Who Will Win the 81st Masters?

The Masters 2017, is shaping up to be one of the better ones in recent history. Fans are able to enjoy the battle for the coveted Green jacket. Thanks to the currently ranked number one in the world Dustin Johnson withdrawing before his tee time during the first round, it has been a thrilling experience to watch this major tournament. Millions of PGA fans were upset with the news of Johnson pulling out, as we were ready to see a battle between Johnson and University of Texas’ very own Jordan Spieth.

Johnson who has been on a very very hot streak lately would have been trying to extend his win streak. Long time fans say he reminds them of Tiger Woods in 97. Spieth has a chip on his shoulder this year. During the final round of The Masters 2016. Spieth was in first place at Amen Corner and shooting at -6 for the day. What happened next could not have been predicted. Jordan Spieth who almost had the title locked up choked. Hole 13 bogey, Hole 14 bogey, Hole 15 double bogey, hole 16 another double bogey. Needless to say Spieth has something to prove.

Coming into round 4 there are some players no one was looking for. But they out to prove they have what it takes. Tied for first is Justin Rose alongside Sergio Garcia both at (-6). Either one of these two winning is a toss up. We know that it will be close. Fun fact: Garcia has had twelve top 5 finishes in majors without a win. These two are followed by Rickie Fowler (-5) he is currently the betting man’s favorite to win, coming back after being down (+8). If he does pull off the win he will break Wood’s and Faldo’s record of most strokes behind to comeback and win (+7). Next is Spieth (-4) followed by Ryan Moore (-4) Charley Hoffman (-4) and Adam Scott (-3). The conclusion of The Masters 2017 will be intense.

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My Path to Understanging the Sport of PGA and Becoming Aware That I Am Fond of Jordan Spieth

Being assigned to follow the PGA Tour.

So in the middle of the semester during a little advertising class known as “Sports and Social Media”, we were thrown into a group project which allowed us to act like a social media team. I was hyped, thinking that I was going to cover all sorts of NFL news and such, due to me being an avid fan. That’s until I found out what I would actually be covering – golf (along with NASCAR). To my deepest dismay, all I could think about how different it was from the NFL sport and how I’ve heard how boring it was from fellow NFL fans. But of course, I had to push my feelings aside and begin this interesting journey.

The beginning of the assignment.

New to the sport, I was trying to cram in as much information as I could about golf. From reading about the types of PGA Tour “Opens”, types of clubs, well-known players, and what a birdie was, I was already starting to dread this assignment. Obviously, there was nothing to do, but to go on with my first following – the 2016 Masters.

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The 2016 Masters.

Of course, through previous research, I had found that Jordan Spieth was the previous Masters champion. Knowing this, I was sure to pay close attention to him through out the duration of the tournament. So it began. Through the many hours I’ve spent trying to catch highlights or key information, I found myself getting more and more involved into the sport. I thought to myself, “Wow. Am I actually starting to get into this?” I was digging up stats every hour I could to see who was in the lead, hoping that it would be Mr. Jordan Spieth,himself.

Finding out that I was slightly fond of Jordan Spieth.

As the Masters tournament was coming to a close, I was finding myself rooting for fellow UT alumni and previous Masters champion, Jordan Spieth. Now having slightly more knowledge about this sport was played, I began to get more interested in his run at the tournament. During the 3rd and  final round, I checked stats early on during the day, of course, Mr. Spieth lead the way. Thinking it was a done deal, I didn’t bother to check in until the end of the tournament. Then the time came, I picked up my cell phone and googled the stats. My jaw dropped – Jordan Spieth had lost the 2016 Masters tournament. Surprisingly, I was a little disappointed at his tough loss.

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What’s in the future for me and the PGA?

Finding out Danny Willet was now the reigning champion, and watching the heartbreak  of watching Jordan place the famous Masters green blazer on the new winner, I knew I was now ready to follow this guy in his young career. The assignment continued and I, as well, continued to follow other PGA tour events. Yet, I was finding myself looking to see if Jordan Spieth would be competing in the week’s event, rather it be the RBC Heritage, the Zurich Classic, or even the Valero Texas Open, since he is a fellow Texan. Of course, I’m assuming he decided to lay low after the loss, but I am excited for his return. As this assignment came to a close with the Zurich Classic, I know that I will continue to follow the sport as I have found it, with this new knowledge, very interesting. Also, with my new found fanship of Jordan Spieth. Who knows, maybe I’ll become an avid fan of the PGA and maybe discover a new golfer to be a fan off. With being a massive sports fan, the options are endless.

 

Kevin Kisner Applies for NASCAR

“Kevin Kisner” a name we all may have been hearing recently, as he’s jumped from #236 to #21 in the world of golf rankings. Yet, this time we aren’t hearing about him for his achievements on the tour, but for some shenanigans that he and his buddies pulled off that managed to get him suspended from his home course. Kevin Kisner was recently featured in a video presented by Callaway, on the channel, Vice Sports that showed he and his friends enjoying a casual day of golf at Palmetto Golf Club in South Carolina, except it wasn’t so casual. The video shows Kevin Kisner and his pals partaking in some tomfoolery which involved dollar fifty beers, lots of them and a very competitive race involving the golf carts owned by Palmetto Golf Club. Apparently the private golf club that was founded in 1892 wasn’t fond of Kisner and his friends’ antics and thus decided to suspend them from the club. Kevin Kisner decided to take his suspension to his social media outlet twitter, sending out a series of tweets where he claimed that his suspension was “pretty comical.” Well, at least in the most positive light of the Vice Sports video, sources tell us that NASCAR has contacted Kisner with some interest in adding him as a competitive driver, as they saw he was a force to reckon with in the video. Watch out Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt, Kisner is about to be in the fast lane!

Kevin Kisner Tweets:

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Link to the video: http://www.foxsports.com/golf/story/pga-tour-kevin-kisner-racing-golf-carts-suspended-042516

Written by: Daniel Romagosa (Group 6)

Supply and Demand’s Impact on Income Inequality in Golf

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This past weekend husband and wife Martin Piller and Gerina Piller showed strong performances at their PGA and LPGA tournaments.  Martin Piller placed top 10 at the Valero Texas Open and Gerina placed top five at the Swinging Skirts Open.  The power couple both brought home respectable earnings from their events, but the differentiation of these earning illustrate the wage gap of the wage gap between male and female pro golfers.

Gerina Piller brought home $117,163 this weekend, after tying for top three at her event.  Husband Martin Piller placed sixth overall and brought home $233, 740.  Even more striking is that first place at the Swinging Skirts Open played for just $300,000, while firstplace of the Valero Texas open played for $1,116,000.
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Gerina Piller has made the cut for seven events this season, placing at each of these, and has a total earnings this season of $302,832.  Martin Piller has only made the cut in three events, with two top 25 and a top 10 standing, but has a total season earnings of $296,965.

Many see the differences in incomes for men vs women pro golfers due the simple justification of supply and demand.  This argument seems logical, as PGA events draw larger audiences then LPGA events, but does that make this a sound ethical practice?

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Golf is one of the slower movers for income equality, as it is typically seen as a “man’s sport”.  The move is so slow in fact that, on average, male golfers can expect to make 83% more each year then female golfers.  This is from both event earnings as well as sponsorship earnings.  Keep in mind that this is from playing the same game, at the same skill level.  Some say that men are inherently better at the game due to strength, and it is true that men tend to drive the ball 47 yards further, on average, then women.  However women are proven to be 12% more accurate in their drives then men and shoot a GIR 5.3% higher then men.

So while the demand for PGA events might be higher, next time your tuning in, consider an LPGA for some incredible talent.

Or, at the very least, any LPGA event will move fast then a PGA event that involves Jordan Speith.

Written By: Rachel Frnka (Group 9)

Birdies & Benefits

The Valero Texas Open gives us an extra reason to love the game of golf. Once a year, since 1997, this tournament has put on a charity event known as “Birdies for Charity.” So why should we love and appreciate this? Well donors, big and small, choose an amount to donate for every birdie shot at the tournament. 100%, yes 100%, of the funds are given back to participating non-profit charities and schools. Last year, 2,103 birdies were made to contribute to the overall $2.1 million raised! So, if someone were to donate $0.01 per birdie, they would end up contributing $21.03 in the end. Donations are also happily accepted in lieu of a pledge amount.

But this isn’t the only reason we should love the Valero Texas Open. Benefit for Children also takes place just following the tournament. This project put on by Valero Energy Foundation has raised more than $100 million for children in need in the U.S. since 2002. The Valero Texas Open is the top charitable event of the PGA Tour thanks to the millions that have been earned, including the $10.4 million raised just last year at the 2015 Valero Benefit for Children.

These two events taking place this upcoming weekend are held in San Antonio, Texas. Some notable corporate partners include: Valero, Under Armour, Ford, TPC San Antonio, and the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort. Now let’s start counting birdies!

Texas Women’s Golf struggles to finish 7th at PING/ASU Invitational

The first full week of April always creates a buzz in the golf world. In the small town of Augusta, Georgia, people travel from around the world to catch a glimpse at a green jacket and collect as much apparel as their wallets allow. However, this year, the Texas Women’s golf team had some excitement of their own. The Longhorns competed in their final tournament before the postseason begins and it left them wanting more.

The women played three rounds of 18 holes over the course of three days. The Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Arizona drew some of the top teams for the PING/ASU Invitational. Competing against No. 1 UCLA, No. 3 Alabama, and No. 5 Northwestern, along with 10 other schools would be a challenge Texas would need to overcome prior to the Big 12 Championships.

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(Above: ASU Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Arizona)

         Sophomore standout Sophia Schubert shot 69-70-73 to finish tied for fourth. She led the Horns to a seventh place finish. Head coach Ryan Murphy commented on Schubert stating her “ball-striking was very solid and her putter was sharp”. The team will need to gain momentum before their upcoming tournament.

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(Above: Sophomore Sophia Schubert at the PING/ASU Invitational)

         The Longhorns will play The Dominion Country Club in San Antonio, Texas from April 22-24. This is the first tournament of the postseason Big 12 Championship. Last year the women finished seventh in the NCAA Regionals and failed to advance. Alum, Bertine Strauss, was the only player to qualify and advance to the NCAA Championship in Bradenton, Florida. The women have their work cut out for them in they hope to improve from last year.

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(Above: Bertine Strauss after competing in the NCAA Regional and advancing to the NCAA Championship)

Click here to keep up with the Texas Longhorns during their postseason tournaments.