How golf reunited a pair of World War II veterans
By John Strege
World War II veterans form an elite group, but also a diminishing one, the years methodically thinning their numbers and increasing the unlikelihood of a reunion.
"Most of them are dead," said Jules Alexander, an aerial reconnaissance photographer for the Navy during the war. "I can't call them anymore. I call to say hello and a young voice answers and I ask if this is so-and-so. 'That's my father,' they say, 'and he passed away.' It's so sad."
Alexander went on to become a professional photographer, renowned for his work in golf, which is on display in the World Golf Hall of Fame and Golf House, the United States Golf Association headquarters in Far Hills, N.J.
(Tokyo, December, 1945: Alexander is on the right end; Jurlina is second from the left)
Some of his work appeared in the Memorial magazine, the annual publication of Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament, in 2010. Joe Jurlina of Columbus, Ohio, who also was a Naval aerial reconnaissance photographer during the war, saw the photos in the magazine recently and recognized the name of the photographer.
"I figured that must be him," Jurlina said. Jules Alexander and Jurlina had served together in Guam, then in Tokyo when the war had ended.
Jurlina contacted the Muirfield Village Golf Club in an attempt to make a positive identification, even sending along the photographs shown here. The club forwarded the information to Alexander's son Carl, the Director of Golf at the Golf Club of Purchase in Purchase, N.Y.
Carl went to his father's home in nearby Rye, N.Y., and showed him the photographs. "He said, 'Yeah, that's me,'" Carl said. "He went through all the stories. It was very, very touching."
(Tokyo, December, 1945: Alexander is in the first row, second from right; Jurlina is behind him)
The two were reacquainted via a telephone call shortly after the Memorial Tournament in June.
"My dad's 87," Carl said. "He knows that there aren't that many left. It was kind of a special thing for the two to connect."
Tips for Her: Flush your fairway woods
Editor's note: Each week, Megan Padua, a teaching professional at Maidstone Club (East Hampton, N.Y.) and Belfair Plantation (Bluffton, S.C.), and one of Golf Digest's Best Young Teachers, offers tips and advice for women...Video: Jaime Diaz discusses Golf World's Newsmakers of the Year issue
Golf World's annual Newsmakers of the Year issue went out last week and on Monday, the magazine's Editor-in-Chief, Jaime Diaz, went on Golf Channel's "Morning Drive" to explain the choices. Here, Diaz talks about the top five and why Tiger Woods edged Phil Mickelson to take the top spot once again:
Diaz explains Nos. 6-15:
And finally, Diaz rounds out the top 25:
Related: Golf World's countdown of the top 25 newsmakers of 2013
Agree/disagree with any of the rankings? What story stood out for you in 2013? Let us hear your thoughts below.
How Blayne Barber's 2012 Q school experience helped him negotiate 2013
By Tim Rosaforte
From the Dec. 9 edition of Golf World Monday:
Blayne Barber and wife Morgan celebrated in Toomer's Corner the night Auburn beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Saturday night, when the Tigers beat Missouri for the SEC title, one of the most respected golfers in the Auburn Nation was in the mountains of Georgia, watching the game on TV while on a university retreat for Young Life. When the game ended, Barber tweeted, "Truly great to be an Auburn Tiger."
Barber doesn't have a major like PGA champion Jason Dufner, or the immortality of Chris Davis in Auburn lore. But perhaps he too is destined. In his own young life this 23-year-old from Lake City, Fla., has set an example by disqualifying himself from the first stage of last year's PGA Tour Q school.
Related: How Jason Dufner helped Auburn have a great season
Because he was doing what the game's code calls for, Barber deflected the widespread praise he received for his action (including text messages from Webb Simpson and Jonathan Byrd). He didn't expect good karma on the NGA Tour this past season, and he doesn't expect any quid pro quo beginning Thursday in the finals of the Web.com Tour Q school at PGA West.
"I don't think that just because I did something right would mean I'd get something good from it," Barber said from his home just off campus. "Maybe it just delayed the dreams of what I desire to do."
Coming off the Walker Cup team in 2011, Barber's dreams took him straight to the PGA Tour. What occurred on the 13th hole at Callaway Gardens last October is still uncertain in his mind. When he called a penalty on himself for clipping a leaf in a bunker, Barber figured that was the end of it. It was just the beginning.
That night Auburn teammate Michael Hebert said the infraction incurred a two-stroke penalty, not the one stroke Barber signed for on his card. For the next six days, including the two final rounds of second stage, Barber lived with that, trying to reconcile whether he actually did brush the leaf (his caddie, brother Shayne, said the leaf didn't move).
"I didn't want to make a decision based on emotion," he said, knowing that even with the proper two-stroke penalty, he would have advanced. "I was clearly frustrated by the situation. But I know what I did. I wouldn't have called a penalty on myself in the first place when nobody else saw it . . . if I didn't think it occurred. It was a matter of doing what I thought was right, protecting the integrity of the game, and my future, and also letting those six other guys in that previously didn't get in."
Among those six players to advance into the Q school's second stage and ultimately onto the Web.com Tour was Chesson Hadley. In September, Hadley won the Web.com Tour Championship while Barber was closing out his rookie-of-the- year season on the NGA Tour. He also earned over $100,000 in 10 PGA Tour and Web.com events.
"Being honest, obviously the future was unclear at that point," Barber said. "I didn't know what this year, 2013, was going to look like, but I did feel a sense of relief. So what if I didn't have my status? I was still playing golf, doing what I love, and clearly it was a fun year. I had some success and it worked out. So there wasn't a sense of fear, or worry or being bummed. It was just a sense of relief so I could move on and go to the next thing."
Related: Five historic Q school grads
Barber goes into Q school knowing the next thing for Auburn football after losing to LSU was winning out.
PGA Tour rookie stuck in traffic, decides it's a good time to hit golf balls
By Luke Kerr-Dineen
Perhaps you haven't heard of PGA Tour player John Peterson. His T-2 finish at the 2013 Web.com Tour Finals back in September was enough to earn him his first ever PGA Tour card for the 2014 season, but that pales in comparison to the idea he just came up with.
Stuck in traffic on the I-20 in West Texas, Peterson decided to brave the 21-degree weather and take his clubs out for spin, striping a few shots from the side of the road over what looks to be another road and into the trees.
Check it out, and remember: the next time you're stuck in traffic, use it as an opportunity to work on the game. It's what the pros do. Heavy hitters to speak at coaches' conventions
By Ryan HerringtonLAS VEGAS—There is no mistaking the interest level in college golf compared to the professional tours. Still, for what the collegiate game’s fanbase lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. Consider...The Most Memorable Shots Of 2013
A look back at the golf season's brilliant (and not so brilliant) moments.Gift Guide: 13 Elaborate Golf Gifts
What to get for the golfer who has everything? We've come up with 13 solutions if money is no objectTiger, Chamblee and moving time
By John Strege
It has been a long goodbye for Tiger Woods, who has been leaving the greater Los Angeles area since 1996. "From Orlando, Florida," the starter at the Greater Milwaukee Open said then, "making his professional debut, Tiger Woods." No matter that Woods hadn't stepped foot in Florida in two years, or that he had yet to own a home there.
Now he's uprooting his tournament, the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, and relocating it next year to the Orlando area, to Isleworth, the gated community in which he used to live, where his history is, well, not so memorable as it is at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, north of Los Angeles.
Woods, who has won there five times, did not make it six on Sunday, surrendering a three-stroke lead, then losing to Zach Johnson in a playoff, but he did make it exciting, as he usually does, win or lose. That's a good thing.
So is this: Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, and, apparently by extension, Golf Channel itself, are not going to temper criticism of Woods just to appease his delicate sensitivities for opinion with which he disagrees.
Recall the Chamblee-Woods feud that began when the analyst in his golf.com column gave Tiger an F grade for his 2013 season, basing it on Woods being "a little cavalier with the rules." The ensuing kerfuffle included Woods declaring the ball now in Golf Channel's court.
Related: Golf's biggest turkeys in 2013
Chamblee, meanwhile, is still employed and still opining on Woods. When Tiger followed a round of 62 on Friday with a 72 on Saturday, Chamblee said, "Thursday and Friday he is one of the best, but on the weekend you scratch your head. Yesterday he had the read and the speed on the greens. He was clinical when the rest of the field was doubtful. Today [Saturday] was a different Tiger Woods. The golf course was certainly playing harder today, but he is not the same guy on Saturday and Sunday that he is on Thursday and Friday."
For its part, Golf Channel included the quote in an email, a welcome development that suggests it hasn't muffled him. Geoff Ogilvy in a recent Golf World column wrote,"To my mind, Brandel is one of the best things on Golf Channel...I don't want him to be less insightful, whether I agree with his positions or not...I don't want him scared of any repercussions. That only diminishes his contribution to ongoing debate within the game. It scares me to think we as players might be able to change how he goes about his job."
Related: Ogilvy: Chamblee's job is to opine -- and he should be allowed to do so
Fortunately, he is going about it the way he always has. Woods lent credence to Chamblee's assessment with indifferent play that allowed Johnson to catch the greatest frontrunner in golf.
Meanwhile, the event is moving on to Florida. Can we all move on as well?
Photos: The Week in Golf Instagrams
Fred Couples sparks the Seahawks, Blaire O'Neal roots for ASU and Lindsey Vonn pulls no punches