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Books
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    by Chris Millard
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

There is no such thing as a misplaced bunker. Regardless of where a bunker may be, it is the business of the player to avoid it.  DONALD ROSS


    

Monday
Mar022015

Apple Hasn't Ruled Out The Golf Cart Business!

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

From the filing:

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

Monday
Mar022015

New Golf Channel Reality Show: Cross Country Golf, Almost

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

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

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

The show is slated for this summer.

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

GOLF CHANNEL ANNOUNCES NEW COMPETITION SERIES, ALTERED COURSE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday
Mar022015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday
Mar012015

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

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

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

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

Sunday
Mar012015

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday
Mar012015

Lydia Grabs 10th Win, Now Has More Than Lexi/Wie...Combined

This unbylined AP story notes that Lydia Ko took her home nation's New Zealand Women's Open by four, giving her ten professional victories.

Zak Kozuchowski notes that this puts Lydia ahead of two very young greats...combined.

It was her 10th professional win, which includes six on the LPGA Tour, three on the Ladies European Tour and one on the ALPG Tour.

To compare, Wie has four LPGA Tour wins. Thompson also has four, as well as one win on the Ladies European Tour. Keep in mind that Wie and Thompson are a combined 11 years older than Ko.

Saturday
Feb282015

Tiger Is Done, Or A Majority Of People Seem To Think

Earlier this week I posed the poll question about the state of Tiger's game since reality understandably hadn't set in that it'll be a long time, if ever, before we see him play. And if he plays, it won't be anywhere near his once incredible level. And I understand the denial. It's lousy to not get to see someone making history, especially when juxtaposed with leaderboards infiltrated by Hermans and Strebs.

To recap your views (with nearly 1200 votes), 36% of you think we might see Tiger again but it'll just be more of the same (WD's, leaves of absence). 30% of you thought he'll come back and compete at a high level. And 29% feel he'll return but it'll be general mediocrity to weirdness from here on out for the former world No. 1.

With Jack Nicklaus set to make his traditional Honda Classic booth appearance Sunday, the Augusta Chronicle's Scott Michaux begs the press to stop asking Mr. Nicklaus the question because "Tiger Woods is not going to catch Jack Nicklaus on the major scorecard."

There might come a day – perhaps when Woods is 50 and still stuck on 14, 15 or (if he’s really lucky) 16 major wins – when an 80-something Nicklaus admits Tiger doesn’t have a chance. But for now there’s still no other acceptable answer for the legend to give. To answer any other way would be undignified.

Deep down, however, we all know that Nicklaus doesn’t really believe Woods can catch him. Nobody who has seen Woods chip and putt like a 20-handicap golfer when he’s not wincing and withdrawing with another back twinge or deactivated glute can possibly believe that he is capable of winning, starting at age 39, as many majors as Phil Mickelson and Seve Ballesteros have in their whole careers.

Frankly, it’s time we all accept it and stop forcing Nicklaus to be disingenuous by asking him the same question over and over again almost seven years after the parameters last changed.

Greg Norman was more blunt in his assessment of Woods during a Today Show appearance, saying he doubts we'll see a comeback. Ryan Ballengee at Yahoo with the quotes and video.

"Mentally he's a little unraveled," Norman said.

“Imagine with what we’ve seen since December of last year, with his short game [and] chipping," Norman continued. "Imagine standing over the back of the 12th green at Augusta National, and you’ve got to chip it down there, Rae’s Creek right in front of you, or the back of the 15th of Augusta National . . . all those gremlins are going to be sitting in his head.”

Jon McCarthy in the Toronto Sun talked to Sean Foley about all things tour instructor, and the Canadian teacher suggested in the nicest possible way that Tiger just doesn’t work that hard at his game because he loves his kids.

“The golf world doesn’t want that, but he’s my friend, and to watch him with his kids, he’s easily one of the most patient fathers I have ever seen,” Foley said.

Saturday
Feb282015

Epic First World Disaster: Seminole Pro-Member May Lose Key Members Of The White Belt Set

Biblical rains (five inches!?) washed out the Honda Classic third round, or as I've heard a number of times, the real start of the PGA Tour season. Nice start!

The rains wiped out all sorts of tournament elements like the 18th hole scoreboard, leaving a massive clean-up effort for Sunday morning, with play scheduled to resume at 10 am ET.

Considering the air bubble that came up on the 18th green, that time frame may be optimistic.

But this is the first world and most could only think about the players now finishing the Honda on Monday and as Gary Van Sickle points out, missing the chance to hang with Seminole's most esteemed members in the annual closed-to-the-public member pro.

Last year the Pro-Member included six of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Meanwhile back at PGA National, PGA Tour caddies (some are suing the PGA Tour and claiming issues with working conditions...), took to Twitter to point out that some things never change in golf: loopers are not allowed in the clubhouse, even when their only shelter is a steel roofed thing while violent storms rain down on the course. Alex Myers with the Tweet roundup that included tournament contender Luke Donald bringing the matter to light.

Will Gray also has a few more tweets on the issue.

Video of the carnage:

Friday
Feb272015

Match Play Moving To Austin, Taking Down Bay Hill With It!

Doug Ferguson puts the finishing touches on the rumored move of the WGC Match Play to Austin for new sponsor Dell.

The venue, Austin Country Club, should be great fun for match play theatrics (dreadful for spectators, players will cry foul, but there will be many wonderful blimp shots). Particularly if Pete Dye's riverside holes are used as the closing stretch. Either way, it's a fascinating choice and one driven by the sponsor and the chance to go to a thriving city.

What I love most about this news?

The west coast swing was already hurt by moving the match play as its anchor event. But now the PGA Tour is going to move this to a March date situated between Bay Hill and the Shell Houston Open. This could hurt Bay Hill's field and makes clear the PGA Tour is far more excited about closing the deal on a new sponsor rather than being considerate of the ones they already have. Because as much as we love having match play, raining on Arnold Palmer's parade in any way seems mildly rude, if not downright short-sighted.

Good to know it wasn't just an anti-west coast swing thing!

Thursday
Feb262015

No Joke Tiger: Jenkins Wins GWAA Award For Fake Q&A

When you're not hot, you're not hot.

Tiger's apology-demanding Players Tribune epic will be the piece we look to years from now as the genuine piece of writing craftsmanship. Sort of his All The Presidents Men to Jenkins' Rocky. But the judges of the mysterious and morbid Golf Writers Association of America writing contest have spoken: the controversial Dan Jenkins Q&A parody that so upset Team Tiger won the Non-Daily Column division. Jenkins edged boss Jerry Tarde, whose remembrance of Frank Hannigan took second.

While the awards contained the usual tilt sprinkling of death and destruction, an appreciation for strip clubs, drug suspensions and little beyond the professional game also defined the 2014 winners. Congrats to all. I'd provide links to the pieces but GoGo has its limitations.

2015 GWAA WRITING CONTEST RESULTS

The following is a full list of the winners, including honorable mentions.
There were 466 entries in the 2014 contest

DAILY COLUMNS – 1, Jim McCabe, Golfweek.com Vet credits Casper for life; 2, Bill Fields, billfields.net, A driver makes another trip; 3, Gary D’Amato, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, One more round with dad.

Honorable mention: Ron Green Jr., Global Golf Post, The great ones find a way; Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.com, Ike’s Tree leaves legacy;  Beth Ann Nichols, golfweek.com, Compton finds Open fame.

DAILY NEWS – 1, Bob Harig, ESPN.com, Ryder Cup meeting turns ugly; 2, Ryan Lavner, Golfchannel.com , Kaymer dominates U.S. Open; 3 (tie)  Dave Shedloski, Golfdigest.com  Bubba wins in China; and Mike Stachura, Golfdigest.com, If you’re a fan of integrity.

Honorable mention: Michael Bamberger, Golf.com, Johnson suspended after drug test; Ron Borges, Boston Herald, Phil can’t stop Rory’s rise; Randall Mell, Golfchannel.com , Wie’s scars define her journey.

DAILY FEATURES – 1, Helen Ross, PGATOUR.com, Lyle reclaims his life; 2, Ian O’Connor, ESPN.com, The man who gave Compton life; 3, Alan Shipnuck, Golf.com, Team USA needs a change.

Honorable mention: John Boyette, Augusta Chronicle, Ike’s Tree rooted in tradition; Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune, Golf is refuge for burn victim; Helen Ross, PGATOUR.com, Rallying around Isaiah.

NON-DAILY COLUMNS – 1, Dan Jenkins, Golf Digest, My fake interview with Tiger; 2, Jerry Tarde, Golf Digest, Hannigan shook things up; 3,  Alan Shipnuck, Sports Illustrated, The case for Johnny Miller.

Honorable mention: Jaime Diaz, Golf World, Bubba as the great liberator; Scott Michaux, Virginia Golfer,  Ryder Cup task force; Jeff Neuman, Met Golfer, The myth of protecting par; Jeff Rude, Golfweek, Bubba strikes again.

NON-DAILY NEWS -- 1. Alan Shipnuck, Sports Illustrated, Anthony Kim, MIA; 2, Jim Moriarty, Golf World, Bubba wins 2nd Masters; 3, Adam Schupak, Golfweek, Spieth learns on fast track.

Honorable mention: Michael Bamberger, Sports Illustrated, You say you want a revolution; Alan Shipnuck, Sports Illustrated, Wie is happy at last; Ron Sirak, Golf World, Mighty special.

NON-DAILY FEATURES -- 1. Ron Whitten, Golf World , How Pinehurst got its groove back; 2. Alan Shipnuck, Sports Illustrated ,Tiger and the drop; 3, Gary Van Sickle, Memorial Tournament Magazine, Matt Kuchar's odyssey.

Honorable mention: Michael Bamberger, Sports Illustrated, Legend of Will McKenzie; Tom Callahan, Golf Digest , Watson's last hurrah; Tom Callahan, Golf Digest, Most interesting men in the world.

SPECIAL PROJECTS – 1, Alan Shipnuck, Sports Illustrated, Greatest U.S. Open ever; 2, Scott Michaux, Augusta Chronicle, Adam Scott, one for Australia; 3. Mercer Baggs, Alan Tays, Jason Sobel, Ryan Reiterman, Jason Crook, Bailey Mosier, Jack Menta, Jay Coffin, Golfchannel.com, Arnie: man, myth, legend.

Honorable mention – Rex Hoggard, Golfchannel.com, Jarrod Lyle’s remarkable journey; Ron Sirak, Golf Digest, The failed USGA coup; Gene Wojciechowski and Bob Harig, ESPN.com, Miracle or meltdown at Medinah, Sept. 24

Thursday
Feb262015

Champions Tour Storyline Pairing To Look For: Vijay & Calc

While Vijay Singh is still showns of life on the PGA Tour--at least until he starts chipping crosshanded--the litigious one is still busy paying lawyers to depose 13 witnesses to date, according to SI's Pete Madden.

Included in the list of those deposed is fellow Champions Tour player Mark Calcaveccia and another unnamed geezer. Though Calc hasn't made a start in 2015, the two are bound to inevitably end up in the same event. Then we'll find out if the rules staff has a sense of humor!

From Madden's report:

According to documents made public this week, Singh deposed two Champions Tour golfers, including 1989 British Open winner Mark Calcavecchia, in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour alleging "disparate treatment" following his admitted use of deer-antler spray, which contained IGF-1, a banned substance under the Tour's Anti-Doping Program Manual. The PGA Tour said Singh wants to depose as many as nine more players on the senior tour even though the court's Jan. 30 deposition deadline has passed.

Maybe this is why his joy and happiness is out on the regular tour taking up starts from flatbellies? When all of the depositions are in it'll be hard not to be paired with someone your lawyer undoubtedly grilled.

Thursday
Feb262015

Defunct Back9Network's State Loans Were Deferred...

The Hartford Courant's Mara Lee filed a more extensive story on the demise of Back9Network, revealed Monday. To paraphrase Eddie from America's Sweethearts, sometimes you look at a network and wonder, where did the money go?

Back9's state funding is part of the story, and just how little they paid back to Connecticut adds to questions about the supposed $40 million the network claimed to have raised.

Back9 said it has raised more than $40 million in startup capital. That includes more than $5 million from the state Department of Economic and Community Development. It first received a $100,000 grant and $250,000 loan from the Small Business Express program, and then received two more loans under the Manufacturers' Assistance Act program, a program that is open to far more than manufacturers. The first loan was in 2012 for $750,000, and the second loan was in 2013 for $4 million.

The company has not paid any interest back on the largest loan, because payments were deferred until 2017 and 2018. On the smaller loan, it pays $1,850 monthly.

Under the agreements for the loans, if the company defaults, the state can take all its equipment, bank accounts and accounts receivables.

Thursday
Feb262015

Lydia Ko Files: She Funds Volunteer Parties, Too!

Thanks to reader Michael for one final note on Lydia Ko's impressive Australian Women's Open win last weekend.

From the keyboard of Mark Hayes, a confirmed report by Royal Melbourne chief Paul Rak of a professional golfer acknowledging volunteers. Shocking stuff indeed:

Ko wandered up the clubhouse stairs to make her last brief scheduled stop at the champion’s cocktail party, then quietly slipped an envelope containing $500 into the hands of assistant GM Andrea Watson to kickstart the staff’s “after-party”.

It was the New Zealander’s way of saying thanks to all those who almost anonymously helped make her triumph so memorable on one of her favourite courses.

But Rak said it was the ultimate in class acts.

“I’ve worked in the golf industry for 40 years and I’ve never heard of anything like that – especially from a 17-year-old,” he said.

Wednesday
Feb252015

It’s Come To This Files: Golf On Bikes In Spandex

Hanging around the Golf Industry Show this week I've been heartened to pick up some positive energy at a convention that has been fairly subdued the last five years.

So it is with some confidence about the fundamentals of golf that I can tell the cycling lovefest to pick another sport to demolish.

Monday we heard from a millionaire entrepreneur
on why golf is dying and how  cycling is cool, even if the logic didn't make a bit of sense. But now we get to see what the cyclists would do if they were given access to a course."Peter Sagan’s post-ride golf match" is as horrifying as you'd imagine.

Wednesday
Feb252015

Rory Thinks The U.S.A Is "Overdoing" Ryder Cup Revamp

Rory McIlroy isn't exactly the type to drop insults so you can only imagine what he and the rest of his European teammates think of the Team USA task force Task Force "Task Force" findings.

ESPN.com's Bob Harig reports.

"It came as a huge shock when they announced Davis [Love III] as the next U.S. captain," McIlroy said Wednesday at the Honda Classic, where he is making his first U.S. start of 2015. "But then I'm also surprised, and I feel they're overdoing it, with the setting up of a task force and talking about all the changes they want to bring in."

McIlroy stated confidently on the Honda Classic eve that he very much wants to be the man to front the game going forward. That kind of confidence might not go over well, but after the last few years of players not looking comfortable with a lead down the stretch, McIlroy's confidence sounds good.

Brian Wacker on the state of Rory on the eve of his 2015 PGA Tour debut.

Every decade or so there’s a new star for the game to hang its hat on -- from Arnold Palmer to Jack Nicklaus, from Greg Norman to Woods, from Woods to McIlroy. It’s a position McIlroy says he is comfortable with.

“Yes,” he said. “Because it's what I've always wanted to do. I would be wasting my time if I was out there practicing as much as I do and putting as much into it if I didn't want to be in this position, and wasting the people's time around me, as well, that helped me get to this point.

“Of course I want to be that guy.”

Wednesday
Feb252015

Wraparound Blues: Ryder Cup Refusal Edition

Twenty-four hours later, the one shocker of the Ryder Cup news conference continues to be the decision to pronounce the PGA Tour's wraparound schedule non-conducive to creating a Cup team.

Thanks to reader Tim for highlighting Phil Mickelson's answer to the question.

Q. Why the switch from just strict money that Azinger had installed to counting them as points?

PHIL MICKELSON: I'll take that. Because it was very confusing when the Tour, after having players play major championships, the PGA, the World Golf Championships and the FedEx Cup, who then played nine out of 11 weeks, let's say, then stopped, the Tour's next season starts a week later. If you count money for those last three or four months, you're giving the bottom half of the Tour a three month head start over ultimately the top guys. So you wanted to start that money in 2015 but the Money List on the PGA Tour list starts in September or October. So it was getting confusing. That's why we ended up with the points system of points per $1,000 or $2,000 made.

Just last week at Riviera Bubba Watson talked about pretending the fall events in the year-round PGA Tour calendar do not exist and that he schedules accordingly.

In light of the Ryder Cup switch, it would seem the wraparound is about one bullet from losing any relevance it might have had (remember, Rory and Tiger are required to play this fall's Frys.com, but after that they'll never be seen there again).

If the Masters no longer granted exemptions to post-playoff event winners, the fall schedule could lose even more relevance. Nothing against those fine events, of course. Not their fault the schedule is bloated.

Wednesday
Feb252015

Eh: Quail Hollow Gets 2021 Presidents Cup

Because they don't have enough events (Wells Fargo Championship, 2017 PGA Championship), Quail Hollow will be on our televisions almost every year for a long time.

And perhaps twice in 2021 if the Wells Fargo event is extended beyond 2019. Because apparently no other above average golf course in the south (A) was available or (B) wanted to host the Presidents Cup.  Stock up on pillows now before it's too late.

“We’re thrilled to add Quail Hollow Club to the growing list of exceptional venues to host The Presidents Cup,” said Finchem.  “Charlotte is a major hub of business in the Southeastern United States with a growing economy and broad base of sports fans, and The Presidents Cup matches perfectly as we look to bring it to exciting, emerging markets and allow a new fan base to experience the competition, pageantry and international goodwill that the event represents.  Quail Hollow Club has been a player favorite since the PGA TOUR returned there in 2003, and we’re confident players, fans and sponsors from around the world will find Charlotte, the Carolinas and the course itself a remarkable setting for The Presidents Cup.

We'll let you know six years from now.

“I’d like to thank Johnny Harris, who played a key role to attracting the PGA TOUR back to Charlotte in 2003, and the Quail Hollow Club membership for their support and partnership.  It’s obvious this club has high expectations and wants to deliver the world’s best to the Carolinas. We will certainly help them achieve that goal with The Presidents Cup 2021.”

Tuesday
Feb242015

May The Task Force Be Never Heard From Again!

I've entered full Ryder Cup burnout mode, so under doctor's orders, my reading to Task Force's self-congratulatory press conference announcing Davis Love as 2016 Ryder Cup captain.

There is good news in this drama. The Task Force is done. Gone! No mas. It's tied with the PGA of America Hack Golf Task Force for most Task Force meetings in organization history (2).

No more conference calls, no more pretending to care, no more taking Tiger and Phil away from their short game practice and no more wondering if Team USA should go back to four picks (they did!).

The PGA of America Ryder Cup task force unveiled unanimous captain for 2016 in Davis Love and best of all, moved swiftly so that we can return to not worrying about the Ryder Cup for 18 months. Or so we hope.

It was another a fine day for the Golf Cart Industrial Complex, as the task force has decided lock in four vice captain’s. Tom Lehman goes into 2016 as one of the four. Nothing screams excitement like two losing captains to turn this ship around!

Dave Shedloski at GolfDigest.com got a groupthink vibe from the whole thing, which is good when it comes to restoring the fourth pick and fixing the deadline to qualify. But when the new/old captain is dropping MBAspeak, it's hard to get excited unless that new business model means not sucking every penny out of the event possible? I know, we can dream.

“It's a new business model, a new team building model that comes from being given an opportunity by the PGA of America to come together and use all of our veteran experience to build a new team culture and consistent plan for the future,” Love added. “So 2016 will be a collaborative effort of many individuals from the task force, past Ryder Cup Captains, veteran players of the Ryder Cup to create the best environment for our team to be totally prepared to compete at Hazeltine National.”

Steve DiMeglio notes the biggest qualifying change, which we'll call the Horschel Rule.

Eight of the 12 members of the team will be named on points earned following the conclusion of The Barclays, which is two weeks later than in the past. A new timetable for the captain's picks was announced, too. Three of the four picks will be announced after the conclusion of the BMW Championship, affording an extra two weeks for the decisions. And the final captain's pick will be made at the conclusion of the Tour Championship the following week.

Rex Hoggard explains the new qualifying process and reveals easily the best statement the Task Force ever made:

Lost in that structure, however, are the fall events in the PGA Tour’s wrap-around schedule. Money earned in events like the McGladrey Classic, which is hosted by Love, will not count toward the Ryder Cup selection system.

Bob Harig notes that the real takeway here is that Phil Mickelson, criticized for calling out Tom Watson at Gleneagles, got his way with the changes in qualifying, captain’s picks and captaincy strategy.

The full press release and qualifying details.

Tuesday
Feb242015

Final Follow Up On Riviera's 10th: "Fun to watch. Tough to play."

I know, I know, you're in full Bear Trap mode. But before we move to four weeks of Florida golf, a few last things to consider about the much-discussed and dare I say beleaguered 10th at Riviera.

On Morning Drive we discussed the reaction from those who watched the CBS telecast and the criticisms of their announce team, and as I tried to explain, there was a combination of dry conditions, excessive green speed and the tacky changes by the Fazio design team to help Riviera not get a U.S. Open. The perfect storm exaggerated certain misfortunes. Sadly, the hole's reputation seems to have taken a bit of a hit, but don't blame George Thomas and Billy Bell.

In his weekly notes column, AP's Doug Ferguson tackled the question, quoted Ryo Ishikawa (see headline above) and talked to Riviera superintendent Matt Morton.

With all the chatter about so much sand from so many bunker shots building up the green, Morton said the real culprit was a long drought creating firm conditions.

"The main difference is three firm years in a row," he said. "During the Northern Trust Open, it's usually wet and you deal with rain. We're in a drought. You're seeing three years of dry, firm conditions. We've been able to showcase the hole the way members play in the summer."

It began to rain heavily on the back nine Sunday, and when Dustin Johnson and James Hahn reached the 10th hole in the playoff (the second extra hole), it helped slightly to be able to get their flop shots on the green. That said, they were flop shots of the highest quality.

They were indeed. Softer conditions helped, but some mighty young nerves also held up.To confirm that things were a tad silly for a 311-yard hole, here are the day-by-day scoring averages, hole locations and green-in-regulation percentages.

Thursday (back left): 4.201 47%
Friday (middle left): 4.007  60%
Saturday (middle front): 3.880  43%
Sunday (back left): 4.227  57%

All rounds: 4.087 52%

Note that the easiest of the hole locations on Saturday and the one most unprotected by bunkers but also most tempting to players, had the lowest green in regulation percentage.

Tuesday
Feb242015

Instant Poll: Long Term, What Happens To Tiger's Game?

While the Tuesday talk at the Honda Classic will be distracted by Davis Love's second Ryder Cup captaincy, the absense of Tiger Woods in what is now his hometown event is the topic on everyone's mind. And as noted in recent stories, the main question in golf centers around his future game (or lack thereof). Undoubtedly, many in the press are in denial about how serious the issues are that Tiger faces, as are many of his biggest fans.

So with that in mind, put your long term vision caps on and vote how you see the greatest player of the 21st century evolving from his current struggles. For what it's worth, I voted for answer 3.

Long term, what is going to happen with Tiger's game?
 
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