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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
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    by Chris Millard
  • 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
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

Every golfer wants a challenge, but he doesn't want to be out there fighting the Korean War.
JOE LEE


    

Thursday
Mar052015

Task Force Founder Bishop: Phil Pulling The Strings

Ted Bishop debuts as a guest columnist for Golf Magazine's weekly digital offering and while I can't link to the piece this golf.com summary will have to do.

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.

Wednesday
Mar042015

Best News From Royal St. George's: Now Admitting Girls

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.”

Wednesday
Mar042015

The State Of The Donald

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.

Wednesday
Mar042015

Video: One-Putt Paula Does It Again, This Time In Heels

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.

Elizabeth Bethel with the details.

The video:

A nice compilation of the international coverage centered around last year's putt.

Wednesday
Mar042015

PGA Tour Rolls Out Revamped iPad App

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.

A quick preview video:

Tuesday
Mar032015

The Annual Most Overpaid Golf Association Executives List

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.

Tuesday
Mar032015

Adam Scott Resurfaces At Doral With A Conventional Putter

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.”

Tuesday
Mar032015

Video: ESPN's Getting Us In The Masters Mood

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.

Tuesday
Mar032015

Video And Thoughts: 2015 Golf Industry Show Wrap

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.

Tuesday
Mar032015

Bears Club Fine For MJ; Exclusive Video Of Meeting With Jack

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:

Tuesday
Mar032015

R.I.P. Jay Morrish

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.

Monday
Mar022015

Fox Wants AT&T U-Verse To Pay More To Show USGA Events

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.

Monday
Mar022015

Video: Dude Perfect Raises The Trick Shot Bar

I became a fan of the Dude Perfect team a couple of years ago when they did this golf stereotypes piece. Little did I know they've become celebs, a brand, a platform and a celebrity brand platform.

Their last featurette did 2.5 million views but I think the ambition and clutch shot making of Callaway's Jamie Sadlowski may have raised the bar so high that even the Bryan Brothers will be forced to dig deep!

Normally I don't like the over-production in trick shot videos, but maybe in my old age I'm over the gritty independent films and embracing the big budget bombast, especially when the drone shot effects are so fun...


Monday
Mar022015

Wacky Honda Classic: Padraig Harrington Is Back! 

Watching Padraig Harrington at Riviera or even on the range at the Honda it was hard to imagine there was a method to his madness, but in one of the better redemption stories of modern times, the three-time major champ returned to the winner’s circle.

From Doug Ferguson's AP game story, a reminder how far back Harrington came from:

Lost in all the collapses down the stretch was that the 43-year-old veteran was five shots behind with eight holes to play when he hooked his tee shot and dropped his head walking off the 11th hole. It was enough left of the fairway to find a patch of muddied grass that had been trampled by the gallery, and he played a bold shot to a right flag over the water to 15 feet for birdie. That's where Poulter went into the water, and the three-shot swing meant Harrington was back in the game.

He followed with a 35-foot birdie on the 12th, a 7-foot birdie on the 13th and a 15-foot putt on the 14th for his fourth straight birdie and a share of the lead when Reed holed from 18 feet right before him.

Brian Wacker on how far Harrington has come and how wonderfully honest he was about the low point:

Whatever physical tinkering he had done with his swing, not seeing the results he’d hoped for had crept into the mental side of his game and in 2012 he suffered the yips.

“As a lot of people who win major tournaments, you look back at them and you try and live up to them, play up to them,” Harrington said. “I just got very intolerant of my mental game, my focus.

“When you get (the yips), it's really frustrating, it's really hard. You don't know what to do. You grind your way through it and it is a tough thing to get through.

“But yeah, there's no doubt low points in those years, because you know, in 2008, 2009, I'm very much in the penthouse. I wasn't quite down to the doghouse but not far away from it.”

On Saturday, Dave Shedloski recounted how big Harrington's win in Asia was late last year:

It hasn't helped that he has tinkered with his swing endlessly in the last seven years. Sound familiar?

"My big problem is really trying to control the outcome and not settling for the process being enough," he said. "Ultimately, I have found out that is the biggest hindrance to my game. My mind out there was better than it's ever been. It was ugly at the end there. I found it for a while, though."

Offering him solace is that he found it in Indonesia, too. After blowing a four-stroke lead through 54-holes, Harrington sank a 15-foot par putt on the 72nd hole to beat Thanyakon Khrongpha of Thailand by two shots. It was his first win since the 2010 Johor Open, also on the Asian Tour.

He found the spark at Riviera last Saturday afternoon when a lot of players had called it a day. His post round explanation to PGA Tour Radio:


Meanwhile, it wasn't all Harrington. Daniel Berger nearly pulled off an historic comeback and Will Gray recounts Ian Poulter’s stunning collapse that leaves the Englishman (still) without a PGA Tour stroke play win.

The highlights, which don’t quite do justice to what an entertaining finish it was (and nice to have the livelier NBC team back delivering all of the little touches like showing actual golf swings and including cool sounds).

The clinching shot in the playoff by Harrington:

Monday
Mar022015

State Of The Game Podcast 52: Royal Melbourne & Riviera

With the golf at Royal Melbourne and Riviera witnessed by the hosts, we decided to talk about those fascinating weeks along with some Padraig at Honda talk.

It's certainly been an interesting few weeks of architecture, setup and the modern game colliding! As always you can subscribe on iTunes, listen here at the permalink or download the MP3.

Monday
Mar022015

Apple Hasn't Ruled Out The Golf Cart Business!

Ben Lovejoy at the best all-things-Apple news site 9to5mac picked up this about various Swiss filings related to possible automobiles and noted the inclusion of a lot of boilerplate stuff. Still, nice to see they haven't forgotten golf!

From the filing:

Vehicles; Apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water; electronic hardware components for motor vehicles, rail cars and locomotives, ships and aircraft; Anti-theft devices; Theft alarms for vehicles; Bicycles; Golf carts; Wheelchairs; Air pumps; Motorcycles; Aftermarket parts (after-market parts) and accessories for the aforesaid goods.

Monday
Mar022015

New Golf Channel Reality Show: Cross Country Golf, Almost

There is a grand tradition of cross country golf dares through the ages, though few examples of late with the threat of lawyers and public safety entering the picture.

Not long ago in Golf Digest I wrote about one of the nuttiest, coolest cross country players (Freddie Tait) and the attempts to replicate his feat by golfers at Royal St. Georges and Royal Cinque Ports. Jerry Tarde even predicted in his editor's column previewing the piece, "I think I see a smash Golf Channel event in the making."

Well it's not quite authentic cross country golf, but Golf Channel is trying a new reality show that takes elements of zany, cross-course play, but tries to speed things up. I always imagined the real fun of trying to navigate a weird way around a course would be most fascinating as players stop and mull their options (over the parking lot?), but the new Altered Course show will be done by young athletic types going as fast as they can. Can't say I'm excited about that part, but maybe it'll work.

The show is slated for this summer.

G.C. Digital's take on the new show and the full press release:

GOLF CHANNEL ANNOUNCES NEW COMPETITION SERIES, ALTERED COURSE

Teams to Compete on Extraordinary Hole Layouts Exceeding 700 Yards Requiring Daring Golf Shots, While Racing Against Time

Production for Series’ Inaugural Season Slated for Montego Bay, Jamaica, Premiering in Summer, 2015

ORLANDO, Fla., March 2, 2015 – Golf Channel announced today a new reality competition series, Altered Course, currently in production that combines golf, speed, fitness, teamwork and decision-making as teams navigate re-imagined and extreme golf holes in excess of 700 yards, traversing the natural obstacles and challenging terrain as fast as possible.

“Athleticism and fitness have taken on a much greater emphasis in golf in recent years, and as a result we are seeing more athletes coming up in the ranks of men’s and women’s golf,” said Keith Allo, Golf Channel vice president of programming development and original productions.  “Altered Course is taking this trend to a whole new level, rewarding teams that are the most physically fit and play the best golf.  The terrain and re-imagined golf holes will test their golf skills and challenge them both mentally and physically. Pace of play will not be an issue on Altered Course.”

The tournament-style competition series will feature eight two-person teams racing against the clock as they take on the twists and turns of these extreme golf holes – one Altered Course hole can incorporate upwards of three traditional golf holes – in an alternate-shot or scramble format.  Teams will be scored on both shots taken as well as time, with weekly eliminations leaving one team left standing as the champion of Altered Course.  To capture the action of this innovative format, Golf Channel will utilize Sony Action cameras and aerial footage to track the teams’ progress on each challenge, providing rarely-seen golf course camera angles.

Altered Course’s inaugural season will take place in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Filming will commence at the all-new Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall Resort, with the competition staged at two of Montego Bay’s premier courses, White Witch and Cinnamon Hill.  Kristen Kenney, pit reporter for the Red Bull Global RallyCross series on NBC and NBCSN, has been tabbed to host the inaugural season. Altered Course Montego Bay presented by Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva will premiere in summer, 2015.

For the series inaugural season, additional sponsors include Skechers GO GOLF as the official footwear provider, MusclePharm as the official nutritional supplement and Bushnell as the official range finder.

Monday
Mar022015

Nothing To See Here, Move Along Files: Tiger PED Suspension

I'm a little surprised how many people found even a shred of credibility in former tour player Dan Olsen's comments to Lansing, Michigan's WVFN-AM suggesting Tiger was serving a suspension for PED usage.

Besides the loopy description of his source (worth listening to just for the giggle), things crumbled fast when Olsen mentioned a one-month term. The interviewer should have asked if there was such thing in the PGA Tour's drug policy guidelines (there is not).

Anyway, this kind of stuff certainly will always be out there when Dr. Anthony Galea made 14 in-house visits, but you'd like to think WVFN would have been more discerning.

Olsen has retracted "the entire interview" and apologized to Tiger, Nike, Phil, Tim Finchem and Brian Williams. Well, four out of those five.

Steve DiMeglio of USA Today with agent Mark Steinberg's rebuttal, the PGA Tour's statement and Olsen's retraction.

"These claims are absolutely, unequivocally and completely false," agent Mark Steinberg said. "They are unsourced, unverified and completely ridiculous."

Olsen issued a retraction Monday on the web site of WVFN-AM in Lansing, Mich. "I retract the entire interview," Olsen said in a statement. "My comments were ill-advised. I want to apologize to Nike, the PGA Tour, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Tim Finchem."

There are some fun stories floating around about Olsen and the Commish. If I can get a couple of more sources, I'll do my best to share! But for now, he should go back to his birther and truther DG's.

Sunday
Mar012015

Video: Padraig Going Happy Gilmore With A Caveat...

I can see doing the Happy Gilmore thing as a footwork drill or to help with timing or any number of swing issues.

But with a rubber-band around the knees? While you're contending in a tour event? With people watching?Were all the straitjackets taken?

Here's Morning Drive's live range coverage of Padraig Harrington before his Honda Classic third round 71. Could this be another former multiple major winner in a few years?

Sunday
Mar012015

Freshen Your Remote Batteries: Rory’s Omega Ad May Run Another Six Months

Even though every golf fan has grown accustomed to leaping for their remote when Omega’s grating “Hall of Fame” ad relentlessly surfaces, it seems the Caddyshack gopher emerged from his hole to see his shadow.

You know what that means? We’ll have another six months of the Guantanamo-ready piece even though it had grown insufferable within days of its debut.

But as Golf News Net notes, if history is any gauge, we'll have another six months to detect some sort of hidden genius behind the campaign since Omega only does one golf ad a year.

Either way, please, please make sure you have fresh batteries all so you never experience the hitting the mute button only to find your remote has lost all juice from repeated MUTE use.

The problem is that the watchmaker only seems to make one ad each year, typically making a big splash associated with the PGA Championship. As a partner of the PGA of America, Omega gets a ton of commercial time, which leads to almost immediate ad fatigue. There’s only so many times someone can hear “Hall of fame!” screeched before you hit the Mute button, or, as with the Sergio Garcia ad the year prior, see a watch gear move quickly in sequence with the Spaniard’s swing before you wish for a digital watch more than anything.