Let our hazards punish well the failures of those who battle for ultimate success after the ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ idea. That is what our true hazards are for.
The Open and the Scottish Open are being joined by the Irish Open, it was announced today.
Brian Keogh with the details on Portstewart landing the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, hosted by the Rory Foundation.
The July 6-9, 2017 dates mean three weeks of links golf next summer, with a pair of tune-up options for players.
There's a trio! But we forget a few things and learn things with Baltusrol having hosted many majors: that this is a national treasure on many levels beyond the tournament golf.
Bill Fields filed a New York Times story on the island green at Baltusrol that was later taken out by A.W. Tillinghast.
Where the putting surface of the 16th hole is situated, though, once existed one of the most talked-about features in early American golf: the sport’s first island green. The site was the location of the 10th green on Baltusrol’s Old Course, an 18-hole layout created in 1900 that was used for two decades before the opening of the Upper and Lower Courses in 1922, built by the noted golf course architect A. W. Tillinghast.
Fields also delves into the grim story that gave Baltusrol its name: the murder of Baltus Roll in a late night robbery attempt.
Also, on a lighter note, this was a breakthrough project for A.W. Tillinghast. Brett Cyrgalis looks at the club's rich history, which, while it included multiple Opens before they let Tillie turn the place into two courses, went to another level because of the architect's effort.
Having already played host to the five major championships, including two U.S. Opens, one U.S. Amateur and two U.S. Women’s Amateurs, the club decided to rip up what would become known as “the old course,” and totally revamp its sprawling property in Springfield, N.J. The club hired proclaimed golf course architect A.W. Tillinghast, whose unheard-of proposal was for two golf courses, both of the highest caliber, playing up to the venerable Tudor clubhouse and along the side of Baltusrol Mountain.
The club opened in 1922, and the accolades have never stopped coming. It’s a history that is hardly lost on the current membership, now readying this week to play host to its 17th major championship, the PGA Championship.
“The history is very important for the average member,” said Rick Jenkins, the club historian and the member appointed to be the general chairman for the 98th PGA Championship. “It’s part of the culture here. Every member knows every 15 years, we’ll host a major championship. That’s the timetable we’re on. We want to do this because we think it’s not only part of our legacy, but our contribution to the game.”
On Golf Channel's Live From coverage, Matt Ginella profiled Tillinghast in this Eric Morris-produced piece that includes some wonderful old imagery.
One of the many things lost in the haze of the magnificent Stenson-Mickelson battle for the ages at Troon was Henrik's bizarre career arc.
It's easy to forget that he hit rock bottom many years ago, but with the help of instructor Pete Cowen, Stenson built a swing that led to one of the great performances in major history.
Bob Harig files this super profile of the Cowen/Stenson partnership for ESPN.com.
"He couldn't hit the world, let alone the fairway,'' said Pete Cowen, Stenson's longtime instructor. "And it could be with every club in his bag. He could hit 5-irons out of bounds, 7-irons out of bounds. There are three important things, and they are to start the ball on line, and have the correct flight and spin. Henrik couldn't start it on line, and then you have no idea where it is going to finish.''
Stenson turned pro in 1998 and found some early success on the European Tour. But at the European Open -- at the K Club in Ireland -- his game, his ego and his confidence took a hit 15 years ago, one from which it is amazing he recovered.
Playing in July 2001 with Miguel Angel Jimenez and Sandy Lyle, Stenson came to the 13th hole and hit a massive slice that would not have been so alarming if he had not hit a massive hook on the same hole a day prior. Stenson had no idea where the ball was going, and was so spooked by his lack of form that he withdrew.
"After nine holes, I told the guys they'd be better off without me,'' Stenson recalled. "The balls were all over the place.''
Two months prior, Stenson had won the Benson & Hedges International tournament, but now he wondered if he'd ever be able to compete again.
With all due respect to balmy Baltusrol, which isn't to blame for the schedule congestion, we are less than 18 days from the start of men's Olympic golf. Time to count down the way there thanks to Golf Digest's "Olympic Course Experience" featuring excellent hole flyovers of the Rio course narrated by co-architect Gil Hanse.
The par-5 first hole of the Rio Olympic Course plays 604 yards for the men and 536 yards for the women. You can view Hanse's final first hole rendering here.
The first hole flyover:
The par-4 second is 486 yards for the men and 438 yards for the women. You can view Hanse's final drawing here.
The second hole flyover:
So soon after The Open--particularly one we'll never forget--and at a parkland course short on memorable holes, and played in July to accommodate America's obsession with football, all adds up to make it hard for many including the SI/golf.com gang to get excited about the 2016 PGA Championship.
From the roundtable:
Bamberger: Yes, the PGA risks getting overlooked. But this year less than others. It's the lead up to the Olympics!
Shipnuck: You jest, Michael, but it will add a little extra juice and another needed talking point. We all know the PGA is the least prestigious of the majors, and as long as it’s going to boring tracks like Baltusrol, that won’t change. But the Olympics are the de facto 5th major this year—Sorry Players—and will continue the mojo for this blockbuster summer.
Bamberger: I don't jest. Not about this!
Shipnuck: Good, because these Olympics are life and death. Perhaps literally!
Ritter: Only if you drink the water in Rio, Alan! (Or, leave your hotel.) As for the PGA, Balty has produced some great winners, including Phil in ‘05 and Jack twice. If it gets a few high-wattage names in the mix on Sunday, it'll draw its share of eyeballs, even in a busy summer.
Probably more than had the event been moved to the early fall to help with the congested schedule. But football won that match before it even teed off.
David Fay filed some terrific Golf Digest thoughts on the history of Baltusrol and what makes it such a great club, even if you find the course a little uninspired on TV. And he addresses that silly wall installed by Robert Trent Jones at No. 4. **See Rick Wolffe's much appreciated clarification on the wall in comments below.
Alan Pittman offers this black and white photo tour of the club.
With the PGA Championship's return to Baltusrol, the spotlight will be on the course's defending champion, Phil Mickelson (Jason Day is of course the actual title defender).
In an unusually candid as-told-to with Mark Cannizzaro, Mickelson mentions the role of Baltusrol retiring pro Doug Steffen in helping him learn the green, Joe's Pizza for his favorite local pie, Wednesday golf at Pine Valley again with Jerry Tarde and other fun insights.
But for those wanting to know how the Open Championship runner-up plans to attack the course, Mickelson admits to a big change in approach worth noting.
I have to play it shorter off the tee and straighter and then more aggressive into the greens. A lot of times before, I couldn’t be aggressive into the greens because I was in trouble. But I could get away with that because my length off the tee was more of an advantage than it is now.
Now I have to be more conservative off the tee so I can then be more aggressive into the greens. You have to adapt as a player. During my 30s, length was key for me and there wasn’t as much rough as there is today and I was pretty wild. One of the things I’ve had to do as a player is adapt and become more consistent off the tee, and I’m in the process of that right now.
My anticipation of playing Baltusrol this time around is going to be much more methodical. I can’t overpower a golf course like Bubba Watson or Dustin Johnson. I’m going to give up strokes off the tee to them. Dustin gains 2 ¹/₂ strokes on the field. So I have to make up three shots elsewhere — chipping, putting, iron shots, whatever.
This week's Tour Confidential got me to read Pete Madden's excellent piece about Scott Stallings' PGA Tour drug policy violation.
Needless to say the breathtaking hypocrisy of Commissioner Tim Finchem, once opposed to drug testing, now personally notifying Stallings of his suspension in a weird New Orleans hearing, stands out. But so does the oddity of Stallings self-reporting instead of being caught by the tour lab, yet earning no special consideration. And there's the secrecy of violations such as Dustin Johnson's alleged suspension for use of recreational drugs, while a Stallings' case is made public.
This part is just creepy and pathetic that Finchem--vehemently opposed to drug testing at one time--personally dishing out the punishment that does not fit the crime:
The golfer reviewed his talking points in his head. He had made a mistake, but he also had immediately reported himself, as golfers are supposed to do, and apologized. Surely, the Tour would forgive him for acting hastily when his health was on the line. Finchem, he thought, would understand.
"I walk into a room, Finchem is there with a few other guys, and before my butt hits the seat, I'm handed a piece of paper telling me I was suspended for three months," Stallings recalled. "I was very much in shock."
The decision to make Stallings the newest member of the most exclusive club in golf had already been made. He joined Doug Barron, Vijay Singh and Bhavik Patel as the only players known to have run afoul of the Tour's Anti-Doping Program since its inception in 2008, his name forever etched on a public naughty list in perhaps the only sport that prizes integrity over success. That culture is so strong that golfers routinely add strokes to their scores for missteps both real and imagined rather than risk the perception that unfair advantages were gained over the field.
Gary Van Sickle summed up the reporting by Madden this way:
DHEA is a hormonal supplement you can buy off the rack at CVS. The fact that it is somehow illegal is ridiculous. It is not a PED. I took it for several years with the understanding that it helped middle-aged guys have the energy to keep moving and maybe lose weight. Not sure that worked. The Stallings case, like Shaun Micheel’s, shows how much the tour just can’t wait to crack down to prove how effective its drug policy is, even if it is unrelated to reality. Stallings got hosed; Micheel got hosed. The guys who went to rehab over the years—whoever they were—for substance abuse, they got nothing. It’s just not a level playing field.
Jason Logan at Score Golf explains that there were signs Canadian amateur Jared du Toir was playing well. But the last group of his national open in his first PGA Tour start, where no Canadian has won since 1954?
With a field including Day and Johnson? No matter what the ASU golfer does Sunday, it's an incredible achievement.
The young Canuck came into this tournament on a roll, having won the Glencoe Invitational in June and having fired a competitive course-record 63 at San Francisco’s Olympic Club at the Trans-Miss Amateur Championship three weeks ago. But this? Rounds of 67-72-70 in his first PGA Tour event to sashay his way into a Sunday game with 2013 champ Brandt Snedeker?
“I’ve never been in this kind of pressure, this atmosphere before,” du Toit said. “I’m here having fun and trying to go and play golf. It hasn’t set in so far, but I’m loving every minute of it.”
His Saturday eagle will be a memory for life:
**A valiant performance by the amateur got him a T9 that included nearly eagling 18 again.
Jhonathan Vegas installed himself as a gold medal possibility and earned his way into the PGA Championship with a win at baked-out Glen Abbey.
Chris Cutmore of the Daily Mail reports that new European Tour Chief Keith Pelley is following the lead of Twenty20 and floating the idea of a radical format event, with just six holes, shot clocks, music (!?) and attire twists.
'It would probably be a country competition,' Pelley told BBC Radio 5 Live. 'So you could see England playing Scotland in a six-hole matchplay.
'If you're not prepared to change, you're not prepared to be innovative, if you're not prepared to actually take chances, then sports will fall behind.'
He added: 'Yes, there'd be a shot clock. Yes, there'd be music and players would probably be dressed a bit differently.
'Maybe they'd only play with five or seven clubs.'
Throw in stymies and I'm in!
I feel like we've seen a precursor of this already
Darren Rovell with one of the more amazing point-missing exercises in the social media area, as the United States Olympic Committee has notified companies who are not official sponsors that they must pretend the Games are not happening.
In a letter send to sponsors of athletes, Rovell says the USOC warns of stealing intellectual property.
"Commercial entities may not post about the Trials or Games on their corporate social media accounts," reads the letter written by USOC chief marketing officer Lisa Baird. "This restriction includes the use of USOC's trademarks in hashtags such as #Rio2016 or #TeamUSA."
This is fun too...
The letter further stipulates that a company whose primary mission is not media-related cannot reference any Olympic results, cannot share or repost anything from the official Olympic account and cannot use any pictures taken at the Olympics.
Social media is largely a reminder and branding service that merely threatens to remind people to watch or enjoy the exploits of an athlete. While you can understand their need to protect the Team USA sponsors, it's got to be tempting for some to test the bounds of this to see just how far the USOC will go to "protect" its turf.
Fortune's John Kell with an interesting look at the "Smart" shoe Jordan Spieth put into play at The Open.
Under Armour has been developing the shoe with the possibility of standing out in various markets, including golf, writes Kell.
Pro golfers aren’t allowed to track their movements with wearable tracking bands, like the UA Band, during competition. So Under Armour took the sensor technology it uses in the company’s recently launched “smart” Speedform Gemini 2 Record Equipped shoe and applied it to the brand’s first-ever, custom-made smart golf shoe.
Throughout the four days of competition, Spieth walked around 54,000 steps, averaging 13,500 steps per day during The Open. (Fitness trackers generally recommend 7,000-10,000 steps per day for optimal activeness).
This was an eye-opening number...
The golf segment is a relatively new opportunity for Under Armour. The company only began selling golf shoes in April of this year, a collection that Spieth tested and gave some key input. If Under Armour were to bring “smart” golf shoes to the market, it could help the brand stand out even more in the estimated $9.6 billion global golf market. About 39% of those sales comes from footwear, according to research firm Technavio.
Longtime golf writer Ron Kroichick also covers the Warriors and got tag along with Steph Curry in the American Century Pro-Am.
There isn't much golf talk, but plenty of Durant, Olympics and NBA Finals insight.
However this video gives a good look at his game. Graeme DeLaet would love his short game.
Great chat with Dan Patrick by The Open champion, Henrik Stenson who confirms he was, indeed, in the zone.
I made two visits to Turnberry around The Open at Troon, and as The Donald prepares to accept the nomination, I hope you can set your views aside and just appreciate what he and his family have done to replinish and update Turnberry.
Every element of the experience is exceptional. Granted, I'm happy at the Brora's and Cruden Bays of the world, but I don't knock the person with money wanting to enjoy a luxurious, five-star experience. Trump and his team, spearheaded by golf architect Martin Ebert, has delivered for that audience and brought new life to one of the world's most amazing resorts, as envisioned over 100 years ago.
My review at GolfDigest.com.
**17 images in a gallery of Trump Turnberry.
Lewine Mair in Global Golf Post considers the Muirfield situation and, it turns out, that the vote over female members might have been tainted by members feeling the R&A hasn't been generous enough.
Included in the overheard gripes: only one free pass per member. She also talks to a member at another rota course and it's not just the famous club in Scotland that feels the R&A, enjoying plenty of revenues, should be more generous with the courses hosting The Open.
It will be interesting to see if any modifications are made to the course or surrounding mounding...
For Immediate Release...
USGA Selects Chambers Bay as Site for 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship
The Home Course To Serve As Stroke-Play Co-Host
FAR HILLS, N.J. (July 20, 2016) – Chambers Bay, in University Place, Wash., has been selected by the United States Golf Association (USGA) as the site of the 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. The dates of the championship are May 25-29.
The Home Course, in DuPont, Wash., which is cooperatively owned and operated by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA) and the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA), will serve as the stroke-play co-host.
The 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball is the third USGA championship to be held at Chambers Bay, which is owned by Pierce County. The public facility also hosted the 2010 U.S. Amateur, won by Peter Uihlein, and the 2015 U.S. Open, won by Jordan Spieth.
“Bringing the USGA’s newest men’s championship to Chambers Bay underscores our strong relationship with Pierce County as well as with the PNGA and the WSGA, since it will be the third USGA championship there in a decade,” said Stuart Francis, chairman of the USGA Championship Committee. “We have a long history of returning to host sites with excellent golf courses, where we have conducted successful and memorable championships.”
Chambers Bay, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., opened in 2007. The Home Course was designed by Mike Asmundson and also opened in 2007. The Home Course was the stroke-play co-host for the 2010 U.S. Amateur, as well as the site of the final U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship in 2014, won by Fumie (Alice) Jo.
“We are thrilled to welcome the USGA back to Chambers Bay and the Pacific Northwest for the 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship,” said Pat McCarthy, Pierce County executive. “Our community wrapped its collective arms around the record-setting 2015 U.S. Open and I’m confident we will host another successful championship in 2019.”
The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship is strictly for amateurs with no age restrictions. Partners comprising teams or sides will not be required to be from the same club, state or country. Entry is limited to individuals with a Handicap Index® not to exceed 5.4.
The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball will consist of 128 two-player teams each playing their own ball throughout the round. Each team’s score will be determined by using the lower score of the partners for each hole. After 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying, the field will be reduced to the low 32 teams for the championship’s match-play bracket (all matches contested at 18 holes).
In 2017, the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship will be conducted at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C., and in 2018, the championship will be conducted at Jupiter Hills Club in Tequesta, Fla.
While the move to NBC actually expanded the number of homes for The Open, the shift from BBC to Sky Sports in the UK was expected to mean a drop in audience size.
John Westerby in The Times wrote about a variety of topics, including the Sky ratings. The drop is pretty staggering.
Peak viewing figures on Sunday were around 1.2 million, compared with the 4.7 who watched Johnson's victory on the BBC on the extra day at St. Andrews last year. The highlights package on BBC2 on Sunday attracted about 1.5 million viewers.
On Monday in Glasgow, I had a random chat with a 22-year-old fan who was raving about the final round drama. I asked why he didn't go and it was cost related. He was genuinely dejected by the lost opportunity. When returning my car, the representative also raved about the final round and said his father attended, sitting on 18 all day. I asked why he didn't go. Again, cost was cited.
This year's Open did include free entry for those under 16 and special pricing for those 16-21. There was also the camping village to appeal to the festival-goer mindset. But the £80 entry fee, coupled with £15 for parking, is cost prohibitive for many and probably explains the small crowds Thursday through Saturday.
Given the R&A's desire to be accessible to more young people, the combination of millions not seeing the golf and plenty more feeling like they're unable to afford the event, can't be positives for The Open.
Ryan Lavner at GolfChannel.com with the report and email confirmation from Steiny.
In an email to GolfChannel.com, Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said: "Continuing to make progress, but simply not ready for PGA. Will not play in the '15/'16 season and will continue to rehab and work hard to then assess when he starts play for the '16/'17 season."
Unless he's had a setback, this is great news for those hoping Woods would take the year off to get well and to clear his head. Hopefully.
On another note, it's amazing to think that getting golf in the Olympics and some of the structure was developed in consultation with Woods and Mickelson. Neither is going and while one is still in top form, the other isn't even playing. Let that be a lesson to all of the players skipping this year and presuming they'll be able to go in four years.