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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
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    by Chris Millard
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
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

The golf architect, therefore, should look upon himself as an artist; and the colors of his palette are the various types of hazards which he employs to lend interest and bring out the features to holes which he either invents or interprets from the ground. MAX BEHR

    

Tuesday
Feb172015

17-Year-Old Lydia Ko Already Thinking About Retirement

When the USGA recently announced the U.S. Senior Women's Open with 50 years old as the cut off, some wondered just how many women would want to be playing for the title. Particularly with golfers developing and peaking at younger ages this century.

An AP story out of Australia quotes 17-year-old World No. 1 Lydia Ko saying she's eyeing 30 as a retirement age...

"I say my plan is to retire when I'm 30 so I'm not just going to go to the beach and hang out for the rest of my life," Ko said Wednesday.

"There's always a second career that comes along with it and I'm trying to build up towards it and, because I'm playing a sport, psychology links well with it."

Tuesday
Feb172015

Golf Nut Dreams Come True: Live@ Comes To Riviera's 10th

For years the loyalists have had to read the tweets about how something crazy happens in nearly every group playing Riviera's 10th.

Finally, thanks no doubt to years of suggestions from Doug Ferguson and someone kicking in some sponsorship money, sources say that PGATour.com's Live@ coverage will focus on Riviera's driveable par-4 during Northern Trust Open play.

Thanks to reader Don for the link and to the Tour for bringing the coverage west.

Play in the Northern Trust commences Thursday at 9:50 am ET. Tee times are here. I'll try to get more on the Live@ broadcast windows.

Tuesday
Feb172015

First Take From Europe: "They never learn do they?" 

There is one lovable element in Davis Love's surprising appointment to the 2016 Ryder Cup captaincy: the regrettable timing and the inevitable (and understandable) whinging from Europe.

Nothing has shown up on the Rant Radar as of yet, but with Europe preparing to send up the grey smoke Wednesday in favor of Darren Clarke, the leaking of Love's name should ensure some pithy suggestions about trying to overshadow Europe's celebratory day. Maybe not this week, but give it time. And it will be whinging within reason.

The Telegraph's James Corrigan didn't pick on the timing of the leak but he did take exception to the Love appointment, making the point that Team USA seeks to be more of a team and has just made this about redemption for a losing captain.

The Stars and Stripes needed a blank canvas, a fresh start after the farce of Tom Watson’s leadership at Gleneagles. They needed it to be about the players - just as Paul McGinley and so many of his predecessors ensured it has been for Europe - and not about the captain, the man they so proudly call “Mr Captain” during the interminable build-up.

Well, guess what? This will be all about Davis Love and the exorcising of his Chicago ghosts. And so, a character who does not even get to hit a ball will command the spotlight. They never learn do they?

Monday
Feb162015

Ted Talks! Bishop First To Tweet Love As Ryder Captain?

It appears that former PGA of America President Ted Bishop was the first to reveal news of Davis Love as the next and stunningly uninspired choice as 2016 Ryder Cup Captain. Nice guy, but didn't he already do this once?

Anyway at 2:43 pm PT Bishop tweeted:


At 3:03 PT Golf Central reported that Tim Rosaforte was reporting the head-scratching news of Davis Love as the next Ryder Cup captain.

Nice guy, but didn't he already do this once?


It really doesn't matter who was first, the news leaking helps spice up a Northern Trust Open lacking star power or even any discernable storyline other than both Love and Fred Couples taking two spots in the field that might otherwise be taken by people who have a shot at winning. Couples, at least, is a draw in L.A.  Love? Nice guy, but didn't he already do this once?

On that topic, Bob Harig asks the rhetorical question every way imaginable: is Love really the first choice of the task force that he his ownself sat on? 

So now it goes to Love, one of Couples' best friends and a guy who was on the 11-member task force. Did he just sell out one of his best friends in Couples? Or did he become a compromise choice because the PGA of America wanted no part of Couples, who is not viewed as the kind of captain who buys into all the ancillary nonsense that comes with the job?

The latter is more likely, which makes you wonder if the PGA of America cares more about promoting the event than winning it.

GolfChannel.com's team chimed in. Randall Mell: "From the outside, it’s staggering that their proven methods, as wildly different as they are, weren’t deemed good enough."

Ryan Lavner: "Fred Couples and Paul Azinger were the favorites for the job, but they declined invitations to the task force. That must have rubbed the group the wrong way, because Love had a prime seat at the table and was involved in the decision-making that led to him being named captain. Conflict of interest, no?"

AP's Doug Ferguson says the announcement is coming on February 24th at the Honda Classic, if anyone still cares by then.

Golfweek.com's Jeff Babineau assesses the decision managed to pull this statement out of the PGA:

In a statement released from its headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., the PGA of America said: “It’s premature to discuss the 2016 Ryder Cup captaincy. We’re not prepared to comment at this time.”

I am. Nice guy, but didn't he already do this once?

Tim Rosaforte’s full Golf Central report, also mentions Steve Stricker and Tom Lehman (both on the task force) as vice cart drivers in 2016 to help capture the midwest hearts and reaffirm that sucking up to the PGA of America's task force was key.

Nice guys, but haven’t they already done this?

Monday
Feb162015

Wake Forest Freshman Posts 67 At Riviera First Time Around

I could only take in a bit of the inaugural Northern Trust Open Collegiate Showcase Closed To The Public--make sure to hear Gary Williams nit-pick about that last part on Morning Drive--so I can't tell you all of the details of Will Zalatoris' round.

However...just to remind you how wonderful it is to be young, the freshman who hasn't been playing much in because of winter weather posted a 67 around Riviera playing the course for the first time, with alum Bill Haas and two other alums. And did it on a foggy day (adding a few hundred yards to the course) while way, way too many groups of briefcases turned the place into a 6-hour round fest.

John Dell of the Winston-Salem Journal on the first amateur qualifier in years at the event formerly known as the Los Angeles Open.

Zalatoris, the winner of the U.S. Junior Amateur last summer, had a solid fall season for the Deacons. He is part of a Deacons’ team that is ranked in the top 10 by Golfweek heading into the spring.

“I’m excited,” said Zalatoris. “I’m really not even nervous about it. I’m only 18 and I’m learning. I’m enjoying the moment for sure. I played with Bill Haas today, so it was so cool getting advice from him. It’s crazy fun. I’m just going to enjoy myself and be in the moment. I’m here to play golf, not think about winning the tournament. It’s my first PGA Tour event, so I’ll see how my game stands up and we’ll go from there.”

In the group best ball portion of the proceedings, Will Gray reports that Oregon's ringers were just one shot better than A&M's.

In an unprecedented event, college players teamed with one professional and two amateurs from their university. While the collegians played their own ball in a de facto 14-for-1 qualifier, the other three players in each group played a best-ball tournament where a $50,000 donation was awarded for first place. The Oregon team led by Casey Martin took top honors, defeating Ryan Palmer's Texas A&M squad by one shot.

Monday
Feb162015

Video: SDSU Women Add New Spins On Old Trick Shots

You can get a little jaded in the trick shot video medium, but big points to the San Diego State women's golf team for throwing in some cartwheels, coordinating team uniforms (branding!) and some dazzling work with their wedges.

Thanks to GolfNewsNet for Tweeting this one, set to the millennial-friendly Mark Ronson. For none-millennials, a quick poke at the volume control is advised.

 

Monday
Feb162015

Diaz On Bill Murray "Keeping 'Em Laughing"

Golf World's Jaime Diaz followed Bill Murray around the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. And while some might not be thrilled about his method, Murray is actually taking his role in golf seriously.

From Diaz's story...

Asked if he’s felt his role in golf expanding, Murray hesitated. “Do you know Johann Rupert?” he asks, referring to the South African patron of golf. “He invites me to the Dunhill Links at St. Andrews, which so many people who really love the game attend. Last year he got up in front of everybody at this dinner and said, ‘Every single person in this room has received more from this game than they’ve given to it.’ I thought that was something.”

“Yes, I did say that,” Rupert says. “Basically that we all have a debt to pay back to golf. And in my opinion, Bill Murray does that as well as anyone. He’s a wonderful man.”

A few months back I linked a Murray interview on Grantland where he talks about caddying and golf's involvement in his life. It's worth a listen.

Monday
Feb162015

Hope For Middle East Peace Files: Rees And Bobby High-Five

I knew Brian Murphy was a miracle worker, but reading that he brought Rees Jones and Robert Trent Jones Jr. together for a public fence-mending speaks to a higher power. A calling even.

Here is the Global Golf Post item on the two accepting their NCGA Hall of Fame induction (along with their late dad).

A little background on the long simmering feud here and here.

Sunday
Feb152015

Will The R&A's New Man Tackle The Distance Issue?

With the gradual transition from Peter Dawson to Martin Slumbers about to officially commence and the R&A moving The Open to Sky Sports, there has been a collective question in administrator circles: why has Dawson left his successor so little to do?

Sure, Slumbers could undo the unnecessary new bunkers to the Old Course or get his members to stop waiving their ties at St. Andrews University principal, but most of the big ticket business items that a businessman would tackle are off the table.

After last week's first sitdown with the new man, Golfweek's Alistair Tait wonders if the R&A has cleared the table for Slumbers to tackle the golf ball and distance issue that has, miraculously, not gone away for everyday courses or tournament golf despite the plateau effect repeated pointed to by Dawson. And shockingly, the game has not prospered or even shown signs of stability in the hyper-distance era as predicted largely by those who did not want to take action. 

The R&A recently announced plans for a new equipment testing centre at Kingsbarns. The 22,750-square-foot facility will house the R&A’s Equipment Standards department under the direction of Dr. Steve Otto, director of research and testing at The R&A.

There have been rumblings from St Andrews recently that the R&A is set to do something about the ball. Is that the reason for the new equipment facility?

Could Slumbers be in for a potentially bigger challenge than anything Dawson faced?

Sunday
Feb152015

"Years ago, the Pebble Beach Pro-Am was one of the biggest events of the season. Now, for TV viewers, it’s just a white-hot mess of utter unwatchableness."

Golfweek's Martin Kaufmann clearly heard all of those who have been conversing on social media and via private messages: Saturday at the AT&T National Pebble Beach Pro-Am is painful to watch. Guantanamo Bay worthy. A reminder why people hate golf, celebrity, etc...

Always a lightning rod for criticism, I think I heard more vitriol than ever because of the epic weather (blimp shot Heaven!) and a solid leaderboard considering the dated vibe of the field (Vaughn Taylor!). Throw in so many celebrs with C-list vibe who run for the CBS cameras like a fly spotting a poodle turd, then contrast with the NBA's slick presentation of All-Star weekend, and you have a perfect storm of criticism.

Because as Kaufmann writes, the event has "the odd distinction of being perhaps the PGA Tour’s best venue and the site of its worst tournament."

We know that CBS is going to give viewers an unhealthy dose of Chris Berman and Kenny G and Craig T. Nelson and Michael Bolton and Chris O’Donnell and Huey Lewis and Ray Romano and more. These guys are like Masters champions – they apparently have lifetime exemptions into the event. Huey Lewis noted Saturday that he’s been playing in the tournament for 25 years. Has he even had a hit in the past quarter century?

Easy there. Heart of Rock ’N Roll has aged just fine, thank you.

Anyway…

I’m not sure how the Clambake got this bad or how to allot blame. If you want to point fingers at the culprit, you probably would need a lot of fingers, aimed at, among others, tournament organizers, AT&T and other sponsors, the Tour, CBS and perhaps a few other entities that I’m forgetting.

A wise television person mentioned to me before the annual Saturday nonsense that CBS could remedy so much of the vitriol by having a secondary telecast on Golf Channel that is all about moving day PGA Tour golf. But the current PGA Tour television contract and general CBS stubbornness to present golf as it was in 1998 would make that tricky, if not impossible. But as other sports and their network partners continue to innovate broadcast presentations, the stuck-on-98 vibe of the AT&T National Pro-Am only exaggerates the effect.

Speaking of the event, Jim Furyk could not do much with his one-stroke lead and Brandt Snedeker ultimately coasted to a win that gets him in the Masters, reports Doug Ferguson. And he did it with a $20 driver, explains E. Michael Johnson.

The highlights from PGA Tour Entertainment:

Saturday
Feb142015

Clarke Has The Votes! McGinley To Endorse His Captaincy

A contrite and humbled Darren Clarke recently resorted to saying how happy he'd be to see Miguel Angel Jimenez get teh coveted 2016 Ryder Cup captaincy.

And while no one believed that hogwash, the sound of Jimenez's steps charging down the lane no doubt influenced the recently campaign. And it appears to have worked.

Paul McGinley, reigning Ryder Cup captain and future Pope, is said to have set aside his less-than-favorable view of Clarke and will listen to top players.

The Telegraph's James Corrigan says McGinley will vote for Clarke this week when former captains and others convene to decide who will get the job.

It is understood that McGinley has told leading figures that he will try to grant the players their wish and, with the United States copying Europe in involving those such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in the appointment of their next captain, it would be a shock and cause a comparable controversy should the panel opt to go against McIlroy and Co.

Saturday
Feb142015

Video And Essay: Mickey Wright Turns 80

We vowed earlier this week on Morning Drive to start enjoying the living legends better with the recent losses of so many great contributors to the sport.

There's no better way to start than reading Bill Fields at ESPNW, who talks to the rarely-interviewed Wright.

One of many interesting anecdotes:

Wright doesn't watch as much professional golf on television as she once did, unenthused as she is with what is often demanded (or not) of today's elite. "Driver and a wedge, driver and wedge. It gets a little old," she said. "It does not seem that interesting to me anymore. I like Martin Kaymer. Who else gets my attention? The guy with the great build who took his pants off and went in the water -- Henrik Stenson, that's right. I like him. Oh, I'll tell you somebody who impresses me: Lucy Li."

Li, the 12-year-old Californian who qualified for the 2014 U.S. Women's Open at the record age of 11 and impressed with her performance at Pinehurst No. 2 Course, has become more than an image on Wright's TV and score on her computer.

"She got my email address from somebody at the USGA and we've been corresponding some for about six months now," Wright said. "She had read my instruction book quite a few times, and she had her aunt take some video of her swing and send it to me. I made a couple of comments which she seemed to take to. I mentioned a couple of technical points, but the main thing was just don't get messed up with too much instruction and keep doing what you're doing."

ESPN also published this YouTube clip of Wright's swing, which many have said is the best ever.

Rich Lerner filed this piece on GolfChannel in celebration of Wright's 80th.

Also posted are these excerpts of a phone interview Wright gave.

Friday
Feb132015

R.I.P. Rhonda Glenn

Rhonda Glenn, a longtime chronicler of the game both in print and in the broadcast booth as well as a fine player, has passed away after a long illness.

Here is USGA Executive Director Mike Davis's email to the staff, where Glenn worked as communications manager for 17 years:

I am deeply saddened to pass along the news that Rhonda Glenn, a longtime member of the Communications staff of the USGA, passed away last night in Florida after a long illness.
 
Rhonda retired from the USGA in 2013 after 17 years.  Although she was a longtime writer, editor and manager of media operations for us, her true legacy is in her role as the preeminent historian of women’s golf.  In fact, Rhonda’s Illustrated History of Women’s Golf won our own Herbert Warren Wind Book Award in 1992, and she brought that expertise to the Association when she joined the staff four years later.
 
Before she joined the USGA, Rhonda had a diverse career in the game that included competing in 11 of our championships, including two U.S. Women’s Opens.  She was also the first full-time national network female sportscaster, having worked alongside Chris Berman shortly after the launch of ESPN in 1981, and she was a golf commentator with ABC for 16 years.
 
What she leaves with us is her catalog of wonderfully told stories, her many contributions to the USGA-PGA African-American Golf History Archive and perhaps most importantly, her role in guiding the process that led to the establishment in 2012 of the Mickey Wright Room in our Museum.  A close friend of Miss Wright’s, a four-time U.S. Women’s Open champion, Rhonda was instrumental in the effort to dedicate our first room to a female golfer.
 
In addition to her many accomplishments, what we will miss most about Rhonda is her generosity of spirit, her passion for the game and the people who play it, as well as her kindness and humility.  In many respects, she truly represented all that was best about our game.
 
Our thoughts are with Rhonda’s family and with her many friends and admirers in the game.  She will indeed be missed.

Thursday
Feb122015

'16 Euro Ryder Cup Captaincy Decision Almost Here, Mercifully

A Reuters report says the 18th of February will be the day either Darren Clarke or Miguel Angel Jimenez get the buggy keys and while most think it's Clarke's job, the late run of Jimenez should give the gathering committee pause. Or they just like seeing his name out there to bring Clarke back to earth.

Jimenez is too busy leading another European Tour event, this time in Malaysia through 36.

And the 51-year-old can still dance:
__g

Thursday
Feb122015

Alan Shipnuck's SI Profile Of PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua

SI Golf Plus' Alan Shipnuck profiles PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua in extensive fashion and makes a case for the former USGA CBO as golf's most powerful executive.

While all of the bio stuff is fine and of interest perhaps to the PGA's 28,000 members, Shipnuck may be up for Nobel consideration after bringing Bevacqua and former PGA President Ted Bishop together again.

Bevacqua calls Bishop's denouement "without a doubt the toughest period of my professional life." It was his grim duty to deliver the news. Bevacqua called his friend's office and left a voice mail.

"That hurt," says Bishop.

They had spoken nearly every day for two years, but then the line of communication went silent. Finally in mid-January, following a couple of email volleys, Bishop wrote in another email to SI, "You prompted me to think out some things last week, and I reached out to Pete and we spoke today."

Bevacqua describes the call as "the weight of the world coming off my shoulders. I think we both felt that way. It's the beginning of rebuilding a relationship between two people who like each other and admire each other and love golf."

Thursday
Feb122015

Tiger’s Skull Mask Doesn’t Make The Trip To Beaver Creek

As telegraphed in his mysterious statement, Tiger Woods spent more time with loved ones instead of working on his game Thursday. That entailed flying to Beaver Creek, Colorado to support girlfriend Lindsey Vonn on the slopes.

The good news? No videographers bumped into his teeth, keeping their record of contact spotless for 2015. But this meant no need for the dreaded skull mask he wore in Italy to hide the felled fang.

A Daily Mail story reports
on Tiger's appearance, various rumors and images.

On a more serious note, thanks to readers who sent in Dave Merrill and Douglas Lavanture's four graphs posted for Bloomberg suggesting Tiger's chances of future success are looking more and more bleak (at least statistically).

And while most publications are taking Woods at his word that he's taking a break until this game is ready, golf.com's Eamon Lynch sees this as a leave of absence. Quite possibly a permanent one.

A decade ago, Jack Nicklaus birdied the last hole of his career at the British Open in St. Andrews, a sentimental moment that obscured the fact that Nicklaus had notched only two top 10s in majors in the previous 18 years. But at least Jack signed off with a birdie on golf’s greatest stage. Ben Hogan hobbled off the course after a front nine 44 in the 1971 Houston Open. “Don’t ever get old, boys,” he told his playing partners as he faded away.

If the leave of absence that Tiger Woods announced on Wednesday represents the end -- we are past being able to shade it as merely the beginning of a distant end -- then the indignities that golf has foisted upon him of late have been especially harsh.

Thursday
Feb122015

The "Winter Care" Program At Chambers Bay

As they get ready to play off mats at St. Andrews in the run-up to The Open, the care program at U.S. Open site Chambers Bay has been rumored to be having issues because golfers report playing five alternate greens.

But as Scott Lipsky explains in depth, the setup is part of a plan that allows the course to stay open while also helping the first all-fescue U.S. Open course roll into June looking as good as possible.

Lipsky writes:

In an effort to reduce overall traffic, tee time intervals have been increased to 14 minutes from the customary 10 or 11, and the course is closed for play on certain days during the fall and winter. Six greens have also been closed during the fall and winter.

“For Chambers Bay to do this is just a great thing,” said Darin Bevard, the USGA’s director of championship agronomy. “Limiting play, limiting traffic to make sure that these greens are in the best shape possible so they can showcase Chambers Bay is important, so when the USGA arrives to do setup, we’re not compromised for the U.S. Open.”

There is also this on the par-3 15th.

Instead, golfers play to the covered green, which has a flagstick but does not have a hole cut. Once a player has hit their ball on the green, they add one or two strokes to their score, depending on how close they are to the flagstick. In an effort to minimize foot traffic, a Chambers Bay staff member is stationed on No. 15 throughout the day to retrieve the balls. It’s a unique solution to a unique challenge.

“It was pretty obvious that we don’t have an alternate location, so it was either that or skip the hole,” said Allen, who prior to his arrival at Chambers Bay spent nine years at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Ore., which will host the inaugural U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship in May and is also a fescue facility. “It’s just an example of how we’ve had to get creative.”

Thursday
Feb122015

Video: The Happy Dog At White Sand Beach 

It's hard to imagine a more perfect looking day at Pebble Beach during round one of the 2015 AT&T National Pro-Am, and this guy pretty much summed it up. Love the beach cam bringing him all of his glory, as well as the blimp shot that didn't make this cut.

From PGA Tour Entertainment:

Thursday
Feb122015

Steiny: Tiger Wants "To Play Right Now" & "Chomping At The Bit"

You almost have to feel sorry for agent Mark Steinberg and Tiger's team as they watch the drama unfold and undoubtedly wake up wondering what is next. Almost.

Talking to GolfChannel.com's Rex Hoggard, see if you can read this part without at letting out a chuckle.

As to when Woods, who has played just nine events in the last year and a half, may return, Steinberg wouldn’t speculate, saying only that Woods plans to start working on his game on Monday in south Florida.

“He wants to play right now, to be honest with you,” Steinberg said. “He’s chomping at the bit. Honestly, he competes to compete at the absolute highest level. Clearly these last two events weren’t up to that. When that swing gets grooved he’ll be ready to go.”

Let's ignore the obvious: that playing golf is sheer misery for Tiger right now, and just stick to the practical.

If Woods wants to play "right now," the Northern Trust Open is still available as an option.

And when he gets that swing grooved? He still has that wedge game. The putter isn't thrilling either, but he did make some nice 8-footers at Torrey Pines at least.

Steinberg also told ESPN.com's Bob Harig about the relief the Woods camp felt when the physios inspected the patient "over the weekend" and found the glute deactivation was not related to the sacrum popping issues of last year. Oh yeah, you'd forgotten his sacrum popped and had to be put back into place.

Steinberg said there was "relief'' in the Woods camp when it was revealed that the latest back trouble was not related to surgery he had in March of last year. "He got treatment immediately and over the weekend when he got home, and it alleviated the discomfort quite a bit,'' said Steinberg, who also added Woods has been able to do some light chipping and putting.

Woods left open the possibility that he would play the Honda Classic in two weeks, but that would appear a bit premature. Steinberg suggested Woods would get back to work in earnest next week, which means he'd have five days to find his game before entering? Seems unlikely.

Wednesday
Feb112015

Golf Channel Prez On Ratings, More College Golf & Protracer

Golfweek's Martin Kaufman sits Golf Channel President Mike McCarley down for a three-part interview as part of the channel's 20th anniversary celebration. Part one is here, part two and part three.

Most interesting were his comments on ratings and Tiger in 2014.

GWK:Tiger Woods has been the big ratings driver. How do you feel about golf as we’re beginning to approach the post-Tiger era.

McCarley: This year was a great example. Tiger was out for basically his entire season, and for Golf Channel, the rating for the year was exactly the same as it was last year, which was the best year in the history of the network. That’s a testament to a lot of things. There’s a lot of programming and production changes and improvements that have been made that are reflected in those numbers. And two, there are a lot of things in the game that are working well. The LPGA had a terrific year. There are things like the Drive, Chip & Putt, which was new. The NCAA Championships were back on TV. The “Arnie” documentary (aired).

We had the highest-rated April in the history of the network, and there was no Tiger in April at all.

McCarley explains the channel's interest in college golf after years of not showing much:

One area where we’ll focus more because it’s an important piece of the fabric of the game is youth. So what we did this year with the NCAA (Championships) got a lot of people’s attentions, we saw a really nice lift in ratings, but more importantly we introduced the stars of the professional tours to the audience at a younger age. And hopefully that will start to make those kids more recognizable, so they . . . arrive on the professional scene with more cachet. I think college golf has been an overlooked and under-covered part of the game, and a lot of that is on us. We’re diving in and the response we’ve gotten from both the college golf community, the professional tours and the industry as a whole has been really positive.

The other topic of interest for those who (like me) want more Protracer will get it in 2015.

I think Protracer has been terrific, and we’re going to have Protracer at nearly 40 events this year – not only using it in tournament coverage but in our news coverage. One of the most interesting news shows we had (in 2014) was one of the pregame shows from Doral when Tiger was on the range and we had Protracer, and you were seeing the ball go left and right, and really didn’t know what was going on with this guy. Later that day, he had to get out of the event because of his back. There’s something weirdly mesmerizing about watching the path of the ball flight, especially when the players are on the range and are working on things. And there will be more things like that.