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Books
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    by Chris Millard
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

I found out that all the important lessons of life are contained in the three rules for achieving a perfect golf swing. 1. Keep your head down. 2. Follow through. 3. Be born with money.
P.J. O'ROURKE


    

Tuesday
Mar032015

Video And Thoughts: 2015 Golf Industry Show Wrap

It's probably unwise to gauge the health of an industry based on conventions, but the energy and vibe of such gatherings is hard to ignore.

The 2015 edition of the Golf Industry Show seemed much more upbeat, well attended and vibrant than in recent years where the post-2008 doldrums were indeniable. San Antonio's excellent convention center certainly helps keep spirits up, with its beautifully designed layout, downtown-adjacent setting and most of all because it's not the Orange County Convention Center.

In random talks with vendors, there was a consensus that spending is happening again at some golf courses, and generally with an emphasis on products that make the long term maintenance more sustainable and sensible. We captured some of the sights, sounds and views from the show. For those in attendance who missed the Morning Drive pieces or for anyone else interested, here are the Morning Drive clips.

Old Tom Morris Award winner Dan Jenkins talking about his new book, the next wave of players and how anxious he is to see Tiger play again.

Some of the more interesting products we stumbled on.

General sights and sounds from the show, including talks with supers Pat Sisk, Jon Jennings and Sean Tully.

And finally, GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans talking about the state of the industry.

Tuesday
Mar032015

Bears Club Fine For MJ; Exclusive Video Of Meeting With Jack

Tim Rosaforte reported in his Golf World video diary that Michael Jordan texted him to clear the air regarding his plans to build what the Jupiter market so desperately needs: an ultra-exclusive golf club.

MJ confirms he's interviewing architects, with Tom Doak as the leading candidate to design the course, Rosaforte reports. The NBA legend mostly wanted to deny that pace of play at Jack Nicklaus' Bears Club is driving him away.

However, my sources suggest Jordan was called into Mr. Nicklaus' office at Bears Club and the two had a healthy discussion about the claims in golf.com's original report, even sharing a Fresca to break the ice. Here's the exclusively obtained footage:

Tuesday
Mar032015

R.I.P. Jay Morrish

Golf Course Industry's Pat Jones reports that the golf architect known for his work as a Jack Nicklaus associate and later for his highly successful partnership with Tom Weiskopf, has passed away.

Monday
Mar022015

Fox Wants AT&T U-Verse To Pay More To Show USGA Events

Variety's Brian Steinberg reports that Fox Sports 1 and AT&T U-Verse are in a battle that may cost the cable server's 6 million homes a chance to watch eight USGA events.

At issue is Fox Sports 1 adding many rights (fees) that did not exist prior to the last agreement with AT&T, so Fox is threatening not to beam, say, the USGA Four-Ball and other recently acquired packages like NASCAR to AT&T U-Verse customers. The blackout of select content provides a new twist in the various cable company spats with content providers.

In the current fight, Fox Sports 1 is trying to get paid for programming that was not in place when its carriage deal with AT&T was established. Nascar signed a new deal in 2013 that moved its events to Fox and NBC from Walt Disney’s ESPN and Time Warner’s Turner Sports for this year. Many of the other events at the center of the new dispute were also added to Fox Sports 1 after it secured carriage rights.

AT&T U-verse has approximately 6 million subscribers, according to market research firm SNL Kagan.

Fox Sports 1 said it had made “attempts to negotiate an agreement that extends to these events.” Unless each side’s stance changes, U-verse subscribers may miss out on a Nascar race tomorrow.

And the U.S. Junior Amateur!

Fox Sports signed a 12-year (12 years!) rights deal with the USGA in August, 2013, but this is the first time since handing the USGA a lavish sum that there has been any sign of squeezing cable companies for the privilege of showing USGA championships. Something tells me the AT&T folks aren't going to budge on this one for a while.

Monday
Mar022015

Video: Dude Perfect Raises The Trick Shot Bar

I became a fan of the Dude Perfect team a couple of years ago when they did this golf stereotypes piece. Little did I know they've become celebs, a brand, a platform and a celebrity brand platform.

Their last featurette did 2.5 million views but I think the ambition and clutch shot making of Callaway's Jamie Sadlowski may have raised the bar so high that even the Bryan Brothers will be forced to dig deep!

Normally I don't like the over-production in trick shot videos, but maybe in my old age I'm over the gritty independent films and embracing the big budget bombast, especially when the drone shot effects are so fun...


Monday
Mar022015

Wacky Honda Classic: Padraig Harrington Is Back! 

Watching Padraig Harrington at Riviera or even on the range at the Honda it was hard to imagine there was a method to his madness, but in one of the better redemption stories of modern times, the three-time major champ returned to the winner’s circle.

From Doug Ferguson's AP game story, a reminder how far back Harrington came from:

Lost in all the collapses down the stretch was that the 43-year-old veteran was five shots behind with eight holes to play when he hooked his tee shot and dropped his head walking off the 11th hole. It was enough left of the fairway to find a patch of muddied grass that had been trampled by the gallery, and he played a bold shot to a right flag over the water to 15 feet for birdie. That's where Poulter went into the water, and the three-shot swing meant Harrington was back in the game.

He followed with a 35-foot birdie on the 12th, a 7-foot birdie on the 13th and a 15-foot putt on the 14th for his fourth straight birdie and a share of the lead when Reed holed from 18 feet right before him.

Brian Wacker on how far Harrington has come and how wonderfully honest he was about the low point:

Whatever physical tinkering he had done with his swing, not seeing the results he’d hoped for had crept into the mental side of his game and in 2012 he suffered the yips.

“As a lot of people who win major tournaments, you look back at them and you try and live up to them, play up to them,” Harrington said. “I just got very intolerant of my mental game, my focus.

“When you get (the yips), it's really frustrating, it's really hard. You don't know what to do. You grind your way through it and it is a tough thing to get through.

“But yeah, there's no doubt low points in those years, because you know, in 2008, 2009, I'm very much in the penthouse. I wasn't quite down to the doghouse but not far away from it.”

On Saturday, Dave Shedloski recounted how big Harrington's win in Asia was late last year:

It hasn't helped that he has tinkered with his swing endlessly in the last seven years. Sound familiar?

"My big problem is really trying to control the outcome and not settling for the process being enough," he said. "Ultimately, I have found out that is the biggest hindrance to my game. My mind out there was better than it's ever been. It was ugly at the end there. I found it for a while, though."

Offering him solace is that he found it in Indonesia, too. After blowing a four-stroke lead through 54-holes, Harrington sank a 15-foot par putt on the 72nd hole to beat Thanyakon Khrongpha of Thailand by two shots. It was his first win since the 2010 Johor Open, also on the Asian Tour.

He found the spark at Riviera last Saturday afternoon when a lot of players had called it a day. His post round explanation to PGA Tour Radio:


Meanwhile, it wasn't all Harrington. Daniel Berger nearly pulled off an historic comeback and Will Gray recounts Ian Poulter’s stunning collapse that leaves the Englishman (still) without a PGA Tour stroke play win.

The highlights, which don’t quite do justice to what an entertaining finish it was (and nice to have the livelier NBC team back delivering all of the little touches like showing actual golf swings and including cool sounds).

The clinching shot in the playoff by Harrington:

Monday
Mar022015

State Of The Game Podcast 52: Royal Melbourne & Riviera

With the golf at Royal Melbourne and Riviera witnessed by the hosts, we decided to talk about those fascinating weeks along with some Padraig at Honda talk.

It's certainly been an interesting few weeks of architecture, setup and the modern game colliding! As always you can subscribe on iTunes, listen here at the permalink or download the MP3.

Monday
Mar022015

Apple Hasn't Ruled Out The Golf Cart Business!

Ben Lovejoy at the best all-things-Apple news site 9to5mac picked up this about various Swiss filings related to possible automobiles and noted the inclusion of a lot of boilerplate stuff. Still, nice to see they haven't forgotten golf!

From the filing:

Vehicles; Apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water; electronic hardware components for motor vehicles, rail cars and locomotives, ships and aircraft; Anti-theft devices; Theft alarms for vehicles; Bicycles; Golf carts; Wheelchairs; Air pumps; Motorcycles; Aftermarket parts (after-market parts) and accessories for the aforesaid goods.

Monday
Mar022015

New Golf Channel Reality Show: Cross Country Golf, Almost

There is a grand tradition of cross country golf dares through the ages, though few examples of late with the threat of lawyers and public safety entering the picture.

Not long ago in Golf Digest I wrote about one of the nuttiest, coolest cross country players (Freddie Tait) and the attempts to replicate his feat by golfers at Royal St. Georges and Royal Cinque Ports. Jerry Tarde even predicted in his editor's column previewing the piece, "I think I see a smash Golf Channel event in the making."

Well it's not quite authentic cross country golf, but Golf Channel is trying a new reality show that takes elements of zany, cross-course play, but tries to speed things up. I always imagined the real fun of trying to navigate a weird way around a course would be most fascinating as players stop and mull their options (over the parking lot?), but the new Altered Course show will be done by young athletic types going as fast as they can. Can't say I'm excited about that part, but maybe it'll work.

The show is slated for this summer.

G.C. Digital's take on the new show and the full press release:

GOLF CHANNEL ANNOUNCES NEW COMPETITION SERIES, ALTERED COURSE

Teams to Compete on Extraordinary Hole Layouts Exceeding 700 Yards Requiring Daring Golf Shots, While Racing Against Time

Production for Series’ Inaugural Season Slated for Montego Bay, Jamaica, Premiering in Summer, 2015

ORLANDO, Fla., March 2, 2015 – Golf Channel announced today a new reality competition series, Altered Course, currently in production that combines golf, speed, fitness, teamwork and decision-making as teams navigate re-imagined and extreme golf holes in excess of 700 yards, traversing the natural obstacles and challenging terrain as fast as possible.

“Athleticism and fitness have taken on a much greater emphasis in golf in recent years, and as a result we are seeing more athletes coming up in the ranks of men’s and women’s golf,” said Keith Allo, Golf Channel vice president of programming development and original productions.  “Altered Course is taking this trend to a whole new level, rewarding teams that are the most physically fit and play the best golf.  The terrain and re-imagined golf holes will test their golf skills and challenge them both mentally and physically. Pace of play will not be an issue on Altered Course.”

The tournament-style competition series will feature eight two-person teams racing against the clock as they take on the twists and turns of these extreme golf holes – one Altered Course hole can incorporate upwards of three traditional golf holes – in an alternate-shot or scramble format.  Teams will be scored on both shots taken as well as time, with weekly eliminations leaving one team left standing as the champion of Altered Course.  To capture the action of this innovative format, Golf Channel will utilize Sony Action cameras and aerial footage to track the teams’ progress on each challenge, providing rarely-seen golf course camera angles.

Altered Course’s inaugural season will take place in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Filming will commence at the all-new Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall Resort, with the competition staged at two of Montego Bay’s premier courses, White Witch and Cinnamon Hill.  Kristen Kenney, pit reporter for the Red Bull Global RallyCross series on NBC and NBCSN, has been tabbed to host the inaugural season. Altered Course Montego Bay presented by Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva will premiere in summer, 2015.

For the series inaugural season, additional sponsors include Skechers GO GOLF as the official footwear provider, MusclePharm as the official nutritional supplement and Bushnell as the official range finder.

Monday
Mar022015

Nothing To See Here, Move Along Files: Tiger PED Suspension

I'm a little surprised how many people found even a shred of credibility in former tour player Dan Olsen's comments to Lansing, Michigan's WVFN-AM suggesting Tiger was serving a suspension for PED usage.

Besides the loopy description of his source (worth listening to just for the giggle), things crumbled fast when Olsen mentioned a one-month term. The interviewer should have asked if there was such thing in the PGA Tour's drug policy guidelines (there is not).

Anyway, this kind of stuff certainly will always be out there when Dr. Anthony Galea made 14 in-house visits, but you'd like to think WVFN would have been more discerning.

Olsen has retracted "the entire interview" and apologized to Tiger, Nike, Phil, Tim Finchem and Brian Williams. Well, four out of those five.

Steve DiMeglio of USA Today with agent Mark Steinberg's rebuttal, the PGA Tour's statement and Olsen's retraction.

"These claims are absolutely, unequivocally and completely false," agent Mark Steinberg said. "They are unsourced, unverified and completely ridiculous."

Olsen issued a retraction Monday on the web site of WVFN-AM in Lansing, Mich. "I retract the entire interview," Olsen said in a statement. "My comments were ill-advised. I want to apologize to Nike, the PGA Tour, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Tim Finchem."

There are some fun stories floating around about Olsen and the Commish. If I can get a couple of more sources, I'll do my best to share! But for now, he should go back to his birther and truther DG's.

Sunday
Mar012015

Video: Padraig Going Happy Gilmore With A Caveat...

I can see doing the Happy Gilmore thing as a footwork drill or to help with timing or any number of swing issues.

But with a rubber-band around the knees? While you're contending in a tour event? With people watching?Were all the straitjackets taken?

Here's Morning Drive's live range coverage of Padraig Harrington before his Honda Classic third round 71. Could this be another former multiple major winner in a few years?

Sunday
Mar012015

Freshen Your Remote Batteries: Rory’s Omega Ad May Run Another Six Months

Even though every golf fan has grown accustomed to leaping for their remote when Omega’s grating “Hall of Fame” ad relentlessly surfaces, it seems the Caddyshack gopher emerged from his hole to see his shadow.

You know what that means? We’ll have another six months of the Guantanamo-ready piece even though it had grown insufferable within days of its debut.

But as Golf News Net notes, if history is any gauge, we'll have another six months to detect some sort of hidden genius behind the campaign since Omega only does one golf ad a year.

Either way, please, please make sure you have fresh batteries all so you never experience the hitting the mute button only to find your remote has lost all juice from repeated MUTE use.

The problem is that the watchmaker only seems to make one ad each year, typically making a big splash associated with the PGA Championship. As a partner of the PGA of America, Omega gets a ton of commercial time, which leads to almost immediate ad fatigue. There’s only so many times someone can hear “Hall of fame!” screeched before you hit the Mute button, or, as with the Sergio Garcia ad the year prior, see a watch gear move quickly in sequence with the Spaniard’s swing before you wish for a digital watch more than anything.

Sunday
Mar012015

Lydia Grabs 10th Win, Now Has More Than Lexi/Wie...Combined

This unbylined AP story notes that Lydia Ko took her home nation's New Zealand Women's Open by four, giving her ten professional victories.

Zak Kozuchowski notes that this puts Lydia ahead of two very young greats...combined.

It was her 10th professional win, which includes six on the LPGA Tour, three on the Ladies European Tour and one on the ALPG Tour.

To compare, Wie has four LPGA Tour wins. Thompson also has four, as well as one win on the Ladies European Tour. Keep in mind that Wie and Thompson are a combined 11 years older than Ko.

Saturday
Feb282015

Tiger Is Done, Or A Majority Of People Seem To Think

Earlier this week I posed the poll question about the state of Tiger's game since reality understandably hadn't set in that it'll be a long time, if ever, before we see him play. And if he plays, it won't be anywhere near his once incredible level. And I understand the denial. It's lousy to not get to see someone making history, especially when juxtaposed with leaderboards infiltrated by Hermans and Strebs.

To recap your views (with nearly 1200 votes), 36% of you think we might see Tiger again but it'll just be more of the same (WD's, leaves of absence). 30% of you thought he'll come back and compete at a high level. And 29% feel he'll return but it'll be general mediocrity to weirdness from here on out for the former world No. 1.

With Jack Nicklaus set to make his traditional Honda Classic booth appearance Sunday, the Augusta Chronicle's Scott Michaux begs the press to stop asking Mr. Nicklaus the question because "Tiger Woods is not going to catch Jack Nicklaus on the major scorecard."

There might come a day – perhaps when Woods is 50 and still stuck on 14, 15 or (if he’s really lucky) 16 major wins – when an 80-something Nicklaus admits Tiger doesn’t have a chance. But for now there’s still no other acceptable answer for the legend to give. To answer any other way would be undignified.

Deep down, however, we all know that Nicklaus doesn’t really believe Woods can catch him. Nobody who has seen Woods chip and putt like a 20-handicap golfer when he’s not wincing and withdrawing with another back twinge or deactivated glute can possibly believe that he is capable of winning, starting at age 39, as many majors as Phil Mickelson and Seve Ballesteros have in their whole careers.

Frankly, it’s time we all accept it and stop forcing Nicklaus to be disingenuous by asking him the same question over and over again almost seven years after the parameters last changed.

Greg Norman was more blunt in his assessment of Woods during a Today Show appearance, saying he doubts we'll see a comeback. Ryan Ballengee at Yahoo with the quotes and video.

"Mentally he's a little unraveled," Norman said.

“Imagine with what we’ve seen since December of last year, with his short game [and] chipping," Norman continued. "Imagine standing over the back of the 12th green at Augusta National, and you’ve got to chip it down there, Rae’s Creek right in front of you, or the back of the 15th of Augusta National . . . all those gremlins are going to be sitting in his head.”

Jon McCarthy in the Toronto Sun talked to Sean Foley about all things tour instructor, and the Canadian teacher suggested in the nicest possible way that Tiger just doesn’t work that hard at his game because he loves his kids.

“The golf world doesn’t want that, but he’s my friend, and to watch him with his kids, he’s easily one of the most patient fathers I have ever seen,” Foley said.

Saturday
Feb282015

Epic First World Disaster: Seminole Pro-Member May Lose Key Members Of The White Belt Set

Biblical rains (five inches!?) washed out the Honda Classic third round, or as I've heard a number of times, the real start of the PGA Tour season. Nice start!

The rains wiped out all sorts of tournament elements like the 18th hole scoreboard, leaving a massive clean-up effort for Sunday morning, with play scheduled to resume at 10 am ET.

Considering the air bubble that came up on the 18th green, that time frame may be optimistic.

But this is the first world and most could only think about the players now finishing the Honda on Monday and as Gary Van Sickle points out, missing the chance to hang with Seminole's most esteemed members in the annual closed-to-the-public member pro.

Last year the Pro-Member included six of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Meanwhile back at PGA National, PGA Tour caddies (some are suing the PGA Tour and claiming issues with working conditions...), took to Twitter to point out that some things never change in golf: loopers are not allowed in the clubhouse, even when their only shelter is a steel roofed thing while violent storms rain down on the course. Alex Myers with the Tweet roundup that included tournament contender Luke Donald bringing the matter to light.

Will Gray also has a few more tweets on the issue.

Video of the carnage:

Friday
Feb272015

Match Play Moving To Austin, Taking Down Bay Hill With It!

Doug Ferguson puts the finishing touches on the rumored move of the WGC Match Play to Austin for new sponsor Dell.

The venue, Austin Country Club, should be great fun for match play theatrics (dreadful for spectators, players will cry foul, but there will be many wonderful blimp shots). Particularly if Pete Dye's riverside holes are used as the closing stretch. Either way, it's a fascinating choice and one driven by the sponsor and the chance to go to a thriving city.

What I love most about this news?

The west coast swing was already hurt by moving the match play as its anchor event. But now the PGA Tour is going to move this to a March date situated between Bay Hill and the Shell Houston Open. This could hurt Bay Hill's field and makes clear the PGA Tour is far more excited about closing the deal on a new sponsor rather than being considerate of the ones they already have. Because as much as we love having match play, raining on Arnold Palmer's parade in any way seems mildly rude, if not downright short-sighted.

Good to know it wasn't just an anti-west coast swing thing!

Thursday
Feb262015

No Joke Tiger: Jenkins Wins GWAA Award For Fake Q&A

When you're not hot, you're not hot.

Tiger's apology-demanding Players Tribune epic will be the piece we look to years from now as the genuine piece of writing craftsmanship. Sort of his All The Presidents Men to Jenkins' Rocky. But the judges of the mysterious and morbid Golf Writers Association of America writing contest have spoken: the controversial Dan Jenkins Q&A parody that so upset Team Tiger won the Non-Daily Column division. Jenkins edged boss Jerry Tarde, whose remembrance of Frank Hannigan took second.

While the awards contained the usual tilt sprinkling of death and destruction, an appreciation for strip clubs, drug suspensions and little beyond the professional game also defined the 2014 winners. Congrats to all. I'd provide links to the pieces but GoGo has its limitations.

2015 GWAA WRITING CONTEST RESULTS

The following is a full list of the winners, including honorable mentions.
There were 466 entries in the 2014 contest

DAILY COLUMNS – 1, Jim McCabe, Golfweek.com Vet credits Casper for life; 2, Bill Fields, billfields.net, A driver makes another trip; 3, Gary D’Amato, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, One more round with dad.

Honorable mention: Ron Green Jr., Global Golf Post, The great ones find a way; Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.com, Ike’s Tree leaves legacy;  Beth Ann Nichols, golfweek.com, Compton finds Open fame.

DAILY NEWS – 1, Bob Harig, ESPN.com, Ryder Cup meeting turns ugly; 2, Ryan Lavner, Golfchannel.com , Kaymer dominates U.S. Open; 3 (tie)  Dave Shedloski, Golfdigest.com  Bubba wins in China; and Mike Stachura, Golfdigest.com, If you’re a fan of integrity.

Honorable mention: Michael Bamberger, Golf.com, Johnson suspended after drug test; Ron Borges, Boston Herald, Phil can’t stop Rory’s rise; Randall Mell, Golfchannel.com , Wie’s scars define her journey.

DAILY FEATURES – 1, Helen Ross, PGATOUR.com, Lyle reclaims his life; 2, Ian O’Connor, ESPN.com, The man who gave Compton life; 3, Alan Shipnuck, Golf.com, Team USA needs a change.

Honorable mention: John Boyette, Augusta Chronicle, Ike’s Tree rooted in tradition; Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune, Golf is refuge for burn victim; Helen Ross, PGATOUR.com, Rallying around Isaiah.

NON-DAILY COLUMNS – 1, Dan Jenkins, Golf Digest, My fake interview with Tiger; 2, Jerry Tarde, Golf Digest, Hannigan shook things up; 3,  Alan Shipnuck, Sports Illustrated, The case for Johnny Miller.

Honorable mention: Jaime Diaz, Golf World, Bubba as the great liberator; Scott Michaux, Virginia Golfer,  Ryder Cup task force; Jeff Neuman, Met Golfer, The myth of protecting par; Jeff Rude, Golfweek, Bubba strikes again.

NON-DAILY NEWS -- 1. Alan Shipnuck, Sports Illustrated, Anthony Kim, MIA; 2, Jim Moriarty, Golf World, Bubba wins 2nd Masters; 3, Adam Schupak, Golfweek, Spieth learns on fast track.

Honorable mention: Michael Bamberger, Sports Illustrated, You say you want a revolution; Alan Shipnuck, Sports Illustrated, Wie is happy at last; Ron Sirak, Golf World, Mighty special.

NON-DAILY FEATURES -- 1. Ron Whitten, Golf World , How Pinehurst got its groove back; 2. Alan Shipnuck, Sports Illustrated ,Tiger and the drop; 3, Gary Van Sickle, Memorial Tournament Magazine, Matt Kuchar's odyssey.

Honorable mention: Michael Bamberger, Sports Illustrated, Legend of Will McKenzie; Tom Callahan, Golf Digest , Watson's last hurrah; Tom Callahan, Golf Digest, Most interesting men in the world.

SPECIAL PROJECTS – 1, Alan Shipnuck, Sports Illustrated, Greatest U.S. Open ever; 2, Scott Michaux, Augusta Chronicle, Adam Scott, one for Australia; 3. Mercer Baggs, Alan Tays, Jason Sobel, Ryan Reiterman, Jason Crook, Bailey Mosier, Jack Menta, Jay Coffin, Golfchannel.com, Arnie: man, myth, legend.

Honorable mention – Rex Hoggard, Golfchannel.com, Jarrod Lyle’s remarkable journey; Ron Sirak, Golf Digest, The failed USGA coup; Gene Wojciechowski and Bob Harig, ESPN.com, Miracle or meltdown at Medinah, Sept. 24

Thursday
Feb262015

Champions Tour Storyline Pairing To Look For: Vijay & Calc

While Vijay Singh is still showns of life on the PGA Tour--at least until he starts chipping crosshanded--the litigious one is still busy paying lawyers to depose 13 witnesses to date, according to SI's Pete Madden.

Included in the list of those deposed is fellow Champions Tour player Mark Calcaveccia and another unnamed geezer. Though Calc hasn't made a start in 2015, the two are bound to inevitably end up in the same event. Then we'll find out if the rules staff has a sense of humor!

From Madden's report:

According to documents made public this week, Singh deposed two Champions Tour golfers, including 1989 British Open winner Mark Calcavecchia, in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour alleging "disparate treatment" following his admitted use of deer-antler spray, which contained IGF-1, a banned substance under the Tour's Anti-Doping Program Manual. The PGA Tour said Singh wants to depose as many as nine more players on the senior tour even though the court's Jan. 30 deposition deadline has passed.

Maybe this is why his joy and happiness is out on the regular tour taking up starts from flatbellies? When all of the depositions are in it'll be hard not to be paired with someone your lawyer undoubtedly grilled.

Thursday
Feb262015

Defunct Back9Network's State Loans Were Deferred...

The Hartford Courant's Mara Lee filed a more extensive story on the demise of Back9Network, revealed Monday. To paraphrase Eddie from America's Sweethearts, sometimes you look at a network and wonder, where did the money go?

Back9's state funding is part of the story, and just how little they paid back to Connecticut adds to questions about the supposed $40 million the network claimed to have raised.

Back9 said it has raised more than $40 million in startup capital. That includes more than $5 million from the state Department of Economic and Community Development. It first received a $100,000 grant and $250,000 loan from the Small Business Express program, and then received two more loans under the Manufacturers' Assistance Act program, a program that is open to far more than manufacturers. The first loan was in 2012 for $750,000, and the second loan was in 2013 for $4 million.

The company has not paid any interest back on the largest loan, because payments were deferred until 2017 and 2018. On the smaller loan, it pays $1,850 monthly.

Under the agreements for the loans, if the company defaults, the state can take all its equipment, bank accounts and accounts receivables.

Thursday
Feb262015

Lydia Ko Files: She Funds Volunteer Parties, Too!

Thanks to reader Michael for one final note on Lydia Ko's impressive Australian Women's Open win last weekend.

From the keyboard of Mark Hayes, a confirmed report by Royal Melbourne chief Paul Rak of a professional golfer acknowledging volunteers. Shocking stuff indeed:

Ko wandered up the clubhouse stairs to make her last brief scheduled stop at the champion’s cocktail party, then quietly slipped an envelope containing $500 into the hands of assistant GM Andrea Watson to kickstart the staff’s “after-party”.

It was the New Zealander’s way of saying thanks to all those who almost anonymously helped make her triumph so memorable on one of her favourite courses.

But Rak said it was the ultimate in class acts.

“I’ve worked in the golf industry for 40 years and I’ve never heard of anything like that – especially from a 17-year-old,” he said.