“Am I an expert with a chainsaw? No, but I know what I’m doing. I don’t have any fear of them.”
There’s a load off.
The greater the experience I have of designing golf courses, the more certain I am that blindness of all kinds should be avoided. ALISTER MACKENZIE
“Am I an expert with a chainsaw? No, but I know what I’m doing. I don’t have any fear of them.”
There’s a load off.
As a connoisseur of architecture I was thrilled to pore through golf.com's gallery and I see saw all sorts of neat stuff in the design details, including a few really exciting surprises (the wacky 17th green embedded at right for starters).
However, like a bandaged patient pushed out of the hospital in a wheelchair after plastic surgery--or the radically altered Renee Zellwager--a golf course during grow-in should absolutely not be photographed and then shared with the world. (I realize typing this is a bit like when the local news warns you that graphic images are coming. Most make sure not to miss the carnage.)
Unfortunately, these first legitimate images of El Cardonal are not going to leave a great impression unless you can look past the typical construction scars, rough maintenance and overall raw nature of the decidely midday images, I suggest you wait until mid-December when Tiger's first 18-hole design opens and the course can be captured in proper circumstances and light.
Michael Smith of Sports Business Daily offered a roundup of executive moves, including PGA Tour executive and longtime Tim Finchem sidekick Tom Wade moving to the title of Chief Commercial Officer.
That's an upgrade from his current Global Commercial Officer post that sounded a tad too much like a TSA job, not that there's anything wrong with the TSA. Love the TSA!
The item also notes the resignation of Champions Tour president Mike Stevens, who will be replaced by longtime Tiger Woods Foundation President Greg McLaughlin.
And finally, the Back9Network has added former Deutsche Bank CEO and current Florida East Coast Industries Vice Chair (!?) Seth Waugh to its newly created advisory board. Also named were Tony Ponturo and Fran Shea and the "trio will help the startup network develop strategic opportunities and aid with its business operations."
Alex Miceli reports in Golfweek and on Golfweek.com that Suzy Whaley, the second woman to qualify for a PGA Tour event after Babe Didrickson Zaharias, is moving up the PGA of America latter and could be breaking up that steady sea of navy blue and grey hair that traditionally stands in for PGA Championship trophy ceremonies.
From Miceli's report (thanks reader PhilGC), which says Whaley is the clubhouse leader for the secretary job:
If Whaley were to be nominated in mid-November at the PGA’s annual meeting in Indianapolis, she would be on a path to join a small sorority to have led major golf organizations. Judy Bell served as U.S. Golf Association president in 1996-97; Carolyn Bivens oversaw the LPGA as commissioner in 2005-09; and Cindy Davis will retire this month after six years as Nike Golf’s president.
Dottie Pepper currently sits on the PGA of America board.
Instead of the traditional Golf Digest Q&A, John Barton inserts observations, fact-checking and commentary into the November Donald Trump interview now posted in its entirety. I'm sure The Donald won't be pleased, but oddly you come away from it respecting him for partaking in the back-and-forth.
Here's a sampling of the fun that I didn't want to end (even though it's a pretty long piece), picking up midway through the Turnberry conversation.
JB: I saw somebody on your Twitter feed (@realDonaldTrump) said to you, don't mess it up.
DT: And I said, don't worry about it. I will not make any changes to the course without the strict approval of the Royal & Ancient.
JB: You're rebranding it Trump Turnberry. Could you say a little bit about that?
DT: Right, so my brand is a very hot brand...
JB: What does your brand stand for?
DT: It stands for quality and luxury. If I didn't use my name, Turnberry would not be nearly as successful as it can be. This isn't an ego thing; this is business. I've got the hottest brand in the world.
At this point, a somewhat fractious exchange ensues. One Trump tactic is to cite unnamed sources who agree with him. At a press conference in July, for instance, when asked about renaming Turnberry, Trump said: "I actually asked some people that are very important in Scotland, although I won't get them in trouble by saying their name, but I've spoken to very important and very powerful political people, and I said, 'What do you think of the idea of Trump Turnberry?' Everyone said that they would love it."
I decide to employ a bit of trumpery on Trump by citing unnamed sources who disagree with him. I tell him that I asked people in the golf industry what they think the Trump brand stands for, and offer an example of one that was less than flattering.
Trump bristles. He demands to know the source. He says, "If you put that in, it's no longer a good story, it's not even a fair story" and adds that the unnamed person is "gutless" for not going on the record. Trump says, "There is nobody more aesthetic than me."
Derek Lawrenson is one of the first to get a copy of Ian Poulter's autobiography. The Daily Mail writer calls the book a "good stocking filler" and notes that "there’s a certain irony in the fact that a man who has only read one book in his life should have the cheek to come out with one of his own."
Lawrenson says "Poulter’s story is so inspirational it certainly deserves to be preserved in hardcover" but in another bit of irony, says few candid stories or views he shares off the record with scribes are offered "presumably because he can’t afford to fall out with people when he’s in the prime of his career, and a stint as Ryder Cup captain lies on the distant horizon."
Nick Faldo, however, was one of the few not spared.
Steve DiMeglio with the exclusive news that Tiger Woods has taken time away from his duties as part of the Ryder Cup task force Task Force where he is said to not be sitting in the back making paper airplanes, all to start working on his game and listening to his doctors. Whoever they are.
From DiMeglio's USA Today report:
"The doctors said he could hit golf balls again, and he's listening to his doctors and to his body," Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, told USA TODAY Sports on Monday. "He will keep listening to his doctors and body."
Steinberg's text to ESPN.com's Bob Harig also reiterated the "still listening to his doctors" line, which an otherwise skeptical person might believe is not a coincidence.
Woods is targeting a return at his Hero World Challenge in December, where another strong field will be showing up.
On Morning Drive Monday we talked about Jack Nicklaus defending old pal Tom Watson's forgettable Ryder Cup captaincy. Being that they are pals, the Golden Bear's defense of his old pal was certainly understandable.
But then there's Florida State football, where Nicklaus' grandson is on the defending national championship squad, compelling the Golden Bear to defend quarterback Jameis Winston's autograph signing, admittedly, the least offensive of the QB's various actions over the last two years that have seen sexual assault allegations derailed by investigative errors and well, whatever this was about.
Tom D'Angelo reports:
“I just hate to see them hammering a 20-year-old kid,” Nicklaus said. “Has he made mistakes? Maybe. But you’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, I think. Not charged and convicted and sentenced.
“I wonder how many autographs I have out there. Every game I go to I sign, probably 20 or 25 (people) and four or five each. Start adding that up. And he’s a lot more available than I am. He’s not the only kid with a couple thousand out there. A bunch of those kids have to have a couple thousand.”
Here's guessing Mr. Nicklaus passed on the recent NY Times piece on FSU.
An unbylined Irish Independent story says this weekend's mediation failed and therefore Rory McIlroy has decided to take time off for a few weeks to prepare for a trial in February. McIlroy was photographed over the weekend as the mediation unfolded.
Sounds like an excuse to skip an event or two he wasn't in the mood to play, but only he would know.
"I'm going to need time away from tournament golf to prepare for the trial over my legal dispute with Horizon Sports Management," Rory said today.
"The court-directed mediation process failed over the weekend to resolve the issue."
McIlroy will sit out the forthcoming BMW Masters or the WGC - HSBC Champions and is expected to return at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on November 20.
**Philip Reid notes this on McIlroy's absense and the source of McIlroy's quotes:
Whilst his absence will be a huge blow to the sponsors of both events, McIlroy - who won’t reappear on tour until the end-of-season DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on November 20th-23rd, where he will secure the Race to Dubai title for topping the money list on the European Tour - felt he had to put the trial, scheduled for February, ahead of playing.
In a statement issued tonight through Dublin-based The Communications Clinic, McIlroy said: “I’m going to need time away from tournament golf to prepare for the trial over my legal dispute with Horizon Sports Management. The court-directed mediation process failed over the weekend to resolve the issue.”
**Ewan Murray on the McIlroy news, includes the concern about McIlroy's Masters prep:
This casts a late shadow over what has proved an epic year on the course for McIlroy, including winning two major championships. There will be debate as to how his preparations and playing schedule before the Masters next April will be affected by the possibility of up to two weeks in a Dublin witness box.
James Corrigan has the same concern and also notes that McIlroy is passing up a massive appearance fee in China.
The McIlroy fallout should not begin to reach those depths, but the very fact the 25-year-old – who won the last two majors of the season to re-establish himself as golf’s undisputed best – is already focused on his appearance on the stand in a Dublin court early next year, will cause fears that it could affect his bid for The Masters, which starts on April 9 at Augusta, where he will attempt to become just the sixth player in history to win the career grand slam.
The fee McIlroy might have earned in week one could have compensated any loss in the trial, which suggests this is not all about money. Remember Sonny, it's not personal, it's business.
Gary D'Amato with an update on Sand Valley, the Mike Keiser development in rural Wisconsin where the 165 people who paid $50,000 each got to play some sand golf on Coore and Crenshaw's routing.
The course is not slated to open until 2017 but a second course architect search is already underway and I was fascinated to learn how much of a dunes restoration component is part of the project. I hope more is shared on that going forward.
There is also this on the future...
Plans already are in place for a second course, likely to be designed by Tom Doak, a name that resonates with architecture geeks. There is room for three more courses after that, but expansion will be dependent on the success of the first course.
"We're very deliberate and we're just focusing on making the first course as good as we can make it, because we know if the first one doesn't exceed your expectations, there won't be a second," Keiser Jr. said.
Fully realized, Sand Valley would join a redesigned SentryWorld in Stevens Point, two fine courses at nearby Lake Arrowhead in Nekoosa and Northern Bay in Arkdale to make north-central Wisconsin one of the best golf destinations in the Midwest, if not the nation.
Tiny Rome, population 2,720, would be at the epicenter.
"Wisconsin, we're finding, is very welcoming," Keiser Jr. said. "The Town of Rome has been so supportive. Day 1, they got it. They knew what this could mean for the poorest county (Adams) in Wisconsin."
Gerry Dulac introduces us to Dom DeBonis, 81-year-old resident of The Villages and former Duquesne college golfer during the Eisenhower Administration, who this month made four aces in 33 days at four courses.
And then DeBonis posted a photo on Facebook of himself with some of his witnesses/golfing buddies, making it his profile pic.
So when he had the opportunity to go to Myrtle Beach with 11 friends on a golfing trip to the Grand Strand, he couldn't resist. On Oct. 6, Mr. DeBonis carded an ace at Farmstead Golf Club in Calabash, N.C. He used a 9-iron from 112 yards out on the seventh hole.
The next day, he added a second hole-in-one at the Thistle Golf Club in Sunset Beach, N.C., using a 7-iron at the 129-yard sixth hole.
And the topper came on Oct. 8 at Blackmoor Golf Club, where Mr. DeBonis added his third ace in three days with an 8-iron at the 118-yard fourth hole.
Best of all, he's playing from the proper set of tees. Or Teeing It Forward. (Remember that initiative? It's hard to keep up with all of them.)
**Jason Sobel called the man and for the skeptics out there (understandable), it sure sounds like the man had witnesses and bar tabs to prove it.
“Oh, I would imagine drinks came close to $500,” estimates DeBonis, still laughing at his fortune. “They took it easy on me after the first few.”
Mercer Langley, registrar for the National Hole in One Registry, says the odds of a 14-handicap making an ace are around 12,000-to-1, but there’s really no way of quantifying three in three days. That didn’t stop Joe Nowak, a former engineer and one of DeBonis’ golfing buddies, from trying. He maintains that the number would be 12,000 to the ninth power, which equals 1.9 trillion-to-one odds
I love it when the British bicker!
As Ryan Lavner notes, Ian Poulter must have pulled his book from the printing press or it was waiting on a final chapter involving this year's Ryder Cup. Either way, the candid take should get his autobiography attention and make for plenty of fun tension between the two sons of the empire.
"It makes me laugh. Faldo is talking about someone being useless at the 2008 Ryder Cup. That's the Ryder Cup where he was captain. That's the Ryder Cup where the Europe team suffered a heavy defeat.
"And he was captain. So who's useless? Faldo might need to have a little look in the mirror. I have always got on great with Faldo in the past and I have a great deal of respect for everything he has achieved but this feels like sour grapes. It feels like a guy who is still bitter that he lost in 2008.
"Faldo has lost a lot of respect from players because of what he said. There were plenty of things a lot of the players were unhappy with at Valhalla but none of us criticised him. He may find that begins to change now."
Faldo, incidentally, apologized for the remark.
The Irish Independent mercifully left an item on Rory McIlroy unbylined as I'm pretty sure the world would like to know what the writer meant by a mobile phone combo.
Actually, it was more like lawsuit negotiations-couture, since the item reports Rory was slipping out for some fresh air and a few texts from court-mandated mediation with Horizon Sports Management.
RORY McIlroy went green as he stepped out in Dublin in a striking sweater - before changing into a lurid boots, jacket and mobile phone combo.
He emerged yesterday from the Westbury Hotel in Dublin looking preoccupied as he checked his phone and took a call.
Of greater interest? Jeans purchased this century, that haven't been placed on a hanger or, dare I put this in writing, ironed. Perhaps like you know who...
GolfChannel.com's Nick Menta files an update on Jarrod Lyle's first two starts and where this leaves the two-time cancer survivor in making enough money to turn his medical exemption into a PGA Tour exemption.
Lyle has 20 total starts, including the two he's already made this season, to earn the $283,825 that will allow him to retain his card. After making the Frys.com (T-31) via a Monday qualifier and playing the Shriners (T-42) thanks to a sponsor exemption, he has racked up $53,795.
Lyle now heads Down Under for the big Australian events before returning to the PGA Tour.
Jack Nicklaus whittled away few words in discussing the 2014 Ryder Cup while appearing to celebrate his (latest) changes to PGA National.
Brian Biggane of the Palm Beach Post quotes the legend talking about the Ryder Cup, with this to say about the post-match bickering and subsequent task force:
“When I had teams and guys had problems, we went back to the team room and talked about it. That’s where the conversation should be. (And) I feel the same about the task force thing. That’s sort of overkill. We’ve had 70 years of the Ryder Cup and it’s gotten along just fine. The pendulum will swing back without making a monumental thing about it.”
This time it's Justin Thomas at the TPC Summerlin's driveable 15th hole.
The shot is first up in the PGA Tour Entertainment recap of round two, Shriner's Hospital Classic.
Great news for wraparound golf as the PGA Tour’s season-opening Frys.com Open final round went from a 0.1 final round with a 187,000 viewer average in 2013, to a .2 and 219,000 average in 2014. Growth!
Even better, the final day didn’t suffer the embarrassment of losing to the Big Break this year, as last year’s final round did when NFL players made up the cast. This year’s Tuesday broadcast of Big Break Myrtle Beach drew a .1 and 94,000 viewer average compared to 227,000 last year watching the NFLers do the long-running reality show.
Douglas Pascucci at Awful Announcing with the numbers showing Golf Channel up slightly for the week overall compared to last year.
Also worth noting for those thinking a Saturday/away-from-the-NFL finish might be better in the fall: the third round Frys.com Open telecast tied for 6th with the Champions Tour event proceeding it, both registering a .1 and 141,000 viewers.
**For whatever it's worth, Jim Peltz looks at the drop in NASCAR ratings for the revamped Chase. The numbers are still quite respectable compared to the MLB playoffs and certainly golf's playoffs.
I'm feeling so much better about America after we resisted losing our collective minds over a little college football Saturday silliness.
Teddy Greenstein reports that Ohio State engineering student Anthony Wunder, who was tackled in spectacular fashion, gets to finish his education and keep his hard-earned Evans Scholarship with a few stipulations.
The Evans Scholars Foundation gives tuition-and-housing scholarships to caddies in financial need.
Stopping short of saying, "and the captain was pretty terrible too," Webb Simpson suggested to Golf Channel's Todd Lewis that he won't be scrapbooking the 2014 Ryder Cup any time soon.
Will Gray on the captain's picks comments about the long week at Gleneagles.
"Any golfer wants to play, and I wanted to play," he said. "So my anticipation of what the Ryder Cup would be on a golf side, and what it was, was much different. And that's why I said yesterday it stunk. ... I think all of our team would agree that to an extent, the golf part did stink. We lost. We lost the Ryder Cup, and nobody likes that."
It’s reasonable to second guess the omission of Chris Kirk and Ryan Moore as captain’s picks, and it’s fair to criticize Watson’s abusive, grumpy old man style. It is unreasonable, however, for the U.S. team to be “despondent” that Watson scoffed at their gift: a replica Ryder Cup trophy signed by the players. As John McEnroe famously said, “You can’t be serious, man. You CANNOT be serious!”
This may be the worst gift idea of all time.
Tom Watson does not want a perpetual reminder of his failure, signed by the players he blames for his failure. Watson hurt everybody’s feelings when he told them their gift meant nothing if they didn’t win the real Ryder Cup. Can you blame him? I, for one, think he made a good point.