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  • 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
  • Men in Green
    Men in Green
    by Michael Bamberger
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • 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
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins

    Kindle Edition

  • 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 are those who do not like the golf at St. Andrews, and they will no doubt deny any charm to the links themselves, but there must surely be none who will deny a charm to the place as a whole. It may be immoral, but it is delightful to see a whole town given up to golf; to see the butcher and the candlestick maker shoulder his clubs as soon as his day’s work is done and making a dash for the links. There he and his fellows will very possibly get in our way, or we shall get in theirs; we shall often curse the crowd, and wish whole-heartedly that golf was less popular in St. Andrews. Nevertheless it is that utter self abandonment to golf that gives the place its attractiveness.
BERNARD DARWIN


    

Friday
Jul032015

Putting The (Incredibly Rare) Modern Grand Slam Into Perspective

He's got the first two legs of the Grand Slam. Yet, perhaps because he's been on vacation, there has been too little chatter about where this feat puts Jordan Spieth's year headed into St. Andrews.

Five before him have technically had a "chance" to win the modern Grand Slam of golf, only three men legitimately had a shot. As Victor Mather presented the Grand Slam story a week ago in the New York Times, Ben Hogan's opportunities in 1951 and 1953 were compromised by scheduling.

That leaves Arnold Palmer in 1960, Jack Nicklaus in 1972, Tiger Woods in 2002 and now Jordan Spieth in 2015 with a chance to win the Grand Slam after winning the first two modern majors.

Pretty heady company.

In 1951, Ben Hogan took the first two majors. But he would have faced a significant hurdle for a Grand Slam: The British Open started a day after the P.G.A. ended. After sustaining terrible injuries in a car crash in 1949, Hogan played a light schedule, and in the end he elected not to compete in the last two majors.

In 1953, after once again winning the Masters and the U.S. Open, he did travel to Scotland to play in the only British Open of his career. He won, but once again could not play in the P.G.A. because the events overlapped. That was the only time a Masters and U.S. Open winner also won the British Open. It was Hogan’s ninth, and final, major victory.

Though the victory was front-page news, there was not much hand-wringing over his missing the P.G.A.; the modern concept of the Grand Slam would not solidify in the public’s mind until the early 1960s.
Arnold Palmer, who often spoke about his desire to win the Grand Slam, won the first two legs in 1960. He came close in the British Open that year, losing to Kel Nagle by a stroke.

Jack Nicklaus’s turn came in 1972. Like Palmer, he missed a British Open win by a stroke, losing to Lee Trevino.

After Palmer and Nicklaus, it took 30 years and the emergence of another of the game’s greatest golfers to get another Masters-U.S. Open winner. In 2002, Tiger Woods won his seventh and eighth majors and went into the British Open alive for the Slam. But he shot an 81 on Saturday in terrible conditions, and wound up tied for 28th.

As for the "other" Grand Slam won by Bobby Jones in 1930, he kicked it off with a 7&6 win at The Old Course over the vaunted Roger Wethered.

The highlights show him hitting quite the miraculous Road bunker recovery...

Thursday
Jul022015

NY Times: Trump Name Sullying Ferry Point's U.S. Open Chance

As Donald Trump digs in with rapist slurs directed at immigrants despite losing several business partnerships and receiving a light scolding from four of golf's five ruling families, the NY Times' Ginia Bellafante considers Trump Ferry Point, public-private partnerships and the backlash to Donald Trump.

Bellafante writes:

But how likely is it now that the United States Open, so dependent on corporate sponsorships, will be scheduled on a public course named for someone who said he is committed to building a wall at the Mexican border to keep out drug dealers and “rapists”? Although you could argue that none of his comments could have been anticipated, getting blindsided by craziness from Mr. Trump is like landing at a monastery only to be surprised that it’s quiet.

A day after Mr. Trump told the Golf Channel that he had “tremendous support from the golf world because they all know I’m right,” the country’s major professional golf associations issued a joint statement saying, “Mr. Trump’s comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf.”

That followed the move on the part of NBC Universal to sever ties with Mr. Trump on his television projects and an announcement from the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that it would no longer consider Trump hotels as sites for two conventions next year that make up the largest meetings of Hispanic business leaders in the country.

“He has no idea what’s coming,” the organization’s president, Javier Palomarez, told me. “The Hispanic community is really galvanized around this.”

Fortune's Daniel Roberts dredges up Trump's February comments suggesting that golf should be more aspirational than inclusive, something he's stated on many occasions. Though I've always found those comments to be more anti-Grow-The-Game initiative driven than anything sinister suggesting a hatred of the poor.

Still, with the upcoming presidential campaign likely centering on income inequality, the comments will get plenty of play.

But more problematic in the short term for Trump or paragraphs like this:

Attention could soon turn to some of Trump’s golf partners, including the PGA and Cadillac. The PGA entered into an official partnership with Trump last year. Cadillac is not a Trump sponsor but has naming rights to the WGC-Cadillac tournament, which was held this year at Trump National Doral, his course in Miami. Cadillac has a huge operation in Mexico: The Cadillac SRX is made there and accounts for some 40% of Cadillac’s U.S. sales. Cadillac had no comment for this story.

Thursday
Jul022015

66: Tiger's Back! He Wasn't "Far Away" After All (Or So He Says)

His feels did not feel far off, or so Tiger claimed after a shocking 66 in the Greenbrier Classic opener that had the former World No. 1 sounding pretty confident in the state of his game.

Karen Crouse in the New York Times reports.

Woods returned this week with a head of steam too weak to move a ball off the tee, and opened with a 66 on Thursday. Go figure. It was his best first-round score in 22 months, and, at four-under, it equaled his lowest score relative to par this year.

“I know people think I’m crazy for saying that, but I just felt like I wasn’t that far away,” said Woods, who dismissed the notion that he had proved anything to anybody with the good start.

All that mattered to him was that he was four strokes behind the pacesetter, Scott Langley.

“Forget you guys and everybody else out there,” Woods said, laughing. “It’s about winning golf tournaments and putting myself up there consistently.”

He's back! Until he's not.

Steve DiMeglio's report implies that Tiger actually cleared his head instead of trying to get more technical.

“ … I didn’t touch a club for a while (after the U.S. Open). Took my kids down to Albany, and we were down diving in the water every day all day pretty much. It was nice to have a summer break with them like that, especially after the way I played.”

Thursday
Jul022015

Court Rules Golf Channel Doesn't Have To Pay In Stanford Case

With all that's going on in with golf's stars, a judge's decision to throw out a ruling against Golf Channel went largely unnoticed.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Golf Channel acted in good faith taking Stanford Financial's sponsorship money as advertising and will not have to pay Stanford's victims, who included Henrik Stenson and Vijay Singh.

Reuters reports.

Allen Stanford is a few years into his 110-year prison sentence.

Thursday
Jul022015

Video: Shaq Channels His Inner Chi-Chi

There was a lot of social media chatter over Shaq's first tee whiffs in the Greenbrier pro-am, but way more impressive was his post-contact Chi Chi Rodriguez impersonation. Nice!

 

Never again will you have to wonder what Shaq's golf swing looks like.

A video posted by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on Jul 1, 2015 at 11:29am PDT

 

Wednesday
Jul012015

Video: Bobby Jones, St. Andrews & The Freedom Of The City

Shifting back to the days of black and white images and people who could deliver the killer of all killer lines, let's move past the Bobby Jones wins at St. Andrews. Let's even zoom by his surprise return in 1936 (Shop signs: Closed because "our Bobby is back").

Because the 1958 World Amateur brought a physically deteriorating Jones and his brilliant mind back for one final visit. By day he was captaining his team, but by night he was at Younger Graduation Hall becoming the second American to receive the Freedom of the City.

Sid Matthew takes it from there in this 2008 Golf Digest story.

Little did Jones know that the only other American to be conferred such an honor was Benjamin Franklin.

As 1,700 people filled the hall, Jones feared he might get up before the throng and draw a blank. Provost Leonard spoke of the town's desire to welcome an "old and dearly beloved friend... not only as a distinguished golfer but as a man of outstanding character, courage and accomplishment well worthy to adorn the roll of our Honorary Burgesses." The provost explained that an Honorary Burgess had the rights "to catch rabbits, to take divots, and to dry one's washing upon the first and last fairways of the Old Course."

It was now Jones' turn to speak. He had previously been lifted to the stage with his heavy metal leg braces rattling like swords in a loose saber. It would not have been impolite for him to speak sitting down. But Jones did the unexpected. He grabbed the table in front of him with gnarled hands and literally pulled his body up until he stood stooped over the table. There were gasps from the spectators. Jones' son, Bob III, was sitting just behind his father. The son coiled in readiness should he need to catch his frail father.

Not only is the speech golf's most cinematic moment, but and the impromptu "Will ye no' come back again?" sung outside the hall ensured there'd be no dry eyes in the house. 

I wish we could watch the entire speech online, but this snippet will have to do. Get your Kleenex on stand by. Here is an ESPN featurette with the best line ever delivered to appease a home crowd, while genuinely meaning what this magical place meant to his rich, full life:

Wednesday
Jul012015

City Of New York Reviewing Trump Ferry Point Contracts

Mario Diaz of PIX11 New York says New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has issued a statement that the city will be looking into its relationship with Donald Trump at Trump Ferry Point. The news comes not long after NBC and Macy's announced they were parting ways with Trump, while four of golf's five American families sought to distance themselves from their high profile partner.

The recently-opened Trump Ferry Point is operated by Trump's company but was financed and is owned by the city.

Mayor Bill de Blasio telling PIX11 News the following in a statement, “We are reviewing Trump contracts with the City.  Donald Trump’s remarks were disgusting and offensive, and this hateful language has no place in our city,” said Mayor De Blasio, who then added, “Trump’s comments do not represent the values of inclusion and openness that define us as New Yorkers.  Our Mexican brothers and sister make up an essential part of this city’s vibrant and diverse community, and we will continue to celebrate and support New Yorkers of every background.”

Writing for GolfDigest.com, Joel Beall says if golf is smart (ha!), the sport should be questioning its playing partners. Especially now as Trump digs in on his comments.

How should the PGA of America address the paradox of its Grand Slam host holding an event in a town (Los Angeles) that has a 48.3 percent Latino population? And what about the International Federation of PGA Tours continuing to play at Trump’s Doral course, one that currently bans any Univision employees from the premises?

Roy Johnson, reacting to the golf reaction, writes that "it was a pretty tepid and measured response, clearly battered into submission by lawyers, but beneath the spongy wording is one clear point: Golf can't afford to  to be "Shoal Creek'ed" again, not at a time when play nationwide is stagnant and corporations -- and their dollars -- flee at any hint of any discrimination based on race, ethnicity gender or sexual orientation."

And he notes:

Clearly, Trump was right in saying he has invested heavily in the golf industry, but we'll soon find out whether his dollars bought him immunity from the same fate that has befallen his Miss USA pageant and clothing line.

Its quick joint statement was merely a safe tee shot. Now the golf industry must do as it did in the wake of Shoal Creek and declare that it will no longer play at clubs clearly tainted by Trumps tainted, twisted view of the world.

Wednesday
Jul012015

Tiger: "Feels Travel."

Tiger Woods was asked about Jordan Spieth's decision to play the John Deere Classic instead of the Scottish Open or practice rounds at the Old Course (ala his arrive-early U.S. Open preparation).

The golf cognoscenti and the fine readers of this site are lauding young Spieth's loyalty while I think it's the first really poor choice made in the handling of Spieth's career. Most of the greats (and eventual Open Champions) have gone early for various reasons. And most of the time that was without a Grand Slam on the line. The chances of winning at the Old Course greatly improve for Spieth if he and his excellent caddie spend time acclimating to the nuances, wind directions and complex putting surfaces, especially since he's shown an incredible ability to process information better than people twice his age.

Spieth should be most concerned though that his competitors are encouraging the move. Tiger Woods today, asked at the Greenbrier Classic endorsed the move (even though Tiger will arrive the weekend before, and he has two Open wins at the Old Course).

Will Gray reports:

“I think it’s great for him to play, get the playing feels, keep the playing feels going,” Woods said Wednesday at The Greenbrier Classic. “Whether you’re playing here or overseas, doesn’t really matter, (as) long as you have your feels. Feels travel.”

Feels travel!

Your honor, I have nothing further at this time. Oh wait, the witness is still talking...

“I think he’s played enough links-type golf courses. He did all right at Chambers (Bay),” Woods said. “He’s played the British Opens before. St. Andrews will be a little bit different, there will be a lot to learn in a short time. But he’s young, and he can spend the energy playing 18 holes every day and be fine.”

Hopefully a practice round isn't fogged out like last time, because young Spieth's going to need all three practice rounds to get ready.

Wednesday
Jul012015

Did Steiny's Denial Open Up His Client To Speculation?

What's the next level beyond a non-denial denial? A denial that makes the story worse? Double bogey denial?

With the National Enquirer suggesting a Tiger Woods-Amanda Boyd (Dufner) fling with nary a shred of evidence, the story likely would have remained where many other Enquirer stories have gone: into thin air. Sure, the publication got the big one right, but they've reported just as many incorrect Woods stories and like many of those over the last few years, this one would have faded quickly too.

Except that Tiger agent Mark Steinberg opened the topic up by suggesting something any golf fan of the last Presidents Cup knows to be false. Talking to Golfweek:

"I couldn’t deny this more vehemently," Steinberg said. "There is less than zero strand of truth to it. 100 percent false. 100 percent fabricated and zero credence. Absolutely, unequivocally untrue. They are not even acquaintances. It’s absolutely ridiculous."

Is unequivocally untrue a double negative?

Anyway, he left the acquaintance part out of his denial to Golf Channel.

“The report is categorically false. Absolutely zero truth to that ridiculous rumor.”

Considering there are photos of Amanda Boyd around Woods during Presidents Cup play, and knowing how the teammates and partners interact, to say they are "not even acquaintenances" does not add up.

Steinberg also has said in the past that he was not aware of his client's private life, so his views on who Tiger knows and does not know could be questioned. David Dusek wrote back in 2010 for golf.com:

Speaking on the eighth and ninth fairways as fans walked by, Steinberg said that he was in Southern California when the car accident took place outside Woods's home in Windermere, Fla. He denied knowing that his client was having multiple affairs, and spoke with disbelief about the number of women who have come forward to say they had relationships with Tiger.

Wednesday
Jul012015

The Four Families To Donald Trump: "Inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf."

While he didn't wake up all Jack Waltz-style with a thoroughbred's head in his bed, Donald Trump has received a decent slap-down from four of the five families. (Don Payne of the Augusta Corleones wisely has stuck to the family business of olive oil and never ventured into Trump territory even though Sonny Ridley has begged him to give Donald a membership.)

Here is the statement issued following Trump's comments yesterday to Tim Rosaforte and from the PGA Tour, PGA of America, USGA or LPGA Tour. Each is in business or has been in business with Trump properties (Official partnershps with the R&A at Turnberry and European Tour at Trump International could happen at some point, too.)

"In response to Mr. Trump's comments about the golf industry "knowing he is right" in regards to his recent statements about Mexican immigrants, we feel compelled to clarify that those remarks do not reflect the views of our organizations.  While the LPGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour and USGA do not usually comment on Presidential politics, Mr. Trump's comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf."

I don't want to be picky, but no threat of pulling an event from a Trump hosted course? Or consideration given to such a concept? 

Still, it's a start in perhaps reminding Trump that it's nothing personal, just business.

How will Donald reply?

Wednesday
Jul012015

DVR Alert: Tillinghast's Philadelphia Cricket Club, PGA Club Pro

The PGA Professional National Championship wraps up Wednesday at A.W. Tillinghast's restored Wissahickon course at Philadelphia Cricket Club. (Nice gallery here.)

Long on the list of many ranking the courses most in need of restoration, the Keith Foster-led project appears to have masterfully grown in by Dan Meersman and team based on today's telecast.

The course was a breakthrough design by Tillinghast and impacted other Philadelphian's like George Thomas. Oh, and Tillinghast's ashes were spread in Wissahickon Creek.

Two New Yorkers, Ben Polland and Grant Sturgeon, are tied for the lead heading into the final round. John Dever reports. Golf Channel coverage begins at 2:30 pm ET.

Tuesday
Jun302015

Flyover Video: Old Course Today, In Full Color!

Let's take a brief break from the historic films (oh there are more!) to savor this very millennial-friendly Old Course at St. Andrews flyover posted by the R&A.

It's a bit scattered and non-sensical in the route taken (including heading over holes that are not even on the Old Course). But the piece is educational on a number of levels.

First, watch the initial move down the 18th so you can get a good look at the first hole to the Road hole green, a configuration used when the course is played in reverse.

Also note the boundaries, which play such a role here (except of course when the R&A places a tee on the other side of one of them because the ball goes too far). They are all to the right of the golfers, so a righty with a pronouced draw or a lefty with the ability to cut the ball on cue can alleviate many fears pretty easily. (Paging Bubba Watson!).

Mostly, just soak up the many intricate bumps and bunkers that make the place endlessly fascinating and nuanced.

(PS - Here is a Golfweek roundup of Tuesday's Open qualifying where a nice mix of young and old made it to St. Andrews. And a tip of the cap to Monty for flying back from Sacramento to Woburn for a go at qualifying. He finished T15.)

The R&A flyover:

Tuesday
Jun302015

What Will Phil Do Next Files: Offshore Gaming Edition

In light of the report alleging a bookmaker laundered some of Phil Mickelson's gambling money, the New York Post's Mark Cannizzaro considers Lefty's gambling style on course, his major championship money games designed to help everyone stay focused, and the potential image ramifications for the 45-year-old.

Cannizzaro spoke to Richard Torrenzano of a Manhattan crisis-issue firm, who says Mickelson needs to explain himself ASAP.

“For a guy with such a sensational record over many years he needs to get as much information out as quickly as possible to protect his reputation and image,’’ Torrenzano said. “He’s a very aggressive player on the golf course, and he should be very aggressive in clarifying his position and making sure he doesn’t put a black spot on his stellar record.

“He’s got to clarify, and get as much information out as possible as quickly as possible. To sit silent at this point is not a good thing.’’

Tuesday
Jun302015

The Donald: No Backlash From The Golf World

After having his beauty pageants dropped from NBC and Univision and the promise of future Celebrity Apprentice appearances ended, Donald Trump is suing. And sticking by his suggestions that most immigrants are of less than ideal character, even at the risk of issues with the golf industry or his properties in line to host major events.

Tim Rosaforte caught up with Trump who is campaigning in New Hampshire.

“I have Mexicans and South Americans working for me all over the country and believe me, they love me and I love them,” Trump told Rosaforte. “I think they’re great. I’ve had great support and I haven’t heard one negative thing and frankly I don’t expect to.”

Both the PGA Tour and PGA of America declined comment when contacted by Golf Channel.

Tuesday
Jun302015

Update On Jordan Spieth's Pre-Open Championship Preparation

The people have spoken, the polls have closed in California and after 656 votes, 64% believe Jordan Spieth is doing the right thing playing the John Deere Classic, while 36% of you agreed with my view that he needs to get to St. Andrews as early as possible. Clearly you were not swayed by my comments or our Morning Drive debate.

The main premise for advocating an early arrival over the Deere is based on the utmost admiration for his ability to process information. The Old Course presents more to process than any other course on the planet, assuming a player can soak it in. Many players are better off not thinking too much, but at the mind-boggling age of 21 Spieth has shown he not only can take in the info, but use it to his advantage. A case could be made that his game has room to improve and that he just won a U.S. Open with a little less than his best. But his drive, intelligence and approach to Chambers Bay (arriving early) paid off.

Put his current game, golf smarts and fine caddie on the Old Course for a couple of extra days, get weather-lucky with the tee time draw, and Spieth has an excellent chance of going to Whistling Straits with a Grand Slam on the line.

Spieth's plans headed to The Open include a Sunday launch to the AJGA event played under his name, a Monday charity event in Iowa for Zach Johnson and then, off to the Deere. Yes, the loyalty is admirable, but at his Hall of Fame induction will he be remembered for his loyalty to the John Deere Classic, or perhaps for having made a run at easily the greatest accomplishment in our sport: winning the modern Grand Slam?

Tim Rosaforte reported the latest on Spieth for Morning Drive:


Besides passing up a chance to study the Old Course (he has played once), there is another more practical reason to arrive early: jet lag.

Sunday night, Spieth will be a red-eye charter flight commissioned by the Deere, arriving at St. Andrews in the afternoon after a less-than-restful night. Reader Tom is a doctor and expressed concern about this approach after seeing our Morning Drive discussion:

The elephant in the room was lack of discussion of the major physiologic effects of jet lag, especially travelling West to East. All best players address this by arriving 1-2 WEEKS prior if they expect to play well and/or WIN. Examples, Tiger fishing trips with O'Meara, Phil playing Scottish and arriving 10 days or more prior, etc. It is impossible to understand why Jordan and his advisers would not be aware of, and address this. Out here we all love Jordan and pray for his success. I think it is tragic for him, with this great chance at history, to not take every precaution in protecting his ability to play his best golf ever.

We tried Tom, we tried!

Tuesday
Jun302015

USGA Says Fox Criticism "Consistent with what we got in the past"

John Ourand & John Lombardo of Sports Business Journal wrap up Fox's U.S. Open debut in a story titled "Fox Sports defends coverage of U.S. Open after criticism." (Subscription required.)

Fox executives, forgetting that other than a brief show of humility to kick off Shark Shootout, had set a high bar for innovation. John Entz, president of Fox Sports production:

Other than a few events this summer, like the U.S. Senior Open and the U.S. Women’s Open, Fox does not have the rights to professional golf tournaments. NBC and CBS share the PGA Tour’s rights until 2021.

“The bottom line: This crew is going to be under the gun every year and won’t have the benefit of doing 20 events a year and getting better,” Entz acknowledged. “There’s no doubt that we would benefit from having more events in the lead-up to something as big as the U.S. Open.”

Most fun though was the USGA's assertion that the heavy criticism on social media and in major publications was par for the broadcasting course.

“We hear feedback every year — positive, neutral and negative,” Hirshland said. “That is not new. … The feedback was consistent with what we got in the past. We don’t feel like there was anything atypical about it.”

Nothing?

But the criticism seemed more prevalent and harsher this year, much of it amplified by social media and blogs. Many anticipated a stronger debut from a network that has a history of big-event production.

Still, Entz found much of the criticism to be unfair.

“For someone like [The New York Times] to come in and say, ‘Here’s all the things that went wrong. You need to get better at this,’ it’s like, ‘Oh, really? You think? You thought we were going to be perfect on our first show, which happens to be the size of the Super Bowl?’ Being realistic would go a little way for people that are out looking for blood.

“The part of the criticism that does bother us a little bit is that we felt that people were going in looking for it, and over the course of that many hours of TV, they were going to find things that they didn’t like or things that went wrong.”

But the searching started because the bar was set high by...Fox Sports and the USGA from day one.

Monday
Jun292015

St. Andrews Videos: Bobby Jones Wins In 1927

The Open's official highlights from Bobby Jones winning in 1927 includes some great shots on the course and era-approprirate music. What a time and place!

The weather wasn't so hot in 1927, so if you're going this year this ought to be a reminder to pack that umbrella:

Check out this Critical Past footage and note the crowd stampeding over the Road green.

Finally, and my favorite of the clips, the footage of the crowd rushing the Home green after Jones clinches. If you watch carefully at the 0:49 mark you can see the epic moment when the crowd lifts Jones and carries him away. That moment produced quite possibly the greatest golf image ever, and it leads off this GolfDigest.com slideshow.

The AP game story from the time (unbylined) makes for fun reading because it describes the reaction to Jones finishing his round and says he was in the ninth of 27 pairs to go out (yikes playing behind that stampede). The story that ran in papers across America includes this epic description of the R&A clubhouse when pointing out how Jones was leaving the Claret Jug behind for safe keeping. Someone had WiFi issues! Excuse me, typewriter ribbon problems...

The announcement was made before a crowd of several thousand persons jamming the spacious St. Andrews eighteenth green and terraces around the drab old stone pile which houses the potentates of the royal and ancient game, awaiting the presentation ceremony.

Jones posted a 285 total to beat Aubrey Boomer and Fred Robson by six strokes.

Monday
Jun292015

Peter Oosterhuis Reveals He Has Early-Onset Alzheimer's 

The golf commentary world has missed his solid presence on broadcasts since the start of the year, and as Jaime Diaz wrote in Monday's Golf World that longtime CBS and Golf Channel commentator Peter Oosterhuis has admitted to stepping away due to early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

Diaz writes:

Oosterhuis is revealing his story publicly because he wants to do what he can to help Alzheimer’s treatment and research. That means joining the major fundraising efforts of Nantz, who in 2011 founded Nantz National Alzheimer Center at Houston Methodist Neurological Center. Nantz’s father, Jim Jr., was afflicted with Alzheimer’s for 13 years before he died in 2008, an ordeal his son chronicled in his 2009 tribute book, Always By My Side.

Since December, Oosterhuis has been treated by specialists at the center and has been in a program for an experimental drug in its third trial that is designed to break down the formations of plaque in the brain that cause Alzheimer’s, and which has given scientists hope that a breakthrough might be near. Last month, at a fundraiser for the center played at Pebble Beach, the Oosterhuises each took the microphone during a Saturday-night gathering of 140 invitees and revealed that Peter was suffering from the very disease they were all there to fight. (Click here to watch a video of their announcement.) They received a standing ovation, and Nantz was later told that the money raised represented the most ever by a private fundraiser at Pebble Beach.

Here is the video of the Oosterhuis' revealing Peter's condition.

Monday
Jun292015

Video: Frustrated Golfer Gets Stuck In Trash Can

Sophie Jamieson of The Telegraph (nice spot Jason Crook at GolfChannel.com) reports on the embarrassingly funny plight of 49-year-old Dave Sayers, who threw his clubs away after a frustrating round, then tried to stick his head in a trash can to retrieve them.

“We were coming to the end of the day and I had been losing it a bit with a few bad shots. We’d all had a few beers," he told The Telegraph. "I said, ‘I’m going to bin these clubs’ but they wouldn’t fit. I decided to go a step further ... I went to put my head in the bin, but then I couldn’t get it out.”

The painful video replete with Vaseline jokes:

Monday
Jun292015

Video: Watch Victor Dubuisson Adjust His Lofts And Lies

As we lead up to St. Andrews, I've been dipping into old books reading about the craftsmanship of Allan Robertson and Old Tom, master clubmakers that they were. So it was fun to see how Victor Dubuisson rearranges his lofts and lies after a particularly unenjoyable 73 in the BMW International Open final round.

Thanks to Steve Elling at GolfBlot for spotting this. My favorite part? The pre-tantrum look down at the clubs while Michael Hoey putts out. Oh yes, this was premeditated...