Pro Sports Official Team Sites Golf Champions Page
The Golf Champions Page is about links to Senior Professional Golf . The PGA Champions Tour - Professional Golfers Association Champions Tour representatives are the golfers who are linked to. There are 50 former PGA Champions shown in alphabetical order, in two columns, with their national flags, U.S. state flags and follow through pictures - all linked to information about that player. The ‘Hall of Fame’ logos, at the bottom of the page, are for North American players, associations collections and memorabilia.
The PGA Champions Tour has a 30 official, and 4 unofficial, tournament season from mid January to early December. The Champions Tour started from a successful television event called the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf. Originally known as the Senior PGA Tour, it began in 1980 with two events. Now, as the Champions Tour competing for the Charles Schwab Cup, it has over 30 events and draws large crowds from all over the United States and the world. The field is made up of former PGA Tour champions with names recognized throughout the sport. Reaching the ages of their 50’s and 60’s, many players compete in the full Champions Tour season and Major PGA Tour events, as well. Although the long ball has left most players, accuracy and ‘Read of Green’ is still sharp as they change to a more fund raising and sport promotional career.
The champions Tour logo is linked to the money leaders page. Each Hall of Fame logo is linked to their home pages. The association name is linked to the Champions Tour home page. Each player’s name is linked to their home page, or their Official World Golf Rankings page. Players who’s name links to their home page have their OWGR page linked to their state flag, or a page from Wikipedia about them links there- international players have their national flag linked in this same way. All the players’ follow through pictures, or portrait, link to their biographies at the PGA Champions Tour web site. All of the images have captions to explain what they are and where they link. From each association or player web site, their store can be viewed to see golf gear and equipment for fans and players. Players’ insignias on clothing, caps and many other items can be purchased for gifts or collecting a special item. Advertisements are also shown and can be a source for just that right item to enhance your enjoyment of golf or your favourite Champion. There is no cost in linking with an ad or any web site.
The ‘Golf Ball’ is made of either an elastic type material around a hollow rubber ball at the centre, or a springy solid core material, all covered with a durable, hard, plastic casing. The ball is made to compress and then spring off the club face. Usually white, but, often orange, green, pink or yellow, golf balls have dimples - small depressions in an organized pattern all around the surface. These dimples allow the spinning ball to ‘Bite’ the air giving the golfer control over it’s flight path. It also bites the green, as well. A golf ball travels in the direction of the force that strikes it. If a flat club face strikes the ball, at a certain spot on it, then the ball will react from that spot travelling straight away from it. A golfer elevates the ball, on a wooden tee, so that his golf swing reaches the bottom of it’s arc, just prior to the ball, and then impacts the ball on the upswing, sending it up into the air and straight down the fairway. If the ball is struck with a club face not completely perpendicular to the direction of the swing, the ball takes off, perpendicular, to that impact angle. The impact would create a sideways spin, on the ball, causing it to veer off even further in that direction. These mis-hits are known as ‘Splice’; a ball veering off away from the golfer, and ‘Hook’; a ball veering off back toward the golfer. The cause could be mistiming the wrist swing at the impact of the ball. That is often caused by swinging too hard - not generally a problem for professional golfers. But, these arcing shots can be controlled to allow shots around obstacles, fight the wind, or achieve the right bouncing and rolling to run up onto the green between two bunkers. These shots are called ‘Fade’; a ball drifting away from a golfer, and ‘Draw’; a ball drifting back toward a golfer, and are a very big part of professional golf. These shots, along with backspin, are possible because of dimples on the golf ball.
There are ‘1 Stroke Penalties’ in golf. These penalties occur when a golf ball lies in a place where a golf swing can not be made to contact the ball - so it must be relocated. Usually it is due to a lost ball and a new ball is ‘Dropped’ in an appropriate spot - adding a penalty stroke to the score. An example of a 1 stroke penalty would be on a par 3 hole where the fairway is all pond, and maybe a ‘Drop Area’. The golfer’s 1st shot lands in the water - unplayable - so if it is teed up again it is the third stroke, as there was 1 shot into the pond, a penalty stroke and now a third shot is about to be attempted from the tee again. This is called ‘Tee 3’. This golfer would, also, have the option of moving to the drop area: a designated spot, near the hazard, for shooting again after landing in it. The shot would still be 3. Moving a ball, on a ‘Ruling’, must not be closer to the hole. In this case, the drop is behind the pond, as, it is the first ground not nearer the hole.
Should a ball land too close to a man made object that can not be moved; a sign post or scoreboard, or land in ‘Ground Water’; a puddle that is temporary, a ball is moved in ‘Club Lengths’ away not nearer to the hole. Any club, usually the longest that the player has in the bag, is laid down on the ground with one end against the object, or edge of the affected area, and the other end determining where to drop the ball; it is called ‘Relief’. A ball behind a tree must be played the best way, as is a ball leaning against a higher area of grass, or in a divot, or on a thin patch of grass or affected by anything natural. A stick, leaves or loose items can be moved; if it is growing the ball must be played as it lies. The ball must not move: whenever it does it is counted as a stroke. In a sand trap the club must not touch the ground: whenever it does it is counted as a stroke. A ball out of bounds must be retrieved and dropped inbounds near where it left fair territory - or back of there - with 1 stroke penalty. Many weekend golfers ignore these additional strokes, but, the professionals adhere to the rules making sure they are playing correctly before every swing. Every tournament has ‘Marshals’ - officials - to enforce the rules which are very strict: they are out there on the golf course with the players, in the spectator crowds and in the off limit areas, too, so they do not miss a thing. Marshals have a uniform with a hat.
Professional Golfers all have Caddies. The Caddie is another person who walks the golf course with the golfer - carrying the golf clubs in a 'Golf Bag'. The bag has room for tees, spare balls, towels, an umbrella, snacks, refreshments or anything the golfer thinks is needed during a round. Golf bags can be heavy, so, they are brought along by the Caddie who also passes the club requested to the golfer - putting away the used club and often having to wipe or clean it. That is not all a Caddie does! The golfer often needs another opinion on what to do reguarding the wind, slope, or break in the green. The Caddie is relied upon heavily by the Pro Golfer. The two conduct practice rounds together and are both familiar with the golf course: and golfing!
Golf has an etiquette that is expected and maintained. Proper attire is worn on the golf course: generally, golfers are dressed up, but, comfortable to exercise in - men wear a shirt with a collar and usually a front pocket. The player who's ball is farthest from the hole is to shoot first. At the green, sometimes this applies as; golfers off the green and then golfers on the green to allow everyone to be in the same place. If a 'gimme' is taken, there should be permission from the rest of the group, first. A gimme has golfers pick up their balls as the remaining putt is so short they would make it, anyway. Golfers spot their ball on the green: place a coin or button behind the golf ball and then remove the ball temporarily to not impede the other players, who are further away and putt first, from a clear shot at the hole. The golf course rules and bylaws are adhered to strictly. And slow play is not acceptable; having the slow group allow the group behind to 'Play Through'.
Tournaments are almost always 4 rounds played Thursday to Sunday of the event week. Monday to Wednesday is practice, for the ‘Exempt’ players, ‘Qualifying’ for ‘Non-Exempt’ players and rest for those who ‘Made the Cut’ in last weeks event. Each tournament starts out with a full field of players who are put into random groups of 3 or 4 golfers and given a ‘Tee Off Time’- for round one. This tee off time schedule is exactly reversed for round two. After round two, the combined scores of the two rounds are used, by officials, to determine a ‘Cut Line’. All the combined scores from all the players are used to determine this line that allows a predetermined number of golfers with the best scores to advance into the final rounds. The players who are ‘Cut’ prepare for next week’s tournament, while the players who ‘Made the Cut’ continue on to round 3. Officials use the previous round’s scores to determine pairings; 1st and 2nd are last, 3rd and 4th are second last and so on as everyone wants to see the leaders together and hole out last. Round 4 has the combined scores, from the three previous rounds, determine the pairings and the same tee off schedule applies: the best 2 scores tee off last and the highest 2 scores tee off first. Much of the crowd, or gallery, is out at strategic viewing spots around the course. They bring chairs and refreshments, umbrellas and items of support to cheer on their favourite - also the game’s ‘Greats’. These fans wait for each group to play past their spot and see them all. Some wait for the leaders to tee off and follow them all through the course: picking up the gallery, as they go, so that everyone is there at the 18th green to see the last pair ‘Putt Out’! Usually, the winner is in this group.
A typical golf hole is played tee to green without much else happening - for the professional. On the 1st tee, the tee off order is determined by the order of players listed on the score card, while after this the order is determined by lowest to highest tally on the previous hole. On the 1st tee, a golf group, 1 to 4 golfers, is generally identified by one members last name. A group to tee off is announced along with the next group to get ready and a third group who will tee off after that. It sounds something like this: ‘On the Tee’- ‘1st group’, ‘On Deck - ‘2nd group’, ‘In the Hole’ - ‘3rd group’. In a Pro Tournament, the announcer may include titles or achievements in introducing the individual golfers. On a par 3 the tee shot lands on the green and the golfer has two putts to make par. The tee shot can be an iron or wood depending on the distance, the wind direction and wind velocity. The wind can push the ball back, further on, or off to one side. The golfer chooses the correct numbered club that achieves the necessary distance, while providing the most backspin to put the ball by the ’Pin’, or ’Flag Stick’. If a one putt is made the golfer scores two and it is a ’Birdie’, or 1 under par. If a three putt is made a ‘Bogie’ is scored - 1 over par. 2 over par is a double bogie, and so on. On a par 4, the tee shot is made to a spot, on the fairway, that is ideal for the next shot to the green - or ‘Approach Shot’. This may involve a #1 driver for distance or a lesser club to put the ball at this chosen spot. Professional golfers often don’t use a driver: they might use a 3 wood or possibly a long iron. From the fairway the golfer, who can now not use a little wooden tee, chooses the golf club that will overcome the conditions and land the ball by the hole. The weekend golfer is happy to land near the green, but the pro golfer must compete and uses the least numbered club that will travel the distance and, using the wind and spin on the ball, lands the ball to roll up, or backspin back, to the hole. Rarely, this shot will drop into the hole, or ‘Cup’, but, within 10 feet of the flag stick is desired. The shot from the fairway slices out a wedge of grass, called a ’Divot’, as the club travels under the ball to produce backspin for the golfer. This divot must be replaced by the Caddie. Many things could go wrong; the ball may miss the fairway and land in the rough or a bunker. From the rough a different club is used, as compared with this distance from the fairway. The grass is deeper and a longer club is needed to get the ball out of the grass and down to the green, as solid contact can not be made with the club face - often requiring a drop in club selection number by two: eg. from a 7 iron to a 5. For very long grass, the club face angle must be increased to pop the ball up out of the grass so it’s forward energy is not eaten up - having it remain in the rough. From a sand trap a sand wedge is used, but, it can only be hit so far, so it is used near the green. From a fairway bunker, a long iron can ‘Pick’ the ball off of the sand and knock it the required distance. For a ball buried, or ‘Plugged’, in the sand, or up against the front wall, a golfer has no choice but to use the heavy, high lofted sand wedge that pops the ball out onto the fairway to then, be in position for an approach shot - having just added a stroke.
A par 5 is where some golfers make up ground. Normally, a tee shot is followed by a fairway shot using the longest club possible: setting up the approach chip shot to the green. The extra stroke for par is forgiving, as a bad second shot from the fairway, can be made up with a better approach shot to the green. However, the best golfers, and all the long ball hitters, try to land on the green in two; putting for 2 under par, or ‘Eagle’! By far this is not a rare occurrence: there are eagles every tournament. The tee shot is almost always a driver to get the most distance. The golfer assesses the ‘Lie’ and the chances of reaching the green; from the fairway a fairway wood can be used to roll the golf ball up onto the green; from the rough the ball would have to be ‘Sitting Up’ in the grass allowing a large club face to contact it. For poor lies a long iron would be used and it may not be far enough. Some holes are little more than long par 4’s - par 5 because of certain terrain - and the best drivers approach the green with a mid iron to land within putting distance of the pin. On very rare occasions, this second shot rolls into the cup - for a 3 under par ‘Double Eagle’ - stunning everyone who must stand up and cheer! But more in strategy is the putt for eagle when, once made, gives the golfer a two stroke drop in score lofting past possibly several on the leader board.
After the round, the players must wait for the final group to putt out - allowing the officials to determine the final positions of the competitors. Each Professional must submit their own score card and tents, or facilities, are provided to do this. Golfers sit by themselves and go through each shot, because if there is a mistake a disqualification can be enforced: there is a very large purse - total prize money - to be won at a Pro Golf Tournament. The winner is usually, but not always, in the final group. The crowd applauds, while they putt out, and then cheers wildly as they shake hands and proceed through the gallery to the scoring tent. More than any other Pro Sport, Professional Golfers make the impossible shots look easy and leave the spectators in awe at the accuracy, recoveries and the unbelievable length off of the tee.
Pro Sports Official Team Sites Golf Champions Page can link you with all the action, right to the Senior’s source; the Professional Champions and the Association. Their Champions Golf news and events pages will keep you up to date.