Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Sports Media Group
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford

Thursday Reads

Jerry Potter in the USA Today wonders how the Wie's are able to afford their summer of travel and golf. Lots of fun spin from the characters quoted. The Golf Channel's George White explains that all the fuss about Tiger's swing change ignores the likely reason: he did it to take pressure off of his bum knee.

Douglas Lowe reports that Tom Watson may have played his last Masters because of the recent course lengthening. Watson also talks about Aberdeen's setup and design. In a vintage Dan Jenkins piece for Golf Digest, he looks at what America has given golf.

Jim Seimas reports on the various forms of trickery they're going to inject into Harding Park so that the World Championship event seems like a major. Sandy Tatum gurantees the rough will be harvested in time. Can't wait. And finally, John Daly reveals that he has Ryder Cup aspirations. Apparently no one told Daly he would have to wear a jacket and tie to mandatory functions!?


R&A=Rough and Apathetic

My column on the addition of rough at St. Andrews is now posted.


Caddying In Depth

Rich Kogan in the Chicago Tribune (reg. to a Tribune owned paper req.) files an epic feature on caddying, with some great anecdotes and a neat famous former caddies list. Email this one to the misers who say caddying has no longer has a place in the game.


Wednesday Reads

Oh to be a subscriber. Received my June 25 Golfweek in the mail today. Can’t wait to catch up on the U.S. Open! And I'm getting SI Golf Plus again after the computer decided to switch me over to the Adventure section. You know how I love the X Games. Who said the Internet will never replace print?

The Walker Cup squad was announced, which is a reminder that we’re just three weeks away from getting to see Chicago Golf Club. Michael Putnam becomes the second Pepperdine player to make it. I know you’re excited. The big news is that Captain Bob Lewis selected no grumpy mid-Amateurs!

Ran Morrissett’s course profile should get you in the mood for the Senior British Open at Aberdeen. notes that Greg Norman will be making his Champions Tour debut there.

Mark Soltau has some more comments from Tiger about the final round, and refers to Hank Haney as his swing coach. I think it's safe to say we no longer have to hear references to Haney as Tiger's "friend." There’s also an AP story on how Hank Haney has been validated.

Golfweek's Martin Kaufman isn't very high on the TNT telecasts and makes some good points, while Brad Klein plays yang to Kaufman's yin and says he enjoyed it despite the flaws, because after all it was the Old Course. So they're both right! Golfobserver's "Man from London" shares his Open thoughts.

The 2007 (and beyond) PGA Tour schedule is shaping up. Sounds like some big events might move to the fall while an official post season swing is relegated to The Golf Channel. And finally, don't miss John Huggan's excellent profile of Peter Thomson in Golf World.


Dawson: Players hitting ball further not true

Lawrence Donegan in The Guardian and others write about the R&A's post Open press conference. Besides announcing that the 2010 Open will be at St. Andrews and the course will not change between now and then, Royal and Ancient Club have been collecting data (but they refuse to use the PGA Tour's revealing ShotLink). They believe there won't be any more distance gains.

"We and the United States Golf Association wanted a line drawn in the sand and hitting distances have plateaued," Dawson said. "This is definitely happening - all this discussion that players are hitting the ball further is not true."

Not true they are hitting further? Compared to when? Round 3 versus round 4?

The Open driving distance average for those making the cut was 27 yards longer in 2005 than it was in 2004! Did he not hear that all but three players averaged OVER 300 yards off the tee?

Donegan writes of the added length, rough and other setup ploys: "all these 'innovations' may have kept the scoring higher but they fundamentally changed the character of the Old Course. Nothing is more likely to send the lay person to sleep than endless musing on the minutiae of course architecture, but behind the wearisome chitchat there is a big, big story: the Old Course is at its limit, and so is golf itself, because advances in technology - the ball, in particular - now mean the era of the 400-yard drive off the tee is upon us."

Mike Aitken reports on the same press conference and includes this rationalization from Dawson on the 17th hole setup, which Dawson admitted they may have misjudged: "In retrospect, what we did there was perhaps not the smartest thing, though I think it would be a wrong analysis to surmise that was the reason people stopped using driver," he said.

Really? You have a fairway basically ending with a rough checkpoint at the 315-yard point. That’s the average tee shot length of the field, but the rough did not impact their decision-making? I wonder if he even blushes when making these claims?


Open Wrap Up Vol. 2

So many great post-Open reads. But these were my favorites: Red Hoggard writes about the humorous Open Championship Radio One coverage . Bob Ryan on Old Tiger vs. New Tiger . Dave Anderson in the New York Times says Jones vs. Tiger is like comparing apples to apples . Here's the great Art Spander on Tiger . And here's Tiger on Tiger.

Doug Ferguson talks to Jack Nicklaus about Tiger’s performance and even the normally reserved Jack is in awe. This AP story notes a equipment malfunction for Tiger prior to the Open. And Mark Kiszla in the Denver Post says the Old Course has been rendered obsolete. Unfortunately, he says the cure is to drop it from the rotation, not address the equipment.


Open Wrap Up Vol. 1

Wow, great to see that BBC has really moved into the 21st century with its camera work. Maybe they'll capture player reactions in the next century? Sheesh. Well, at least they had the crane on 17 to remind us how silly that fairway/walkway looked.

As far as game stories on Tiger and a wonderful week, here's the link to Lawrence Donegan's in The Guardian. Here's Mike Aitken's Scotsman story on the various contenders and Tiger. Oh, and not to be forgotten, here's the story on Jason Gore's second win in a row. Back to the Open, Peter McCleery reviews the TBS and ABC telecasts, with several interesting observations. Though he kindly chose not to comment on the BBC's wretched camera work and overall coverage, which ABC is at the mercy of. Michael Hiestand in the USA Today also offers a review. He's no Rudy Martzke, which means he’s enjoyable to read. Tod Leonard has some interesting stats on how easy 18 played through Saturday.

For complete stats, here's a link to the 2000 Open stat package, and the 2005 Unisys breakdown. This will be scrutinized more this week, but there's some wild stuff in the numbers. My early favorite: 10 players making the cut averaged over 300 in 2000. All but 3 players making the cut in 2005 averaged OVER 300 yards! Man, these Tour guys must be reading Arnold Schwartzenegger's fitness editorials!

Gary Van Sickle explains why John Daly skipped the champions dinner. This unbylined Guardian story reveals some frustration with Tiger for not signing autographs after an early round, and the uproar it caused in Britain. I'm sure Tiger will lose a lot of sleep over it. John Huggan wrote on Sunday (prior to the finale) about Tiger's putting woes. Finally, Tom Mackin paints a picture of what was going on outside the ropes Sunday.


Technology and St. Andrews

Douglas Lowe, who if I'm not mistaken, has written some what's all the fuss about pieces, says technology needs to be reined in.

Peter Dawson, the chief executive, has warned that if it became necessary to lengthen the Old Course again it would be time instead to rein in the ball. The significance of the driving distance figures from St Andrews this week is that the time is well nigh if, indeed, it hasn't passed already.

Tim Glover in the Independent also says Tigerproofing is a waste of time.

Even so, the Beardies are still as old-fashioned as a moustache. The governing bodies are looking at the problem from the wrong angle. They can make a course as long as they like, but it will not outstrip modern technology. They keep tinkering with the real estate instead of the real issue.



John Huggan writes about the rough on 17 for his Sunday column. Naturally, Peter Dawson says something ridiculous. Though even for the R&A executive secretary, this is a new low:

In retrospect, I have to agree that the rough on the right of the 17th isn't ideal. If we had to do it over again, I don't think we'd let it grow there. But it's too late to do anything now. On the other hand, by not allowing a player to drive a long way up the right side, we have ensured that everyone will be hitting a longer approach shot. That has to be a good thing.

Hey, why not just eliminate the tee shot all together and create a big white circle where you'd like them to approach from. That way you ensure everyone will be hitting a longer approach, and you don't have to do anything about the ball! Yeah, that's a good thing.


Open Sunday Reads

Wow, only one more day of those wonderful ING ads. I'm getting sad just thinking about it. If you want to get mad, read about Michael Campbell ripping the finishing hole at St. Andrews because it's too short. Yes, it's the hole's fault that you guys are cheating, I mean, optimizing launch conditions. Jim Achenbach sits in the grandstand on 7 and 11 greens, and reflects on spectating at the majors. But he says this is the best spectating spot of all.

David Davies has a note on technology, wedges and a juicy quote from Will Nicholson . Sounds like Will is in St. Andrews doing a little groundwork prep on the Masters ball! And finally, thanks to TBS for sending the press release that included this highlight quote from Bobby Clampett during Saturday's telecast. Here's Bobby on the difference between the modern player and players in the past: “I think there’s more emphasis today on style and technique, as opposed to dynamics. Players like (Greg) Norman may have had interesting techniques, but had great dynamics.”

And if you know what that means, you are one bright soul on this Open Sunday.


Tiger: "Just hit high and hard"

Tiger talks about his approach to the course (at least through 2 rounds...round 3 is another story), and the ball going much longer than in 2000. From his second round press conference:

TIGER WOODS: I'm trying to put the ball and place the ball where I need to place it and that's it. It doesn't get anymore complicated than that.

Q. You drove, I think, three par 4s and real close on some of the others. With the way you're hitting it, how much different is it than last time on your approaches?

TIGER WOODS: To be honest with you, about the same. We played I drove the ball on the green on 9 most of the times. 10, I drove it on there Sunday in 2000. I drove it on 12 every day. Actually one day right of the green and got up and down to the right pin. Those three holes are playing about the same, even though 12 has been moved back. But we're all longer now since 2000, the ball flying, as much as it is now, compared to 2000. A lot of this depended on wind. For instance, when I was on the 9 green today my whole intention was intent was lay it up on 10. All of a sudden the wind switched and went kind of down and across instead of in and across. I had to take advantage of it, try to drive it. I hit a low one out and used the wind, hit a hot peeler and it rolled up on the green. If it was into the wind I couldn't do it.

Q. Just carrying on really from where you were there, specifically can you talk about the effect of the new tees on your game and your strategy, perhaps compared to 2000, how you play those holes now, having two competitive rounds in different wind conditions?

TIGER WOODS: 4, you just hit high and hard.


Open Saturday Reads

Lawrence Donegan has the best game story on Tiger's round 2 and Jack's farewell. Oh yeah, Tiger's drive of 10 green measured a cool 391 yards. Richard Williams in The Guardian provides some different details and looks at the struggles of David Duval. Jack's press conference includes some interesting comments, particularly about how he played the 12th hole each day .

Mike Aitken has the story on Toms disqualifying himself. Could it have been that pairing with Monty that made him err on the safe side? But didn't David know he was on my fantasy team this week? Come on let's take one for the team David!?

Speaking of Monty, he says they're playing for second if Tiger plays the way he has been playing. Ron Balicki reports on Michelle Wie's quarterfinal loss. And Alistair Tait writes about the Road Hole and has some interesting quotes from Monty.


Open Friday Reads

The British Open is nice, but this Michelle Wie business is getting serious. A 15-year-old girl pummeling elite amateur male golfers! Amazing. Here's the match play tree link, and here's the page where you can follow her quarterfinal match.

As for the Open, boy was that TNT telecast great. For us West Coasters, it was like watching a Bruce Lee movie. Everytime they showed an interview the failed to match the images. Meanwhile, TBS’s PR pimp sent out a press release highlighting the exhilarating on-air commentary, quoting the key lines of the day (as if writers would want to quote this from Ernie Johnson: “If you bottle those, you can sell them to most of the people in this field…kick ins.”). Oddly, they didn’t include this quote from Bobby Clampett, who seemed much more engaging than normal (perhaps because he wasn't working as many hours):

You are really seeing on 18 an example of how technology has changed the face of this game. I can never recall in all the years I’ve been watching the Open Championship at St. Andrews, this many players able to go for the green at 18. And there’s no place for them to lengthen 18.

David Whitley in the Orlando Sentinel writes that the Old Course changes indicate just another wave of progress and everyone should relax, including this unidentified R&A guy.

"It's a complete farce," one unidentified tournament official told The Guardian newspaper. "This is the Open Championship at the Old Course, for God's sake. Not some pitch-and-putt tournament down on the beach."

Unfortunately that quote from Lawrence Donegan's story had nothing to do with the lengthening of the course. It was in regard to the farcical out-of-bounds situation on #1 and #2 tee. Elsewhere, Peter Finch and Dean Knuth expose the Links Trust at St. Andrews. So if you got one of those flyers in the mail asking for a $100 donation to the “Friends of St. Andrews Links,” you might want to read this excellent Golf Digest story before sending a check.

Sal Johnson writes about the Royal Bank of Scotland's five pound note and the people lining up to get 'em. Frank Deford mails in a fawning yawner of a column on Jack's second-final appearance. Deford focuses on the RBS Bank note anecdote that has Nicklaus joining the Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth as the only folks to get their photo on the currency. For some perspective, Deford might want to read this Financial Times story (reg req) by Jim Pickard which notes that the Royal Bank of Scotland, besides having Nicklaus as an endorsee, is joining with American firm Guggenheim Partners to finance 10-15 Nicklaus residential projects, worth $600 million annually. Gary Nicklaus will be co-chairman of the partnership.

Golf residential complexes have been popular in the US for years and are now springing up elsewhere. This would continue because of demographic trends, said Andy Rosenfield of Guggenheim Partners.

"More and more people who are 40 to 70 have reached a stage in life where they can afford to have a second home, which may even become their primary residence, but in a community different to one in which they raised their children and went to work," said Mr Rosenfield.

The trend was also supported by the increasing popularity of golf, said Jack Nicklaus' son Gary, who will be co-chairman of GNP. "It is about the lifestyle of being within that community and having the gate and knowing the property is going to appreciate faster than properties that aren't on a golf course," Mr. Nicklaus said.

Gotta have that gate! Finally, alert the Joe McCarthy fan club. We've got liberal technophobe commies in Scotland too! According to Dan Bickley in the Arizona Republic, even St. Andrews caddie master Rick Mackenzie dares to think something isn’t right.

"Technology is a four-letter word around here," Rick MacKenzie said. "That shows you how good we can spell. We just call it the new stuff, and the new stuff is nae (not) golf."

"I swear, there's more technology in golf than there is in rocket science," MacKenzie said. "It's time to get back to the old stuff."


Open Reads Thursday

Dreading two days of listening to Bobby Clampett and Ernie Johnson? Well, I doubt it’s even close to a simulcast, but there will be a radio feed at the Open official site.

Peter McCleery prepares us for the Jack farewell and how television will handle it(again). And he’s as excited as most of us about the prospects of Clampett and Johnson yammering away while Jack says goodbye.

Art Spander looks at Jack's last Open. Well, maybe his last... Spander also writes that Jack has trouble saying goodbye.

Ron Balicki reports on Michelle Wie's first round win at the Pub Links.

And by the way, who are these people running the game? Why is course setup so elusive? This Independent story by James Corrigan does a much better job of pinpointing what Vijay and Els have been complaining about. There is brutal rough in all sorts of new places: along the boundary walls(!?) and to the RIGHT of 17 fairway (which has been narrowed even more since 2000...there's always been rough left, which never made sense because the more you bail out left, the harder the approach is...well, before the 300-yard drive became commonplace). The article also says they have cut a new landing area on the fourth in case that 290-yard carry proved too much. You'd think the R&A would want to do something about the distance issue just so they wouldn't keep embarrassing themselves with these setup glitches.

Instead, the R&A’s Peter Dawson responded, calling Singh's criticism "astonishing." Astonishing is the R&A figuring out during tournament week that if you have a tee resting out of bounds, it’s hard to hit an out-of-bounds tee shot! Finally, Willie Park, Alister MacKenzie and Bernard Darwin will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.


Pebble Beach Changes

Ken Ottmar has the gory details of Pebble Beach's latest renovation. Five fairway bunkers (!?!?!?!) have been added on the left of #15 including a nasty pot bunker near the fairway. The two greenside bunkers have been expanded and three trees on the right side adjacent to the green will be planted. And it will still be a driveable par-4 during the 2010 U.S. Open!

"We have to respond to the advances in technology or we risk becoming obsolete," Pebble Beach head pro Chuck Dunbar said. "But we do so with the idea of maintaining the integrity of the original design. At some point, every course will run out of room. So what we are left to respond with is ways that tighten the holes, either by adding hazards or adding more rough."

Remember the good old days when U.S. Open courses would not acknowledge that they were making changes to address technology, just to not embarrass the USGA? Ah those were the good old days when the distance problem seemed like it might go away.

***Update: News that the First Tee Open would be moving to Del Monte for the first two rounds gave Craig Stadler a chance to vent.

Stadler, 52, was characteristically blunt about the continuing tussle between technology and course design. He bemoaned the changes at Augusta National, in part because they make it all but impossible for him to remain competitive in the Masters. Stadler, the 1982 champion, has a lifetime exemption.

He also understands something must be done, given the impact of new clubs and new golf balls. Stadler told of hitting a 5-iron into No. 11 in the final round of this year's Masters -- and then watching Woods use a wedge on the same hole later that day.

"The USGA keeps saying they're going to limit the ball, they keep doing studies and then they don't make limits or propose anything," Stadler said. ".. . Fifteen years ago, you didn't think you'd ever finish a 7,400-yard course. Now that's very playable (for PGA Tour pros)."


Open Wednesday Reads

Peter Thomson writes for The Age on the extension of the Old Course, and he is starting to think the lengthening isn't going to have much of an impact. Why? He watched some of Tiger's practice round!

Lawrence Donegan says the Old Course is vulnerable to low scores if the weather forecast holds, and he concludes that if Tiger's 19-under par from 2000 is broken, that it will intensify talk of doing something about distance problem. Donegan has several fun anecdotes in story about how short the course is playing. Somehow, he went the entire article without mentioning that the guys are better athletes!

Donegan also reports on the rolled back ball collection program sponsored by the USGA, and quotes Wally Uihlein, who has a new analogy about the ball (and the unfair emphasis on it in distance debate chatter). Though Uihlein continues to be right that the ball is taking too much blame, he needs to more clearly explain how the USGA bungled the optimization concept if he wants to prevent the ball from being singled out.

As for the course, Vijay says it could be another "Carnasty," providing quite a different take from other players. Singh did single out the same hole others have, #4, where it's a 290 carry to the fairway. Who knew Tom Meeks was involved in the Open setup?!? This Telegraph story also has more of Vijay's concerns, and Tiger's quote of the day: "It's always more fun when you have to think your way around the course instead of belting it and 'who cares where it goes.' Golf is meant to be more cerebral and this course allows you to be creative."

Here’s a Guardian story with another fun Tiger quote. "I didn't really understand how to play links golf, how to bump the ball along the ground, because I never had to. I grew up in LA on kukui [sp.] grass where everything had to be up in the air. For me to come over and play a different game was so much fun."

Alistair Tait of Golfweek reports on the bookmakers and bets you can make this week. "Here's two bets only British bookmakers could come up with – odds of 8/1 for a streaker to run onto the 18th green, and 50/1 on Ian Poulter to sport a Union Jack hairstyle."

Jay Nagle has the interesting story on how Sean O'Hair got his passport. The White House was involved! AP's Doug Ferguson writes about the evolving Old Course and as usual chalks up any concerns about technology impacting the layout to the "it's all progress" theme (he is consistent this way, though it seems odd for AP to have such a strong point of view). Ferguson quotes Titleist's Brad Faxon, without mentioning his lucrative corporate affiliation. Leonard Shapiro previews the Old Course, with quotes from Paul McGinley and a Nick Faldo friend that prove quite interesting.

Gene Yasuda has the story on the new Tiger Nike ad which sounds fantastic. However, do check out this story and the adspeak if your eye-rolling needs practice. There's talk of "pass-along," "viral implications" and "roadblocks."

Finally, in non-Open news, Will Claxton of Georgia is the poor soul who drew Michelle Wie in the first round of U.S. Pub Links match play. And Tod Leonard reports on the vastly improved course conditions at Torrey Pines South as the Junior World gets underway.


This Is The Ball Jack Wants You To Hit

Thanks to reader Phillip for the heads up on this Lawrence Donegan Guardian story. It's a MUST READ exposing what could be one of the savviest or stupidest PR moves of all time. After reading Donegan’s well reasoned assessment, my money is on stupid.

The Guardian obtained a special ball distributed by a manufacturer with one side stamped “Distance RIP” and the other side stamped “This is the ball Jack wants you to hit.” Donegan goes along as Titleist man Gary Orr plays nine holes at Loch Lomond and discusses how the Jack ball plays versus the Pro V-1 that he normally uses.

"To be honest, I would be happy to play with the old ball. Believe it or not, I like the way it feels," Orr says. "I think if you asked the guys in the locker room most of them would say the same - as long as we all played a ball with similar properties."

As I recall, various manufacturers have said that it would take as much as three years to develop a rolled back ball, yet here they are distributing one to select folks for uh, sampling? And a player says he would be happy to play it. Hmmm...


Movable O.B.(!?) and Other Tuesday Reads

Two for two this week on exclusives, Lawrence Donegan writes in Tuesday’s Guardian that "in a move without modern precedent, the R&A will introduce a 'moveable' out-of-bounds line between the 1st and 2nd holes at this year's Open in order to preserve the traditional boundaries of golf's most famous venue."

Donegan continues, "This will mean that players who hit the ball into an area to the right of the 1st green will be deemed to have sent their shot out of bounds, but if they hit a ball from the 2nd tee into the same area it will be in play."

What would a major run by an amateur governing body be these days without a distance related course setup boondoggle! Frank Hannigan has fun with the idea that the R&A has had to go outside the Old Course to find distance. John Huggan continues his fun thoughts on the matter, noting that it’s the first time the Open will be played on four St. Andrews courses and in general, he lambastes the R&A.

Here’s my Golfobserver column on the arrival of Tigerball and how some things may be just a little different for Tiger this time around. Peter Thomson likes the added length, but isn’t so fond of the 18-yard wide landing area on #4. And in this Telegraph story, he talks about the bunkers getting too deep, the ball needing to be rolled back and about his favorite place to play, Elie. "If I had my way I'd build Elies all over the world." Here, here to that! Elie is as cool and quirky as it gets.

And this is a link to John Hawkins's excellent St. Andrews preview story in Golf World . George Peper writes about his move to St. Andrews for the Times of London . Finally, a fun story on PGA Tour players getting free ipods and what some are listening too. Jonathon Byrd likes Christian music, Ray Charles and Van Morrison. How about that for an eclectic mix?


Misc. Open Monday Reads

Most of the inkslingers are mailing in press release rubber stamp specials on how the newly lengthened holes will keep the Old Course up-to-date. And then there’s John Huggan, who, pondering the absurdity of players actually be teeing off from outside the Old Course boundaries, provides a fun and cranky pre-Open column.

Has there ever been a more damning condemnation of the game's administrators? How embarrassing is it that golf's most notable and enduring landscape has been deemed inadequate when faced with the modern professional and his bazooka-like weapons? (The answers are no and very for those of you keeping score).

Such discussions and arguments are sure to take up an inordinate amount of space in newspapers over the next few days. In the absence of any real action until Thursday, be prepared to read the opinion of almost every member of the 156-strong field.

Here’s the story on Jason Gore's Nationwide win . And this AP story has the news on Brad Faxon qualifying and Sean O'Hair apparently getting a passport, so he's in too. O'Hair also credits his win to purchasing two Nicklaus instruction books that gave him a swing thought.

An Independent story on 33-1 Luke Donald and his thoughts on the Old Course, Jack Nicklaus and Luke's boring style of play. Here's a preview of the U.S. Amateur Public Links and Michelle Wie's quest to get into the Masters this week. The USGA's David Shefter reports that the USGA's Open web site got more than 50 million page views during the U.S. Women's Open three weeks ago when Wie shared the lead heading into the final round.

Mike Aitken writes that there won't be changes to Loch Lomond to despite the low scoring. And what about going to a links? "We have to be very considerate of what our sponsors want and Barclays are comfortable with the championship at Loch Lomond," said Keith Williams of Loch Lomond. "This course fits the profile for them.”

Here's Golf World's take on the lengthening of Augusta National . A club source says that the Masters ball idea is still definitely NOT off the table. And finally, the sad news that Ben Crenshaw is leaning toward not playing the Masters after hearing the news about the latest lengthening.


The Wandering Golfer

Airing today at 7 pm eastern is the Fine Living Network's "The Wandering Golfer" shot at Riviera and Rustic Canyon. Besides two segments with yours truly, the show features a visit with Jaime Diaz and caddy Lance Ten Broeck. The episode airs again next Sunday at the same time.