Off The Fringe Arnie’s Green Jacket

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Palmer’s Green Jacket
A former employee of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters, was arrested for stealing merchandise including Arnold Palmer’s first green jacket from 1958. The merchandise was stolen over a period of 13 years in a plot run by the warehouse manager. Palmer had several green jackets from his four Masters wins and as a club member.

Sign of the Times
Topgolf, the largest golf entertainment company with 2023 sales of $1.76 billion is owned by Topgolf Callaway Brands, and has scheduled the opening of the 100th worldwide location in suburban Los Angeles joining their 90 other centers in the U.S.

In contrast to Topgolf’s outdoor venues Five Iron Golf, with 26 locations specializes in urban indoor simulator golf and just received another round of funding for further expansion from Danny Meyer, founder of Shake Shack. Topgolf Callaway Brands and PGA Tour Superstore also have minority positions. PopStroke Golf, whose investors include TaylorMade Golf and Tiger Woods, has a catchy slogan “Eat. Putt. Drink.” and opens the 13th mini golf course this month.

The point of this number exercise is to show how off-course golf is growing quickly having already passed on-course golf play and more than doubling the number of participants in nine years.

Korda takes Chevron
Nellie Korda with the Chevron Championship becomes a member of a very exclusive club, those with five wins in a row on the LPGA Tour and joins Annika Sorenstam who accomplished the feat in over the 2004-2005 seasons. Nancy Lopez did it in her rookie year 1978 when she had nine wins total including the LPGA Championship. Korda’s win pushes her season’s earnings to $2.4 million and $11.4 million lifetime.

Scottie’s Win
Scottie Scheffler’s recent performance is winning accolades from many and apart from the over-the-top descriptions of the young Texan some of the hyperbole may actually be true. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the year goes since he and his wife Meredith is expecting the birth of their first child. Anyone who has children knows it is a life altering event.

U.S. Open Tops 10,000
Qualifying began this week for the U.S. Open at 109 venues in 44 states and Canada. This year the championship returns to Pinehurst No. 2 starting June 13. Entries topped 10,000 for the third time at 10,052 just short of last year’s record of 10,187 and 10,127 in 2014 when play was last at Pinehurst. In case you’re interested, to get into the first stage qualifier you need to be a professional or have a Handicap Index of 0.4 or better. The 156-man field will compete for the championship with Wyndham Clark defending and Scottie Scheffler right now being quoted as the favorite at 5 to 1.

Ed Travis

Ed Travis is a national award winning golf journalist and has carried on a lifelong love affair with the game. His work covering the business of golf, equipment, golf personalities and travel is regularly seen in numerous print and electronic publications. He has competed in tournament golf both as an amateur and senior professional and though his competitive days are behind him, Travis still plays regularly. He and his wife live on a water hazard in suburban Orlando.

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