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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 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
  • Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
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  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

The best way to whet the appetite and improve the game of any golfer is to offer an incentive and provide a reward for high class play, and by high class play is meant simply the best of which each individual is capable. Placing a premium on accuracy with due consideration for length should be the aim of all men who design courses, for accuracy in the play signifies skill, and skill is generally the master of brute force. WILLIAM FLYNN




Get Ready To Hear About Liberty National's Views For The Next 25 Years

I was just praising the PGA Tour for making a concerted effort to go to classic venues in the playoffs and now they announce an unprecedented 25-year partnership with Liberty National, the twice-renovated Bob Cupp-Tom Kite course next to New York City.

The course's claim-to-fame? Manhattan skyline views. The actual ground on which they play? Not so much. Liberty National was voted the second worst course on the tour in Golf World's survey of PGA Tour players.

After the 2017 Presidents Cup and a Barclays every three years, my math says there is still room for something else in there.

For Immediate Release...

Liberty National selected to host The Presidents Cup 2017,
Start of 25-year partnership with PGA TOUR

Paul Fireman announces $5 million donation to The First Tee, with half to benefit area chapters
JERSEY CITY, N.J. – At a flag-raising ceremony today overlooking the Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty, PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem officially announced Liberty National as host site for The Presidents Cup when it is next staged in the United States, in 2017.  The announcement is part of a 25-year partnership between Liberty National and the PGA TOUR, which will bring up to 10 PGA TOUR events to the venue over the course of the agreement.  Joining Finchem to mark the occasion were Liberty National co-founders Paul Fireman and Dan Fireman, as well as New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.
Liberty National will be just the fourth golf course in the United States to host the prestigious team match-play competition, joining Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Prince William County, Va., (1994, 1996, 2000, 2005), TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, Calif., (2009) and Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio (2013).  The Presidents Cup 2017 will take place September 25-October 1.
“We’ve had several very compelling announcements relative to the future of The Presidents Cup so far this summer,” said Finchem, alluding to the announcement of Jay Haas and Nick Price as 2015 captains and TPC Harding Park in San Francisco being named 2025 host, “but standing in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty today to announce Liberty National as our next U.S.-based host of the event is really icing on the cake.  The Presidents Cup has come so far in its relatively short history, and seeing the world’s best players compete in this market, on this incredibly fantastic venue with such an amazing backdrop in 2017 is something fans of this great game will never forget.
“I’d like to thank and congratulate Paul Fireman and his son Dan for their partnership through the years, which has previously brought the PGA TOUR to Liberty National for The Barclays in 2009 and 2013 and has now resulted in a long-term relationship that will see some of the TOUR’s biggest and best events staged here over the next quarter century.  Paul and Dan have exemplified a true dedication to the future of the game, and we are thrilled to work with them to showcase Liberty National and the PGA TOUR in an incredible way.”
“Being chosen by the PGA TOUR to host the 2017 Presidents Cup is every golf course’s dream,” added Paul Fireman.  “We at Liberty National Golf Club are proud to receive this honor and will dedicate our efforts to live up to both the TOUR and the players’ expectations.  This new 25 year agreement is a mutual acknowledgement of trust and respect between Commissioner Finchem, the PGA TOUR, Liberty and our membership.  We embrace this selection with great pride and look forward to fostering this relationship for years to come.”
One of the world’s most picturesque golf courses, Liberty National is located along the Hudson River in Jersey City, N.J., with striking views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Manhattan skyline. The golf club fittingly opened on July 4, 2006, and is guided by the vision and leadership of former Reebok Founder/Chairman & CEO Paul Fireman, currently chairman of Fireman Capital Partners, and his son Dan Fireman, managing partner of Fireman Capital Partners. Designed by U.S. Open Champion Tom Kite and esteemed golf course mastermind Bob Cupp, Liberty National has been the proud host to the first event of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Playoffs, The Barclays, in 2009 and 2013.

Esteemed golf course mastermind. There's a keeper.

The Barclays 2009 at Liberty National was won by Heath Slocum in dramatic fashion as he holed a 21-foot putt for par on the last hole to deny Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods the chance at victory.  The Barclays returned to Liberty National, which has been part of the tournament’s rotation in recent years over some of the area’s best courses, in 2013 and again provided an incredibly compelling finish.  Adam Scott carded a final-round 65 and then waited nearly two hours as the likes of Justin Rose, Gary Woodland and Woods all narrowly missed an opportunity to force a playoff.
As part of today’s event, Paul Fireman also announced a $5 million commitment to The First Tee over five years (beginning in 2015), with half of that amount earmarked for programs in the New York/New Jersey area: The First Tee of Metropolitan New York; The First Tee of Raritan Valley; The First Tee of Monmouth & Ocean Counties; and The First Tee of Greater Trenton.  In addition, Liberty National will host an annual fundraising event for The First Tee, with any additional money raised through those events to benefit the local chapters.
Matthew Chung, a member of The First Tee of Metropolitan New York, performed the National Anthem before Lt. Governor Guadagno, Finchem and Paul and Dan Fireman raised The Presidents Cup 2017 flag in a newly constructed flag garden to forever commemorate Liberty National’s selection and the Fireman’s commitment to The First Tee.

“As The First Tee moves closer toward our goal of reaching 10 million additional young people with character-building programs, support from Paul and Dan Fireman is significant and will have a far-reaching and lasting impact,” said Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., chief executive officer of The First Tee. “We are grateful for their continued investment in young people through The First Tee, and for their commitment to the four chapters in the New York Metropolitan area.”


Roundup: Tiger & Sean We Hardly Knew Ye

Just to get the most out of this post, may I propose you right click here for a little Barbra to set the appropriate mood during this upsetting, utterly-first world time in golf history as Tiger Woods and instructor Sean Foley have split.

Anyway, I spoke to Hank Haney briefly today. The former Tiger teacher sounded sympathetic to the plight of  Foley, even though Foley was never particularly complimentary of the former instructor's efforts.

"There’s tons of hall of fame coaches that have been fired," Haney said from Philadelphia where he was working. "Working for Tiger is not as easy as it looks."

That seems to be the general takeaway on Sean Foley and Tiger's breakup: the pupil is a once-in-a-lifetime talent not at his peak and it just didn't work out for a teacher with proven results elsewhere.

Doug Ferguson's AP story recounts some of Tiger's instructor past, which is extensive.

Woods began working with Butch Harmon as a teenager, and they changed his swing twice. The biggest overhaul was after Woods won the Masters by 12 shots. Many believe the new swing produced Woods' most dominant golf, though he also was in his early 20s and had not had serious issues with his knee. Woods won eight majors while with Harmon, including seven in 11 attempts and an unprecedented sweep of them in 2000-01. They parted in 2003.
Woods went to Hank Haney and produced another memorable stretch with an entirely different swing. In a two-year period covering 34 tournaments, Woods won 18 times (including four majors) and was runner-up six times. That ended with the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, right before his fourth and most invasive knee surgery.
That was his 14th major, and Woods has not won another since.

Jaime Diaz explores the ups and downs of their four years together and comes away feeling like life comes down to timing. And "Foley's timing was bad."

As science based as Foley's teaching is, he soon enough learned that his biggest challenge would be fixing not the physical, but the mental. Which was actually a challenge and opportunity Foley welcomed. Naturally open and gregarious, a self-described searcher who enjoys sharing his own life lessons, Foley had openly looked forward to getting to know Woods well as a person, and helping him through what he knew was a difficult period. He saw that dynamic as part and parcel of a successful coach/student partnership.

"I want to be a teacher who teaches his guys more about life and themselves than just about the game," Foley said. "By helping them become better people, they're going to become better at their sport by having less conflict."

But based on reliable observers, what Foley had hoped for didn't happen.Though their working relationship never showed any public strain, it remained more clinical than close.

The ambulance chasers are littering the streets of Jupiter hoping Tiger will stumble upon their card, so Paul Azinger has something to sell Tiger. But he's not quite saying what it is. Randall Mell reports.

“There are only three things great players have done the same with their swing, the three fundamentals,” Azinger said. “That’s physically. There’s a mental side. Of the three physical things, Tiger has lost track of one, and he’s got to fix it. It’s a very easy fix.”

What is it?

Azinger says he isn’t sharing that publicly, but he would tell Tiger Woods.

Bob Harig says the two "sensed it" according to Foley, and the parting was on good terms. So we'll get fist bumps on the range at Augusta, which is comforting. Harig also says Woods gets all the blame for messing things up.

While Foley might have offered advice, who said Woods always took it? He is his own man, with his own thoughts, and many players use bits and pieces of what they are offered.

A coach can only do so much. He can't give advice between the ropes. He can't necessarily control how much a player practices or even works on his short game. It is an individual sport, and the blame almost fully rests with the guy hitting the shots.

It is true that Woods' inability to figure out the driver and how to get it in play consistently has been a vexing problem. And yet, how much better was it five years ago when Woods won seven times worldwide?

In 2009, Woods ranked 86th in driving accuracy, hitting just over 64 percent of the fairways. Last year, he was 69th although his percentage was just 62.5 percent.

Jason Sobel asked Hunter Mahan and Justin Rose about Foley's work just before the parting, and the idea that Foley was somehow to blame.

“It's comical,” Mahan stated flatly. “It frustrates me and kind of angers me a little bit. But you know, that's the world we live in and that's just kind of the way things are, and Foley is better for it because he can handle a guy like Tiger – a lot comes with that and I think he's done a pretty good job of containing himself and not letting it bother him. He just does his job every day and does it better than anyone.”

Rose was more diplomatic, but no less adamant in his view that Foley has shouldered too much of the blame over the past half-decade.

“It’s difficult to hear,” he said, “because I put a lot of trust in him with my game and I believe in his abilities to help me with my game.”

With over 500 votes, a clear majority of you would recommend Tiger to your golf instructor friends.

Tiger's swings through the years can be seen in this GIF posted by Luke Kerr-Dineen at The Loop.

Tiger's various swings were also analyzed on Golf Central.


Best Signs Yet Of Ice Bucket Challenge's Inevitable Demise

There is no better sign of a social media craze dying out than the first criminal to be apprehended by participating, and Jesean Morris was nabbed by Omaha police on a parole violation thanks to his Facebook posting of a dousing. Gawker reports.

And somehow I missed the first warning side a few days ago, but thanks to reader John for former Golf Channel anchor Win McMurry's effort to take part by dousing herself (in a bikini) with some sub-75-degree tropical bay water. Not quite an ice bucket, but it should do the trick in confirming that enough money has been raised and time to move on to our next, uh, cause.

Jack Jorgensen with the details of Win's effort:


Butch Called Sean: "Nothing lasts forever"

The Former Tiger Woods Instructor Society (aka The Society of The Crossed Instructors) unofficially extended its invitation to the newly scorned Sean Foley in an official phone call from Butch Harmon.

Okay, it wasn't that blatant, but Harmon called Foley to assure him that he's not alone in having been put out to pasture by Tiger.  Rex Hoggard reports.

“Sean’s had great success. He has nothing to hang his head about. I called him and told him that. I told him he worked his tail for this guy,” Harmon said. “Nothing lasts forever.”


Butch Opens At Even Money In Next Tiger-Swing Coach Stakes!

Andy Zunz has the odds at posted the rather elaborate list from PaddyPower.

Even money on Butch seems a tad silly since Hank is all the way down at 14-1!

Nice to see David Feherty rewarded for his loyalty...


Poll: A Friend Says Tiger Called, What Do You Tell Them...

It's a very simple question, but with so many complicated ramifications considering the state of Tiger's game, his aspirations and the pressure that comes with the job.

So, knowing what you know now...

If an instructor came to you and said he/she had an opportunity to work with Tiger Woods, would you tell them yes, no or don't know? free polls

If an instructor came to you and said he/she had an opportunity to work with Tiger Woods, would you tell them yes, no or don't know? - See more at:
If an instructor came to you and said he/she had an opportunity to work with Tiger Woods, would you tell them yes, no or don't know? - See more at:

Tiger Woods & Sean Foley To Spend Way Less Time Together

In one of the more succinct reports ever issued from the newsroom, the lede is, well, very tight!

Tiger Woods said today he will no longer be working with Sean Foley.

He said this via telegram? To...?

Anyway, now the awkward quotes.

"I'd like to thank Sean for his help as my coach and for his friendship," Woods said. "Sean is one of the outstanding coaches in golf today, and I know he will continue to be successful with the players working with him. With my next tournament not until my World Challenge event at Isleworth in Orlando, this is the right time to end our professional relationship."

Not sure why it's the right time, except that now Foley doesn't have to answer a million "hows he doing?" questions, so in that sense Tiger was doing him a favor. And now Foley...

"My time spent with Tiger is one of the highlights of my career so far, and I am appreciative of the many experiences we shared together," Foley said. "It was a lifelong ambition of mine to teach the best player of all time in our sport. I am both grateful for the things we had the opportunity to learn from one another, as well as the enduring friendship we have built. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him."

"Presently, I do not have a coach, and there is no timetable for hiring one," added Woods. if this was a joint news conference, added Woods.

Personally, I think it's a shame this duo is finished only because I think Foley will be blamed for Tiger's awful 2014 and maybe even his back issues, which is terribly unfair. Foley is a fine coach and even finer person who loves seeing people get better. Unfortunately in this case, he was working with a less motivated, less physically sound and certainly less focused Woods than his predecessors had the pleasure of dealing with.


Is Team USA So Desperate That Hunter Mahan Just Locked Up A Ryder Cup Captain's Pick?

With his Barclays win, Hunter Mahan recorded his second top-10 since March and finished 25th in Ryder Cup points.

But as Lindsay Gibbs points out, he's trending in the right direction for a country with not too many hopefuls right now.

After 13 straight tournaments without a top-20 finish, Mahan has now finished tied for 15th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, tied for seventh at the PGA Championship and now alone in first at The Barclays.

All of the SI/ guys have a "why not?" attitude toward a Mahan selection in this week's roundtable, and Jim McCabe would seem to agree.

It would be embellishment to suggest that Mahan has been motivated only by a chance to be on this year’s American team that will compete at Gleneagles in Scotland Sept. 26-28. Fact is, though he’s been arguably one of the world’s steadiest players since 2007, Mahan accepts that his scratchy play had left him off this year’s radar. He finished 25th in the standings, which Mahan is savvy enough to translate as a message. That being, step it up, son.

Getting selected as a captain's pick would not be unfamiliar territory for Mahan, writes Jason Sobel.

On four separate occasions – twice for the Ryder Cup, twice for the Presidents Cup – Mahan finished just outside the final automatic qualifying position on the points list, but was named to the roster as a captain’s pick.

Before Mahan's big final day at the Barclays, Michael Fitzpatrick wondered if this is the sorriest USA team to head overseas since 2006, which I think is a tad strong considering how quickly some of the players on the current USA squad have been known to jumpstart their games.

He was particularly tough on Team USA's No. 1 points earner, Bubba Watson, but also noted that Americans Kuchar and Spieth suddenly look less compelling based on recent play.

As it is, Watson has managed to notch just three points for the U.S. Ryder Cup team in eight career matches and he has yet to win a singles or foursomes match in Ryder Cup play.

Matt Kuchar, who is ranked sixth in the U.S. Ryder Cup point standings, has posted just two top-10 finishes since his win at the RBC Heritage back in mid-April. He also withdrew from the PGA Championship two weeks ago with back spasms that came about while he was out shopping for a Slip N’ Slide toy for his children (as reported by, although his back issues seem to have subsided as he is currently tied for 16th through 36-holes at The Barclays.

With all of the hoopla surrounding Rory McIlroy and his two consecutive major championship wins, the Jordan Spieth story has become so last year. Spieth, who is seventh in the U.S. Ryder Cup point standings, has just one top 10 since the Players Championship back in May, and that came at the very weak fielded John Deere Classic.


Will Phil Get Fined For Barclays Fan Wager?

Stooge that I am, I kept refreshing the PGA Tour YouTube page to see the fun moment on Saturday where Phil Mickelson lost a $5 bet (at 4-1 odds) with a gallery member and lost. Then promptly paid up his $20.

And then Ryan Ballengee reminded me why this video won't appear...Phil may get fined for a little harmless fun!

The penalty for breaking rules under Section VI of the PGA Tour handbook include “fine, suspension from play in PGA Tour cosponsored and coordinated tournaments, [or] permanent disbarment from such play.”

Mickelson has violated this rule in the past. At the 2001 NEC Invitational, Mickelson and Mike Weir were among players watching the final action unfold at Firestone C.C. With Jim Furyk bunkered in a playoff and needing to hole it to extend, Mickelson bet Weir $20 at 25-to-1 odds that Furyk would make the shot. Furyk did, and Mickelson was to collect $500.

At the time, PGA Tour official Bob Combs said it was a “technical violation” of the player regulations, but it didn’t have an outcome on the tournament.

And because of the tour's stance on not discussing fines or disciplinary action, we'll never know what happened. But if YouTube is any indication, the tour will crack down on this fun!


Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green Stat Coming To The PGA Tour

Luke Kerr-Dineen reports for The Loop that this Monday will see the unveiling of strokes gained tee-to-green, an extension of the strokes gained putting stat that has been a hit with players and fans. A hit defined as, paying attention to it from time-to-time.

Kerr-Dineen writes:

The way strokes gained/tee to green works is relatively straightforward: Let's say the field's scoring average for Sunday at the Barclays is even-par 72. Imagine, then, that Keegan Bradley shoots 70 and his strokes gained/putting stat for the day is one -- meaning that he gains one stroke on the field through his putting. In that scenario, Bradley gained the other stroke on the field from tee-to-green, so his strokes gained/tee to green figure that day would be one.

A statistic like greens in regulations, which Evans says will remain a useful metric, can be swayed in ways that strokes gained/tee to green can't. If Adam Scott, for example, only plays in the toughest events -- events where it's harder to hit greens in regulation -- his greens-hit percentage will likely be lower than someone who only plays in events where it's easier to hit greens. That essentially masks the fact that Adam Scott is the superior ball-striker of the two.


Video: 10-Year-Old Cancer Survivor's Trick Shot

Pinehurst’s Alex Podlogar shares an inspirational trick shot considering that 10-year-old Clarkie Carroll pulled off this harder-than-it-looks effort just after finishing 10 months of chemotherapy. Thanks to reader William for spotting this.


Chella Choi Disagrees With Penalty, WD's Instead

In the annals of HD replay rules reviews, Chella Choi's penalty and subsequent WD before the penalty could be assessed has to be one of the strangest of many strange incidents.

Especially since while it may be apparent she violated the rule upon closer inspection, the speed with which this happened and the lack of any apparent reason to not replace her marked ball in the same spot suggest it was just carelessness. The WD, however, makes the whole thing strange.

Randall Mell lays out the story quite well in this report.

The two-stroke penalty would ultimately have caused Choi to miss the cut by a shot.

“The player did not agree and decided to withdraw from the competition,” LPGA rules official Dan Maselli told in an email response to a request for an explanation of the violation. “She gave no reason for the withdrawal.”

A review of the television broadcast showed that when cleaning up a short putt at the 10th hole, Choi placed down her mark so that her ball was resting on the right side of the mark. After briefly picking up her ball, Choi puts her ball down on the left side of the mark, moving it over an inch or so.

In the video Judy Rankin's comments about Choi are worth noting.


Video: "Oh no not again!" Phil In The Hospitality Tent...Again!

This time, having a night to sleep on his overgauged shot Friday from the tent, Phil Mickelson gauged the bounce off the Barclay's carpeting better even though he had to carve it over the tent and, just have to watch. Unreal.

The video:

And since the tents are temporary, there will be no plaques. Just these painted remembrances, tweeted out by the Ridgewood CC Grounds account.

The first.

And the second:



Video: Phil's Recovery Shot From The Hospitality Tent

This one at the Barclays in round 2 may top all of (his) others.

Nice try by Terry Gannon to let us listen in, but Nick Faldo disobeyed. Predictably!

The video:


The Cameron Tringale DQ Fleshed Out...

Interesting stuff in this reporting by Bob Harig on last week's DQ of Cameron Tringale a week after the PGA. Tringale changed his mind on a final round situation at the 11th hole where he whiffed a tap-in.

Harig quotes both Tringale and playing partner Matt Jones, who it turns out, saw the whiff and brought it up after the round. Tringale said there was no intent and the issue died. Until Tringale slept (or didn't) on the matter:

"I asked him what he had on No. 11 because we all saw what happened," Jones said after his round Thursday at Ridgewood. "Did you not make a stroke at that ball? He said there was no intent and once a player says there is no intent to make a stroke, I just left it at that and I signed the scorecard.

"When a player says there is no intent, you have to take his credibility and trust him. And he doesn't have any type of reputation to think otherwise or question him for that."

Jones said he was surprised when he learned Tringale had disqualified himself. "I thought it was over and done with as soon as he signed his card," Jones said.


No-No: Noh Hits Shot Off Wrong Green, Gets Penalty

Brian Wacker with a report on Seung-Yul Noh getting assessed a two-stroke penalty during Friday's second round of The Barclays after playing his second shot on the 11th hole. Only he did it from the third green where most golfers know you are required to take relief.

But the lie was so good!

Noh said that he was unaware of the rule but added that a rules official was 20 or 30 yards away watching the events unfold. After Noh hit his second shot the official informed him of the penalty. Instead of a bogey, Noh was given a 7 on the hole.

He went on to shoot a 1-over 72 and is 2 under entering the weekend at Ridgewood.

"I've been out here 33 years," said Vice President of Rules and Competition Slugger White. "We have never seen this happen."

I'm not sure who the caddie was in this case, but Noh has been on the caddie carousel program, most famously having his sister fire one because water in his bag was too cold. It's hard to get good service these days.

The video, which Ridgewood super Todd Raisch should not watch. Especially the effort to repair the divot!


Kingsbarns Lands Womens British; Other Links Tourney News

It's been a busy week in Scotland, capped off by today's naming of Kingsbarns as host of the 2017 Women's British Open. Martin Dempster reports.

Dempster also reported a move mirroring the highly successful one-two links punch of the Scottish Open and Open Championship, the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish will be played the week prior to the Women's at Dundonald Links.

And speaking of Dundonald, Dempster writes that Aberdeen Asset Management and the European Tour are looking at a men's Scottish Open extension to 2020, with Gullane hosting next year, Castle Stuart in 2016 and Dundonald on the radar in 2017.

How refreshing to see the combination of a strong sponsor understanding the greatest asset you can have--great links golf--and providing the opportunity for the world to see so many links.  Even better, we hopefully have moved on from the view of players that two weeks of links golf could be dangerous for their games.


Rory: "I’ve not quite put in the time over the last few days for obvious reasons"

That quote after Rory McIlroy's opening 74 in round one of the PGA Tour Playoffs reinforced just how much these playoffs mean to the top players and their backers: outings, talk shows and partying must not be set aside for the playoffs.

From the Press Association piece posted on The Guardian website:

“I’m not quite on my game. I’ve not quite put in the time over the last few days for obvious reasons,” he said on Sky Sports. “I’m going to go and have some lunch and then work on the range, work on a few things, and try to catch up on some practice I’ve missed out on over the last week and try to be ready for tomorrow.”

I know what you're thinking, Rory should have gone fishing in the East River like Bo Van Pelt did (Jason Sobel with that head-spinner).

Or maybe Rory's preparation was just right considering the schedule that now awaits for him after an exhausting stretch recently concluded.

Bob Harig did a nice job running down the silliness of the schedule and highlighted something regarding Brandt Snedeker, who has been trying to regain his elite form and make the Ryder Cup team. If Snedeker does become a Captain's selection and plays all playoff events, he will end up playing 10 of 11 weeks. (At the warmest time of year, on some tough courses, under high pressure.) Yes, there are tougher jobs and NFL players go at it 10 weeks at a time in a more physical sport. Nonetheless, 10 of 11 high-pressure weeks is not a recipe for golfing success.

As Harig lays out, something has to give.

Last year, the four playoff events were broken up by an off week in the middle. But the PGA Tour made the inane decision to play them all in a row as a nod to the Ryder Cup, placing an off week between the Tour Championship and the biennial event in Scotland. Good for the 13 or so players who will play in Atlanta and get a week off prior to the Ryder Cup. Not so good for the 70 who will (likely) play three in a row and another 30 who qualify for the Tour Championship.

Oh, there are bound to be defections this year. Undoubtedly, there will be a big-name player or two who skips the Deutsche Bank Championship or the BMW Championship. If it's not bad enough that the playoffs consist of four straight weeks, consider that the BMW in Denver starts just three days after the Deutsche Bank ends on Labor Day Monday.

Commissioner Tim Finchem admitted this week that he is not a fan of playing four in a row. "We like the break week," he said. "Regardless of the Ryder Cup."


"Uptick" In Major Medical Exemptions On Finchem's Radar

Maybe he bought a few days of sympathy with his comedy work and charitable ways, but I finally got around to reading Commissioner Letterman's State Of The Playoffs presser at Ridgewood. While the Dustin Johnson topic avoidance turned him into a virtual mute, there were other moments worth noting.

Jim McCabe did a nice job summarizing the key points. The only real surprise came with some budging by the Commish on the topic of playing opportunities for up-and-coming players. Many are blocked by the better-athletes than yesteryear, so good they are suffering major injuries and milking the "major medical" exemption category.

McCabe writes:

This year, 19 players who fell into the “major medical category” wound up playing in a combined 262 tournaments. (Six of those 19 regained their full status.) In some ways, that contributed to the lack of playing opportunities for those at the bottom of the Web.Com Tour Finals list. Finchem conceded that the major medical list, while necessary, perhaps needs tweaking.

“We have been looking at that category. We have had an uptick (more players on the list) and it was put some pressure on the access to the Tour players. We are just evaluating it.”

In other words: If players are in better shape than ever before, why are so many of them hurt? The Tour would like to find the answer.

I'm pretty sure when I speak for most of us when I say that outside of immediate friends and family, most don't care about the playing opportunities of golf professionals. However, when so many young players are not able to get enough starts or into a nice enough flow to get their shot at proving playing worth as yesterday's news takes up spots, this becomes an issue about the future well being of the PGA Tour.


Vine: Playing With Fire And The Fire Wins

Thanks to Cameron DaSilva at Back9 Network for catching Jo Floyd's brilliant, thoughtful and shrewd thought to hit a golf ball aflame.