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Books
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • Men in Green
    Men in Green
    by Michael Bamberger
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • 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
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins

    Kindle Edition

  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

I attribute the insane arrogance of the later Roman emperors almost entirely to the fact that, never having played golf, they never knew that strange chastening humility which is engendered by a topped chip-shot. If Cleopatra had been outed in the First Round of the Ladies’ Singles, we should have heard a lot less of her proud imperiousness.
P.G. WODEHOUSE


    

Saturday
Aug292015

Playoff Pressure! Bubba Aims At Tent; Jordan Goes Home

You can literally see the playoff vibe at Plainfield.

In the form of large, Impact font lettering along the fairway, just in case you forgot these were playoffs where algorithms rule!

That's the good news for Jordan Spieth, who misses his third cut of 2015 but is still very much alive in the FedExCup points race despite stepping on his ball. Reinforcing just how vital these playoffs are, Spieth put new irons in the bag this week, reported Jonathan Wall (and noted by golf.com's Brendan Moehler).

The 36-hole leader, Bubba Watson, apparently doesn't care much for Plainfield due to the blind shots, so he's aiming at tents and not worrying if he moves the ball. He's also using driver on holes where the play seems iffy, but the strategic tactic is to secure a few of the next shot.

Kevin Maguire on the tent play:

The two-time Masters champ said previously this course just doesn't suit his eye. Blind shots, of which there are many on the classic Donald Ross design, are difficult for Watson and he is an extremely visual golfer.

"The reason why I hit driver is to make the hole visually better for me on the next shot," Watson said.

Asked about his hole after the round, Watson simply gave the answer that many a weekend golfer would after making a par in a non-traditional.

"There's no pictures on the scorecard," he said.

But it doesn't really matter because the golf should still be fun. Example 4.5 million of how much more fun golf is when the ground game matters, Jason Day style at Plainfield's superb 7th hole:

Thursday
Aug272015

Golf.com: "Breakup & Makeup: The Bromance Between PGA [Tour] Golfers and Caddies" 

Cameron Morfit at golf.com files a fun look at the on-again, off-again bromances of certain players and their luggage handlers.

I'm exhausted just trying to keep up with Vijay and his various loopers.

Although Singh and Tesori promised each other that their second partnership wouldn't revert to the way it was, old habits die hard. Having amassed six wins in their first collaboration, they raked in six more the second time around. The bad news? Singh, as driven as ever, was still dragging Tesori to the range on their off weeks.

"After another year and a half, I quit," Tesori says. "[Going back] was a decision I never liked. I did it for the money, the notoriety and the respect, and none of those were the right reasons. Jerry Kelly was top 30 in the world at the time, we'd done the 2003 Presidents Cup, and he was treating me well. It was something I said I wouldn't do again. When it's time to split up, it's time to split up."

Except, of course, when it's time to get back together.

Thursday
Aug272015

Industry Leaders On How They Fell For The Game, Golf's Future

Jim Achenbach at Golfweek.com goes to various golf industry leaders to ask how they fell for the game and where they see it going.

While there are no breakthrough revelations on how these interesting and intelligent people would help the sport going forward, I consider it a breakthrough that not one saw it as the job of governing bodies to create new consumers for the various companies who stand from growing the sport.

I enjoyed this most from Dave Schnider, president of Fujikura USA.

About the game’s future, Schnider compares golf to music.

“When I was growing up, I would never listen to Frank Sinatra,” he said. “Now I do, because it’s really good quality art. In the same way, I think kids will come to the game of golf. I think it will have another resurgence because it’s a fabulous game that can be played for a lifetime.

“I truly believe this in my heart. More players will come to the game because of what the game represents: good people, smart people, men and women who appreciate golf.”

And I believe he's right.

Thursday
Aug272015

Another Course Bites The Dust; A Dozen We'd Like To Have Back

Imran Ghori in the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports that the Pete Dye-branded Moreno Valley Ranch, once home to a Nike Tour event, closed its doors on August 25th.

The course goes to auction September 1st with an openign bid of $3.6 million for the 27 holes and clubhouse.

On the sad topic of lost courses, GolfAdvisor.com's Jason Scott Deegan looks at a dozen shuttered golf courses that we all regret having seen gone to seed.

Thursday
Aug272015

Bubba Thrives On A Tighter, Shorter Course!

He's the most talented, creative and fearsome player on the planet when he wants to be. So it never surprises when Bubba Watson plays well, it only surprises when he decides this is the week to put his mind to it.

Plainfield has a lot of rough and is not thought to be a course you'd overpower, but Bubba used his driver a whole bunch to open with a 65 in The Barclays.

Rex Hoggard on Watson's unlikely low round from the Spieth-Day-Watson grouping Thursday morning.

Although it’s taken the better part of 36 years, the player one national magazine recently featured under the headline “Bubba: Why we love him and why we don’t” has learned to embrace the rub of the green.

In the age of the “we” generation it is conversely refreshing that Bubba is still an old-school “me” kind of guy.

When Spieth talks about a golf shot or a decision it’s always a group, “We've gone about our business the way we wanted to,” the 22-year-old said earlier this week.

Conversely, Watson often appears alone on an island of his own making. One outlook isn’t better than the other, just different.

“I had some issues growing up where I was very angry at the world and at the golf, and so I've tried to get better at that,” Watson said. “Over the past few years, I've grown up, I guess you'd say, and my thinking, my processes, either I'm getting better as a person or I'm just tired of hitting bad shots on the golf course. So I'm thinking better.”

Embracing Plainfield and all its quirkiness may not exactly have the look and feel of a hard self-examination, but for Bubba it’s an indication that he’s at least interested in improvement and that’s a start.

At least on Thursday. He can always change his mind, sadly.

Though as Helen Ross noted, it was love at first site for Bubba at Plainfield so the man-boy genius might stick around. Works for me!

Thursday
Aug272015

Correction: Koepka Did Earn Presidents Cup Points

I know how the Presidents Cup dynamics are constantly in your hearts and minds so it is with my deepest apologies for passing along incorrect information. It regards Brooks Koepka's non-member days not counting toward his Presidents Cup standing. I regret not having fact checked the blog post I linked to.

In fact, Koepka is credited with Presidents Cup points dating back to start of the qualifying period, the 2013 BMW Championship

However, I do stand by the rest of my views that the PGA Tour needs to reconsider how it treats "non-members" who make the playoffs but don't make the playoffs, and consider the long term ramifications on college golf if there is a view that players can't finish the school year without harming chances of making the playoffs of either tour. (WGC winner Shane Lowry could have been part of the venting too, but I'm more concerned by the route from elite college player to tour.)

 

Thursday
Aug272015

Playoff Fever: Plainfield! Plainfield! Plainfield!

Let's be honest, no one cares about the playoffs unless points resets are your thing, which is why we at least have our Fantasy League (with prizes from Avis and Callaway!) to keep us company. Two top players are limping in if they're playing at all (Hank Gola reports), Rory McIlroy is sitting out the first round and it'll be tough to top the 2015 majors.

But we have Plainfield for this week's first playoff event, The Barclays! This means two weeks in a row of Donald Ross designs, and as we saw last week at Sedgefield, there is something about those green complexes, the strategy and the intimate scale of the old style venues that makes for great tournament energy.

In 2011, Plainfield was soft from a wet summer and then was made even more forgettable by Hurricane Sandy.

This time around, the course is said to be in amazing shape by the PGA Tour's advance staff, the hurricane's are staying away and this Donald Ross masterwork should be a lot of fun to watch this week.

Ran Morrissett's Golf Club Atlas review is several years old but he makes the key point that this is one very special use of a property with more standout Ross holes than just about any course he created.

Gil Hanse has overseen restoration work here, with more tweaks in advance of this year's event at holes 15 and 16, as Tripp Isenhour reveals in this video report. The 18th will be driveable again, as Isenhour explained in this Golf Central report.

Coverage begins Thursday on Golf Channel at 2 pm ET, but those who've signed up to the PGA Tour's streaming option can start soaking up playoff tension at 8 am ET.

Thursday
Aug272015

Video: The Story Of Plainfield's Wes Mensing

Tim Rosaforte looks at the short but prolific life of instructor Wes Mensing, who died in January at 27 but left his legacy at Plainfield (site of this week's Barclays) and beyond with his many students.

The moving and beautifully told 8-minute feature:

Wednesday
Aug262015

Met Open's 100th Is Underway...

While the Barclays plays out at Plainfield, the MGA's Met Open is playing its 100th event at Winged Foot, with the final round set for Thursday on the recently restored East Course. You can view the scores here heading into the final round.

Bill Fields
reviews this important event and its remarkable history in this New York Times piece.

But the Met Open endures: It will be contested this week over 54 holes at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., in a celebration of the tournament’s rich history as one of the oldest in the United States.

The 100th edition of the event — once a marquee tour stop and still one of the country’s strongest regional competitions — will begin Tuesday morning with a field of 138 on Winged Foot’s East Course, designed by A. W. Tillinghast and recently restored by Gil Hanse.

“It’s our flagship tournament,” said the three-time Met Open champion Darrell Kestner, director of golf at Deepdale Golf Club in Manhasset, N.Y. “There are so many really good players in this area. The event is played on classic courses that have stood the test of time and is basically run like a tour event.”

The MGA has put together videos commemorating the 100th, including a tribute to Winged Foot.

Wednesday
Aug262015

Eisenhower Medical Takes Big Hit In Post-Hope Classic Years

Bill Dwyre of the LA Times says there are no bad guys in this saga, but he goes into great depth on the backstory behind the evolution of the Bob Hope Classic to the Humana Challenge to the CareerBuilder something or other.

In the years since Hope's passing and the Clinton Foundation's $1 million annual take, the Eisenhower Medical Center has seen its once sizeable annual donation fall to almost nothing, or nothing.

Dwyre writes:

For a long time, as Hope wanted, the Eisenhower Medical Center was the main financial recipient of the Bob Hope Desert Classic. It stayed that way when it became the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

The hospital can hardly complain too loudly if, indeed, its piece of the pie has dwindled since Humana and the Clinton Foundation came to town. Since Hope put his name on the tournament in 1965, the Eisenhower Medical Center has received $34.7 million from it.

In 2013, it received zero. Last year, it received $225,000. This year's allotment is scheduled for November, with no guarantees.

Foster says that, in the beginning, "Eisenhower was a pleasant little hospital and we were fairly vital." He also says, "We have not been as successful as we want to be in recent years, raising money for the hospital."

The numbers are interesting. Amateur slots for the tournament are down to 156. Foster says the reduction from past amateur revenue is about $1 million. The Clinton Foundation has an annual guarantee of $1 million, confirmed by Foster. The current annual shortfall of the Eisenhower Medical Center from the golf event is $1 million.

Wednesday
Aug262015

Reviewed: The Woods Jupiter

Josh Sens at golf.com does a nice job balancing restaurant review with scene setting anecdotes and caps it off with a sighting of The Man of the moment in Jupiter.

A snippet:

I squeeze my way up front, through a scrum of silver foxes and platinum blonds. The scene is moneyed Florida in microcosm, as if a nightclub mated with a country club. Many of the men look like Ted Bishop. Many of the women have that new-wife smell.

“Think he’ll be here tonight?” I ask the bartender, a comely twenty-something who, like all the staffers, wears sports attire adorned with swooshes. Hers: a Nike golf skirt and black Nike top. Natalie Gulbis would play her in the movie.

She cups an ear. I repeat the query.

“Who’s he?” she answers coyly, and hands me a margarita that’s only a shade smaller than the Claret Jug.

Wednesday
Aug262015

PGA Tour Fantasy: Playoff Fever! 

Yes, it's a PGA Tour fantasy that there is playoff fever as we prepare to begin the four-event get-rich scheme. But I'm talking about PGA Tour Fantasy Golf Driven By Avis.

It's not too late to join our league for the four FedExCup events, so get busy!

Here's how it'll work: join the GeoffShackelford.com league this week or be in the league already, and we'll have a drawing for a 1-day rental certificate.

Four weekly winners of the FedExCup events will receive 1 day rentals from Avis.

Most points from the overall wins an Avis two-day rental certificate and the new Great Big Bertha from Callaway, while second place wins an Odyssey putter.

The game is ShotLink-based and designed to emphasize every shot counting. You pick four players, two alternates each week. Simple as that, though if you want to dig in on stats and do some extra homework, you can. The system will send you an email to remind you about filling out your lineup.

Here's the league, so sign up now and we'll get through these playoffs...together. As a league.

Tuesday
Aug252015

Why Is The PGA Tour Eating Its Young?

Longtime readers here know why we're hearing strange stories of budding young talents finding themselves stifled, but for those who are perhaps outraged by Martin Kaymer losing his PGA Tour membership or Patrick Rodgers having no place to go or Brooks Koepka unlikely to make the Presidents Cup team on points or Ollie Schniederjans missing status by a shot, here's a recap of how we got here.

The PGA Tour was in danger of losing four fall events because they were following the "FedExCup playoffs" and essentially became "Fall Finish" events for those attempting to retain tour cards. If that didn't work out, the players had Q-School to look forward to as one more chance to retain a card. The system worked well while also allowing those on the outside hope of living the dream. 

Yet to save these precious four fall events and add new ones (growth! bonuses!), Tim Finchem and the PGA Tour Policy Board came up with the idea of wraparound golf, a neverending schedule putting an end to the tour's traditional, highly functional January-November calendar.

Setting aside the oversaturation issue resulting from year-round play and the peculiarity for general sports fans of starting a new season after the prior one ends, the greater issue was always the impact on "fresh blood" playing opportunities. As other sports wish they could stave off immature players not quite ready for the show (think NBA), golf is seeing players develop at a younger age like never before. The LPGA has just had its second 17-year-old superstar quandary to deal with, and like never before, male golfers are developing at younger ages and with shocking ability when coming out of the NCAA golf system.

Yet the avenue for these capable young talents has been made nearly impossible by the schedule realignment and a change in membership policies that seeks to protect existing members while making a path to the PGA Tour more difficult than ever. The only thing unfortunate about Jordan Spieth's rise was his ability to make people forget that he left school in December and through hard work, some luck (as Karen Crouse quotes him noting this week) and a great amount of skill, made it past the unfortunate barriers erected by the Tour's schedule change. 

Since Spieth's emergence, we’ve seen elite college golf talents like Peter Uihlein and Brooks Koepka try the European Tour route and while both have had moments, Koepka had a few more at just the right times. He then rode his way into some PGA Tour events by cracking the world top 50, played just well enough, and made it to the PGA Tour as a "member." But it was far from easy and a few shots here and there could have the American still playing in Europe with his buddy Uihlein. As it stands, Koepka should be on the cusp of making the Presidents Cup team on points, but because of the "membership" situation in 2013-14, is missing out on key points.

Soly at No Laying Up lays out why this happened to Koepka and understandably wonders how the PGA Tour could do this to a player it needs.

Sadly, Koepka’s case is a minor blip compared to the embarrassing situation involving Patrick Rodgers (Stanford) and the unfortunate luck of Ollie Schniederjans (Georgia Tech). Both are immensely talented young American college golf-grads whose clubs will be collecting dust the next few weeks because of the entire debacle that is Tim Finchem’s wraparound schedule.

You may recall that Phil Blackmar wrote eloquently about how the end of Q-School would close the door to emerging talents, and with the recent situations involving Rodgers and Schniederjans, the reality has become painfully obvious. I wrote last year about Rodgers and what it would take for him to get to the tour, yet even as well as the Stanford graduate has played, it's still not been enough to get him into the almighty playoffs. Membership in the club should not be a playoff priority, accomplishments should.

Steve Elling explains at GolfBlot how Rodgers "is facing a two-month break, because he’s ineligible to play in either series, despite being a Web.com member and having secured a PGA Tour card for 2015-16." Elling talked to Rodgers' agent Brad Buffoni, who is understandably amazed that his client earned a card and a spot in the playoffs of either the PGA or Web.com Tours, and yet won't be.

He finished inside the top 125 in FedEx Cup points to secure his status going forward, but since he was playing as a non-member, he remains ineligible for the FedEx Cup playoffs and the millions in bonus money on the table.

“A rule change that certainly needs review and discussion,” Buffoni said. “Hopefully, the tour will address this situation going forward, as players of Patrick’s caliber have proved in limited starts that they can compete successfully and deserve the chance to advance to the playoffs.”

Because of a new rule change instituted this year, Rodgers, 23, likewise can’t play in the Web.com Tour series, either, though he began the season on that tour, won in February and sits at No. 23 on the points list. (The top 25 at the end of this week earn PGA Tour cards for next season.)

Remember kids, the next time the tour tries to play up how young and hip they are, just keep in mind how they treat their young.

Oh but it gets more painful: Ollie Schniederjans.

Ryan Lavner lays out at GolfChannel.com in excruciating detail how the former world No. 1 amateur who finished 12th in The Open at St. Andrews, then contended at the Canadian Open and stayed in school before turning pro, missed his chance to keep playing playoff golf by a stroke. And an unlucky one at that.

Playing on sponsor exemptions this summer, he began the week with 99 non-members points and basically needed to make the cut in Greensboro to continue his season. (The equivalent of a T-66 finish would have been enough.) After an opening 71 in easy conditions, he was 4 under for his second round and safely inside the cut line when he lined up his second shot on the ninth hole, his 18th of the day. He caught a flier from the first cut, his ball sailed over the green, and he had no shot to get the ball close. The bogey capped a Friday 67 and put him on the cut line at 2 under.

Schniederjans looked safe for the weekend – and for a spot in the Finals – until Roberto Castro, another Georgia Tech alum, stuffed his final approach to a foot in the last group of the day. That single-handedly moved the cut back to 3 under, and Schniederjans was out.

But there’s more: Erik Compton withdrew prior to the start of the third round, citing a sore left ankle. Had he withdrawn before the end of the second round, the 36-hole cut would have moved back to 2 under and allowed 19 players – including Schniederjans – to move on.

“I was devastated,” he said. “I was crushed.”

Now, instead of a shot to earn his PGA Tour card through the four-event series, he has three weeks off and no status on any major tour.

It is not Finchem's fault that Ollie had bad luck or that Patrick didn't win the Wells Fargo instead of finishing second.

No, it's Finchem's fault that he could not envision so many negatives than positives from the move to wraparound golf or the consequences of ending Q-School as a direct avenue to the PGA Tour. And it's certainly his fault if more college golfers start following Spieth's bold plan of leaving school in December instead of June after the season and graduations have played out.

(This state of affairs is especially worth remembering when the tour tries to align itself with NCAA golf, even as it tries to send well-developed collegians to their feeder tours whether they need the developmental golf or not.)

The incongruity of the current schedule was largely created in the name of growing purses and keeping the playoffs on network television at the expense of common sense on many fronts. This unfortunate change will be the legacy of Finchem's term, especially if he stays on past 2016 to protect his vision of a playoff structure that remains as he envisioned: bloated, ill-timed as a sports event on the heals of majors and oddly discriminatory toward budding stars who--how dare they--choose to finish out the school year.

Which is why it is imperative that 68-year-old Finchem retire in 2016 and pave the way for his hand-chosen successor to imagine a better way, particularly at a time when the game desperately wants to nurture its young, not hold them back.

Tuesday
Aug252015

Sharp Park Notches Yet Another Victory...

Someday there will be a medal of some kind for Richard Harris, Bo Links and everyone else who has fought to save Alister MacKenzie's Sharp Park and maybe even see it restored some day.

The evidence is in the latest Hail Mary attempt by the one-man band left trying to stop a restoration of wetlands and someday, the course.

From the SFPublicGolf.org site:

Wild Equity, a small environmental litigation firm founded by a former staff attorney of the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, brought the lawsuit to stop San Francisco from installing concrete pier footings and a retaining wall at a pump house at the southwestern corner of the golf course. The concrete work was only a small portion of a dredging and pond-building permit approved in April by the Coastal Commission. The project is intended to improve the habitat for protected frog and snake species at the golf course, while reducing flooding risk to the golf course and a neighboring residential development. Wild Equity’s lawsuit named the Coastal Commission and San Francisco as defendants; the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance joined the lawsuit as an intervening defendant, to represent the interests of the public course golfers and historic preservationists who treasure the venerable golf links.

This is the fourth time in recent years that the courts have rejected environmentalist groups’ challenges to operations at Sharp Park Golf Course. The United States District Court, Northern District of California in 2012, and the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and San Francisco Superior Court in 2015 all dismissed prior law suits. Lawyers at San Francisco-based Morrison Foerster have represented the Intervener San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, on a pro bono basis, in all the lawsuits.

Tuesday
Aug252015

Report: LA Tabs Griffith Park For 2024 Olympic Bid

Considering there is no guarantee golf will even be in the 2024 Olympic Games or that Los Angeles will win the bid, this isn't news you can use. Yet.

That is, unless you sense like I do that LA will look dreamy to the IOC after the pending Rio debacle, especially since LA has twice rescued the Olympic Games from trouble. The last minute LA plan, pulled out of the dust bin after Boston pulled out as the USOC's choice, is beginning to filter out, as David Wharton reports in the LA Times.

Alex Miceli reports exclusively for Golfweek.com that the LA group, led by Mayor Eric Garcetti and sports mogul Casey Wasserman, has tabbed Griffith Park's courses for the golf portion of the bid. It was thought that Riviera Country Club was the original choice for golf, but perhaps the shady management or dreadful optics of going to an exclusive country club over leaving a run-down muni in a better place.

Miceli writes:

The budget for updates or changes to the golf course are set at $30 million, with an additional $25 million for clubhouse construction.

Located in Griffith Park in the Hollywood area, Wilson Golf Club originally was designed by Tom Bendelow as a nine-hole course in 1914. Seven years later, George C. Thomas Jr. designed the 18-hole facility, and changes were made in 1927 by William P. Bell and William Johnson.

Wilson Golf Course played 6,802 yards and to a par 72 when it hosted the Los Angeles Open from 1937 to ’39. It has kept the same par but was lengthened to its current 6,967 over time.

Griffith Park's Wilson and Harding Courses recently hosted the Special Olympics World Games (my slideshows here and here) and is the home to two big moments in sports history: Babe Ruth was playing golf there when he learned he'd been traded from the Red Sox to the Yankees, and Babe Didrikson became the first woman to play a men's event in the 1937 Los Angeles Open (where she was paired with George Zaharias, who she married 11 months later).

Tuesday
Aug252015

Presidents Cup (Drama?): Finchem Caves To The World!

The excitement can only build from here. Because there appears to be none!

And in that vein, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has caved after several years of pleas from the International side to reduce the number of matches and introduce other touches that make the captains more than just cart drivers. Doug Ferguson reports on the Presidents Cup shift, which appears to be a major concession by Finchem to 2015 captain Nick Price, perhaps recognizing that the event is on life support.

"After numerous meetings and discussions, it was apparent that both captains felt passionate about their respective positions, as did their potential team members," PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. "But with no clear consensus between the two sides, it was up to me to make a decision that would be best for the event overall."

Judging by the lack of opinion pieces on the major change in format, the level of interest in the Cup is teetering on non-existent. It could be that the 2015 event in Korea's Jack Nicklaus GC isn't in the league of Royal Melbourne or Muirfield Village, with looming "eh" venues in Liberty National in 2017 and Quail Hollow in 2021. We are about to be taught a lesson in the vitality of a venue as key protagonist in these exhibitions.

The full release on the changes:

Format changes to The Presidents Cup announced for 2015 event
Number of matches reduced to 30
Players required to participate in two of the first four sessions
Order of four-ball, foursomes determined by host captain
Singles matches all square after 18 holes will be determined a draw
 
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem today announced changes to the format of The Presidents Cup, starting with the 2015 event, to be held at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Songdo IBD, Incheon City, Korea, October 6-11.
 
After several months of discussion with the current U.S. and International Team Captains, Jay Haas and Nick Price, respectively, as well as past and potential team members, the following changes were decided upon by the TOUR.
    •    Structure of the matches will be reduced from 34 total points to 30, with five four-ball and five foursome matches on Thursday/Friday, versus six and six; and four four-ball and four foursome matches on Saturday, versus five and five.  The first four Presidents Cup events (1994, 1996, 1998, 2000) were played with a total of 32 matches;
    •    Each player will be required to participate in two of the first four sessions, with every player competing in the Sunday singles.  In the past, team members were required to play in at least three of the four four-ball/foursome segments;
    •    The order of the matches for Thursday and Friday will be determined by the host team’s captain, versus being set forth in the competition agreement. In this scenario for 2015, Captain Price can determine which format – four-ball or foursomes – will be played on Thursday and Friday;
    •    Finally, foursome, four-ball and singles matches that are all-square after 18 holes are determined to be a draw, with each team receiving a half point.  Previously, singles matches that were all square after 18 holes were extended to sudden death to determine the winner until one team had enough points to win The Presidents Cup.
 
“For quite some time, the International Team has been advocating for a reduction in total points, while the U.S. Team felt strongly that The Presidents Cup format should remain as it has been,” said Finchem.  “After numerous meetings and discussions, it was apparent that both captains felt passionate about their respective positions, as did their potential team members.  But with no clear consensus between the two sides, it was up to me to make a decision that would be best for the event overall.  Our focus throughout this process has been to ensure The Presidents Cup is as strong as it can be and contested in a manner that preserves those aspects of The Presidents Cup that have differentiated the event over the past 20 years.
 
“After careful consideration of all the viewpoints and closely examining the history of the matches, I feel strongly that the changes we are implementing will strike a balance between maintaining the unique makeup of The Presidents Cup – which is important to the players, fans, sponsors and partners – and the competitive environment for both teams.”
 
The U.S. Presidents Cup Team is comprised of the top-10 U.S. players who earn the most FedExCup points from September 13, 2013, through September 7, 2015, with points earned in 2015 doubled, plus two captain’s selections. The International Team consists of the top-10 international players (non-U.S. and non-European) from the Official World Golf Ranking as of September 7, 2015, plus two captain’s selections.  Captains’ picks will be made on Tuesday, September 8.
 
Tickets to The Presidents Cup 2015 are now on sale at 2015 presidentscup.com. Weekly and daily grounds tickets are being sold as well as weekly Captains’ Club VIP tickets. Tickets are limited to this once-in-a-lifetime event and prices will increase September 1. Those who purchase early will save and be guaranteed a place in Korean sports history.

Monday
Aug242015

Last Tiger Poll For 6 Weeks: Good Finish To An Awful 2015?

I was pleased to see Jaime Diaz's positive take on Tiger's 2015 in Monday's Golf World.

As always, it's worth a read as Diaz was in Greensboro and had a good sense of the Wyndham vibe. However, his concerns for Tiger's mental game mentioned on Morning Drive (not posted online) mirrored those of others I heard on various shows and social media. The takeaway went something like this: the failed Sunday was a big setback for Woods and hopes of a return to glory.

As we discussed on Morning Drive, the T10 at the Wyndham has to be put into the perspective of a 2015 which was, in a word, awful. So bad that Coleman McDowell's golf.com review of the 2014-15 Woods campaign should be rated R!

Last week, one of the all time greats again put himself in a position to win a PGA Tour event on a course new to him. 

Not historic by Tiger standards, but considering in January he was playing to about a 9 Index, a victory.

This year Tiger's exhibited signs of chipping yips, driver yips and relentlessly dipping five inches at impact with his driver. These are issues not easily overcome even when you are one of the game's most gifted talents. Yet in that context, and knowing he could have shut it down after the PGA with a missed cut, how does he not go into the off-season feeling good?

Obviously there is great fan interest in seeing a comeback based on the CBS/Golf Channel numbers. But most exiting of all was Tiger's decision to show up somewhere new. To have excelled on a new track will hopefully get him thinking about mixing up his schedule, something many of us had advocated for some time. Whether it was not having various demons floating around from past rounds at a course he knows too well or the Greensboro crowd's energy or the de-emphasis on power, or some combination of all elements, Woods benefited from going somewhere new. Let's hope the same happens a few times in 2016.

So a simple poll question:

Tiger Poll: Good Finish To An Awful 2015?
 
pollcode.com free polls

Monday
Aug242015

Same Length Irons: Will DeChambeau Start A Trend?

Here's a smart and timely filing from Mike Stachura at GolfDigest.com tackling the question many have in the wake of Bryson DeChambeau's powerful US Amateur win, watched by several thousand: what about the same-length shaft idea for my game?

Stachura does a nice job explaining the backstory of DeChambeau's thinking behind his club set, his Edel Golf created clubs and the history of such ideas. And boy did this bring back a deeply buried memory that made me feel very old:

In the late 1980s, Tommy Armour Golf pushed a set of irons called E.Q.L., based on the idea of a single swing. These clubs were built to 6-iron length. That set never gained real traction, perhaps in part because the company’s 845 irons were exceedingly more popular. While there is something of a technology lull in the iron market today, Dechambeau’s method is at least getting some buzz.

But before you head out and cut all your iron shafts to 7-iron length, you better recognize that you’re going to need more than one adjustment to make it work. And it might be an adjustment that standard golf clubs can’t possibly make.

“We are all used to swinging a golf club that’s basically D0 to D4,” Choung says. “So if we just arbitrarily cut these things down and didn’t have the ability to adjust the weights on it, you could end up with a 3-iron that’s super stiff with a swingweight of C3.”

Monday
Aug242015

Video: New Under Armour Ad Isn't In The Hall Of Fame, Thankfully

Now this is what I call cool. And not because Under Armour refused to set their new big-budget ad against the heinous yowling of will.i.am. Nor did they set the golf against the backdrop of prop office buildings created at the expense of slave labor.

No, it's just a fun ad visually with captivating music from the soundtrack to "Glass".

(This reminds me, Tron Carter's No-more-HOF-ad petition is over 500 signees.)

Nice to see Jordan Spieth sharing the top billing with Steph Curry...

Monday
Aug242015

Tiger! Wyndham On CBS Draws Best Non-Major Ratings In Two Years; U.S. Amateur On Fox Hits All-Time Low

With Tiger's debut in the Wyndham Championship, both CBS and Golf Channel saw eye-opening ratings bumps over the 2014 event.

Tweeted by CBS Sports PR and noted in this unbylined AP story, the final round Nielsen 3.9 is the highest non-major since Tiger's 2013 Players win (5.7). This was also CBS best non-major audience since July 2012 (also Tiger at the AT&T National), and comes on top of an excellent final round PGA Championship showing. 

Golf Channel's Wyndham coverage saw huge boosts each day as well, even when Tiger was not in Thursday's TV window.  Round one drew .67 (+20%), and the best since 2006. Round two with Woods posting a 65, drew a 1.29, up 152% and the best ever Friday rating for the Wyndham.

Golf Channel's pre-CBS coverage saw the best evers continue Saturday (1.28 up 125%) and Sunday (1.3 overnight up 202%).

As Alex Myers notes at The Loop, the numbers blew away Open Championship ratings, even with a Grand Slam on the line (different time of day) and Saturday at Wyndham matched Saturday’s third round at the PGA Championship.

It wasn't all great ratings news as Fox Sports's first-year coverage of the U.S. Amateur saw record lows across the board, averaging somewhere between .03-.04 for weekday matches on Fox Sports 1.

On the Fox network Saturday, the U.S. Amateur semi-finals drew a .23, down 43% over Saturday last year on NBC.  Sunday's final match on Fox drew a .28 overnight, down 35%.

Both were the lowest ratings for the U.S. Amateur since Nielsen documented network television coverage started in 2003 (the weekend coverage appeared on cable in Olympic years 2004 and 2008).