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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 do not like making the pace. It gets harder and harder as you go. The other fellows, with nothing on their minds but their hair, are shooting the works while you keep wondering if you hadn't better be careful and try not to lose any strokes, which is the best possible way of losing them.  BOBBY JONES

 

    

Monday
Sep152014

First Glimpses Of Cabot Cliffs Look Stunning

Josh Sens talks to Matt Kuchar about getting a sneak peak of Cabot Cliffs, the Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw design that will join Cabot Links next year in Nova Scotia.

The item includes several images of the course playing along 17-Mile-Drive reminiscent cliffs.

There was also this...

Even Bill Coore, a man so laidback you have to pull him forward to get him sitting upright, has served up a few excited sound bytes. “I had the same feeling as I did at Sand Hills,” he said, alluding to the heralded Nebraska layout that he and Crenshaw built. “If we don’t deliver a great course on a site like this, then it’s our fault.”

One of "The Boys," the traveling band of artisans who craft Coore and Crenshaw's designs, has been tweeting some stellar photos of late. Here is Keith Rebb's account. And a couple that stood out:

Monday
Sep152014

Horschel Likely Would Have Skipped Ryder Cup Anyway 

While Ryan Ballengee makes a sensible case for the PGA of America re-evaluating when the points list and captain's picks are decided for the Ryder Cup, he does neglect to address the PGA Tour's inevitable dissatisfaction with seeing the Ryder Cuppings overshadowing their uh, Super Bowl of golf that draws about 1/108th the audience.

Still, there is this about where we were a few weeks ago and now with Team USA:

Had Watson been given longer to evaluate his choices, would he still have picked the three he did? Just some of them? Watson won't say, but it's hard not to see the juxtaposition of players that were picked for the team against the ones staying home when the U.S. team heads to Gleneagles.

I would counter that if the playoffs are not going to move from the current August-September window--and it's hard to see Commissioner Goodell South admitting they aren't working--that at least the Ryder Cup decision every two years might add some extra spice to the playoffs that no algorithm can match.

As for Billy Horschel, who makes you want to see him on Team USA with his play and his charisma, Jason Sobel reports Horschel's wife is due during the Ryder Cup and he would have sat it out unless labor was induced early.

So while Team USA is grinding it out at Gleneagles, Horschel will be counting his money and supporting his wife as they celebrate a newborn. And maybe it's just better it worked out this way. Not that this is an excuse for revisiting the deadlines in the bizarro 2016 season.

Sobel also notes this bit of irony:

Back in 1979, Tom Watson was prepared to compete in the Ryder Cup before withdrawing from the competition to witness the birth of his first child.

Sunday
Sep142014

McGinley On Clarke, Monty And A Funny Elevator Exchange

Thanks to reader Alan for Paul Kimmage's lengthy Q&A with European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley. The format is an embellished transcript of sorts and after a while you get used to it.

Most of the best stuff comes later when McGinley talks with humility about his role, the backstabbingroom antics of Darren Clarke when McGinley was up for the job, Monty's bid for the captaincy (and Clarke inexplicably backing him) and the entire thing ends with a stellar story about a San Diego Marriott conversation that I won't spoil here.

Just part of the Darren Clarke exchange.

PK: When is the last time you spoke to him?

PMcG: I saw him in Turin last week.

PK: Did you speak to him?

PMcG: Yeah.

PK: Did you tell him he was not going to be one of your vice-captains?

PMcG: No.

PK: You never felt you had to make that call?

PMcG: No.

PK: It was obvious it wasn't going to happen?

PMcG: Yeah. Our conversations (now) are short and sweet: 'How are you? Fine. Move on.'

PK: That's kind of hard given how far you've come together?

PMcG: Yeah.

PK: And those great experiences you've shared?

PMcG: Yeah, but do you know what? It happens in all walks of life whether you're a businessman, a journalist or a golfer. It's what happens. You move on.

PK: Because the killer blow wasn't when Darren decided to stand against you, it was when he withdrew and rowed in behind Monty, someone he didn't actually like.

(He smiles but does not reply.)

PK: I'll take that as an acknowledgement.

(He changes his mind.)

PMcG: Now that was different. When you say: 'You told a lie,' I didn't tell a lie.

PK: You'll have to explain that to me.

PMcG: The answer I gave at the press conference was that I didn't have a problem with Darren standing.

PK: You weren't asked if you had a problem with him rowing in behind Monty?

PMcG: No.

PK: So you didn't tell a lie?

PMcG: Checkmate.

Sunday
Sep142014

Billy Horschel's Playoff Haul: $13,477,333

John Strege on Billy Horschel's cash haul for an excellent run of golf and Johnny Miller's suggestion that a star was born the last few weeks. And just in time to give Team USA a needed...oh wait, sorry.

Anyway, the best of all? Horschel didn't wheel any stuff out about one day at a time or it's about titles, not the money. Despite the impression the extreme-preppy outfits might give, Horschel says he comes from a blue collar world and will gladly take FedEx, Coca Cola and BMW's money.

It adds to $13,477,333 in the span of two weeks, but the payoff ultimately could be substantially larger by virtue of his confidence now equal to his talent.

“Billy Horschel, I’m not sure you’re not seeing a star in the making,” NBC’s Johnny Miller said. “This is not a fluke. The guy is just good. He hits a decent distance. He’s accurate. The irons are fantastic.

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour Playoffs got even less play than normal without Tiger and set against a sports backdrop with big NFL news, the usual early season marquee football games and all-but-one close divisional race (how 'bout them Angels!), it's pretty clear in year eight that the sponsors of these events are not getting value commensurate with what they are ponying up. Despite the cum-ulative audience rising (according to the Commish) the ratings are weak because there is almost no chance to compete this time of year. The audience might be there in a few weeks after the initial football euphoria has calmed down and baseball is largely played at night, but common sense says the playoffs would have a better chance a month later.

GolfChannel.com's roundup of the week didn't have much nice to say about these playoffs. And not because of the play or the performances, which were as good or better than any year with a winner who sees his life changed by a month of amazing golf. But instead, their issues are with timing and the Ryder Cup selection cutoffs.

Saturday
Sep132014

Fowler Says PGA Prez Apologized For Strange Valhalla Finish

With forecasted storms and a history of having to come back the next day, the PGA of America chose not to change the late start at Valhalla and it led to a bizarre 18th hole scene.

Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson reluctantly waved up Rory McIlroy, who was spared having to stand on the 18th tee or worse, come back the next day to finish off his win. Rex Hoggard reports that PGA of America president Ted Bishop has apologized to Fowler about how things went down and has exchanged text messages with Phil Mickelson.

“We were fine with them hitting their tee balls up, but we were not in a position where we were going to let them hit their approach shots,” Fowler said. “Will it ever happen again in a major championship? No.”

Saturday
Sep132014

Greg Norman Nearly Severs Hand In Chainsaw Accident

Norman, or someone with a less-bandaged limb, Instagrammed and Tweeted a photo.

Here was his comment:

Working with a chainsaw ALWAYS be respectful of the unexpected. I was one lucky man today. Damaged,…

A report in The Age says Norman almost cut off his hand and that he had posted a photo last week working with a chainsaw to cut back a small tree at one of his seaside properties.

The post:

Saturday
Sep132014

"Watson overlooking Chris Kirk in favour of Webb Simpson is looking a bigger mistake with each passing day"

Derek Lawrenson takes a look at Team USA as the Tour Championship comes to a close and the two hottest American golfers won't board the chartered flight to Gleneagles.

Lawrenson calls it a combination of bad luck and bad judgement, but the luck may be more a product of the points standing cut-off at the PGA Championship. Then again, Watson got a glimpse of Chris Kirk's second win of the year at the Deutsche Bank and still picked Webb Simpson. And the movie posters have already been printed.

Watson overlooking Chris Kirk in favour of Webb Simpson is looking a bigger mistake with each passing day, while Billy Horschel’s emergence a week late for wild card consideration is indicative of the sort of misfortune America can ill afford.

The expressive Horschel, precisely the sort of passionate character who thrives at a Ryder Cup, summed it up well after his fine victory at the BMW Championship on Sunday.

‘Tom won’t be kicking himself for not picking me but he will probably be wanting to kick me for not playing like this a little earlier,’ said the 27-year-old.

And there was this wisdom from the last winning U.S. captain.

The turn of events has left America’s last winning Ryder Cup captain feeling distinctly uneasy. ‘I would have picked Chris over Webb, certainly,’ said Paul Azinger, skipper in 2008.

‘Chris has won twice this year, he’s hot and I like hot players. Why not pick a rookie? It’s OK picking experience if you’re European but so often with us it’s losing experience.’

Friday
Sep122014

Wentworth Sold To Chinese Group For £135 Million

The home to the European Tour has undergone many renovations, most notably under the seller Richard Caring's supervision. Caring famously had to defend the work that he drove and which Ernie Els carred out (and here and here).

Zoe Wood of the Guardian reports.

"Wentworth is a key strategic acquisition for our rapidly growing luxury lifestyle division," said Dr Chanchai Ruayrungruang, who founded the group behind China's first private golf club. He said Reignwood would draw on the club's "exceptional expertise" to inform its other golf operations across Asia and preserve its unique culture. "Reignwood has a long history in golf development and a profound respect for excellence," he said.

Friday
Sep122014

Video: Rory's Tee Shot Finishes In Spectator's Pocket

Here's one you don't hear about every day. Or ever.

The clip:

Friday
Sep122014

Great Read: MyGolfSpy's Anonymous Retailer Takes On Vendors

MyGolfSpy.com has posted an anonymous essay of sorts by a golf retailer who "owns and operates multiple retail golf facilities" and shares thoughts on the declining equipment sales industry, with a focus on accelerated product cycles, declining profit margins and the downsizing of golf at Dick's Sporting Goods.

Carve out a few minutes for this one if you have an interest in the equipment business.

And I'm curious who you all would nominate as the three vendors referenced here:

There are 3 (equipment) vendors that I’ve told people we could carry to the exclusion of others and we’d be just fine. Example: A golfer visits the vendor’s their fitting headquarters. He walks out with his complete fitting information and is told to purchase his clubs at his local golf store or golf course.

We like these guys, and we move a high volume of their equipment. They don’t get into pricing wars. They stand behind their product, and maintain 18-24 month lifecycles.

They also don’t sell direct to the consumer.

Their businesses are based on quality. That’s what we stand for too. We fit people. We want people to play better golf. We’re certified fitters with all 3, and we’ll move as much volume with any 1 of these vendors as a most stores in a population center 5 times our size.

All of my employees, myself included, used to be unbiased with regard to what we sold. We aren’t anymore. We are not hard sellers, however, we now get behind certain vendors much more than some others because of the business practices I’ve discussed.

These 3 vendors have it figured out. The great thing about them not discounting their product is that we run between a 32%-38% profit margin with all of them!

Weird, right?

We make money when we properly fit a customer into a set of irons he’ll hopefully be happy with for 5-10 years. That’s how the business is supposed to work.

Friday
Sep122014

Time Lapse Video: Pinehurst No. 2 Is Back

Thanks to Pinehurst's Alex Podlogar for this time lapse photography by John Gessner showing the turf conversion of Pinehurst No. 2's 18th green following the U.S. Open(s).

The clip:

Friday
Sep122014

Woosie On McGinley: “He might as well have 12 vice-captains, one for each player."

While Ian Woosnam is overwhelmingly positive about Paul McGinley's prospects as Europe's lead cart driver at Gleneagles, he couldn't help but question to Sky Sports the fleet of five Ryder Cup assistants.

From the report:

"It took me a little bit by surprise when he went for five. I guess he's trying to get a little bit of advice from everybody but sometimes you can get too much advice. At the end of the day he's the one who has got to make the decisions.

"Is it a sign of weakness having that many? It does seem a lot. Maybe he's trying to get as much experience as he possibly can, I don't really know.

"He might need a bigger team room, he might as well have 12 vice-captains, one for each player."

Friday
Sep122014

Friday Reminder: Yell Fore! And Drive Carts Carefully, Please

As longtime readers know I've mentioned that the most shocking thing about golf blogging since 2006 has been the relentlessness of dark stories involving golf carts and on-course injuries.

So as we wind down the week and perhaps you turn to the links this weekend, please...

A) Yell Fore.

It's become apparent in less-than-subtle ways that Alexandre Kaleka did not yell FORE on the tee shot which hit Fabrizio Zanotti, who thankfully has regained consciousness and Tweeted that he's ok, reports Phil Casey.

David Howell Tweeted:

B) Drive your cart carefully should you rent one. Here's a more awful-than-normal WCSH 6 story from Maine of a 27-year-old losing his life when his golfing companion lost control of a cart at the Links At Outlook Golf Course.

Thursday
Sep112014

Jason Day: Too Much Massage Harms My Timing!

In one of the more unintentionally epic first world bits of rationalizing, Jason Day (67) attributed his could-have-been-better round-one Tour Championship to timing issues brought on by too much back massage.

The plight of the modern golfer!

Day WD'd last week from the BMW Championship with a wrenched back, but appears to be on the mend. If he can just get these masseurs under control. From the transcript.

Q.  Pretty decent effort considering where you came from last week and how much work you had to do.

JASON DAY:  I was just explaining earlier with the withdraw from last week's BMW Championship Friday, getting at least two sessions a day, anywhere between two and four hours, that much work can definitely mess with your timing, mess with the sync of the swing, just because things are moving a lot better than what you're used to.

That's why there was a few loose shots out there. 

Meanwhile Day had mental coach Jason Goldsmith on the bag because regular looper Colin Swatton had to give up the bag mid-round with back spasms (Rex Hoggard reports). Hopefully after several 2-to-4 hour massages Swatton’s ability to lift the luggage or give yardages will not be too loose!

Thursday
Sep112014

UT Golf Receives Commitment From...13-Year-Old, Class of '19

Brentley Romine with the rather amazing news that University of Texas men's golf has received a commitment from Mason Nome, aged 13 and the class of 2019.

From Romine's item:

Last year, Nome's friend and fellow Kinkaid School student Cole Hammer, committed to the Longhorns as a 14-year-old.

Nome made an unofficial visit to the Longhorns' campus in Austin earlier this summer.

Fascinating that (A) 13-year-olds are making campus visits and (B) that coaches with only a couple of scholarships a year--tops--are willing to commit to someone so far out. Hey, not my alma mater so Hook 'em Horns I say.

Thursday
Sep112014

Horschel Won't Pass Up Chance At $10 Million For Child's Birth

What refreshing honesty from Billy Horschel who didn't suggest he would give up the chance at the life-changing (and college tuition paying) $10 million FedExCup bonus to be present should his wife go into labor. As you may recall, many golfers have pledged to drop everything they are doing to be there for the big moment, and Tiger was once criticized for daring to try to win a U.S. Open. As I noted at the time, hundreds of millions of times men have not been in the delivery room and something tells me the Earth will remain on its axis should a Horschel child come into being without dad there to be yelled at by mom as she goes through the birthing.

Mark Lamport Stokes on Horschel's comments after an opening 66 has him tied with fellow non-Ryder Cupper Chris Kirk.

"My wife and I are due two weeks from Saturday," Horschel told reporters after charging into a share of the first-round lead at East Lake Golf Club with a four-under-par 66. "On the golf course I'm not thinking about it.

"We have decided that if she (Brittany) goes into labor while I'm playing, I will just keep playing, because $10 million is a lot of money and I'm not going to pass that by.

"And I'll just fly home after the round and fly back (to the tournament) a couple hours later, spend some time with them."

Thursday
Sep112014

Guardian: McIlroy Downplays Backlash From “Phoney War”

Warm chuckles will abound when you read Ewan Murray of The Guardian attributing the "backlash" to Rory McIlroy's suggestion that Phil and Tiger are over the hill to...the Ryder Cup?

Murray writes:

With a fortnight to go until the Ryder Cup, the phoney war appears to be under way. The targeting of Rory McIlroy by the United States merely highlights the Northern Irishman’s status and significance in the European camp.

An innocuous press conference answer by McIlroy on Wednesday, regarding Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson being in the latter stages of their careers and with a recent history of injury, landed the 25-year-old in the middle of a contrived storm. Elements of the American media were hardly innocent, having seized upon McIlroy’s – wholly accurate – sentiment.

For the backlash to have occurred, there would first have to be widespread interest in the Ryder Cup, which, in my chats with the man on the street, sounds to be minimal (at best) this year. The venue, the lack of Tiger's presence and poor form by the Americans has made interest light. I hope that changes.

As for the British press suggesting American's are drumming up controversy for the sake of creating Ryder Cup interest? Do I dare suggest that the experts on phoney wars are speaking and it would be wrong to disagree with them?

Thursday
Sep112014

European Tour Player Struck By Ball, Buddies WD To Be With Him

We always hear about how there is a bond among the European Tour players and there is no better evidence than today’s scary incident involving Fabrizio Zanotti.

According to an unbylined APF story, he was struck in the head by a tee ball from an adjacent fairway and with blood rushing from Zanotti’s head, playing partner Hennie Otto assisted in stopping the bleeding. Friends and competitors Felipe Aguilar and Ricardo Gonzalez were elsewhere on the course and withdrew to be by Zanotti’s side.

Golf Channel's video:

Thursday
Sep112014

Green Jacket Alibi? NFL's Goodell At Augusta When Tape Arrived

As the NFL has announced they will turn to the former head of the FBI for an independent investigation of their Ray Rice handling, the AP reports the revealing tape arrived in NFL offices on April 9th, 2014.

Granted, this doesn't explain whether Commissioner Roger Goodell watched the tape and simply decided on a two game suspension thinking no one would ever see the really awful stuff, but this at least confirms that Goodell didn't sign for the when FedEx came a knocking!

The Commish was sporting his new green jacket on April 9th:

 

Wednesday
Sep102014

In Case You Missed It: BACK9NETWORK Launches Sept. 29

A longtime reader and very wired-in golf business guy asked me today why Jeff Rude was leaving Golfweek and his Twitter page had disappeared. I explained that the veteran scribe was leaving Golfweek for Back9. The person had no idea what I was referring to when Back9 was mentioned.

So, in the interest of brand recognition, that would be the Back9 Network which I was reminded in an email, launches soon.

The email today on their upcoming DirecTV launch and plea to call your cable provider's best staffers overseas...

BACK9NETWORK Set To Launch On Sept. 29th                  
                                    
Things are rockin' in Hartford, CT as we prepare for the big TV launch on
September 29th!
 
As you may recall, we'll be starting our 24X7 programming on Channel 262 on DIRECTV. The studio will be complete by the end of this week, and our live test phase to refine programming process and procedures will begin next week.
Exciting times!
 
Back9Network will celebrate the golf lifestyle, bringing out the lighter side of the game and showcasing the personalities and characters "outside the ropes" with programming genres that appeal to everyone. Back9 will create over 1,000 hours of original programming in its first year that includes a mix of reality, docu-drama, comedy, animation, documentaries, and entertaining studio programming.
 
Of course, we want everyone to enjoy the unique and entertaining programming that will be featured on Back9, although our initial footprint will be the 20m homes that have DIRECTV. To that end, we have initiated a grass roots marketing plan to assist in our on-going discussions with the other providers like Dish, Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T, etc.
 
You can help by simply going to www.iwantback9network.com, enter your zip code and current provider, and we handle the rest through our auto connect to the provider's website.
 
Thanks for your continued support and we'll keep you up to date on our progress in the next few weeks.                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
Take Care & God Bless...
 
Bill Conwell  
VP - Special Projects