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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

It is far better to dig into the ten million golf holes which have never been built than to duplicate some of those which are almost as old as the game itself. Not that some of the ancient holes are not great. They are great where they already exist but how entirely out of place they are when nature does not cooperate. The hat which Madame gives the cook after wearing it a bit, seldom looks so well on the other’s head.  A.W. TILLINGHAST

 

    

Wednesday
Aug202014

USGA Prez Saved Amateur Champ From Rules Gaffe

We thought it was merely humorous that the current USGA President was innocently snubbed by a rough-around-the-edges U.S. Amateur champion Sunday, but now knowing what we know from Golfweek's Adam Schupak, Gunn Yang should have been hugging Tom O'Toole!

Schupak explains the odd circumstance following Sunday's weather delay when O'Toole, the final match referree, rushed on to the green and interrupted Yang to remind him his caddie Richard Grice could not stand behind him when putting .

With a look of chagrin on his face, Grice moved several steps away from Yang's line. O’Toole apologized to Yang for the disruption and retreated to the edge of the green, near fellow USGA executive committee member Dan Burton, chair of the championship committee. “I’ve told this guy three times he can’t stand behind his player,” O’Toole harrumphed, once he was out of earshot of Yang.

Later, O’Toole would recount one of those earlier situations.

“I noticed it during the first 18 this morning when he pitched on the third or fourth hole,” O’Toole said. "(Grice) was slightly off (Yang’s line). It was close but I didn’t think it was a breach of the rule.”

Schupak then goes on to point out how this could have gone bad in so many ways for Yang, and talks to O'Toole about the philosophy of rules officials trying to save players from rules breaches.

It's quite the conundrum for the official, don't you think?

Wednesday
Aug202014

Dick's CEO: Golf Is In A "Structural Decline"

Tim Schooley of the Pittsburgh Business Times quotes Dick's Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack about last month's mass layoff of PGA professionals and the company head says the retailer expects golf sales, once at 20%, is now at 15% and will drop to 10% going forward.

He also downplayed no longer having PGA pros in stores.

“We’ve got very good people who are there who can still help people,” said Stack when asked about how the lack of golf pros in the store could impact sales. “We don’t think it’s going to have any impact on the business.”

Along with the golf pro layoffs, Stack and his colleagues again emphasized the company’s shift away from golf merchandise in the Dick’s earnings call for the second quarter, reallocating the capital from golf to more profitable lines of business in athletic wear for women and children.

And there was this...

“I think golf from a participation standpoint and how it translates to retail is in a structural decline,” said Stack. “And we don’t see that changing.”

Thanks to reader Stuart for Roger Blitz's Financial Times story on the same Dick's conference call, reporting on the company taking a $20.4 million write down.

Severance costs will total £3.7m, while there is a $14.3m impairment charge on trademarks and store assets in the golf business and a £2.4m writedown of golf-related inventory.

Tuesday
Aug192014

Sutherland Asked If Any Champions Had Shot 59 Before His 59

Wes Gilbertson talks to Kevin Sutherland about shooting 59 last week in a round where the Champions Tour player was 14 under for the round before a bogey at the 18th. It turns out, he had randomly asked Paul Goydos and his caddie if the magical score had ever been shot on the geezers tour.

Gilbertson writes:

“Last week, I actually asked Paul Goydos and his caddie, Chris Mazziotti, ‘Has anybody shot 59 out here on the senior tour?’” Sutherland admitted Monday from Seattle, where he’ll tee it up in the Boeing Classic before heading north to Calgary next week for the Shaw Charity Classic at Canyon Meadows Golf & Country Club.

“And they said, ‘No,’ and I was kind of surprised, knowing how low the scores are out here in some of these events … Obviously, I didn’t have a conscious mind that I was going to shoot 59. I was just wondering if someone had, and it turns out later that week that I did.

“I figured people would not believe me if I said that, but Paul will vouch for me, I think.”

Tuesday
Aug192014

Tiger: Not Swinging A Club For "At least a month"

You'll have to sit through almost two minutes of painful shilling, but eventually Tiger goes to the "it's a process" lines about his back in a speed-dating session with Gary Williams to launch a new line of vaporizers Vapor irons.

The big surprise is that Tiger reveals it'll be at least a month before he even swings a golf club. This, even though it was the awkward move at Firestone's second hole where Tiger says is "the fall" occurred, you'd think he'd just want to avoid steep bunker faces. But it sounds by this interview that it's all about gym time over the next month.

Pay attention, this one goes fast!

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: