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Writing And Videos

I wish I was playing in the Ryder Cup. How could they beat me? I've been struck by lightning, had two back operations, and been divorced twice.




"The Tour Championship was the first and only event of this year’s FedEx Cup to have an increase in overnight ratings"

A Sports Media Watch graphic pretty much sums up the dismal ratings news out of East Lake, where the third round managed to out-rate the final round and the weekend was up slightly from last year, something the other events could not claim. So the primary takeway was that this year's Tour Championship was the only playoff event not on the decline despite having Rory McIlroy involved and an eventual winner who really could use the massive winner's prize.


Ogilvy: "'More' didn't really work for me."

Another fun read from Geoff Ogilvy in this week's Golf World, talking about his career resurgence following a few years of struggle. As with many others before him, all the searching only made things worse.

Ryan Herrington with the highlights of Ogilvy's piece, which can be read in its entirety here.

At first my reaction was to practice harder and longer, experiment more with TrackMan, video and other equipment, and increase my work in the gym. It made me feel I was doing it the "correct" way, but it's actually easy to just work hard. Somebody next to you is hitting 500 balls, so you hit 550, and it seems you've gained ground. It's the time-honored sports approach that many simplistically ascribe to Ben Hogan, but I have no doubt even his voluminous practice was more about quality than quantity.

Bottom line, that kind of "more" didn't really work for me. For months, I found myself dragging my clubs to the airport Friday night instead of Monday morning. I finally realized I had fallen prey to a common tour disease: getting analytical, doing a lot of repetition, taking a scientific approach that tempts with possible answers.


Golf Channel Offering "Alternate Shot" Coverage Of Ryder Cup

Do I dare say this sounds more fun than the real Ryder Cup telecast for American viewers?

BTW, note those telecast hours. Live, baby!

For Immediate Release...

Golf Channel’s Ryder Cup Alternate Shot Telecast Features Additional View with Host David Feherty, Former Ryder Cup Captains and Players, and Golf Channel’s Gary Williams
ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 15, 2014) – A first-time, exclusive collaboration between NBC and Golf Channel at the 2014 Ryder Cup, Sept. 22-28, will present 71.5 hours of unprecedented coverage designed to bring fans closer to the action of one of the world’s most exciting sporting events. Debuting this year will be Golf Channel’s Ryder Cup Alternate Shot coverage, which will feature a different view of the action that complements NBC’s live weekend coverage.
“As NBC Sports Group unparalleled coverage of the 2014 Ryder Cup, one of the most unique events in sports, this coordinated effort between Golf Channel and NBC will super-serve fans’ appetite for the passion and patriotism that surrounds this event,” said Golf Channel Executive Producer Molly Solomon. “The Ryder Cup Alternate Shot coverage will be perfect complement to NBC’s coverage, and will showcase the unconventional Feherty and legends from past Ryder Cups discussing the action like only they can, because they have stood on Ryder Cup first tees with the hopes of their nation on their shoulders.”
“Tom’s team is the hungry, young underdog in this contest,” said Feherty.  “We’ll talk about that during Alternate Shot coverage and will show viewers a different spin on analysis, as well as give them a fun and informative way to enjoy the Ryder Cup.  It’ll also be fun for me because I’ll get to argue with Wadkins all day.”
GOLF CHANNEL’S RYDER CUP ALTERNATE SHOT: Hosted by the outspoken, Emmy-nominated David Feherty – former 1991 Ryder Cup European Team member, but now a proud American citizen and host of the award-winning Feherty – and Morning Drive host Gary Williams. Former U.S. Ryder Cup Captain (1995) and player (1977-93) Lanny Wadkins – who is second only to Arnold Palmer with the most Ryder Cup matches ever won by an American – and former U.S. Ryder Cup team members David Duval (1999-2002) and Justin Leonard (1997-99, 2008) will join the Feherty and Williams in studio to help break down the matches through lively discussion and analysis. Additional features of the Ryder Cup Alternate Shot telecast include:
·  Conversations from Scotland with former Ryder Cup players and captains:
o   Sir Nick Faldo:  European Team Captain 2008; Player 1977-97 – played in more Ryder Cups (11) than any other player in history; also will contribute all week to Golf Channel’s Live From the Ryder Cup telecasts
o   Colin Montgomerie:  European Team Captain 2010; Player 1991-2006 – tied for the most singles matches won in Ryder Cup history.
o   Corey Pavin:  U.S. Captain 2010; Player 1991-95
o   Tony Jacklin: European Team Captain 1983-89; Player 1967-79
o   Darren Clarke:  European Team Vice Captain 2010-12; Player 1997-2006
o   Peter Alliss:  eight-time Ryder Cup player for Great Britain (1953-69); known as the “Voice of Golf” and one of the all-time great golf commentators.
o   Jesper Parnevik:  European Team player (1997-2002)

· Viewers also will be treated to alternative live coverage throughout the Ryder Cup Alternate Shot telecast via the world satellite feed hosted by members of the European broadcast team regularly featured on Golf Channel.

· An on-screen graphic frame, similar to Golf Channel’s Spotlight coverage of PGA TOUR events, will highlight real-time statistics, as well as social media conversation surrounding the Ryder Cup.

· Hands-on analysis using Golf Channel’s simulator, which will feature a virtual version of the Centenary Course at Gleneagles.

Oh...that's not necessary. Unless you're taking us through Jack's renovation of David McLay Kidd's renovation of Jack's design?

Friday, Sept. 26      Ryder Cup – Day One    2:30 a.m.-1 p.m.          Golf Channel
Saturday, Sept. 27  Ryder Cup – Day Two    3 a.m.-1 p.m.               NBC*
                             Ryder Cup Alternate Shot  3 a.m.-11:30 a.m.        Golf Channel
*Coverage on NBC will begin at the conclusion of regularly scheduled late-night programming in Mountain and Pacific time zones. Streaming will be available via NBC Sports Live Extra
Sunday, Sept. 28  Ryder Cup – Final Day           7 a.m.-1 p.m.               NBC
                           Ryder Cup Alternate Shot       7 a.m.-11:30 a.m.        Golf Channel


Looper Emeritus Stevie Williams: I Hate Being Called Stevie

Upon his induction into the Caddie Hall of Fame, Karen Crouse looks at the life and times of luggage toter supreme Steve Williams about his pending retirement and his years with Tiger.

Tiger famously called Steve, Stevie.

And it turns out, Stevie isn't a fant.

From Crouse's report:

Settling in at the lectern for his speech, Williams gave Sands the same look he would give a golfer who questioned his yardages. “It’s Steve,” Williams said to the assembled crowd at the Cherry Hills Country Club outside Denver. “Stevie’s what Tiger used to call me, so that’s what everybody calls me. I hate that name.”


First Glimpses Of Cabot Cliffs Look Stunning

Josh Sens talks to Matt Kuchar about getting a sneak peak of Cabot Cliffs, the Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw design that will join Cabot Links next year in Nova Scotia.

The item includes several images of the course playing along 17-Mile-Drive reminiscent cliffs.

There was also this...

Even Bill Coore, a man so laidback you have to pull him forward to get him sitting upright, has served up a few excited sound bytes. “I had the same feeling as I did at Sand Hills,” he said, alluding to the heralded Nebraska layout that he and Crenshaw built. “If we don’t deliver a great course on a site like this, then it’s our fault.”

One of "The Boys," the traveling band of artisans who craft Coore and Crenshaw's designs, has been tweeting some stellar photos of late. Here is Keith Rebb's account. And a couple that stood out:


Horschel Likely Would Have Skipped Ryder Cup Anyway 

While Ryan Ballengee makes a sensible case for the PGA of America re-evaluating when the points list and captain's picks are decided for the Ryder Cup, he does neglect to address the PGA Tour's inevitable dissatisfaction with seeing the Ryder Cuppings overshadowing their uh, Super Bowl of golf that draws about 1/108th the audience.

Still, there is this about where we were a few weeks ago and now with Team USA:

Had Watson been given longer to evaluate his choices, would he still have picked the three he did? Just some of them? Watson won't say, but it's hard not to see the juxtaposition of players that were picked for the team against the ones staying home when the U.S. team heads to Gleneagles.

I would counter that if the playoffs are not going to move from the current August-September window--and it's hard to see Commissioner Goodell South admitting they aren't working--that at least the Ryder Cup decision every two years might add some extra spice to the playoffs that no algorithm can match.

As for Billy Horschel, who makes you want to see him on Team USA with his play and his charisma, Jason Sobel reports Horschel's wife is due during the Ryder Cup and he would have sat it out unless labor was induced early.

So while Team USA is grinding it out at Gleneagles, Horschel will be counting his money and supporting his wife as they celebrate a newborn. And maybe it's just better it worked out this way. Not that this is an excuse for revisiting the deadlines in the bizarro 2016 season.

Sobel also notes this bit of irony:

Back in 1979, Tom Watson was prepared to compete in the Ryder Cup before withdrawing from the competition to witness the birth of his first child.


McGinley On Clarke, Monty And A Funny Elevator Exchange

Thanks to reader Alan for Paul Kimmage's lengthy Q&A with European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley. The format is an embellished transcript of sorts and after a while you get used to it.

Most of the best stuff comes later when McGinley talks with humility about his role, the backstabbingroom antics of Darren Clarke when McGinley was up for the job, Monty's bid for the captaincy (and Clarke inexplicably backing him) and the entire thing ends with a stellar story about a San Diego Marriott conversation that I won't spoil here.

Just part of the Darren Clarke exchange.

PK: When is the last time you spoke to him?

PMcG: I saw him in Turin last week.

PK: Did you speak to him?

PMcG: Yeah.

PK: Did you tell him he was not going to be one of your vice-captains?

PMcG: No.

PK: You never felt you had to make that call?

PMcG: No.

PK: It was obvious it wasn't going to happen?

PMcG: Yeah. Our conversations (now) are short and sweet: 'How are you? Fine. Move on.'

PK: That's kind of hard given how far you've come together?

PMcG: Yeah.

PK: And those great experiences you've shared?

PMcG: Yeah, but do you know what? It happens in all walks of life whether you're a businessman, a journalist or a golfer. It's what happens. You move on.

PK: Because the killer blow wasn't when Darren decided to stand against you, it was when he withdrew and rowed in behind Monty, someone he didn't actually like.

(He smiles but does not reply.)

PK: I'll take that as an acknowledgement.

(He changes his mind.)

PMcG: Now that was different. When you say: 'You told a lie,' I didn't tell a lie.

PK: You'll have to explain that to me.

PMcG: The answer I gave at the press conference was that I didn't have a problem with Darren standing.

PK: You weren't asked if you had a problem with him rowing in behind Monty?

PMcG: No.

PK: So you didn't tell a lie?

PMcG: Checkmate.


Billy Horschel's Playoff Haul: $13,477,333

John Strege on Billy Horschel's cash haul for an excellent run of golf and Johnny Miller's suggestion that a star was born the last few weeks. And just in time to give Team USA a needed...oh wait, sorry.

Anyway, the best of all? Horschel didn't wheel any stuff out about one day at a time or it's about titles, not the money. Despite the impression the extreme-preppy outfits might give, Horschel says he comes from a blue collar world and will gladly take FedEx, Coca Cola and BMW's money.

It adds to $13,477,333 in the span of two weeks, but the payoff ultimately could be substantially larger by virtue of his confidence now equal to his talent.

“Billy Horschel, I’m not sure you’re not seeing a star in the making,” NBC’s Johnny Miller said. “This is not a fluke. The guy is just good. He hits a decent distance. He’s accurate. The irons are fantastic.

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour Playoffs got even less play than normal without Tiger and set against a sports backdrop with big NFL news, the usual early season marquee football games and all-but-one close divisional race (how 'bout them Angels!), it's pretty clear in year eight that the sponsors of these events are not getting value commensurate with what they are ponying up. Despite the cum-ulative audience rising (according to the Commish) the ratings are weak because there is almost no chance to compete this time of year. The audience might be there in a few weeks after the initial football euphoria has calmed down and baseball is largely played at night, but common sense says the playoffs would have a better chance a month later.'s roundup of the week didn't have much nice to say about these playoffs. And not because of the play or the performances, which were as good or better than any year with a winner who sees his life changed by a month of amazing golf. But instead, their issues are with timing and the Ryder Cup selection cutoffs.


Fowler Says PGA Prez Apologized For Strange Valhalla Finish

With forecasted storms and a history of having to come back the next day, the PGA of America chose not to change the late start at Valhalla and it led to a bizarre 18th hole scene.

Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson reluctantly waved up Rory McIlroy, who was spared having to stand on the 18th tee or worse, come back the next day to finish off his win. Rex Hoggard reports that PGA of America president Ted Bishop has apologized to Fowler about how things went down and has exchanged text messages with Phil Mickelson.

“We were fine with them hitting their tee balls up, but we were not in a position where we were going to let them hit their approach shots,” Fowler said. “Will it ever happen again in a major championship? No.”


Greg Norman Nearly Severs Hand In Chainsaw Accident

Norman, or someone with a less-bandaged limb, Instagrammed and Tweeted a photo.

Here was his comment:

Working with a chainsaw ALWAYS be respectful of the unexpected. I was one lucky man today. Damaged,…

A report in The Age says Norman almost cut off his hand and that he had posted a photo last week working with a chainsaw to cut back a small tree at one of his seaside properties.

The post:


"Watson overlooking Chris Kirk in favour of Webb Simpson is looking a bigger mistake with each passing day"

Derek Lawrenson takes a look at Team USA as the Tour Championship comes to a close and the two hottest American golfers won't board the chartered flight to Gleneagles.

Lawrenson calls it a combination of bad luck and bad judgement, but the luck may be more a product of the points standing cut-off at the PGA Championship. Then again, Watson got a glimpse of Chris Kirk's second win of the year at the Deutsche Bank and still picked Webb Simpson. And the movie posters have already been printed.

Watson overlooking Chris Kirk in favour of Webb Simpson is looking a bigger mistake with each passing day, while Billy Horschel’s emergence a week late for wild card consideration is indicative of the sort of misfortune America can ill afford.

The expressive Horschel, precisely the sort of passionate character who thrives at a Ryder Cup, summed it up well after his fine victory at the BMW Championship on Sunday.

‘Tom won’t be kicking himself for not picking me but he will probably be wanting to kick me for not playing like this a little earlier,’ said the 27-year-old.

And there was this wisdom from the last winning U.S. captain.

The turn of events has left America’s last winning Ryder Cup captain feeling distinctly uneasy. ‘I would have picked Chris over Webb, certainly,’ said Paul Azinger, skipper in 2008.

‘Chris has won twice this year, he’s hot and I like hot players. Why not pick a rookie? It’s OK picking experience if you’re European but so often with us it’s losing experience.’


Wentworth Sold To Chinese Group For £135 Million

The home to the European Tour has undergone many renovations, most notably under the seller Richard Caring's supervision. Caring famously had to defend the work that he drove and which Ernie Els carred out (and here and here).

Zoe Wood of the Guardian reports.

"Wentworth is a key strategic acquisition for our rapidly growing luxury lifestyle division," said Dr Chanchai Ruayrungruang, who founded the group behind China's first private golf club. He said Reignwood would draw on the club's "exceptional expertise" to inform its other golf operations across Asia and preserve its unique culture. "Reignwood has a long history in golf development and a profound respect for excellence," he said.


Video: Rory's Tee Shot Finishes In Spectator's Pocket

Here's one you don't hear about every day. Or ever.

The clip:


Great Read: MyGolfSpy's Anonymous Retailer Takes On Vendors has posted an anonymous essay of sorts by a golf retailer who "owns and operates multiple retail golf facilities" and shares thoughts on the declining equipment sales industry, with a focus on accelerated product cycles, declining profit margins and the downsizing of golf at Dick's Sporting Goods.

Carve out a few minutes for this one if you have an interest in the equipment business.

And I'm curious who you all would nominate as the three vendors referenced here:

There are 3 (equipment) vendors that I’ve told people we could carry to the exclusion of others and we’d be just fine. Example: A golfer visits the vendor’s their fitting headquarters. He walks out with his complete fitting information and is told to purchase his clubs at his local golf store or golf course.

We like these guys, and we move a high volume of their equipment. They don’t get into pricing wars. They stand behind their product, and maintain 18-24 month lifecycles.

They also don’t sell direct to the consumer.

Their businesses are based on quality. That’s what we stand for too. We fit people. We want people to play better golf. We’re certified fitters with all 3, and we’ll move as much volume with any 1 of these vendors as a most stores in a population center 5 times our size.

All of my employees, myself included, used to be unbiased with regard to what we sold. We aren’t anymore. We are not hard sellers, however, we now get behind certain vendors much more than some others because of the business practices I’ve discussed.

These 3 vendors have it figured out. The great thing about them not discounting their product is that we run between a 32%-38% profit margin with all of them!

Weird, right?

We make money when we properly fit a customer into a set of irons he’ll hopefully be happy with for 5-10 years. That’s how the business is supposed to work.


Time Lapse Video: Pinehurst No. 2 Is Back

Thanks to Pinehurst's Alex Podlogar for this time lapse photography by John Gessner showing the turf conversion of Pinehurst No. 2's 18th green following the U.S. Open(s).

The clip:


Woosie On McGinley: “He might as well have 12 vice-captains, one for each player."

While Ian Woosnam is overwhelmingly positive about Paul McGinley's prospects as Europe's lead cart driver at Gleneagles, he couldn't help but question to Sky Sports the fleet of five Ryder Cup assistants.

From the report:

"It took me a little bit by surprise when he went for five. I guess he's trying to get a little bit of advice from everybody but sometimes you can get too much advice. At the end of the day he's the one who has got to make the decisions.

"Is it a sign of weakness having that many? It does seem a lot. Maybe he's trying to get as much experience as he possibly can, I don't really know.

"He might need a bigger team room, he might as well have 12 vice-captains, one for each player."


Friday Reminder: Yell Fore! And Drive Carts Carefully, Please

As longtime readers know I've mentioned that the most shocking thing about golf blogging since 2006 has been the relentlessness of dark stories involving golf carts and on-course injuries.

So as we wind down the week and perhaps you turn to the links this weekend, please...

A) Yell Fore.

It's become apparent in less-than-subtle ways that Alexandre Kaleka did not yell FORE on the tee shot which hit Fabrizio Zanotti, who thankfully has regained consciousness and Tweeted that he's ok, reports Phil Casey.

David Howell Tweeted:

B) Drive your cart carefully should you rent one. Here's a more awful-than-normal WCSH 6 story from Maine of a 27-year-old losing his life when his golfing companion lost control of a cart at the Links At Outlook Golf Course.


Jason Day: Too Much Massage Harms My Timing!

In one of the more unintentionally epic first world bits of rationalizing, Jason Day (67) attributed his could-have-been-better round-one Tour Championship to timing issues brought on by too much back massage.

The plight of the modern golfer!

Day WD'd last week from the BMW Championship with a wrenched back, but appears to be on the mend. If he can just get these masseurs under control. From the transcript.

Q.  Pretty decent effort considering where you came from last week and how much work you had to do.

JASON DAY:  I was just explaining earlier with the withdraw from last week's BMW Championship Friday, getting at least two sessions a day, anywhere between two and four hours, that much work can definitely mess with your timing, mess with the sync of the swing, just because things are moving a lot better than what you're used to.

That's why there was a few loose shots out there. 

Meanwhile Day had mental coach Jason Goldsmith on the bag because regular looper Colin Swatton had to give up the bag mid-round with back spasms (Rex Hoggard reports). Hopefully after several 2-to-4 hour massages Swatton’s ability to lift the luggage or give yardages will not be too loose!


UT Golf Receives Commitment From...13-Year-Old, Class of '19

Brentley Romine with the rather amazing news that University of Texas men's golf has received a commitment from Mason Nome, aged 13 and the class of 2019.

From Romine's item:

Last year, Nome's friend and fellow Kinkaid School student Cole Hammer, committed to the Longhorns as a 14-year-old.

Nome made an unofficial visit to the Longhorns' campus in Austin earlier this summer.

Fascinating that (A) 13-year-olds are making campus visits and (B) that coaches with only a couple of scholarships a year--tops--are willing to commit to someone so far out. Hey, not my alma mater so Hook 'em Horns I say.


Horschel Won't Pass Up Chance At $10 Million For Child's Birth

What refreshing honesty from Billy Horschel who didn't suggest he would give up the chance at the life-changing (and college tuition paying) $10 million FedExCup bonus to be present should his wife go into labor. As you may recall, many golfers have pledged to drop everything they are doing to be there for the big moment, and Tiger was once criticized for daring to try to win a U.S. Open. As I noted at the time, hundreds of millions of times men have not been in the delivery room and something tells me the Earth will remain on its axis should a Horschel child come into being without dad there to be yelled at by mom as she goes through the birthing.

Mark Lamport Stokes on Horschel's comments after an opening 66 has him tied with fellow non-Ryder Cupper Chris Kirk.

"My wife and I are due two weeks from Saturday," Horschel told reporters after charging into a share of the first-round lead at East Lake Golf Club with a four-under-par 66. "On the golf course I'm not thinking about it.

"We have decided that if she (Brittany) goes into labor while I'm playing, I will just keep playing, because $10 million is a lot of money and I'm not going to pass that by.

"And I'll just fly home after the round and fly back (to the tournament) a couple hours later, spend some time with them."