Peyton Jones Feature

By Rick Woelfel

Originally published in Bucks County Courier Times 1-26-17

 

Peyton Jones’s first season at Penn State was supposed to be a season of transition, a time to adjust to being in college and being a collegiate goaltender. Things didn’t turn out quite that way for the Holy Ghost Prep graduate.

“Probably in March, Coach (Guy) Gadowsky called me,” Jones recalled. “He said ‘Don’t release this to anyone yet, but I just wanted you to know before you saw something on the Internet “

Veteran goalie Eamon McAdam, a Perkasie native, had opted to pass up his final season of collegiate eligibility to sign with the New York Islanders. The opening created an opening for Jones who is now the Nittany Lions’s starter in goal.

He and his teammates, including sophomore defenseman Kevin Kerr, another Holy Ghost Prep graduate, will take the ice at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday night against Princeton in the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff. Game time is 7:00.

Jones, who played two seasons with the Lincoln (Nebraska) Stars in the USHL before coming to Penn State, has had an impressive freshman season. In 19 appearances, all starts, he has put together a 2.30 goals-against average with a save percentage of .908 while helping Penn State to a 16-3-2 record. The Nittany Lions are ranked fourth in the country in this week’s USCHO rankings after being ranked number one last week. They are 5-2-1 in the Big Ten.

“I just try to go every night out and focus on doing one and one job only,” Jones said, “and that’s stop the puck and not let anything get in the way of me doing that.”

Jones has grown since he left Holy Ghost Prep. He’s listed on the roster at 6-4 and 210 pounds. But while his size is an asset, so is his demeanor. To put it mildly, goaltenders as a group tend to show their emotions rather openly, but Gadowsky praises Jones for his well-honed ability to control his emotions.

“He’s never really acted like a freshman,” Gadowsky said, “at all. In fact, his demeanor when things get frantic is very mature, very senior like. He’s obviously and extremely gifted athlete but I think is best quality is just how calm his head is and how even keel he is. In high emotional times, positive or negative, he’s very even keeled, very calm and I think that’s really the most impressive thing about him.”

To be sure, Jones had to make some on-ice adjustments when he arrived at Penn State. Opposing players are bigger, stronger, and older, since most have played a year or two of junior hockey before enrolling in college. And they are mature as hockey players.

“Everyone in the NCAA is definitely a lot stronger,” Jones said. There are definitely bigger guys. Guys are stronger and they’re much better with their sticks in front of the net. I’d say the game is a little bit faster, especially Big Ten play.”

Jones is looking forwarded to playing in front of friends and family Saturday night. “It’s going to be awesome,” he said. “I’m pretty fortunate, my family gets to come up and watch nearly all my games at Penn State …. (But) I have aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents who haven’t really been up to watch me play live so that will give them an opportunity to do that. I have a lot of friends back home.”

 

 

Women’s Golf Report Returns

Women’s Golf Report has returned in podcast form. The inaugural edition,  featuring host Rick Woelfel and his guest, LPGA T&CP professional Cindy Miller is now available at the following link

http://www.buzzsprout.com/64464

 

Over the course of the program, which runs 16:15, the pair discuss a number of golf-related topics, including things golfers can work on  during the winter month s well as steps newcomers can take to have a  good experience with the game, regardless of what they shoot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Has the NFL Hit a Wall?

 

By Rick Woelfel

 

For going on half a century, the National Football League has sat atop the pyramid as America’s most popular sport. But as the end of the 2016 approaches this weekend, the NFL does not have the allure it once did. TV ratings are down and there are indications the league’s popularity has plateaued.

The situation must be addressed; there are a lot of dollars at stake. The current network TV contract (involving CBS, NBC, ESPN, and FOX) runs through the 2022 season. The parties involved paid big dollars for those TV rights and in the hopes of attracting advertising dollars along with having a ready-made platform to promote their other programming.

For decades, the networks operated under the notion that there was in insatiable appetite for  pro football. But it appears a saturation point may have been reached.

In a typical weekend there are no fewer than five television windows; three on Sunday, one on Monday night, and one on Thursday night. And in the final weeks of the season there are games on Saturdays, although admittedly last weekend was an exception because of the Christmas holiday.

The bottom line is there is a lot of pro football available on TV, some would say too much. In our view the expanded television schedule is having a negative impact on the product on the field. If I were put in charge of restoring some of the lost luster of the NFL on television, here are some steps I would take ASAP.

Eliminate the Thursday games, save for Opening Night and Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving games are a tradition and that’s great; I’m a traditionalist at heart. And having a stand-alone season opener makes sense. But additional Thursday games are unnecessary and at create additional risks for the players. Playing a game on Sunday or Sunday night and then being asked to do the same thing four days later is unfair to the ticket-buying public, which gets a substandard product but most of all its unfair to the players, who are putting their bodies on the line every week. Dropping the Thursday schedule would also mean additional out-of-market/regional matchups would be available for airing on Sunday. And perhaps those Thursday-only uniforms would go away as well.

Start Sunday and Monday night games no later than 8:00 Eastern Time. That means kicking off at that hour. You want fans on the East Coast to be awake at the finish, correct?

Reduce the commercial load during the actual game. If that means extending halftime beyond the current 12 minutes, that’s fine. Viewers get frustrated when a score is followed by a commercial, which is followed by a kickoff, which is followed by a commercial.

Extend the natural break between quarters perhaps or lengthen halftime. But presently most games have little flow to them. And with the coming of the postseason and additional commercial loads, it’s only going to get worse.

 

There are other factors that contribute to the fact that the product the NFL puts on the field isn’t as scintillating as perhaps it could be. The fact that the starters play so little in preseason and go through so few contract drills (because of CBA stipulations) factors into all this. But that’s a discussion for another time and place.

The NFL remains America’s most popular sporting institution. But unless changes are made it may soon find itself at a tipping point.

 

 

Central Bucks West Bests Souderton 6-1 in SHSHL Matchup

By Rick Woelfel

HATFIELD— A fast start gives a hockey team a lot of momentum. And Central Bucks West had all the momentum Friday night. Joey Rokovich scored a pair of first-period goals and the Bucks went on to a 6-1 win over Souderton in a SHSHL Continental matchup at Hatfield Ice.

The win left the Bucks (7-0) as the only unbeaten team in the SHSHL’s Class AA bracket.

Rokovich made his presence felt early on. The junior found open ice on the left wing and beat Souderton goaltender Joshua Smith just two minutes after the opening faceoff. His second goal came just 2 minutes, 10 seconds later off a left-wing faceoff in the Souderton defensive zone.

“It felt real good,” Rokovich said. “They’re a good team so it was good to get those two in quick. We just got off to a good start.”

That was all the scoring the first frame but Dalton Karl found the back of the net for the Bucks just 31 seconds into the second. Tucker Forte made it a 4-0 game at the 4:53 mark. All evening long West seemed to have an abundance of open ice to work in.

Souderton (4-3-1, 4-2-1 in the league), which had a four-game unbeaten streak snapped, seemed to have trouble keeping up. “We had zero emotion,” said Souderton coach Matt Montagna. “And honestly, they got a good old fashioned whupping. They got beat. West had balance and they had better matchups all night.”

West coach Dave Baun applauded his team’s workmanlike effort. “We try to have everybody involved in the offense,” he said. “We try to move the puck up the ice well.The plays are orchestrated. The players are going where they’re supposed to be. It takes less time when you know where your guy’s going to be.”

Karl scored his second goal of the game 1:25 into the third period before Gabe Evans got the Big Red on the scoreboard by beating Jeremy Kennard with a rocket from the right wing with 4:18 left in the game. Shawn Philipps finished the scoring for the Bucks with 3:13 remaining.

Kennard took over the third period for Jonah Brous, who stopped 21 shots. Kennard turned away eight in the final frame.

“When (Kennard) went in the game the kids were just cheering for him,” Baun said. “Those types of things make a difference to a coach, when the kids are all pulling for one another.”
Notes: Karl had two assists to go with his two goals. All seven goals in the game came with the teams at full strength.
Souderton 0 0 1—1
C.B. West 2. 2 2—6
First-period goals: Joey Rokovich (CBW) from Jack Boland, 2:00; Rokovich (CBW) unassisted, 4:10.
Second-period goals: Dalton Karl (CBW) unassisted, :31; Tucker Forte (CBW) from Shawn Philipps and Karl, 4:53.
Third-period goals: Karl (CBW) from Forte, 1:25; Gabe Evans (S) from Joshua Reeves, 11:42; Philipps (CBW) from Forte and Karl, 12:47.
Shots: Souderton 30, C.B. West 37; Saves: Joshua Smith (S) 31; Jonah Brous (CBW) 21 and Jeremy Kennard (CBW) 8.
Records: Souderton (4-3-1, 4-2-1 SHSHL Continental Division); Central Bucks West (7-0 overall and in the division)

LPGA Adds Senior Championship

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., December 13, 2016 – The LPGA Tour announced today the first-ever Senior LPGA Championship, which will be contested July 10-12, 2017 at The Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort in Indiana. The Tour has reached a multi-year deal to both host the tournament and have it televised live on Golf Channel.

The field of 81 players will feature a collection of past greats in the women’s game including LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame members, current LPGA members and major champions over the age of 45. The 54-hole event will feature a total purse of $600,000. There will be no cut.

The Senior LPGA Championship comes on the heels of the February announcement by the USGA of the creation of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship, which will begin in 2018 at Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, Ill.

“This is a landmark event for the LPGA because it provides a larger platform to celebrate the legends of the game,” said Mike Whan, LPGA Commissioner. “With the USGA’s recently announced U.S. Senior Women’s Open and now our event, the women who forged the way for the current generation will now have two major championships each year.”

The inaugural Senior LPGA Championship will take place Monday-Wednesday. The Pete Dye Course is no stranger to hosting premier tournaments including the 2015 Senior PGA Championship, the Big Ten Men’s and Women’s Championship from 2012-2014 and the 2010 PGA Professionals National Championship. It has also hosted a Legends Tour event since 2013.

“French Lick is proud to host such a prestigious event,” said Steve Ferguson, Chairman of the Board of the Cook Group, owners of the French Lick Resort. “We have long supported women’s golf and to now be part of the first major championship for senior women is indeed an honor. We look forward to a great relationship with the LPGA and an outstanding Championship.”

“French Lick has been such a tremendous supporter of women’s golf and we are excited that they have chosen the Senior LPGA Championship as their next big showcase,” said seven-time LPGA Tour winner Michelle McGann. “The Pete Dye Course is both beautiful and challenging and I look forward to returning this summer to compete again.”

A week-long celebration of women’s golf will begin the weekend prior to the Senior LPGA Championship with a new Symetra Tour event on The Donald Ross Course at French Lick Resort from Friday-Sunday, July 7-9. The Symetra Tour’s 54-hole tournament will have a purse of $200,000 and a winner’s payout of $30,000.

The Senior LPGA Championship will host pro-ams on Friday, July 7 and Saturday, July 8 on the Pete Dye Course. For more information on playing in the pro-am with an LPGA legend, sponsorship, to volunteer or other information contact seniorlpga@frenchlick.com.

So You Want to Play Golf Makes a Great Gift for the Golfer on Your List

Golf can be a challenging and intimidating game for a newcomer. How to Play Golf was published with the new or returning golfer in mind.

My co-author Kim Verrecchio and I published the book in May of this year as a way of bringing new players into the sport and encouraging people who might have played the game in the past to give it another try.

The book covers the basics of the game; the grip and the stance, as well as tips on hitting various types of shots. It also addresses other issues, including, but not limited to what goes on at a golf course, how to buy equipment, and how to take a lesson. We also included a historical section with some notes about some of the greatest players in history (10 PGA Tour players and 10 LPGA Tour players).

In short, it is a non-threatening introduction to this great game that we all love so much.

Kim has had a long career as a PGA of America professional and is committed to bringing new people into the game. The book is written in her voice and really conveys her passion for the game and her profession.

The book is available on line through amazon.com, through CreateSpace at CreateSpace.com or digitally through Kindle. It lists for $15 in print (plus tax and shipping) and $4.99 on Kindle.nt to Play Golf, PGA We do however a discount available for golf professionals and apprentices that wish to order copies in bulk for their members/customers (minimum 10 copies).

So You Want to Play Golf makes a great holiday gift for the golfer on your list. We cordially invite you to check it out.

 

 

LPGA Q-School Final Day

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA, December 4, 2016 – Jaye Marie Green (Boca Raton, Florida) buried a 20-footer on the 90th hole to earn medalist honors at Final Stage of LPGA Qualifying Tournament with a five-day score of 13-under, 347. Green carded a 2-over, 74 on Sunday to win by one shot over Olafia Kristinsdottir (Reykjavik, Iceland) to earn full LPGA Tour status.

While three of the top four finishers are from the USA, a total of 13 different countries (USA, Iceland, Korea, Taiwan, Denmark, Canada, England, Spain, Israel, Sweden, Philippines, Japan and Thailand) are represented amongst the players that finished in the top 20 to earn category 12 status on the LPGA Tour for 2017. Further, four teenagers finished in the top 20 (Nasa Hataoka, Maria Parra, Angel Yin and Ssu Chia Cheng).

Green, who also won Final Stage of LPGA Qualifying Tournament in 2013 with a record score of 29-under, is the first player since the event moved to Daytona Beach in 1991 to win Final Stage twice.

“I feel really good about it and the weeks leading up I wasn’t really that nervous which is weird,” said Green. “I was really laid back this week and I felt like I was picking up where I left off from three years ago.”

Green and Kristinsdottir were tied heading to the 18th hole and Green made a bet with her brother and caddy, Matt, in the fairway. The stakes were simple. If they made birdie and won, Jaye would pay Matt $1,000.

“I definitely wanted to win, I think that was a good goal for me,” said Green. “I did not play well so to have a putt to win was great. I felt like a kid on the putting green thinking about a putt to win and I got that oh my gosh feeling. When I saw it going dead center I was like ‘oh my gosh’ I did it and I had to fist pump when I never do. I think he is more excited about the $1,000 than the fact that I am going to the LPGA.”

Green, who finished 112th on the LPGA money list this year, said that this result will give her renewed confidence into 2017.

“I couldn’t really find the reason why I needed to go back to Q-School,” said Green about her lack of confidence. “I knew I had to play well to get my card and now I know that I can make a putt to win so there are a lot of positives to take away. Now I know I can play well under the gun. Going into next year, I have this experience to draw on.”

Kristinsdottir, who had the largest galleries all week of Icelanders, carded a 1-over, 73 to earn a spot on the LPGA.

“It is a relief being done with the round and I’m so happy and really happy to be Icelandic,” said Kristinsdottir. “There are so many people out here and this is so awesome, I can’t even describe it.”

Kristinsdottir played college golf at Wake Forest and was a rookie on the Ladies European Tour in 2016.

“Since I was a kid, I dreamed of reaching this level and now I have,” said Kristinsdottir, who will be the first player from Iceland on the LPGA. “It’s just incredible.”

When asked what Americans should know about golf in Iceland, Kristinsdottir talked about the Arctic Open, a famous tournament that starts at midnight in the summer.

“Everybody should come and play, it is awesome and really popular,” said Kristinsdottir. “We have like 65 golf courses in Iceland and we’re always ready for more tourists.”

Angel Yin (Arcadia, Calif.) and Sadena Parks (Scottsdale, Ariz.) finished in a tie for third at 11-under, 349. JeongEun Lee (Seoul, South Korea) finished fifth at 10-under, 350.

Pavarisa Yoktuan (Nakhonsrithammarat, Thailand) and Karen Chung (Livingston, N.J.) tied for 19th at 4-under, 356 to earn LPGA status. There was no playoff for the final spots in category 12.

There will be 31 rookies on the LPGA Tour next year: Aditi Ashok, Brittany Benvenuto, Celine Boutier, Nicole Broch Larsen, Hannah Burke, Karen Chung, Jenny Coleman, Emily Collins, Daniela Darquea, Regan De Guzman, Justine Dreher, Allyssa Ferrell, Jennifer Ha, Nasa Hataoka, Caroline Inglis, Augusta James, Lauren Kim, Min-G Kim, Olafia Kristinsdottir, Bronte Law, Maria Parra, Emily Pedersen, Katherine Perry, Krista Puisite, Mel Reid, Madeleine Sheils, Mariah Stackhouse, Jessy Tang, Emily Tubert, Britney Yada and Angel Yin.