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    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
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Writing And Videos

St. Andrews? I feel liek I'm back visiting an old grandmother. She's crotchety and eccentric but also elegant. Anyone who doesn't fall in love with her has no imagination.
TONY LEMA

 

    

Monday
Sep292014

Follow-Ups To Mickelson-Watson Squabbling

Tim Rosaforte, who reported being in contact via text message with Phil Mickelson Saturday night of the Ryder Cup, writes in Golf World that Mickelson learned of his Saturday afternoon benching after warming up and via text message by Captain Tom Watson.

Granted, Jose Maria Olazabal had trouble communicating such things in 2012, but the idea that Mickelson wasn't worthy of an explanation or even prepared that he might be benched all day might explain what inspired Sunday's press conference comments.

Alan Shipnuck's assessment of Watson's work in contrast to that of Paul McGinley is less than gentle.

Watson made little effort to get to know his charges or do any team building beyond a few get-off-my-lawn speeches. He was a remote and disengaged figure in the run-up to the Cup, and once the competition began, he had little understanding of how his players were feeling, physically or emotionally. (It didn’t help that two of his vice captains -- Ray Floyd, 72, and Andy North, 64 -- are decades removed from playing the Tour and the third, Steve Stricker, 47, is now a part-timer.)

While Watson’s counterpart Paul McGinley, 47, was meticulously prepared, having spent years seeking the counsel of his players over long dinners and b.s. sessions on the range, Watson seemed to be making up his pairings willy-nilly. A series of botched decisions for the Friday-afternoon foursomes had a cascading effect that led him to bench his putative team leader, Phil Mickelson, and Bradley, the guy who could have been the team’s emotional juggernaut, for both Saturday sessions. (To that point they had teamed to go 4–1 in the Ryder Cup.) These proud major champions were understandably wounded by the slight, but according to a team insider, what left them more upset was the heartless way Watson delivered the news.

Shipnuck also writes about his inability to talk to PGA of America President Ted Bishop following the press conference regarding the selection process and shares this about Watson.

A veteran of multiple U.S. teams told me in the aftermath, “A lot of s--- went on behind the scenes that people don’t know about. It will all leak out eventually. People talk about Hal Sutton and Lanny Wadkins, but Watson is going to be remembered as 10 times worse.”

John Hawkins puts Mickelson's remarks into context and believes that long term the candidness will benefit the American side.

Not only does this apply to Watson, whose shortcomings as both a captain and communicator turned PGA of America president Ted Bishop’s outside-the-box experiment into a bust, but Mickelson himself. In offering such a candid and visible assessment of the 2014 captain, Philly Mick was roasted by several prominent voices for violating the very essence of appropriate team conduct.

What happens in the team room stays in the team room, or so we’re led to believe. The funny thing about media – some of us chastise guys like Mickelson for talking out of school, then lick up every last crumb, no matter how dirty.

Some of my favorite golf journalists, including Golf Channel teammates Rex Hoggard and Tim Rosaforte, have referred to the U.S. news conference as one of the most awkward moments in Ryder Cup history, and I certainly wouldn’t disagree. It was hard to watch and impossible not to, if you know what I mean.

Perhaps it was also necessary, or at the very least, a much-needed attempt to shake up a system that has produced lousy results for far too long. Bishop chose Watson himself. Why is there no committee for such an important appointment? As I wondered here a couple of weeks ago, why are the U.S. captains’ picks made almost a month before the actual matches – before the final two FedEx Cup playoff events?

Robert Lusetich calls Mickelson's comments "a graceless mutiny of one" and feels players should not need to be invested in the matches via gimmicks like a pod system.

Mickelson -- who always needs to be the smartest guy in the room -- recounted how great Paul Azinger was as captain because he got players "invested in the process."

I could stop right there and say, if you're not invested in the process anyway, then don't play. You're representing the United States, and if you can't get up for that does it matter who captains?
Mickelson went on to say Azinger's tactic of splitting the 12 players into three pods of four -- and giving them a lot of autonomy within those groupings -- was the key.

"He had a great game plan," Mickelson said. "We use that same process in the Presidents Cup and we do really well. Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula."

In other words, Phil likes to have his voice heard, and Tom Watson didn't listen.

Monday
Sep292014

Darren Clarke Zooms To Front Of '16 Captaincy Race As Padraig Declares He Is Now "Less Keen" For Job

Brian Keogh on Padraig Harrington's surprising remarks upon seeing the great and thorough job done by Paul McGinley has made him less enthused about pursuing the job as he still feels his game is good.

Harrington, a vice captain in 2014, was looming as a possible candidate along with Miguel Angel Jimenez for the 2016 job after fulfilling assistant driving duties last week at Gleneagles. Both would be hugely popular captain's to American crowds while Darren Clarke--despite reports saying he'd be popular here--does not have nearly the name or recognition of this year's vice captains.

From Keogh's report:

While he still wants to be captain, Harrington admitted: "I’m less keen than I was before. It does make you less keen. It is a lot harder than you think. There is a lot goes on.

The new captain will be chosen by the three immediate past captains — McGinley, Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie — with the input of European Tour Chief Executive George O'Grady and a nominee from the Players Committee.


Keogh has a separate item on Paul McGinley assuring those who cared that he will not go out of his way to torpedo Clarke even though the 2012 Open Champion backed Monty for the 2014 captaincy. But McGinley also is far from committing to Clarke for his vote.

“Darren has been a vice captain along with many other guys, as well, too. So we will see where that all evolves and I certainly won't have no issues whatsoever with that.

“I'll make a professional decision based on the views of people that I respect.”

The new captain will almost certainly be named next January under a new system designed to avoid the politics that marred the 2014 captaincy race.

Monday
Sep292014

Hooray For Holywood! Police Called To Investigate Ryder Flag

According to BBC’s Mark Simpson, police in Rory McIlroy’s hometown of Holywood responded to a call about a massive European Union flag on display for a Ryder Cup viewing party.

It seems a neighbor thought it was something else...

The flag-waving golf fan, who did not wish to be named, said: "I was having a house-warming party and decided to put up the European flag for the Ryder Cup.

"I was tidying up on Sunday morning and two police officers arrived. They didn't seem to know what the flag was themselves.

"I said 'it is a European Union flag for the Ryder Cup'.

"They said there'd been a complaint about it being some sort of Arabic flag.

"I just laughed. In the end they were laughing too. It was crazy."

Okay, so the branding outreach hasn't gotten to everyone yet.

Monday
Sep292014

Video: Body Slammee Is An Evans Scholar

Now America, let's not overreact and revoke a scholarship because he's stupid, perhaps drunk and a former caddy, but thanks to reader Kevin for noticing that Saturday's gone-viral recipient of a tremendous body slam tackle is an Evans Scholar!

Henry Molski's report on Anthony Schlegel, Ohio State Strength and Conditioning coach, with one of the better handlings of a fan rushing the field.

Not my favorite angle but it gets the job done...so enjoyable!

Monday
Sep292014

Azinger Not Ruling Out Captaincy; Wants PGA To Blow-Up Model

Paul Azinger went on a 10-day motorcycle trip and Steve DiMeglio opens his story recounting that image after talking to former Ryder Cup Captain Paul Azinger about his willingness to not "rule anything out" regarding a return engagement.

DiMeglio writes:

"I'm not going to rule anything out," Azinger, the last victorious U.S. captain in the Ryder Cup, said on Monday.

His phone started blowing up with text messages and voice mails shortly after the U.S. team's post-match press conference.

Sounding like a well rehearsed politician, Azinger is using this unexpected (or was he expecting?) this opportunity to leverage changes in the PGA of America's selection system. He is cleverly backing them into a corner that no doubt has the folks in Palm Beach Gardens thrilled!

"But my goal is the bigger picture. It is time for the PGA of America to recognize the great disconnect and formulate the same business model for selecting a captain as it does for selecting its president and officers.

"Europe consistently repeats a philosophy of leadership that every captain has learned from the captains in the past. It is an approach that is comfortable and familiar. The U.S. approach is less comfortable and completely unfamiliar to every repeat player. The players have to adjust to a completely unique system to the previous two years."

Permanent pods!

Monday
Sep292014

Video: Double Eagle To Win At Pebble Beach!

Way to go First Tee grad Christopher Meyers on double eagling the world famous 18th at Pebble Beach to cap off a win in the Pro-Junior division of the Champions Tour's Nature Valley First Tee Open. John Cook won the regular tournament competition.

According to Ron Kroichick writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, the shot was a 4-iron from 203 and is believed to be the first double eagle in a tournament in Pebble’s 95-year history.

The shot to the traditional final round hole location:

Monday
Sep292014

Oh No! GMac Wants McGinley To Smooth Things For Clarke

Now that he's patched things up with Rory McIlroy--well, until Rory's lawyers drop a few more requests for personal info--you'd think Graeme McDowell might have gone quietly as sort of the utility man that was the other Team Europe MVP after Justin Rose.

(BTW, I just don't know what else to say about the Getty Images shot posted at the Daily Mail featuring The Litigators, McIlroy and McDowell, other than I'm moved to see Northern Irishman proudly holding up a defaced flag of their home nation.)

Instead, GMac used Sunday's euphoria to ask Captain Paul McGinley to set aside his differences with Darren Clarke, who we recently learned backstabbed the current captain, and smooth the way for the Northern Irishman to be the next European Captain, even though he falls on most people's lists somewhere between Monty and a hologram of Henry Cotton, especially with huge personalities like Miguel Angel and Paddy waiting in the wings.

From an unbylined BBC report:

"Darren and Paul should put their differences aside," said McDowell.

Darren needs to spend some time talking to Paul about the way he [McGinley] has conducted himself this week.

"Paul commanded a huge amount of respect in the team room and was the best captain I have ever played under by far and that's no disrespect to any of the other captains."

So why not Paul again?

Sunday
Sep282014

Meanwhile In Other Captain-Player Drama News, Faldo Hastags Himself As "#sadlyaUseless Captain

The luckiest man in the Phil Mickelson-Tom Watson brouhaha would seem to be Nick Faldo, who stepped in it Friday with his Sergio Garcia "useless" comments, then dug in by backing up his assertion, then did his best to apologize for the words not coming out right by succumbing to the perils of "live telly," reports James Corrigan in The Telegraph.

Corrigan writes:

García was asked whether he had heard from Faldo. “I have not. I really wouldn’t expect it anyway, but I’ve had it [congratulations] from everyone on this table [his team-mates] and a lot of other people and that’s really what means a lot to me,” said the 34-year-old, whose five Ryder Cup wins means he has now surpassed Faldo’s record as a player.

Faldo Tweeted after the Team Europe win...

 

Sunday
Sep282014

Another Lawsuit As Back9Network Finally Launches

Monday, September 29 is launch day for golf’s second network and I expect all DirecTV subscribers to chime in with some initial thoughts about the programming.

Jon Lender in the Hartford Courant reports on another legal entanglement for the “state-sponsored” net in Connecticut. This time it's former executive VP Robert Abbott, suing for breach of contract.

Sunday
Sep282014

Roundup: Mickelson & Watson Publicly Litigate The Captaincy!

You knew near the end of NBC's telecast when Phil Mickelson mentioned Paul Azinger's name in his post Ryder Cup interview that we might be headed for an entertaining post-Ryder Cup debate over the merits of Tom Watson's work.

If it was only that quaint!

Before we get to the analysis, let's go to the tape, with the transcript highlights first. I don't want anyone who missed this reading without context!

First note that Mickelson was responding to a question and not bringing this up on his own. Of course, there was so much detail!

Q. Anyone that was on the team at Valhalla, can you put your finger on what worked in 2008 and what hasn't worked since?

PHIL MICKELSON: There were two things that allow us to play our best I think that Paul Azinger did, and one was he got everybody invested in the process. He got everybody invested in who they were going to play with, who the picks were going to be, who was going to be in their pod, who -- when they would play, and they had a great leader for each pod.

In my case, we had Ray Floyd, and we hung out together and we were all invested in each other's play. We were invested in picking Hunter that week; Anthony Kim and myself and Justin were in a pod, and we were involved on having Hunter be our guy to fill our pod. So we were invested in the process. And the other thing that Paul did really well was he had a great game plan for us, you know, how we were going to go about doing this. How we were going to go about playing together; golf ball, format, what we were going to do, if so-and-so is playing well, if so-and-so is not playing well, we had a real game plan. Those two things helped us bring out our best golf. And I think that, you know, we all do the best that we can and we're all trying our hardest, and I'm just looking back at what gave us the most success. Because we use that same process in The Presidents Cup and we do really well. Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best.

Q. That felt like a pretty brutal destruction of the leadership that's gone on this week.

PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, I'm sorry you're taking it that way. I'm just talking about what Paul Azinger did to help us play our best. It's certainly -- I don't understand why you would take it that way. You asked me what I thought we should do going toward to bring our best golf out and I go back to when we played our best golf and try to replicate that formula.

Q. That didn't happen this week?
PHIL MICKELSON: Uh (pausing) no. No, nobody here was in any decision. So, no.

Far more damning for Watson than any debate over pods or picks or Paul is the idea that he limited his communications. This is a pro-bono week for the players while everyone else makes a lot of money off their backs. A great leader at least pretends to hear what these players are thinking because (A) they are here on their own time and (B) common sense dictates it. If Watson failed as miserably as Mickelson implies, then he probably is in for criticism.

Now for the Captain's reply.

Q. Can you tell us what you think of what Phil said about Paul Azinger?

TOM WATSON: I had a different philosophy as far as being a captain of this team. You know, it takes 12 players to win. It's not pods. It's 12 players. And I felt -- I based my decisions on -- yes, I did talk to the players, but my vice captains were very instrumental in making decisions as to whom to pair with. I had a different philosophy than Paul. I decided not to go that way. But I did have most of them play in the practise rounds together who played most of the time in the matches. I think that was the proper thing to do. Yes, I did mix-and-match a little bit from there, but again, you have to go with the evolution of the playing of the match and see who is playing the best and who to play with whom, and that's what I did.

Indeed you did! Loved this suggestion that the players weren't in shape. Also note that he says he consulted his players but mostly his vice captains.

Q. Every two years the two captains come in and say the hardest part of their job is benching people. Four years ago with all the problems at Celtic Manor, we had everybody playing in every format. Would you like to see that as part of the game? Seems to have 12 of the best players in the world and each time having four sitting in each session.

TOM WATSON: Yes, I would. I would like to see the change in that format. Then everybody knows they are going to go 36 holes and then everybody knows that they have to be in shape to play. That's one of the important decisions that I may have missed is playing, say, Jimmy Walker for four straight rounds, two 36-hole matches. And if that wasn't up to my decision, then every player wouldn't understand that.

There's some great stuff from Jim Furyk after that, including some nice salty language and an endorsement of Watson and Mickelson. Diplomatic stuff, though no one spoke up to contradict Phil, which might be noteworthy, though the circumstances were tough.

Here's the tape from GolfChannel.com of the Mickelson remarks (overseas readers let me know if this works):

Now for the analysis.

Rex Hoggard called it one of the "most awkward moments in U.S. Ryder Cup history" in his reporting of the press conference.

Gene Wojciechowski's take on the sequence.

Asked, in essence, if the players were part of Watson's management process, Mickelson said, "Uh, no. No, nobody here was in any decision. So, no."

It was a stunning moment. No USA player has played in more Ryder Cup matches than Mickelson. So when he questioned the logic of Watson, and by association, 2012 captain Davis Love III and 2010 captain Corey Pavin -- and does so in a public setting and not long after the latest loss -- it carried considerable weight.

The 65-year-old Watson stared wearily ahead as Mickelson spoke. Asked if he thought Mickelson was being "disloyal," Watson said, "Not at all. ... That's OK. My management philosophy is different than his."

It was bizarre, odd and surprisingly candid. But most of all, it was revealing. If Mickelson felt this way, how many others on the team shared his feelings?

Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail, as only he can write

There was a war; an American, and not particularly civil, war. At the post-Ryder Cup inquest, Phil Mickelson sat on the right wing of the top table and took down his captain Tom Watson as brutally as any field assassin.

That he did this in cool, measured, very reasonable tones typical of the man only added to the brutality. It was a polite destruction; a highly restrained mugging; a thoroughly decent battering.

Jason Sobel called this "a passive-aggressive coup on Watson's captaincy" and writes, "In the demure world of golf, this was the verbal equivalent to Reggie Jackson brawling with Billy Martin in a dugout or Latrell Sprewell going for the throat of P.J. Carlesimo."

Tim Rosaforte revealed that he texted with Phil Mickelson Saturday night, initially off the record, about Phil’s displeasure with the lack of team communication and followed up with both Mickelson and Paul Azinger. Here’s his report with Steve Burkowski on Live From Downton Abbey.

John Strege on Brandel Chamblee calling this “close to a one-man mutiny” and took on Phil’s generation, even defending the Phil-Tiger pairing at Oakland Hills.

“If you’re looking for a reason why the United States continues to lose, you just saw it in one man. Phil Mickelson. Phil Mickelson, along with the best players of that era, have so corrupted the experience of the Ryder Cup for their fellow competitors by not having records anywhere near what they should, given their rank in the game.

“Players of an era who are the best go to the Ryder Cup and show off. And not goof off. Phil Mickelson in 2004 changed clubs at the Ryder Cup the week of. And the day before, he went to practice to another golf course. This is yet another example of not coming together as a team.

Here is a (sadly) truncated clip of Chamblee discussing Mickelson.

Gary Van Sickle also took Mickelson to task, saying the press conference summed up why the USA keeps losing, though Van Sickle does acknowledge Watson's "questionable pairings" and the Captain's likening Saturday to actors who hadn't “acted well enough to earn the standing ovation at the end.”

Phil Mickelson should know that. He did know that. He knew exactly what he was saying and what he was doing.

Tom Watson’s team lost the Ryder Cup but he didn’t break The Code. Phil Mickelson did. With no code, there’s no team anymore. Maybe the Americans aren’t really a team. Maybe they’re not at all like the close-knit band of brothers they battle every two years.

And maybe it’s time to reconsider what other element the Americans’ last eight Ryder Cup losses had in common.

Phil Mickelson.

Strege with Johnny Miller’s remarks that captain’s don’t matter much, but revealing Tweets from Jason Dufner and Billy Horschel that would imply players feel differently. All are on the Azinger bandwagon.

Alistair Tait and Alex Miceli's report on the presser included this on PGA of America president Ted Bishop's reaction.

“It was disappointing to hear some of the things said in the press conference, we were a team all week,” Bishop said. “There is no set winning formula, except the players playing better on the golf course.”

Michael Collins and Bob Harig found the entire thing bizarre, in this fun video roundup of the Phil-Watson squabble.

I translated for GolfDigest.com what they said and what they meant courtesy of a secret algorithm.

Sunday
Sep282014

Poll: Rating The Work Of The Ryder Cup Captains

Let's ignore whether the captains genuinely impact the matches and assume based on this week that no matter where you fall in the debate, Tom Watson and Paul McGinley's presence impacted the 2014 Ryder Cup.

With that in mind, a couple of poll questions...starting with Tom Watson.

How would you rate the job of Captain Tom Watson?
 
pollcode.com free polls

And Paul McGinley...

How would you rate the job of Captain Paul McGinley?
 
pollcode.com free polls

Sunday
Sep282014

Europe Wins Ryder Cup, Your Kneejerk Reactions

The initial short game story from Doug Ferguson seizes on Europe's third straight win and the early rallies in singles to cap off a win by the heavily favorited team.

We have a few days to digest the big picture stuff that needs serious addressing (embarrassing commercialization, Captain's and those uniforms!), but I'm curious what your initial reaction is to the week? Frankly, it was pretty formful if you ask me.

Europe had the stronger team, the USA was limping in with injury losses, a questionable pick and a captain who was going to lead by gut instinct vs. a captain who was meticulously prepared.

Thoughts?

Saturday
Sep272014

Captain Watson Under Fire Before Sunday Singles Even Start

I certainly wouldn't pretend to understand some of Tom Watson’s moves nor is there much surprise in the notoriously self-assured Captain's performance, but I’m intrigued to see so many verdicts already declared before the 2014 Ryder Cup’s Sunday Singles are even played. Of course everyone wants to move on to the Frys.com Open this week because wraparound golf is what it's all about, but I still say we have plenty of time to pick apart this Ryder Cup.

Or not!

Watson was dealt a tough hand PGA of America with too early of a points cut-off and injuries to Jason Dufner and Tiger Woods along with the disappearance of Dustin Johnson. But he also agreed to the deadlines and reducing the number of captain's picks from four to three.

Furthermore, imagine a mere two matches going from losses to wins and Team USA is tied with Europe heading into Sunday, the favorites to win the Ryder Cup as Paul McGinley is questioned about some of his moves.

Such is the no-win job of Captain.

That said, Karen Crouse makes a strong case against Watson by questioning his communication skills and the impact this had on Team USA. While we don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, the bizarre misunderstanding with Jordan Spieth and the news of Phil Mickelson texting Watson Saturday (“Give us a chance”) to try and get an afternoon tee time does seem strange.  (Jason Sobel with the lowdown here on what sounds like a bizarre scene behind closed doors.) I’m pretty sure Olin Dutra never sent a telegram to Walter Hagen announcing that he wanted to be in the lineup.

Crouse writes:

Watson was not swayed by a text message from Mickelson assuring him they could get the job done.

Why did Simpson’s passionate plea get through to Watson but Mickelson’s did not? Why did Watson play the teams that fared well in the morning in the afternoon the second day but not the first? These inconsistencies can try a team’s cohesiveness.

Watson never had to work hard to forge interpersonal connections as a player because there were always plenty of people willing to make the effort to get to know him. Why should anyone have expected him to know how to forge bonds now with players?

Jim McCabe considers the hindsight game in analyzing Watson, including the Captain’s Rumsfeldian remark about his selections, and refuses to give him a pass.

Those six, Watson decided, were in good form and deserved an afternoon foursomes game, as did a rested Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar, who played decently in a four-balls loss in the morning.

“You can question my decisions on that. That’s fine,” Watson said. “But I made the best decisions I possibly could at the time I was making them.”

Since hindsight is flawless, Watson indicated he may have pushed the envelope by playing Mickelson and Bradley twice Friday, that he could have paid the price by playing Fowler and Walker a third straight match. They had played well in securing a halve in each of their Friday games, though the halve they got against McIlroy and Ian Poulter Friday morning was a bit of a letdown.

Bob Harig of ESPN.com is also tough on Watson:

Watson has long been known for his strong opinions and ironclad resolve, but his decision-making at Gleneagles has been shaky and unconvincing at a competition where the underdog Americans have no room for error. A 10-6 deficit is far from what was needed to have a legitimate shot at an upset with 12 singles matches remaining on Sunday.

Doug Ferguson noted that Watson has taken full responsibility for his moves. Up to a point.

He has called the shots and tried to make pairings based on performance and his gut feeling. Ultimately, he put the onus on his players.

"It's up for the actors to go out there and act," he said. "They haven't acted well enough to get that standing ovation at the end in the last two Ryder Cups. That's the way I look at it."

Alex Miceli went back and looked at past losing-Captain's speeches and predicted Watson will mirror the remarks of his predecessors after seeing the first two days of Ryder Cup play.

It’s clear that Watson feels the same way as these losing captains do. It's understandable since he has spent a considerable time with them and his judgment has to be clouded with emotion.

But someone has to step back and dig much deeper into every aspect of the U.S. participation in the Ryder Cup before the next captain is selected for the 2016 matches at Hazeltine, outside of Minneapolis.

This will not get turned around by the captain telling everyone how proud he is of his players after getting the stuffing beaten out of Uncle Sam.

Alan Shipnuck hasn't liked much of Watson's performance except the Sunday singles lineup, and grades the two Captains. He notes this about Watson's press conferences:

Watson was crotchety and defensive, and that was before the matches even began. It got even worse once things went pear-shaped. His incoherent mumbo-jumbo in trying to explain his thinking -- or lack thereof -- in his Friday night presser will forever color how his captaincy is remembered. On Saturday night, instead of projecting Crenshaw-like belief, he was strangely subdued. Such a tone filters back to the team room.

Saturday
Sep272014

The Other Gleneagles: "The Speakeasy Of Golf Courses"

While the world watches the lush Gleneagles Centenary course hosting the Ryder Cup, John Branch of the New York Times heads a world away to “the speakeasy of golf courses,” according to its operator Tom Hsieh. Gleneagles of San Francisco is a 3,000 yard gem home to an eccentric crowd and known for its money games.

And it could really use some rain.

Gleneagles has never received the attention of other San Francisco courses, including the city-owned Harding Park, a longtime stop on the PGA Tour and the site of the 2009 Presidents Cup, and the Olympic Club, the site of the 2012 United States Open. And it never did what it was intended to do — improve the neighborhood struggling at the base of its slope.

By at least one count, there were 10 homicides in the Gleneagles area in 2012. Two murders occurred in the neighborhood within a week this summer.

But most of the course feels like a world away. The neighborhood is visible only along a couple of holes through the trees and across a chain-link fence. Crime has rarely entered, and even de Lambert once noted that he always kept the flags in the holes overnight without anyone stealing them.

Saturday
Sep272014

2014 Ryder Cup Sunday Singles Set

Europe leads 10-6 on home soil but so did Team USA last time around, so there's always hope.

(Sponsor break.)

We're back! Tonight, the season premiere of SNL! As I was saying, history does tell us there is always the possibility of a comeback and while the Europeans are thought to have played much better, if two matches go differently, Team USA is tied headed into Sunday. With that, we'll be right back.

(Sponsor break.)

Anyway, America's poor play in foursomes has become more than a broken record, so if you have any thoughts, please feel free to send them to PGA of America headquarters. Now, before we get to the Sunday singles lineup...

(Last break I swear.)

Without further interruption, Sunday's Singles Matches and times...thoughts?

Saturday
Sep272014

Video Memories: When USA Cut The Lead Before Foursomes

The official Ryder Cup site had this solid six-minute highlight package of the morning fourball competition at Gleneagles, when Team USA prevailed 2 1/2 to 1 1/2. And before things did not go so well in the afternoon where Europe prevailed 3 1/2 to 1/2 in foursomes. Europe leads 10-6 heading into singles play.

Friday
Sep262014

Faldo Fights Back: Sergio "Wasn't In It" And Cites Examples

An unbylined AP story features Nick Faldo's side of the story after his Golf Channel comments were fed to Team Europe and spit back with venom. Though Faldo admits his assessement was "harsh" he does not back down in one of those only-the-Ryder-Cup-can-produce-soap-operas.

And I have to say, Faldo's suggestion that Garcia was moping and erratic that week in 2008 doesn't sound like fiction. I believe the record does back up Faldo's assertion that Garcia was depressed after breaking up with Morgan Leigh Norman and he wasn't the Sergio "we know now."

“He was always labeled as the man who brings emotion and passion. We didn’t have it that week,” Faldo told the AP. “That’s, in my opinion, how it looked and felt.”

Faldo said Garcia was “down in the dumps” after Morgan Leigh Norman, the daughter of Greg Norman, had broken up with him.

“Friday morning, I’m going up the 10th hole with him,” he said. “I just put my arm around him and said, ‘Are you good to go this afternoon?’ And he said, ‘Yes’ to me. Then I get him on the 18th green and he says, ‘I’m (expletive). I don’t want to play anymore. I’ve been on antibiotics.’ I told him he was on the tee in 30 minutes.”

The pairings are submitted for the afternoon before the morning matches are over.

“That was the tone of Sergio for the whole week,” Faldo said. “He wasn’t in it.”

Now does that sound like the Sergio we know? Oh, right, it does.

Since Sergio isn't playing the morning fourballs, I think he ought to come up in the booth and hash this out with Faldo.

Friday
Sep262014

Video: The Uh, Lumberjack Pre-Shot Routine!?

Or maybe it's the lumbar-jack and he's finally found the move to work around back spasms? Either way, and I never would want to question a golfer's search for the Holy Grail, but this one probably warrants further explanation and analysis.

Alex Nuschke watched this fine golfer at the range hitting an entire bucket with the same pre-shot routine, then posted a clip on YouTube.

I must say in the pre-shot routine world this will, if nothing else, reassure you that yours isn't so bad.

Friday
Sep262014

Faldo's "Useless" Jab Stirs Euros To Sergio's Defense!

Team Europe rallied around Sergio Garcia late Friday after former captain Nick Faldo threw in a jab at his  2008 Ryder Cup team member, calling the Spaniard "useless" with a "bad attitude" (you can hear the clip and judge the context in ByTheMinuteGolf's Vine below).

Jason Sobel with Sergio's reaction ("unfortunate" and "I'm not going to put myself down to his level") and the zinger of a reply from Graeme McDowell.

“You've got one of the best Ryder Cup pairings of all time being sat down on a Saturday morning of a Ryder Cup that we go on to lose,” McDowell said pointedly. “I'd say Sergio was fairly useless that afternoon, yeah, because he wasn't able to play. So, yeah, I agree.”

Carl Markham in the Daily Mail wrote:

Some of the senior players alongside Garcia in the press conference looked less than impressed the upbeat mood of how Europe finished the day - with a 5-3 lead - had been brought down a notch by the issue.

The video clip is WELL worth watching if you missed it. GMac and Sir Nick will not be litigating anytime soon! I mean, exchanging Christmas cards.

Ryan Herrington noted that it was Rory who had to lighten a suddenly tense press room mood.

McIlroy, sitting next to Garcia on the podium, attempted to lighten the suddenly icy mood.

"Don't worry," he said turning to Garcia. "You're not useless."

As if Team USA didn't have enough on its plate, now they have to deal with a team uniting behind Sergio and loving to hate Nick Faldo. The excerpt of the press room exchange was posted by Stephanie Wei here. The full transcript is here.

The sound (unmute option in upper left corner): 

 

Friday
Sep262014

Video: Marshal Digs Deep To Help Spot Team Europe Tee Ball!

It's lame enough that the second Ryder Cup in Scotland is played at a modern American-looking design, but the pathetic chip-out rough setup is compounding the disdain many will have for Gleneagles.

But hey, the marshals are there to help dig through the tall stuff! At least for Team Europe.

As this video posted by Golf Central Daily notes, no matter what side you're rooting for, this is way too much touchy-feely stuff with Sergio's 15th hole tee ball from the 2014 Ryder Cup afternoon foursomes.

The clip: