Still, quite wonderful stuff from World No. 1 Rory McIlroy today, who, after donating his second shot at the par-5 8th into the water, contributed one of his Nike long irons to join his ball.
The first two or three years I played in the Doral I actually thought it was named for a cigarette or a flower you put on a wreath. Of course I eventually found out the name came from humans. It came from Al Kaskel, who built the resort, and his wife, Doris. I guess Al Kaskel could have called it Aldor, but putting his wife's name first obviously made it sound better, and may have prevented an argument at home. DAN JENKINS as Bobby Joe Grooves
The February 28, 2015 Rolling Stone features a Patrick Doyle-authored story on Bob Ritchie, aka Kid Rock, who has joined the Bear's Club and hit golf balls at Tiger's house.
Lately, Rock has been getting into golf. He was just accepted into Jack Nicklaus' private Bear's Club, near Palm Beach, Florida. "If you told me five years ago I'd have to take my hat off and tuck my shirt in, I'd have slapped the taste out of your mouth," Rock says. "Now I'm like, 'Look at me, hair slicked back, shirt tucked in.' I'm like, 'What a fag!' "
What a lovely sentiment. I think Jack needs to call Bob into his office, too.
As for Tiger, his comments were of interest. Really.
Rock recently got some pointers at the range from Nicklaus himself, and he hit balls at Tiger Woods' nearby house. "Nice kid," Rock says. "A little bit of an Eminem and Axl Rose syndrome. Very reclusive, literal, and sometimes you feel a little bad for them. Sometimes they think the world's against them. You gotta loosen up, man! People are gonna talk shit. You just gotta enjoy it!"
Continuing the music metaphors, the March 3rd, 2015 issue of Rolling Stone featured this Michael Weinreb piece suggesting Tiger has moved into Michael Jackson territory.
He is, as Sports on Earth's Will Leitch wrote, firmly ensconced in his "freak show" phase; he now appears so far removed from normal life that it's getting more difficult to imagine he'll ever be an object of mainstream affection any time soon. In, say, 2002, it would have seemed utterly absurd to compare Tiger Woods and Mike Tyson; now it feels like an increasingly apt metaphor. The fact that he felt the need to publicly attack a biting satirical column by a legendary sportswriter best known for biting satire may have been the least self-aware and most humorless screed by an athlete who was never exactly known for his edginess.
Alex Myers wonders whether the golf will start at Trump Ferry Point this April considering the latest in a series of snow storms, but regardless, the 12-year-in-the-making New York City public course will start taking tee times March 11th.
The real shocker is not in the prices, which were always going to be steep, but in how little benefit there is in being a New York City resident. To put it another way, the rates for non-residents look reasonable considering the price tag, location and early buzz.
Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, NYC RESIDENT rate is $141 and $169.
NON-RESIDENT rate is $190.00 and $215.00.
But hey, NYC residents get to enjoy the seasons, something those of us in more temperate climates will never understand. So they have that going for them.
What a 62 by J.B. Holmes in the opening around of the WGC Cadillac Championship! If only anyone had seen it.
We keep hearing references of this being the "unofficial" start of the 2015 tour season (didn't we also hear that last week?), but the Tiger-less, moribund proceedings were salvaged by Holmes' 8 birdie-1 eagle and Adam Scott's ability to putt conventionally. Otherwise round one was ugly as players played to Web.com Tour-sized crowds, Rory struggled and various players battled injuries. (BTW Tiger, Sergio proved that you can get on-site physio help and finish the round. Sergio!)
Judging by the almost non-existent spectator turnout, either PGA Tour Championship Management's $50 weekday price isn't resonating with Miami fans or perhaps the millennials need to market to the retirees instead of the other way around?
It's a shame too, as Holmes' round at the Blue Monster impressed his peers. Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post reports.
“What did he shoot?’’ Shane Lowry asked a reporter about Holmes.
“Ten-under? You’re joking,’’ Lowry said. “Was he walking off after 15 or something?
“That’s the best score I’ve ever seen. Like, fair enough, if you hit it well off the tee, there’s birdies out there, but not 10, not in my book, anyway.
“Listen, I’m happy with my start (1-under). I’m up there and just hope he doesn’t shoot another 10‑-under [Friday].’’
The highlights from PGA Tour Entertainment.
After several years of huge sales followed by too many new product releases and predictions of a $2 billion year in 2015, the 2014 fiscal year proved to be a rough year from Taylor Made golf.
GolfWRX breaks down the adidas earnings report and the parts related to Taylor Made.
Revenues at TaylorMade-adidas Golf declined 24 percent on a currency-neutral basis, as a result of TaylorMade-adidas Golf’s ongoing efforts to clean retail inventories and the timing of new product introductions compared to the prior year period.
Earlier this week Taylor Made announced plans for its first outlet store.
Andrew Blankstein and Hasani Gittens report on actor Harrison Ford crash landing his vintage World War II training plane on Penmar Golf Course next to the Santa Monica Airport.
The legendary actor, who contributed last year to an unsuccessful ballot initiative to save Santa Monica Airport, is reported in fair, serious or critical condition depending on the news agency.
Howard Tabe, an employee at Penmar Golf Course, said, "There was blood all over his face. ... Two very fine doctors were treating him, taking good care of him. I helped put a blanket under his hip."
Thanks to reader Tim for Karen Crouse's NY Times story profiling India's Anirban Lahiri, now ranked 35th in the world after four wins in the last 11 months. (Lahiri starts the WGC Cadillac at 12:39 ET).
India has fewer golf courses than South Florida does, and many of them, Lahiri said, were built for the Army. Because his father is a military doctor, Lahiri had access to courses that otherwise would have been off limits to him.
“I think one of the issues in India, there’s not as many courses as America; it’s not as public a sport,” Lahiri said. “And yeah, a lot of the credit for my exposure to the game goes not just to my dad but also to the armed forces.”
Lahiri was drawn to the game because it was a chance to spend time with his father, Dr. Tushar Lahiri, a recreational player.
“I would just go out there and I would go pick up golf balls for him, and we would go chip, putt for 15 minutes because it was getting dark,” Lahiri said. “That’s how it all started.”
When he took up the game, he was 8 years old. He had the impression that no other children played the sport.
“I was the only person on the golf course who was under the age of 30,” Lahiri said, adding: “Then I played a junior event when I was about 12. That’s the first time I saw kids my age play.”
It's worth checking out what the former PGA President has to say about the task force he envisioned (but did not end up participating in).
Bishop, in an entertaining bit of behind-the-scenes dishing, asserts that a majority of the task force wanted Fred Couples but that Mickelson, like an Iowa caucus-goer, steered the lemmings toward his choice: Davis Love.
"It’s clear that Mickelson controlled the tenor of the task-force meetings. Last week, when a reporter asked Love how he evolved from a task-force member to captain, Phil practically knocked down Davis to grab the microphone. Mickelson was quick to point out that Love had not lobbied for the job. He said Davis sees the big picture, has the experience and is a perfect fit. He also acknowledged that Love had made mistakes at Medinah and that he had learned from those mistakes. Phil capped his remarks by saying, “Davis will put us in a position to succeed rather than create obstacles to overcome.” Phil was clearly taking another shot at Watson."
Meanwhile, the AP's Doug Ferguson takes Mickelson, Tim Finchem and the task force to, gulp, task, for potentially killing the fall PGA Tour events that draw Big Break ratings (or worse) and haven't been well attended by top-ranked players. Ferguson says the task force should have made the "health of the tour" their "first priority" but instead of left the fall four exposed to one Billy Payne decision from total irrelevance.
What's to keep Augusta National from following suit and no longer offering a spot in the Masters to winner? And if those tournaments go away, does the PGA Tour become even more of a closed shop and a time when it's hard to keep track of all the promising young Americans?
Most disappointing is the silence of PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, except to commend the PGA of America for including his players in the process. It was just over a year ago that Finchem and former PGA president Ted Bishop shared the stage and boasted of a new era of cooperation between the two organizations.
I'm sure you saw the usual stuff on social media and elsewhere about the great grow the game statement from Royal St. George's in voting to admit women to their membership.
It's mostly hogwash. Adding a few spry rich women certainly is a nice gesture, but it sure it's not going to grow the game. Now, if more of these high-end places like Royal St. George's were bringing in promising junior golfers, that would have an impact. I was prepared to peel off a nice rant about that, but then Alistair Tait's Golfweek.com story on RSG gave me hope:
Unlike the Royal & Ancient, Royal St George’s has a junior section. The club currently has about 50 boys, and takes in about six new juniors per year. Checketts says girls may join the club that way, too.
“The junior process tends to be faster so we may get some juniors (girls) in straight away.
“We get juniors in quite quickly and get them involved and playing. We don’t really have an upper limit for juniors. We take as many as we can cope with.”
His helicopter will be strategically parked and he'll be conspicuously present this week at Doral (as well as next week for another PGA of America-related announcement), so Steve DiMeglio takes stock of Donald Trump the golf course developer.
As I told John Patrick's radio show today, love him or hate him, The Donald has an entertainer's sensibility and seems to do a nice job reminding the PGA Tour that they are, in fact, supposed to be entertaining.
Even Commissioner Moonbeam is a fan...
Trump started building courses using some of the game's best architects. Then in 2008 when the market crashed, he started buying up existing golf properties and rebuilding them.
"I've always liked to say I'm a plus 10 (handicap) at building," Trump says.
He says he has no plans to expand his golf portfolio unless the right deal comes along. Such as the 800-acre Doral resort, which he snapped up out of bankruptcy in 2012 for $150 million. Trump pumped $250 million into a tired-looking resort in need of restoration, refurbishing the 643 guest rooms, updating a 48,000-square-foot spa and rebuilding and touching up 90 holes of golf, including the 18 of the famed Blue Monster course the PGA Tour stars will tackle this week.
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem says Trump is leaving a lasting mark on the sport.
"He has found a successful formula in purchasing wonderful properties like Trump National Doral Miami and then teaming with respected designers like Gil Hanse to bring these courses to their true potential," Finchem says.
Looking like she stepped off the set of a 1950s classic, the smashing Paula Creamer stepped up to a 75-footer at a Singapore pro-am party and drained another long putt. Not as much distance as her epic at the 2014 HSBC Champions putt, but certainly a nice way to remind everyone of what happened a year ago.
A nice compilation of the international coverage centered around last year's putt.
The verdict will be out on this one until it's usable during play, but the PGA Tour has added some exciting new features to its iPad app and just in an initial spin around, it looks like a big step up.
From the announcement:
Unique to this app, and setting itself apart in the golf industry, is the use of real-time predictive statistics, both for individual players and the field. These statistics, which are updated after each stroke, include average proximity to hole for approach shots, driving accuracy and distance, distance to hole and the percentage of putts made from current distance.
“We’re extremely pleased to offer this enhanced digital experience that enables golf fans to follow all the action in new and exciting ways, no matter where they are,” said Luis Goicouria, PGA TOUR Vice President of Digital Media. “We are confident this app, with its new predictive shot, full-course view features and functionalities and live video, will keep new and current fans of all ages engaged and informed, not only during a tournament but throughout the entire season.”
Fans have three choices as to how they can follow the action:
• Track their favorite player or the leader
• Follow their favorite group
• Use the “single hole” option to watch the field play through in real time, whether teeing off on the first hole, tackling the toughest hole of the tournament, or playing the final hole.
The March Golf Digest features Ron Sirak's annual look at the 50 biggest wage earners in golf. But of more interest are the concrete numbers listing executive salaries. Most are based of 501c-3 filings and while coming from 2013 means we miss out on some newer execs or leaps last year, you get the idea at the excess, waste and occasional golden parachutery.
Congrats to Joe Steranka for a 6&5 win over Dick Rugge in the Going Away Package Classic, while Zink and Moorhouse continue to collect generous pay for telling Commissioner Farquaad what a great job he's doing. And that David Pillsbury makes more money than Mike Whan or Mike Davis or Mike the cartboy at TPC Sawgrass is just plain wrong.
New dad Adam Scott makes his 2015 debut at Doral and as Golfweek's Jim McCabe reports, the longtime anchorer is already transitioning to a conventional putter.
Maybe even this week.
“I might play with it (in this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship),” he said. “I’ve had fun working with it, but I don’t really have a plan yet.”
Nice look inside the clubhouse from ESPN, set to comments from players and including a rare glimpse inside the Champions Locker Room.
Television does not do justice to the intimacy of the holy grail of golfing locker rooms...but who cares, we're only a four weeks away from the Drive, Chip & Putt.
It's probably unwise to gauge the health of an industry based on conventions, but the energy and vibe of such gatherings is hard to ignore.
The 2015 edition of the Golf Industry Show seemed much more upbeat, well attended and vibrant than in recent years where the post-2008 doldrums were indeniable. San Antonio's excellent convention center certainly helps keep spirits up, with its beautifully designed layout, downtown-adjacent setting and most of all because it's not the Orange County Convention Center.
In random talks with vendors, there was a consensus that spending is happening again at some golf courses, and generally with an emphasis on products that make the long term maintenance more sustainable and sensible. We captured some of the sights, sounds and views from the show. For those in attendance who missed the Morning Drive pieces or for anyone else interested, here are the Morning Drive clips produced, shot and envisioned by Donnie Goertz.
Old Tom Morris Award winner Dan Jenkins talking about his new book, the next wave of players and how anxious he is to see Tiger play again.
Some of the more interesting products we stumbled on.
General sights and sounds from the show, including talks with supers Pat Sisk, Jon Jennings and Sean Tully.
And finally, GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans talking about the state of the industry.
Tim Rosaforte reported in his Golf World video diary that Michael Jordan texted him to clear the air regarding his plans to build what the Jupiter market so desperately needs: an ultra-exclusive golf club.
MJ confirms he's interviewing architects, with Tom Doak as the leading candidate to design the course, Rosaforte reports. The NBA legend mostly wanted to deny that pace of play at Jack Nicklaus' Bears Club is driving him away.
However, my sources suggest Jordan was called into Mr. Nicklaus' office at Bears Club and the two had a healthy discussion about the claims in golf.com's original report, even sharing a Fresca to break the ice. Here's the exclusively obtained footage:
Golf Course Industry's Pat Jones reports that the golf architect known for his work as a Jack Nicklaus associate and later for his highly successful partnership with Tom Weiskopf, has passed away.
**The ASGCA's remembrance of a former association president.
**Ron Whitten remembers Morrish fondly and talks to former design partner Tom Weiskopf who said their courses had never needed changing.
I had to challenge Tom on that last statement. After all, he'd just spent much of 2014 rebuilding every hole at TPC Scottsdale, an early Morrish and Weiskopf flagship design.
"That was a result of technology," he said. "When you have the world's best golfers playing a course every year, you'd got to keep it competitive. But its basic structure was still sound. We didn't change that."
Variety's Brian Steinberg reports that Fox Sports 1 and AT&T U-Verse are in a battle that may cost the cable server's 6 million homes a chance to watch eight USGA events.
At issue is Fox Sports 1 adding many rights (fees) that did not exist prior to the last agreement with AT&T, so Fox is threatening not to beam, say, the USGA Four-Ball and other recently acquired packages like NASCAR to AT&T U-Verse customers. The blackout of select content provides a new twist in the various cable company spats with content providers.
In the current fight, Fox Sports 1 is trying to get paid for programming that was not in place when its carriage deal with AT&T was established. Nascar signed a new deal in 2013 that moved its events to Fox and NBC from Walt Disney’s ESPN and Time Warner’s Turner Sports for this year. Many of the other events at the center of the new dispute were also added to Fox Sports 1 after it secured carriage rights.
AT&T U-verse has approximately 6 million subscribers, according to market research firm SNL Kagan.
Fox Sports 1 said it had made “attempts to negotiate an agreement that extends to these events.” Unless each side’s stance changes, U-verse subscribers may miss out on a Nascar race tomorrow.
And the U.S. Junior Amateur!
Fox Sports signed a 12-year (12 years!) rights deal with the USGA in August, 2013, but this is the first time since handing the USGA a lavish sum that there has been any sign of squeezing cable companies for the privilege of showing USGA championships. Something tells me the AT&T folks aren't going to budge on this one for a while.