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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

The greater the experience I have of designing golf courses, the more certain I am that blindness of all kinds should be avoided. ALISTER MACKENZIE




The Infamous Evans Scholar Is Still An Evans Scholar

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

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

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


Video: Eagle Steals Golf Ball

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

Thanks to the Big Lead for catching this on YouTube:


Webb Calls Ryder Cup Golf Side A "Terrible Experience"

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

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

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

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

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

This may be the worst gift idea of all time.

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


WGHOFamer A.W. Tillinghast: A True Original

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

He puts Tillinghast in fine company:

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

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


Annual USGA Executive Committee Shuffle, 2014 Edition

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

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

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

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

Here goes...


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Revamped TPC Scottsdale Re-Opens November 14th

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

From the item:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe in 2015.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Torrey Pines North Project Still On Track, Details Still Sketchy

Tod Leonard files a report on the open bidding process for Torrey Pines North Course construction work as required by city law, a process that was quietly worked around for the architect selection that ultimately went to Phil Mickelson.

The cost of the project has nearly doubled with the addition of South Course work included, reports Leonard.

The cost of the project has nearly doubled from the original proposal, going from $6 million to $11.06 million.

The added costs, according Marney: $1 million for a fully upgraded North irrigation system; $2.8 million when the City Council voted that all projects should adhere to prevailing wage; $1.2 million added for further irrigation work on the South Course, which includes a water pump station to match a station on the North.

Marney said that doing the South work now will save costs, rather than creating an entirely separate project later.

If anyone has seen the hole-by-hole drawings online or in person, let us know. They seem to be a secret, which is unusual for a public project like this. Or any project.


“End of an era as Middle East falls out of love with Tiger Woods”

The Telegraph's James Corrigan reports that Tiger Woods can no longer expect a multi-million dollar appearance fees from organizers of the Abu Dhabi Championship or the Dubai Desert Classic.

Citing an unnamed source, Corrigan says it’s a combination of novelty wearing off, Rory and other players proving alluring.

“There are other players of big interest now, not least Rory McIlroy. In these market conditions, at those prices, Woods does not represent the value he once did. In fairness, he has been there a lot and the novelty has worn off.”

Of course this might provide Tiger with an opportunity to thank former President Bill Clinton for speaking at the Learning Center opening by appearing in the Clinton-hosted Humana Challenge! I know...


Azinger: "This is the first time in 20 years the PGA of America has made great steps to recognize that there are problems to address."

Paul Azinger's appearance on Morning Drive yielded some decent explanations of where things stand and why he's not on the Ryder Cup task force Task Force (he's old...its moving too fast), though I'm not totally convinced of his reasons for missing out on some stellar opportunities to hang with Tiger, Phil, Ray and Rickie.

Transcribed highlights courtesy of Golf Channel's Jeremy Friedman:

On Ryder Cup task force
Azinger – “I’m sure they want me to be a part of this task force.  I didn’t say no, I just said, ‘Not yet.’ I wish everything would have gone a little bit slower.  I wish they would have waited until I was able to meet with them and talk with them before they announced the task force, but that is not how things worked out.  I’m really excited that these guys are able to share their opinion.  The PGA really has opened the phone lines up to past captains.  We have been filtered out of the system in the past and we are getting filtered back in.  I think that really is a big step and I look forward to 2016, however it plays out and whoever the captain is, as a new beginning for the Ryder Cup.  I don’t think this is a desperate time.  We could have easily won in 2012.  We could have been in every other year if we had just held on in 2012…I think there just needs to be a few tweaks.  I am going to present a much bigger picture to the PGA of America than just how to pick the next captain and we’ll see how it works out.”


On whether Azinger has been consulted by the PGA of America since 2008
Azinger – “No, they haven’t.  That is part of the problem I feel, is that we have guys coming in individually every couple of years and the players who are repeat players have to adjust to a new guy’s leadership style. Tom Watson’s leadership style, he thought his style was going to win the matches.  His intentions were great, it just didn’t work out.  They didn’t win.  The players needed to play better.  Europe had a better team. You could have come in with a pod system and still not won. The pod system isn’t the answer.  That was a way to get those guys to bond.  There are bigger problems I feel, and they are going to be addressed.  I love the idea of the task force addressing these problems.  I think it is a great way for players to have an actual voice.  This is the first time in 20 years the PGA of America has made great steps to recognize that there are problems to address.  The task force may be the beginning of that.  I think it is here to stay. I haven’t said, ‘no’ to the task force, I just said. ‘Not yet.’”

The first clip:

And Azinger on the possibility of returning as Captain, getting into some Phil Jackson-like semantics.



Golden Slumbers! R&A Names Its New Chief Executive

For those hoping to have seen David Rickman replace Peter Dawson in the Chief Executive role, it should be noted Dawson was a relative unknown when he got that job and it almost turned out well.

Phil Casey on the naming of investment banker Martin Slumbers as new R&A Chief Executive beginning in March. Slumbers, interestingly, is not a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

Turns out, P.G. Wodehouse is alive and well, he's just coming up with names and press release text for new Chief Executives these days...


15 October 2014, St Andrews, Scotland: The R&A has announced the appointment of Martin Slumbers as Chief Executive and also as Secretary of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, with effect from 1 October 2015.

Mr Slumbers will succeed Peter Dawson who is retiring in September 2015 after 16 years leading the body which organises The Open Championship and governs golf worldwide, jointly administering the sport with the USGA.

He will join The R&A in March 2015 as Chief Executive Designate and spend six months working with Mr Dawson before his retirement.

Born in Brighton and educated at Lancing College, Mr Slumbers (54) gained a BSc in Production Engineering and Economics from the University of Birmingham. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse in London before embarking on a career in investment banking. He spent 12 years working for Salomon Brothers International in London and Hong Kong, becoming Chief Financial Officer in Asia and then Europe.

In 1998, he joined Deutsche Bank and served in a number of senior executive roles. He was appointed Global Head of Deutsche Bank’s Investment Banking Operations in 2006 and the following year as Global Head of Global Business Services.

He is a keen golfer and a member of Worplesdon Golf Club in Surrey where he plays to a handicap of two. He is married with two sons.

“The R&A is one of the most influential bodies in world sport and I am delighted to be taking up this position,” he said. “Golf has always been close to my heart and I am very much looking forward to living and working in St Andrews. I am honoured to be appointed to lead The R&A and to serve such an historic and prestigious Club.”

Professor Wilson Sibbett, Chairman of The R&A, said, “I would like to congratulate Martin on his appointment. He has enjoyed a long and successful career and will bring a great deal of experience to the position. He has a passion for golf and is absolutely committed to the work of The R&A in governing the game, running The Open and supporting development initiatives around the world.”


WGHOF Hits A Davis-Graham-O'Meara-Tillinghast Superfecta

Hard to argue with the World Golf Hall of Fame's induction of arguably the four most obviously overlooked candidates based on criteria, accomplishments and place in modern golf history.

Ryan Lavner with a summary of the newest names to be enshrined next July at St. Andrews.

For Immediate Release, and note the finalists list also released. Some pretty surprising inclusions and omissions...

World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum welcomes
Davies, Graham, O’Meara and Tillinghast as the Class of 2015
Class will be celebrated at Induction Ceremony on July 13, 2015 at St Andrews
St. Augustine, Fla. (Oct. 15, 2014) – Laura Davies, David Graham, Mark O’Meara and A.W. Tillinghast will be enshrined into the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum as the Class of 2015.  The Induction Ceremony will be held on Monday, July 13, 2015 at the University of St Andrews, just blocks from the Old Course, host site of that week’s 144th Open Championship.
This is the first Class to be elected by the Hall of Fame’s Selection Commission, which debated a group of 16 Finalists.  The four members of the Class of 2015 each passed the required 75 percent voting threshold – approval by at least 12 of the 16 members.
The Selection Commission was co-chaired by Hall of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Annika Sorenstam and included the members of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors and a mix of institutional and at-large seats.
“We are thrilled to welcome Laura, David, Mark and A.W. into the World Golf Hall of Fame,” said Tim Finchem, PGA TOUR Commissioner, Selection Commission member and chairman of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors.  “The new selection process provided a thorough examination of the candidates by a diverse, international group and we’re delighted with the outcome.  Congratulations the Class of 2015.”
The Commission elected the Class of 2015 from 16 Finalists, which were vetted by the Hall of Fame’s Selection Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee met earlier this summer and vetted every candidate that met the qualifications of the Hall of Fame’s four Induction categories. It presented the following group of Finalists to the Commission:
Candidate                     Category
Laura Davies                 Female Competitor
Johnny Farrell               Male Competitor
Max Faulkner                Veterans
David Graham               Male Competitor
Beverly Hanson             Female Competitor
Catherine Lacoste          Veterans
Henry Longhurst            Lifetime Achievement
Davis Love III                Male Competitor
Meg Mallon                   Female Competitor
Graham Marsh               Male Competitor
Mark O’Meara                Male Competitor
Sandra Palmer              Female Competitor
Calvin Peete                  Veterans
Samuel Ryder               Lifetime Achievement
Jan Stephenson            Female Competitor
A.W. Tillinghast             Lifetime Achievement


World Golf Hall Of Fame Set To Induct Newbies...

A lot is riding on Wednesday's 9:30 am ET announcement of new inductees into the World Golf Hall Of Fame now that the "right people" are voting on who gets in and not those lowly ink-stained wretches.

Will Laura Davies and A.W. Tillinghast, just two of the most overlooked names, finally get in? Will there be an induction of a Tom Weiskopf or David Graham or Mark O'Meara or Meg Mallon or Dottie Pepper, who all fit the criteria for their on-course work but who aren't Tim Finchem cronies?

Check out Twitter and the WGHOF site Wednesday for more.

Bill Zimmerman previews the possibilites with multiple links. And for a refresher, Alex Miceli's post on the new selection criteria.


Task Force Deserter Paul Azinger On Morning Drive

While the Ryder Cup task force Task Force kicks around how to make Paul Azinger's pod system the way of the Team USA future, the last winning USA captain will be on Golf Channel's Morning Drive Wednesday October 15th.

And not just for a token appearance, but for--apologies to Larry King--da full two hours! That's 7-9 a.m. ET.

The Tweet where you can also pose your questions to Azinger.


Elite Converge On World Challenge Again...

It doesn't matter that Tiger's moving the World Challenge to Isleworth from Sherwood or that elite players are burned out on playing high profile those world ranking points, baby!

Brentley Romine on Tiger Woods drawing another fine field for his annual World Challenge, no doubt aided by the lure of easy world ranking points. Oh, and the chance to play Isleworth, of course.

Along with Tiger Woods, defending champion Zach Johnson, two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and 2013-14 FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel are among this year's participants in the Dec. 4-7 event at Isleworth Golf and Country Club in Windermere, Fla.

The players competing account for a combined 166 PGA Tour wins and 21 major championships.


NBC Extends Johnny Through At Least 2017

With an option for 2018, reports Doug Ferguson.

From his AP story:

"I was thinking I'm 67. I'm getting up there," Miller said over the weekend at Silverado, where he was the unofficial host at the Open. "I didn't know how my marbles were going to be at that time. So far, I haven't lost too many. I'll be the first guy to quit this if I start losing it."


Exclusive: First Ryder Cup Task Force Meeting Minutes

It turns out that while the announcement was made today of the Ryder Cup Task Force's creation, the group has already secretly met to discuss how to solve Team USA's issues.

While Tim Rosaforte is reporting how Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have been very engaged already, this copy of the exclusively obtained minutes shows just how involved the first meeting was.

Minutes from the first meeting:


The Ryder Cup Task Force Meeting

The Bishop Conference Room, PGA Of America Headquarters

October 14, 2014

Members present:
Derek Sprague, Co-Chairman
Peter Bevacqua, Co-Chairman
Ray Floyd
Rickie Fowler
Jim Furyk
Tom Lehman
Paul Levy
Phil Mickelson

Davis Love III
Steve Stricker
Tiger Woods

Meeting called to order by Co-chairman Derek Sprague at 6:04 p.m.

Motion made by Tom Lehman to join hands in prayer for the health and safety of the Task Force. After robust discussion, Davis Love III agreed to second the motion, minus the hand holding part.

Chairman Sprague asked for a motion naming Tom Watson a Task Force Member Emeritus In Absentia. The motion was robustly seconded by Phil Mickelson, though Tiger Woods strongly insisted his second got in first. Robust discussion ensued.

Co-chairman Pete Bevacqua introduced the Task Force’s goals of improving all elements of the Ryder Cup. Before opening the floor to general brainstorming, he announced that the Task Force will be broken up into pods, with members Sprague, Bevacqua and Levy leading each of the pods.

Phil Mickelson wanted it stated for the record that he and Tiger should be on separate pods. Tiger Woods seconded the motion. Mickelson said he didn't offer a motion. Highly productive discussion ensued.

Meeting paused for everyone to say hello to Ted Bishop, who stuck his head in the door to check on the progress of the Task Force.

Rickie Fowler asked why the WiFi was so bad in the Bishop Room. He suggested it be improved for the next meeting so that he can Tweet a Task Force selfie and check out the “surprising robust Tindr presence” in West Palm Beach while Phil and Tiger debate issues.

Co-chairman Bevacqua said he would look into a PGA WiFi Task Force and report back to The Ryder Cup Task Force. Bevacqua also raised the possibility of Fowler heading an ad-hoc committee focusing on making the Ryder Cup more millennial-friendly. Ray Floyd offered to second a motion only after receiving an explanation as to what exactly it means to be a millennial.

Co-chairman Sprague asked for a show of hands in the room of who had actually captained a winning Ryder Cup team. No hands were raised.

Steve Stricker was asked by Co-chairman Sprague to discuss his experiences from the 2014 Ryder Cup. Stricker reported that other than a balky reverse switch on his cart, it was a great week. Ray Floyd concurred, saying he had trouble several times putting his cart in reverse over the weekend days when he saw Tom Watson coming. Co-chairman Bevacqua said he will ensure that all carts for captains are in top working order in 2016.

Tiger Woods asked about uniforms going forward, and specifically requested the option to wear jeans to the next Task Force meeting and beyond. After unanimous vote, a no jeans ordinance was passed.

Co-Chairman Sprague thanked everyone for a highly productive session, set the next Task Force gathering for an undetermined date and adjourned the meeting at 6:28 p.m.


Expendables 11: The (Ryder Cup) Task Force

The Task Force (that's capitalized) is set. There are even people on it who've been part of a winning team. Barely.

For Immediate Release...

PGA of America Announces Ryder Cup Task Force
Past Captains, Players and PGA Leadership to Chart Course for Future U.S. Teams
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (October 14, 2014) – The PGA of America has announced the creation of an 11-member Ryder Cup Task Force, comprised of past Captains, players and PGA of America leadership.
The Task Force, co-chaired by PGA Vice President Derek Sprague of Malone, New York, and PGA Chief Executive Officer Pete Bevacqua of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, will examine the entire Ryder Cup process, including the selection of United States Ryder Cup Captains; the Ryder Cup Points System; dates by which the Team is determined; dates of Captain’s selections; and the selection of Vice Captains.
The Ryder Cup Task Force was created following the 40th Ryder Cup, which concluded Sept. 28, at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland, where the U.S. was defeated by Europe, 16½ to 11½.
“The Ryder Cup is our most prized competitive asset, and the PGA of America is committed to utilizing our utmost energy and resources to support one of the biggest events in all of sport,” said PGA of America President Ted Bishop. “The Ryder Cup Task Force, co-chaired by Derek Sprague and Pete Bevacqua, is an exciting and comprehensive initiative that will guide the PGA in developing the right strategy and building ongoing processes and infrastructure for future generations of U.S Teams.”
In addition to Sprague and Bevacqua, the members of the Ryder Cup Task Force are: past Captains Raymond Floyd, Tom Lehman and Davis Love III; past Ryder Cup Team members Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods; and PGA Secretary Paul Levy of Indian Wells, California.
“I think this is a great step by the PGA to accomplish what we all want – to win the Ryder Cup,” said Woods, a member of seven U.S. Ryder Cup Teams. “The Ryder Cup is very important to every player who has the honor to represent his country. I’m excited to be part of this group.”
The 41st Ryder Cup will be contested at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, in September 2016. The U.S. has lost three consecutive Ryder Cups and eight of the past 10 biennial competitions. America last won a Ryder Cup in 2008, and its last overseas victory occurred in 1993.
“Competing in a Ryder Cup is the experience of a lifetime, and serving as Captain is the ultimate honor,” said Love, a six-time Ryder Cup Team member, a 2010 Vice Captain and the 2012 U.S. Captain. “Having experienced all roles within this great event, I am deeply committed to serving once more to help direct Team USA to be a force again in the Ryder Cup.”
The Ryder Cup began in 1927. The U.S. leads the overall series, 25-13-2. However, since 1985, Europe owns a 10-4-1 advantage.

It looks like an Expendables cast. Former A-Listers, B-Listers, C-Listers and stand-ins for the former A-listers who said no.