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

    Kindle Edition

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

Golf championships are a good deal like omelettes. You cannot have an omelette without breaking eggs, and you cannot have a golf championship without wrecking hopes.
O.B. KEELER

 

    

Monday
Jul202015

Hope For Tiger? Duval's Open Resurgence

Going first out in Sunday's third round at The Open, David Duval posted a 67 and signaled that he's not ready to stop playing just yet.

While the chances of another 67 are unlikely given the weather forecast, Karen Crouse with some stellar insights from Duval and his veteran caddie Ron Levin into one of golf's most fascinatingly complex personalities. (Thanks reader Tim.)

Levin added: “He wants to win golf tournaments. That’s all he’s ever wanted to do. He didn’t grow up and say, ‘I want to be a golf announcer.’ ”

The broadcast booth is where noncompetitive players go to reinvent themselves. But for Duval, analyzing the performance of other players has reinvigorated his game.

“When you’re playing well, you forget immediately about the bad shots,” Duval said. “But when you’re not playing well and you’re struggling, you feel like everybody else is hitting it beautiful and perfect all time.”

Duval said, “Sitting up there when you’re announcing and recapping the tournaments, you realize, ‘Man, these guys hit some really ugly shots.’ ” He added, “Seeing that, it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, everybody screws up and does bad things,’ and so it removes a little bit of the pressure of ‘I have to go out and play perfectly.’ ”

Sunday
Jul192015

Instant Poll: Who Will Win The 2015 Open Championship

Dustin Johnson (75) opened the door and a wide range of players took the opportunity provided by Sunday's benign conditions to move into Open Championship contention.

Jordan Spieth is well positioned to take leg three of the Grand Slam, but the weather forecast adds an element of intrigue for the leaders too. Either way, it should be a thriller!

The betting money is going to Spieth, Day and Oosthuizen.

Vote here:

Who will win the 2015 Open Championship
 
pollcode.com free polls

Sunday
Jul192015

2015 Open Championship 3rd Round Notes & Comment Thread

A big day for the Grand Slam prospects of Jordan Spieth, as he tees off with Sergio Garcia five strokes back of second round leader Dustin Johnson.

Alex Myers with the latest Grand Slamometer notes. Having watched Spieth's post-round presser, he was incredibly positive considering he came off a disjointed, 25-hour fiasco to finish a second round that included 37 putts, the most of his career according to Justin Ray.

Ray also noted that if history is any judge, Spieth would make an unprecedented comeback if he were to win after being 5 back through 36.

TheOpen.com's digital offerings are here.

The "Traditional" leaderboard.

Sunday
Jul192015

Tiger's Going To Check Up On His Spin Rates

There have been many awkward, empathy-inducing comments from Tiger Woods as he continues to struggle, but this might have been the saddest:

Q. Did you learn anything about your game this week?

TIGER WOODS: You know, it's kind of funny because I didn't -- we were talking about that the other day; I hit the ball solid. It's just that it wasn't getting through the wind. I don't know what was causing that, and it's something that we're going to have to take a look at, look at my numbers, see if the spin rates are on or not, but it was so frustrating because all my shots that I hit solid and flush into the wind, they just weren't carrying at all.

John Strege has this roundup of some takes on Tiger, including this from ESPN.com's Kevin Van Falkenburg who says we're seeing something unprecedented.

But after watching him trudge around the Old Course for three days, and seeing the melancholy look on the man's face when it was finally over, I no longer feel even a hint of schadenfreude. I feel only empathy.

When he took off his hat on the 18th green to shake hands with Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen, he looked as close to broken as I've ever seen a truly great athlete look. He entered this event thinking he had a real chance to contend. He wasn't even close to making the cut.

John Huggan builds a case for Tiger being done.

Right this minute, Tiger is not capable of winning major championships. Nor is he capable of winning a regular tour event. He is, in reality, a well-below average PGA Tour player.

The numbers are instructive. So far in 2015, Tiger has hit 52.86 per cent of the fairways he has aimed at. That would make him the 194th most accurate driver (out of 199) on the PGA Tour. In ‘greens in regulation’, his percentage is 61.11, “good” enough for 190th spot. But the most egregious figure is his stroke average of 72.796. Only former Masters champion Mike Weir is worse. Little wonder then, that Woods is ranked the 241st best golfer on the planet.

Ryan Lavner at GolfChannel.com adds this and more about the spin rates comment:

“We're going to have to take a look at my numbers, see if the spin rates are on or not,” he said.

What happened to just hitting golf shots?

Now fully healthy, Woods has been working through this most recent  swing change with Chris Como for about nine months. It's unclear if he's made any progress at all. His good swings are very good. He pures it at home, and on the tournament range, and in practice rounds – or, in other words, when it doesn’t matter.

Doug Ferguson noted that Woods' preparation was strange, too

He looked lost on the Old Course.

"I felt like I was playing well enough to win this event," Woods said.

He arrived on Saturday to do a junior clinic for Nike - Woods typically is all about preparations at the majors - and then after practice rounds on Sunday and Monday, he didn't play another practice round on the Old Course until the championship started. Woods said he knew the course, practiced in both wind directions and wanted to conserve energy for what usually is a long week.

Sunday
Jul192015

Video: ESPN's Old Course Hotel Feature

ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski profiled the hotel once branded by Henry Longhurst as looking like a chest with all the drawers pulled out. They've remodeled it since and this week it's under lockdown to all but the beautiful people staying there. But the report is fun in addressing the many golf-related elements and reveals a shocker in the form of showing what is going on in side the faux railway sheds.

The video.

Sunday
Jul192015

Fresh And Innovative: ESPN's Open Championship Gadgets

Here in The Open media center, the big screens are divided into BBC for the left side of the house (Fleet Street and friends), and ESPN on the right side for the Yanks. Everytime I look up there's a vibrancy on the right and to the left, well, some glorious shots of birds or the estuary. During yesterday's greens-too-fast delay, ESPN appeared to fill the time with urgency and a news-gathering approach.

While we unfortunately can't hear the announcing, the pictures and extras have been eye-opening and innovative. A real standout has been the flyovers shown with light blue shading to delineate between landing areas depending on wind (they probably need to add a red zone for those who can carry it 320).

And anyone who has been to the UK knows the distinctive green contour dashes used in homage to Strokesaver's yardage guides.


Then there was this use of Protracer partnering with ESPN Visual Technology. We saw a version of this at TPC Sawgrass' 17th and while it was fun to look at, the Road Hole is a much better architectural canvas. ESPN has put it to good use:


In a press release the Protracer folks explain how it works:

Some of the Protracer systems on The Old Course are set in permanent locations while others are used to follow featured groups around the course. Due to the vast amount of different shot shapes crafted by the world’s top players when tackling a links course, The Open Championship provides an excellent stage for Protracer.

“We employ multiple Protracer systems which allows us to track shots throughout the golf course and from varying camera angles, including rail mounted robotic cameras, mobile units and camera towers. It all works very well and integrates smoothly into the production.” says Berntsen.

A new addition to this year’s Open Championship coverage on ESPN is a neat camera angle on the famous 17th hole on The Old Course. Set next to the green the camera shows tee shots as they are hit into the fairway, over The Old Course Hotel.

 “The new receive tracking system on 17 is a big value added to the broadcast, showcasing an entirely new perspective on ball flight and strategy.”

ESPN's coverage begins at 7 am ET Sunday and Monday's delayed final round coverage starts at 6 am ET.

Sunday
Jul192015

"If the powers that be do not stop the golf ball arms race...you can say goodbye to the glory that is the Old Course at St. Andrews."

The technophobic agenda is running rampant here in St. Andrews as not only was I able to point out for Golf World that Saturday's wind-fueled fiasco has strong roots in regulatory cowardice and vision, but the chorus has been joined by Joe Posnanski at GolfChannel.com.

Posnanski made the connection between greens just a bit too fast for the slopes and wind which, rumor has it, sometimes blows here. Three straight majors and the folks in charge still stick to the same old speed. Cue that Einstein bro, he was on to something.

Posnanski considered the same thing I did: was play halted at the various nearby courses. Of course not.

He writes:

Companies fully understand that there are too many people out there willing to pay for longer golf balls. They will find ways to cut drag, to enhance lift, to defy gravity — or whatever else they can do to get a little bit more golf ball air.

And it will be up to the R&A and USGA to act and not just talk. Conditions are expected to be pretty mild on Sunday, which could mean it will be a shootout. Dustin Johnson and Jason Day and other long hitters will be hitting little wedges into holes. Guys will be driving par 4s. We could watch player after player overwhelm a defenseless St. Andrews.

And it comes back to Jack Nicklaus again. He has been warning about this possibility for years. Maybe St. Andrews can hold up now, but what about in five years? What about in 10? Everyone wants to see the Open Championship at St. Andrews. Everyone also wants to hit their drives farther. And, for the people who run golf, a choice will have to be made.

Beyond the usual stuff about the entire integrity and soul of the game being put at risk, there's another component in this as it relates to Jordan Spieth's historic quest. This in no way is meant to take away from Dustin Johnson's 36-hole position or use of his immense talent. But it's becoming apparent that he's using extreme distance versus to take most of the design elements out of play, as Graeme McDowell had predicted would be a key this week (Phil Casey's report here).

And I go back to this from Spieth from his post-first round press conference, a telling (and in no way bitter) statement about realizing he's got to be perfect to overcome DJ's advantage:

I saw a 65 in our group, and if D.J. keeps driving it the way he is, then I'm going to have to play my best golf to have a chance. It's hard to argue with somebody who's splitting bunkers at about 380 yards and just two-putting for birdie on five or six of the holes when there's only two par-5s. I don't have that in the bag, so I've got to make up for it with ball-striking.

Saturday
Jul182015

Old (Course) News: Pushing Green Speeds To The Brink

My Golf World column on the ramifications of Saturday's inability to present a playable Old Course in windy conditions will be out later, but in the meantime a few thoughts on the latest major championship course setup fiasco in the distance era.(Jim McCabe of Golfweek.com recounts what happened here and has many player quotes on what they experienced, filed before the R&A commented in the press center.)

We know we are headed for a Monday finish at St. Andrews only because the green speeds are too fast for the contours when the wind is up. Three straight majors with a play stoppage have established that a Stimpmeter speed of 10+ is too much here. Heck, the nearby Castle Course with its exposed position on a hill and featuring modern greens with massive contours was open.

As Paul Azinger and Dottie Pepper noted on air and on Twitter (and as documented by John Strege at GolfDigest.com), they've played in comparable or worse winds here FOR CENTURIES because greens were not this fast. Azinger nominated 9 on the Stimp as a reasonable enough speed and here's guessing that would work. Pepper reminded us that this is the third straight major that the Old Course has been misunderstood by those setting it up. She also pointed out the overall statement this makes about runaway modern green speeds.

Sadly, we've seen this movie before: governing bodies willing to take things up to the edge in a peculiar and perhaps subconsciously self-destructive effort to hold the line on difficulty via trickery. In this case, trying to maintain certain green speeds on a course overwhelmed by modern distances, grooves and made easier by the impeccable conditioning by the maintenance team. Now we face a Monday finish and questions about the integrity of the championship because of risk-taking over a measely a foot of speed on the Stimpmeter (and to a lesser extent meeting the modern expectations of players who'd howl at the prospect of playing greens mown every other day).

One would hope the latest fiasco expedites and crystallizes two ongoing debates: the push for fast greens and the notion of regulating distance (as we do now), just not enough to impact elite players in a way that allows places like the Old Course to not be compromised.

For some context on green speed, check out Jerry Tarde's column from October 2013 on the evolution of documented speeds in America (suggested by reader Joe Ogilvie) and note Sir Michael Bonallack's resistance to knowing Stimpmeter speeds.

That's in contrast to his predecessor, R&A Chief Inspector Peter Dawson, who knows exactly what the green speeds were today at St. Andrews.

Q. What is the stimpmetre reading for the Old Course for The Open Championship?

PETER DAWSON: Well, we've been targeting between 10 and 10-foot-6, and we were achieving that every day, but we have kept the 11th green about six inches slower than those readings, and we've been consistently able to achieve that each morning.

To nitpick: Dawson recently justified the rebuilding of the hollowed 11th hole ground as able to handle play in high winds and because he didn't want to treat it differently in a championship. But in light of that revelation and more proof that the 10 to 10-foot-6 Stimpmeter range may be too much for these greens, I asked if he might reconsider the peak number.

Q. You said the 11th green a few weeks before the tournament is now puttable in high winds with the changes you've made. You've also said today that the green speed is on that green treated differently. Might you be willing to reconsider what you feel is the championship green speed that you discussed earlier? Is that something that would seem reasonable in light of what's happened?

PETER DAWSON: Well, I think for the vast majority of days here, if we went down to a green speed of something say -- pick a number, nine feet, and we played The Open Championship here, I think most people would think the greens were far too slow, to be honest with you. So it's a balance. 10 to 10-foot-6 is an appropriate green speed at St. Andrews in the vast majority of days. We've had a very difficult day today. The slope on the green at 11 is not directly connected with that. That's connected with slope as opposed to wind speed, and I still think what we did there was perfectly appropriate.

To recap: historic Eden green is changed to handle high wind days and so that it can be treated the same as the other days.

Reality: the changed green could not handle the high wind day if was compromised for and was treated differently anyway.

But more vital than this revelation of architectural ineptitude is the obvious absurdity of tainting a championship in the name of not taking real action on the distance scourge that keeps rearing its head in deflating ways.

Even the Chief Inspector wishes the play that took place for a half hour Saturday at St Andrews could be wiped from the record books, an acknowledgement that this championship may have been compromised by the committee's actions:

PETER DAWSON: Well, I wish we could. Rules of golf do allow you to wipe out a full round, but sadly not part of a round, and it's something that maybe the rules committee would like to look at for the future, but the rules of golf do not cater for that at this time.

First things first. Let's revisit the Overall Distance Standard driving the push for faster greens.

Saturday
Jul182015

Flashback Reads: Another Play Stoppage At A St Andrews Major

As we wait out a wind delay at the Old Course, where golf can no longer be played on a traditional gusty day due to modern green speeds, it's worth going back to read about the last two major championship delays here.

(Paul Newberry's AP story posted at GolfDigest.com is updating as news warrants, while Ian Poulter's updates are more entertaining).

Play was suspended at the 2013 Ricoh Women’s British Open when winds gusted to 38 miles per hour where "balls were moving on the greens, with the 10th green particularly affected." You can check out the post here that includes reporting from Alistair Tait on the green speeds then:

The LGU had already prepared for the strong winds by not cutting the greens as close as the previous day. “The 11th green wasn’t cut,” she said. “The greens were 9.4 on the stimpmeter as opposed to 10 the day before. They were really quite sticky.”

At the 2010 Open when play was suspended just as Tiger was to tee off, players vented that there was a Tiger-bias in the decision. From Lawrence Donegan's Guardian report:

The world No1 had not completed the first hole before he and his playing  partners were shepherded back to the clubhouse. Play restarted just over an hour later despite, according to several players, little apparent improvement in the conditions. Andrew Coltart, who was on the 6th when he and his playing partners were hauled off, said the delay had been "pointless".

With winds gusting up to 40mph, making it almost impossible to putt  on the more exposed of the Old Course's greens, the decision was taken to suspend play, provoking strong dissent among the players. Some argued the move had come too late, others suggested it was unnecessary and one, Martin Kaymer, hinted there may have been other motives. "Zach Johnson and myself had asked officials to stop play earlier," the German said. "On the 12th and 13th greens the ball was moving for us. Maybe they were protecting the better ones who were playing later.”

Jason Dufner, then just an emerging talent, had to take to an internet message board after he complained about what turned out to be a dodgy situation.

Most of the other observations then suggest why we are in for a cautious approach today: the conditions were not discernably different from the time of the delay to the restart. A couple of posts here and here with my comments and links to other stories.

And finally, we have R&A Chief Inspector Peter Dawson's recent remarks to Scotland on Sunday's John Huggan where he said the rebuilt 11th green could withstand windy championship days like this one.

“This is the only change we have made in order to get more pin positions. Some might say we could just have slowed the green – you for example – but I am of the philosophy that if the players are enjoying the course we will have a good Open and if they are not, we  don’t. This green would have to run at six or seven on the Stimpmeter to make it work as it was before. I think that might have attracted some hostile reaction from players and media.

“What we have now is a green that will still be puttable in a high wind, which it wasn’t before."

Saturday
Jul182015

Video: Sir Charles Barkley Is Cured!

We all know the Charles Barkley swing hitch...and have watched it over and over again.

But proving there is hope for humanity (or at the very least, golfers), Sir Charles unveiled his revamped swing at the American Century Celebrity Championship in Tahoe where he's a last place staple.

TMZ with the video:

Friday
Jul172015

Da Anderson's Ginger Beer Is Back (At The 2015 Open)!

The R&A is paying homage to the drink and man that inspired the 4th hole's branding as Ginger Beer.

The "Gunner" comes in a bottle decorated by a label featuring an image of Auld Da Anderson selling his Ginger Beer and food items (historian David Hamilton theorizes that the round objects are poached eggs wrapped in sausage and deep fried). I came across it at the British Golf Museum's new cafe with sensational views of the courses here.

Anderson was a caddie, ballmaker and clubmaker, and keeper of the green at St. Andrews before transitioning to his role selling beverages and food on the course. Many believe he served at the 9th hole, but the most consistent location of his Ginger Beer Cart was most likely the 4th.

The non-alcoholic Gunner consists of part Ginger Beer, part Ginger Ale, lime squeeze and 2 dashes of Angostura Bitter.

The spectator village here is particularly good, as Ryan Herrington notes in this post with extensive photos. As he points out, you can come here without seeing a shot and have a grand old time.

A key part of the village: exhibits from Emory University and St. Andrews University. The Emory collection is devoted to Bobby Jones' life in St. Andrews and includes pages from his manuscript (with Jones markings) for Golf Is My Game, along with a postcard sent after the Freedom of the City speech.


And watching over this to keep the gulls away? This hawk...(thanks Nancy for the link):

Meet Fearnley the Eagle.He's at The Open to keep pesky seagulls away from food in the Spectator Village.

Posted by The Open on Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday
Jul172015

ESPN Telecast of The Open Expanded for Saturday

Pretty impressive stuff from the worldwide leader to come on at 2 am ET to show the conclusion of the delayed round 2 at The Open.

From ESPN:

Round 2 of The Open, golf’s oldest major, at St Andrews in Scotland will be concluded on Saturday morning. The round started more than three hours late Friday morning because of inclement weather.
 
ESPN has expanded its telecast schedule for Saturday to include the majority of the conclusion of Round 2, which is scheduled to begin at 2 a.m. ET (7 a.m. in Scotland). Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are among the players who will be finishing their rounds.
 
ESPN will leave the air and return at 7 a.m. ET (noon in Scotland) for its regularly-scheduled telecast of Round 3.

Friday
Jul172015

2015 Open Championship 2nd Round Notes & Comment Thread

A three-hour, fourteen-minute rain delay** has drenched the Old Course at St. Andrews, setting up day two for low scoring unless forecasted high winds show up.

Considering the weatherman got the overnight heavy rains part right, we'll just assume for now the wind is coming.

The revamped tee times are here. The Spieth-Johnson-Matsuyama grouping goes out at 5:48 pm local time.

TheOpen.com's digital offerings are here. And a reminder: if you are looking for sound only, The Open's live radio broadcast is most enjoyable.

The "Traditional" leaderboard.

**ESPN will be staying on in the States until the conclusion of play.

Friday
Jul172015

Good Read: "Mickelson dances golf's invisible line"

Phil Mickelson, who opened with a 2-under-par 70 in the windy afternoon conditions at St. Andrews, is profiled by ESPN.com's Kevin Van Valkenburg as the 2013 Open Champion "dances with golf's invisible line."

There is plenty of good stuff here, including this:

Mickelson said he and his wife, Amy, laughed recently when they remembered how upset they were 20 years ago when he wasn't included in a magazine story prior to the PGA Championship listing the game's "young guns." Justin Leonard was in there, and so was David Duval, but not Mickelson. Amy was so upset about it, she even walked up to the writer at the tournament and confronted him about it.

"We look back on that and we laugh," Mickelson said. "We were so immature that we felt we had to have input and say in every little thing." His face has grown noticeably weathered in recent years. Up close, his cheeks are pink and splotchy in spots, a visible consequence that comes from having spent the past four decades walking golf courses around the world, soaking up the taxing rays of the sun. There are small bags under his eyes, and he bends at the waist to read putts instead of at the knees, a telltale sign that the years, and all those steps, are adding up.

Thursday
Jul162015

How The New Course Gave Us The Old Course

There’s a nice story from Christopher Clarey in the New York Times on the New Course at St. Andrews, an Old Tom Morris original. Though it's used this week for other purposes, the New has its admirers. If nothing else for giving us The Old Course name that has become iconic.

This was fun:

“It’s probably the oldest new course,” said George Wilkinson, a starter on the New Course. “Maybe they could market it that way.”

Said Moir: “Up until the New Course was built, the Old Course was just known as the Links. It was only when they built the New Course that they said, ‘We’ll call it the Old.’ They had a lot of imagination in those days.”

The New was designed by Tom Morris, who, despite the assignment, was known as Old Tom Morris to distinguish him from his son, who was known as Young Tom. (New Tom apparently was not an option.)

The story includes a nice slideshow too.

Thursday
Jul162015

Video: Champions Challenge Recap, Arnold Palmer Interview

Before we get too deep into this Open Championship at St. Andrews, memories of Wednesday's Champion Golfer's Challenge should not be left too far behind in the rear view mirror. How lucky we were see Arnold Palmer hit what is possibly his last shot at St. Andrews, and witness Peter Thomson and Gary Player coming back one more time. Kudos to the R&A for having the event, presenting it with dignity and injecting a sense of celebration.

It's difficult not to get emotional watching Arnold Palmer's interview with ESPN's Tom Rinaldi afterwards. You can view it here.

Here is The Open official recap.

Wednesday
Jul152015

2015 Open Championship 1st Round Notes And Comment Thread

The Open is here and coverage kicks off at 4 am ET in the United States, with ESPN on for a whopping 11 hours Thursday and Friday. Multiple alternate feeds are available, including @TheOpen's Road hole feed and featured groups in morning/afternoon waves.

The full lineup is viewable here and you'll need the WatchESPN app to view on mobile devices.

With Jordan Spieth's Grand Slam request, subscribers to the Longhorn network will also be able to watch Spieth's featured group Thursday. 

The announce lineup is the same:

Mike Tirico and analyst Paul Azinger will call the play from the main booth adjacent to the 18th fairway. Hole announcers will be Curtis Strange, Sean McDonough and Scott Van Pelt, with Tom Rinaldi conducting player interviews.
 
On-course reporters for the morning players will be Andy North (with Jordan Spieth group), Billy Kratzert (with Bubba Watson group) and Dottie Pepper (with Tiger Woods group). For the afternoon session, Kratzert will follow the Phil Mickelson group and Judy Rankin will be with the Justin Rose group.
 
Later in the afternoon, Van Pelt and North will move to the booth, with Rinaldi and Dottie Pepper moving to hole announcer positions. Gene Wojciechowski will conduct player interviews. For the afternoon session, Kratzert will follow the Phil Mickelson group and Judy Rankin will be with the Justin Rose group.

The Open's official site includes extensive live coverage, though I'm not sure what is available in the USA. Check it out here and please let me know. And if you are looking for background sound only, The Open's live radio broadcast is most enjoyable.

The "Traditional" leaderboard

Wednesday
Jul152015

The 2015 Open Championship Is Here: Mini-Preview 

The major we've all been waiting for, The Open at St. Andrews kicks off after the inspiring Champions Challenge saw legendary former winners play four holes. Headlined by Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Peter Thomson, the sun popped out to give us the added colors and that cinematic vibe to the 18th hole setting.

The golf course took an unexpected rain this morning, softening things up a bit. Watch for a low round early Thursday. As I noted in Golf World, the course isn't as lush green as stated, but in contrast to Chambers Bay it practically looks overseeded in ryegrass.

Regarding the changes, they probably won't make any difference, though the new ampitheater outgrowth of mounding added to the Road hole bunker could impact the championship. And looks worse and worse every time I walk by at that magnificent hole. Todd Lewis and I discussed the changes for Live From.

Soak up your Ivor Robson this week because this is the legendary first tee announcer's final Open Championship, writes Rex Hoggard at GolfChannel.com.  EuropeanTour.com also has a nice long story on Robson.

The tee times are here...

A few images from the last few days before the camera must be retired per the media regulations:

Wednesday
Jul152015

It's A Wrap: Jordan, Hogan And The Grand Slam 

Maybe it's Wimbledon ending Sunday with spectacular wins or maybe it's the world not recognizing what a rare opportunity Jordan Spieth has, but his pursuit of the Grand Slam does not feel like it's getting the play it deserves.

Gene Wojciechowski
of ESPN.com takes the big picture route and compares Spieth to fellow Texan Ben Hogan, talking to Dan Jenkins.

That was Hogan personified, said Jenkins, who has covered more than 200 majors during his distinguished career. In Hogan's mind, his  scorecard was the standard in which all other scorecards should be judged.

"Often it was," Jenkins said. "But sometimes it wasn't, and Ben would accept that, too, as being part of the game and graciously congratulate the winner."

Graciousness is a Spieth trait. Someone once asked him about his humility. Spieth responded that to talk about humility defeated the purpose of humility itself.

Who says something like at age 21?

Ryan Lavner at GolfChannel.com talked to other players about the challenge of learning the Old Course on short notice and includes some telling comments about what players think of the task facing Spieth.

Spieth visited the press room early and was his usual eloquent, introspective self. Though the mentions of "feels" could prove to be the first early sign of trouble. Ryan Herrington on the feels word and what it might mean.

Hmm?!? Good to know that there is a thing called "feels" and that it can "travel."

And travel, indeed it did, from Woods to Spieth. As he tries for the third leg of the calendar Grand Slam, Spieth was asked about arriving on Monday and whether there were positives of playing the John Deere and getting to St. Andrews late.

"Not necessarily, other than going to a place I was familiar with, I could get in contention and get the right feels."

Alex Myers at GolfDigest.com considers the Grand Slam ramifications in his watch of the historic chase and noted that Spieth opened the door to some concessionary views that the Old Course is complex and that the simulator was not an accurate representation of reality.

And he doesn't sound like he's had enough time dealing with St. Andrews' winds -- an area which Tiger Woods said experience is most crucial -- either on his simulator:

"The course was a lot easier with 68 degrees and no breeze coming out of the air-conditioner in that room, so I got over here, and the real preparation really started."

Rex Hoggard played off of Jordan's comments about studying the history of the game and knowing what is on the line.

As Spieth has proven in his short career, he’s a quick study when it comes to high-pressure situations – like when he converted his disappointment over his loss in the 2014 Masters into his first major championship earlier this year at Augusta National – and with the world watching he seems to have struck an impressive balance between competitive indifference and situational awareness.

“I like to study the history of golf, and I think it's extremely special what this year has brought to our team and to have a chance to do what only one other person in the history of golf has done doesn't come around very often,” he allowed.

Ewan Murray notes in his Guardian story that Spieth's attitude toward the wind forecast is to embrace the coming trouble.

Spieth also brushed aside the prospect of strong gusts, possibly up to 40mph, disrupting his game. “I think it’s fun,” Spieth said. “If we wanted good weather we’d go play in California.

“We come over here because we want to embrace the opportunity of  handling these conditions. I understand that there’s a possibility for a  lot of this tournament to be dependent on the draw the first two days, at least for a few strokes. It doesn’t mean you can’t make it up if you get the bad end of it, but it will be harder. Nobody is going to know what that is here because it changes hourly.

Wednesday
Jul152015

Photo: Road Hole Bunker In Someone's Back Yard

From Luke Donald's Instagram account posted during Open week at St. Andrews.

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