Catching up with the golf scene while hoping to find a new putting stroke under the Christmas tree:
• Brendon de Jonge was recently named sportsperson of the year in his native Zimbabwe, a significant honor for the 32-year-old golfer.
De Jonge was recognized for his performance in 2012 when he won more than $2 million on the PGA Tour with four top-10 finishes. His best stretch came late in the season when he finished second at the Justin Timberlake Shriner’s Hospital for Children Classic, then tied for fourth in consecutive weeks at the McGladrey Classic and the CIMB Classic.
“It was definitely an unexpected surprise,” said de Jonge, whose parents attended the ceremony in Zimbabwe. “It’s really pretty cool.”
Now ranked 83rd in the world, de Jonge was the PGA Tour’s birdie machine this season, holing a tour-best 425 birdies while making the cut in 27 of 31 starts.
“This was my most consistent year to date, and that’s a big thing for me,” de Jonge said. “It’s nice being labeled a birdie machine but I still haven’t won, so I still need to tighten it up a little bit.”
• The Chiquita Classic will have a new home next year. The Web.com event will move from the Club at Longview where it was played in September.
There has been no official announcement on its new venue, but tournament officials have had discussions with several clubs and expect to make an announcement early next year. The tournament, part of the expanded Web.com playoffs next year, will remain in the Charlotte area.
• The Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn will return in 2013, landing an October date on the Champions Tour schedule. It will be played Oct. 14-20, the week after the SAS Championship in Raleigh and two weeks before the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup championship.
• Quail Hollow’s famous “Green Mile” isn’t losing its bite.
The three finishing holes ranked as the second-toughest finish on the PGA Tour this year behind only the closing stretch at Muirfield Village Golf Club, site of the Memorial Tournament. East Lake Golf Club and Augusta National ranked third and fourth, respectively, in the toughest-finish stats.
Quail Hollow, which underwent several changes over the summer including the creation of a new green at the short par-4 eighth hole, is expected to change from bent grass to Bermuda-grass greens next summer. The 16th and 17th holes also will be redesigned.
Two other interesting statistical trends at Quail Hollow and the Wells Fargo Championship: It had the third-toughest fairways to hit on the PGA Tour (the Olympic Club, which hosted the U.S. Open was first), and Quail Hollow produced the most three-putts from inside 5 feet on the tour.
• The men’s and women’s U.S. Opens at Pinehurst in 2014 are looking for volunteers. The job requires a minimum of four working shifts of five to six hours over one or both tournament weeks. For more information, go to https://2014volun-teers.usga.org/2014vols/.
• Roaring Gap Golf Club recently reopened after an extensive renovation by Kris Spence. The Donald Ross-designed course in Alleghany County had not been renovated since it opened 86 years ago. Spence recaptured many of the distinctive features in the putting surfaces created by Ross while renovating bunkers and adding approximately 200 yards to the layout.
• Get ready to hear a lot about the new Streamsong Resort opening after Christmas in central Florida. With one course designed by Ben Crenshaw/Bill Coore and the other by Tom Doak, it’s a spectacular destination that shatters the stereotypes of golf design in Florida.
Located about 90 minutes south of Orlando, Streamsong sits on an abandoned mining site dotted with enormous dunes. With a 200-room hotel under construction, Streamsong will have a Bandon Dunes feel in terms of its solitude and golf-centric purpose. In a time when new golf courses are exceedingly rare, the developers nailed it with Doak and Coore/Crenshaw. It’s another destination for your golf bucket list.