Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
    Sports Media Group
  • 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
  • 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
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford

Undulation is the soul of golf. H.N. WETHERED

 

  

Tuesday
Aug232005

Elite Clubs Hosting Majors

newportccrough.jpgChris Baldwin at Travelgolf asks if elite golf clubs should be rewarded with majors. He uses 2006 U.S. Women's Open site Newport Country Club as his prime example.

While I sympathize with Baldwin's point, I also can't wait to see Newport.

newportclubhouse.jpg If there were more quality public venues available for majors it might be a different story. But ultimately, we want to see the best courses. Don't we?


Tuesday
Aug232005

Merion Day 2

merion logo.gifThe scores in round 2 at Merion were through the roof, so the USGAers must be happy. They put those flat bellies in their place. Except James Lepp. 

Ken Klavon has notes from round two of the U.S. Amateur. No pace of play report today.
Tuesday
Aug232005

Mr. Sand Man

Now posted is my Golfdom feature story on Jeff Bradley, Coore and Crenshaw's bunker guru.

7 fairway before.jpg9 greenside bunker.jpg

Monday
Aug222005

Bridging The Divide Between Panelists and a  Ranking

JEJU ISLAND, SOUTH KOREA--Armed with call waiting for over a year now, the task of fending off public relations gurus has been made easier. 

But then I realized what I was missing: an all-expense paid trip to visit South Korea's The Club at Nine Bridges.

After turning down two offers (one in person, one when I picked the phone up by accident), I decided to say yes because if nothing else, I've always wanted to see Jeju Island in the summer monsoon season. So here I am, blogging to you live from Jeju, safely off the coast of South Korea and well out of reach of projectiles controlled by Kim Jong iI (well, I'm not really here and they're not really out of Jong il's reach).

Making the 21-hour flight just a bit longer was news I read in the September Golf Magazine (not linkable yet). While trying to set my new speed record for fastest ever flip-through of a Golf Magazine instruction section, I stopped to read that The Club at Nine Bridges cracked the latest installment of the once credible Golf Magazine "Top 100 Courses in the World."

Nine Bridges's 95th spot in the World 2005 ranking comes after a relentless PR firm based in Los Angeles spent years suggesting to writers and panelists that they should come visit this Ron Fream masterpiece. Imagine the coincidence! And you'd think one of the panelists was the former founder of a well known club company who served as the honorary chair of an event at Nine Bridges, all the while asking other panelists to visit. Or some such thing!

But you see, anyone who has played masterworks like Carmel Mountain Ranch or Desert Falls knows that Fream is a misunderstood genius. And in the case of Nine Bridges, it takes a special talent to create something out of just $100 million. (Though I bet Fream had much less than $100 million to work with since some of the money had to pay for panelists and writers to visit the course! People, come on, priorities!) 

The piece de resistance came when reading in the magazine that none other than Chi Chi Rodriguez--keen observer of all things cultural--described Nine Bridges as the Taj Mahal of golf.

Now that says it all, don't you think?

Monday
Aug222005

Round One at Merion

merion logo.gifThey'll be jumping for joy in Merionland...scores were astronomically high on the East Course so it must be Open worthy! I'm afraid to think what they resorted to in order to produce such high scores.

Ken Klavon at USGA.org has the gory details, including the 5-hour-plus-pace of play.

Monday
Aug222005

Tiger is Back

tigerteeingoffnissan.jpgSI's Gary Van Sickle, who has often questioned Tiger's swing changes, says Tiger has his "mojo back" because he has regained his distance advantage.
The worse news, at least for his competition, is that he's swinging his driver the best of his career, in his own opinion. And he's hitting it longer than a Pauley Shore movie. At Firestone last week, the tour's ShotLink stats show that Woods blasted 41 of 54 tee shots more than 300 yards. Granted, almost half of the driving holes are downhill -- the steep 16th, for instance, yielded a dizzying batch of 400-yard plus drives. Also, Woods didn't use driver on probably nine of the holes. He averaged 317.2 yards off the tee on all of the holes. Take those non-driver tee shots out of the equation and you've got a scary number -- I don't have a calculator handy but trust me, it's huge. He smashed 24 drives in excess of 330, 14 more than 350 and seven beyond 370.
Meanwhile Ron Sirak joins the chorus saying that Tiger's return to Orlando on PGA Sunday was a monumental blunder and rather un-Tiger-like. Jim Nantz and Lanny Wadkins also discussed the issue during Sunday's World Championship telecast, with Nantz summing it up as "bizarre."
Sunday
Aug212005

What A Difference A Week Makes...

PGA Tour logo.jpgThe updated PGA Tour driving distance stats showed another week of gains, with the entire Tour picking up a yard on average. Now, Firestone was firm and Reno was played well above sea level, skewing the numbers just as the soft conditions during the first half of the season impacted the averages. (The early season decline didn't stop many from pointing the 7-yard dip as a sign that the USGA had control of the equipment).

This week's jump, based on just 8 drives:

  • Tiger went from 313. 8 yards to 315.2 (he finished last year at 301.9)
  • Kenny Perry went from 302.8 to 304.1
  • John Daly (looking svelte these days) went from 307.0 to 308.5
  • Sergio Garcia went from 300.4 to 301.9
  • Davis Love from 302.3 to 304.3 (but he can't hit a 1-iron from 238!?)

But the 2005 average has now just barely surpassed the 2004 average. Without deluges during the first half of the season, might we have seen a year-long distance increase significant enough to fall under the definition of the USGA/R&A Joint Statement of Principles?

Now to the Joint Statement, which was issued May 1, 2002. Here's the key line: usga logo.gif

The R&A and the USGA believe, however, that any further significant increases in hitting distances at the highest level are undesirable. Whether these increases in distance emanate from advancing equipment technology, greater athleticism of players, improved player coaching, golf course conditioning or a combination of these or other factors, they will have the impact of seriously reducing the challenge ofra_header_title.jpg the game. The consequential lengthening or toughening of courses would be costly or impossible and would have a negative effect on increasingly important environmental and ecological issues. Pace of play would be slowed and playing costs would increase.
The median PGA Tour drive has increased nearly 7 yards since 2002.  Several players have gradually picked up substantial yardage (Sergio: 278.3 in 2000, 290.5 in 2002, 301.9 in 2005) while others have made the big jump this year (Davis Love 288.7 in 2000, 287.7 in 2002, 304.3 in 2005).

So ultimately for the USGA, R&A and PGA Tour, it all depends on what the significance of "significant" is.

Sunday
Aug212005

Flogging at Firestone?

WGCNEC05logo.gifFairways have been narrowed so much at Firestone that it's hard to even tell when the players are flogging! Because maybe they really aren't flogging it down there when the landing area is firm, 25 yards wide and sloped.

Firestone's bowling alleys for the NEC World Championship event seemed to negate the need to worry about staying in the short grass.

Note to setup people:can't have firm fairways that are only 25 yards wide. It's goofy. You get train wreck golf like we saw Sunday. Either widen them out and firm them up, or soften them if you want to have stupid looking slivers for landing areas.

The highlight was Tiger bombing it into the trees right on 18 and after the shot, looking perfectly content with his position. (While Steve Williams rudely yammered away in his ear as Kenny Perry was about to take his tee shot back. Steve sure is chatty these days!)

Tiger didn't look the least bit concerned that he was in the trees. Because after all, he was so close to the green and would surely have enough of an opening to advance it on.

Remember the old days when he wowed us by hitting 8s and 9s into 18! What was that, 3 years ago? I look forward to watching in try to drive it in the 2007 Bridgestone World Golf Championship.

Of the Top 12 finishers (each securing a T9), only one averaged under 300 yards for the week (David Toms at 297). Only four of those top 12 players hit over 60% of their fairways, with Tiger finishing last among the top finishers, hitting 50% of his fairways.

Again, it appeared that the player who actually worried about hitting fairways would need to be carted away in a straitjacket by Sunday. Over four days, it just seems pointless to waste so much energy on tee shot accuracy when the fairways are so difficult to hit.

Tiger was asked afterwards about his flogging, which he oddly denied this week to tout his driving accuracy.
Q. Can I follow up briefly and just ask you, DiMarco was in here talking about the style of play that's being played out there now and it's so much of a power game. I know you're trying to hit the fairway. Do you worry less about hitting the fairway because of how far you hit it?

TIGER WOODS: You know, I have so much more confidence now in my driving ability than I ever have in my career. I pull out driver on every hole because I know I can put the ball in the fairway. I've never had that ability before. If you look at my days when I had some good years there, I was always hitting 2 irons off the tee and 3 woods and trying to get the ball in play. Now I know I can drive the ball. Look at how well I drove it this week. I hit some bad shots, yes, but they're not like they used to be. As far as I'm hitting it and as many fairways as I'm hitting and as many balls that end up in the fairway and roll through, that was never the case before. I've never had so much confidence to be able to pull out driver. I did it at Baltusrol, I did it here, and I've done it at major championships, and that's cool.

Q. But you don't worry about it if you miss fairways?

TIGER WOODS: Because I feel like I'm not. That's the big difference. That wasn't always the case.
Ah hah! He feels like he's not missing fairways. Here's what DiMarco said after the round.
Q. Tiger got in trouble half a dozen or eight times during this tournament. He just hit an amazing shot to get back in it. When you watch it do you applaud it or is it frustrating to watch?

CHRIS DiMARCO: I don't know if it's frustrating to watch, but I mean, it's the same thing that happens that we've been talking about for weeks and weeks. If you miss fairways by 15 yards, you usually have a lie. If you miss the fairway by a yard, you're usually chipping out. If you look at the way everybody at the PGA last week played coming down the stretch, they were ripping it, hitting it as far as they could, hoping they could chop it on the green somehow and make birdie. That's not how we're used to playing majors. I am, but those guys aren't. I have to because I'm chipping out but then I'm hitting a 60 yard shot after that.

Sunday
Aug212005

Commissioner, The One Thing We've Talked About...

drive to a billion logo.jpg...is the distance issue. Right? Naw. During the NEC's final round Art of the Monotone demonstration by Commissioner Tim Finchem, CBS's Jim Nantz appeared to be headed for a question about the most talked about issue in the game. What was I thinking?
JIM NANTZ: Commissioner, one thing we've talked about really on every one of our telecasts this year...is this remarkable Drive to a Billion. You can't shout it loud enough for the sports fan for it to maybe sink in.
Finchem went on to predict (admirably) that this was a product of the efforts of the individual tournaments, and that the Tour will reach the billion dollar mark this year (gosh, you think it'll be the Tour Championship?).  Nantz then asked if Finchem had any "special memories" of 2005 to this point.
TIM FINCHEM: We had such a great start with the media focus on the "Big 4." And three of those guys have won four times each. And of course Ernie is laid up now which is very sad for the President's Cup not to have Ernie [very nice plug]. But you know I think that there have been so many playoffs, so many tournaments coming to the last hole, that has been terrific this year. It's really helped keep viewers at home tuned into the telecasts.

And the other thing I think is more and more really good young athletic players are coming. These young guys are really something and there seems to be more and more of them every year. And they're good, attractive, positive thinking young men that I think will add a lot to what the PGA Tour is going to be about for the next 20 years.
The only time he broke from his monotone was to emphasize the first of three "young" mentions.

Sunday
Aug212005

Narrowing the Old Course

In John Huggan's 2005 major review, he also asks...

In the absence of legislation on the ball, who can forget the sight of long grass surrounding many of the Old Course's bunkers this past summer?

Or the ridiculous sight of a St Andrews Open being played from tees not even within the confines of the host course?
To illustrate the absurdity of "fairway contours" on the Old Course, Tommy Naccarato took Alister MacKenzie's drawing of the 14th with its A-B-C-D strategic options, and updated it for today's setup.  The shaded area in grey highlights the 2005 Open fairway contour. Note the location of this year's off-property tee.

OldCourse#14 small.jpg
Original Drawing by Alister MacKenzie, Update by Tommy Naccarato

Sunday
Aug212005

2005 Majors In Review

John Huggan reflects on the 2005 majors and wonders if we're being cheated by not getting to see Tiger and friends playing certain shots, or playing courses as they were designed to be played.

Still, though it is difficult to take one's eyes off a charging Tiger, the nagging feeling persists that technological advances in the ball and clubs actually prevent him from showing us his full shot-making repertoire. Yes, he can win by blasting away from the tee and wedging onto the greens from basically anywhere, but imagine how great it would be to watch the best-ever shaping shots into more distant targets. That he may never be asked to do just that is a source of lasting regret.

Indeed, the lengths - pardon the pun - to which the four major-running bodies of Augusta National, United States Golf Association, Royal & Ancient and PGA of America are forced to go to in order to keep scores within an acceptable range are becoming laughable. Not only are the game's best courses being stretched to breaking point by ever-longer balls and clubs, but their original design values and strategic questions are being lost amid a flurry of heavy rough and increasingly silly pin positions.

Saturday
Aug202005

Kostis: Shortsighted Criticism (Of His Bosses)

cbs.jpgGolfonline's Peter Kostis defends his bosses at CBS and the PGA of America for the Sunday PGA tee-time boondoggle.

Everyone is going to roll the dice when you win nine times out of 10, and the PGA of America is no exception. That's why the stream of criticism directed at them and my employer, CBS Sports, is so shortsighted.
Hey, full disclosure. It's a beautiful thing, isn't it?

The writers who feel that money is not be a part of the equation should be reminded of stories they have written that were dropped from publications because there weren't enough advertising pages to compensate for the editorial pages.
Whew, what an analogy! The golf writers of the world will really $ee the light after that zinger!
But it's naïve to suggest that the PGA and CBS should forego their business plan because of an uncertain weather forecast. When you start aiming at a moving target like that, you end up on the wrong side of 90 percent.
Uncertain weather forecast? It was on everyone's mind Saturday night, and as Tom Mackin, Kostis's colleague at Golfonline reported (and I'll link it yet again), as early as Friday the PGA's on site forecasters were very worried about the possiblity of severe weather Sunday.

The PGA wants to be taken seriously as an organization and it has worked hard to ensure that its event  maintains or even improves its standing as a major. They put all of that on the line for a Nielson bump, a rerun of 60 Minutes and someone's "business plan."

If the PGA Championship's credibility is diminished, then the PGA and CBS lose a lot more than a few rating points. They eventually lose their major. Because a May Players Championship is going to look better and better if the PGA of America emphasizes greed over the good of the game.

Saturday
Aug202005

Steve Williams Ball Incident**

nyt-paper.gifI didn't pay much attention to the PGA episode with Steve Williams possibly stepping on Tiger's ball during Thursday's first round. But then Bob Verdi reported some Williams comments in the new Golf World that caught my eye. Wondering if it strikes you as red-flag worthy as well?
"Tiger's angry about this and so am I. He's under the microscope more than anybody. Me, I take great pride in my work. Kirsty [Williams' wife] is pregnant. She's going to have a boy. I'll be a father for the first time. You think I could live with it if I wasn't honest about this? Golf is a game of honor and respect. For anybody to question Tiger's and my integrity, that's not right."
Williams is referring to a report in the Newark Star Ledger where writer Kevin Manahan wrote:
In the scramble to find Woods' ball near a creek at the bottom of the fairway, Williams was the only person near the spot where he eventually found the ball, embedded in the ground. And, during the search, just before he found the ball, Williams was walking along the creek's bank when he made a step and quickly appeared to pull back his foot -- perhaps as if he had stepped on something. He then located the ball.
Notice in the comments to Verdi that Williams called on the dreaded wife+baby-on-the-way=honorable defense to shield him from questions about the episode. That's from page 1 of the modern day corporate crisis management model. Only Williams heaves Nikon's into lakes. He's not some gray suit-wearing CEO.
"And if I did step on it and Tiger had signed an incorrect scorecard, he'd have been disqualified. Does anybody think I would risk my reputation or Tiger's if there was even a doubt? Evidently, the paper here and The Golf Channel think so, because they had me guilty."
Thanks to reader Jeff for pointing out that Selena Roberts in the New York Times wrote about the episode in her Sunday, August 14 column (speed is not always the strength of this web site!):
As the uncivilized bouncer on the golf course, the churlish Steve Williams will hurl a fan's Nikon into a water hazard if its shutter clicks during the precious backswing of Tiger Woods.He would do anything to protect Woods, but would Williams give himself up? If Williams had been the culprit - and not a fan, cameraman or marshal, as he contended - Woods would have been penalized an additional stroke beyond the one he took for declaring the ball unplayable.

An added stroke, and the scorecard he signed would have been incorrect, meaning disqualification. An added stroke, and sponsors, TV executives and tournament officials would have headed home in a Buick carpool of tears. Williams didn't help prop up his version of the event by telling The Star-Ledger: "Even if I did step on it, it's not a penalty. Not in a hazard."

First problem, he was wrong about the rules. Any player whose caddie steps on his ball is guilty of a violation. But more important, the "even if" comment creates room for doubt as to whether it was Williams or horse-hoofed gremlins that stomped Woods's ball into the earth's core. Not even Woods believed the ball embedded itself, but he did not believe it was his caddie's fault.

Certainly, Williams should not be condemned without evidence, but the situation does illuminate how golf's integrity is founded on a guilty conscience. But what's worse, ratting out yourself as a golfer or penalizing your boss as his caddie?

Given Williams's impenetrable loyalty to Woods, it may not be too far-fetched to wonder if he was covering for himself to protect Tiger. That's what Williams does for a living. As if Tiger has never played on a municipal course next to a firehouse or alehouse, Williams demands absolute silence from galleries, photographers, blimps and, if given the chance, migrating geese overhead. He also acts as bodyguard, training partner and best friend. Williams is the intimidating caretaker of the PGA Tour's golden one. But did he make authorities blink?

Officials viewed the tape of the incident and found there was no evidence of any person stepping on the ball - they questioned everyone from marshals to spectators - but no one directly asked Williams if he was at fault. There was no inquisition because, as the P.G.A. Championship spokeswoman Rebecca Szmukler said: "It's an honor thing. It would be up to him to come forward." Honor is at the heart of golf - no matter how insignificant the whiff, lie or scorecard error seems.
**Reader George questioned the articles above (and my posting them a week after the fact...fair point). He suggested that  Tiger's remarks needed to be included in this tale since they do tell a different story. I agree:
Q. Did you think there was any possibility that Stevie might have stepped on the ball yesterday?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I saw the videotape just like all you guys saw, and if you look at it, he walks three steps closer to actually point out the golf ball, so he wasn't even near it. It's just one of those things where unfortunately the ball was embedded in there somehow. We don't know whether it was a marshal who did it five minutes ago, prior to that, or it was some photographer, it was some marshal, it was some we don't know, that's the thing. We don't know.

Q. But you're certain it wasn't him?

TIGER WOODS: No, he wasn't walking in the hazard. He was walking out of the hazard and the ball was in the hazard.

Saturday
Aug202005

If I Had Tiger's Money They'd Never Find Me

merion logo.gifMike Kern in the Philadelphia Daily News catches up with Chris Patton, the heavyset 1989 U.S. Amateur Champion at Merion.
For one week in August 16 years ago, Patton owned the sport. The 6-1 Clemson senior, who made Craig Stadler look like Richard Simmons, came to Merion as a relative unknown and left with a place in history. He won the U.S. Amateur, beating another surprise, 32-year-old Danny Green, in the 36-hole final, 3 and 1. Phil Mickelson and Jay Sigel were among the favorites that year.

It made for great copy. The Amateur returns to Merion next week for the first time since then. Patton's story will be replayed. He had never seen the course before. He has never been back. His caddie, Chris Stout, had never seen it before, either. "So we're standing on the tee," Patton said at the time, "and I ask him what the hole does, and he says, 'I don't really know.' So right away, I'm thinking this ain't too great. But he turned out to be a big help. I really appreciated him pushing me along. Together, we sort of figured it out."
And my favorite line from Patton:
"You know, if I had Tiger's money," he confides, "they'd never find me."
Frank Fitzpatrick in the Philadelphia Inquirer writes about another U.S. Amateur winner at Merion, Bobby Jones.

Saturday
Aug202005

The Golf Gene

nyt-paper.gifNY Times columnist John Tierney writes about "The Golf Gene." He theorizes on why men are drawn to golf, why women are not and he touches on his experiences in disc golf.

Basically, he's trying to do a Maureen Dowd anthropological/pop culture/Freudian analysis column, minus the wit.

Friday
Aug192005

Fast and Fiery

Lawrence Donegan writes from Firestone about Paul McGinley's fine play and his thoughts on course setup.

Paul McGinley, one of the more thoughtful members of the professional circuit and therefore one of the more strident critics of the obsession with ever longer courses, sounded like a man who had found nirvana yesterday and not just because he shot a four-under-par 66 to vault up the leaderboard at the NEC Invitational here. Firestone Country Club, built in 1929 as a recreational facility for the workers at the eponymous rubber company, is an old-style course, its narrow fairways lined with matured trees and its greens defended by subtle slopes. At 7,360 yards it is not particularly long by PGA tour standards, yet with the average score for the first two rounds at a fraction below 72 - two over par - it is one of the more troublesome.
What does it say when 7,360 yards is "not particularly long by PGA Tour standards?"
"That's because the course is playing fast and fiery," the Irishman said. "Why don't people get it into their heads that the way to stop technology is not necessarily holding the ball back. Let's find a way of making the courses fast and fiery like it was today. That way length isn't so important; then ball control becomes important; course management becomes a factor; keeping the ball below the pin as well."
Sadly Paul, most in golf think that fast and fiery is bad because such conditions merely shorten courses. The other benefits (premium on placement, variety of shots, accuracy, introduction of temptation, etc...) just don't outweigh the desire to prevent the occassional 350 yard drive. Of course, the players carry it so far now (thanks to those workout programs) that the 350 yard drives are all carry and no roll! 

Friday
Aug192005

Rough Raking

If you want a good laugh, go to the 2005 PGA's official site and click on the home page link to "Launch Photo Gallery." 

Once there, look to the right side of your screen and select images for Sunday, Round 4. The first image in the upper left of the thumbnail gallery is a shot of one of the volunteers proudly raking the rough. You can't make this stuff up!

Friday
Aug192005

Rangefinder Update

Jeff Shelman in the Minneapolis Star Tribune regurgitates the Laser Link press package while writing about founder Michael Plitman's quest to speed up play (and sell $240 devices to golfers). Shelman does have some new information on the reported USGA-R&A agreement first reported by Jim Achenbach in Golfweek: not yet.

Last week, officials from the USGA and the Royal and Ancient Golf Association -- the game's governing body outside of the United States -- met in Kohler, Wis. Changing Rule 14-3b was one of the items discussed. Plitman is confident that the rule will be changed effective Jan. 1, but it has yet to be announced.
He also notes:
Golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer both have a share in the company, and the range finder is installed on their home courses.

Friday
Aug192005

It's All About The Brand...

Larry Stewart in the LA Times talks to Mark Shapiro, ESPN's executive vice president of programming and production. Shapiro is leaving the network and is known to not be a big fan of golf. Tim Finchem probably won't be shedding many tears. But more importantly, the ESPN brand will be losing a dear friend in Shapiro:

"Yes, I have a great job. I love my job. I love my boss. I love my employees, I love the ESPN brand.

"I'm leaving for a bigger and better opportunity. We are trying to take over a theme-park company that is seriously underperforming.

"At ESPN, I was in the entertainment business. My aim was to raise ratings and strengthen the brand. At Six Flags, I'll be trying to improve attendance and strengthen the brand."
Friday
Aug192005

Schneider in Golf World

The lead to Stu Schneider's Golf World PGA TV column:

Now I know why that new Kyra Sedgwick cop show was promoted so often during the PGA on TNT. On the first show, Gary McCord, David Feherty and Bobby Clampett guest star as suspects in the murder of the English language.