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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
  • 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
  • Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
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

I may be wrong, but I believe that the golfers of today want originality. Even those who are not particularly analytical sense the difference between a purely natural hole and one which suggests the artificial.  A.W. TILLINGHAST

 

    

Tuesday
Aug192014

Video: "Bone Marrow Transplant Cures Young Golfer Of Sickle Cell Anemia"

The story of Marley Franklin, a 10-year-old girl "once held captive by excruciating headaches caused by sickle cell anemia" has been cured thanks to a bone marrow transplant from her little sister. Oh, and she's a lefty who played in the Junior World this year and has a killer swing.

Thanks to reader Diane for catching this keeper:

The sisters have a special connection that extends beyond shared blood.

They both share a passion for golf.

Marley’s parents had her play golf during her recovery and she’s proven a natural talent.

“She plays like Phi Mickelson,” her dad said.

Marley has entered quite a few tournaments, collecting plenty of medals along the way.

Earlier this year, Marley played at Torrey Pines, the same tournament Tiger Woods entered when he was a boy. She didn’t win, but Marley now has an international ranking among 10-year-old girls: “I’m 55th in the world.”

Okay, so some rankings are great things!

The segment from KCBS, well worth your time compared to say, some dudes on the Tonight Show:

Tuesday
Aug192014

Tonight Show: Rory Talks About Tiger In The Past Tense

The whole Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon appearance must have been demeaning for Tiger Woods, not able to hit a ball on a national television show and having Rory McIlroy speak of you in the past tense.

The segment ended with hitting golf balls into glass after a short interview where Rory spoke of the old man in the tight black Jack LaLanne shirt:

I guess this little run that I'm on, it makes me appreciate what he's done in the past. I mean, just phenomenal to keep a run like this going and he's done way more than me. It makes you appreciate how hard he worked and what a dominant figure he was in our game.

I only suggest watching the "Facebreakers" game if you have positively nothing else to do today.

In a separate interview with Sky Sports News transcribed by Brian Keogh, Woods talked about getting back the explosiveness and referred to his "fall" at the WGC Bridgestone.

"I've got to be physically fit when I come back so I'll be explosive again and stable," he said.

"Obviously this year was frustrating in that I didn't really feel that I gave myself much of a chance. I first had that pain in my back and it would go away, and then it would come back, go away, come back, until eventually it never went away...It got fixed, but I took that fall on number two at the (WGC-Bridgestone Invitational) and I hadn't done any agility training yet so my hip got misaligned and everything went into spasm again.

"We got that all calmed down again but then I had to play. Now I need to keep it calm, then strengthen it and then I'll be back. That's one of the reasons I've shut it down. I'll come back in December and be ready for next year."

Monday
Aug182014

Tour Players Constantly Reminded Not To Be Cheapskates

The most surprising revelation in Luke Kerr-Dineen's September Golf Digest story on player tipping proved to be just how much the PGA Tour hounds players on all tours about tipping locker-room attendants each week.

Oh there's a bunch on Mickelson's big tipping ways, but this about the specificity of the tour policy surprised me...

The PGA Tour is structured similarly to its developmental tour, albeit with the formality kicked up a few notches.

Like the Web.com Tour, players are briefed at the start of the season about what's expected in the tipping department--mainly, in the words of Andy Pazder, the executive vice president and chief of operations, "to conduct themselves in a professional manner that's come to be expected of professional golfers."

At the start of each week, tournament officials give locker-room attendants a list of every player in the field. The tour's official tournament regulations stipulate that players are required to tip locker-room attendants a minimum of $50 for the week. In a 156-player field, that comes to at least $7,800 divided among the handful of attendants clubs usually employ.

Monday
Aug182014

PGA Tour Murder Mystery Intrigue...For A Good Cause

I'll admit, I'm jealous.

Who wouldn't love to attend an event featuring some crack mystery writers, including my favorite, Michael Connelly. And to see Jimmy Walker act out clues to a murder mystery even as the burden of losing his ResetCup points lead weighs on him as nerve-crushing pressure of the playoffs loom.

For Immediate Release...and it looks like some of the pricier tickets are still available for those of you near Saddle River...

Ragtime Rendezvous - A Murder Mystery Event

DATE:    Tuesday, August 19, 2014
TIME:    6:30 p.m. 10:00 p.m.
PLACE:    Private home in Saddle River, NJ

Tickets are limited to 150, and guests are encouraged to register as soon as possible. Ticket registration is available online at http://www.cafsnj.org/Ragtime. Please call Eve Marsan at 201-740-7107 for more information.    

EXCERPT FROM THE EVENT INVITATION:

"This Crime Scene Wont Be the Same Without Your Presence

Please join us for a lavish cocktail party that will prove to be an evening full of twists, turns, and gasps that you won't want to miss!

With best-selling author Harlan Coben (a.k.a. Inspector General) as your emcee, you'll join crime-solving teams led by PGA TOUR Wives Association members and their PGA TOUR professional golfer spouses including Jimmy Walker, current FedEx Cup leader, to search for clues in a quest to unravel the mystery of this ragtime gangster-style whodunnit.

Who came up with the Reset Cup algorithm?

Whether you're mingling with mystery writers Mary Higgins Clark or Michael Connelly in the ballroom, carousing in the wine cellar, or toasting in the private theatre, youll need your finest sleuthing skills to be the first to expose the culprit, who could be anyone at this scintillating soiree. Even YOU!"

Scintillating soiree!

I wonder how many pro golfers beyond Jimmy Walker, who actually has many interests (including having another cool image featured by NASA), have even heard of these world famous authors?

Monday
Aug182014

Bubba Rewards Caddie For Tolerating His On-Course Abuse

Folks (including myself) wonder why Ted Scott sticks with Bubba Watson as his boss, despite the constant verbal abuse and the new all-time low at this year's PGA: having to tee a shot up for His Lordship.

But as Scott Tweeted, the boss (pre-playoffs!) gave his luggage-toter a new car AND truck as a bonus for, uh, time served.

Jason Crook at GolfChannel.com reports on the Tweeted revelation by Scott.

Monday
Aug182014

The King Gets A Pacemaker

G.C. Digital with the statement from Arnold Palmer's people that he's "resting comfortably" after surgery to install a pacemaker.

Monday
Aug182014

Expectations Building Toward Inevitable Disappointment As Tiger-Rory Tonight Show Appearance Looms

It’ll be heavily scripted, Nike will somehow get some mentions for arranging this historic meeting and awkward jokes will be made about the ascension of Rory and the decline of Tiger’s game.

And most of us will watch, then wonder why we gave up those 10 minutes of our lives. Matthew Fitzgerald with quite possibly the first ever Tonight Show segment preview.

11 pm ET on NBC, the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Monday
Aug182014

Rory's Suit: Golfers Can't Wear Plaid Off The Course?

Rory McIlroy's suit selection for his Manchester United trophy celebration Saturday drew out the retired (six days) Tweeter extraordinaire Ian Poulter, who wore the same suit to Wimbledon earlier this year. Minus the Manchester red socks. The Independent with a round-up of the "jibe" taken by Poulter and Amanda Ferguson reports on the Twitter outrage, which went so far as to blame McIlroy for Manchester's 2-1 loss.

But it was the Telegraph's Frances Burscough who took Rory to task for his fashion sense because as a golfer, he can't be loud on the course and off.

Once he's handed his irons back to the caddy, shaken up a magnum of bubbly and kissed his silverware for the cameras it's time to step away from the clown outfits and slip into something more comfortable.

Instead, he turned up to a personal appearance at Old Trafford on Saturday, doing a lap of honour with his famous Claret Jug looking like he was on his way to audition for the parish hall production of Toad of Toad Hall.

So what was he thinking? Well, I suspect he read somewhere that bold black, white and grey Prince of Wales check was making a comeback in menswear. But, being a golfer and therefore blissfully unaware of the rule that less is more, he just ordered everything in that one design. I wouldn't be surprised if his underwear was checked too.

The Poulter Tweet with the Rory comeback... 

Sunday
Aug172014

The Most Improbable U.S. Amateur Win Ever?

The strange thing about Sunday's U.S. Amateur final featuring two lightly-decorated finalists: the quality of the golf was incredibly good.

On an abhorrent Rees Jones redesigned course with massive mounds, utterly artificial nonsense around everywhere you look and a fake lake thrown in too often to appease the EA video game crowd, the absurdly difficult Atlanta Athletic Club should have been a nightmare for Gunn Yang and Corey Conners. Yet they kept hitting bold and clutch shots, so all five of the people watching NBC's final USGA telecast were having a grand old time. Count me in, I was glued!

Ryan Lavner puts the absurdity of Yang's ascent into perspective:

Consider the odds: 6,803 entrants were whittled down to 312 qualifiers who advanced to the 64-man match-play bracket that was trimmed to two finalists, and the player who emerged victorious was Yang, a little-known 20-year-old from South Korea. This is a player who has played only four college events and lost his golf scholarship at San Diego State because of poor performance; who is only 15 months removed from back surgery; who withdrew from an event only three weeks ago because of shoddy play; and who, incredibly, is ranked No. 776 in the world, the lowest ever to hoist the Havemeyer Trophy.

“Obviously I want to go crazy,” he said, “but I’m doing an interview right now. I can’t go crazy right here. But I’m really happy about it.”

Nick Masuda says the SDSU scholarship issue has already been addressed.

Needless to say, Donovan's tactics worked to the tune of an improbable U.S. Amateur title Sunday afternoon at the Atlanta Athletic Club, holding off Corey Conners, 2 and 1, to become the second Korean-born champion in the last five years.

"Obviously the scholarship will be signed on tomorrow," Donovan said.

"(It) better. Or else I'm going to transfer," joked Yang, who will enter his sophomore collegiate campaign in just two weeks.

Yang is a tad rough around the edges, as this trophy handoff from USGA President Tom O'Toole demonstrated. Though in Yang's defense, once they hand you the trophy and you aren't very accomplished, you do want to keep both hands on it! Not the Billy-Bubba missed shake, but a nice runner-up.


Adam Schupak on winner Yang's bag, which includes a nice mix of clubs.

Pete Kowalski's official USGA game story.

And the USGA photo gallery from Sunday's thriller.

Dave Shedloski talks to Conners, who has something more closely resembling a golfing resume, about the issues he faces returning to school or turning pro. His part in the Canadian National Team makes it an easy choice and Conners hopes to enjoy exemptions into the Masters and U.S. Open, then start building toward an Olympic berth in 2016.

The telecast, which ended rather meekly on NBC Sports Network, included this farewell to 12 years of NBC-USGA partnership. Thanks to reader Phil for the link to this YouTube clip of the modest send off.

Sunday
Aug172014

Tringale DQ's Self Week After PGA, Forfeits $53,000

Bob Harig reports on the rather remarkable act of sportsmanship by Cameron Tringale, who felt he may have broken a rule at the PGA and called in to report himself a week after the championship.

Ryder Cup standings would not have been impacted by his DQ.

"We are very appreciative of Cameron coming forward to inform us of this situation," said Kerry Haigh, chief championships officer of the PGA. "It again shows the great values and traditions of the game and the honesty and integrity of its competitors."

Sunday
Aug172014

"Tour Players May Be Working Out Too Much, Leading to Injuries"

Thanks reader Jim A for John Paul Newport’s WSJ column where he considers the recent run of high-profile injuries in golf and wonders if the modern workout ethos of top players is catching up to them. But he also considers the impact of wraparound golf and the modern swing which I respectfully nominate over the number of bulked up athletes in golf.

This from Greg Rose of the Titleist Performance Institute stood out:

The new wraparound schedules that top international pros follow don't help, either. Even if they don't play in many more tournaments than they used to, many pros now have essentially no off-season and continue to train year-round.

Rose at TPI has worked extensively with professional long drivers like Jason Zuback. Their swings, designed for maximum distance, more closely resemble old-fashioned swings. They lift their left heels off the ground, rotate their hips more, and "jump" at the ball, relying far less on the lower back for power.

"The modern swing, with fewer moving parts, is designed primarily for accuracy," Rose said. "When you take that technique, and add power to it, as the modern pros have to do, you put extremely high stress on the body."

Saturday
Aug162014

Web.Com Tour Grads Not Getting Enough Opportunities?

One shot off Nick Watney's Wyndham Championship lead, Brad Fritsch used the opportunity of the last regular season event to point out that as a Web.com Tour Finals grad (14th), he's gotten just 18 starts with absolutely no rhyme or reason to them and as with many players who've tried to make it to the PGA Tour this way, he's wondering how his year would look with just a few more starts. Or getting in an event after a top ten but finding no room because of the PGA Tour's incredible number of major medical exemptions.

Will Gray
reports.

“Felt like I played one on, off three, played one, off four,” Fritsch said. “I think if the field sizes were the same as they were last year I would have gotten in four, five more events. That’s just frustrating.”

This week marks Fritsch’s 18th start of the season, and he is vying for his third top-10 finish of the year. While he began the season No. 14 out of 50 on the priority list among Web.com Tour Finals graduates, he is now No. 162 on the FedEx Cup points list and likely needs at least a top-three finish Sunday to secure playing privileges for 2015.

The lowlight for Fritsch came back in February, when a T-10 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open failed to gain him entry into the following week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. A top-10 finish typically earns a player an automatic spot in the subsequent PGA Tour event, but a limited field and an influx of players using major medical extensions meant Fritsch never got to tee it up at TPC Scottsdale.

Saturday
Aug162014

Kevin Sutherland's Champions Tour 59 Includes Bogey At Last

Any 59 is pretty incredible, but to do it with a bogey on the card means you did not make many pars! Four, to be exact.

An unbylined AP story on Kevin Sutherland's historic Champions Tour round of 59.

Saturday
Aug162014

Not April Fools: Finchem Takes Ice Bucket Challenge

I was feeling bad for the Commish after Rob Manfred survived a battle to become MLB Commissioner and in comparing baseball's new leading man to other overpaid suits, Tim Finchem’s name never once came up. Blasphemy!

Yet something tells me Manfred would not take the Ice Bucket Challenge, which I thought needed to go away for a while now. Watching that GIF, I was so, so wrong.

Points to the Commish for doing this. Points for the PGA Tour branded bucket (ok, an office trash can, hopefully sterilized before this stunt). Points for setting. And big points for putting the beloved royal blue jacket back on over the shirt at the risk of it never quite smelling the same again.

Nice work to Len Mattiace for challenging the Commish too. You may even avoid a fine for that. And good luck to Johnny Miller, Dan Hicks and the FedExCup Champion, who were called out by the Commish and have no choice but to carry on this otherwise absurd challenge.

Charity really is the heart of the PGA Tour...the clip!

Friday
Aug152014

"In a field littered with silver-spooners and prodigies, Wedel’s story resonates most."

Just an incredible piece of work by Ryan Lavner to put together Frederick Wedel's story on the eve of the Pepperdine junior's semi-final U.S. Amateur match after a resounding victory over Nathan Smith.

Besides rooting for Wedel because he's a Pepperdine Wave, it's worth nothing he's seen the darkest, strangest sides of life. Wedel carries a strange kind of burden playing for himself and his dad, who started him in this crazy game and who now is bedridden because of a freak, and heartbreakingly innocuous incident.

Lavner writes:

He was 10 when his dad (also named Fred) kept itching what he thought was a mosquito bite on his neck. It turned out to be a staph infection in his spinal cord, and a few weeks later he was paralyzed from the neck down.

A normal childhood was no longer possible. For three years, Fred spent most of his days in a car, driving an hour to and from the hospital, where sometimes all his dad could do was listen.

“I really didn’t handle it well,” he said. “I just kept having hopes that maybe one day he’d walk again, that we’d figure it out. Eventually I realized he wasn’t going to walk again. It threw me into a dark place for a while.”

An eighth-grader without a father figure, Wedel rebelled. His family split apart. He got kicked out of private school. His golf game suffered without the man who taught him how to play with a cut-down 7-iron at age 3.

And now he's in the semi-finals of the U.S. Amateur.

NBC picks up the weekend coverage from 4-6 p.m. ET. You can follow the matches at the official website. Pete Kowalski previews the two semi-final matches here.

Friday
Aug152014

"Mini Golf as Career? She Gets Past the Obstacles"

Sarah Lyall files a NY Times front page story on this weekend's U.S. Open Miniature Golf Tournament and some of the characters who will be vying for the $3500 first place check, including 19-year-old Czech sensatino Olivia Prokopova.

The mysterious young women has been dominant of late and Lyall shares some fun stuff about her popularity back home, her entourage and her rigorous training schedule.

Prokopova has been playing miniature golf since she was 3 years old, she said. Because there is so little money in it, she relies on fees from exhibitions and on corporate sponsors. “My mum and my dad must also give me money,” she said.

She sometimes finds it lonely. “Because I play all the time, I haven’t got many friends, but I like the players here — they are like my second family,” she said. “I’ve been coming here since I was 7 years old, and I know everyone.”

She trains so intensely that she has had operations on a wrist and on both knees. She would not reveal her training methods — “It’s our secret, how we practice,” she said — but did allow that she takes 14 vitamin and herbal supplements a day, and that “I have to eat light food before I play, or else I can’t bend down and pick up the ball.”

She was the picture of modesty. “I haven’t got any talent; I just practice every day,” she said. Explaining her approach, she punched some words into Google Translate and then read aloud what appeared on her phone. “Diligence,” she said.

This video piece also accompanies the story:

Friday
Aug152014

Golf Channel Unveiling "Relaxed" Rules Of Golf

With demised of Taylor Made's crowd-sourcing effort Hack Golf designed to help solve the game's ills and find more people to buy drivers, the effort to make golf less stuffy turns to Golf Channel's "Relaxed Rules of Golf" debuting on Friday's Morning Drive. The first of several Charlie Rymer-Matt Ginella segments explaining the rules can be seen here.

I got a firsthand look at the list (the exclusives I score for you!). If asked I would have led off with "Play It As It Lies" as a not-so-subtle message to the governing bodies that drifting from that initial rule of golf has given us an inch-thick Decisions book telling us how not to play the ball as it lies. But the effort here is to unite the sport behind both the current rules and also a more accessible way to the game for the masses. Shoving Play It As It Lies in everyone's face might have detracted from the effort and I get that.

I'm told as part of the launch this will very much emphasize the importance of the current Rules for the competitive game. So rest assured USGA and R&A folks, all is right in your worlds. Study up for those rules quizzes. A 100 on the test will make you a God or Goddess!

Here goes...

For all who play golf just to have fun, we offer 7 rules to govern all play.

1.    MAXIMUM SCORE Double par (i.e., 6 on par-3s, 8 on par-4s, 10 on par-5s).
2.    PENALTIES All are 1 stroke, including out-of-bounds, water and lateral hazards, lost balls and unplayable lies. Drop a ball near where the original was lost and play on.
3.    SEARCH TIME Two minutes to look for your ball. If lost, proceed under Rule 2.
4.    UNFORTUNATE LIES With your playing partners’ consent, balls may be dropped out of divots or footprints, away from tree roots and any other dangerous lies.
5.    CONCEDED PUTTS Putts may be conceded with your playing partners’ consent.
6.    EQUIPMENT No restrictions, including number of clubs.
7.    COMMON SENSE When in doubt, use common sense and fairness.

Speaking of Play It As It Lies, this memo from architect Max Behr was written to his fellow members at Lakeside Golf Club in 1925. The whole idea of playing the ball down in the sandy natural areas wasn't going over too well with the Hollywood types of the era. A little context was required.

Apologies I don't have a larger sized file of this...because it really is such a brilliant smackdown...

Thursday
Aug142014

Lexi's Power & Where She'd Rank Against The Men

Lexi Thompson overpowered Donald Ross' 6,700 yard Monroe Golf Club in round one of the LPGA Championship, posting a 6-under 66 and she wasn't shy in noting the advantage she gained based on the LPGA Tour notes.

Off the course, she's also getting some great endorsement time in Puma ad campaigns, something noted in this piece by Randall Mell on the 19-year-old Dinah Shore winner's ideal place in life right now. And there was this, which caught my technophobic eye:

Thompson is the LPGA’s longest hitter, leading the tour in driving distance with an average of 271.2 yards per drive. With Monroe Golf Club’s generous fairways, Thompson pounded drivers into 10 of 14 fairways, leaving her mostly short irons into all the par 4s on a course playing long at 6,717 yards. She hit 16 greens in regulation.

For a little FYI on where Lexi's 271.2 would put here in a PGA Tour historical context...

4th in 1980
13th in 1985
19th in 1990
31st in 1995
T126th in 2000
197th in 2005
191st in 2010
T185th in 2014 (ahead of Mike Weir, Justin Leonard, Tim Clark and Paul Goydos!)

Wonderful leap backwards there from 1995 to 2000! Amazing what all that working out did for the men!

Thursday
Aug142014

After Tiger: Like Pre-Tiger, Golf Dependent On Economy

Matt Brennan of Deadspin files a 6,220 word gem for the normally ADD-driven site of sports info with a well-researched piece considering the impact Tiger had on golf and where the sport is headed. It's the kind of story you'd like to read in print at a coffee shop to savor some of the reporting and quotes, but alas, those days are gone.

So Instapaper this one or just set aside a few minutes in front of your screen, because it's a thought-provoking look at where the game is headed in the wake of Tigermania and Tigergimpia. Brennan's primary conclusion, drawn in part from talking to the likes of Bishop, Mona, Jerris and others is that the sport relies much more on the overall economy than any one player.

Economics are important, and upswings or downturns in three key sectors— employment, home values, and investment portfolios—are an indicator of golf's success, Mona told me. In this, he echoed the USGA's Jerris, who emphasized that the sport's fortunes have fluctuated with the broader economy since the Roaring Twenties gave way to the Great Depression.

"Here's what we know from 100 years of data about golf," he said. "The only real metric that matters in determining participation in the game is household income."

While Jerris, Mona, and Ted Bishop, president of the PGA of America, all described golf's exclusivity as a "misperception"—80% of golf courses in the United States are accessible to the public, and the median green fee is an affordable $26—income, and therefore class status, is a workable proxy if you're trying to determine whether golf appeals to someone. This may explain why the sport's rarefied image remains so tenacious, even among regular players.

Thursday
Aug142014

U.S. Am Match To Keep Eye On: Smith v. Wedel

I know that Smith v. Wedel sounds like a dreary precedent-setting tax law case, but it's actually the most intriguing U.S. Amateur quarterfinal match at Atlanta Athletic Club Friday.

Alex Miceli writes about mid-Amateur legend Nathan Smith reaching his first U.S. Amateur quarters and while the focus will be on the most famous remaining player, Pepperdine's Frederick Wedel is a superb story in his own right. You may recall this spring's post recounting the emotional visit paid by Wedel's dad with photos posted on Pepperdine Golf's Facebook page. Fred, who started his son in the game but had not been able to watch him play for years because of severe health issues.

Anyway, about old geezer Smith, who faces Wedel at 11 a.m. ET, with Golf Channel showing tape delayed coverage from 8:30-10:30 ET:

At that point, Smith looked tired walking from the 18th green to the first tee, but in the three playoff holes he hit the ball where he wanted, giving himself easy two-putts.

After a solid 19th hole, Meth had to scramble out of the trees on the 20th hole to save bogey, but missed a 20-foot downhill par putt on the 21st hole, sending Smith into Friday's quarterfinals, where he will face Frederick Wedel of The Woodlands, Texas, at 11 a.m.

“I haven't thought about it a lot, but it's nice to have some success in this tournament,’ Smith said of his 21-hole marathon. “I haven't had too much through the years. It's nice to win a few matches and get deep and see you guys and just be here. It's exciting for me and everybody back home. It's been fun.”

USAmateur.org has a nice "meet the quarterfinalists" roundup here.