You know all the talk this week is going to be about Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge and how he’s going to play, as if anybody has a clue about that at this point, so let’s get a few things out of the way now … It was a popular myth that Olympic golf was going to grow the game in the host country, or any other in which people are scraping just to put food on the table, so it should come as no surprise that the controversial Olympic golf course is quickly falling into disrepair after last summer’s games and the management company that runs it reportedly hasn’t been paid in two months. The green fee for locals is reasonable by our standards, but not in Rio, and its isn’t a tourist draw either. I heard some golf chatter on social media about it being a shame for designer Gil Hanse, and it really is too bad, but a bigger shame is the reason behind it, that being poverty and more pressing priorities than golf. The natural Canadian solution, more government funding, was also raised, but here’s the deal. The government has no money … With less than 40 players in the field last week, you have to wonder if moving the PGA Club Professional Championship of Canada to Bermuda is a failed experiment. Love the location, but is it feasible? … In previous GNN stories, we’ve quoted Mackenzie Hughes in thanking national coach Derek Ingram and Golf Canada for their contributions to his career before his first PGA Tour win a week ago at the RSM Classic, but we would be remiss if we didn’t include what he said about swing coach Scott Cowx, who is also head teaching professional/director of instruction at Hamilton Golf and Country Club. Hughes has been working with Cowx since he was 15 years old.
“Scott is probably one of the smartest, most complete teachers in Canada. He doesn’t get all the attention that other guys might get, but he knows more about the swing than probably anyone in Canada. At the same time, for me, I’m more of a feel player, so what Scott and I work on together is very much based on what works for me and he’s very good at accommodating exactly that, giving me drills and stuff to do, where I don’t need to think about the technique side of it so much. Scott has always been the guy that I lean on for that swing advice, or if I’m not really sure what’s going on with my swing, he’s the guy that I go to,” said Hughes.
People who had stuck by Hughes in challenging times were there when that tour win finally came and with it being a playoff held over until Monday morning at Sea Island, Ga., it could have easily been a different outcome. Hughes’ wife Jenna was there and so was his mom Sandra. “Home-cooked meals. You can’t beat that,” said Hughes, who was also blown away with his pal Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., getting up at 3:30 a.m. in Charleston, S.C., to be there for that playoff. “With and his caddie Ryan driving down to see me win on Monday morning, to play one hole, driving four hours just tells you what kind of guy he is,” said Hughes. … Get the feeling that something is coming down the pike next week from TaylorMade, perhaps the launch of new products, in West Palm Beach? GNN will keep you posted.
A Celebration of Life for Dawn Coe-Jones was held just over a week ago in her adoped home of Tampa, where she lived with her husband and son, her two Jimmys. A Canadian Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, Dec, 18 in her home town of Lake Cowichan, B.C. The former LPGA Tour player passed away in Tampa on Nov. 12 after an eight-month battle with bone cancer. She was 56. The Canadian celebration will begin at 2 p.m. at the Lake Cowichan Centennial Hall. In lieu of cards and flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Ronald McDonald House B.C., 4567 Heather Street, Vancouver, B.C., V5Z 0C9. You can read more here … Women’s golf lost another high-profile name last week when Peggy Kirk Bell passed away in Southern Pines, N.C., at the age of 95. As an amateur player, she was a three-time winner of the Ohio State Championship in the late ‘40s and also won the Titleholders Championship and North and South Championship before turning professional and making her reputation as an iconic teaching pro. She was a winner of the 1961 LPGA Teacher of the Year Award, 1981 LPGA Professional of the Year Award, 1990 LPGA Ellen Griffin Rolex Award; 1990 U.S. Golf Association’s Bob Jones Award, 1993 William D. Richardson Memorial Trophy and 2013 Patty Berg Award. A memorial service was planned for Tuesday … PGA Tour Latinoamerica will hold its season-ending Shell Championship this week in Miami, where the top 60 on that circuit’s Order of Merit will gather, including Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., who is currently sixth, just outside the top five who will receive Web .com Tour status next year when play is completed. Other Canadians playing include Derek Gillespie of Oshawa, Ont., (33rd) and Peter Campbell of Baddeck, N.S. (51st). The top 10 on the Order of Merit will get a direct ticket to Web .com Tour Q-school, which gets underway next week in Orlando … Golf Ontario is running its 12 Days of Golf fundraising campaign in support of the Golf in Schools program, Dec. 1-12. Foursomes at various golf courses will be available for auction each day. Once each day is complete, a new foursome will be available. For more information, click here … Early registration for the 2017 Edmonton and Calgary consumer golf shows put on by the PGA of Alberta ends on Friday. The shows will be held March 11 and 12 at the Edmonton Expo Centre and March 25 and 26 at the BMO Centre in Calgary. For more information, click here … Last week’s GNN Poll asked readers if vandalism to golf courses is becoming more prevalent in the areas in which they work. The majority, or 57 per cent, said no, while 43 per cent said yes … This week’s poll asks if it is inevitable that Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ont., will be transformed from a golf course into housing/retail space. As of this writing, 81 per cent said yes and 19 per cent said no. You can cast your vote on the GNN home page.