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  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • 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
  • 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
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    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

Royal Melbourne retains a beautiful, hearty, natural look which, in the way of competition, plays very glassy. It takes eternal vigilance in greenkeeping to maintain such a gem as Royal Melbourne…I was familiar with the great Claude Crockford , the superintendent of the course in my era, who neatly summed it up for me one day when he said, "You in America try to grow grass. We try to keep it from growing here." He was light years ahead of most people in his field. BEN CRENSHAW




Tiger Breaks Away From Ryder Cup Task Force To Hit Balls Again

Steve DiMeglio with the exclusive news that Tiger Woods has taken time away from his duties as part of the Ryder Cup task force Task Force where he is said to not be sitting in the back making paper airplanes, all to start working on his game and listening to his doctors. Whoever they are.

From DiMeglio's USA Today report:

"The doctors said he could hit golf balls again, and he's listening to his doctors and to his body," Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, told USA TODAY Sports on Monday. "He will keep listening to his doctors and body."

Steinberg's text to's Bob Harig also reiterated the "still listening to his doctors" line, which an otherwise skeptical person might believe is not a coincidence.

Woods is targeting a return at his Hero World Challenge in December, where another strong field will be showing up.


Golden Bear Defends Jameis, Too

On Morning Drive Monday we talked about Jack Nicklaus defending old pal Tom Watson's forgettable Ryder Cup captaincy. Being that they are pals, the Golden Bear's defense of his old pal was certainly understandable.

But then there's Florida State football, where Nicklaus' grandson is on the defending national championship squad, compelling the Golden Bear to defend quarterback Jameis Winston's autograph signing, admittedly, the least offensive of the QB's various actions over the last two years that have seen sexual assault allegations derailed by investigative errors and well, whatever this was about.

Tom D'Angelo reports:

“I just hate to see them hammering a 20-year-old kid,” Nicklaus said. “Has he made mistakes? Maybe. But you’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, I think. Not charged and convicted and sentenced.

“I wonder how many autographs I have out there. Every game I go to I sign, probably 20 or 25 (people) and four or five each. Start adding that up. And he’s a lot more available than I am. He’s not the only kid with a couple thousand out there. A bunch of those kids have to have a couple thousand.”

Here's guessing Mr. Nicklaus passed on the recent NY Times piece on FSU.


Rory Taking A Few Weeks Off To Spend More Preparing For Trial

An unbylined Irish Independent story says this weekend's mediation failed and therefore Rory McIlroy has decided to take time off for a few weeks to prepare for a trial in February.  McIlroy was photographed over the weekend as the mediation unfolded.

Sounds like an excuse to skip an event or two he wasn't in the mood to play, but only he would know.

"I'm going to need time away from tournament golf to prepare for the trial over my legal dispute with Horizon Sports Management," Rory said today.

"The court-directed mediation process failed over the weekend to resolve the issue."

McIlroy will sit out the forthcoming BMW Masters or the WGC - HSBC Champions and is expected to return at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on November 20.


Sand Valley "Biggest sand barrens restoration in Wisconsin history"

Gary D'Amato with an update on Sand Valley, the Mike Keiser development in rural Wisconsin where the 165 people who paid $50,000 each got to play some sand golf on Coore and Crenshaw's routing.

The course is not slated to open until 2017 but a second course architect search is already underway and I was fascinated to learn how much of a dunes restoration component is part of the project. I hope more is shared on that going forward.

There is also this on the future...

Plans already are in place for a second course, likely to be designed by Tom Doak, a name that resonates with architecture geeks. There is room for three more courses after that, but expansion will be dependent on the success of the first course.

"We're very deliberate and we're just focusing on making the first course as good as we can make it, because we know if the first one doesn't exceed your expectations, there won't be a second," Keiser Jr. said.

Fully realized, Sand Valley would join a redesigned SentryWorld in Stevens Point, two fine courses at nearby Lake Arrowhead in Nekoosa and Northern Bay in Arkdale to make north-central Wisconsin one of the best golf destinations in the Midwest, if not the nation.

Tiny Rome, population 2,720, would be at the epicenter.

"Wisconsin, we're finding, is very welcoming," Keiser Jr. said. "The Town of Rome has been so supportive. Day 1, they got it. They knew what this could mean for the poorest county (Adams) in Wisconsin."


81-Y.O. Makes Four Aces On Four Courses In 33 Days

Gerry Dulac introduces us to Dom DeBonis, 81-year-old resident of The Villages and former Duquesne college golfer during the Eisenhower Administration, who this month made four aces in 33 days at four courses.

And then DeBonis posted a photo on Facebook of himself with some of his witnesses/golfing buddies, making it his profile pic.

Dulac writes:

So when he had the opportunity to go to Myrtle Beach with 11 friends on a golfing trip to the Grand Strand, he couldn't resist. On Oct. 6, Mr. DeBonis carded an ace at Farmstead Golf Club in Calabash, N.C. He used a 9-iron from 112 yards out on the seventh hole.

The next day, he added a second hole-in-one at the Thistle Golf Club in Sunset Beach, N.C., using a 7-iron at the 129-yard sixth hole.

And the topper came on Oct. 8 at Blackmoor Golf Club, where Mr. DeBonis added his third ace in three days with an 8-iron at the 118-yard fourth hole.

Best of all, he's playing from the proper set of tees. Or Teeing It Forward. (Remember that initiative? It's hard to keep up with all of them.) 


Ian Poulter Rips Sir Nick Faldo In New Book

I love it when the British bicker!

As Ryan Lavner notes, Ian Poulter must have pulled his book from the printing press or it was waiting on a final chapter involving this year's Ryder Cup. Either way, the candid take should get his autobiography attention and make for plenty of fun tension between the two sons of the empire.

Gary Slater reports in The Telegraph that Poulter slams Nick Faldo for his put-down of Sergio Garcia during the 2014 Ryder Cup, for his captaining in 2008 and for just being Sir Nick.

"It makes me laugh. Faldo is talking about someone being useless at the 2008 Ryder Cup. That's the Ryder Cup where he was captain. That's the Ryder Cup where the Europe team suffered a heavy defeat.

"And he was captain. So who's useless? Faldo might need to have a little look in the mirror. I have always got on great with Faldo in the past and I have a great deal of respect for everything he has achieved but this feels like sour grapes. It feels like a guy who is still bitter that he lost in 2008.

"Faldo has lost a lot of respect from players because of what he said. There were plenty of things a lot of the players were unhappy with at Valhalla but none of us criticised him. He may find that begins to change now."

We're listening!

Faldo, incidentally, apologized for the remark.


Rory Spotted In "Lurid boots, jacket and mobile phone combo"

The Irish Independent mercifully left an item on Rory McIlroy unbylined as I'm pretty sure the world would like to know what the writer meant by a mobile phone combo.

Actually, it was more like lawsuit negotiations-couture, since the item reports Rory was slipping out for some fresh air and a few texts from court-mandated mediation with Horizon Sports Management.

RORY McIlroy went green as he stepped out in Dublin in a striking sweater - before changing into a lurid boots, jacket and mobile phone combo.

He emerged yesterday from the Westbury Hotel in Dublin looking preoccupied as he checked his phone and took a call.

Of greater interest? Jeans purchased this century, that haven't been placed on a hanger or, dare I put this in writing, ironed. Perhaps like you know who...


Jarrod Lyle About A Fifth Of The Way To Securing Card's Nick Menta files an update on Jarrod Lyle's first two starts and where this leaves the two-time cancer survivor in making enough money to turn his medical exemption into a PGA Tour exemption.

Menta writes:

Lyle has 20 total starts, including the two he's already made this season, to earn the $283,825 that will allow him to retain his card. After making the (T-31) via a Monday qualifier and playing the Shriners (T-42) thanks to a sponsor exemption, he has racked up $53,795.

Lyle now heads Down Under for the big Australian events before returning to the PGA Tour.


Jack: “(Europeans) just played better," Task Force "Overkill"

Jack Nicklaus whittled away few words in discussing the 2014 Ryder Cup while appearing to celebrate his (latest) changes to PGA National.

Brian Biggane of the Palm Beach Post quotes the legend talking about the Ryder Cup, with this to say about the post-match bickering and subsequent task force:

“When I had teams and guys had problems, we went back to the team room and talked about it. That’s where the conversation should be. (And) I feel the same about the task force thing. That’s sort of overkill. We’ve had 70 years of the Ryder Cup and it’s gotten along just fine. The pendulum will swing back without making a monumental thing about it.”


Video: Another Hospitality Tent Up Recovery Shot

This time it's Justin Thomas at the TPC Summerlin's driveable 15th hole.

The shot is first up in the PGA Tour Entertainment recap of round two, Shriner's Hospital Classic.


Several More People Watched Final Round This Year!

Great news for wraparound golf as the PGA Tour’s season-opening Open final round went from a 0.1 final round with a 187,000 viewer average in 2013, to a .2 and 219,000 average in 2014. Growth!

Even better, the final day didn’t suffer the embarrassment of losing to the Big Break this year, as last year’s final round did when NFL players made up the cast. This year’s Tuesday broadcast of Big Break Myrtle Beach drew a .1 and 94,000 viewer average compared to 227,000 last year watching the NFLers do the long-running reality show.

Douglas Pascucci at Awful Announcing with the numbers showing Golf Channel up slightly for the week overall compared to last year.

Also worth noting for those thinking a Saturday/away-from-the-NFL finish might be better in the fall: the third round Open telecast tied for 6th with the Champions Tour event proceeding it, both registering a .1 and 141,000 viewers.


The Infamous Evans Scholar Is Still An Evans Scholar

I'm feeling so much better about America after we resisted losing our collective minds over a little college football Saturday silliness.

Teddy Greenstein reports that Ohio State engineering student Anthony Wunder, who was tackled in spectacular fashion, gets to finish his education and keep his hard-earned Evans Scholarship with a few stipulations.

The Evans Scholars Foundation gives tuition-and-housing scholarships to caddies in financial need.


Video: Eagle Steals Golf Ball

Now, unless this noble eagle eats this ball and suffers digestive issues, I'd say this is another nice (viral video) example of golf and the environment co-existing. After all, just think of the fun this bird had lifting someone's Titleist.

Thanks to the Big Lead for catching this on YouTube:


Webb Calls Ryder Cup Golf Side A "Terrible Experience"

Stopping short of saying, "and the captain was pretty terrible too," Webb Simpson suggested to Golf Channel's Todd Lewis that he won't be scrapbooking the 2014 Ryder Cup any time soon.

Will Gray on the captain's picks comments about the long week at Gleneagles.

"Any golfer wants to play, and I wanted to play," he said. "So my anticipation of what the Ryder Cup would be on a golf side, and what it was, was much different. And that's why I said yesterday it stunk. ... I think all of our team would agree that to an extent, the golf part did stink. We lost. We lost the Ryder Cup, and nobody likes that."

As for defenses of Captain Watson, Brian Sullivan, who caddied for Mathew Goggin during the final day pairing at Turnberry in 2009 and is a longtime tour caddy, made a fair defense of Watson by noting that the legend played liked he Captained, or Captained like he played. Anyway, his main point? That (admittedly) odd gift...

It’s reasonable to second guess the omission of Chris Kirk and Ryan Moore as captain’s picks, and it’s fair to criticize Watson’s abusive, grumpy old man style. It is unreasonable, however, for the U.S. team to be “despondent” that Watson scoffed at their gift: a replica Ryder Cup trophy signed by the players. As John McEnroe famously said, “You can’t be serious, man. You CANNOT be serious!”

This may be the worst gift idea of all time.

Tom Watson does not want a perpetual reminder of his failure, signed by the players he blames for his failure. Watson hurt everybody’s feelings when he told them their gift meant nothing if they didn’t win the real Ryder Cup. Can you blame him? I, for one, think he made a good point.


WGHOFamer A.W. Tillinghast: A True Original

A.W. Tillinghast's long overdue induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame is celebrated by Bradley Klein, who puts the architect's career into perspective.

He puts Tillinghast in fine company:

Charles Blair Macdonald, Alister MacKenzie and Donald Ross. Together, in the two decades between the world wars, these four (certainly joined by other luminary designers) transformed the American sports landscape with a flair for the outrageous that continues to make the game a joy today.

I like to think that Tillinghast was so much more than an architect. His renaissance man skills didn't get him in the Hall of Fame, but they should have as I note in this Loop item paying tribute to Tillinghast and, less directly, to Frank Hannigan's (still) epic 1974 profile of Tillie.


Annual USGA Executive Committee Shuffle, 2014 Edition

Get ready for your annual fix of middle initials, it's USGA Executive Committee nomination time!

Last year the nominations were announced in a peculiar Friday news dump, perhaps because emotions from the Glen Nager coup were still running wild. This year the announcement comes on a Thursday and it would appear that the last of the perceived Nager-ites have been taken out, which is particularly disappointing in the case of Vice President and Championship Committee chair Dan Burton, who I thought was going to ascend to the presidency.

That job, after Tom O'Toole serves his second year, appears to be a two-person race between Diana Murphy, wife to former USGA President Reg Murphy, and Bill Gist. Unless of course they are dispatched as officers Burton and secretary Bill Katz appear to have been.

The Murphy's could become golf's answer to Bill and Hillary. And I know they'll love that!

Here goes...


Thomas J. O’Toole Jr. Nominated to Serve Second Term as President

FAR HILLS, N.J. (Oct. 16, 2014) – The Nominating Committee of the United States Golf Association today announced the nomination of Thomas J. O’Toole Jr., of St. Louis, Mo., to serve a second one-year term as the 63rd president of the USGA. The election of officers and the 15-member USGA Executive Committee will take place Feb. 7, 2015, at the USGA’s Annual Meeting in New York, N.Y.

As president, O’Toole leads the USGA’s professional staff of more than 300 and nearly 1,200 volunteers who serve on more than 30 committees. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide.
“It is a great honor to be nominated to continue my service to the game for a second term,” said O’Toole. “The USGA remains steadfast in its commitment to advance the long-term viability of golf, to continue to deliver exemplary championships, to increase accessibility, and to ensure that the game remains challenging and enjoyable for those who play.”

O’Toole is in his seventh year as a member of the USGA Executive Committee, a term that includes three years as vice president and one year as secretary.

O’Toole has been involved with the USGA since 1988 and has served as a Rules official at more than 140 USGA championships, including every U.S. Open Championship since 1990. He has also been the official in charge for more than 125 USGA championship qualifiers. In addition to chairing the Championship Committee from 2010 to 2014, O’Toole was a member of the Rules of Golf Committee from 2004 to 2014.

In 1992, O’Toole helped to found the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association, which serves eastern Missouri and central Illinois. He continues to serve on its executive board.

O’Toole, a partner in the law firm of Mickes Goldman O’Toole, LLC, chairs its Business and Corporate Group, while his practice focuses on real estate, specializing in zoning/land use, condemnation and real estate transactions. He earned both his undergraduate degree (1979) and law degree (1985) from St. Louis University.

Four other current members of the Executive Committee have also been nominated to serve as officers: Diana M. Murphy, of St. Simons Island, Ga., and William W. Gist IV, of Omaha, Neb., as vice presidents; Sheila C. Johnson, of Middleburg, Va., as secretary; and Mark E. Newell, of McLean, Va., as treasurer.

In addition, Ernest J. Getto, of Santa Barbara, Calif., has been nominated to serve a third term as general counsel for the USGA.

The other six current members of the Executive Committee nominated to continue their service are: William E. Fallon, of Pittsburgh, Pa.; C. Malcolm Holland III, of Dallas, Texas; C. Thomas Hough, of Atlanta, Ga.; Asuka Nakahara, of Merion, Pa.; Mark P. Reinemann, of Pewaukee, Wis.; and George J. Still Jr., of Atherton, Calif.

There are four newly nominated candidates for the Executive Committee for 2015: J. Stuart Francis, of Hillsborough, Calif.; Robert D. Kain, of Gates Mills, Ohio; Martha J. Lang, of Birmingham, Ala.; and Gregory B. Morrison, of Duluth, Ga.

J. Stuart Francis is a senior managing director for Evercore, where he leads the firm’s Silicon Valley technology practice. He most recently served as vice chairman of investment banking and chairman of the global technology group for Barclays. Previous roles include vice chairman of Lehman Brothers, the last of many positions he held with the organization since 1991. He has been an advisor to many of the most visible Silicon Valley companies, including Amgen, Cisco Systems, Facebook, Google, NetApp, Netsuite and Workday. Francis is an accomplished amateur golfer, having played in three U.S. Amateur Championships and two NCAA Championships. Francis earned a B.A. from Princeton University, where he was co-captain of the varsity golf team, and an M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Robert D. Kain retired as co-CEO of IMG in 2006 after a 40-year career at the global sports management company. He began his career in tennis management, representing elite players and each of the Grand Slam events. He was the chairman of IMG’s Academy business, and also created and built IMG’s figure skating business, as well as IMG Fashion. In 2007 Kain was vice chairman of the Cleveland Browns, and helped Randy Lerner buy and reorganize Aston Villa Football Club. He also served on the board of trustees of The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. An accomplished amateur golfer, Kain played in the 2005, 2009 and 2011 U.S. Senior Amateur Championships and the 2006 and 2007 British Seniors Open Amateur Championships. Kain is a graduate of the University of Virginia.

Martha J. Lang was chairman of the USGA Women’s Committee from 2011-2012, after serving on various USGA committees for more than 20 years. She served on the Illinois Women’s Golf Association board from 1988-1991, and joined the USGA Regional Affairs Committee in 1989. Today, Lang serves on the Shoal Creek board of governors and golf committee, as well as the Women’s Southern Golf Association board of directors. She has competed in more than 60 USGA championships, and won the 1988 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship. She played on the 1992 USA Curtis Cup Team, and captained the 1996 Curtis Cup Team as well as the USA Team in the 2014 USA Women’s World Amateur Team Championship. From 1975-1991, Lang held various accounting positions, including a six-year stint at Shell Oil. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama.

Gregory B. Morrison is the senior vice president and chief information officer for Cox Enterprises, Inc. He previously served as vice president of information systems at Prudential Financial, Inc., where he worked in various roles over two tenures. Morrison also served as the chief operating officer at in 2000-2001. Prior to that, he served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army Signal Corps for eight years. Morrison serves on the board of directors of Piedmont Healthcare System, and the boards of trustees for Clark Atlanta University and Gwinnett Technical College. He also serves on the board of visitors of Emory University. He holds a B.S. in math and physics from South Carolina State University and a masters of industrial engineering from Northwestern University.

Four current members of the Executive Committee will retire at the 2015 USGA Annual Meeting: Karen S. Ammerman, M.D., of Webster, Mass.; Daniel B. Burton, of Lititz, Pa.; William L. Katz, of Chatham Township, N.J.; and Edward G. Michaels III, of Atlanta, Ga.


Revamped TPC Scottsdale Re-Opens November 14th

From an unbylined story, the TPC Scottsdale has been revamped by Tom Weiskopf and re-opens November 14th. It sounds like the big changes were made on the front nine which probably won't upset anyone, as the course has always felt a little back-nine heavy.

From the item:

The course renovation has included resurfacing all greens; relocation of select greens, tees, and bunkers; reshaping of bunkers and tee complexes; new cart paths; desert landscaping enhancements and a new irrigation system. The redesign resulted in strategic changes on all 18 holes. Easily recognizable changes are new green locations on hole Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 14 and significant fairway and green complex modifications on No. 13.

This part doesn't get me so excited, especially for a desert course where the bunkers have always fit the landscape and native areas.

The renovated bunkers will feature white sand, which will add a dramatic new look to the course. More than 250 trees have been planted for both strategic and aesthetic value.


Greg Norman's Hand Makes Speedy Recovery For Shark Shootout Pro-Am; Fox Sports Golf Debut Has Been Downsized?!

I had previously reported that Fox Sports would be taking over Greg Norman's Shark Shootout from Golf Channel as the first golf broadcast for the network. On April 30th, Fox Sports issued a press release announcing that Fox Sports 1 and Fox would be taking the longtime event from Golf Channel/NBC to mark the debut of Fox's golf broadcast effort, which begins in earnest with the 2015 USGA television contract.

But Jeff Babineau reports two surprising developments in this short item: Greg Norman's maimed hand is so much better that he will play the Shark Shootout pro-am and then, work the broadcast for Saturday's Fox final round. But only after Golf Channel televises the first two rounds, not Fox Sports 1, as previously announced. The tournament website confirms this lineup as well.

Norman, on the mend from a near-tragic chainsaw accident while trimming a tree at his Jupiter Island property last month, will compete in the pro-am rounds early week (he has received permission from his doctor to start swinging a club), then will join Joe Buck in the Fox broadcast booth on Saturday, Dec. 13, the final day of competition, which will feature a better-ball format. Rounds on Dec. 11 (scramble) and Dec. 12 (modified alternate shot) will be aired on Golf Channel.

Just last week Norman told Fox Business News that he wasn't sure if he'd ever play golf again.

As for the opportunity to see Fox's fresh and innovative approach, we'll have to wait to find out who is handling the production end of the 2014 Shark Shootout.

Here was the Fox press release touting their acquisition of the event:

Joe Buck & Greg Norman Make Their Tower Debut
Los Angeles – FOX Sports and the Franklin Templeton Shootout have reached a multi-year, multi-platform rights agreement that brings the Franklin Templeton Shootout to FOX and FOX Sports 1 exclusively beginning this December 11-13.  The 2014 event is held at Tiburon Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla.
Founded in 1989 by World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman, who was recently paired with Joe Buck as FOX Sports’ 18th tower broadcast team, the Shootout is the longest running PGA TOUR-sanctioned challenge season event.  The Shootout’s move to FOX Sports makes it the first PGA TOUR-sanctioned event televised by FOX and FOX Sports 1, features a minimum of 10 hours of live tournament coverage and is where Buck and Norman make their broadcasting debut together.
Just last year, FOX secured the rights for all United States Golf Association (USGA) events, including the U.S. Open, starting in 2015.   Adding the Franklin Templeton Shootout to the FOX Sports golf portfolio further solidifies its entry into golf while providing additional compelling content for FOX and FOX Sports 1.
"The Franklin Templeton Shootout is a prestigious PGA TOUR-sanctioned event, so we jumped at the idea of working with Greg and bringing it to FOX Sports,” said Eric Shanks, FOX Sports President, COO & Executive Producer. “This is going to be a great opportunity for us to have Joe and Greg work with the rest of the FOX Sports golf team for the first time, and moving the final round from a football Sunday to Saturday makes for a much better showcase."
“I’m thrilled that FOX Sports has secured the rights to broadcast the tournament that I have hosted for the last 25 years, and equally excited about making my broadcasting debut with Joe Buck,” said Norman, Chairman and CEO of Great White Shark Enterprises. “FOX Sports has always taken an innovative approach to sports broadcasting, and I’m certain that their coverage of golf will be no different.  The Franklin Templeton Shootout is a unique event that showcases an outstanding collection of PGA TOUR talent, while more importantly helping to generate awareness for children’s cancer research. I am honored that FOX Sports has added the event to their golf lineup.”  
The shift to FOX Sports results in a schedule change for the Shootout.  The opening round of the 54-hole professional competition is held Thursday, Dec. 11 with the final round played Saturday, Dec. 13.  This year, FOX Sports 1 televises the Thursday and Friday rounds, and FOX broadcasts the final round on Saturday.
Throughout its history, the Franklin Templeton Shootout has attracted many of golf's greatest players who form two-man teams and compete in the a modified alternate-shot, better ball and scramble formats.  The 12 two-man teams are expected to be announced in October.  The defending champions of the Shootout are Matt Kuchar and Harris English, who were victorious over a field of challengers including Jason Dufner/Dustin Johnson, Ian Poulter/Lee Westwood, Greg Norman/Jonas Blixt and Steve Stricker/Jerry Kelly.
All three rounds of the Franklin Templeton Shootout televised by FOX and FOX Sports 1 are streamed live via FOX Sports GO through participating video providers.

Maybe in 2015.


What Does AP’s Rio Bureau Have Against The Olympic Golf Course Project?

Since the early days of the land dispute related to the Olympic course in Rio, the Associated Press has taken an aggressive approach to reporting the pending demise of the golf course project with every twist and turn. My ties to architect Gil Hanse undoubtedly make me interested in every word written about the project, but it's been hard to take the AP's Rio stories seriously when getting to hear the other side of the story or noticing the many odd injections of opinion from writers who clearly know little about golf or course construction.

This is not to say the project has been smooth sailing or that Rio's preparation, politics and vision for the 2016 Olympics has been even remotely solid. It's a mess and a shame. However...

The land dispute coverage from writer Tales Azzoni often emphasized the side of the (eventual) losing party disputing the ownership. And every dispute over environmental issues since, usually authored by Azzoni and/or Stephen Wade, has produced stories suggesting the course’s demise is potentially imminent.

But quite possibly the most disappointing story to date appeared on the wires Wednesday.

Filed by Jenny Barchfield with assistance from Wade, the AP story extensively quotes Rio de Janeiro public prosecutor named Marcus Leal who, either contacted by AP or who approached AP with his dire predictions in the midst of negotiations over the latest environmental dispute for the permitted course, suggests that the decision to continue to grass the course, could be, in the AP’s words, a “costly mistake.”

Remember, the judge considering the latest dispute has given the ok for construction and grassing to continue while negotiations over course changes take place, but the AP has taken the stance that this could be a mistake because a prosecutor tells them so, with no coverage from the opposing side or comment from the judge on the prosecutor's assertion.

Also interesting is the mention of the developer as Fiori Emprendimentos. I have three sources involved with the project who are not familiar with this name, yet AP identified Emprendimentos as the developer. A Google search does not turn up the name as spelled by AP, as a golf course developer in Rio or anywhere else.

Stephen Wade, who contributed to the latest story and who has filed other stories on the project, Tweeted a link to the piece oddly choosing to emphasize a point he previously reported: that the “Golf fed has already said: course won’t be what might have been.”

This notion of the course not being what it could be was based on a passing comment, taken out of context, from July’s International Golf Federation news conference at Hoylake. And has little to do with today's news.

In an earlier Tweet of the latest story, Wade put out the sensational notion of “no grass for Olympics” in this tweet. Yes it's Twitter and yes it gets attention without being accurate, but it seems so un-AP-like.

Wade twice Tweeted this photo on September 13th and again on the 16th suggesting he had spotted a “little caiman” in the marsh next to the site of the Olympic course. I'm not sure of his precise suggestion but I'm guessing it's of the "golf course threatens habitat" variety. 

Of course, what Wade Tweets and where he claims to be Tweeting from should be taken with a grain of salt since he posted photos in July suggesting the 2nd hole's construction was not progressing as suggested by the project. There was one problem. The photo wasn't of the second hole. 

The photo was of a location off the golf course property, the "2" marking site of a building. The Washington Post erroneously picked up the Tweets and had to run a correction: 

Rio’s Olympic golf course features helipad, very little grass (CORRECTION: It’s the site of future apartment buildings)

Previously, Wade and Tales Azzoni have reported every twist and turn in the saga, with a seemingly disproportionate number of quotes from the public prosecutor’s office or the losing side in the land dispute situation. But that may just be a matter of who returns their calls, as the IOC has restricted parties involved with the project from sharing information.

Ultimately though, it's the strange editorializing in stories that raises more serious questions, like this comment from a Wade and Azzoni bylined story from September 17th:

Some have questioned the need to build a new course for the Olympics. At least one other venue in the Rio area, the Itanhanga Golf Club, could have been suitable. It has hosted the European Tour, and a U.S. LPGA Tour event and club officials were optimistic a few years ago they would land the Olympics.

Itanhanga is 6,178 6,439 yards from the tips, about 1400 yards shy of where it’d need to be for the modern game. If they'd picked up the phone to any golf expert they would have known this, but that might have gotten in the way of a good story.


Mark O’Meara Saw Tim Finchem’s Number On Caller ID & Was Tempted To Let It Go To Voicemail

I didn’t think people would be letting Commissioner Almostalameduck’s calls go to voicemail until late 2015 or so as his retirement approaches, but Mark O’Meara saw the Commish’s number pop up on his phone Monday and almost let Finchem leave a message. (Then he probably realized he might get a four minute message to listen to.)

Instead, O’Meara wisely sucked it up and found out he was going into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Mike McCallister with the story of how all of the inductees were notified. Well, all but A.W. Tillinghast.