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19th Hole

What the heck were these golfers doing? The photographer explains.

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Perhaps, you’ve seen the photo floating around social media the past couple of days. An extreme example of the #alwaysbegolfing mindset: a group of golfers play on, seemingly unfazed, as a volcano spews ash in the distance.

At the aptly named Volcano Golf and Country Club in Hawaii, photographer Mario Tama captured the incredible image above, Tuesday.

While the photo is pretty unreal. Some questions pop immediately to mind: How close is the volcano? Was this reckless, or was the course full and was nobody in any real danger

Fortunately, Jaclyn Reiss of the Boston Globe tracked down the photographer for a chat.

The Los Angeles-based Getty Images staff photographer told the Globe that he was trolling Hawaii’s Big Island for a good spot to get photos of the volcanic activity.

“We went up there and I wasn’t really expecting to see anyone golfing. I figured it would be empty…Shortly after I got there, the plume started kicking up pretty strongly.”

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, HI – MAY 15: A man drives a golf cart at a golf course as an ash plume rises in the distance from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island on May 15, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. The U.S. Geological Survey said a recent lowering of the lava lake at the volcano’s Halemaumau crater Òhas raised the potential for explosive eruptionsÓ at the volcano. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

While some golfers abandoned the course accordingly, not this group.

“I was trying to get that shot, and as I was shooting, I heard these guys call out to me that I was in the way of their game and could I step aside…They were very gracious about it. Obviously, it didn’t occur to me that I was impeding on someone’s game. So I walked over to the left and got some shots of them as they were teeing off.”

Apparently, though, the golfers weren’t in any danger.

“There was no seismic activity — the ground wasn’t shaking, there was no noise,” he said. “The way the wind was blowing, the plume was going away from [the] golf course. It wasn’t hazardous to breathe. If it was over the golf course, everyone would’ve left.”

While ash was spewing as high as 12,000 feet in the air, it wasn’t blowing toward the golf course, and the lava eruptions were 25 miles away.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Brett Weir

    May 18, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    When in Rome…

  2. Jamie

    May 18, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    Problem #376 of what is wrong with American society: Rampant gawking and trying to make those who don’t gawk appear to be crazy. FFS.

  3. nyguy

    May 17, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    I thinks it’s silly to question what the golfers are doing, so much dramatics. What about all the people behind them just doing nothing.

  4. DaveyD

    May 17, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    You gotta have a hobby. Why not golf?

  5. 2putttom

    May 17, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    whole new meaning to the word “fore”

    • Peter X Green

      May 17, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      Pyroclastic flow is a fast-moving current of hot gas and volcanic matter that moves away from a volcano reaching speeds of up to 700 km/h… which is somewhat faster than a golf cart.

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19th Hole

“Congratulations” to Brooks Koepka, and “thank you” to Tiger Woods

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In much the same way that Paul Casey’s breakthrough victory at the Valspar Championship earlier this year was, Brooks Koepka’s convincing triumph (and second major win this year) will be overshadowed by Tiger Woods’ bona fide contention in a major golf tournament.

Yes, Woods’ detractors will howl about Koepka not being given his due…about how the unflappable Floridan once again got the job done with a host of challengers bringing the heat amid the, well, sweltering St. Louis heat.

Koepka deserves all the credit in the world, and laurels ought to be heaped upon the bow-wristed-backswinging masher of the golf ball. However, the reality among most golf fans and 99 percent of general sports fans is that the faithful were hoping to see Woods’ first major victory in a decade. In his post round press conference, Koepka himself said, “Other than me, my team, everybody was rooting for Tiger… as they should.”

It doesn’t take anything away from Koepka’s win to acknowledge that the gravitational pull, of what was surely record viewership, was for a Woods’ victory. If anything, it’s another feather in Koepka’s Nike golf cap to (to mix metaphors) have paddled against that current successfully.

Starting the day four strokes ahead of Woods, it was always going to take a Koepka collapse at eminently gettable Bellerive. That didn’t happen, and from the seventh hole on BK was a veritable golfing colossus, pounding his drives down the fairway, hitting all but a handful of greens in regulation, and playing his final 12 holes in 5 under par.

On a day where the likes of Adam Scott, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, and Rickie Fowler all faltered to one degree or another, Woods reversed his own 2018 trend of fading on the weekend with an inspired 6-under 64. Fans are right to be excited.

Inspired, the final round was, in vintage Woodsian ways: the man didn’t hit a fairway on the front nine and managed to go out in 3-under. Sure, he was the beneficiary of the favor of the golf gods and the trampled grass of the swelling galleries, but artistry like this towering hook at the ninth was a joy to watch.

Then, of course, for all the difficulty Woods had off the tee (both with driver and irons), he was masterful in carving approach shots toward Kerry Haigh’s attempted tucked pins. Consider this shot at the 15th.

Tiger Woods firing a 64 in a major on Sunday in the year 2018…at 42…after spinal fusion and wandering out of a personal abyss…was impressive. Indeed, today was a day most (even Tiger himself) doubted would ever come. Better writers than I can debate how many rungs below Ben Hogan’s comeback this is on the ladder of achievement.

More than its impressiveness, however, Woods’ Sunday charge at Bellerive was just plain fun to watch, wasn’t it? He stirred the echoes of the Tiger Woods of the early 2000 and mid 2000s. He showed that, should his back continue to hold up, he will contend in majors for, what, at least the next five years?

And if you like that sort of thing, you know, seeing one of the greatest of all time at the top of his game, you have to say, “Thank you, Tiger,” for taking the long, difficult, and often dark road back to serious contention in a major championship.

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19th Hole

This company made a putter out of a Notre Dame Stadium bleacher

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Call the leprechaun and fire up the Band of the Fighting Irish for the “Notre Dame Victory March,” here’s a putter even Knute Rockne would have approved of.

Members of the infamous (well, significantly less infamous than many other subreddits) r/Golf subreddit, the Bradley Putter Company posted the incredible flatstick below with caption.

“We made a putter out of an old Notre Dame Stadium bleacher. Our client found the wood online and sent it to us. We stabilized the wood for durability, protected the “15” seat number under a layer of acrylic, added internal weights to bring it to 350 grams, and face balanced it for true playability.”

If you aren’t familiar with Bradley Putters’ handiwork, the company was started in 2016 by Bradley Converse (obviously, he couldn’t call it Converse Putters), and, well, here are the basics from the company website…

“I got the idea to build golf putters out of burl wood. I called my friend Greg Dahl at Oregonburls.com, acquired some Olive burl, and made two prototypes. Within one week of the idea, I had putters in golfers’ hands. They loved the feel, and I knew we were on track. We don’t use any CNC machines, only saws, sanders, and a drill press. Our decades of experience with engineering and woodworking ensure tight tolerances and deadly accurate putters.”

Well played, Bradley, well played.

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19th Hole

Greg Norman’s watches (and the stories behind them) are incredible

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Following in Jack Nicklaus’ footsteps, Greg Norman chatted with Jon Beus, Senior Editor at Hodinkee, about his watch collection (and unlike Nicklaus, Norman has not worn the same Rolex for 50 years).

Norman tells Hodinkee he was one of the first golfers in the modern era to wear a watch during play. Ebel approached Norman and and asked him if he’d be interested in wearing a watch on the golf course. Norman “thought about it long and hard,” and decided to go ahead. He tried metal bands, leather bands, and even different color faces to see what he was most comfortable playing golf in.

Interestingly he chose a dark face that isn’t very reflective, saving him from the glare of the afternoon sun. Norman says that when he wore a watch on his left wrist with a more reflective face, it distracted him during his putting, so he opted instead for a flatter look and wearing the watch on his right wrist. Norman also says when he tried a metal band on his left wrist, it interfered with his action through impact.

For watch junkies, the rest of what Norman has to say and the tour of his collection is must-see stuff.

Bues asked Norman a couple of non-watch questions that will be of interest, including asking the two-time major champion how he got started in the game.

“I was…bored one day down in Brisbane, going on my 16th birthday, and I went out and caddied for my mother. My mother at that time was a really good player, she was a three handicap. When she went in for a cup of tea with her friends, I took her golf clubs out..played out and back, out and back…four holes…[and I] got hooked.”

Norman mentions his won his first professional tournament less than five years from that initial experience with his mother’s golf clubs. He also talks through how he learned the game–relying heavily on Jack Nicklaus’ Golf My Way.

It a great interview and one which–if you like golf and watches, at least–you’d like to have seen be 10 times longer.

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19th Hole

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