Truth and Rumors: With earthquake on his mind, Japan's Ishikawa shoots 65

As Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa deliberated over club selections and putting lines Thursday at the soggy WGC event at Doral, he had a far graver matter weighing on him: the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami that struck his homeland, killing hundreds. Ishikawa read of the devastation on his computer early Friday morning before finishing his weather-delayed first round, yet still managed to card a sterling seven-under-par 65, good for second place.

“If you can imagine, it's beyond being a distraction for me,” Ishikawa said after his round. “I'm worried for the whole country of Japan. The fact that I was finally able to communicate with my parents [who live in the Tokyo area] did help me feel so much better. I just tried focus, but it is a battle out there for me.

"It is not possible to block something of this magnitude out completely," he added. "But I understand that in the position that I am, together with the other star athletes from Japan and other sporting areas, we can provide encouragement and hope for the people of Japan by myself doing the job."

Government bailout of Tour event is imminent D-day is fast approaching for the PGA Tour’s popular stop in Hilton Head, S.C. The event has been scrambling to find a title sponsor in the wake of Verizon’s withdrawal, and if that doesn’t happen soon, state legislators plan to take a dramatic step: a government bailout, according to Seanna Adcox at Bloomberg Businessweek:

A bill put on hold for debate on the House floor until at least March 29 is designed to save the springtime tradition, if that becomes necessary. The so-called skeleton bill has no details.

"The options are wide open," said its sponsor, GOP Rep. Bill Herbkersman of nearby Bluffton. "It's up on deck waiting."

Such a proposal would face stiff opposition from newly elected Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, who last year, as a gubernatorial candidate, railed against the prospect of loaning the Harbour Town tournament $10 million from the state's insurance reserve fund, “calling it a golf course bailout akin to federal government bailouts of car companies and banks.”

"The governor loves the Heritage, understands how critical it is to our economy, and is very focused on finding a sponsor. But let's be clear: Under no circumstances should the taxpayers of South Carolina front the costs of a golf tournament," said her spokesman Rob Godfrey.

Perhaps that should be left to the taxpayers to decide.

According to a Clemson University study commissioned by the tournament, it brings more than $80 million to the state in spectators' spending, jobs and other revenue, with more than 70 percent of spectators living outside Beaufort County.

The case for a Tour event in Detroit In more encouraging tournament news, it seems historic Detroit Golf Club is in line to land a Cadillac-sponsored Tour event, which would be a boon to a city desperately in need of a lift. Having visited DGC last year, I can attest to the site’s credibility; it has two stellar Donald Ross courses, a stunning red brick clubhouse, and even its very own putter boy (below). The club also has as avid a membership as you could hope to find, a point noted by Carlos Monarrex in the Detroit Free Press:

DGC But mostly, there is the club’s members: a fervent bunch of low-handicap golf nuts whose blood almost bleeds green. The club hosts a whopping 52 tournaments each year.

“I mean, we’re golf junkies,” said Todd Beals, the club’s chief operating officer. “We’re not Detroit Country Club. We’re Detroit Golf Club.”

Beals did not specifically discuss the possibility of the club hosting a Cadillac-sponsored tournament. But when he spoke about possibly hosting any PGA Tour event, he said, “It would be like an Elvis fan going to Graceland for our membership to have an event here.”

Coming to a spa near you: the golf-ball massage First came oily hands. Then hot stones. And now ... golf balls? Yep, thanks to a new device invented by California massage therapist Heather Karr, masseuses can now loosen up their clients with a Titliest.

Massage The idea of using a golf ball as a massage tool came about when a client asked her to use it on his back for deep-tissue massage. It was effective, she said, but after a while started to hurt her hand.

"The final design, which is made of hard plastic, allows the ball to roll around inside if you push lightly. If you push hard, the ball doesn't move, and you get really deep work. You can also move it in circles for cross-fiber work."

“Work the calve, please, Charlene. Nice. O.K., now a little to the right. Wait, is that a two-piece ball? I asked for the three-piece!”

At the end of November, Karr and her SPAball Kaddy were featured on an episode of the TV show "The Doctors" and since then, she says, sales of her products have taken off.

What’s next? The Srixon Spa?

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