This week in the Forward Press I look at Pebble Beach getting the opportunity to shine with a great field and what appears to be even better weather. Oh, and a real, playable 17th hole!
Also, some of you who posted 1986 Masters stories here five years ago have already been contacted, but Golf Channel has put out a casting call for your 86 stories.
It doesn't seem as glamorous to me as the Crosby I used to watch on TV. A lot of the old movie stars and amateur regulars are no longer around. They've been replaced by briefcases, friends and neighbors of briefcases, and celebrities like Bumpy Weems, a popular comedian, who about as funny to me as a terrorist with a gun pointed at my head.
DAN JENKINS as Bobby Joe Grooves
This week in the Forward Press I look at Pebble Beach getting the opportunity to shine with a great field and what appears to be even better weather. Oh, and a real, playable 17th hole!
I get that there is a lot to dislike about golf in the Olympics, or the Rio Games or rich people building a public course to make money from condo sales.
Yet to show just how angry golf makes some people, check out the Financial Times' Jules Boycoff citing the building of the Olympic course as a brazen act of transferring public wealth into private hands. Meanwhile, poor people are being evicted, the waters are so polluted that athletes may get sick, and yet the golf course is example A of all things wrong with these games?
Golf makes people do strange things!
From Boycoff's piece:
Nowhere has the transfer of public wealth into private hands been more brazen than in the construction of the Rio 2016 golf course. The Rio Olympics mark the return of golf to the Games after a 112-year hiatus. As was touted in Rio’s original Olympic bid, the metropolis already has two elite golf courses that have staged major tournaments. One of these could have been renovated to meet Olympic standards.
The ball would need to be going thirty yards shorter and the crowds limited, not to mention mountain climbers in one case, if this were true. Anyway, go on...
But in an audacious maneuver Mayor Paes decided to locate the golf closer to the Olympic complex in Barra da Tijuca, a wealthy western suburb, even if that meant plunking the course inside the Marapendi Nature Reserve, home to numerous threatened species.
In doing so, Paes teed up a staggering deal for billionaire developer Pasquale Mauro. As long as Mauro paid the bill for the golf course — between $20 and $30 million — he’d also win a contract to build 140 luxury apartments around it.
While the mayor’s office has pointed out the benefits of no public money being used in the construction of the site, these units start at $2 million, with penthouse condominiums pushing upwards of $6 million. It doesn’t take a math whiz to calculate the value of this multi-million dollar sweetheart deal, gift-wrapped by City Hall.
While the Mayor and Mr. Mauro will not be winning any Nobel Peace prizes anytime soon, to suggest that the course was built at public expense seems a huge stretch. However, the anger the sport evokes will be part of the (neverending?) battle for golf to overcome this August.
**And to put the golf course matter in perspective, the New York Times' Donald McNeil Jr., Simon Romero and Sabrina Tavernise wrote in Sunday's A1 feature about the Zika virus:
The virus now threatens the economies of fragile nations and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. It has opened a new front in the debate in heavily Roman Catholic countries about a woman’s right to birth control and abortion.
With a two-stroke lead and two to go, social mediasphere was celebrating the Big Four's official arrival.
One hole at a time, millennials. It's an old saying.
Rickie Fowler's adrenaline-fueled power added to the legend when he hit a perfect cut right through the par-4 17th green and into the hazard. For a change, Rickie's ability to drive 360 yards under pressure proved less-than-handy, and the Waste Management Open title was up for grabs. The huge crowds got the drama they craved, just not the dream winner, as John Strege notes.
Slow poke Hideki Matsuyama eventually won a three-hole playoff, but it'll be the Big Four deprivation and 17th hole that are this week's big takeaways.
First, the shocking tee shot (shocking in club selection and power):
Fowler was shocked by the distance of the shot, not but the club selection. From Brian Wacker's game story:
“Usually don't expect it to hit on the downslope and then go 360,” he said. “So that was a bit unfortunate. I hit it right on line, hit it exactly where I was looking. That's kind of the unfortunate part, to hit the shots that I did and to pull them off, and then it kind of backfired there.”
Rickie got emotional about losing the lead:
The official highlights:
Today's players are fitter, faster, smarter, prettier, sexier, leaner, etc., etc. But as with their predecessors, they still can look human on the greens.
Lexi Thompson is putting with her eyes closed.
Bernhard Langer is carrying two putters in the bag according to Golf Channel's announce team. And he was seen warming up before his opening Allianz round trying two styles of putting.
Ian Poulter, one of the world's best putters over the last decade, started putting with one hand in Phoenix.
Any others I missed?
We've gone through the traditional Bubba Watson controversy (again) this week. As with past brouhahas, they play out with amazing consistentcy:
--He spent a day or two with the much-wiser and grounded wife bending his ear, gets booed at the 16th hole.
We will go through this many more times with him and unless he starts picking on innocent kids or other less fortunately souls, I really don't see the big deal. He's different, odd, knows he has ADD issues at the very least and maybe is a little bit of a mad genius. We don't want him to be like everyone else, do we?
I'm also sympathetic because when he's on, he's such a joy to watch play golf. The TPC Scottsdale should be a showcase for his talent, but I sense much of his meltdown this week was prompted by disdain for the place, only heightened by Tom Weiskopf's anti-long driving changes to the course. Several players last week were dreading the event for the first time because of the course, not the noise or the party scene or whatever else might be a deterrent. And you can read between the lines of player comments, like Mickelson's remarks, including that TPC Scottsdale shifted from an offensive to a defensive course. Bubba just happened to be more blunt in sharing his views.
I could go on about the aesthetic nightmare it has become, with more overseeded rye grass and blinding bunkers viewable from outer space, but it won't do any good. The old lunar landscape is gone.
But back to Bubba...where does his latest controversy leave you with one of golf's most fascinating stars?
“It really hurt me yesterday,” Watson said. “It really hurt me a lot. Today was different. It’s a different crowd today. Less people, so it makes your life better. But it really hurt me a lot, hurt my family a lot to see that and know how much we have supported this city, been behind this city.”
“It was pretty sad that people think I don’t want to be here.”
I don't want to make you feel bad about the progress you've made with your swing, but I kind of do in posting this latest compilation spotted on her Instagram account.
It's Godiva Kim, now a year older than when Terry Wilcox profiled the next great Aussie-born golfer. But her swing remains pretty much perfect.
A video posted by godiva golf (@godi_kim) on
**Young Lady Godiva made it on Morning Drive.
I always picture a group of Thunderbirds rolling up the sleeves of their blue suede sweaters and throwing darts at new record attendance numbers to announce annually.
Because right on cue, they set new records again at the 2016 Waste Management Open. Mitzvah!
Brian Wacker's tweet of the media center attendance board:
Though I'm with reader Chris, who noted that extra three just looks a little too perfectly imperfect:
This noted, the Thunderbirds should also be praised for their ticket pricing, which encourages large crowds on a course that is pretty easy for spectators to actually see golf without working too hard.
From their website:
Monday, Tuesday: FREE
Wednesday – Thursday: $30
Friday – Sunday: $40
Ages 17 & under are free when accompanied by an adult.
At the recently played Farmers Insurance Open, the admission price is $50, with the course closed to the public on Monday and Tuesday. The $50 price might explain the ghost town vibe there this year on Thursday.
Adult – $50 / Seniors – $35
Youth 13-17 – $10 / Kids 12 & under – free
Military FREE with ID
At the upcoming Northern Trust Open, the pricing is both higher and harder to comprehend.
Monday Collegiate Pro-Am: $19
Course closed Tuesday (oy vey)
Wednesday Pro-Am: $19
Thursday Regular Price: $39
Friday Regular Price: $49
Saturday Regular Price: $59 (includes English Beat concert)
Sunday: Regular Price: $49
Any Day Flex Ticket Regular Price: $64
Season Badge Regular Price: $139
Ages 17 & under are free when accompanied by an adult
Military Free with ID
**Not long ago John Strege looked at how they come up with the number and talked to a skeptic who probably would cut the numbers almost in half.
For its estimates, the Phoenix Open uses 3.2 people per car. "That seems awfully high," Doig said. "Americans just don't do that. I'm sure there are cars with four people, but I suspect lots of them have one or two. I could probably live with two per car."
**The crowd has been billed in various stories as the largest in golf history.
Ron Sirak notes from the USGA annual meeting the organization is Trumpeting its inclusive, "we" effort.
From his GolfDigest.com item:
“Now we are not about the game of golf, we are about golfers themselves,” said executive director Mike Davis.
“We are going to do things to make sure those who play the game enjoy it,” he said, specifically citing pace-of-play as an issue.
“We now have a clear strategic plan,” said Tom O’Toole Jr., as he wrapped up his two-year term as president. “It was a real ‘we’ effort.’ Right now we have our shoulders behind the health or growth issue.”
Yet that "we" message falls flatter than a midday rules seminar when reading new USGA President Diana Murphy's short and stilted interview with Golfweek.com's Adam Schupak. On the topic of next year's U.S. Women's Open at Trump Bedminster, where the host has lost one PGA of America event over his comments about Mexican immigrants.
DM: I don't have anything to say about the political campaign in general. As for the course, we've had two championships there before. The staff, the members, the volunteers did an exceptional job at both championships. We are contractually obligated to have a Women's Open there, and we believe it will be a very successful Open there.
This is a far cry from the joint statement signed by the USGA earlier this year when they had this to say about Trump:
"In response to Mr. Trump's comments about the golf industry "knowing he is right" in regards to his recent statements about Mexican immigrants, we feel compelled to clarify that those remarks do not reflect the views of our organizations. While the LPGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour and USGA do not usually comment on Presidential politics, Mr. Trump's comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf."
Trump Bedminster is just minutes from USGA headquarters and several senior USGA staffers are members of the club, further complicating the situation.
In the good "get" department, this one is a 10 out of 10 for an event that most are struggling to grapple with due to the 50-year-old age minimum in a young women's game.
But that's a topic for another day. More exciting is C.B. Macdonald's masterful, historic, and ultra-private gem launching the USGA's new championship. The club last hosted the Walker Cup in 2005, along with three U.S. Opens and four U.S. Amateurs in the early part of...the last century, and the century before that.
USGA Announces 2018, 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open Sites
Chicago Golf Club to host inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open in 2018,
Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club to host 2019 championship
FAR HILLS, N.J. (Feb. 6, 2016) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced Chicago Golf Club, in Wheaton, Ill., and Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, in Southern Pines, N.C., as the host sites of the inaugural 2018 U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship and 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship, respectively.
“The USGA is proud to realize its vision of hosting national championships for players of all age demographics, and we are thrilled that the first two editions of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be contested at two of the most respected courses in the United States,” said USGA President Thomas J. O’Toole Jr., who announced the establishment of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open in February 2015. “We hope this championship will inspire generations of female golfers to continue competing at the highest level long into their careers.”
The championship will be open to professional females, and amateur females with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 7.4, who have reached their 50th birthday as of the first day of the championship. The field will include 120 players, who will earn entry into the championship via sectional qualifying at sites nationwide or through an exemption category, the details of which will be announced at a later date.
The format will mirror that of the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open championships: a walking-only, 72-hole stroke play competition over four consecutive days with a 36-hole cut to the top 60 players, including ties. Prize money will be announced at a later date.
The first U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be contested July 12-15, 2018 at Chicago Golf Club, one of the five founding clubs of the USGA and the oldest golf club in the U.S. in continuous use at the same location. The club was founded in 1893 by Charles Blair Macdonald, who won the inaugural U.S. Amateur in 1895. The original 18-hole course was renovated in 1923 by Seth Raynor and remains largely unchanged today.
This will be Chicago Golf Club’s 12th USGA championship. The club hosted its first two USGA championships in 1897 – the U.S. Open, won by Joe Lloyd, and the U.S. Amateur, won by H.J. Whigham. It also hosted the 1900 U.S. Open, won by Harry Vardon, a six-time winner of the Open Championship, conducted by The R&A, and the 1911 U.S. Open, won by 19-year-old John J. McDermott, who survived a three-man playoff to become the championship’s first American winner. Additional USGA championships contested at the club include: the U.S. Amateur (1905, 1909 and 1912), U.S. Women’s Amateur (1903), U.S. Senior Amateur (1979), and two Walker Cup Matches, both won by the USA Team (1928 and 2005).
“As a founding member of the USGA, Chicago Golf Club is honored to support the USGA’s newest championship by hosting the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open,” said Brad Kinsey, president of Chicago Golf Club. “We look forward to making this, our 12th USGA championship, an exceptional event for players and spectators alike.”
The 2018 U.S. Senior Women’s Open, the 61st USGA championship to be contested in Illinois, will be the state’s first Open championship since the 2003 U.S. Open, won by Jim Furyk at Olympia Fields Country Club. The 2015 U.S. Amateur, won by Bryson DeChambeau and also played at Olympia Fields, was the most recent USGA championship played in Illinois.
Pine Needles will host the 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open from May 16-19. Designed by Donald Ross and opened in 1928, the course was most recently renovated in 2004 by John Fought, who oversaw the restoration of greens and bunkers to their original forms with the aid of vintage aerial photos.
This will be the sixth USGA championship contested at Pine Needles and the first since the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open, won by Cristie Kerr. The club, owned by women’s golf advocate, instructor and former LPGA Tour player Peggy Kirk Bell, also hosted the 1996 and 2001 U.S. Women’s Opens, won by Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb, respectively. Additionally, the 1989 U.S. Girls’ Junior and 1991 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur championships were contested at Pine Needles.
"On behalf of the Bell family and our entire community, Pine Needles is thrilled the USGA has accepted our invitation to host the 2019 U.S. Senior Women's Open Championship,” said Kelly Miller, president of Pine Needles. “Having hosted three previous U.S. Women’s Opens, we look forward to seeing some familiar faces and welcoming all competitors to this new USGA championship. I'm confident our Donald Ross-designed course will identify another great champion."
This will be the 32nd USGA championship contested in North Carolina, which most recently hosted the historic back-to-back 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open championships at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, in the Village of Pinehurst. Upcoming USGA championships in the Tar Heel State include the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and the 2019 U.S. Amateur, both at Pinehurst, and the 2018 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Charlotte Country Club.
Two things are worth noting in this news: another historic venue will now have hosted both the men and the women's national Open championship, adding to the club's legacy and also enhancing the stature of this event.
Webb Simpson's 2012 win will be a faint memory the next time Olympic Club hosts a men's U.S. Open, with the USGA committed through 2024 and likely knowing where the event is headed in 2025 and 2026.
The Olympic Club Selected as Host of 2021 U.S. Women’s Open Championship
Five-time U.S. Open site to host its first USGA women’s championship, joins CordeValle as upcoming U.S. Women’s Open venue in Northern California
FAR HILLS, N.J. (Feb. 6, 2016) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) has selected The Olympic Club, in San Francisco, Calif., as the host site of the 76th U.S. Women’s Open in 2021. The championship, considered the world’s premier women’s golf event, will be held June 3-6.
The 2021 U.S. Women’s Open will be the 11th USGA championship contested on The Olympic Club’s Lake Course, and it will mark the first USGA women’s championship for the five-time U.S. Open host site. The first of those U.S. Opens, in 1955, was won in an 18-hole playoff by Jack Fleck over Ben Hogan, one of the biggest upsets in sports history. In 1966, Billy Casper outlasted Arnold Palmer in a Monday playoff after Palmer surrendered a seven-stroke lead over the final nine holes on Sunday. Additionally, Scott Simpson (1987), Lee Janzen (1998) and Webb Simpson (2012) each earned come-from-behind U.S. Open victories at The Olympic Club.
“We are thrilled to bring the U.S. Women’s Open to The Olympic Club, site of so many significant USGA moments, for the first time in 2021,” said Diana Murphy, USGA vice president and Championship Committee chairman. “Eleven outstanding players are enshrined in the USGA Museum’s Hall of Champions by winning at The Olympic Club, and we look forward to adding the 76th U.S. Women’s Open champion to that illustrious list.”
The Lake Course at The Olympic Club was designed by course superintendent Sam Whiting and opened for play in 1927. Today, the Lake Course remains true to its original design with minimal revisions. In 2015, the course hosted the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship, won by Todd White and Nathan Smith. It also served as the host site for the 1958 U.S. Amateur, won by Charles Coe; the 1981 U.S. Amateur, won by Nathaniel Crosby; the 2004 U.S. Junior Amateur, won by Sihwan Kim; and the 2007 U.S. Amateur, won by Colt Knost.
“Hosting the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open will be a magnificent moment for the membership and staff of The Olympic Club,” said John Espiritu, club president. “San Francisco and The Olympic Club share a rich history of hosting USGA national championships, and we are honored to add the U.S. Women’s Open to our championship record. We look forward to 2021 and hosting the world’s best players on our world-class course.”
The Lake Course will become the 12th course to host both the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open, joining such notable venues as Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club, Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colo., Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2 in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C., and Champions Golf Club in Houston, which will host the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open on its Cypress Creek Course.
The 2021 U.S. Women’s Open will mark the fourth time the championship will be held in California, and the second time in a five-year span that it will be held in Northern California. On July 7-10, 2016, the 71st U.S. Women’s Open will be conducted at CordeValle, located in San Martin, providing fans with two upcoming opportunities to experience the ultimate championship in women’s golf.
**Ron Kroichick on this news lining Olympic Club up for the USGA's next west coast U.S. Open.
Olympic should land the next Open on the West Coast after that, possibly in 2026 or ’27. Chambers Bay, a public course outside Tacoma and host of last year’s Open, also is a candidate to repeat as host.
New European Tour Chief Keith Pelley continues to do business differently than his American counterpart, something Rex Hoggard highlights in this GolfChannel.com profile.
Hoggard says Pelley differs from Tim Finchem, "who at times throughout his career has appeared to be more concerned with protecting the PGA Tour brand then the individuals who play under that shield."
But it's the desire to share European Tour fines and penalties that contrasts sharply with Commissioner Finchem's tireless efforts to not let anyone nkow who got bad slow play times or worse, to suggest he would be against penalty shots for those violating the PGA Tour's rules. Hoggard writes:
Pelley has also broken with the PGA Tour when it comes to player fines, which in the U.S. are strictly confidential with the exception of violations of the circuit’s policy regarding performance-enhancing drugs.
“We have nothing to hide,” Pelley said. “It is not only a penalty from a monetary perspective, you won’t want to see, and your peers won’t want to see someone be fined. Nobody likes to be highlighted for slow play and I think this is a deterrent for that.”
The Daily Journal's Dennis Yohnka reports that Joe McCourt and Don Sawyer made back to back aces in front of a third witness.
The freak occurrence came at Illinois' Manteno Golf Club in front of Lee Hahn. They were playing the 135-yard 5th.
"Joe hit first and it looked like it went screaming over the green, but we couldn't see it too good. Don hit next and it looked like he went past the green, too. Then, I shot and I was feeling pretty good: My shot landed about 10 feet from the cup," Hahn said.
McCourt and Sawyer were in the same cart and they headed straight for the area behind the green, looking for what they assumed were less-than-ideal tee shots. McCourt had used a seven wood, but didn't get much loft. Sawyer used a three iron.
"I couldn't find anything back there, so I was walking back toward the hole and looked in," McCourt said. "I saw the two balls in there. The logos on the balls were facing straight up. I knew they were ours. But I didn't take them out. I wanted the other guys to see them."
Ron Sirak talks to new USGA President Diana Murphy about taking over the reins from Tom O'Toole.
She is the second female president of the USGA and doesn't want you to see her that way.
“I want to be the right person for the job, not the right girl,” Murphy, 59, recently told GolfDigest.com. “This is not about me, this is about the USGA and doing what is best for the game of golf.”
From talking with Murphy you get the feeling she wants to be like the perfect USGA rules official or baseball umpire: So good at what she does you don’t even notice she’s there.
Sadly for the USGA's executive branch, these days it's easier than ever to not notice they're there.
It's named Tiger and makes an ace for the ages, reports Joel Beall.
A video posted by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on Feb 4, 2016 at 7:19pm PST
There are a few ways to look at Bubba Watson's pre-tournament comments about the TPC Scottsdale and Waste Management Open.
First, the comments. From Ryan Reiterman's GolfChannel.com report:
"I don't like it. I'm not going to PC it. I don't like it at all. I just mentioned why I'm here. I've got three beautiful sponsors that love it here."
Ping, Stance Socks and Oakley are all sponsors of Watson.
Watson said he was unhappy with the changes made to toughen up the course last year by Tom Weiskopf. Several fairway bunkers were moved to challenge even the longest hitters, like Watson, and as Phil Mickelson noted, a hole like the par-4 14th went from "a driver and a wedge birdie hole to driver, 4-, 5-iron and a very difficult par."
Sure, it's kind of unusual for someone to finish T2 the last two years and lament having to be there. But it's Bubba. This is a man who hated going to Paris. France.
But I welcome the brutal honesty and scratch my head at his disdain for a course he's played well at. But chatting with a few players last week at Torrey Pines, Watson is not alone in lamenting the direction TPC Scottsdale has taken in trying to limit long driving. Watson's "goofier and tougher" line was similar to what a few players said.
The stats back up the idea that Weiskopf's hope for limiting longer driving, even though the 2015 leaderboard was full of long drivers.
From Rob Bolton's always excellent PGA Tour Power Rankings:
• Weiskopf surmised that the thinking off the tee would evolve as a result of new, strategic bunkering. Indeed, the field of 132 was a quick study as its 61.38-percent clip for fairways hit was in line with history. However, it came at a cost since the average distance of all drives of 285.4 yards was down 10-15 yards from each of the previous four years, and this despite a layout stretched 114 yards to its highest-ever measurement of 7,266 yards. Still, it mattered little in determining the final leaderboard. Koepka ranked T47 for the week in fairways hit and still played his last 47 holes in bogey-free 14-under.
I'm really looking forward to the onslaught of SkratchTV's GoPro's inside the PGA Tour ropes to capture the game for the only people who matter.
Judging by the efforts from the Waste Management pro-am, there will be moments but mostly reminders that golf is not snowboarding. Well, unless you include getting to watch a caddie rake a bunker from the rake's perspective (1:43 point if you are looking for what excites the only people who matter).
Daniel Roberts reports for Yahoo on the GoPro-SkratchTV-PGA Tour partnership that'll have hipsters taking their wide angle cameras inside the ropes during competition. Just not too close, hopefully.
Translation: Golf is going extreme. The sport sees potential to woo millennials with GoPro's dizzying, high-octane P.O.V. shots that the camera maker has traditionally brought to more extreme sports like skateboarding, snowboarding, BMX, and mountain biking. "We're intrigued," said Rick Anderson, the PGA Tour's executive vice president of media, in a press release, "to GoPro the game of golf."
What does that mean? For starters, expect to see the GoPro HERO cameras show up on the course—in as unobtrusive a way as possible. "We're not up to using drones yet, although there is a lot of discussion of that," says the Tour's senior vice president, Norb Gambuzza, in an interview with Yahoo Finance. "But there will be guys shooting with GoPros and doing things with camera placement and positioning that we have not done before. I think fans will look at it and say, 'Hmmm, what's going on over there?' We are always looking to push the envelope in how we shoot and distribute our content."
Here's that envelope-pushing moment from Wednesday:
**Great to see the Tour's partner celebrating the activity banned by the Tour.
Remember, anything for the children, even the forbidden:
Well, not exactly The Force, but Lexi Thompson is taking a time-tested practice drill onto the course in a quest to improve her putting.
Beth Ann Nichols of Golfweek.com on why Lexi is putting with her eyes closed. In tournament play. Which kind of makes Jordan Spieth's occasional flirtations with looking at the hole look like child's play.
“It feels like I’m burning a hole through the golf ball with my eyes (open),” said Thompson, who always has been more of a feel player.
Thompson said she putted with her eyes open once last week on a long putt at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic and knocked it 10 feet past the hole. She then closed her eyes and drained the come-backer.
The plans to demolish golf's original snack bar and one of its original 19th Hole's have at least been dropped.
But that doesn't change the sad possibility of Mrs. Forman's never returning as an eatery and pub serving the golfers of historic Musselburgh.
The Scotsman's Chris Hall on the withdrawal and plans to forge ahead in turning the nearly 200-year-old eatery off of Musselburgh's 4th green into a home.
"CBSSports.com...once an acclaimed sports newsgathering organization--is a frightening example of where the model may be heading."
The Big Lead's Jason McIntyre looks at changes in CBSSports.com's approach to journalism, and centers much of his analysis around the firing of former golf correspondent Steve Elling.
From McIntyre's report:
Profits may be at an all-time high for CBS Sports Interactive, but in speaking with nearly a dozen current and former staffers, morale is at an all-time low.
After Elling was fired in 2012, writers sensed big change was coming and began looking for exit strategies. College football reporter Brett McMurphy was hired by ESPN before the real bloodbath started in 2013 after Gerttula took over: veterans Scott Miller (MLB) and Danny Knobler (MLB) were among 50 full and part-time staffers let go in what employees called a “bloodletting” that took place between late July and November.
“Years ago we never heard the word ‘pageviews,’” one CBS Sports.com writer told The Big Lead. “Then we started getting monthly reports and you’re judged on pageviews more than anything else … I don’t like it. Nobody does. How many recognizable voices do we have now at CBS Sports? Who are some of these guys? They don’t matter in any way.”
Not to mention that Mrs. Forman's was home to the original and still greatest beverage cart girl.
It's with complete shock and sadness that I read this Golf Business News story (thanks Peter Flinn) on the October closing of Mrs. Forman's restaurant. Even worse than this lovely eatery closing (one that had been reimagined into a modern pub which also paid tribute to the buildings' incredible past), is the plan by a developer to level the 1822 structure behind Musselburgh's 4th green.
Originally helmed by Mrs. Marion Forman for nearly 20 years, this matronly saint of golf dining served golfers food and drink through the back window, or after their rounds. Many of the game's greats have dined and two of the very greatest even feuded there. While a few Bruntsfield establishments might be able to say they were older, Mrs. Forman's was certainly the first mid-round snack bar and it has been a bit of a miracle that this sweet spot had been reinvented to serve locals and honor the past. Scottish Golf History sums up this and many other moments from Mrs. Forman's past.
Another East Lothian Journal story by Sam Berkeley suggests that the building might be saved, perhaps based on some early feedback to a developer's plans for a car garage on this sacred site for golf.
A rethink is now on the cards, with the company considering retaining the pub building, which had been a local landmark next to Musselburgh Racecourse and Musselburgh Old Course Golf Club for many years.
Well, 194 years to be exact.
My YouTube video on the 4th green and Mrs. Forman's.
My collection of Musselburgh images in one video from a few years ago:
I will put together more images from Musselburgh that include Mrs. Forman's as I'll remember it. Because with a heavy heart, I'm afraid this golfing institution has served it's last meal. Hopefully something can at least be done to keep the structure intact as it's very much in play on the 4th hole of the links.