Latest From GolfDigest.com
Latest From The Loop
Twitter
Feedblitz
To Get GeoffShackelford.com Posts Delivered To Your Inbox Enter Email Address Below:


Powered by FeedBlitz
Books
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    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
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

Frequently the natives resent the invasion of the golf pioneer . . . Once an irate farmer emptied a thirty-three at myself and the engineer at a range of only five hundred yards, and he made us take cover too. He was a renter, and knew that we were there for no good. As he took no interest whatever in the Royal and Ancient.
A.W. TILLINGHAST

 

    

Monday
Sep222014

The R&A Vote: "What Was All The Fuss About?"

John Hopkins with some behind-the-scenes anecdotes of R&A stagecrafting and a sound summary of last Thursday’s Royal and Ancient Golf Club vote on accepting female members.

Monday
Sep222014

May We Not Have The Ryder Cup Envelope, Please...

Here's a nice bit of reporting from Adam Schupak on one of the less known Ryder Cup traditions that hopefully won't come into play this week: the envelope. And namely, the Captain's Sunday singles selection of who would sit in the event of the opposition having a player unable to go in the event of injury or illness, declaring a draw and a half-point instead of a loss. The rule came into effect when all 12 players teed it up in singles (previously 10). Considering the number of ailments in golf these days it would not come as a shock that we see a situation at Gleneagles.

Schupak includes this interesting bit from Paul Azinger who had a problem Captain Watson hopes he has to face.

“That’s probably the hardest decision you have to make as captain,” Azinger said. “I didn’t know what to do at first. If the name gets revealed, you potentially have shattered someone’s confidence. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Could the individual handle it if they were exposed? I’m going to put who I think is the most secure individual in this envelope. I cared about my guys, and the last thing I wanted to do was damage someone’s psyche. So I actually had a very good player in there.”

Monday
Sep222014

St. Andrews Gets '15 WGHOF Induction Ceremony

The World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be moving around every other year and Open Championship week 2015 will see the first held overseas. And at the iconic University of St. Andrews for good measure.

Also of note is the announcement that 2019's ceremony will be held at Pebble Beach Monday of U.S. Open week. Sounds like a great move.

For Immediate Release:

World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum to bring
2015 Induction Ceremony to St Andrews, Scotland
New location is part of expanded schedule including Pebble Beach

St. Augustine, Fla. (Sept. 22, 2014) – The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum will stage the 2015 Induction Ceremony at the home of golf in St Andrews, Scotland, in conjunction with The Open Championship.  The Ceremony will be held on Monday, July 13 at the University of St Andrews, just blocks from the Old Course, host site of that week’s 144th Open.

The move is part of an expanded biennial schedule for the Induction Ceremony and highlights the Hall of Fame’s ongoing strategic efforts to elevate its awareness and prestige around the world.  That schedule includes returning to World Golf Village for the 2017 event, which will be held the Monday of THE PLAYERS Championship week.  In 2019, the Induction Ceremony will move to Pebble Beach, Calif., and be staged on Monday of U.S. Open Championship week.

“This expanded schedule is an important step for the World Golf Hall of Fame as it continues to grow and cultivate audiences in the U.S. and abroad,” said Tim Finchem, PGA TOUR Commissioner and chairman of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors.  “The Board of Directors believes this is an excellent opportunity to raise the profile of the Induction Ceremony.”

The 2015 Ceremony will be held at the University of St Andrews, which has a history of recognizing golf’s greatest players.  The University has conferred honorary Doctor of Law degrees to several Hall of Fame members – including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player – in recognition of their outstanding achievements and contributions to the sport of golf.

“I am absolutely delighted that the first Induction Ceremony to be staged internationally is coming to St Andrews,” said Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A.  “The Class of 2015 will have a truly special experience in being recognized in the place where golf began.  There will be many thousands of visitors to St Andrews during the Open Championship and the Induction Ceremony will start the week with real fanfare.”

The Class of 2015 will be introduced later this year.

“This is an exciting opportunity to continue to increase the world-wide visibility of the Hall of Fame and Induction Ceremony,” said Jack Peter, Chief Operating Officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame.  “St Andrews is an ideal location, considering its rich history with Hall of Fame members.  I would like to thank our sponsors Shell Oil Company and Rolex, along with the Board of Directors, and The R&A and USGA in particular, for helping us bring the Class of 2015 and Class of 2019 Induction Ceremonies to two of golf’s most iconic locations.”

Monday
Sep222014

Quaker Ridge, Litigious Neighbors & Disturbing Precedent

Thanks to readers Gus and Jeff for Mike Dougherty’s story on Quaker Ridge, a world-renowned Tillinghast golf course built in 1918 and now threatened with redesign because a neighboring couple (A) bought a home next to a golf course and were shocked to find that golf balls come in their hard; and (B) the same neighboring couple cut down a tree that helped stop balls from coming into their yard but were able to find an appeals court irrational enough to still side with them.

Best laugh of all: according to Doughtery’s reporting, the Behars “had to join” nearby Old Oaks Country Club “because they couldn’t use their backyard.”

Take that, The Onion!

Before you brush this one off to First World problems on steroids, understand that the plight of Quaker Ridge and other long established and are now losing court cases to entitled folks like the Behars, which could prove disastrous for every golf course near human activity.

From Dougherty's story...

For the better part of nine decades, each towering slice off the second tee fell harmlessly in the woods along the right side of the fairway. When the Village of Scarsdale approved the sale of the land to a developer in 1999, officials from Quaker Ridge moved to secure and record a tree preservation plan. They also lobbied for a larger-than-normal setback, knowing that golf ball incursions might become an issue. The need to adhere to the specific plan on file was attached to the property's deed.

White Plains attorney Julius W. Cohn is representing the Behars. He maintains Quaker Ridge knew Lot 4 — on which the Behars' house sits — would become a resting place for numerous errant golf balls. He says the club should have purchased the property or done more at the outset to warn prospective buyers.

"The place is regularly bombarded," he said, suggesting that his clients had to join Old Oaks Country Club in Purchase because they couldn't use their own backyard.

Now here's the best part...the Behars removed a tree down when they constructed...a pool.

The tree preservation plan secured by Quaker Ridge singled out a pair of mature trees, indicating they were integral to the defense of the neighboring property. One came down in a storm in June 2008, destroying a number of adjacent trees in the fall. The other was removed with approval from the Village of Scarsdale when the Behars constructed a pool.

Quaker Ridge did take immediate steps to mitigate the problem. The club installed the net after the Scarsdale Manor homeowner's association objected to a higher net, and planted a stand of 20 maple trees. The Behars planted a row of spruce trees on their side of the fence.

In the courts, the club prevailed initially, as two justices rejected the plaintiffs' claims on four separate occasions.

However a panel of appelate judges disagreed and reversed the decision June 18th because Quaker Ridge did not reduce the number of balls landing in the Behars backyard. Which was part of a newish development erected next to the nearly 100-year old course. Go figure.

Sunday
Sep212014

Mid-Tournament College Golfers Save Man With CPR

Thanks to reader Rob for this unbylined story on the North Greenville University website about junior Lauren Childs and playing partners administering CPR along with other life-saving responses to a man living off the 15h green at Carolina Country Club in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The women were playing the Founders Credit Union-Converse Fall Invite to kick off their season September 15-16 when they saw a man face down next to his lawn mower. From the story:

“I knew I had to get to him as fast as I could,” said Childs. “As soon as the girl I was playing with hit, I took off running towards him, and everyone started running after me.” As Lauren Childs and two others from her group reached the man, her past CPR and first aid training took over. She immediately rolled the man over on to his back, pulling off his shoes as the man was profusely sweating, and elevating his feet while spectators dialed 911.

Sunday
Sep212014

And Then There Were 50 With Priority PGA Tour Status...For Now

The Web.com Tour Finals ended Sunday and PGA Tour hopefuls were grinding their hearts out only to have a week off before they have to start grinding again, before then taking many months off hoping for the occasional start during the traditional PGA Tour season. Visionary concept, I tell you!

Like David Stern handing the second round of the draft to then-Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, I saw on Golf Central that the 50 Web.com Tour Finals "graduates" got to shake hands with Jay Monahan and Web.com Tour Commish Bill Calfee as Commissioner Playing Opportunities was frolicking on his backyard water slide. Now we know what those two do to earn their meager salaries!

Jason Crook has a roundup of the emotion swings experienced Sunday as many players either knew, maybe knew or did not have a clue where they stood for next year's PGA Tour status.

Chad Collins shot an even-par 70 and summed up how a lot of players were probably feeling after their rounds when he said, “Hopefully it’s good enough.” He ended up 47th on the priority list, and admitted he couldn’t keep the top-50 bubble off of his mind coming down the stretch.

“You’re not human if you’re not,” he said. “Anything can happen on those [last three or four] holes.”

Collins was one of the players throughout the day who were in, then out, then back in, then out again. He was one of the lucky ones whose day ended inside the top 50. It makes you feel for Roberto Castro, who finished at No. 51, $31.66 out of the 50th spot.

The PGA Tour ranking of those who made it to the show, until the re-shuffle and the Commissioner's major medical exemptions put them in their place. They're golf's version of United and Delta frequent flyers these days.

Sunday
Sep212014

Rickie Haircut Files: Gets "USA" For Ryder Cup Week

Few haircuts in golf are more scrutinized than Rickie Fowler's and this week's Ryder Cup look should get plenty of attention. I'm pretty sure Tom Kite never went this far for his country!

From G.C. Digital's reporting (who else!) and Rickie's Instagram.

 

Sunday
Sep212014

GMac: I Really Want To Play With Rory

In a guest column for BBC, Graeme McDowell assures us that while it hasn't been the best of years when he's dealing with the prospect of private dealings coming out in court thanks to Rory McIlroy's lawyers, he wants to be paired with the lad this week at Gleneagles.

McDowell writes:

Yes, it has been a rough time over the last couple of years on the business side of things for both me and Rory because he has been involved in a lawsuit with my management company.

And it certainly has put a stress our relationship, but we have put those things behind us this year. If anything, our friendship has been strengthened by what we have experienced.

We have talked about it and we would certainly love to renew our partnership again.

This way Rory can slip a subpoena in GMac's bag or perhaps your opponents will bring up the case while waiting around on a tee?

We can dream a little...

McDowell also goes through his schedule (Monday afternoon arrival after weekend in England) and the team of tailors on hand to make sure everything fits.

As for the course McDowell gave this diplomatic answer to Rob Doster in a Q&A covering a range of Ryder Cup topics.

Doesn’t matter if there is lots of rough or no rough. Long, short. Doesn’t really matter. Beautiful, not beautiful. Match play, the golf course is less relevant than it is at a major championship. I’m all for the Ryder Cup being at iconic venues. But it’s more about the people and the atmosphere and the experience and the matches.

That’s a golf course where you couldn’t play a stroke-play event. It would just be impossible. But it works for match play. The golf course can be irrelevant from a match play standpoint. It’s just ball against ball. Doesn’t matter if there is lots of rough or no rough. Long, short. Doesn’t really matter. Beautiful, not beautiful. Match play, the golf course is less relevant than it is at a major championship. I’m all for the Ryder Cup being at iconic venues. But it’s more about the people and the atmosphere and the experience and the matches.

 

- See more at: http://athlonsports.com/golf/ryder-cup-2014-4-questions-graeme-mcdowell#sthash.5QZYFWPw.dpuf

That’s a golf course where you couldn’t play a stroke-play event. It would just be impossible. But it works for match play. The golf course can be irrelevant from a match play standpoint. It’s just ball against ball. Doesn’t matter if there is lots of rough or no rough. Long, short. Doesn’t really matter. Beautiful, not beautiful. Match play, the golf course is less relevant than it is at a major championship. I’m all for the Ryder Cup being at iconic venues. But it’s more about the people and the atmosphere and the experience and the matches.

 

- See more at: http://athlonsports.com/golf/ryder-cup-2014-4-questions-graeme-mcdowell#sthash.5QZYFWPw.dpuf
Saturday
Sep202014

State Of The Game Podcast 46: Brian Keogh

As longtime American readers know by now, when I want to know the real scoop on anything going on with overseas golf we can always rely on Karl MacGinty's reporting and commentary for the Independent, Philip Reid's work for The Irish Times, and in recent years, the Irish Golf Desk, independently hosted by Brian Keogh.

Since the European Ryder Cup team's power players all have ties to Ireland or Northern Ireland, there isn't a better person to talk about this week's big event with than Keogh, who shares insights into Captain Paul McGinley, Rory McIlroy, the European view of Captain Tom Watson and the host venue. We also touch on a few of the other hot-button issues in the game.

As usual the episode can be listened to below, or here as an MP3. For iTunes users, the episode is here and past episodes or free subscription's can be signed up for here.

Saturday
Sep202014

One Of The Mates Backing Captain McGinley

Kevin Garside files one of those only-in-the-Ryder Cup features on Eddie Jordan, close friend of Paul McGinley who has been an influential behind-the-scenes character for the European Captain and will be a man wearing many hats at Gleneagles.

A former Formula One team owner and has homes in Monaco and Wentworth, Jordan's group will be the house band playing to Gleneagles guests Thursday and Friday, but some of his best work may already have been done for Captain McGinley when he arranged a get-to-know-you dinner with rookie Victor Dubuisson.

Garside writes:

Jordan claims to be the author of Dubuisson’s nickname, D’Artagnan. If that is a bit of a stretch, his talent as a host is beyond question. “Paul came down to Monaco. He asked me to set up a dinner. It was an opportunity to get to know Victor better. Victor came with a mate, Paul came with Ally, there was myself and Marie and a few others.

“I had not met Victor before but there wasn’t anything he could not tell me about Jordan. He is a motor racing fanatic. He has real style. He brought with him one of the most expensive Bordeaux wines money can buy, that will tell you it was a Rothschild. Let me tell you he will be a big thing in this Ryder Cup, maybe a surprise for a lot of people. He is very much his own man, a fantastic character, and he won’t be overawed.”

Saturday
Sep202014

The Donald Looks Forward To Teeing It Up With Alex Salmond!

Dawn Morrisson reports that Donald Trump did not (entirely) use the opportunity of Alex Salmond's post Scottish independence loss and resignation as First Minister to antagonize his one-time mate.

Morrison writes in the Press and Journal:

Yesterday the businessman welcomed the news Scotland is to remain within the UK and tweeted: “The people of Scotland have spoken – a great decision. I wish Alex Salmond well and look forward to playing golf with him at Aberdeen.”

And last night Mr Trump told the Press and Journal: “Salmond did the right thing stepping down.

According to The Herald, The Donald did manage to link Salmond's support of wind turbines off the coasts of Scotland to the loss.

Mr Trump tweeted yesterday the outcome was a "great decision". He said: "I am convinced that if @AlexSalmond had not pushed ugly wind turbines all over Scotland, the vote would have been much better for him!"

A Daily Mail commentary by Matt Chorley noted Salmond's golf and gambling instincts as part of his downfall (scroll to the bottom).

But his failure to address key questions on the currency, pensions, prices and public spending of an independent Scotland refused to go away.

A Star Trek fan, a keen golfer, an enthusiastic gambler, Salmond has a competitive streak to almost everything, even dieting.

When trying to slim on the 5:2 diet, he boasted how he had shed the pounds faster than Chancellor George Osborne.

Last weekend he was asked what he would do if Scots voted for independence; would he enjoy a malt whiskey and round of golf?

He declined the offer of a drink, but revealed that even if he had torn the Union apart, he would go to the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles next week.

Salmond's steadfast support of the Ryder Cup and Scottish Open along with his swift resignation should earn him a warm enough reception next week at Gleneagles, especially as this Reuters story by Alistair Spout reveals a huge short-term economic boost from the referendum vote that has pubs rejoicing and hotel operators gouging. Oh and there are many positive long term ramifications for Scotland after the vote, as Christopher Welsh explains.

Saturday
Sep202014

Another Senator Wants To Revoke Pro Sports Tax-Exempt Status

One can only imagine the Augusta National grill room chatter as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell explains himself and fellow member Tim Finchem---oh wait, guest of a member Tim Finchem--scolds the NFL Commish for his league's prompting of legislation to revoke tax-exempt status for "non-profit" sports leagues.

As golf.com's Coleman McDowell notes, such bills have been introduced before, including one from Tom Coburn that is in the Finanance Committee, but this time it's New Jersey Senator Cory Booker introducing the "Securing Assistance for Victim Empowerment (SAVE) Act," according to this SI Wire story

Booker seeks to raise $100 million for domestic violence assistance programs.

Saturday
Sep202014

Video: Donald Ross Like You've Never Seen Him

Thanks to the folks at Pinehurst for posting this short clip of architect Donald Ross's golf swing. Granted, it's in the later years, he's carrying a few more pounds but got to love the explosiveness despite hanging back on that right side!

The super-rare clip:

Friday
Sep192014

Best Evidence Yet The Ball Goes Too Far? New R&A Captain Nearly Drives Ceremonial Shot Into Swilcan Burn

I know, I know. It might have been downwind. The first fairway was probably firm and fast. Or just maybe new Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews Captain George Macgregor has been in the gym working on his explosiveness to hit an impressive ceremonial first tee shot.

Macgregor is an accomplished player (five time Walker Cupper!) and an OBE, so he’s got some really garrish ribbons and hats and whatever else an OBE gets.

Anyway, the official R&A account of Macgregor's big moment at yesterday's fall meeting.

George Macgregor OBE began his year in office with a drive at precisely 8am as a cannon fired alongside the tee. A large crowd of onlookers gathered to watch the ceremony and saw Mr Macgregor hit a long drive down the middle of the fairway that finished just short of the Swilcan Burn.

As Captain, Mr Macgregor will represent The R&A and support its work in developing golf around the world. He will attend R&A Championships in the professional and amateur games and assume an ambassadorial role for the Club.

After hitting his tee shot, Mr Macgregor said: “It’s a pretty unique tradition in the world of golf. To be Captain is a fantastic honour and I am very much looking forward to it. The R&A is making great strides within that with a range of initiatives in different parts of the world.

“I think my role is to build on the work that previous captains have done. Sandy Dawson, whom I am following, has travelled thousands of miles around the world and has made a great effort to go out there and meet with golfers and organisations all over the world. That’s an important part of this role.”

Thursday
Sep182014

Roundup: Royal & Ancient Votes To Accept Women

The R&A revealed that 85% of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club's 2400 members voted yes on admitting women, meaning it was a much greater landslide than the Scottish Independence vote, which was headed for a 55% no vote majority as of the wee UK hours.

Here is the "Statement from Peter Dawson, Secretary of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club."

I am very pleased indeed to announce that the membership of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has voted overwhelmingly in favour of welcoming women members.

More than three quarters of the club’s global membership took part in the ballot, with a decisive 85% voting for women to become members.

This vote has immediate effect and I can confirm that The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is now a mixed membership club.

The membership has also acted to fast-track a significant initial number of women to become members in the coming months.

This is a very important and positive day in the history of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. The R&A has served the sport of golf well for 260 years and I am confident that the club will continue to do so in future with the support of all its members, both women and men.

Karen Crouse included much of the saga's backstory in her NY Times piece and described the scene from St. Andrews:

Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the R&A, revealed the results of a postal balloting of the club’s 2,400 male members, many of whom were on site in matching blue jackets and patterned blue ties. About three-quarters of the members participated in the voting, with 85 percent of them opting to approve women as members.

Owen Gibson’s Guardian story included this from Laura Davies.

Dame Laura Davies, one of the best known names in female golf, said the vote was a major watershed for the women’s game. “I think it is great news – back when I turned pro I would never have imagined that this could ever happen,” she said. “I think it is a huge step forward for the R&A and women’s golf and everyone will be delighted with the result.”

Frank Keogh of the BBC also included this from Davies:

"Times move on and I think all of them probably realise that it's a bit ridiculous in this day and age.

"I spoke to someone from the LGU (Ladies' Golf Union) recently and they said numbers are down in women's golf clubs.

"Maybe the vote will raise awareness and women will start thinking 'Oh, I thought that was a male-orientated sport'.

Ewan Murray files this Guardian commentary, skeptical of some outrage over the issue and ultimately says the corporate community forced the R&A's hand.

A lot of the background noise was soundbite, opportunist stuff. People who would have no interest in promoting women’s golf for 51 weeks of the year suddenly saw merit in joining criticism of the R&A and the chief executive of its corporate wing, Peter Dawson. Other comments were far more significant; HSBC, a key Open sponsor, was soon to admit unease over the R&A’s restrictions.

Kevin Garside in the Independent files an excellent commentary and says we're not quite done yet.

An unsustainable division holds at three clubs on the Open Championship rota. No positive developments are expected immediately in the anachronistic dens of misogyny at Muirfield, Royal St George’s and Royal Troon, but all three will come under increasing pressure to leave the 19th Century behind now.

Peter Dawson and his double breasted walked to a collection of microphones in a Buckingham Palace-friendly, slightly Pink Panther bit of staging, walking from the R&A clubhouse to an area near the first tee, then took a few questions. Here is Golf Channel video of the moment.



Golf Channel’s Karen Stupples reacted to the news, as did Old Tom. Well, his impersonator David Joy did.

Ryan Herrington
has a solid roundup of takeaways from the vote, including praise for Chief Inspector Dawson.

The timing of the membership vote and Dawson's retirement, which he announced last April and goes into effect in September 2015, are hardly coincidental. Having overseen the R&A for 16 years, Dawson had guided the organization toward becoming a more progressive operation, helping with the creation in 2004 of "the R&A" as a separate entity from the Royal & Ancient Golf Club to oversee the administrative operation of the Open Championship. Dawson (below) had seen the membership issue as the final significant hurdle in his tenure, hoping to have it be a part of his legacy as well as to have the matter put to rest when his successor takes over. 

Cameron Morfit with a nice roundup of reactions, including the most interesting possibility, Louise Richardson, principal of St. Andrews University.

Thursday’s announcement would seem to pave the way for her to join the club, promising a future in which women get equal access to arguably the most famous 18 holes in golf, and centuries-old grudges are put to rest. Club secretary Dawson’s statement went on to say, “The membership has acted to fast-track a significant initial number of women to become members in the coming months.” Presumably we’ll soon know who they are.

And ESPNW also posts a roundup of statements, tweets and other relief from a golf world tired of waiting for this day.

Thursday
Sep182014

Back9Network Makes First Talent Hire Announcements

And rest assured, Ahmad is still locked in for Back9's big September 29 debut on DirecTV. Speaking of humor, interesting to note they are playing up that element of their coverage.

For Immediate Release:

BACK9NETWORK Announces Talent to Headline Studio Programming

About BACK9NETWORK: BACK9NETWORK is a golf lifestyle cable television network and media company based in Hartford, Connecticut.  BACK9NETWORK was developed as a complementary alternative to traditional media's focus on professional golf tournament coverage.  Focused on compelling storytelling, interesting personalities, features and fashions, interviews and instruction, travel, gear and much more, fans of all kinds will want to hang with the BACK9NETWORK.  BACK9NETWORK.com, the online clubhouse for BACK9NETWORK, delivers a fresh perspective on the golf lifestyle and its worldwide influence.  BACK9NETWORK’S leadership includes respected and outspoken executives from the golf and media industries.  For further information, visit www.BACK9NETWORK.com, @BACK9NETWORK on Twitter or BACK9NETWORKTV's YouTube Channel.

A unique blend of entertainers to join BACK9NETWORK

HARTFORD, CONN., September 18, 2014 - BACK9NETWORK, the 24/7 golf lifestyle network, announced today the addition to its talent roster of Shane Bacon, Erica Bachelor, Matty Blake, Caite Upton, Jeff Rude, John Maginnes, and Will Christien. The group of on-air personalities will headline the network’s studio shows as the network debuts on DIRECTV on September 29th. BACK9NETWORK, located on DIRECTV channel 262, will launch with nearly 1,100 hours of original programming in its first year including midday and evening studio shows entitled “The Turn,” “Off-Par” and “The Clubhouse.”

“While we will certainly pay attention to professional golf’s leaderboard, our coverage will focus on the lifestyle of the game where golf enthusiasts are spending their time and money — the courses and resorts they can play, the latest fashion, gadgets and equipment, and the behind-the-scenes stories that will highlight the personalities and characters that make golf so much fun,” said Scot Thor, Senior VP of Programming, BACK9NETWORK. “We’re dedicated to introducing lifestyle entertainment to the game of golf while respecting its values and traditions, and we’ve brought on some incredibly talented people to emphasize the depth, humility and humor in the game.”

BACK9NETWORK’S flagship hour of golf, pop culture, debate, and entertainment will be delivered on “The Turn,” which will premiere Monday, September 29th. Co-hosted by Shane Bacon and Erica Bachelor, “The Turn” will air on BACK9NETWORK daily at Noon and 7 PM Eastern.

Bacon, a veteran cbssports.com and Yahoo! Sports golf writer, and Bachelor, former E! Network host, will tackle the industry’s biggest topics by blending news, analysis and user-generated content with behind-the-scenes perspectives from the game’s most colorful icons and personalities.

“Golf is a universal sport that tends to stick with people as they grow older, and I can't wait to join a group that remembers that first and foremost, golf should be fun," said Bacon.

Co-hosted by acclaimed comedian and actor Matty Blake, and American model Caite Upton, "Off Par” is an inventive look at the world of golf and entertainment, with a comedic twist. Blake, Upton, and a rotating cast of characters will deliver free-flowing laughs in the form of viral internet videos, user-generated social media content, golf-themed skits, and guest appearances by other comedians. The program will air weeknights at 8PM Eastern.

“I’ve long said there’s a difference between loving the game of golf and taking it too seriously. BACK9NETWORK gets it,” said Blake. “I can’t wait to get started and share my thoughts on everything golf and pop-culture.”

Former PGA Tour pro John Maginnes, former Golfweek Senior Writer Jeff Rude, and women’s extreme sports champion Will Christien will co-host “The Clubhouse” which will air on weeknights at 10 PM Eastern. The playful banter of Christien, Maginnes, and Rude will echo the conversations one would hear at the 19th hole.  The trio’s no-holds-barred conversations will cover the latest happenings both on and off the course, as they incorporate questions and guidance from viewers at home, celebrities and the game’s professionals.

“John and Jeff come from the golf world, they've known each other for years and can literally finish each other’s sentences. I’m the new kid, but I definitely don’t feel that way, it's such a fun dynamic.” said Christien. “Our show is a conversation; we talk about life, but use golf as a theme. It’s for you if you’ve played once and it’s for you if you play every day.” 

In addition, BACK9NETWORK will utilize Charles Everett and Universo Pereira as network co-hosts. Everett is a veteran voice, theatre, and television actor, and Periera has both television and stage experience.  Alexis Morgan (TV Personality/Reporter) and Katie Sundseth (TV Personality/Model) join the network as lifestyle correspondents. All will offer personalized, satirical, and at times brutally honest opinions on what’s trending in golf on “The Turn,” “Off Par” and “The Clubhouse.”

BACK9NETWORK Executive Producer Ahmad Rashad was previously announced as host of BACK9NETWORK’s “AHMAD RASHAD,” which will premiere on BACK9NETWORK Monday, September 29th at 9 PM Eastern. “AHMAD RASHAD” is one of three BACK9NETWORK 30-minute, original primetime series. Others include “Golf Treasures,” and “Ball Hogs,” which will air weeknights at 9 pm Eastern.

Thursday
Sep182014

Westwood Sheds Weight For Upcoming Role In The Ryder Cup

While his colleagues have been out playing golf, Lee Westwood looks to appeal to the Academy by shedding 23 pounds in advance of Paul McGinley’s directorial debut, The 2014 Ryder Cup. James Corrigan reports.

Though McGinley’s script did not call for the Captain's pick to spend his weeks leading up to cup by grinding in the gym instead of finding honing his short game, the Captain said he's pleased to see a slimmer Westwood. Longtime Academy watchers are wondering if the combination of Westwood’s physical sacrifice will make him a front runner for best supporting Captain's pick who doesn't win a point.

Luke Kerr-Dineen with photos of the slimmed down Westwood who also lost weight for his role in the 2008 Ryder Cup.

Westwood opened the Wales Open with a 73, placing him T85 and possibly freeing the Ryder Cupper to spend more time in the gym this weekend as tailors anxiously prepare to modify his outfits yet again.

Thursday
Sep182014

Tiger On Going It Alone, Big Bro Notah & Not Watching Playoffs

Tiger Woods took to his blog to flesh out a few ideas from his Monday press conference to reveal that, as suspected from Doug Ferguson's item Tuesday, he might go the whole coaching thing alone.

From the item:

As for my coaching situation, there is no hard-and-set rule on this. I may just do it on my own. I'm keeping my options very, very open. I need to get healthy first before I start back and see how I feel. That's the No. 1 concern. And from there, then I can start deciding where I want to go with it.

I have bounced some things off Notah Begay III, my close friend and former Stanford teammate. We just kind of talked things through; he's like an older brother. We've discussed my options and what direction he thinks I should go. He's just trying to help out any way he can.

Nice endorsement for Notah! And not the worst idea I've heard.

There was also this huge endorsement for the golf playoffs...which were probably about fifth on his remote options after various football games, tennis, baseball and Property Brothers re-runs.

I really haven't watched much golf. I've seen a few shots here and there, but that's about it. I'll tune in to the Ryder Cup to see how our guys do.

Woods did wish the people of Cabo San Lucas well, where he has made multiple visits to his Diamante Dunes course design, but did not say how the course handled the recent hurricane.

Thursday
Sep182014

Election Day! If All Goes Well...

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club will reveal their vote around 6 pm in Scotland and polls close at 10 pm for the Scottish Independence vote, with no one sure when the outcome will be determined.

As for those of you who envisioned Jim McCallister of Election handling a possible close vote count, this Sky Sports report explains who is doing the R&A vote counting.

A spokesman for The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews said: "The club is balloting its members on a change to its membership rules that would enable it to welcome women members.

"Over 2,400 ballot papers have been sent out and the vote is independently scrutinised by Electoral Reform Services. A simple majority is required to effect the proposed change. Should the outcome be in favour of welcoming women members the decision will take immediate effect.

There was also this line from Peter Dawson in the story (I think). Ladies of golf, get those phone lines clear!

"The first women members in a mixed membership Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews are likely to have made a significant contribution to the development of our sport."

Thursday
Sep182014

Developer Offers Court A Redesign Of 3 Olympic Course Holes

AP's Stephen Wade and Tales Azzoni report on Wednesday's courtroom showdown over the Olympic golf course in Rio. Nothing was decided by it was pretty shocking to see an approved project offering to redesign three holes, especially a venue slated to host the first Olympic golf in a century abutting trash-littered waters.

But this is Rio where sanity went to die long ago.

Both sides told the judge it would not take long to return to his chambers with their final proposals. It was not clear how long this might take, and the judge did not specify a deadline.

"We have made a commitment to have the Olympics. That's a fact," Klausner said. "At the same time we have an interest in preserving the nature there. What was lost was lost, now we need a solution that will attend to both demands."

He called the redesign of the three holes "very viable."

Marcus Leal, a public prosecutor, said he was concerned about the impact on native flora and fauna."We want to make sure that the area is preserved in the long term," he said. "Having a golf course there doesn't mean that the local vegetation is being protected."