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    Kindle Edition

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Writing And Videos

If you’re going to be a player people will remember, you have to win the Open at St. Andrews.



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

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.


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?


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.


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:


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.’’


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.


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!


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.”


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.


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 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.


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.


Video: Frustrated Golfer Gets Stuck In Trash Can

Sophie Jamieson of The Telegraph (nice spot Jason Crook at 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:


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...


Punters Beware: Tom Watson Ready For His Final Open

Our friends at Ladbrokes and William Hill tend to not offer the most scintillating odds on low senior, but Tom Watson's effort at the U.S. Senior Open has set him up well for a send off at St. Andrews that should include (at least) a made cut.

Bill Fields on Watson's amazing play at 65 and his need to improve long-iron play heading to the five-time Open Champion's finale at St. Andrews.

“My iron game’s got to be more than decent, it’s got to be in good shape,” he said, anticipating the Old Course at St. Andrews.

“If I get the iron game in good shape and I’m putting well, I give myself a fair chance to at least make the cut and to do well there.”

The five-time British Open winner will certainly be able to use putts like the 33-footer for birdie he holed to loud applause on the 18th on Sunday – the second straight day he sank a long one on the hole.

“You’re going to have a lot of long putts,” Watson said. “It’s imperative that week to have really good speed with your putts, good weight, and keep it out of the bunkers. The bunkers are death. If you add strong wind in there, that’s a tough golf course to handle."


ESPN's OTL: Phil Transferred Large Sums To Gambling Operation

ESPN's Mike Fish and David Purdum reported that Phil Mickelson allegedly transferred nearly $3 million to an illegal gambling operation whose principal figure has pleaded guilty to money laundering charges.

Gregory Silveira of La Quinta faces up to 60 years in prison for his actions though he is expected to face much less time.

Although the final plea agreement reached between Silveira and the U.S. Department of Justice does not name the "gambling client," an initial plea agreement signed last month by Silveira and his attorney, James D. Henderson Sr., contained a reference to the "money laundering of funds from P.M." After Outside the Lines inquired about Mickelson's potential role in the case, the U.S. Attorney's Office on June 17 filed a motion to have the original plea agreement stricken. The next day, it filed an amended version minus any reference to "P.M."

ESPN's Lester Munson says with the information available, he sees no charges coming against Mickelson.


What Will The Golf World Do After NBC Says To Trump: You're Fired!

Business Insider's Maxwell Tani reports on NBCUniversal's severing of all ties to presidential candidate Donald Trump following his assertion that most Mexican immigrants are rapists and drug runners (except, no doubt, for the ones working at his businesses). This means no more Miss USA, Miss Universe and "The Apprentice" reality shows.

But what will happen to the Grand Slam of Golf, headed to Trump National Los Angeles this fall and next March's Cadillac Championship at Doral?

Tani writes:

Trump responded quickly at an appearance in Chicago, and hinted that he was the one who ended the relationship.

"They didn't want me to run because they wanted me to do the Celebrity Apprentice," Trump told reporters. "They were not happy," Trump said.

"I think as far as ending the relationship, I have to do that, because my view on immigration is much different than the people at NBC," Trump said.

Following Univision's announcement last week, Trump slammed the television company. The real-estate mogul banned network executives from his Miami golf course and said that he would pursue a breach-of-contract lawsuit.

The saga seems like an inevitable and potentially problematic by-product of Trump's effort to appeal to extremists after having built considerable credibility saving and rejuvenating multiple high-end properties.

How will golf's various organizations who are in business with Trump or are threatening to do business with him--PGA of America, R&A, USGA, European Tour and the PGA Tour--respond? Stay tuned...


Poll: Should Spieth Play The Deere Or Get To St. Andrews ASAP?

This Friday, the John Deere Classic field becomes set in stone at 5 pm. ET.

Jordan Spieth, taking a much-needed Bahamas vacation this week, plans to commit to the Moline, Illinois event and then take the tournament charter to St. Andrews for the Grand Slam's next leg.

This means the reigning Masters and U.S. Open Champion will arrive to the most complicated course on the planet having played it once, with only the opportunity to play two, maybe three practice rounds. Not to mention the whirlwind nonsense that comes with being an in-demand superstar and nice guy.

For someone who has succeeded at a shockingly young age at times with less than his A-game, Spieth has thrived on impeccable decision-making and support from his support team. With the right preparation and the luck of the draw, he has an incredibly strong chance of winning at St. Andrews. Spieth already has the right attitude about the place, which, as we know from history, is half the battle. The other half is knowing how to play the Old Course. And rolling in Monday afternoon with your excellent caddie and hoping to do the necessary preparation in a very short window is a tall ask for anyone, even Spieth.

Sure, Tony Lema rolled into Great Britain for the first time in his life and won at St. Andrews, as Bill Fields wrote for Golf World. Topping that, Jordan Spieth has been there, played a Walker Cup on a links and, according to this excellent Art Stricklin piece for, took notes on the Old Course with fellow young gun Patrick Rodgers as they stopped in pre-Walker Cup.

That’s exactly the same pattern he followed in 2011 when he was part of the U.S. Walker Cup team, heading directly from the Edinburgh Airport to the Old Course for golf. It was Spieth’s first visit to the Home of Golf and a trip American captain Jim Holtgrieve remembers well.

"The guys were all wide-eyed and fired up about playing a course they had heard about all of their lives," Holtgrieve said.

"What blew me away about Jordan and Patrick Rodgers is they took notes and carried a yardage book. I’m sure he (Spieth) still has that today and has already looked at it."

Spieth certainly learned those lessons well, as he stood 5-under-par on the 12th hole at The Old Course under sunny skies and calm winds, according to Holtgrieve assistant Robbie Zalzneck.

"He played great there," Zalzneck said.

So did Rory McIlroy. He posted a 63 in a T3 finish in the 2010 Open at St. Andrews. That was four rounds, plus multiple practice and competitive Dunhill Cup rounds on the Old Course.

In Spieth's case, for a golfer who thrives on knowledge, preparation and details to come in having to work so hard to prepare in a short window is risky at best. No course on the planet rewards those who learn its intricacies more, which is why I'm perplexed at the decision to play the Deere and risk a late arrival at the Home of Golf with a Grand Slam on the line.

Your thoughts and vote please...

Should Jordan Spieth Play The John Deere Or Go To St. Andrews? free polls


Cheyenne: The Tiger Questions Are Getting "Old"

Tiger Woods took to The Players Tribune to complain about Dan Jenkins. And now niece Cheyenne, rising talent that she is, uses the player-friendly outlet to write about how old the Tiger questions are getting.

I'm not sure about you, but this was actually kind of painful reading in the sense that if Cheyenne is taking to a site known largely for fluff to share her frustrations with the constant Tiger questions/comparisons, that what she's revealing here is only a small part of the relentlessness of the questioning.

She writes:

The very first time I was compared to Tiger, I think I had to be like nine or 10 years old, right around when I first started playing in golf tournaments. Tiger was getting huge at that point — he was really starting to dominate. At that age, I thought it was really cool that people would talk about it with me. My junior golf coach even nicknamed me Tigress. I loved it because, like a lot of kids, I wanted to be just like my uncle when I grew up. I would dress like Tiger, wearing Nike head to toe. Then, as I got older, people would compare our progress or assume things about me as a person because of who my uncle was, and that’s when it started to get old.

I mean, I get it — he’s one of the most famous human beings on the planet and we share a last name as well as a profession. But let me clear something up once and for all: I love my uncle, and I treasure the advice he gives me when we speak every few months, but I am not Tiger Woods.

Every few months! Even with so many weekends off?


St. Andrews Video: Open Wins By Hutchison, Wethered

The build-up to St. Andrews has begun and there is no more sobering reminder of how long people have been playing, loving and wondering about this crazy game than a return to the Old Course. It's overwhelming and even can get quite emotional pondering what St. Andrews has meant to so many lives.

Thankfully, we have the archive of British Pathé films to remind us how long St. Andrews has influenced lives.

Note in this first how much the Claret Jug means to Jock Hutchison, 1921 Open Championship winner, who defeats Roger Wethered(a) in a playoff.

And here is the great Joyce Wethered, sister of Roger, beating Glenna Collett Vare in the finals of the 1929 Ladies Open Championship at the Old Course. Check out the size of that gallery and the rush to the first green!


PGA Tour Still Sorting Out The Messy 2016 Schedule...

Joe Morelli of the New Haven Register looks at the various options for next year's Travelers Championship as golf in the Olympics makes a complete mess of the schedule. The event, normally played after the U.S. Open and popular with players, does not want to be played opposite the Olympics.

Of course, why any golf has to be played opposite the Olympics is beyond me and sadly will give critics just the evidence they need of Olympic golf's sillyness.

Anyway, Morelli writes:

The PGA Championship has already moved backward from its traditional August spot to July 28-31 in order to accommodate the Olympics. So with the U.S. Open June 16-19, there will be three majors and a World Golf event in a seven-week stretch. Bessette indicated the WGC event, likely the Bridgestone Invitational, will be held in between (June 30-July 3) the U.S. Open and the British Open (July 14-17). The FedEx St. Jude’s Classic has already announced its dates as well (June 9-12).

“I don’t want to play against the men in the Olympics or play against the women in the Olympics (Aug. 17-20),” Bessette said. “Somebody has to be between the British and the PGA. Who wants to be in that spot?”

Apparently, the RBC Canadian Open will fill that spot July 21-24. That leaves three open weeks not against the Olympics: June 23-26, the Travelers’ traditional position behind the U.S Open; July 7-10 and Aug. 4-7.

Also competing for spots on the calendar are the Quickens Loans Invitational, Tiger Woods’ tournament, the Greenbrier Classic and the John Deere Classic. The FedExCup playoffs follow the Olympics.

And fans will care even less than ever following four majors and the awarding of a gold medal.


Ian Baker-Finch, Connecticut And The Claret Jug

The Claret Jug made a surprise visit in Cromwell Sunday, where Open Championship spots are on the line in Sunday's Traveler's Championship.

As Brian Wacker notes, some intriguing names are in the mix, as Brian Harman leading. (BTW, nice touch on the leaderboard to note who is already in The Open.)

To promote the The Open, golf's oldest trophy made its way to Connecticut and surprised former Open Champion Ian Baker-Finch as he was beginning a talk to the First Tee gathering.

Brad Klein on the emotional address that followed.

Baker-Finch looked down at that the trophy that May had set down, and just as he talked about the event making him feel like part of a family, he choked up, lost his focus for a second and gave way to the tears welling up in his eyes. It was so touching to watch. The audience suddenly quieted and gave Baker-Finch a few moments to gather himself. And when it became obvious that he needed more time, the crowd stood and applauded in appreciation of how sincere and revealing a gesture they were witness to.