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  • 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
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    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
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    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
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    by Geoff Shackelford
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    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
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    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
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    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
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    Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
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    Every Shot Counts: Using the Revolutionary Strokes Gained Approach to Improve Your Golf Performance and Strategy
    by Mark Broadie
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    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
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    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
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    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
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The caddie in golf occupies a position accorded to the attendants in no other game and paralleled only by the relationship of squire to knight in the lists.
ROBERT BROWNING


    

Thursday
Apr102014

Bandon Land Swap Approved, 6th Course Looking More Likely 

John Gunther reports that the Oregon Parks Commission approved a 280-acre land transfer for Mike Keiser to build the Bandon Links.

The state park get wetlands on another property and ocean front acreage, while Keiser gets 288-acres of gorse-heavy land south of Bandon to build 36, including a Gil Hanse 18 where residents will pay a low rate while resort guests will pay more.

The transfer still faces one big hurdle, since the land that would go to Bandon Biota was sold to the Oregon Parks Department by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on the condition that it remain open to public outdoor recreation. That condition must be removed before the property can be transferred, a process that could take several months, according to Chris Havel of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

But Tuesday’s vote was a huge step toward the transfer becoming reality.
“We’re pleased with the outcome,” Keiser said this morning, adding that there’s a long ways to go in the process.

“The Bureau of Land Management has to sign off on the ultimate use. And we need approval from Coos County when we come up with a specific plan.”

Thursday
Apr102014

Take That Timmy: NFL’s Goodell Spotted In Green Jacket

Leave it to Golf Channel Digital, who I shared a Georgia Peach ice cream sandwich with today in the media center, to have spotted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a green jacket.

That means the NFL commish is a member and PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem is not.

The club traditionally does not comment on its membership, though Chairman Billy Payne did make a special exemption in the case of Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore, the first female members admitted in 2013.

Thursday
Apr102014

2014 Masters First Round Reminders, Open Thread

The Big Three Honorary Starters have blessed the proceedings with all three hitting flush drives, then spent some time with us scribblers afterwards.

The 2014 Masters is underway under perfect weather conditions.

Just a reminder, here's the viewing schedule for Masters.com, apps and television. Amen Corner Live kicks off at 10:45 ET.

Today's groupings.

Well, I'm headed to watch some golf. It's tough, but I'll get through it. Pray for me.

Thursday
Apr102014

Video: Golf Channel Errie Ball Feature

A few of you who saw my appearance on Live From yesterday asked about seeing the 1934 Augusta National flyovers, but because of rights issues they are not viewable online. However, the outstanding feaure airing just prior can be seen. 

Produced by Scott Rude and narrated by Rich Lerner, it's feature on the only man still alive who played in the first Masters tournament: Errie Ball.

Wednesday
Apr092014

Big Oak Rumblings And Bumblings, 2014 Edition

Didn't get to spend as much time as I'd like under the Big Oak, but the industry heavyweights were out in force at Augusta National's premier hangout not called Berckman's Place.

- Weather was a big topic, and not because of the beautiful forecast in Augusta. But instead because of the brutal winter's likely dent on the 2014 golf business. The Masters really is the start of the golf season this year, to the chagrin of many.

- Tom Fazio, Rees Jones and Robert Trent Jones amounted to the star architect presence. Fazio was said to be tight-lipped about any possible remedy to the 17th hole post-Ike’s Tree.

- New IMG owners Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel were conspicuous in their presence, announcing to the world that Hollywood's super agency intends to continue its major presence in golf.

- Phil Scott talked about his first round with son Adam and confirmed that he’s never played greens so fast (and that was last Friday). Phil five putted the first green and never could manage the pace. The group consisted of two side-saddle putters and of course, Adam the anchorer.

- The Paulina Gretzky cover was still part of many conversations, with most not quite understanding the outraged side for helping fuel more attention to the photos.

- There was much chatter about Monday night's NCAA Basketball Final featuring a Drive, Chip and Putt sign-up promo during the first half. There was a sense among the Big Oak dwellers that CBS might have voluntarily posted the promo after seeing the successful event. It's hard to imagine that this was anything but a contractual obligation, albeit one that seemed out of place on a college basketball telecast. Then again, Fox is already promoting the 2015 U.S. Open...

Let the Masters begin!

Wednesday
Apr092014

SI: Reliving The Tiger Drop, One More Time

Alan Shipnuck filed a lengthy SI feature recapping last year's Tiger Woods drop controversy and pieces together the strange series of 2013 Masters events as best as one can without most of the parties involved speaking.

This was interesting in terms of how CBS played a role in the committee reviewing the case:

Around 9:45, CBS staffers gathered in Butler Cabin to tape Masters Highlights, a 15-minute recap of the day's action. Cohosts Jim Nantz and David Feherty knocked it out in one take. Nantz was removing his microphone when he was approached by his producer, Bob Mansbach. Recalls Nantz, "He says to me, 'Hey, Jimmy, before you go, I'm hearing from some of the kids in the back' "—young, tech-savvy associate producers—" 'that Twitter is abuzz about Tiger and a possible rules violation on the 15th hole today. Do you know anything about it?' I hadn't heard a thing. As soon as the details were relayed to us, David says, 'Oh, gosh, that is a penalty, and there is a story here.' " Nantz called Sean McManus, the chairman of CBS Sports, and it was agreed that the show needed to be retaped with an extensive discussion about Woods's possible infraction. Nantz's next call was to Ridley, who was enjoying a late dinner with his family. Ridley explained he had reviewed the drop and exonerated Woods. Says Nantz, "I said, 'Yes, but there seems to be some concern that Tiger in his postround interview may have unwittingly incriminated himself.' Fred said, 'Oh, O.K. I didn't know about that. What did Tiger say?' I told him, and he said, 'I'm going to have to look into that.' "

Wednesday
Apr092014

Augusta National Hasn't Decided What To Do Post-Ike's Tree

Chairman Billy Payne visited the media center for his annual State of the Masters press conference and talked about the club's plans for replacing the befallen loblollly. I summed up the Ike's Tree component here for GolfDigest.com

I did find it surprising that in answer to my question about suggestions he has received from armchair architect golfers, Mr. Payne said that no one has said anything to him.

Q.  Golfers are notorious armchair architects.  I'm wondering if you've received many suggestions for what to do with the Eisenhower Tree and maybe what was the most interesting that you have received.

CHAIRMAN PAYNE:  I have not.  I have read a lot that y'all have written about the subject and quotes from other players, but nobody's made a direct suggestion to me about it.

Alex Miceli wrote about the press conference and the continued afterglow of the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship.

Bob Harig covered Payne's answers related to possible walking rules officials in the wake of last year's Tiger drop mess.

Wednesday
Apr092014

Nantz: "I’ve never had anybody say, ‘Tell me about the ratings when Jack Nicklaus won in 1986.'"

Judging by the traffic coming in, more people than ever will be on the grounds for this week's practice rounds. The typical Masters buzz is in the air, patrons are posing for photos in front of the main scoreboard, and the Masters is the Masters. Tiger's absence doesn't seem to be a big part of the week, yet. 

But inevitably the million or more extra viewers he brings will be noted in the final ratings, but as Ed Sherman reports, Jim Nantz had a good comeback for that.

“I don’t think the golf fan cares about the ratings,” Nantz said. “I’ve never had anybody say, ‘Tell me about the ratings when Jack Nicklaus won in 1986.’ I never had anyone say, ‘Phil’s victory was great in 2004, but too bad about the rating.’ It was on Easter Sunday that year (which generally means a smaller rating).

“Yeah, we’re going to miss Tiger, but this tournament never has been about one player. It’s going to be thrilling, and I can’t wait to see what the next script is to be written.”

That said, here were the numbers last year. Not that they mean a thing about what a spectacular finish we saw.

An estimated 44.3 million viewers watched all-or-part of last year’s third and-final round Masters coverage on CBS, +13% from last year’s 39.3 million. Last year was the second highest number of viewers to watch all-or-part of CBS’s weekend Masters coverage in 12 years, behind only 46.5 million in 2010.   Australia’s Adam Scott won the coveted Green Jacket and his first career major with a birdie on the second playoff hole to beat Argentina’s Angel Cabrera.
 An estimated 37.4 million viewers saw all-or-part of CBS’s final round coverage in 2013, +13% higher than the prior year.  Last year’s 37.4 million viewers was the second-largest number of viewers to watch all-or-part of CBS’s final-round coverage since 2001 (40.1 million; Tiger Woods).  Last year trailed only Phil Mickelson’s third Masters win in 2010 (39.2 million).

Wednesday
Apr092014

Report: TPC Sawgrass Greens Need Sun, Now

Garry Smits with a report on the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course playing multiple temporary greens on the eve of its April 14, pre-Players closing.

A long winter is to blame.

TPC Sawgrass director of agronomy Tom Vlach said the heating system under the greens doesn’t help as much without some direct sunlight.

“You really need the sun for the photosynthesis to take place, and we’ve had too much overcast and too many of those marine layers coming off the ocean,” Vlach said.

The fairways are in good shape.

“... Every part of the golf course is in fantastic shape except the greens,” Hughes said.

Tuesday
Apr082014

Finally! Scripting Of Masters Outfits Gets Proper Parody

You'd have to be working hard not to see all of the Tweets and stories previewing what Jordan Spieth or Rickie Fowler will be wearing this week at the Masters.

So a very nice job by Tim Herron and his friends at Bogey Pro for finally doing what needed to be done: a send up of the out-of-control pre-Masters announcements of player outfit “scripting”. Herron, not playing in the Masters, tweeted what he'll be wearing around the house this week.

Ryan Herrington reports
.

The Tweet:

Tuesday
Apr082014

Phil: "Masters Speed" Greens Give Less Than A Dozen A Shot

Tuesday was the primary player press conference day and I know you missed not hearing Tiger Woods, but at least Sam Weinman did a nice job telling us what he would have said based on, well, the things he usually says.

I've filed a GolfDigest.com roundup of the six most interesting things uttered in today's Masters pre-tournament press conferences, including snippets from Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson's assertion that the greens are getting back to "Masters speed," thus whittling the list of possible winners down to less than a dozen.

Here's the full excerpt from the transcript:

What I saw today, were the greens getting back to what I call Masters speed.  If that happens, it's a lot less.  Because if that happens, the subtleties and the nuances and the penalty of Augusta National will come through.

And then players who have had multiple years playing here and know how to play certain holes, how to play certain pin placements will have a distinct advantage.  Players that don't have find the ball going to places they don't want it to go and fighting it and feeling like it's not fair and what have you.  When you're used to it and accustomed to it, you know that's what the ball is going to do and you have to go over here, just go over there and take your par and what have you; the course doesn't beat you up.  You feel more patient, take advantage of the other holes that are birdieable and you don't feel like you're fighting all the time and giving shots away.

If that's the case, if the scores plays firm and fast conditions, I think you're looking at less than a dozen.  But if it doesn't, I think you're looking at almost half the field.

Just watching some practice on the putting green and surfaces around the clubhouse, the greens are absurdly quick considering Monday's big rains. And nothing in the weather forecast would suggest they'll be getting any slower!

Jay Coffin reported on Phil's press conference revelation that he's tinkering with his wedges and only plans one driver, while Jeff Rude focused on Phil's comments about the freeing nature of Augusta National and also reports on the bet Mickelson lost to a spectator.

Bob Harig focused on Phil's comments offered (without a question) about missing having Tiger here and the impact Woods has had on the game, especially purses.

The video link to Phil's interview, posted on Masters.com.

Tuesday
Apr082014

2014 Masters Grouping Highlights

The Masters site has the full list of players, times and images. Check it out here.

Groupings that stood out to me:

9:35 AM  Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland)  Rickie Fowler  Jimmy Walker
10:41 AM  Adam Scott (Australia) Jason Dufner *Matthew Fitzpatrick (Great Britain)
10:52 AM  Jordan Spieth  Patrick Reed  Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland)
1:04 PM   Jason Day (Australia)  Dustin Johnson  Henrik Stenson (Sweden)
1:15 PM  Bubba Watson  Luke Donald (Great Britain)  Sergio Garcia (Spain)
1:48 PM  Phil Mickelson  Ernie Els (South Africa) Justin Rose (Great Britain)

Tuesday
Apr082014

Tuesday Masters GolfDigest.com Live Chat: 1 P.M. ET 

You can log in here, or follow below. Talking Masters from Augusta National and welcoming questions. Come on in!

 

 

 

Tuesday
Apr082014

Merchandise Addendum...The MacKenzie Plan!

The Drive, Chip and Putt merchandise was taken out of the Masters merchandise pavillion for Tuesday and while my initial review still stands, there was this in its place and for just $25. Some might call it an ashtray, but my receipt says glass tray.

And yes, that's an Alister MacKenzie early plan for the course. We have a winner!

Tuesday
Apr082014

News You Can Use: Twitter And Today's Pros

I cover a variety of all-things-Twitter topics in this week's Golf World.

Though the story focuses primarily on how today's professionals are using the social media service to connect with fans, enhance their sponsorships and on occasion, get into trouble.

You can check it out here.

And if you aren't on Twitter, it's time to sign up and use it as a news service like most of today's players do. Shoot, even the Masters is on Twitter now.

Tuesday
Apr082014

"Patrick Reed's never been the kind of player who's going to go anywhere quietly."

Ian O'Connor files an excellent warts-and-all look behind the scenes at Patrick Reed, uncovering and clarifying some of the backstory rumors versus fact, while previewing the world top 5's chances of winning the Masters.

On his arrest while at the University of Georgia:

"I went out, had a drink, got arrested, but I learned a lot from it," Reed told ESPN.com on Monday. "It was a blessing in disguise. I grew as a person, and it taught me to stay focused on my goals to be successful and take me where I am today."

Haack didn't want to lose Reed if he could help it. He remembered his prize recruit as a gifted ball striker who won over the Bulldogs' assistant, Ryan Hybl, while playing in a tournament in Colorado. "I'll never forget Ryan calling me and going, 'This guy hits it close all day long but never makes anything," Haack said. "If he ever figures out the putter, he's going to be dangerous.'"

But ultimately, Reed made it clear he couldn't figure out what was required of him to remain at Georgia. Though Reed's father, Bill, confirmed the arrest "was one of the main reasons why Patrick left Georgia," Haack wouldn't elaborate on additional issues he had with his player.

"It wasn't a good fit for him here," the coach said. "He needed a change of scenery, and it worked out best for the both of us."

A number of Reed's teammates at Georgia either didn't return messages seeking comment or, when contacted, declined to speak publicly about the circumstances surrounding his transfer. English was one former Bulldog willing to talk about Reed's prodigious talent.

Monday
Apr072014

Masters: The All Important First Merchandise Center Report

One group of items stood out in the Masters merchandise pavillion and I write about them along with the high price for The Loop.

If you don't believe merchandise is a big deal here, just remember that it's probably the lone event outside the U.S. Open where players have been known to pick up a few items, as Dave Shedlosky writes.

And here are some others that caught my eye, though I've heard there are a few more fun items I haven't seen yet.





Monday
Apr072014

A First Look Around Augusta National

It's pouring, so I neglected to get into how dry and immaculate the course appears (Nick Masuda on the 10 am closure).

Instead, reports of shredding and other dire descriptions (Jim McCabe talked to past champs Sunday) had me expecting the worst when taking a Monday morning tour of Augusta National. It turns out that yes, a lot of trees suffered damage but in general, the place still looks beautiful and dare I say the damage did some good on  the 7th and 17th holes?

I did.

Here's the full report (including flora and fauna), with images of the 17th and the 12th.

Monday
Apr072014

Spoofed Already: The Paulina Cover 

Photographer Cy Cyr of Orlando idolizes Walter Iooss and lets us know it before posting the image of his take on Ioss's Paulina Gretzky Golf Digest cover.

With a little help from his (mostly out of shape) friends.

Monday
Apr072014

Ike Tried To Order A Hit On The Loblolly & Other Fun Tales

The Augusta Chronicle's Sunday preview section is full of great stuff, but I most enjoyed John Boyette's definitive story on the demise of Ike's Tree and the image of a former president (A) working out of an office above the pro shop, and (B) becoming so obsessed with the tree that he reportedly tried to order a hit on the tee.

From Boyette's story:

So Eisenhower called on a 15-year-old caddie, Leon McClatty, to do him a favor, according to Augusta author Peter Cranford’s autobiography.

Dr. Cranford, who died in 2000, is believed to be the first practicing psychologist in Augusta but he also wrote books on golf and the Milledgeville, Ga., hospital where he worked.

“Leon, I’ll give you a hundred dollars to come back here tonight and cut this tree down,” the president said.

Despite the commander-in-chief’s pleas, the young caddie refused.

A short video accompanies the piece: