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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
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    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
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    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
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
  • 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
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  • 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

You can have some large spaces between holes, on which you can plant trees. You thus get the feeling of being in wild and open country, instead of in a small back garden, and your fairways need not resemble a number of parallel and rather narrow streets.




The Donald Looks Forward To Teeing It Up With Alex Salmond!

Dawn Morrisson reports that Donald Trump did not (entirely) use the opportunity of Alex Salmond's post Scottish independence loss and resignation as First Minister to antagonize his one-time mate.

Morrison writes in the Press and Journal:

Yesterday the businessman welcomed the news Scotland is to remain within the UK and tweeted: “The people of Scotland have spoken – a great decision. I wish Alex Salmond well and look forward to playing golf with him at Aberdeen.”

And last night Mr Trump told the Press and Journal: “Salmond did the right thing stepping down.

According to The Herald, The Donald did manage to link Salmond's support of wind turbines off the coasts of Scotland to the loss.

Mr Trump tweeted yesterday the outcome was a "great decision". He said: "I am convinced that if @AlexSalmond had not pushed ugly wind turbines all over Scotland, the vote would have been much better for him!"

A Daily Mail commentary by Matt Chorley noted Salmond's golf and gambling instincts as part of his downfall (scroll to the bottom).

But his failure to address key questions on the currency, pensions, prices and public spending of an independent Scotland refused to go away.

A Star Trek fan, a keen golfer, an enthusiastic gambler, Salmond has a competitive streak to almost everything, even dieting.

When trying to slim on the 5:2 diet, he boasted how he had shed the pounds faster than Chancellor George Osborne.

Last weekend he was asked what he would do if Scots voted for independence; would he enjoy a malt whiskey and round of golf?

He declined the offer of a drink, but revealed that even if he had torn the Union apart, he would go to the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles next week.

Salmond's steadfast support of the Ryder Cup and Scottish Open along with his swift resignation should earn him a warm enough reception next week at Gleneagles, especially as this Reuters story by Alistair Spout reveals a huge short-term economic boost from the referendum vote that has pubs rejoicing and hotel operators gouging. Oh and there are many positive long term ramifications for Scotland after the vote, as Christopher Welsh explains.


Another Senator Wants To Revoke Pro Sports Tax-Exempt Status

One can only imagine the Augusta National grill room chatter as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell explains himself and fellow member Tim Finchem---oh wait, guest of a member Tim Finchem--scolds the NFL Commish for his league's prompting of legislation to revoke tax-exempt status for "non-profit" sports leagues.

As's Coleman McDowell notes, such bills have been introduced before, including one from Tom Coburn that is in the Finanance Committee, but this time it's New Jersey Senator Cory Booker introducing the "Securing Assistance for Victim Empowerment (SAVE) Act," according to this SI Wire story

Booker seeks to raise $100 million for domestic violence assistance programs.


Video: Donald Ross Like You've Never Seen Him

Thanks to the folks at Pinehurst for posting this short clip of architect Donald Ross's golf swing. Granted, it's in the later years, he's carrying a few more pounds but got to love the explosiveness despite hanging back on that right side!

The super-rare clip:


Best Evidence Yet The Ball Goes Too Far? New R&A Captain Nearly Drives Ceremonial Shot Into Swilcan Burn

I know, I know. It might have been downwind. The first fairway was probably firm and fast. Or just maybe new Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews Captain George Macgregor has been in the gym working on his explosiveness to hit an impressive ceremonial first tee shot.

Macgregor is an accomplished player (five time Walker Cupper!) and an OBE, so he’s got some really garrish ribbons and hats and whatever else an OBE gets.

Anyway, the official R&A account of Macgregor's big moment at yesterday's fall meeting.

George Macgregor OBE began his year in office with a drive at precisely 8am as a cannon fired alongside the tee. A large crowd of onlookers gathered to watch the ceremony and saw Mr Macgregor hit a long drive down the middle of the fairway that finished just short of the Swilcan Burn.

As Captain, Mr Macgregor will represent The R&A and support its work in developing golf around the world. He will attend R&A Championships in the professional and amateur games and assume an ambassadorial role for the Club.

After hitting his tee shot, Mr Macgregor said: “It’s a pretty unique tradition in the world of golf. To be Captain is a fantastic honour and I am very much looking forward to it. The R&A is making great strides within that with a range of initiatives in different parts of the world.

“I think my role is to build on the work that previous captains have done. Sandy Dawson, whom I am following, has travelled thousands of miles around the world and has made a great effort to go out there and meet with golfers and organisations all over the world. That’s an important part of this role.”


Roundup: Royal & Ancient Votes To Accept Women

The R&A revealed that 85% of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club's 2400 members voted yes on admitting women, meaning it was a much greater landslide than the Scottish Independence vote, which was headed for a 55% no vote majority as of the wee UK hours.

Here is the "Statement from Peter Dawson, Secretary of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club."

I am very pleased indeed to announce that the membership of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has voted overwhelmingly in favour of welcoming women members.

More than three quarters of the club’s global membership took part in the ballot, with a decisive 85% voting for women to become members.

This vote has immediate effect and I can confirm that The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is now a mixed membership club.

The membership has also acted to fast-track a significant initial number of women to become members in the coming months.

This is a very important and positive day in the history of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. The R&A has served the sport of golf well for 260 years and I am confident that the club will continue to do so in future with the support of all its members, both women and men.

Karen Crouse included much of the saga's backstory in her NY Times piece and described the scene from St. Andrews:

Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the R&A, revealed the results of a postal balloting of the club’s 2,400 male members, many of whom were on site in matching blue jackets and patterned blue ties. About three-quarters of the members participated in the voting, with 85 percent of them opting to approve women as members.

Owen Gibson’s Guardian story included this from Laura Davies.

Dame Laura Davies, one of the best known names in female golf, said the vote was a major watershed for the women’s game. “I think it is great news – back when I turned pro I would never have imagined that this could ever happen,” she said. “I think it is a huge step forward for the R&A and women’s golf and everyone will be delighted with the result.”

Frank Keogh of the BBC also included this from Davies:

"Times move on and I think all of them probably realise that it's a bit ridiculous in this day and age.

"I spoke to someone from the LGU (Ladies' Golf Union) recently and they said numbers are down in women's golf clubs.

"Maybe the vote will raise awareness and women will start thinking 'Oh, I thought that was a male-orientated sport'.

Ewan Murray files this Guardian commentary, skeptical of some outrage over the issue and ultimately says the corporate community forced the R&A's hand.

A lot of the background noise was soundbite, opportunist stuff. People who would have no interest in promoting women’s golf for 51 weeks of the year suddenly saw merit in joining criticism of the R&A and the chief executive of its corporate wing, Peter Dawson. Other comments were far more significant; HSBC, a key Open sponsor, was soon to admit unease over the R&A’s restrictions.

Kevin Garside in the Independent files an excellent commentary and says we're not quite done yet.

An unsustainable division holds at three clubs on the Open Championship rota. No positive developments are expected immediately in the anachronistic dens of misogyny at Muirfield, Royal St George’s and Royal Troon, but all three will come under increasing pressure to leave the 19th Century behind now.

Peter Dawson and his double breasted walked to a collection of microphones in a Buckingham Palace-friendly, slightly Pink Panther bit of staging, walking from the R&A clubhouse to an area near the first tee, then took a few questions. Here is Golf Channel video of the moment.

Golf Channel’s Karen Stupples reacted to the news, as did Old Tom. Well, his impersonator David Joy did.

Ryan Herrington
has a solid roundup of takeaways from the vote, including praise for Chief Inspector Dawson.

The timing of the membership vote and Dawson's retirement, which he announced last April and goes into effect in September 2015, are hardly coincidental. Having overseen the R&A for 16 years, Dawson had guided the organization toward becoming a more progressive operation, helping with the creation in 2004 of "the R&A" as a separate entity from the Royal & Ancient Golf Club to oversee the administrative operation of the Open Championship. Dawson (below) had seen the membership issue as the final significant hurdle in his tenure, hoping to have it be a part of his legacy as well as to have the matter put to rest when his successor takes over. 

Cameron Morfit with a nice roundup of reactions, including the most interesting possibility, Louise Richardson, principal of St. Andrews University.

Thursday’s announcement would seem to pave the way for her to join the club, promising a future in which women get equal access to arguably the most famous 18 holes in golf, and centuries-old grudges are put to rest. Club secretary Dawson’s statement went on to say, “The membership has acted to fast-track a significant initial number of women to become members in the coming months.” Presumably we’ll soon know who they are.

And ESPNW also posts a roundup of statements, tweets and other relief from a golf world tired of waiting for this day.


Back9Network Makes First Talent Hire Announcements

And rest assured, Ahmad is still locked in for Back9's big September 29 debut on DirecTV. Speaking of humor, interesting to note they are playing up that element of their coverage.

For Immediate Release:

BACK9NETWORK Announces Talent to Headline Studio Programming

About BACK9NETWORK: BACK9NETWORK is a golf lifestyle cable television network and media company based in Hartford, Connecticut.  BACK9NETWORK was developed as a complementary alternative to traditional media's focus on professional golf tournament coverage.  Focused on compelling storytelling, interesting personalities, features and fashions, interviews and instruction, travel, gear and much more, fans of all kinds will want to hang with the BACK9NETWORK., the online clubhouse for BACK9NETWORK, delivers a fresh perspective on the golf lifestyle and its worldwide influence.  BACK9NETWORK’S leadership includes respected and outspoken executives from the golf and media industries.  For further information, visit, @BACK9NETWORK on Twitter or BACK9NETWORKTV's YouTube Channel.

A unique blend of entertainers to join BACK9NETWORK

HARTFORD, CONN., September 18, 2014 - BACK9NETWORK, the 24/7 golf lifestyle network, announced today the addition to its talent roster of Shane Bacon, Erica Bachelor, Matty Blake, Caite Upton, Jeff Rude, John Maginnes, and Will Christien. The group of on-air personalities will headline the network’s studio shows as the network debuts on DIRECTV on September 29th. BACK9NETWORK, located on DIRECTV channel 262, will launch with nearly 1,100 hours of original programming in its first year including midday and evening studio shows entitled “The Turn,” “Off-Par” and “The Clubhouse.”

“While we will certainly pay attention to professional golf’s leaderboard, our coverage will focus on the lifestyle of the game where golf enthusiasts are spending their time and money — the courses and resorts they can play, the latest fashion, gadgets and equipment, and the behind-the-scenes stories that will highlight the personalities and characters that make golf so much fun,” said Scot Thor, Senior VP of Programming, BACK9NETWORK. “We’re dedicated to introducing lifestyle entertainment to the game of golf while respecting its values and traditions, and we’ve brought on some incredibly talented people to emphasize the depth, humility and humor in the game.”

BACK9NETWORK’S flagship hour of golf, pop culture, debate, and entertainment will be delivered on “The Turn,” which will premiere Monday, September 29th. Co-hosted by Shane Bacon and Erica Bachelor, “The Turn” will air on BACK9NETWORK daily at Noon and 7 PM Eastern.

Bacon, a veteran and Yahoo! Sports golf writer, and Bachelor, former E! Network host, will tackle the industry’s biggest topics by blending news, analysis and user-generated content with behind-the-scenes perspectives from the game’s most colorful icons and personalities.

“Golf is a universal sport that tends to stick with people as they grow older, and I can't wait to join a group that remembers that first and foremost, golf should be fun," said Bacon.

Co-hosted by acclaimed comedian and actor Matty Blake, and American model Caite Upton, "Off Par” is an inventive look at the world of golf and entertainment, with a comedic twist. Blake, Upton, and a rotating cast of characters will deliver free-flowing laughs in the form of viral internet videos, user-generated social media content, golf-themed skits, and guest appearances by other comedians. The program will air weeknights at 8PM Eastern.

“I’ve long said there’s a difference between loving the game of golf and taking it too seriously. BACK9NETWORK gets it,” said Blake. “I can’t wait to get started and share my thoughts on everything golf and pop-culture.”

Former PGA Tour pro John Maginnes, former Golfweek Senior Writer Jeff Rude, and women’s extreme sports champion Will Christien will co-host “The Clubhouse” which will air on weeknights at 10 PM Eastern. The playful banter of Christien, Maginnes, and Rude will echo the conversations one would hear at the 19th hole.  The trio’s no-holds-barred conversations will cover the latest happenings both on and off the course, as they incorporate questions and guidance from viewers at home, celebrities and the game’s professionals.

“John and Jeff come from the golf world, they've known each other for years and can literally finish each other’s sentences. I’m the new kid, but I definitely don’t feel that way, it's such a fun dynamic.” said Christien. “Our show is a conversation; we talk about life, but use golf as a theme. It’s for you if you’ve played once and it’s for you if you play every day.” 

In addition, BACK9NETWORK will utilize Charles Everett and Universo Pereira as network co-hosts. Everett is a veteran voice, theatre, and television actor, and Periera has both television and stage experience.  Alexis Morgan (TV Personality/Reporter) and Katie Sundseth (TV Personality/Model) join the network as lifestyle correspondents. All will offer personalized, satirical, and at times brutally honest opinions on what’s trending in golf on “The Turn,” “Off Par” and “The Clubhouse.”

BACK9NETWORK Executive Producer Ahmad Rashad was previously announced as host of BACK9NETWORK’s “AHMAD RASHAD,” which will premiere on BACK9NETWORK Monday, September 29th at 9 PM Eastern. “AHMAD RASHAD” is one of three BACK9NETWORK 30-minute, original primetime series. Others include “Golf Treasures,” and “Ball Hogs,” which will air weeknights at 9 pm Eastern.


Westwood Sheds Weight For Upcoming Role In The Ryder Cup

While his colleagues have been out playing golf, Lee Westwood looks to appeal to the Academy by shedding 23 pounds in advance of Paul McGinley’s directorial debut, The 2014 Ryder Cup. James Corrigan reports.

Though McGinley’s script did not call for the Captain's pick to spend his weeks leading up to cup by grinding in the gym instead of finding honing his short game, the Captain said he's pleased to see a slimmer Westwood. Longtime Academy watchers are wondering if the combination of Westwood’s physical sacrifice will make him a front runner for best supporting Captain's pick who doesn't win a point.

Luke Kerr-Dineen with photos of the slimmed down Westwood who also lost weight for his role in the 2008 Ryder Cup.

Westwood opened the Wales Open with a 73, placing him T85 and possibly freeing the Ryder Cupper to spend more time in the gym this weekend as tailors anxiously prepare to modify his outfits yet again.


Tiger On Going It Alone, Big Bro Notah & Not Watching Playoffs

Tiger Woods took to his blog to flesh out a few ideas from his Monday press conference to reveal that, as suspected from Doug Ferguson's item Tuesday, he might go the whole coaching thing alone.

From the item:

As for my coaching situation, there is no hard-and-set rule on this. I may just do it on my own. I'm keeping my options very, very open. I need to get healthy first before I start back and see how I feel. That's the No. 1 concern. And from there, then I can start deciding where I want to go with it.

I have bounced some things off Notah Begay III, my close friend and former Stanford teammate. We just kind of talked things through; he's like an older brother. We've discussed my options and what direction he thinks I should go. He's just trying to help out any way he can.

Nice endorsement for Notah! And not the worst idea I've heard.

There was also this huge endorsement for the golf playoffs...which were probably about fifth on his remote options after various football games, tennis, baseball and Property Brothers re-runs.

I really haven't watched much golf. I've seen a few shots here and there, but that's about it. I'll tune in to the Ryder Cup to see how our guys do.

Woods did wish the people of Cabo San Lucas well, where he has made multiple visits to his Diamante Dunes course design, but did not say how the course handled the recent hurricane.


Election Day! If All Goes Well...

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club will reveal their vote around 6 pm in Scotland and polls close at 10 pm for the Scottish Independence vote, with no one sure when the outcome will be determined.

As for those of you who envisioned Jim McCallister of Election handling a possible close vote count, this Sky Sports report explains who is doing the R&A vote counting.

A spokesman for The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews said: "The club is balloting its members on a change to its membership rules that would enable it to welcome women members.

"Over 2,400 ballot papers have been sent out and the vote is independently scrutinised by Electoral Reform Services. A simple majority is required to effect the proposed change. Should the outcome be in favour of welcoming women members the decision will take immediate effect.

There was also this line from Peter Dawson in the story (I think). Ladies of golf, get those phone lines clear!

"The first women members in a mixed membership Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews are likely to have made a significant contribution to the development of our sport."


Developer Offers Court A Redesign Of 3 Olympic Course Holes

AP's Stephen Wade and Tales Azzoni report on Wednesday's courtroom showdown over the Olympic golf course in Rio. Nothing was decided by it was pretty shocking to see an approved project offering to redesign three holes, especially a venue slated to host the first Olympic golf in a century abutting trash-littered waters.

But this is Rio where sanity went to die long ago.

Both sides told the judge it would not take long to return to his chambers with their final proposals. It was not clear how long this might take, and the judge did not specify a deadline.

"We have made a commitment to have the Olympics. That's a fact," Klausner said. "At the same time we have an interest in preserving the nature there. What was lost was lost, now we need a solution that will attend to both demands."

He called the redesign of the three holes "very viable."

Marcus Leal, a public prosecutor, said he was concerned about the impact on native flora and fauna."We want to make sure that the area is preserved in the long term," he said. "Having a golf course there doesn't mean that the local vegetation is being protected."


"Why would a Chinese tech company buy a $16 million Morgan Hill golf course?"

That's the question Nathan Donato-Weinstein of the Silicon Valley Business Journal asks.

Like the Japanese buying binge of the late 1980s, the answers to be a combination of factors.

Donato-Weinstein writes about Sumavision Technologies of Beijing buying the Jack Nicklaus designed Coyote Creek Golf Club for $16 million and notes that it should be added to the list of Chinese investment in American golf course real estate.


D.A. Points WD's From Final After Peers Pressure

If I cared enough about the Tour Finals, I could explain how an exempt PGA Tour player can show up to audition a new caddy and shake off the rust as others are playing for the livelihood.

But this Q-School playoff replacement does allow for such a thing and D.A. Points tried to play this week's Super Bowl of the Tour, only to feel the heat from his peers about playing.

Rex Hoggard reports.

“I thought unless I finish in the top 4 or 5 it wouldn’t make a difference [with the final money list], but then guys were on me about it,” Points said. “I understand that and that’s not why I’m here. I’ve got a lot of friends who are playing in this. I’m not here to keep anybody from getting a job.”

Points is not the first exempt Tour player to participate in the Finals. Ben Curtis played the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship last year but since that was the third Finals event, and he missed the cut, it went virtually unnoticed.

Given the level of concern Points’ start caused this week it seems possible the tour will address the issue in the future.


MIA Files: Anthony Kim Wrestles With Playing...Or Cashing Out

I'd love to witness Alan Shipnuck's fight with SI Accounting when he turns in the various Ritz Carlton and strip club receipts in his effort to track down Anthony Kim in Dallas, La Quinta or somewhere else.

There are many fun anecdotes in this must-read, but I'll just clip my favorites for safe keeping.

From his SI story previewing the Ryder Cup, where Kim was such a huge American figure in 2008.

In some circles, Kim has become golf's Voldemort -- a name that dare not be spoken. According to Knost, Kim played a casual round this spring with journeyman Casey Wittenberg. Approached at a event in July, Wittenberg recoiled at the mere mention of Kim's name. "I'm not going to comment," Wittenberg said. "He's a great friend of mine. Sorry, I know you're just doing your job."

Don't feel for him too much there Casey...

Regarding Kim's apparent dilemma...

The answer very well may lie in an insurance policy Kim has against a career-ending injury. An IMG source pegged its value at $10 million, tax-free. Kim's friend, who has had financial discussions with him, says, "It's significantly north of that. Not quite 20, but close. That is weighing on him, very much so. He's trying to weigh the risk of coming back. The way he's phrased it to me is, 'If I take one swing on Tour, the policy is voided.'"

He does still play golf...

Over the summer Kim hit balls a handful of times at TPC Craig Ranch. (No one there has seen him on the course itself, and Kim's friend in Dallas says, "I couldn't tell you the last time he played a full round of golf.") He recently got his hair cut for the first time in eight months, but it still falls a couple of inches below his shoulders, which may explain why after a visit to Craig Ranch in July one staffer described him as looking like "a hobo." He arrived with five friends, including a young woman who was not dressed for golf. "She wasn't wearing much of anything," says the TPC employee.

He's taking a stand against the PGA Tour! The same guy who got a sponsor's invite to play the Bob Hope in his hometown of La Quinta, but then passed on the event when he became successful. That tour!

"He doesn't like where the Tour is heading," says his friend in Dallas. "He feels like it's become even more corporate, that the fans and the Tour itself do not support his style. He has no love for the Tour officials. He was tired of them hassling him for every little thing and fining him for stupid stuff."

And this about sums it all up...

In April, Kim put his Xanadu in Dallas on the market for $2.2 million and has been staying with a girlfriend while he assesses his next move. He tools around town in a Rolls-Royce Ghost. It had been flossed out with custom rims, but recently he reinstalled the stock wheels. "He wants to be more incognito," his friend says, without irony.


Captain Watson: Logistics Forbid Later Picks!?

Think about it, the WAGs have to pick out their evening dress(es), the clothing manufacturers might have to hire extra laborers to hem pants for three men, and the PGA of America's charter flight seating setup could not be made three weeks in advance! So in general, later Ryder Cup points cut-offs or captain's picks would be a nightmare on the swag front and that's reason enough apparently for Tom Watson to not support moving deadlines closer to the Ryder Cup.

Talking in a pre-Ryder Cup press conference conference call, Ryan Lavner reports on Watson's various thoughts including the pick timing.

“In ’93, I made my two captain’s picks the day after the PGA, six weeks before the Ryder Cup,” Watson said.

“Logistically, there are so many different things that go into it, just in getting the players over there and getting ready ... get their families involved, get their families and friends over there. It would be awfully tough to make the decision the week before the Ryder Cup.”

Essentially, competitiveness may not be as important as getting families and friends of the three picks overseas comfortably.

Captain, you have a week to strengthen your answer.


Captain McGinley Still Planning To Pair Rory And GMac...

Talking to writers before the ISPS Handa Wales Open, European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley downplayed the latest revelations in the McIlroy-Horizon case where even the judge is suggesting Graeme McDowell has been dragged into the proceedings to the point mediation should be employed.

Phil Casey reports that McGinley says the case tension is not a concern.

"Rory's had arguably his best year ever (winning two major championships) and Graeme won the French Open. It has not affected their performance and both of them have assured me it's not going to affect anything in the team room.

"I would be very surprised if they don't play together although I'm not going to write it in stone."


Stevie And Adam Call It Quits

Adam Scott and Steve Williams. It was a partnership that started as caddie-player but ultimately produced an epic Masters win along with other competitive highlights (Alex Myers with the top 5 moments.)

But Steve (aka Stevie) wanted to work part-time and Scott wants a full time luggage handler.

Ryan Lavner with details and yada-yada press release quotes from the now former duo.


2015 West Coast Swing Will Likely See Fewer Stars Than Ever

There was a Golf World column that warned about this when the PGA Tour's calendar year schedule was announced and now the reality has hit home, with more star no-shows to come in 2015. Especially as the match play moves to May.

Even though the PGA Tour's west coast swing from January to late February produces the biggest non-major championship television ratings of the year--many times three to four times larger than last week's Tour Championship--it appears the part of the schedule when you have the most eyeballs on PGA Tour "product" will have fewer star appearances than ever, reports Doug Ferguson.

Besides Adam Scott confirming he won't be at Kapalua and and likely won't be seen until the Florida swing, the European presence is only by default.

Of the six Europeans from the top 20 in the world, three played one West Coast event before the Match Play. Graeme McDowell was at Pebble Beach, but only because his father played with him. Justin Rose played Riviera because he missed the Middle East swing because of injury; and Martin Kaymer played Phoenix, where he lives.

The rest showed up at Match Play, which will not be at the end of February in Arizona next year.

Rory McIlroy left Atlanta on Sunday. Odds are it will be five months before he next plays an official PGA Tour event in America.


Referendum Roundup: The Independence Vote & Golf

The birthplace of golf may see a massive change in spirit and economics depending on how Thursday's Scottish independence vote goes. Golf has mostly come up in jokes about what Scotland contributes to the United Kingdom and because Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond is a huge supporter of the sport. (Here's a nice NY Times primer on the issues and the nuts and bolts of how this will work Thursday.)

From the completely selfish American point of view, the campaign has beaten down the pound a bit, which might lead to some better tipping by scribes gleeful to see the dollar holding up better during their early week festivities.

And since the currency situation is very much unresolved should the "Yes" vote win, golfers stand to enjoy a short term benefit by a weakened pound or even the longshot possibility of Scotland adopting the Euro, as I pointed out at (Severin Carrell gets into much deeper issues regarding currency in this Guardian story and Mark Johanson of Skift looks at the prospects for tourism.)

Well established is that The Open Championship will not be affected, as Luke Kerr-Dineen explains, though as the above piece on tourism notes and as many professional golfers will tell you, there could be major benefits for golf tournaments played in Scotland should they be freed from some of the UK's taxation on professional athletes that tend to discourage too many UK appearances.

That very first world issue was not addressed in this Guardian story by Owen Gibson but he did address the chances of a Team Scotland in Rio and it's not looking good.

Sir Craig Reedie, an International Olympic Committee vice-president and a prime mover in the bid to secure the 2012 Olympics for London, has grave doubts about whether a Scottish team could be formed in time for the Rio Games. The SNP is targeting March 2016 as the date to declare Scotland an independent country but that timetable could slip. While Scotland could easily satisfy the requirement of having five national sporting federations affiliated to their international counterparts, it must also be formally admitted into the IOC as “an independent nation recognised by the international community”. In practice, that has tended to mean membership of the United Nations.

John Ivison uses next week's Ryder Cup host as a mark for what a more ecomically prosperous Scotland might look like compared to other parts of the country, but will that make Scotland better off?

The Forecaddie reports this week that a couple who are also Golfweek raters were paired up with First Minister Alex Salmond recently and it took him 14 holes to ask why they had not brought up independence.

John Oliver did a brilliant bit on the referendum. No golf but plenty of laughs. Thanks reader Doug.


Rory's Lawyers Request Ultra-Sensitive GMac Documents, Prompting Judge To Suggest Mediation

Perhaps wanting to keep peace for Team Europe, the Judge in the Rory McIlroy vs. Horizon management case analyzed an application for discovery of "sensitive" documents related to Graeme McDowell's days at Horizon and asked the lawyers, “Is this not a case that is made for mediation?”

From an unbylined Irish Independent report.

“Is this not a case that is made for mediation?” he asked Mr Fanning, for McIlroy, and Ciaran Lewis for Horizon and two related defendants. “The case has all sorts of sensitivities involving two players on tour, a manager of one of them and a former manager or agent of the other.  It has all sorts of complex issues involving relationship matters,” the judge said.

Oh but it gets better.

Philip Reid's story in the Irish Times focuses on Horizon's contention that Rory destroyed evidence on a cell phone pertinent to the case.

In a sworn affidavit to the High Court in Dublin yesterday, Ridge contended McIlroy – who signed a representation agreement with Horizon in December 2011 but who has taken litigation seeking to void the contract – had “professed himself . . . to use only mobile phone devices for communication, to keep no notes and to correspond in no other way with any third parties. Despite this and after the litigation had commenced, Mr McIlroy destroyed data held on at least one mobile device, in particular the mobile phone which he had been using during the crucial period between January and May 2013, thus preventing a review of that data for the purposes of discovery.”

Brian Keogh analyzes some of the information that has surfaced in the proceedings and has Rory's Nike deal as the center of the disagreement over how much Rory is willing to pay Horizon of the 5-year $100 million package. Besides the prospect of taking the stand in a trial just weeks ahead of the Masters and risking his reputation, Keogh says the documents also reveal that dragging Ryder Cup teammate Graeme McDowell into the case was a more recent and perhaps desperate move by his solicitors to wreak havoc for Horizon.

McDowell has since left Horizon to start his own company.

McDowell has acknowledged some strain will linger in the friendship as long as the proceedings move forward, and while this week's goings on may not be news to McDowell, they're almost sure to come up next week at the Ryder Cup.


Tiger: My Teachers Didn't Understand Back Nine Sunday Feels

The most encouraging remark from Tiger this week may have been his suggestion that his three primary instructors as a professional couldn't understand the feel a golfer experiences under tournament pressure. Encouraging because it could suggest he's going to go teacherless and play more by feel, a nice contrast to the explosiveness talk that seems to suggest he's obessed with distance.

We'll find out soon enough, but this is from Doug Ferguson's AP notes column:

"I would have to say on the technical side, I probably don't know as much as some of them," Woods said without singling out Butch Harmon, Hank Haney or Sean Foley. "But from a feel standpoint, which is something I think is innate because of what we're able to do at such an elite level, yeah, I think I know a lot more than they do. Because they've never played down the stretch of a major championship. What do the hands feel? What does the body feel?"

"You have to understand your practice sessions," he said. "Will they work on the back nine on a Sunday of a major? Either yes or no. And I think that's one thing I've always tried to tell all my coaches. Will it work or not work? And if it's not going to work, then we're not going down that road."