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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

The poetic temperament is the worst for golf. It dreams of brilliant drives, iron shots laid dead, and long putts holed, while in real golf success waits for him who takes care of the foozles and leaves the fine shots to take care of themselves. WALTER SIMPSON

 

    

Wednesday
Jan282015

Gates Open On TPC Scottsdale's $15 Million Renovation 

Having long felt like the course was a three or four-hole gem with the rest pretty ordinary, I was excited when news of Tom Weiskopf's hiring was announced and we wrote about it on The Loop.

After seeing Shane Bacon's Back9 tour with Weiskopf along with the drone shots, the whole lunar-golf-in-the-desert vibe of the course looks lost to unsightly flashed white bunkers, making the prospect for a revamped TPC Scottsdale became a lot less exciting. Seeing more shots in this Matt Ginella-Rex Hoggard chat on Morning Drive really highlighted the horrible look of bright white sand fighting the desert's browner hues.

AP's John Nicholson previewed the re-opening and Weiskopf also touched on the Church Pews added to the 18th hole.

Out of respect for the historic Pennsylvania club's Church Pews bunker, the course architect refers to the four long, thin strips of raised, turfed ground as islands.

"That's reserved for Oakmont. There is only one Church Pews," Weiskopf said. "Those are islands in there. Four islands. Big islands. Some people call them church pews. They can call them whatever they want. You don't want to be in there."

This will also be one of the few renovations with bunker placement based on ShotLink data, all because the guys are eating their kale.

Weiskopf used ShotLink data from the last five years to put the fairway bunkers back in play for even the longest hitters. He cut the number of bunkers from 73 to 66 and filled them with white sand that area tour players tested for two years on the back range.

Also surprising is seeing some bunkers shallower than they were in the past, especially at the famed 16th. During the pro-am, Tiger's release pattern miscue (once called a shank) is notable in part because (A) he shanked a bunker shot, and (B) how shallow that bunker now appears.

Wednesday
Jan282015

Phil Fired: Fesses Up To Reason Behind Assistant Coach Role

It was heartwarming to see Phil Mickelson enlisted as an ASU interim assistant coach at his alma mater and working under brother Tim Mickelson. And now it's all over before Phil could even get his luxury Mercedes Sprinter van-driving license.

Golfweek's Cassie Stein with Phil's refreshingly honest explanation today that this was really more about recruiting one player and ensuring NCAA rules had not been violated. And I had "blame a rogue videographer" in the Phil is no longer assistant coaching pool!

"He (Tim, his older brother and head coach) needed some real help," Mickelson said. "We had developed a plan to where I could call some recruits. We weren't really going to say anything and hadn't said anything for a few weeks until one of the players had tweeted it and it looked like there were some improprieties, which there weren't, so we had to publicly announce I was assistant captain; otherwise, I wouldn't be able to make the phone calls I had been making."

Mickelson is referring to Australian Ryan Ruffels, who tweeted about his phone call with Mickelson. Ruffels is ranked 19th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

Besides not digging a hole for himself and ASU, there is reason to like Phil's chances this week, reports Mark Lamport-Stokes on Mickelson's Super Bowl/Scottsdale synergy.

Wednesday
Jan282015

R.I.P. Kel Nagle

The oldest living major championship winner, World Golf Hall of Fame member and one of Australia's greatest exports, Kel Nagle was 94 when he passed away in a Sydney hospital.

The 1960 Open Championship winner also won a record 61 Australasian PGA tour tiles. Martin Blake's excellent story on the life of Nagle is worth a few minutes of your time. The more workmanlike ABC Australian obituary is here.

And Mike Clayton posted this remembrance at Golf Australia's site.

In one of his very last events, sometime in the 1980s, he was drawn on the opening days at Royal Melbourne with Norman and another long hitter, Lyndsay Stephen. Kel was well past sixty and he came to the final hole facing a fairway wood for the long approach. Stephen and Norman were predictably miles ahead with pitching clubs in their hands but Nagle bumped his four wood up within fifteen feet of the hole. The other two somewhat clumsily pitched to almost double the distance from the hole and as Kel marked his ball he turned to the younger men and said, ‘not really much you can say, boys.’

He was a wonderful man, beloved by all and one who will be sadly missed but by no one more than by his great mate and partner, Peter Thomson. Together they moved the game into the modern era and made the path easier for all who followed.

Wednesday
Jan282015

Rory's "Nasty" And "Tedious" Trial Is Almost Here

What a difference two weeks makes.

Not long ago Rory McIlroy said his upcoming trial against former agency Horizon Sports Management wasn’t a “distraction” and that he hadn’t “really thought about” the trial.

As James Corrigan noted after McIlroy’s pre-Omega Dubai Desert Classic--where the most relentlessly grating and brand sabotaging ad in the history of sports was filmed a year ago--a noticeably downcast McIlroy admitted he wasn’t looking forward to the next few weeks when the trial he brought actually starts.

“It’s not something that I would want anyone to go through,” McIlroy said. “It’s a very sort of tedious and nasty process… Yeah, look, I'm going to be heading to the States regardless with it off my mind and not having to deal with it or think about it. That will be it.”

Golf as a whole will say Amen to that. Since it first emerged almost two years ago that McIlroy was involved in an acrimonious split with the Dublin agency owned by Conor Ridge, the affair has become something of an elephant in every press room McIlroy has entered. Here at the Emirates Course, it was inevitably no exception.

The European Tour media officer valiantly tried to make light of the situation, declaring at the end “this press conference is adjourned”. But, by then, McIlroy’s discomfort was apparent.

Brian Keogh on the stakes:

If all goes well for him in court over the next few weeks, McIlroy could save himself millions of dollars. If not, he'll end up paying Horizon what he owes on his contracts, at the very least. In short, it could put a slight dent in his huge fortune.

As he says himself, it's in the hands of the lawyers now and as such, there's little he can do now, bar the obvious.

Ewan Murray in The Guardian says if a settlement does not happen before Tuesday, it will be "one of the highest-profile court cases in sporting history" and have ramifications for golf.

Golf as a whole would be a better place if a full public slanging match is averted. There are two reasons for that; the first relating to the potential impact on the sport’s best player ahead of a Masters tilt, added to what knock-on effect legal rulings could have for commercial contracts and agency deals going forward. The landscape could change, not necessarily for the better.

Wednesday
Jan282015

Sirak Awarded '15 PGA Lifetime Journalism Achievement Award

Alex Myers with the news that keeps Golf Digest/Golf World's recent run of winners going, and adding Ron's name to a prestigious list of the game's great scribblers.

Myers writes:

"The PGA of America Lifetime Achievement Award is more satisfying than any other honor because it recognizes a body of work over a long period of time. I am particularly happy that I was cited for two areas I worked very hard to try to shed light on: The women's game in general and the LPGA in particular, and the business side of the game," said Sirak, who will be honored April 8 at the Golf Writers Association of America's annual awards dinner ahead of the Masters.

If there was ever a better sign of Ron's devotion to craft, it was summed up in his tweet before the award was announced today. The image shows Ron's attempt to get down his driveway and off to the airport to the first LPGA event of 2015:

Wednesday
Jan282015

Video: Woman With ALS Sinks Crazy Long Putt

Nice spot of this inspirational clip by Alex Myers of Bonita Springs, Florida's Madeleine Kennedy, an avid golfer and recently diagnosed ALS sufferer.

WINK News, the CBS affialiate, interviewed Kennedy and asked her to hit a long putt from the specially made cart she's using to still play golf. And you know what happened next. Still, what a joy to see...

The segment:

Tuesday
Jan272015

Jiménez Making Late Charge Down Ryder Cup Captaincy Stretch

Even though it looked like he'd been eased on at the half-mile pole, Miguel Ángel Jiménez is gaining on Darren Clarke, who flew out of the gate in the 2016 Ryder Cup Captaincy Stakes but could be tiring down the stretch.

Brian Keogh has a nice summary of the unexpected jockeying for the keys to the lead blue and yellow Club Car.

But while he's still the 1/4 favourite with the bookies to be named as skipper, Clarke now admits that the five-man selection committee has a choice to make in what looks like a two-horse race.

"At the moment it would look as if it's down to two of us, between Miguel and myself, and I'm sure whoever the committee decide will do a great job. It's up those guys to determine which one they think is going to be best out of the two of us. Those guys have a lot of experience and, having done it all before - there are three previous captains - we'll see what happens."

Keogh is taking votes on who you'd like to see win.

Is there any doubt who most of the world wants? Think of the press conferences people!

Tuesday
Jan272015

"A Difficult Par" Wins 2014 USGA Book Award

Congratulations to James Hansen, author of "A Difficult Par" for winning the 2014 USGA Book Award.

Hansen will receive the award at the 2015 USGA Annual Meeting at New York City's Waldorf Astoria hotel.

For Immediate Release:

“A DIFFICULT PAR: ROBERT TRENT JONES SR. AND THE MAKING OF MODERN GOLF”
WINS 2014 USGA HERBERT WARREN WIND BOOK AWARD

FAR HILLS, N.J. (Jan. 27, 2015) – In recognition of its high standard of achievement in golf literature, James R. Hansen’s A Difficult Par: Robert Trent Jones Sr. and the Making of Modern Golf has earned the United States Golf Association’s Herbert Warren Wind Book Award for 2014.

Hansen’s profile of renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. is an expertly researched and written reflection on the life and career of one of the most prolific, well-respected and transformational figures in the history of golf.

“Robert Trent Jones was a colossus of the game and his contributions to golf course architecture undoubtedly influenced the way championship golf has been played over the past 65 years,” said Michael Trostel, senior historian for the USGA Museum. “In A Difficult Par, James Hansen uses exhaustive research methods to deliver a comprehensive depiction of the man who shaped the landscape of modern golf, skillfully weaving together the story of family and business to break new ground on one of the game’s most celebrated and significant designers.”

“To have the USGA and Herbert Warren Wind associated with a book that I wrote is a huge honor,” said Hansen. “There is no name in golf writing more respected or more prestigious than Wind. As a writer, it is the ultimate distinction in my career.”

With the help and cooperation of Jones’ sons, Robert Jr. and Rees, who shared letters, documents and personal stories of their father, Hansen pieced together the life events and struggles that the British-born Jones encountered on the way to creating his legacy.

A gifted and passionate golfer, Jones served as the first golf professional at Sodus Bay Heights Golf Club in Sodus Point, N.Y. During his tenure, he caught the eye of club president James D. Bashford, who sponsored Jones and encouraged him to enroll in Cornell University’s architecture program.

At Cornell, Jones tailored his curriculum in landscape architecture and agronomy to create a degree in golf course design and management.

Upon graduation, Jones struggled to find work in a U.S. economy that was mired in the Great Depression. His patience, timing and relentless pursuit of his dreams eventually paid off, as he passionately and successfully promoted the construction of new golf courses as a wise use of public money and labor that had become available under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA), part of the New Deal initiative.

A Difficult Par focuses not only on Jones’ achievements in design and architecture, but also on the personal and financial challenges that he faced throughout his career. Hansen carefully details the family dynamics and professional rivalries that occurred during the latter part of his career.

Tuesday
Jan272015

Searchers Turn To Hunt For Allenby's One Media Member Friend

Dedicated, hard-working search crews have combed all of Italy in search of the rogue videographer who chipped two of Tiger's teeth, leading to blood everywhere, and then had the gall to go into hiding before a single witness could ID this heathen (who Tiger said "didn't care" after committing the accidental act!).

Even though no witness to the act has come forward and the videographer remains holed up somewhere with the footage, the searchers only have Tiger's word to go on. Realizing the utter futility (of Tiger's word), the crews shifted halfway across the globe to comb Honolulu for Robert Allenby's kidnappers.

These brave souls took on this mission even at the risk of hunting those who took Allenby's unconscious torso, dumped it in a ditch six miles from a wine bar, went on a spending spree at a strip club, and who were so imposing that Allenby thought he might not survive the grips of. (At least in early tellings of the story before witnesses said the kidnappers turned out to be an unfortunately placed sidewalk rock, and the whole six-mile drop off was declared a figment of Allenby having watched too many Taken films).

But now Allenby has spoken to the golf media at the Waste Management Open, the same media that has betrayed the man who came forward with his traumatic story.

From John Strege's account of the press conference:

“From that, obviously the media have decided that they’re the most amazing experts at investigations. There is a reason why detectives in Honolulu are some of the best in the world. I’d really appreciate it if we’d just let them do their job and maybe we could get to the bottom of it.”

Will they be the best in the world if they continue to dispute Allenby's story? And are these the detectives?

While some might question the tact of blaming the media for a story you came forward to tell to multiple television outlets--holes and all--Karen Crouse of the New York Times called his approach "measured" in summing up Allenby's opening speech.

With nine television cameras rolling, he gave a measured opening statement.

“There has definitely been a lot of confusion,” Allenby said, “but I think the No. 1 thing that you should all remember is that my story stays exactly the same as the way I told it.” He added, “I was a victim, and all of a sudden you’re putting all the blame on me.”

Allenby rather audaciously implied that media interlopers at Golf Channel might have hacked his Facebook account, told numerous half-truths in sharing his story and suggested a lost trust with media folks that gave one of its awards to Allenby last year (he rewarded the crowd with a neverending acceptance speech).

GolfChannel.com's Jason Sobel called the press conference bizarre and featured the money quote from Allenby.

“I take full responsibility if I did do something wrong. I have no problem in the world in owning up to if I did do something wrong. … I realized that I don't have any friends in the media. Maybe one. That's it.”

And now to find out who the one is. The person is out there, writing things to Robert Allenby's liking. We know this because he said it, so it must be true.

Good luck crews! We're pulling for you. May the force of truth be with you!

Allenby's press conference, courtesy of GolfChannel.com:

Tuesday
Jan272015

Frank Nobilo Joins CBS As Golf Analyst

He's replacing the retiring Peter Oosterhuis on the Masters, PGA Championship and select CBS events while retaining his role with Golf Channel.

For Immediate Release:

FRANK NOBILO JOINS CBS SPORTS AS GOLF ANALYST

Frank Nobilo, veteran broadcaster and winner of 14 tournaments worldwide, joins CBS Sports as an analyst for the Network’s golf coverage beginning in 2015.  He will work select tournaments, including the Masters® and PGA Championship. The announcement was made today by Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports.

“Frank Nobilo is one of the most intelligent and engaging analysts in golf,” said McManus. “His knowledge of the game and insight as a worldwide champion make him a perfect fit for CBS Sports’ golf coverage.  We are proud to showcase the strongest ensemble of voices in golf.”

Nobilo won 14 titles worldwide, including two Sarazen World Opens and the PGA TOUR’s 1997 Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic during his career from 1979 to 2002.  A three-time member of the International Presidents Cup team, he also served as assistant captain for the 2009 and 2011 International Presidents Cup team.  Nobilo is a veteran of several professional golf tours and represented New Zealand 12 times in the World Cup, and 11 times in the Dunhill Cup.  Nobilo began his professional golfing career on the Australasian Tour in 1979 after winning the New Zealand Amateur in 1978.  

Since retiring from full-time competition in 2002, Nobilo has served as an analyst for Golf Channel on its coverage of the Champions Tour and PGA TOUR, and will continue in that role.

Nobilo was born May 14, 1960 in Auckland, New Zealand.   He resides in Orlando, Fla., with his wife Selena, and daughter, Bianca.

Tuesday
Jan272015

Tiger: "There was blood everywhere."

Tiger Woods showed up an hour early to his scheduled press conference (what a guy!) and appeared in a good mood showing off his new, all-pearly white smile and regaling the assembled videographers (kept at a safe distance) with the tale of his missing tooth.

First, the ledes..

Steve DiMeglio in the USA Today: "Tiger Woods is back. So is his tooth."

Charles Curtis of Advance Media writes: "Tiger Woods says he's telling the tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but ... okay, you get it."

Doug Ferguson's AP story plays it straight, though the AP Tweet went with "The whole tooth and nothing but the tooth" Ferguson reiterates that no one saw the drama as described by Woods.

ESPN.com's Bob Harig slipped the tooth mention into his lede and then lets Tiger tell the story of scrum, blood and pain:

"That didn't feel very good," said Woods, who had traveled unannounced to watch Vonn set a record for victories. "I was looking down, and all the camera guys are below me on their knees or moving all around, trying to get a picture because she's hugging people, saying congratulations to the other racers as they are coming down. Some already finished, some are there already in the changing area.

"Dude with a video camera on his shoulder, right in front of me, kneeling, stood up and turned and caught me square on the mouth. He chipped that one, cracked the other one.

"And so then, you know, I'm trying to keep this thing so the blood is not all over the place, and luckily he hit the one I had the root canal on. That's the one that chipped. But the other one had to be fixed, as well, because it had cracks all through it."

By my count that sounds like two teeth just cracked but intact? That differs from the sympathetic theory from read John, a dentist.

He did clarify the inspiration of the skull mask that absorbed all of the blood and didn't even let a drop seep through, the X-Box game: Ghost Recon.

John Strege notes the moment where a questioner pressed Woods on the believability of his story.

Whether his answer is a satisfactory one apparently is open to debate.

“So many people are not believing your story,” he was asked.

“Dude, you guys, it’s just the way the media is. It is what it is,” he said.

Nathaniel Vinton and Teri Thompson of the New York Daily News filed a  more skeptical lede and story, opening with, "Only the Tooth Fairy knows for sure."

But witnesses to the awards ceremony noted that Woods was not present for the ceremony, spending the interlude in a tent near the finish line of the course, secluded from the photographers who had already noted his presence. So far no videographer has stepped forward to shed light on the alleged incident, and photographs of Woods taken at the event don't appear to show any swelling, bleeding or even discomfort on the face of the 39-year-old golfer.

The AP's Armando Trovati had many images of Woods after losing the tooth and no blood stained his Nike jacket. And AP writer Andrew Dampf says he witnessed no incident nor did anyone else in the press corps, including the race organizer charged with escorting Woods.

Golf Channel video of Tiger telling the story and also mentioning the lack of remorse from the videographer, who remains unidentified and on the loose.

Monday
Jan262015

Blame It On The Olympics: Rio Mayor Laments Golf Course

They really know how to roll out the red carpet in Rio!

Bloomberg's David Biller looks at the growing protests over the Olympic golf course using water to grow grass as the country is in a historic drought, this, even though the course is irrigated with its own ponds and none of the water that humans are working to conserve.

But more silly is the distancing of Rio mayor Eduardo Paes, once a supporter of the course, now lamenting its creation as something that had to be done to get the Olympic Games.

Paes reveals that the course is looking for a private operator instead of maintaining it with taxpayer money, fantastic news considering the hostility the city has directed toward what will end up being one of the iconic venues in 2016.

The city wants to find an operator in the first half of the year and is preparing the course for 2016, when golf returns to the Olympics after 112 years, Paes said in an interview at the city palace. The winning bidder will hold a 10-year contract that could be extended for the same period.

“I’m not going to spend city money cutting that grass,” Paes said Jan. 23. “If it depends on me, that grass is going to grow high after the Olympics. I would never spend city money taking care of a golf course.”

And about the golf course, the mayor says:

“There are some things that you need to do to get the Olympics, things that you would never do, and I would never do a golf course,” he said. “I would never do a river for guys to do canoe slalom. There are probably 10 guys in Brazil doing that, and one in Rio, but these are the things you need to do because of the Olympics.”

They really know how to make you want to spend your tourist dollars in Rio, eh?

Last week the spam filters caught a super post from reader RJ, who found some really crisp images of the Rio course growing in. We talked about them today on Morning Drive.

And the links to them are here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Monday
Jan262015

Inexplicably, Allenby Still Set To Give Press Conference

Tiger Woods is set to go at 12:30 p.m. ET and non-kidnapping victim Robert Allenby is slated to appear before the Waste Management Open press some time after that, though a specific time has not been released.

Golf Channel is definitely covering Woods live and Allenby if he follows Tiger.

As Gary Williams and I discussed on Morning Drive, it's hard to fathom what the Australian has to gain from such a session. But no one has accused him of being the sharpest groove on the face.

Monday
Jan262015

Pettersen On Drug Testing In Golf: Clean Sport The Priority

The New York Times' Karen Crouse wonders if golf is ready for Olympic-style drug testing and is if to drive home her point that the answer is a big no, there were discrepancies in when players and administrators expected more demanding testing to begin.

What was not in dispute, however, was Suzann Pettersen's refreshing take compared to so many of her peers who wheel out nonsense about how there is no reason to use performance enhancing drugs in golf.

“The procedure that we’re facing is nothing compared to my fellow Norwegian athletes,” she said. “They have to report their whereabouts 24/7, and if you’re not at the spot you said you were going to be, that’s almost the same as failing a drug test.”

From her perspective, the more stringent testing for the world’s golfers cannot start soon enough. “I know some of the Swedish athletes have joked and said, ‘Why don’t you install a GPS in us, and you’ll know where we are all the time?’ ” she said. “The pressure of always being on top of your schedule can be a pain, but for me, clean sport has always been a top priority.”

Monday
Jan262015

Best Sign The Coates Championship Is Big: Travolta's Headwear

Lost in this week's massive Waste Management Open shadow is the LPGA's season-opener featuring an uber-deep field and an intriguing Golden Ocala course filled with replica holes from Augusta, Troon and Muirfield to name a few.

(Randall Mell talks to Karrie Webb about the fun of having played most of the originals and now testing the take-offs.)

But if there was any doubt about the power of the Coates Championship's significance, GolfChannel.com's Jason Crook has uncovered it.

A gala was held Sunday night in advance of the LPGA season-opener and actor John Travolta along with wife Kelly Preston served as an honorary co-chairs for the invitation-only event. A $50,000 donation was presented to Travolta and Morgan Pressel's foundations, but as Crook notes, the real significance came in Travolta's decision to roll out one of his first-team rugs for the gala.

Granted, some may say it looks like a Pulp Fiction back-up toup that he found in the couch seams, but I'd say that's one of Travolta's finest toupees and a real compliment to the LPGA.

Monday
Jan262015

Cabo Update: Business (Almost) As Usual

After Hurricane Odile it was assumed this year would be a lost one in Cabo, but reports from the west coast's new favorite golf destination are mostly favorable, as I noted in this Golf World item.

Jason Deegan just returned from there and writes:

Migrating humpback and grey whales -- oblivious to the issues on land -- continue to put on a show. I witnessed a whale breach right next to the boat during a whale-watching excursion orchestrated by Nexus Tours. I saw even more spouts while playing golf on the Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol and Quivira, arguably the two best Nicklaus courses in Cabo.

Despite the ongoing cleanup, most tourists won't even notice a hurricane plowed through nearly six months ago. The resorts and courses close to Cabo San Lucas escaped the worst of the storm. The downtown was bustling day and night in mid-January.

Cool hangouts such as Salvatore's Italian Restaurant, Bar Esquina at the Bahia Hotel & Beach Club and Sunset da Mona Lisa all still required reservations to get a prime table.

Deegan also files this review with hole-by-hole images of Tiger's El Cardonal course.

Monday
Jan262015

U.S. Senior Women's Open About To Become Reality?

Adam Schupak has the exclusive for Golfweek and says the announcement may come as soon as the upcoming USGA Annual Meeting.

A Senior Women's Open would become the 14th national championship. And unless they play the same week and course as the senior men, this'll be another financial loser for television partner Fox. #12years

Monday
Jan262015

Back9 Lays Off 35 Full-Time Employees

Thanks to reader John for Matt Pilon's Hartford Business Journal story.

Pilon writes:

In a statement, Charles Cox, CEO of the golf lifestyle network, called the move "a thoughtful strategy that will allow the network to remain competitive and produce engaging content while growing the golf lifestyle."

Cox said the network remains committed to Hartford and has more than 50 full-time employees and contributors in the city.

Sunday
Jan252015

More Shock & Awe: Allenby's Story Continues To Crumble

GolfChannel.com's Rex Hoggard has spent the last four days in Hawaii investigating Robert Allenby's story of kidnapping and assault.

Of course when I read this I thought, (A) Rex just picked up some nice frequently flyer miles, (B) imagine where the game would be today if we investigated all stories this way, and (C) the Waste Management Open is really going to be a circus if Allenby shows up and gives a Tuesday press conference, as Golf Channel is reporting.

Anyway, Hoggard concludes that indeed, the Australian golfer was "robbed of most but not all of his credit cards, some $800 in cash and his phone."

Good news! He was the victim of a crime!

Bad news? Someone definitely watched too many Taken movies and really didn't want to admit to having gone to a strip club where he may have run up an enormous tab.

Allenby, whose cards saw $20,000 of charges in his presence and after he was robbled, apparently spent quite a bit of time racking up a bill at one of Seth Raynor's haunts when he was building Waialae Country Club, the Club Femme Nu (just kidding!).

Allenby is next seen about a mile away from the wine bar at
 Club Femme Nu (pictured at left), an adult entertainment
 club wedged between a tattoo parlor and a Korean
 restaurant. Multiple sources who were working at the club on
 Jan. 16 confirmed to GolfChannel.com that Allenby was
 there around midnight with “a group of friends” and ran up a
 $3,400 bar tab. The sources spoke on condition they not be
 identified. A message to Allenby about this development was
 not immediately returned.

I bet Herb Wind could have made a killer New Yorker story out of this back in the day. Sorry, go on...

Just after 1 a.m., two hours after originally finding Allenby,
 Kaili and Khamis returned to find him passed out about
 again 50 feet from where they originally found him.

“When I returned the second time that’s when Mr. Allenby’s face was all busted up. My friend (Khamis) said he was sitting down and nodding off and he hit his head,” Kaili told GolfChannel.com. “He was beyond drunk. Totally blitz. It had to be a little bit more than just drunk.”

Na, blitzed works.

Hoggard talked to Golf Central's Kelly Tilghman about the investigation and also reported on his conversations with Allenby since the on-site investigation that is sure to set the Golf Channel accounting into a frenzy (you bought a woman named Charade an Arnold Palmer at where? And you're claiming she is not an employee?).

Mostly, you'll be shocked to learn Allenby says he has a 2 1/2 hour window he simply can't remember. But as if this week's Waste Management Open wasn't enough of a circus, Allenby is scheduled to take questions Tuesday.



Sunday
Jan252015

Video: Haas' 18th Hole Recovery Shot To Seal Humana Win

If you didn't watch the final "Humana" Challenge at PGA West's Palmer Private Course for the last time, you missed a doozy. The bighorn sheep were showing off, the All-American canal came into play, former President Bill Clinton and Tim Finchem made appearances in the booth looking like hobbits and at times it appeared an eight-way playoff was approaching. What's not to love?

Larry Bohannan's Desert Sun game story covers it all, including Haas' place in history as a two-time winner of the Hope.

But Bill Haas played steady down the stretch with huge recoveries at the 15th and 18th holes to secure the win by one.

The shot that could have gone so bad, his second on 18 after (safely...or so it seemed) bailing out off the tee.

And the full round highlights, including a nice bighorn cameo at the start: