Twitter: GeoffShac
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Golf is a game with a shady past. Its actual birth is shrouded in mystery. No one is quite certain when or where it drew its first tortured breath. Golf cannot point to a legal father, such as baseball in the case of Abner Doubleday or basketball in the case of Dr. James A. Naismith. In fact, there is a question that golf was ever born at all. As some scientists contend in regard to man himself, the game may have just evolved. WILL GRIMSLEY


    

Saturday
Feb062016

Wow: Chicago Golf Club To Host First U.S. Senior Women's

In the good "get" department, this one is a 10 out of 10 for an event that most are struggling to grapple with due to the 50-year-old age minimum in a young women's game.

But that's a topic for another day. More exciting is C.B. Macdonald's masterful, historic, and ultra-private gem launching the USGA's new championship. The club last hosted the Walker Cup in 2005, along with three U.S. Opens and four U.S. Amateurs in the early part of...the last century, and the century before that.

USGA Announces 2018, 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open Sites

Chicago Golf Club to host inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open in 2018,
Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club to host 2019 championship

FAR HILLS, N.J. (Feb. 6, 2016) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced Chicago Golf Club, in Wheaton, Ill., and Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, in Southern Pines, N.C., as the host sites of the inaugural 2018 U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship and 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship, respectively.

“The USGA is proud to realize its vision of hosting national championships for players of all age demographics, and we are thrilled that the first two editions of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be contested at two of the most respected courses in the United States,” said USGA President Thomas J. O’Toole Jr., who announced the establishment of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open in February 2015. “We hope this championship will inspire generations of female golfers to continue competing at the highest level long into their careers.”

The championship will be open to professional females, and amateur females with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 7.4, who have reached their 50th birthday as of the first day of the championship. The field will include 120 players, who will earn entry into the championship via sectional qualifying at sites nationwide or through an exemption category, the details of which will be announced at a later date.

The format will mirror that of the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open championships: a walking-only, 72-hole stroke play competition over four consecutive days with a 36-hole cut to the top 60 players, including ties. Prize money will be announced at a later date.

The first U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be contested July 12-15, 2018 at Chicago Golf Club, one of the five founding clubs of the USGA and the oldest golf club in the U.S. in continuous use at the same location. The club was founded in 1893 by Charles Blair Macdonald, who won the inaugural U.S. Amateur in 1895. The original 18-hole course was renovated in 1923 by Seth Raynor and remains largely unchanged today.

This will be Chicago Golf Club’s 12th USGA championship. The club hosted its first two USGA championships in 1897 – the U.S. Open, won by Joe Lloyd, and the U.S. Amateur, won by H.J. Whigham. It also hosted the 1900 U.S. Open, won by Harry Vardon, a six-time winner of the Open Championship, conducted by The R&A, and the 1911 U.S. Open, won by 19-year-old John J. McDermott, who survived a three-man playoff to become the championship’s first American winner. Additional USGA championships contested at the club include: the U.S. Amateur (1905, 1909 and 1912), U.S. Women’s Amateur (1903), U.S. Senior Amateur (1979), and two Walker Cup Matches, both won by the USA Team (1928 and 2005).

“As a founding member of the USGA, Chicago Golf Club is honored to support the USGA’s newest championship by hosting the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open,” said Brad Kinsey, president of Chicago Golf Club. “We look forward to making this, our 12th USGA championship, an exceptional event for players and spectators alike.”

The 2018 U.S. Senior Women’s Open, the 61st USGA championship to be contested in Illinois, will be the state’s first Open championship since the 2003 U.S. Open, won by Jim Furyk at Olympia Fields Country Club. The 2015 U.S. Amateur, won by Bryson DeChambeau and also played at Olympia Fields, was the most recent USGA championship played in Illinois.

Pine Needles will host the 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open from May 16-19. Designed by Donald Ross and opened in 1928, the course was most recently renovated in 2004 by John Fought, who oversaw the restoration of greens and bunkers to their original forms with the aid of vintage aerial photos.

This will be the sixth USGA championship contested at Pine Needles and the first since the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open, won by Cristie Kerr. The club, owned by women’s golf advocate, instructor and former LPGA Tour player Peggy Kirk Bell, also hosted the 1996 and 2001 U.S. Women’s Opens, won by Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb, respectively. Additionally, the 1989 U.S. Girls’ Junior and 1991 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur championships were contested at Pine Needles.

"On behalf of the Bell family and our entire community, Pine Needles is thrilled the USGA has accepted our invitation to host the 2019 U.S. Senior Women's Open Championship,” said Kelly Miller, president of Pine Needles. “Having hosted three previous U.S. Women’s Opens, we look forward to seeing some familiar faces and welcoming all competitors to this new USGA championship. I'm confident our Donald Ross-designed course will identify another great champion."

This will be the 32nd USGA championship contested in North Carolina, which most recently hosted the historic back-to-back 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open championships at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, in the Village of Pinehurst. Upcoming USGA championships in the Tar Heel State include the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and the 2019 U.S. Amateur, both at Pinehurst, and the 2018 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Charlotte Country Club.

Saturday
Feb062016

Olympic Club Lands 2021 U.S. Women's Open

Two things are worth noting in this news: another historic venue will now have hosted both the men and the women's national Open championship, adding to the club's legacy and also enhancing the stature of this event.

Webb Simpson's 2012 win will be a faint memory the next time Olympic Club hosts a men's U.S. Open, with the USGA committed through 2024 and likely knowing where the event is headed in 2025 and 2026.

The Olympic Club Selected as Host of 2021 U.S. Women’s Open Championship

Five-time U.S. Open site to host its first USGA women’s championship,
 joins CordeValle as upcoming U.S. Women’s Open venue in Northern California

FAR HILLS, N.J. (Feb. 6, 2016) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) has selected The Olympic Club, in San Francisco, Calif., as the host site of the 76th U.S. Women’s Open in 2021. The championship, considered the world’s premier women’s golf event, will be held June 3-6.

The 2021 U.S. Women’s Open will be the 11th USGA championship contested on The Olympic Club’s Lake Course, and it will mark the first USGA women’s championship for the five-time U.S. Open host site. The first of those U.S. Opens, in 1955, was won in an 18-hole playoff by Jack Fleck over Ben Hogan, one of the biggest upsets in sports history. In 1966, Billy Casper outlasted Arnold Palmer in a Monday playoff after Palmer surrendered a seven-stroke lead over the final nine holes on Sunday. Additionally, Scott Simpson (1987), Lee Janzen (1998) and Webb Simpson (2012) each earned come-from-behind U.S. Open victories at The Olympic Club.

“We are thrilled to bring the U.S. Women’s Open to The Olympic Club, site of so many significant USGA moments, for the first time in 2021,” said Diana Murphy, USGA vice president and Championship Committee chairman. “Eleven outstanding players are enshrined in the USGA Museum’s Hall of Champions by winning at The Olympic Club, and we look forward to adding the 76th U.S. Women’s Open champion to that illustrious list.”

The Lake Course at The Olympic Club was designed by course superintendent Sam Whiting and opened for play in 1927. Today, the Lake Course remains true to its original design with minimal revisions. In 2015, the course hosted the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship, won by Todd White and Nathan Smith. It also served as the host site for the 1958 U.S. Amateur, won by Charles Coe; the 1981 U.S. Amateur, won by Nathaniel Crosby; the 2004 U.S. Junior Amateur, won by Sihwan Kim; and the 2007 U.S. Amateur, won by Colt Knost.

“Hosting the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open will be a magnificent moment for the membership and staff of The Olympic Club,” said John Espiritu, club president. “San Francisco and The Olympic Club share a rich history of hosting USGA national championships, and we are honored to add the U.S. Women’s Open to our championship record. We look forward to 2021 and hosting the world’s best players on our world-class course.”

The Lake Course will become the 12th course to host both the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open, joining such notable venues as Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club, Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colo., Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2 in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C., and Champions Golf Club in Houston, which will host the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open on its Cypress Creek Course.

The 2021 U.S. Women’s Open will mark the fourth time the championship will be held in California, and the second time in a five-year span that it will be held in Northern California. On July 7-10, 2016, the 71st U.S. Women’s Open will be conducted at CordeValle, located in San Martin, providing fans with two upcoming opportunities to experience the ultimate championship in women’s golf.                                                                           

Thursday
Feb042016

Pelley On Publishing Fines: "We have nothing to hide"

New European Tour Chief Keith Pelley continues to do business differently than his American counterpart, something Rex Hoggard highlights in this GolfChannel.com profile.

Hoggard says Pelley differs from Tim Finchem, "who at times throughout his career has appeared to be more concerned with protecting the PGA Tour brand then the individuals who play under that shield."

But it's the desire to share European Tour fines and penalties that contrasts sharply with Commissioner Finchem's tireless efforts to not let anyone nkow who got bad slow play times or worse, to suggest he would be against penalty shots for those violating the PGA Tour's rules. Hoggard writes:

Pelley has also broken with the PGA Tour when it comes to player fines, which in the U.S. are strictly confidential with the exception of violations of the circuit’s policy regarding performance-enhancing drugs.

“We have nothing to hide,” Pelley said. “It is not only a penalty from a monetary perspective, you won’t want to see, and your peers won’t want to see someone be fined. Nobody likes to be highlighted for slow play and I think this is a deterrent for that.”

Thursday
Feb042016

Geezers Rule: Back(84)-To-Back(79) Aces!

The Daily Journal's Dennis Yohnka reports that Joe McCourt and Don Sawyer made back to back aces in front of a third witness.

The freak occurrence came at Illinois' Manteno Golf Club in front of Lee Hahn. They were playing the 135-yard 5th.

"Joe hit first and it looked like it went screaming over the green, but we couldn't see it too good. Don hit next and it looked like he went past the green, too. Then, I shot and I was feeling pretty good: My shot landed about 10 feet from the cup," Hahn said.

McCourt and Sawyer were in the same cart and they headed straight for the area behind the green, looking for what they assumed were less-than-ideal tee shots. McCourt had used a seven wood, but didn't get much loft. Sawyer used a three iron.

"I couldn't find anything back there, so I was walking back toward the hole and looked in," McCourt said. "I saw the two balls in there. The logos on the balls were facing straight up. I knew they were ours. But I didn't take them out. I wanted the other guys to see them."

Thursday
Feb042016

Diana: “I want to be the right person for the job, not the right girl"

Ron Sirak talks to new USGA President Diana Murphy about taking over the reins from Tom O'Toole.

She is the second female president of the USGA and doesn't want you to see her that way.

“I want to be the right person for the job, not the right girl,” Murphy, 59, recently told GolfDigest.com. “This is not about me, this is about the USGA and doing what is best for the game of golf.”

From talking with Murphy you get the feeling she wants to be like the perfect USGA rules official or baseball umpire: So good at what she does you don’t even notice she’s there.

Sadly for the USGA's executive branch, these days it's easier than ever to not notice they're there.

Thursday
Feb042016

Video: Iron Tiger's 16th Hole Ace

It's named Tiger and makes an ace for the ages, reports Joel Beall.

 

What can't you see at the 16th hole? The limit does not exist. 🤖

A video posted by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on Feb 4, 2016 at 7:19pm PST

 

Wednesday
Feb032016

Bubba Only Playing TPC Scottsdale (T2, T2) For His Sponsors

There are a few ways to look at Bubba Watson's pre-tournament comments about the TPC Scottsdale and Waste Management Open.

First, the comments. From Ryan Reiterman's GolfChannel.com report:

"I don't like it. I'm not going to PC it. I don't like it at all. I just mentioned why I'm here. I've got three beautiful sponsors that love it here."

Ping, Stance Socks and Oakley are all sponsors of Watson.

Watson said he was unhappy with the changes made to toughen up the course last year by Tom Weiskopf. Several fairway bunkers were moved to challenge even the longest hitters, like Watson, and as Phil Mickelson noted, a hole like the par-4 14th went from "a driver and a wedge birdie hole to driver, 4-, 5-iron and a very difficult par."

Sure, it's kind of unusual for someone to finish T2 the last two years and lament having to be there. But it's Bubba. This is a man who hated going to Paris. France.

But I welcome the brutal honesty and scratch my head at his disdain for a course he's played well at. But chatting with a few players last week at Torrey Pines, Watson is not alone in lamenting the direction TPC Scottsdale has taken in trying to limit long driving. Watson's "goofier and tougher" line was similar to what a few players said.

The stats back up the idea that Weiskopf's hope for limiting longer driving, even though the 2015 leaderboard was full of long drivers.

From Rob Bolton's always excellent PGA Tour Power Rankings:

• Weiskopf surmised that the thinking off the tee would evolve as a result of new, strategic bunkering. Indeed, the field of 132 was a quick study as its 61.38-percent clip for fairways hit was in line with history. However, it came at a cost since the average distance of all drives of 285.4 yards was down 10-15 yards from each of the previous four years, and this despite a layout stretched 114 yards to its highest-ever measurement of 7,266 yards. Still, it mattered little in determining the final leaderboard. Koepka ranked T47 for the week in fairways hit and still played his last 47 holes in bogey-free 14-under.

All of Bubba's comments from Golf Central:

Wednesday
Feb032016

Today In Millennialism: PGA Tour "To GoPro The Game Of Golf"

I'm really looking forward to the onslaught of SkratchTV's GoPro's inside the PGA Tour ropes to capture the game for the only people who matter.

Judging by the efforts from the Waste Management pro-am, there will be moments but mostly reminders that golf is not snowboarding. Well, unless you include getting to watch a caddie rake a bunker from the rake's perspective (1:43 point if you are looking for what excites the only people who matter).

Daniel Roberts reports for Yahoo on the GoPro-SkratchTV-PGA Tour partnership that'll have hipsters taking their wide angle cameras inside the ropes during competition. Just not too close, hopefully.

Translation: Golf is going extreme. The sport sees potential to woo millennials with GoPro's dizzying, high-octane P.O.V. shots that the camera maker has traditionally brought to more extreme sports like skateboarding, snowboarding, BMX, and mountain biking. "We're intrigued," said Rick Anderson, the PGA Tour's executive vice president of media, in a press release, "to GoPro the game of golf."


What does that mean? For starters, expect to see the GoPro HERO cameras show up on the course—in as unobtrusive a way as possible. "We're not up to using drones yet, although there is a lot of discussion of that," says the Tour's senior vice president, Norb Gambuzza, in an interview with Yahoo Finance. "But there will be guys shooting with GoPros and doing things with camera placement and positioning that we have not done before. I think fans will look at it and say, 'Hmmm, what's going on over there?' We are always looking to push the envelope in how we shoot and distribute our content."

Here's that envelope-pushing moment from Wednesday:

Wednesday
Feb032016

Lexi Using The Force On The Greens

Well, not exactly The Force, but Lexi Thompson is taking a time-tested practice drill onto the course in a quest to improve her putting.

Beth Ann Nichols of Golfweek.com on why Lexi is putting with her eyes closed. In tournament play. Which kind of makes Jordan Spieth's occasional flirtations with looking at the hole look like child's play.

“It feels like I’m burning a hole through the golf ball with my eyes (open),” said Thompson, who always has been more of a feel player.

Thompson said she putted with her eyes open once last week on a long putt at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic and knocked it 10 feet past the hole. She then closed her eyes and drained the come-backer.

Wednesday
Feb032016

Mrs. Forman’s Demolition Request Is Withdrawn; A House Conversion Next?!

The plans to demolish golf's original snack bar and one of its original 19th Hole's have at least been dropped.

But that doesn't change the sad possibility of Mrs. Forman's never returning as an eatery and pub serving the golfers of historic Musselburgh.

The Scotsman's Chris Hall on the withdrawal and plans to forge ahead in turning the nearly 200-year-old eatery off of Musselburgh's 4th green into a home.

Wednesday
Feb032016

"CBSSports.com...once an acclaimed sports newsgathering organization--is a frightening example of where the model may be heading."

The Big Lead's Jason McIntyre looks at changes in CBSSports.com's approach to journalism, and centers much of his analysis around the firing of former golf correspondent Steve Elling.

From McIntyre's report:

Profits may be at an all-time high for CBS Sports Interactive, but in speaking with nearly a dozen current and former staffers, morale is at an all-time low.

After Elling was fired in 2012, writers sensed big change was coming and began looking for exit strategies. College football reporter Brett McMurphy was hired by ESPN before the real bloodbath started in 2013 after Gerttula took over: veterans Scott Miller (MLB) and Danny Knobler (MLB) were among 50 full and part-time staffers let go in what employees called a “bloodletting” that took place between late July and November.

“Years ago we never heard the word ‘pageviews,’” one CBS Sports.com writer told The Big Lead. “Then we started getting monthly reports and you’re judged on pageviews more than anything else … I don’t like it. Nobody does. How many recognizable voices do we have now at CBS Sports? Who are some of these guys? They don’t matter in any way.”

Wednesday
Feb032016

Help! Golf's First Snack Bar And 19th Hole Facing Demolition

Not to mention that Mrs. Forman's was home to the original and still greatest beverage cart girl.

It's with complete shock and sadness that I read this Golf Business News story (thanks Peter Flinn) on the October closing of Mrs. Forman's restaurant. Even worse than this lovely eatery closing (one that had been reimagined into a modern pub which also paid tribute to the buildings' incredible past), is the plan by a developer to level the 1822 structure behind Musselburgh's 4th green.

Originally helmed by Mrs. Marion Forman for nearly 20 years, this matronly saint of golf dining served golfers food and drink through the back window, or after their rounds. Many of the game's greats have dined and two of the very greatest even feuded there. While a few Bruntsfield establishments might be able to say they were older, Mrs. Forman's was certainly the first mid-round snack bar and it has been a bit of a miracle that this sweet spot had been reinvented to serve locals and honor the past. Scottish Golf History sums up this and many other moments from Mrs. Forman's past.

Longtime readers will know it was on my must stop list in my Golf Digest story and site video about an East Lothian pilgrimage. How I regret not having stopped in from the Scottish Open to The Open.

Another East Lothian Journal story by Sam Berkeley suggests that the building might be saved, perhaps based on some early feedback to a developer's plans for a car garage on this sacred site for golf.

A rethink is now on the cards, with the company considering retaining the pub building, which had been a local landmark next to Musselburgh Racecourse and Musselburgh Old Course Golf Club for many years.

Well, 194 years to be exact.

My YouTube video on the 4th green and Mrs. Forman's.

My collection of Musselburgh images in one video from a few years ago:

I will put together more images from Musselburgh that include Mrs. Forman's as I'll remember it. Because with a heavy heart, I'm afraid this golfing institution has served it's last meal. Hopefully something can at least be done to keep the structure intact as it's very much in play on the 4th hole of the links.

Wednesday
Feb032016

No Sugar Coates: Pettersen And Lee Paired Together

The last time they played together the day ended in tears and controversy. So it's just a miraculous bit of algorithm writing which has led to the happy Solheim Cup reunion when first round play starts Wednesday in the Coates Golf Championship (remember, early start to avoid the Super Bowl Sunday window.)

Beth Ann Nichols reports for Golfweek.com.

“That computer, it’s amazing how it spits things out,” U.S. captain Juli Inkster said facetiously.

Pettersen and Lee were embroiled in controversy last September at the Solheim Cup in Germany when the Americans’ Lee scooped up her ball on the 17th green at St. Leon-Rot Golf Club. The Europeans’ Pettersen immediately told a rules official that the 18-inch par putt had not been conceded. Lee insisted that she heard otherwise.

Wednesday
Feb032016

Trick Shot Roundup: Dropped From A Paraglider, Over The Head And Kids Living In Trick Shot Harmony

Loving the winter time blues inspiring all sorts of creativity, not that our desert dwelling friends are experiencing tough weather.

First, in the Don't Try This At Home Division, Russell Grove has his ball teed up by a paragliderer.


Trick shot veteran Mathias Scholberg and the strongest hands in golf are at it again:

👌

A video posted by Mathias Schjoelberg (@mathiasschjoelberg) on Oct 26, 2015 at 3:14pm PDT

International recording raconteur Matty has paired with up-and-coming artist Joris, who both got our attention with their shots hit just about anywhere in the world. Let's hear it for Generation Z!

Tuesday
Feb022016

Old Guys Get To Play The Old Course in 2018

The Old Course at St. Andrews will host the 2018 Senior Open Championship, as revealed by the R&A and European Tour in a joint announcement.

The Senior Open has never been played in St. Andrews.

Tom Watson, who thought he'd played his last competitive round at the Old Course this year, now gets another shot.

From the press release:

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, and European Tour CEO, Keith Pelley, welcomed the decision to bring the Senior Open to an iconic location with which many of the world’s greatest senior golfers have a strong affinity.

The announcement also received unanimous support from several golfing greats, including five-time Champion Golfer of the Year and three-time Senior Open winner, Tom Watson, of the United States, who was a prime instigator behind the event heading to St Andrews for the first time.

Although he never claimed the Claret Jug at The Home of Golf – famously finishing tied second behind Seve Ballesteros alongside another European legend in Bernhard Langer in 1984 – Watson spoke today of his desire to compete one last time over the famous links.

The 66-year-old made what he believed would be his final flourish on the Old Course during The Open last year, when he bade an emotional farewell to the Championship, which defined him as a golfer, on the Swilcan Bridge.

Watson is now set to return for one last hurrah, however, alongside a number of champions who can boast victories at St Andrews, including Sir Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and John Daly, who turns 50 this year and is set to make his Senior debut at Carnoustie this July.

Watson has completed all four rounds in every one of the 14 Senior Open Championships in which he has participated. In those 56 rounds he has recorded 20 scores in the sixties and twice carded rounds of 64 on his way to victory in 2003 and 2005, earning just under €1 million in prize money from that Championship alone.

He said: “I am thrilled at the news that the Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex will be staged over the Old Course for the first time in 2018. Only last July, I played what I believed would be my final competitive round of golf at The Open, and the reception I received as darkness fell on that Friday evening will stay with me always.

“However, The R&A, the European Tour and the St Andrews Links Trust have shown the spirit of cooperation that exists in the game. By agreeing to bring this wonderful Championship to the Home of Golf in July 2018, they have allowed not just me, but many other great champions, an opportunity to return to a venue that means so much to everyone who plays the game.”

Sir Nick Faldo, who captured the second of his three Open victories at St Andrews in 1990, also bade farewell to The Open on the same Friday as Watson in 2015 but he is already thinking about dusting down the clubs to compete in the Senior Open Presented by Rolex in 2 ½ years’ time.

The six-time Major Champion and Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “It is absolutely fantastic to see the Senior Open Championship going to St Andrews in 2018.  This certainly gives me another golfing goal and I only hope my game is good enough to give it a go on the Old Course!   

“It’s a great image, even now, to visualise so many legends of the game gathering again in that famous setting. As a golfer, and a golf fan, I will look forward to it enormously.”   

Tuesday
Feb022016

Only One Direction For Niall To Go: 10 Percenter

The Sun reports that One Direction boy bander and Rory McIlroy bromancer Niall Horton is going to spend his free time going into player management.

With the band on hiatus, maybe permanently, The Sun says the golf nut is seeking British and Irish talent for his golf-focused management firm, brining in a former Taylor Made executive to to help recruit players.

Hey, isn't Rory about due to fire another agent? Oh...right, he can't fire himself.

I wonder if agent Niall would have advised his client against this pre-Dubai Desert Classic publicity stunt...

See you on the other side @xdubai

A video posted by Rory McIlroy (@rorymcilroy) on

Tuesday
Feb022016

From Kickstarter To The Herb Wind Book Award!

Less than two years ago Roger McStravick was looking to kickstart his magnificent collection of images and information titled, St. Andrews: In the Footsteps of Old Tom Morris.

Now a year-and-a-half later, the book has won the USGA's Herbert Warren Wind Book Award. You can see my Q&A with Roger here and also get book ordering info in the link.

The USGA's press release on the 2015 Wind award winner:

“Roger McStravick’s St. Andrews: In the Footsteps of Old Tom Morris is an outstanding achievement and a major contribution to the literature of the game,” said Michael Trostel, director of the USGA Museum. “The level of research undertaken to breathe new life into this subject is extraordinary. McStravick’s writing, along with the previously unseen photos of St. Andrews, Old Tom and others from that era, make this a magnificent, one-of-a-kind book.”

“Living in St. Andrews, there is so much history here, but much of it is invisible,” said McStravick. “People know St. Andrews is the ‘home of golf,’ but you wouldn’t know it as you walk through town. I wanted to bring some of these stories to life and help people understand why it’s so prestigious.”

McStravick’s careful curation allows readers to experience the undercurrent of Old Tom’s life and provides a unique perspective on the entrepreneurs, golfers and friends who made a living in the historic town.

Considered the best golfer of his time – he won The Open Championship four times, all at Prestwick between 1861 and 1867 – Morris was also a prolific designer, credited with work on approximately 70 golf courses, including the Old Course at St. Andrews, Muirfield, Prestwick, Carnoustie, Royal County Down and Cruden Bay.

In addition to being a strong supporter of women’s golf, Morris is often credited as being the key proponent of spreading the game worldwide.

St. Andrews: In the Footsteps of Old Tom Morris is the third book in the past decade to win the Herbert Warren Wind Book Award with Morris as the subject matter. Tommy’s Honor, by Kevin Cook, was recognized in 2007, and Tom Morris of St. Andrews: The Colossus of Golf 1821-1908, by David Malcolm and Peter Crabtree, was honored in 2008.

It took McStravick three years to research, write and collate the images for the book. Many people helped in the effort, including descendants of the great golf families and landowners of St. Andrews. The majority of the images came from The R&A, the St. Andrews Preservation Trust, Master Works of Golf and the University of St. Andrews. The book’s foreword was provided by Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.

“This is like winning the Oscar for golf writers,” said McStravick. “It really is the ultimate and I’m extremely delighted. It’s without doubt the greatest thing I’ve achieved but it could not have happened without the creative genius of book designer Chic Harper and the guidance of historians Peter Crabtree, David Hamilton, Dr. Eve Soulsby and David Joy. I am truly grateful to the USGA and those who supported the book from day one, including my family in St. Andrews and Lurgan.”

Tuesday
Feb022016

No Green Room Syndrome For Golf's Youth Movement, Yet

Two listens are worth your time if you love basketball and golf. Both have helped me better realize why golf's recent explosion of young talent is so impressive: Charles Barkley discusses the demise of fundamentally sound players driving down the quality of NBA basketball (with Bill Simmons), and Roy Williams venting about ESPN deeming "Green Room" caliber players and further damaging the already beleaguered college basketball.

As you know from reading here or hearing us talk on Morning Drive, the age minimum for males winning a significant pro golf tournament has seemingly dropped from late 20s to early 20's. A number of players have been able to seal the deal at an age that was almost an unthinkable winning age in pro golf not long ago.

No one knows the exact cause of this youth onslaught, but some mix of technology, coaching, physical fitness, junior golf, college golf, social media, worldliness and access to equipment has played a role. While this could be a phase and some of the hype is driven by marketers hoping to appeal to ad buyers desiring millennial-friendly enterprises, there does appear to be a paradigm shift. (Though I will always insist golf is at its best when players of varied ages populate a leaderboard.)

Contrast the state of golf with college basketball, where leading voices continue to lament the skill decline of young players.

Charles Barkley discusses this with Bill Simmons on last week's podcast. As with all things Barkley, it's a fantastic listen if you love college hoops or the NBA.

And then there was legendary coach Roy Williams, wheeling out countless golf analogies in his weekly North Carolina press conference before shifting to a rant about ESPN and their use of the "Green Room" label to discuss certain NBA Lottery-caliber players. Williams makes pretty clear that his sport is damaged by its television partner viewing their game merely as a stepping stone to the NBA.

Here is the short version related to the Green Room rant from The Big Lead, though some of you will enjoy (and question) his golf analogies in the full press conference.

I highlight this contrast between basketball and golf because,

(A) it should make you feel better about golf's youth movement if you were understandably uneasy about the rush to anoint young people the next great things, and

(B) it's a cautionary tale for golf if there becomes an insistence on pushing young players too far with silly Green Room-like labels instead of allowing the players to evolve naturally or accepting that not everyone matures quickly, and

(C) both listens are about a sport viewed as in great shape, yet here are two of the most respect minds in that sport openly lamenting the quality of play just as we've seen in golf. The difference is, golf's youth rush has been more organic and the star status earned by the players thanks to their playing prowess.

Monday
Feb012016

The Golf Gods Stick Up For Brandt Snedeker's Epic 69

As the 2016 season progresses, Brandt Snedeker's final round 69 at Torrey Pines may be the barometer for great rounds going forward, particularly given how well he scored in brutal conditions.

It seemed like the overnight delay might allow Monday's finishers to have better conditions to hold off Snedeker's clubhouse score, but as John Strege notes, that didn't happen:

“At 10 o'clock, I think [the wind] almost hit on the nose and started blowing about 15 to 20 miles an hour,” Snedeker said. “And it blew a complete different direction than yesterday and made those last five holes play absolutely brutal.”

Walker bogeyed four of his final eight holes to drop out and K.J. Choi missed a long birdie effort at 18 to tie. The final-round scoring average was 77.9, nearly eight strokes worse than Snedeker’s score. Twenty-three of 71 players failed to break 80.

“I feel bad for them,” he said. “They got the raw end of the stick this morning. But that’s just the way golf goes.”

Some fun stats from the crack ShotLink gang putting Snedeker's comeback into perspective:

The highlights lack shots from the winner or of a crowd. Strange day indeed.

Monday
Feb012016

Forward Press: The Wasted, Dubai And Coates

I'm not sure what which event will give traditionalists a bigger headache: the annual party that is the Waste Management Open or the Omega Dubai Desert Classic celebrating the 2-year anniversary of...you know...the commercial.

In this week's Forward Press I talked to Tommy Roy about NBC's plan for the TPC Scottsdale and Feherty's debut. Oh, and while elements of the old Phoenix Open give us all reason to cringe, I ask whether it's time for golf to just let it go?

Also, just in case the dreaded Omega ad does not resurface during the Dubai telecast, a handy link sits below in case you missed hearing will.I.am or want to sort out this week's complicated but fun TV golf viewing schedule.

Here it is.