Horschel, 36, who won this event in 2021. He finished in the Top 10 only three times in 22 starts this past season on the PGA Tour.One of those Top 10 results came in his final tournament, the Wyndham Championship, when he finished fourth. Horschel, ranked No. 50, turned in a career-low 62 in the second round and followed with a 63 to enjoy a share of the lead after 54 holes. A victory would have put him in the playoffs, but he faltered with a 72.His season’s low point was an 84 in the first round at the Memorial Tournament in early June. He rebounded the next day with a 72 but did not make the cut.“Listen, we all struggle at this game, and I’m not the first PGA Tour pro to play bad for an extended stretch,” Horschel told Golf Digest in June. “There are some people that think we should play well every week right. But golf’s a tough game. Life’s a tough game.” More

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    When Professional Golfers Are Also Course Designers

    Golf course design is now in an era of star architects, but professional golfers are still bringing their name and vast playing knowledge to projects.Ernie Els, a four-time major champion, won the 2007 HSBC World Match Play Championship at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England, host of this week’s BMW PGA Championship.The club, a sprawling complex of three 18-hole golf courses and a plenitude of amenities, was working to refresh the West Course, which hosted championship golf. Els was the architect in charge of the work.Wentworth is the home of the European Tour, which runs the DP World Tour, and has hosted this week’s flagship event since the 1980s. (Three times, Els finished as runner-up in the event.)The West Course was originally designed by Harry Colt nearly 100 years earlier. Colt was one of the early 20th century’s great golf course architects. He worked on some 300 courses, including the original routing of Pine Valley, often the top-ranked course in the world.Under Els’s direction, the bunkering at the par 3, second hole at West Course Wentworth was redesigned.David Cannon/Getty ImagesBut the game had changed, and Els, who was known for his smooth swing, was brought in to restore some of the original challenges that Colt had created — but that longer-hitting pros had rendered obsolete. One of the key fixes was rebuilding all the greens so they would have the firm bounce and fast speed that pros are used to.Ten years after that victory at Wentworth, Els finished the renovation. “There’s certainly no other golf course in the world that I know as well as Wentworth’s West Course, so you could say we were the logical choice,” Els said. “Obviously to have that opportunity was an honor, not just professionally but personally, too. I’d say I fell in love with the West Course before I’d even played it, seeing the World Matchplay on television, watching some of my heroes.”What Els had been asked to do, though, was something that has faded from popularity: be a tour pro who renovated a course.With the help of Brooks Koepka, shown at the Houston Open in 2021, Tom Doak was able to redesign Memorial Park and bring his vision for the course to life.Carmen Mandato/Getty ImagesPros once lent their vast playing knowledge to golf course design projects — often with an enormous real estate development attached — but when the economy cooled in 2008 and new golf course construction dried up, so, too, did pros’ involvement.Golf course design is now in an era of star architects, such as Tom Doak and Gil Hanse, whose vision for the game focuses more on purity and enjoyment than on creating overly penal courses that will frustrate amateurs and most likely never host a professional tournament. The original golf course boom in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, however, was fueled by great golfers like Willie Park Jr., who won the British Open twice, and Donald Ross, a pro from Scotland.Despite the recent trend, pros still maintain a role in course design, even if it is a very different one from decades past. It’s more in the collaborative mode of Els at Wentworth than the splashy one that saw golf stars of the 1970s and 1980s like Lee Trevino, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Don January and Billy Casper lend their names to developments.Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open champion, shown during the third round of that competition, is now a director at the design firm OCM Golf. He said it helps him to be able to talk about his experiences at various courses.Stuart Franklin/Getty Images“If someone’s been a good golfer, people believe they probably know everything about golf,” said Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open champion and a director at the design firm OCM Golf. “Some do; some don’t. But when I’m meeting members, I think it helps when I can wax on the virtues of the 13th hole at Augusta National because I’ve played there. It makes it easier.”His firm has worked on major restorations of courses in Australia and is currently working on Medinah Country Club’s Course 3, which will host the 2026 Presidents Cup, a series of matches between the United States and an international squad. (Ogilvy played three times on Presidents Cup teams.)But he has two partners in the design firm who know the intricacies of building a course. “It’s better to have three minds in there,” said Ogilvy, who won 12 times on the PGA and European Tours. “They’re routing and designing it. I’m working on a lot of the playability stuff. What would tour guys hit from here? Will guys go for that shot or get scared?”That intuition, particularly on the psychological part of the game, is valuable to designers, said Bobby Weed, an architect who worked with 17 PGA Tour player consultants when he build out the Tournament Players Club Network, a group of courses designed to host professional tournaments.“What I liked was their input into what scared them on a shot,” said Weed, who was mentored by the designer Pete Dye. “I liked to understand how they’re thinking, what their process was. It’s so different from the amateur golfer.”He said not every pro was as involved or knowledgeable and that some got more credit after the course opened than they deserved. But many of the pros who have helped design enduring courses relied on a solid team under their brand name. Jack Nicklaus had Bob Cupp and Jay Morrish. Greg Norman had Jason McCoy. Ben Crenshaw had Bill Coore. Jack Nicklaus, left, helped design the Sebonack golf course with Tom Doak. Michael E. Ach/Newsday Rm, via Getty Images“The first thing the pros bring is their name. They’re much more famous than any of us who never played professional golf ever will be,” said Doak, an architect who worked with Nicklaus to build Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.“What they bring is much more focus on the individual golf holes and the strategy of the individual golf holes. What they don’t bring is the perspective that everyone who plays golf isn’t out there trying to shoot their career best.”Large destination courses are still being built, but many course designs these days are renovations — and they often lack the budget of a large, tournament-focused club like Wentworth.“The pendulum has swung toward architects because most of the market is being driven by remodeling,” Michael Hurdzan, whose course designs include Erin Hills in Wisconsin, which hosted the U.S. Open in 2017, said. “That means you’re going into an existing facility and fixing someone else’s mistakes with a limited amount of time, a limited amount of money and 300 critics who are members. It takes a lot of time, a lot of hand holding.”One such example is the Medalist Golf Club, in Hobe Sound, Fla. It’s a tough, popular course among pros. When it was built, Norman was given top billing as the architect, with Pete Dye second. But when the club underwent a renovation, Weed, who has worked closely with Dye, was called in to do the work.Some pros understand that their skills lie elsewhere in a project.Mathew Goggin, who played in 279 events on the PGA Tour, is developing Seven Mile Beach, a golf course in his hometown, Hobart, Australia. But he is clear that being a professional golfer does not make him a great architect.“I’m smart enough to know that I’m not smart enough to design a course,” he said. “You let the design team do what they do. I think you’re doing a disservice to golf-course architecture unless you really do it. I have no expertise in it whatsoever. What am I going to say? ‘Move that bunker over there?’”And good architects know what to listen to. Goggin said he complimented the architect, Mike DeVries, for creating what even Goggin thought was a really hard hole at Seven Mile Beach. DeVries listened and redesigned it. He wasn’t building it for a PGA Tour pro.Goggin said he used his reputation as a great golfer from the area to push the project along. “I used my profile to get a meeting with the government ministers,” he said. “I showed them the success of Barnbougle Dunes [a course in Tasmania], and we talked about how destination golf has an economic impact.”There are advantages architects get from working with pros that they can’t get elsewhere. Doak designed Memorial Park with Brooks Koepka, and the course hosts the Houston Open on the PGA Tour. With the help of Koepka, a great ball striker, it was much easier for Doak to see his vision come to life.“On the resort courses or the member course, you visualize the shot you expect to see — and you sometimes wait months to see it,” he said. “At a course for a tour event, you really only have to wait two or three groups to see it.” More