Michael Bamberger’s 7 best things in golf right now, ranked

December 11, 2018

Every week GOLF senior writer Michael Bamberger identifies — and ranks — the absolute, undeniably, very best things in golf right now.

7. Best Event this Week in “Challenge Season” Golf

The Father-Son event, in Orlando. That is, the PNC Father/Son Challenge. It’s a wildly inaccurate name. Jack Nicklaus is playing with his grandson, G.T. Bernhard Langer is playing with his daughter, Jackie. Jim Furyk is playing with his father, Mike. Son/Father Challenge in that case, if the idea is to have the headliner first. But the point here is you really get a chance to see legends — Lee Trevino, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo — not only make meaningful swings but do some meaningful coaching, too. It’s a fun event.

6. Best Odd Off-Course Visual at a Major, 2018

Joey Diovisalvi, Tour fitness coach, and his star student, Dustin Johnson, walking through Carnoustie, Scotland, early one evening, with Johnson carrying a fresh pie from Titanic Pizza. Nice people there, not a great pie.

5. Best Event Last Week in “Challenge Season” Golf

The QBE Shootout, with your host, Greg Norman! Suddenly this guy is everywhere. The world may not long remember that the event was won by the two-person team of Patton Kizzire and Brian Harmon. More memorable will be Lexi Thompson’s third appearance in the event. She was the only woman in the field and everybody played from the same tees and Thompson’s driving distance was right in range. There were 12 teams in the field and Thompson and her partner, Tony Finau, finished seventh. A re-launch of a joint PGA Tour-LPGA event is in the works. It doesn’t need to be a “Challenge Season” event.

Lexi Thompson's titanic tee shots turned heads last week.
Lexi Thompson’s titanic tee shots turned heads last week.

4. Best Reason to Still Have a Copy Desk

The photo below, taken in connection to George Bush’s funeral last week, appeared in the Fort Stockton (Texas) Pioneer with this caption: “Left to right: Paul Marschand, Ben Crenshaw, Tim Finchem, Freddie Couples, Blaine McCallister, Brad Faxon, Jim Nantz, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Albert Pujols, Chris Everett, Mike Kryzyzewski, Hale Irwin, Peyton Manning, Tony Larussa, Next guy is PGA Pro from Mass. Where the President was a member and Pam Shriver.”

As they say in tennis when the ball goes rolling one court over, “Little help, please.”

It’s Paul Marchand, no “s”, former head pro at the Houston Country Club, where 41 was a longtime member.

It’s Chris Evert — lose one “e” and one “t” — the tennis legend and Greg Norman’s former wife.

It’s Mike Krzyzewski (never easy, but Google knows and John Feinstein does, too).

It’s Tony La Russa, per his plaque in Cooperstown.

As for “PGA Pro from Mass. Where the President was a member.” The man is Ken Raynor, the longtime pro at Cape Arundel, in Kennebunkport, Maine, who logged many of high-speed rounds with 41.

Some of the biggest names in the golf world came to Washington D.C. to pay respect to George H.W. Bush
Courtesy of The Fort Stockton Pioneer

3. Best Sentence on the Cape Arundel Golf Club Website

Is this: “Our private club, which welcomes public play, is known for its beauty along the shores of Kennebunkport, Maine.” There are scores of private seaside courses in Great Britain that would say about the same thing. Golf is way better, that way.

2. Best Golf Moment in “Instant Family”

“Instant Family” is a wonderful family movie (in every sense) starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne as a husband and wife who become foster parents. But before that happens, they’re happy golf partners, shown attempting some long-range putts with the flagstick in. In a few weeks, that will be legal way beyond Hollywood and golf will be modestly better, or at least faster. Wahlberg, by the way, can break 80 at Riviera, regularly, and is a speed-golf king.

1. Best New Golf Book

The Rules of Golf for 2019. You can download the whole thing for free. As the marketing geniuses behind MAD Magazine would have it, “CHEAP.”

Michael Bamberger may be reached at [email protected].