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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

If I wanted to know how I played, I awaited the next day's account in The Times. With what was therein written I was content, for here was the truth of things. I want nothing more than to be remembered by posterity in the words of Bernard Darwin.  J.H. TAYLOR




Rory's Grow-The-Game Award Goes To A Billboard Driver

Talking to The Guardian's Ewan Murray about the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award that had yet to be handed out, Rory McIlroy saw his likely win as a chance to reset the golf-is-for-old-people discussion.

Talking about his hopes for winning for a golf world (apparently) clamoring for its first BBC award since Faldo in 1989...

“So it’s understandable, but at the same time it would be a great thing for golf if I was to win. It would transcend across all sports and not just stick to the golf community.

“It could be an inspiration to young kids to pick up a set of golf clubs and go and play. It would be a huge honour for me but I think it would be a pretty big thing for golf.”

McIlroy's hopes for the award, voted on by the public, were dashed as Professional Billboard Driver Lewis Hamilton was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY). Hamilton won by 86,000 votes in a 620,932 vote poll, so the British public is not as smitten with young McIlroy as the various scribes, players and Twitterers who took to social media to condemn the vote. 

However, continuing the driver theme, the people voted European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley Coach of the Year.

And if it's any consolation for Rory, the Daily Mail said you looked handsome as you walked the red carpet.


Johnny: Ryder Cup Task Force "Grasping At Straws"

Adam Schupak quotes PNC Father/Son participant Johnny Miller on a variety of topics, including Johnny's view that Tiger has "one great fight left" in him.

There was this on the Ryder Cup task force Task Force "Task Force":

“They are definitely grasping at straws. You have to sort of admit that Europe is a better team…Medinah could’ve turned it around. I mean, I wanted to throw up for about a week. We had that Ryder Cup. It was just brutal to see that happen. That probably still haunts guys like Stricker, Tiger and Furyk."

Rex Hoggard spoke to Tom Lehman about the group's recent conference call and you'll be glad to know that Tiger, Phil and Ray Floyd not only didn't snooze off, they "took charge." Merica!

“Tiger took charge. Raymond took charge, Phil took charge. We have guys who are very confident, very smart and sure of themselves. Somebody is going to step up and be the leader of this thing and that’s what we need,” said Love, the 2012 captain.

“I can tell you that Tiger, Furyk and Stricker have been blowing my phone up since the meeting. It’s not like we had a meeting and said we’ll see you again in February. Everybody is excited and engaged.”


Insanity Redefined: Aus PGA Uses Same Playoff Hole 7 Times

I understand that it's a cliché to wheel out the "definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result" line.

But you'll recall the difficult par-4 18th hole was used four agonizingly dull times last month to decide the Race To The CME Globe, ultimately captured by Lydia Ko.

But the Australian PGA topped that with a nightmarish seven trips over the dreary 18th at Royal Pines.

Greg Chalmers ultimately prevailed over Adam Scott (and Wade Ormsby who bowed out after three times down 18).

I understand that tournament directors decide to play the finishing hole over and over again because of the crowd having gathered and the corporate tents are likely to be pleased to have a playoff come to them. But way too many courses finish on long, boring par-4s that rarely involve risk-reward situations that separate elite players from the merely great.

So please, stop this new tradition now before anyone has to sit through such a playoff again.

Seven times!


Review: The Fox Sports Golf Debut

There must have been a reason Joe Buck opened Fox Sports' first golf telecast with an apology and a "we're not worthy" tribute to CBS, NBC and Golf Channel's production teams. Perhaps someone saw their practice runs and knew day one televising golf was going to be rough around the edges. And it was rough but not without promising signs.

Buck got off to a rough start trying too hard to be funny while Norman was more focused on telling the golf story, with only occasional discussions of himself (Click to enlarge)Fox kicked off their foray into golf with a four-hour Franklin Templeton Shootout telecast featuring a few moments of fresh twists on golf broadcasting and one compelling exchange thanks to cameraman bullying from Billy Horschel and Ian Poulter toward (I wrote about for this for The Loop). Mostly though, the telecast glitches reinforced the well-oiled nature of the incumbent golf networks, with way too many jarring cuts, announcer over-talking (especially when audio engineers picked up conversations) and a rough start for lead man Joe Buck.

Pretty much everything dreaded when USGA moved its championships to Fox Sports was evident in the initial telecast. Way too much Fox bringing attention to themselves and not enough golf. Cheesy attempts at hipster status (Buck declaring "There's some Fox attitude!" the first time rock and roll was used to commercial). And dated looking graphics employing the chunky Fox font while the Fox logo was on screen at all times yet inexplicably not given a watermark finish. (Branding baby!)

One of a few slightly elevated rear view shots that helped show off the shot players faced. Note the upper right Fox logo. (Click to enlarge)The on-screen logo blends in to a stadium setting but on a golf course? Not so much. And remember, every USGA event highlight of the next 12 years will have that logo. Pretty garrish.

The telecast also displayed glimpses of everything golf fans could hope for with the naming of Mark Loomis as coordinating producer: some fresh efforts to use drones for filming holes more tactfully (not just flying down the center as fast as possible), some excellent rear camera views to better show off course architecture, and most intriguing of all,"Fox Labs" attempts to show green contours and hole locations better.

The all-male announce team, without Holly Sonders, who starts in 2015, had a mixed day. The guys were clearly amped up early on, with nearly everyone talking too much without actually saying anything. They talked over player-caddy or player-player chats, and tried too hard to let you know they were all bonded buddies having a great time. Brad Faxon, who settled in as the day went on, was the worst over-talking culprit while Buck was almost relentless in his attempts at coolness. I'm a huge Buck fan on baseball, but his style seemed out of his element while it was Greg Norman, prone-to-windbaggery and self promotion, who mostly came off more focused on telling the tournament story instead of making the telecast about Fox's debut. (Well, there was the completely unnecessary review of that morning's 5K run for the Shootout's cause, which Norman hosted.)

Spotters were in a camera shot, not the first time cameras were obstructed by people (Click to enlarge)Steve Flesch had a strong start at the 16th hole announcer, with a pleasant style reminscent of Mark Rolfing or Gary Koch. Scott McCarron was not offensive but also not much of a presence as an on-course reporter the way Maltbie or a Pepper can raise the bar, and instructor E.A. Tischler seemed in over his head (or perhaps he was announcing from two feet under water?). Still, his instruction content was short-and-sweet compared to the bizarre call to compare Faxon and Norman's short games which then led to more lame banter for the next half hour when players were hitting wedge shots.

Faxon also had a tendency to talk quietly at times, so when he said Justin Leonard was married to Amanda with four children, it sounded like Justin Leonard was married to a man with four children. Still, talking too much is a minor offense, whereas Buck just couldn't help himself with lame jokes, attempts at coolness or suggestions that anyone besides this reviewer or friends and family were paying attention:

- "Quit squeezing me Greg" after they showed Ultimate Fighters which then led to Greg praising how chiseled the guys were

- "We're going to take a break, gather our thoughts, loosen our ties and get ready for the back nine in Naples" even though they came back on camera had not loosened their ties

Fox Labs produced this green circling the hole to some effect (Click to enlarge)- Suggesting Twitter had erupted ala the Kardashian rear-end photo when he said David Fay was the USGA Executive Director, not the former. I could find no such Tweets, which likely means the Far Hills red phone rang. Or worse, there was an in-person production truck visit.

Former Executive Director Fay came in handy with ruling situations, particularly on the 17th hole dispute when the entire team shined. Ironically, because the group sounded like their adrenaline rush had worn off by hour three, they wisely zipped up to let the hard work of sound and camera folks do the storytelling. That silence only made Buck and Norman's post-shot comments stronger. There was a slightly sarcastic reference by Norman to Poulter as "sunshine," which told you all you needed to know about Norman's thoughts on Poulter's childish behavior (without embarrassing the lad). The 17th hole moment also proved Fox can handle the inevitable controversial situations that will arise at the USGA events they will cover.

On the production side, there were way too many jarring cuts from shot to shot without dissolves or wipes, a couple of incidents of people in shots who were not players (including two Fox spotters in case), and someone telling announcers the wrong information a few times (Norman as architect of the course gracefully corrected an initial declaration that they were headed to 10, while Buck had to mop up a declaration that they were headed to commercial break when they weren't).

A high-contrast look at the 18th green contours seemed to have potential but late day shadows dulled the effect (Click to enlarge)As promised, Loomis delivered several compelling shots with a gently rising shot that took you from behind ground level to 40-or-so feet above the golfer, allowing the viewer to take in the hole. Drone shots were also adeptly employed, captured by folks who wisely started low, then raised the elevation without rushing down the fairway. With the course's interesting design features and its architect in the booth, there was plenty to look at and analyze.

And finally, for "fresh and innovative" the "Fox Labs" unveiled a high contrast attempt to show green contours to minimal-but-promising effect when used on a green without corporate chalet shadows interfering. There was also a larger green circle around the cup to better show where the hole was located. All in all, both touches were just innovative enough to show promise.

But as expected, Fox has a long way to go before they can declare themselves at the level of the other networks. As Saturday's telecast reminded us, competence in golf broadcasting is underrated and freshness overrated when you're too often making the telecast about your network instead of the tournament at hand. Granted, I understand this was their historic first go and that was to be noted, but it's a Fox tendency to let you know they are the cooler network and in golf, there is no interest in cool. We just want to see golf and be enterained.


Trevino: “You can't name me a guy with a plus record that's playing the Ryder Cup right now.”

The PNC Father-Son starts Saturday and former major winners and their kids tee it up for the annual event where they also get to reminisce, misremember and gossip.

Lee Trevino had the recent Ryder Cup on his mind, reports Adam Schupak. He's not exactly touting the "body of work" from America's top players.

"You look statistically: Tiger (Woods, who did not play this year) has a minus record, Mickelson has a minus record. Furyk has got a (10-20-4) record. (10-20-4)! You see what I'm telling you? A (10-20-4) record. I know he's a hell of a player, but he's got a (10-20-4) record. He's a minus-10. (Trevino, on the other hand, sported a 17-7-6 mark.) You can't name me a guy with a plus record that's playing the Ryder Cup right now. (Jordan) Spieth has one now, and then (Patrick) Reed, yeah, he's got a 3-1, right? They're rookies. But you give me a veteran that's played in three or four Ryder Cups, and not one has a plus. You can't win that way. You cannot win."


Video: Bird Cleanly Steals Ball At Aussie PGA

The gull who tried to take Steve Lowery's ball at the 1998 Players has to move over after a bird cleanly made off with Samuel Eaves' pellet during the 2014 Australian PGA second round.

The clip:


Monty: Rory Better Now Than Tiger Ever Was!

Chris Cutmore quotes Colin Montgomerie as saying (breathlessly no doubt) that Rory now is better than Tiger at an point in his run, including 2000.

From the story:

"Tiger Woods is going to come back into the frame,' Mongomerie told when discussing next year's Masters. 'Is he going to be able to get back, not just to the levels he was but better than that? Because that’s where Rory McIlroy's taken the standard of golf: to one level beyond where Tiger was."

I'm pretty confident that we can drop today's Rory on a super firm, fast golf course and he's still going to struggle. Throw in some wind and he's just not there. Great player, but it's shockingly shallow, even for Monty, to make that case. But it worked, we're giving him the attention he craves.


Couples On Phil's Ryder Cup Benching: "Are you kidding me?"

Joe Passov was at the unveiling of a 6-hole kids course designed by Brian Curley at Southern Dunes where Fred Couples was the special guest.

During a clinic for the youngsters, Couples was asked about the 2014 Ryder Cup. It's clear one of Captain Watson's decisions was bothering him...

Asked about the Ryder Cup, Couples said, “I'm not bashing Tom Watson, but sitting Mickelson, your best team player? Are you kidding me?" Couples, the 1992 Masters champion, has long been a close friend of Watson, whose captaincy of the US team was widely criticized after the September loss in Scotland.


Noteworthy Pebble Beach Tree Goes Down In Winter Storm

John Strege with the lowdown on the small cypress tree that went down at Pebble Beach's iconic finishing hole.

The tree was one of two planted down the fairway in 2004 when two trees on 18 were diseased and also out of play due to the elite, Olympic-caliber athletes now playing the game, unlike in the past.

One of the two cypress trees in the landing area of the 18th fairway at Pebble Beach Golf Links was toppled Thursday by strong winds that were a part of what the National Weather Service predicted would be one of Northern California’s strongest storms in years.

The photo below, a screenshot taken during the storm from Pebble Beach’s Live Cam looking down the 18th fairway, shows the downed tree in the upper left-hand corner.

In a later post Strege reports that winter conditions will preclude a replacement tree prior to the AT&T National Pro-Am and also features a close up photo of the downed tree.


Rory's Three Closest Confidants Called Out In Case

Tim Healy reports on day three of the pre-trial proceedings in Rory McIlroy v. Horizon and the defense will be claiming that McIlroy's father along with two eventual employees of McIlroy, including Sean O'Flaherty who worked for Horizon at the time of the breakup,"made a concerted effort" to "destabilize" the partnership.

Healy writes:

Those people included consultant Donal Casey, who later became CEO of Rory McIlroy Inc, it was claimed.

They included the golfer's personal assistant Sean O'Flaherty, and his father Gerry McIlroy, the court was told by Maurice Collins SC, for Horizon Sports Management Ltd and two other companies.

He said: "It is a central part of my clients' case that in the period subsequent to January 2013, Mr Casey, Mr O'Flaherty and Gerry McIlroy made a concerted effort to destabilised the relationship between Rory McIlroy and Horizon."

The judge's decision on the mobile-phone-wiping-to-avoid-journalists issue will be given later.


“Playoff change still leaves questions”

Beginning with...does anyone care enough at this point to get annoyed that the FedExCup has now has no equal in the lower tier of contrived competitions? Especially now that the BCS has been retired and NASCAR's desperate tweaks have failed to excite fans for their "Chase"? (But at least NASCAR fans care enough to debate their playoffs.)

Bob Harig reports on the annual PGA Tour "tweak" to the FedExCup Playoffs, which still don't want to be a playoff of the regular season's best players.

Yet the PGA Tour appears not to be satisfied, and a tweak to the points formula announced Thursday will decrease the number of points awarded at the four playoff events from 2,500 to 2,000, thus limiting slightly the amount of volatility that occurs at the four season-ending tournaments.

The winner of a regular tournament receives 500 points, with 600 going to those who capture a major, so you can see that a victory in the playoff events has far greater importance. Instead of being five times as valuable as a regular event, now it is four times greater, apparently in an attempt to make the regular season more meaningful.

Fair enough.

The problem is, you can't really have it both ways.


Rory Trial..."Fireworks when the case goes to trial"

Brian Keogh of the Irish Golf Desk spent the last two days setting in Court 18 listening to the lawyers representing Rory McIlroy and Horizon Sports Management bickering over bricked phones.

His takeaway?

It took four hours of court time to get through Day One of the business at hand and one thing emerged quite clearly — a 6-8 week trial with gentlemen such as these asking the questions will be no picnic for anyone concerned.

So in other words, for the Rory true believers who have tried to ignore the sheer stupidity of their man entering a trial in the weeks prior to the Masters, this is not good news.

There is also the detail involved. Keogh heard many tantalizing tidbits and concludes...

Little wonder that media members from the far side of the world — including sports writers — are planning to descend on the Four Courts when the case goes to trial on February 3.

Compared to the benign "it is what it is" press conference pronouncements of Tiger et al, the risk of severe and prolonged periods of utter boredom may be worth the promise of fireworks when  the case itself goes to trial. The potential parade of the main characters and the bit part actors in a real world drama is sure to keep the Fourth Estate occupied for some time to come.


Norman On Fox Debut: “I think going in I’ll be as nervous as I was walking the first tee at Augusta National"

If we're talking 1996 nervous then Saturday's debut of Fox Sports golf coverage should be pretty compelling!

Craig Handel of the News Press sat down Tuesday with Greg Norman and announcer Joe Buck, fresh off a Shark Shootout pro-am round to talk about Saturday's first telecast (Thursday and Friday on Golf Channel will also be helmed by Fox's production team).

Norman added, “I think going in I’ll be as nervous as I was walking the first tee at Augusta National ...

“I’ve done a lot of things in my life, but this ranks in my top five. I’m really excited and want to make this work.”

While Buck said that’s a style he tries to emphasize for all sports, Norman said, “There will be moments when I’ll probably have to know when to carry it with silence or carry it by talking. Many people have asked, ‘What would you have said in the booth when Tiger improperly placed the ball on the 15th hole?’ I said I would’ve called it. You make the comment and live with the consequences.”

Impressive that Greg knew it was a violation on the spot!

Based on their 20-minute interview Tuesday, the two seem comfortable with each other.

Buck said, “Greg is the most interesting man in the world and I’m just drafting off that.”

When asked about the course, Buck quickly quipped, “I don’t like it.”

Quickly responding, Norman said, “That’s because you never were on the course.”

As for humor, like that which you just experienced...

While Norman will be opinionated and Buck will interject humor, he said that’s also a balance.

“We’ll have fun and make it light, but you also have to respect the game,” Buck said. “Respect the view of who is watching and why they’re watching.”


Rory's Lawyers: No Conspiracy Here

Tim Healy reports after a morning of court proceedings that Rory's legal team refuted suggestions that his phone wiping was an act of conspiracy.

The case defendants, Horizon Sports Management, made the allegations yesterday in an attempt to obtain the phones for further inspection.

Mr McIlroy had done nothing wrong and Horizon’s criticism of him was wholly misplaced.

It was criticism “made against a backdrop of an allegation of conspiracy that he planned his exit from Horizon for which there is not a shred of evidence”, counsel said. The allegation was “speculation and conjecture”.

There was a determination on the part of Horizon to mischarachterise Mr McIlroy as having not complied with a previous court order and that was wholly wrong, Mr Cush said. He had fully complied.

In reply, Maurice Collins SC, also for the defendants, said there had been significant destruction of data and this was not an inference or speculative assertion.

It was admitted by Mr McIlroy data had been destroyed, whether innocently or unknowingly, he said.


Prayers Answered: Ryder Cup Task Force Meets!

The Ryder Cup Task Force has pulled even in the PGA Of America Task Force Derby.

With just one more meeting of the Ryder Cup group (even a GoToMeeting confab), they will surpass March's newly-formed HackGolf/Millennial Task Force 2-to-1.  **Breaking! The grow the game group met at the PGA Championship, retaining a 2-1 lead!

We know of this great mind-melding moment thanks to a Derek Sprague PGA Of America statement that suggests the meeting took place in person:

Ryder Cup Task Force Co-Chairman and PGA  President Derek Sprague Statement:

“The Ryder Cup Task Force met today at PGA of America Headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. for more than four hours. It was a very productive meeting where all Task Force members were engaged in thoughtful dialogue. We discussed a wide array of issues including the selection process for Captains and Vice Captains and more. Today was the beginning of a process that is designed to create the conditions for long term Ryder Cup success. We have more work to do and look forward to gathering again to complete the work of the Task Force. Once we have significant news  to report from these meetings, we will be happy to share that with you.”

Ryder Cup Task Force Members
Derek Sprague, Co-chair
Pete Bevacqua, Co-chair
Paul Levy, Vice President, PGA of America
Raymond Floyd
Rickie Fowler
Jim Furyk
Tom Lehman
Davis Love III
Phil Mickelson
Steve Stricker
Tiger Woods

You may recall that I secured the minutes to this meeting long before it even started.

As for the location of the meeting, it sounds like players called in while PGA of America brass stared at a speaker phone, ate Chinese takeout and took sips of Arnold Palmer's everytime someone mentioned Fred Couples over the four hours.

Rex Hoggard reports for


Adam: Leave Olympic Golf To The Amateurs

Add Adam Scott to the list of players (not) wildly excited about Olympic golf. He has a "desire" to be part of it, but that's about the extent of his passion for golf's return to the games in 2016.

Jim Tucker reports for the Courier Mail.

“People watch us (as pros) play 45 weeks a year,” Scott said.

“If you really wanted to grow the game you’d have the Olympics for amateurs.”

The defending Australian PGA champion said earlier at a private cocktail party that he has a huge regard for the Olympic ideals.

“Rio is not something I’ve thought a lot about, but it is something I have a desire to be part of,” Scott said.

Scott is headlining the Australian PGA ar Royal Pines Resort, not to be confused with Royal Portrush.

Golf Channel airtimes starting Wednesday night:

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday     8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live)
Thursday         8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live)
Friday              8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Live)


Rory Wiped Up To Eight Phones In Fear Of...Journalists!?

Tim Healy in the Irish Times reports on the latest discovery battle between Rory McIlroy and Horizon Sports.

In attempting to gather information in their defense, Horizon says McIlroy wiped clean up to eight mobile phones. He apparently keeps so many phones because, try not to laugh, he's fearful of calls from journalists?

And here I thought he was just worrying Mum would call wanting her winter coat back.

Anyway, Horizon's attorney isn't buying the story and wants the phones to see what can be recovered.

Mr Sreenan said if his side’s experts gets the devices, it may be possible to recover some of the information sought or other information of assistance to the case.

It was a very serious matter for the administration of justice where someone involved in court proceedings had failed to preserve material, he said.

Mr McIlroy had initially claimed he changed his devices regularly because of his “transient life-style”. Only on Tuesday he had stated he changed them to avoid phone calls from journalists, counsel said.

The defendants believe he could not have changed phones and devices without backing up data and conversations because it would mean, for instance, ongoing conversations about who would be on the Ryder Cup team, would be wiped.

And he wouldn't want to forget that he told Captain McGinley not to pair him with GMac in foursomes!

So the lad needs multiple phones to avoid calls from journalists? Who knew his numbers were so easily gettable? Rory doesn't back up his phones and wipes them (and dad's...such a good son!) to avoid someone from hacking?

Okay, I'll kind of grant him that since a certain media company did like to hack celebrity phones.

But eight? All getting the factory reset treatment? When did he find time to practice?


Tiger To Design His First Course In Dubai Again

Bloomberg's Ross Larsen reports the project at Trump World Golf Club Dubai will be designed for DAMA Properties and AKOYA Oxygen.

This comes less than four years after the failed Al Ruwaya--for which he was reportedly paid over $50 million--was abandoned and allowed to be reclaimed by the desert.

Lawrence Donegan filed a superb piece after visiting the project gone to seed. And Ron Sirak described these images of the six completed Al Ruwaya holes when they were still watered.

For Immediate Release, up to a point...there's only so much silliness one can read:

DAMAC Properties Announce Tiger Woods Design to Create Golf Course for ‘AKOYA Oxygen’

‘Trump World Golf Club Dubai’, 18-Hole Championship Course will be designed by Tiger Woods

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: 9th December 2014. Golfing superstar Tiger Woods will design the new 18-hole championship golf course in Dubai to be built by luxury real estate developers, DAMAC Properties and operated by The Trump Organization.

Set within the 55 million sq ft master community of AKOYA Oxygen, the ‘Trump World Golf Club, Dubai’ will include a state-of-the-art clubhouse, world-class restaurant and pro shop. The course will be situated at the heart of the development, with some of the highest premium, residential developments in Dubai overlooking the course.

"Tiger Woods is one of the most famous and iconic sportsmen in the world who will bring his design expertise and worldwide playing experience to this amazing development,” said Ziad El Chaar, Managing Director, DAMAC Properties. “Add to that the golfing prowess and skills of The Trump Organisation, our leadership position in luxury real estate development, with the global appeal of Dubai, we believe The Trump World Golf Club Dubai, designed by Tiger Woods, will be a market leader, judged against the best golf courses in the world.”

“Bringing Tiger Woods to Dubai is a testament to the luxury and quality that can be anticipated at AKOYA Oxygen – where fashion meets the outdoors, and green really is the new black.”

Green is the new black. Everyone, on three, one, two...OY VEY!

The Donald's quote was buried at the end of the release...

“Tiger Woods is the biggest name in professional golf,” said Mr. Donald J. Trump, Chairman & President of The Trump Organization. “His expertise comes from winning on every great course in the world, including his win at the WGC - Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral, Miami. Tiger will be a tremendous asset in developing the course at the Trump World Golf Club, Dubai - and together, with DAMAC Properties, we will be doing something very special.”


SBJ: PGA Tour Viewership Numbers "Tumble"

The headline was brutal but reading between the lines, the drops might not be quite a "tumble."

Michael Smith of Sports Business Journal says PGA Tour viewership "took another plunge during the 2013-14 season," reporting drops in average weekend numbers by 18% (NBC), 14% (CBS) and 9% for Golf Channel early weekend coverage, while pointing out that the "drops followed sharp declines the previous year as well."

CBS's Sean McManus remained bullish on the strength of tour golf.

“Year-over-year ratings are going to fluctuate, but it’s important to remember that sponsor underpinning and interest is as strong as it’s ever been,” said McManus, chairman of CBS Sports. “Ratings are significant, but we’re not worried about any long-term trends. We feel the future is still very bright.”

The Tour's Ty Votaw says the cumulative audience was down just 1 percent over 2013. The cumulative takes into account things like telecast replays and other variables.

“We have a lot of total TV hours, probably more hours of competition than most sports,” Votaw said.

A four-year snapshot shows that the tour’s cumulative audience in 2011 reached 175.9 million viewers; 171.2 million in 2012; 172.6 million in 2013; and 170.7 million in 2013-14.

With Tiger out for all but a few events and other variables, the numbers may not be that alarming.

The 2014 tournaments also faced some difficult competition for eyeballs. The Sochi Olympics in February went up against three tour events, while the FIFA World Cup ran from June into July.


Video: First Look At Nicklaus-Designed Quivira

Exciting times for Cabo San Lucas where they are recovering from hurricane Odile and opening a Jack Nicklaus course ten minutes from town. While Tiger's course reportedly opens next week (according to the select media invited by his people) is a private club and limited to the beautiful people, Quivira is public and offers a green fee structure depending on the time of day you play.

Here's the segment from Morning Drive where we discuss and do note that driving range setting: