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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
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
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

We've got a society now looking for answers anywhere. They might go to a car wash to take a lesson. JACK BURKE Jr.

 

    

Friday
Aug222014

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

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

But the lie was so good!

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

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

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

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

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

Friday
Aug222014

Kingsbarns Lands Womens British; Other Links Tourney News

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

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

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

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

Friday
Aug222014

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

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

From the Press Association piece posted on The Guardian website:

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

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

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

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

As Harig lays out, something has to give.

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

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

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

Friday
Aug222014

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

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

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

McCabe writes:

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

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

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

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

Thursday
Aug212014

Vine: Playing With Fire And The Fire Wins

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



Thursday
Aug212014

Playoff Fever! Well, At Least We Have Ridgewood's 5th

In other sports playoff combatants hunker down to prepare. But in golf the pressure is so much more profound that players maximize their preparation by doing as many promotional appearances as possible, re-enacting murder mysteries (for charity!), dump water on their heads, or just fulfill any other number of sponsor obligations. All to get their mind off of the bone-crushing intensity that comes with a looming points reset.

But this year could be the best yet for PGA Tour Playoff architecture, with Cherry Hills in a few weeks, the always entertaining TPC Boston next week, and a freshened Ridgewood Country Club hosting this week's Barclays. No hole is more intriguing that the driveable 5th and its 2000 square foot green. (The Center nine's 6th hole.)

Golf Central's Tripp Isenhour previewed the composite course's 5th and its risk-reward issues and the segment includes some fun stats about driving the green. Golf Channel's Thursday-Friday coverage window goes from 2-6 pm ET.

Wednesday
Aug202014

State Of The Game Podcast 44: Frank Nobilo

We are pleased to reunite the former mini-tour pros Frank Nobilo and Mike Clayton for episode 44, and besides a few stories from the trenches, we talk golf on television, Tiger, Rory, modern instruction and much more.

You can check it out here or below, grab the MP3 here, listen on iTunes or subscribe to the show there. Past episodes can be checked out here.



Wednesday
Aug202014

Golf's Role In Ice Bucket Challenge & Stunt Philanthropy

Jason Sobel has gone back a few months and traced the origins of the viral Ice Bucket Challenge and the role a golfer played in fueling some of the movement. Whether you think it's a breathtakingly beautiful charitable act, a silly sensation with a nice outcome for one charity, or the latest sign of the elite passing off the burden to the less fortunate (after all...dumping ice on your head absolves you of a donation), it's worth having a little background info.

Also worth checking out is this column by Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times on the incredible amount of money being raised for a disease afflicting relatively few compared to others, and what this might mean for other charities or the ramifications of emphasizing these kinds of social media stunts to raise money.

Meanwhile, Alex Myers reports that the U.S.A. Ryder Cuppers took part in the challenge after Tom Watson challenged them. Phil Mickelson did not, however join the group.

Wednesday
Aug202014

Bubba Apology Tour Kicks Off In New Jersey, Future Dates TBA

He's seen the light! He's on a mission...to repair the damage. And the beauty of Bubba Watson? For all of his peculiar ways and sometimes pathetic ranting, he does good apology!

Steve DiMeglio with Bubba running through the list of mistakes he made at the PGA Championship, starting with the Long Drive championship pouting, and ending with his effort to clear the air.

"Then you look at it from my attitude on the golf course. Because I want something so bad, that's not the reason to do that. You still just bite your tongue and compete at a high level, don't show emotion, and I take it overboard because I want something so bad. I want to be considered a great player. I want to win golf tournaments and I've got to learn on that.

" … And then my language was not good. That's a different topic, and childish again. It's all childish stuff and I'm trying to mature and become a better man. I take it on the chin. It was my fault. Everything's my fault and I should be bigger and stronger and better than that."

Wednesday
Aug202014

Five Players Outside World Top 200 Win PGA Tour Events In '14

Doug Ferguson files several fun notes in his weekly AP column--including Matt Kuchar explaining how his back locked up at the PGA from sitting in traffic looking for a Slip and Slide--but this one jumped out as a fairly unusual stat from the 2014 PGA Tour season.

Camilo Villegas became the fifth player outside the top 200 in the world ranking to win on the PGA Tour this year.

And even though only the FedEx Cup playoffs remain on the schedule, there's a chance to add to that list because 14 players who qualified for The Barclays are outside the top 200. That starts with Andres Romero (No. 201) and ends with Robert Allenby (No. 367).

The others from outside the top 200 to have won this year: Steven Bowditch (Texas Open), J.B. Holmes (Wells Fargo), Ben Crane (St. Jude Classic) and Geoff Ogilvy (Barracuda Championship in Reno).

Villegas became the sixth PGA Tour winner this year who doesn't have another top-10 finish.

Wednesday
Aug202014

USGA Prez Saved Amateur Champ From Rules Gaffe

We thought it was merely humorous that the current USGA President was innocently snubbed by a rough-around-the-edges U.S. Amateur champion Sunday, but now knowing what we know from Golfweek's Adam Schupak, Gunn Yang should have been hugging Tom O'Toole!

Schupak explains the odd circumstance following Sunday's weather delay when O'Toole, the final match referree, rushed on to the green and interrupted Yang to remind him his caddie Richard Grice could not stand behind him when putting .

With a look of chagrin on his face, Grice moved several steps away from Yang's line. O’Toole apologized to Yang for the disruption and retreated to the edge of the green, near fellow USGA executive committee member Dan Burton, chair of the championship committee. “I’ve told this guy three times he can’t stand behind his player,” O’Toole harrumphed, once he was out of earshot of Yang.

Later, O’Toole would recount one of those earlier situations.

“I noticed it during the first 18 this morning when he pitched on the third or fourth hole,” O’Toole said. "(Grice) was slightly off (Yang’s line). It was close but I didn’t think it was a breach of the rule.”

Schupak then goes on to point out how this could have gone bad in so many ways for Yang, and talks to O'Toole about the philosophy of rules officials trying to save players from rules breaches.

It's quite the conundrum for the official, don't you think?

Wednesday
Aug202014

Dick's CEO: Golf Is In A "Structural Decline"

Tim Schooley of the Pittsburgh Business Times quotes Dick's Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack about last month's mass layoff of PGA professionals and the company head says the retailer expects golf sales, once at 20%, is now at 15% and will drop to 10% going forward.

He also downplayed no longer having PGA pros in stores.

“We’ve got very good people who are there who can still help people,” said Stack when asked about how the lack of golf pros in the store could impact sales. “We don’t think it’s going to have any impact on the business.”

Along with the golf pro layoffs, Stack and his colleagues again emphasized the company’s shift away from golf merchandise in the Dick’s earnings call for the second quarter, reallocating the capital from golf to more profitable lines of business in athletic wear for women and children.

And there was this...

“I think golf from a participation standpoint and how it translates to retail is in a structural decline,” said Stack. “And we don’t see that changing.”

Thanks to reader Stuart for Roger Blitz's Financial Times story on the same Dick's conference call, reporting on the company taking a $20.4 million write down.

Severance costs will total £3.7m, while there is a $14.3m impairment charge on trademarks and store assets in the golf business and a £2.4m writedown of golf-related inventory.

Tuesday
Aug192014

Sutherland Asked If Any Champions Had Shot 59 Before His 59

Wes Gilbertson talks to Kevin Sutherland about shooting 59 last week in a round where the Champions Tour player was 14 under for the round before a bogey at the 18th. It turns out, he had randomly asked Paul Goydos and his caddie if the magical score had ever been shot on the geezers tour.

Gilbertson writes:

“Last week, I actually asked Paul Goydos and his caddie, Chris Mazziotti, ‘Has anybody shot 59 out here on the senior tour?’” Sutherland admitted Monday from Seattle, where he’ll tee it up in the Boeing Classic before heading north to Calgary next week for the Shaw Charity Classic at Canyon Meadows Golf & Country Club.

“And they said, ‘No,’ and I was kind of surprised, knowing how low the scores are out here in some of these events … Obviously, I didn’t have a conscious mind that I was going to shoot 59. I was just wondering if someone had, and it turns out later that week that I did.

“I figured people would not believe me if I said that, but Paul will vouch for me, I think.”

Tuesday
Aug192014

Tiger: Not Swinging A Club For "At least a month"

You'll have to sit through almost two minutes of painful shilling, but eventually Tiger goes to the "it's a process" lines about his back in a speed-dating session with Gary Williams to launch a new line of vaporizers Vapor irons.

The big surprise is that Tiger reveals it'll be at least a month before he even swings a golf club. This, even though it was the awkward move at Firestone's second hole where Tiger says is "the fall" occurred, you'd think he'd just want to avoid steep bunker faces. But it sounds by this interview that it's all about gym time over the next month.

Pay attention, this one goes fast!

Tuesday
Aug192014

Video: "Bone Marrow Transplant Cures Young Golfer Of Sickle Cell Anemia"

The story of Marley Franklin, a 10-year-old girl "once held captive by excruciating headaches caused by sickle cell anemia" has been cured thanks to a bone marrow transplant from her little sister. Oh, and she's a lefty who played in the Junior World this year and has a killer swing.

Thanks to reader Diane for catching this keeper:

The sisters have a special connection that extends beyond shared blood.

They both share a passion for golf.

Marley’s parents had her play golf during her recovery and she’s proven a natural talent.

“She plays like Phi Mickelson,” her dad said.

Marley has entered quite a few tournaments, collecting plenty of medals along the way.

Earlier this year, Marley played at Torrey Pines, the same tournament Tiger Woods entered when he was a boy. She didn’t win, but Marley now has an international ranking among 10-year-old girls: “I’m 55th in the world.”

Okay, so some rankings are great things!

The segment from KCBS, well worth your time compared to say, some dudes on the Tonight Show:

Tuesday
Aug192014

Tonight Show: Rory Talks About Tiger In The Past Tense

The whole Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon appearance must have been demeaning for Tiger Woods, not able to hit a ball on a national television show and having Rory McIlroy speak of you in the past tense.

The segment ended with hitting golf balls into glass after a short interview where Rory spoke of the old man in the tight black Jack LaLanne shirt:

I guess this little run that I'm on, it makes me appreciate what he's done in the past. I mean, just phenomenal to keep a run like this going and he's done way more than me. It makes you appreciate how hard he worked and what a dominant figure he was in our game.

I only suggest watching the "Facebreakers" game if you have positively nothing else to do today.

In a separate interview with Sky Sports News transcribed by Brian Keogh, Woods talked about getting back the explosiveness and referred to his "fall" at the WGC Bridgestone.

"I've got to be physically fit when I come back so I'll be explosive again and stable," he said.

"Obviously this year was frustrating in that I didn't really feel that I gave myself much of a chance. I first had that pain in my back and it would go away, and then it would come back, go away, come back, until eventually it never went away...It got fixed, but I took that fall on number two at the (WGC-Bridgestone Invitational) and I hadn't done any agility training yet so my hip got misaligned and everything went into spasm again.

"We got that all calmed down again but then I had to play. Now I need to keep it calm, then strengthen it and then I'll be back. That's one of the reasons I've shut it down. I'll come back in December and be ready for next year."

Monday
Aug182014

Tour Players Constantly Reminded Not To Be Cheapskates

The most surprising revelation in Luke Kerr-Dineen's September Golf Digest story on player tipping proved to be just how much the PGA Tour hounds players on all tours about tipping locker-room attendants each week.

Oh there's a bunch on Mickelson's big tipping ways, but this about the specificity of the tour policy surprised me...

The PGA Tour is structured similarly to its developmental tour, albeit with the formality kicked up a few notches.

Like the Web.com Tour, players are briefed at the start of the season about what's expected in the tipping department--mainly, in the words of Andy Pazder, the executive vice president and chief of operations, "to conduct themselves in a professional manner that's come to be expected of professional golfers."

At the start of each week, tournament officials give locker-room attendants a list of every player in the field. The tour's official tournament regulations stipulate that players are required to tip locker-room attendants a minimum of $50 for the week. In a 156-player field, that comes to at least $7,800 divided among the handful of attendants clubs usually employ.

Monday
Aug182014

PGA Tour Murder Mystery Intrigue...For A Good Cause

I'll admit, I'm jealous.

Who wouldn't love to attend an event featuring some crack mystery writers, including my favorite, Michael Connelly. And to see Jimmy Walker act out clues to a murder mystery even as the burden of losing his ResetCup points lead weighs on him as nerve-crushing pressure of the playoffs loom.

For Immediate Release...and it looks like some of the pricier tickets are still available for those of you near Saddle River...

Ragtime Rendezvous - A Murder Mystery Event

DATE:    Tuesday, August 19, 2014
TIME:    6:30 p.m. 10:00 p.m.
PLACE:    Private home in Saddle River, NJ

Tickets are limited to 150, and guests are encouraged to register as soon as possible. Ticket registration is available online at http://www.cafsnj.org/Ragtime. Please call Eve Marsan at 201-740-7107 for more information.    

EXCERPT FROM THE EVENT INVITATION:

"This Crime Scene Wont Be the Same Without Your Presence

Please join us for a lavish cocktail party that will prove to be an evening full of twists, turns, and gasps that you won't want to miss!

With best-selling author Harlan Coben (a.k.a. Inspector General) as your emcee, you'll join crime-solving teams led by PGA TOUR Wives Association members and their PGA TOUR professional golfer spouses including Jimmy Walker, current FedEx Cup leader, to search for clues in a quest to unravel the mystery of this ragtime gangster-style whodunnit.

Who came up with the Reset Cup algorithm?

Whether you're mingling with mystery writers Mary Higgins Clark or Michael Connelly in the ballroom, carousing in the wine cellar, or toasting in the private theatre, youll need your finest sleuthing skills to be the first to expose the culprit, who could be anyone at this scintillating soiree. Even YOU!"

Scintillating soiree!

I wonder how many pro golfers beyond Jimmy Walker, who actually has many interests (including having another cool image featured by NASA), have even heard of these world famous authors?

Monday
Aug182014

Bubba Rewards Caddie For Tolerating His On-Course Abuse

Folks (including myself) wonder why Ted Scott sticks with Bubba Watson as his boss, despite the constant verbal abuse and the new all-time low at this year's PGA: having to tee a shot up for His Lordship.

But as Scott Tweeted, the boss (pre-playoffs!) gave his luggage-toter a new car AND truck as a bonus for, uh, time served.

Jason Crook at GolfChannel.com reports on the Tweeted revelation by Scott.

Monday
Aug182014

The King Gets A Pacemaker

G.C. Digital with the statement from Arnold Palmer's people that he's "resting comfortably" after surgery to install a pacemaker.