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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
  • 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
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
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

Courses have no doubt been getting more and more difficult for the average player. His golf has in some cases been a dismal progress from the rough to a bunker, and from a bunker to the rough, hole after hole. He has very likely chosen a pleasant spring day for a little relaxation and pleasure, and returns to his home at night in a jaded and almost hopeless frame of mind.  H.S. COLT

 

    

Wednesday
Oct152014

Mark O’Meara Saw Tim Finchem’s Number On Caller ID & Was Tempted To Let It Go To Voicemail

I didn’t think people would be letting Commissioner Almostalameduck’s calls go to voicemail until late 2015 or so as his retirement approaches, but Mark O’Meara saw the Commish’s number pop up on his phone Monday and almost let Finchem leave a message. (Then he probably realized he might get a four minute message to listen to.)

Instead, O’Meara wisely sucked it up and found out he was going into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Mike McCallister with the story of how all of the inductees were notified. Well, all but A.W. Tillinghast.

Wednesday
Oct152014

Torrey Pines North Project Still On Track, Details Still Sketchy

Tod Leonard files a report on the open bidding process for Torrey Pines North Course construction work as required by city law, a process that was quietly worked around for the architect selection that ultimately went to Phil Mickelson.

The cost of the project has nearly doubled with the addition of South Course work included, reports Leonard.

The cost of the project has nearly doubled from the original proposal, going from $6 million to $11.06 million.

The added costs, according Marney: $1 million for a fully upgraded North irrigation system; $2.8 million when the City Council voted that all projects should adhere to prevailing wage; $1.2 million added for further irrigation work on the South Course, which includes a water pump station to match a station on the North.

Marney said that doing the South work now will save costs, rather than creating an entirely separate project later.

If anyone has seen the hole-by-hole drawings online or in person, let us know. They seem to be a secret, which is unusual for a public project like this. Or any project.

Wednesday
Oct152014

“End of an era as Middle East falls out of love with Tiger Woods”

The Telegraph's James Corrigan reports that Tiger Woods can no longer expect a multi-million dollar appearance fees from organizers of the Abu Dhabi Championship or the Dubai Desert Classic.

Citing an unnamed source, Corrigan says it’s a combination of novelty wearing off, Rory and other players proving alluring.

“There are other players of big interest now, not least Rory McIlroy. In these market conditions, at those prices, Woods does not represent the value he once did. In fairness, he has been there a lot and the novelty has worn off.”

Of course this might provide Tiger with an opportunity to thank former President Bill Clinton for speaking at the Learning Center opening by appearing in the Clinton-hosted Humana Challenge! I know...

Wednesday
Oct152014

Azinger: "This is the first time in 20 years the PGA of America has made great steps to recognize that there are problems to address."

Paul Azinger's appearance on Morning Drive yielded some decent explanations of where things stand and why he's not on the Ryder Cup task force Task Force (he's old...its moving too fast), though I'm not totally convinced of his reasons for missing out on some stellar opportunities to hang with Tiger, Phil, Ray and Rickie.

Transcribed highlights courtesy of Golf Channel's Jeremy Friedman:

On Ryder Cup task force
Azinger – “I’m sure they want me to be a part of this task force.  I didn’t say no, I just said, ‘Not yet.’ I wish everything would have gone a little bit slower.  I wish they would have waited until I was able to meet with them and talk with them before they announced the task force, but that is not how things worked out.  I’m really excited that these guys are able to share their opinion.  The PGA really has opened the phone lines up to past captains.  We have been filtered out of the system in the past and we are getting filtered back in.  I think that really is a big step and I look forward to 2016, however it plays out and whoever the captain is, as a new beginning for the Ryder Cup.  I don’t think this is a desperate time.  We could have easily won in 2012.  We could have been in every other year if we had just held on in 2012…I think there just needs to be a few tweaks.  I am going to present a much bigger picture to the PGA of America than just how to pick the next captain and we’ll see how it works out.”

And...

On whether Azinger has been consulted by the PGA of America since 2008
Azinger – “No, they haven’t.  That is part of the problem I feel, is that we have guys coming in individually every couple of years and the players who are repeat players have to adjust to a new guy’s leadership style. Tom Watson’s leadership style, he thought his style was going to win the matches.  His intentions were great, it just didn’t work out.  They didn’t win.  The players needed to play better.  Europe had a better team. You could have come in with a pod system and still not won. The pod system isn’t the answer.  That was a way to get those guys to bond.  There are bigger problems I feel, and they are going to be addressed.  I love the idea of the task force addressing these problems.  I think it is a great way for players to have an actual voice.  This is the first time in 20 years the PGA of America has made great steps to recognize that there are problems to address.  The task force may be the beginning of that.  I think it is here to stay. I haven’t said, ‘no’ to the task force, I just said. ‘Not yet.’”

The first clip:


And Azinger on the possibility of returning as Captain, getting into some Phil Jackson-like semantics.

 

Wednesday
Oct152014

Golden Slumbers! R&A Names Its New Chief Executive

For those hoping to have seen David Rickman replace Peter Dawson in the Chief Executive role, it should be noted Dawson was a relative unknown when he got that job and it almost turned out well.

Phil Casey on the naming of investment banker Martin Slumbers as new R&A Chief Executive beginning in March. Slumbers, interestingly, is not a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

Turns out, P.G. Wodehouse is alive and well, he's just coming up with names and press release text for new Chief Executives these days...

THE R&A APPOINTS NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE

15 October 2014, St Andrews, Scotland: The R&A has announced the appointment of Martin Slumbers as Chief Executive and also as Secretary of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, with effect from 1 October 2015.

Mr Slumbers will succeed Peter Dawson who is retiring in September 2015 after 16 years leading the body which organises The Open Championship and governs golf worldwide, jointly administering the sport with the USGA.

He will join The R&A in March 2015 as Chief Executive Designate and spend six months working with Mr Dawson before his retirement.

Born in Brighton and educated at Lancing College, Mr Slumbers (54) gained a BSc in Production Engineering and Economics from the University of Birmingham. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse in London before embarking on a career in investment banking. He spent 12 years working for Salomon Brothers International in London and Hong Kong, becoming Chief Financial Officer in Asia and then Europe.

In 1998, he joined Deutsche Bank and served in a number of senior executive roles. He was appointed Global Head of Deutsche Bank’s Investment Banking Operations in 2006 and the following year as Global Head of Global Business Services.

He is a keen golfer and a member of Worplesdon Golf Club in Surrey where he plays to a handicap of two. He is married with two sons.

“The R&A is one of the most influential bodies in world sport and I am delighted to be taking up this position,” he said. “Golf has always been close to my heart and I am very much looking forward to living and working in St Andrews. I am honoured to be appointed to lead The R&A and to serve such an historic and prestigious Club.”

Professor Wilson Sibbett, Chairman of The R&A, said, “I would like to congratulate Martin on his appointment. He has enjoyed a long and successful career and will bring a great deal of experience to the position. He has a passion for golf and is absolutely committed to the work of The R&A in governing the game, running The Open and supporting development initiatives around the world.”

Wednesday
Oct152014

WGHOF Hits A Davis-Graham-O'Meara-Tillinghast Superfecta

Hard to argue with the World Golf Hall of Fame's induction of arguably the four most obviously overlooked candidates based on criteria, accomplishments and place in modern golf history.

Ryan Lavner with a summary of the newest names to be enshrined next July at St. Andrews.

For Immediate Release, and note the finalists list also released. Some pretty surprising inclusions and omissions...

World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum welcomes
Davies, Graham, O’Meara and Tillinghast as the Class of 2015
Class will be celebrated at Induction Ceremony on July 13, 2015 at St Andrews
 
St. Augustine, Fla. (Oct. 15, 2014) – Laura Davies, David Graham, Mark O’Meara and A.W. Tillinghast will be enshrined into the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum as the Class of 2015.  The Induction Ceremony will be held on Monday, July 13, 2015 at the University of St Andrews, just blocks from the Old Course, host site of that week’s 144th Open Championship.
 
This is the first Class to be elected by the Hall of Fame’s Selection Commission, which debated a group of 16 Finalists.  The four members of the Class of 2015 each passed the required 75 percent voting threshold – approval by at least 12 of the 16 members.
 
The Selection Commission was co-chaired by Hall of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Annika Sorenstam and included the members of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors and a mix of institutional and at-large seats.
 
“We are thrilled to welcome Laura, David, Mark and A.W. into the World Golf Hall of Fame,” said Tim Finchem, PGA TOUR Commissioner, Selection Commission member and chairman of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors.  “The new selection process provided a thorough examination of the candidates by a diverse, international group and we’re delighted with the outcome.  Congratulations the Class of 2015.”
 
The Commission elected the Class of 2015 from 16 Finalists, which were vetted by the Hall of Fame’s Selection Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee met earlier this summer and vetted every candidate that met the qualifications of the Hall of Fame’s four Induction categories. It presented the following group of Finalists to the Commission:
 
Candidate                     Category
Laura Davies                 Female Competitor
Johnny Farrell               Male Competitor
Max Faulkner                Veterans
David Graham               Male Competitor
Beverly Hanson             Female Competitor
Catherine Lacoste          Veterans
Henry Longhurst            Lifetime Achievement
Davis Love III                Male Competitor
Meg Mallon                   Female Competitor
Graham Marsh               Male Competitor
Mark O’Meara                Male Competitor
Sandra Palmer              Female Competitor
Calvin Peete                  Veterans
Samuel Ryder               Lifetime Achievement
Jan Stephenson            Female Competitor
A.W. Tillinghast             Lifetime Achievement

Tuesday
Oct142014

World Golf Hall Of Fame Set To Induct Newbies...

A lot is riding on Wednesday's 9:30 am ET announcement of new inductees into the World Golf Hall Of Fame now that the "right people" are voting on who gets in and not those lowly ink-stained wretches.

Will Laura Davies and A.W. Tillinghast, just two of the most overlooked names, finally get in? Will there be an induction of a Tom Weiskopf or David Graham or Mark O'Meara or Meg Mallon or Dottie Pepper, who all fit the criteria for their on-course work but who aren't Tim Finchem cronies?

Check out Twitter and the WGHOF site Wednesday for more.

Bill Zimmerman previews the possibilites with multiple links. And for a refresher, Alex Miceli's post on the new selection criteria.

Tuesday
Oct142014

Task Force Deserter Paul Azinger On Morning Drive

While the Ryder Cup task force Task Force kicks around how to make Paul Azinger's pod system the way of the Team USA future, the last winning USA captain will be on Golf Channel's Morning Drive Wednesday October 15th.

And not just for a token appearance, but for--apologies to Larry King--da full two hours! That's 7-9 a.m. ET.

The Tweet where you can also pose your questions to Azinger.

Tuesday
Oct142014

Elite Converge On World Challenge Again...

It doesn't matter that Tiger's moving the World Challenge to Isleworth from Sherwood or that elite players are burned out on playing high profile events...love those world ranking points, baby!

Brentley Romine on Tiger Woods drawing another fine field for his annual World Challenge, no doubt aided by the lure of easy world ranking points. Oh, and the chance to play Isleworth, of course.

Along with Tiger Woods, defending champion Zach Johnson, two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and 2013-14 FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel are among this year's participants in the Dec. 4-7 event at Isleworth Golf and Country Club in Windermere, Fla.

The players competing account for a combined 166 PGA Tour wins and 21 major championships.

Tuesday
Oct142014

NBC Extends Johnny Through At Least 2017

With an option for 2018, reports Doug Ferguson.

From his AP story:

"I was thinking I'm 67. I'm getting up there," Miller said over the weekend at Silverado, where he was the unofficial host at the Frys.com Open. "I didn't know how my marbles were going to be at that time. So far, I haven't lost too many. I'll be the first guy to quit this if I start losing it."

Tuesday
Oct142014

Exclusive: First Ryder Cup Task Force Meeting Minutes

It turns out that while the announcement was made today of the Ryder Cup Task Force's creation, the group has already secretly met to discuss how to solve Team USA's issues.

While Tim Rosaforte is reporting how Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have been very engaged already, this copy of the exclusively obtained minutes shows just how involved the first meeting was.

Minutes from the first meeting:

 

The Ryder Cup Task Force Meeting

The Bishop Conference Room, PGA Of America Headquarters

October 14, 2014

Members present:
Derek Sprague, Co-Chairman
Peter Bevacqua, Co-Chairman
Ray Floyd
Rickie Fowler
Jim Furyk
Tom Lehman
Paul Levy
Phil Mickelson

Davis Love III
Steve Stricker
Tiger Woods

Meeting called to order by Co-chairman Derek Sprague at 6:04 p.m.

Motion made by Tom Lehman to join hands in prayer for the health and safety of the Task Force. After robust discussion, Davis Love III agreed to second the motion, minus the hand holding part.

Chairman Sprague asked for a motion naming Tom Watson a Task Force Member Emeritus In Absentia. The motion was robustly seconded by Phil Mickelson, though Tiger Woods strongly insisted his second got in first. Robust discussion ensued.

Co-chairman Pete Bevacqua introduced the Task Force’s goals of improving all elements of the Ryder Cup. Before opening the floor to general brainstorming, he announced that the Task Force will be broken up into pods, with members Sprague, Bevacqua and Levy leading each of the pods.

Phil Mickelson wanted it stated for the record that he and Tiger should be on separate pods. Tiger Woods seconded the motion. Mickelson said he didn't offer a motion. Highly productive discussion ensued.

Meeting paused for everyone to say hello to Ted Bishop, who stuck his head in the door to check on the progress of the Task Force.

Rickie Fowler asked why the WiFi was so bad in the Bishop Room. He suggested it be improved for the next meeting so that he can Tweet a Task Force selfie and check out the “surprising robust Tindr presence” in West Palm Beach while Phil and Tiger debate issues.

Co-chairman Bevacqua said he would look into a PGA WiFi Task Force and report back to The Ryder Cup Task Force. Bevacqua also raised the possibility of Fowler heading an ad-hoc committee focusing on making the Ryder Cup more millennial-friendly. Ray Floyd offered to second a motion only after receiving an explanation as to what exactly it means to be a millennial.

Co-chairman Sprague asked for a show of hands in the room of who had actually captained a winning Ryder Cup team. No hands were raised.

Steve Stricker was asked by Co-chairman Sprague to discuss his experiences from the 2014 Ryder Cup. Stricker reported that other than a balky reverse switch on his cart, it was a great week. Ray Floyd concurred, saying he had trouble several times putting his cart in reverse over the weekend days when he saw Tom Watson coming. Co-chairman Bevacqua said he will ensure that all carts for captains are in top working order in 2016.

Tiger Woods asked about uniforms going forward, and specifically requested the option to wear jeans to the next Task Force meeting and beyond. After unanimous vote, a no jeans ordinance was passed.

Co-Chairman Sprague thanked everyone for a highly productive session, set the next Task Force gathering for an undetermined date and adjourned the meeting at 6:28 p.m.

Tuesday
Oct142014

Expendables 11: The (Ryder Cup) Task Force

The Task Force (that's capitalized) is set. There are even people on it who've been part of a winning team. Barely.

For Immediate Release...

PGA of America Announces Ryder Cup Task Force
 
Past Captains, Players and PGA Leadership to Chart Course for Future U.S. Teams
 
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (October 14, 2014) – The PGA of America has announced the creation of an 11-member Ryder Cup Task Force, comprised of past Captains, players and PGA of America leadership.
 
The Task Force, co-chaired by PGA Vice President Derek Sprague of Malone, New York, and PGA Chief Executive Officer Pete Bevacqua of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, will examine the entire Ryder Cup process, including the selection of United States Ryder Cup Captains; the Ryder Cup Points System; dates by which the Team is determined; dates of Captain’s selections; and the selection of Vice Captains.
 
The Ryder Cup Task Force was created following the 40th Ryder Cup, which concluded Sept. 28, at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland, where the U.S. was defeated by Europe, 16½ to 11½.
 
“The Ryder Cup is our most prized competitive asset, and the PGA of America is committed to utilizing our utmost energy and resources to support one of the biggest events in all of sport,” said PGA of America President Ted Bishop. “The Ryder Cup Task Force, co-chaired by Derek Sprague and Pete Bevacqua, is an exciting and comprehensive initiative that will guide the PGA in developing the right strategy and building ongoing processes and infrastructure for future generations of U.S Teams.”
 
In addition to Sprague and Bevacqua, the members of the Ryder Cup Task Force are: past Captains Raymond Floyd, Tom Lehman and Davis Love III; past Ryder Cup Team members Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods; and PGA Secretary Paul Levy of Indian Wells, California.
 
“I think this is a great step by the PGA to accomplish what we all want – to win the Ryder Cup,” said Woods, a member of seven U.S. Ryder Cup Teams. “The Ryder Cup is very important to every player who has the honor to represent his country. I’m excited to be part of this group.”
 
The 41st Ryder Cup will be contested at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, in September 2016. The U.S. has lost three consecutive Ryder Cups and eight of the past 10 biennial competitions. America last won a Ryder Cup in 2008, and its last overseas victory occurred in 1993.
 
“Competing in a Ryder Cup is the experience of a lifetime, and serving as Captain is the ultimate honor,” said Love, a six-time Ryder Cup Team member, a 2010 Vice Captain and the 2012 U.S. Captain. “Having experienced all roles within this great event, I am deeply committed to serving once more to help direct Team USA to be a force again in the Ryder Cup.”
 
The Ryder Cup began in 1927. The U.S. leads the overall series, 25-13-2. However, since 1985, Europe owns a 10-4-1 advantage.

It looks like an Expendables cast. Former A-Listers, B-Listers, C-Listers and stand-ins for the former A-listers who said no.

Monday
Oct132014

Golf Inc's 2014 List Of The Most Powerful People In Golf

Sam Weinman does a nice job summarizing Golf Inc. magazine's annual ranking of "The Most Powerful People In Golf", which leans heavily on those in the course management and ownership business.

Topping the list is Eric Affeldt, CEO of ClubCorp whose company is defying conventional wisdom by selling memberships and attracting investors along with a 30% rise in the company stock, which began public trading in 2013.

Commissioner Wraparound lands at No. 5, after Donald Trump, Dana Garmany of Troon Golf and Jack Nicklaus, and ahead of Billy Casper Golf CEO Peter Hill, USGA Executive Director Mike Davis and developer Mike Keiser.

Weinman writes about the list's fluctuation between course operations folk and those tied to professional golf:

There's only person representing the golf media on the list (Golf Channel President Mike McCarley is 16th), one architect (Olympic course designer Gil Hanse, 20th), and just two active players: Rory McIlroy is 19th, and Tiger Woods, who was 17th a year ago, has dropped to 29th.

In addition to Finchem, other key figures in golf's governing bodies are also represented on the list: the USGA's Mike Davis (seventh), the R&A's Peter Dawson (13th), outgoing PGA of America President Ted Bishop (22nd) and European Tour CEO George O'Grady (23rd).

Monday
Oct132014

World Match Play Limps To Its 50th Birthday

Ignoring last week's news that they'll be on a sponsor search again or that this year's Ryder Cup-headliner field is just okay, Derek Lawrenson's Daily Mail notes column opens by celebrating what is still an intriguing event.

There is also the added twist of big time golf getting as close to London (London Golf Club in Kent), though not mentioned is just how much the field may be limited in quality by Britain's heavy taxation of visiting athletes.

Back in the days of Jack and Arnie, all matches were 36 holes at Wentworth. Now they’re played over 18 and there is a three-day group stage at London Golf Club in Kent to determine eight quarter-finalists on Saturday, with the semi-finals and final the following day.

So let’s toast the World Match Play at 50. It might not be the event we remember growing up but there will certainly be enough on show to make it a celebration.

Monday
Oct132014

PGA Tour Wraparound Blues Files: Early 2014-15 Edition

I’m keeping a nice scrapbook of quotes, moanings and general whining about the wraparound schedule’s start last weekend just weeks after the previous PGA Tour season ended. I’ll be matching up with those who’ve branded Tim Finchem a genius for seeking more and more with this "calendar year" nonsense, while shooting down the possibility that product over-saturation could possibly lead to fan revolt, player injuries, lousy ratings or general golf apathy. Honestly, I thought it would take a few years for the rejection to kick in, but based on social media grumbling, the over-saturation hostility may have already arrived.

And I’ll stick with my view that Finchem will ultimately be viewed as a short-sighted commissioner who put maximization of playing opportunities--for which he's incentivized to generate--at the expense of the health of the PGA Tour. So when the world questions why Commissioner Monahan isn't able to figure out how to get back the west coast and Florida swing audiences back, there will be documented reminders of what Finchem pushed as he undoubtedly is ushered into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

In the meantime, I couldn’t help but question the normally spot-on analysis from some in golf.com roundtable’s discussion of calendar year golf. They were responding to a column by Peter Kostis, who lamented the wraparound as a terrible thing because of the lack of downtime and the potential for more injuries.

VAN SICKLE: Disagree. Nobody is forcing these guys to play the old fall events and most of the top names aren't. Was it better before when Disney was the last official Tour event in early November? No. The difference is the forced late-season play of the FedEx Cup. Hey, the guys who didn't make the FedEx Cup playoffs have had two months off. They're ready to go. If the Tour gives up these seven events in six weeks, it's leaving the last three months of the calendar open -- a ripe opportunity for someone to create a rival product. Deane Beman made sure that never happened.

The guys who missed the FedExCup playoffs were in the Web.com Tour playoffs, so they've arguably had more stress the last six weeks than the stars. And then they were asked to start all over again after a couple of weeks off. That's not even enough time to do a ShotLink analysis of the season.

As Johnny Miller reminded us, the biggest stars playing last week at Silverado appeared because they were forced to be there. Ron Kroichick reports on the Turkey Eight and who has and who hasn’t fulfilled their obligation to appear at the Frys.com. Good news, Rory and Tiger have to mail in an appearance next year when the event is likely to return to Napa.

Woods and McIlroy are part of the “Turkey Eight,” players who skipped the Frys in 2012 for a cash-grab exhibition event in Turkey. PGA Tour officials granted those eight players a release, on the condition they play in the Frys once by 2015.

Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan and Lee Westwood showed up this year. Woods, McIlroy, Justin Rose, Webb Simpson and Charl Schwartzel are obligated to make an appearance next year.

“Yeah, it changes the vibe,” Miller said of Woods and McIlroy joining the field. “We’ll actually be able to advertise it, too.”

Take that...people-golfers who showed up this year!

Monday
Oct132014

Azinger Not Ready To "Jump On A Task Force"

Somewhere Ted Bishop is saying, "who said anything about jumping? We'll be talking a lot, eating scrumptous appetizers and sitting around telling our favorite Tom Watson stories. No jumping!"

Yes, ESPN.com's Bob Harig confirms what we first suspected from Jaime Diaz's reporting: Paul Azinger will not be on the blue-ribbon, grand jury sized task force set to try and right the sinking Team USA ship, but has a meeting schedule with PGA officials in November.

"I'm just not ready to sit down and jump on a task force," Azinger said by phone. "I have a scheduled meeting with the PGA of America in early November and I just think it's too soon for me to commit to jumping on a task force."

In my best Seinfeld high-pitched squeal: no jumping here! Who said jumping? Tiger's got a bad back, we don't jump on those! We'll just be sitting. You can even sign copies of your book!

Monday
Oct132014

“Ted was the right person at the right time"

Golf World's Jaime Diaz profiles PGA of America president Ted Bishop's final days in office and gets this endorsement from PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua.

From Diaz's story:

“Ted was the right person at the right time,” says Pete Bevacqua, the PGA of America’s smooth 44-year-old CEO who Bishop says can reel him in almost in a fatherly way when he gets too worked up. “Ted did not shy away from being the most vocal president with a bullish voice in the industry that we needed. The way he’s wired helped us get things done that would otherwise not have gotten done.”

Diaz also notes that Bishop received a "laudatory text" post-Ryder Cup from former USGA president Glen Nager, Bishop's one time nemesis in the anchored putter debate. Not sure if Nager was complimenting the selection of Tom Watson or Bishop's cart driving duties or something else, but it's just simply touching to know these two are texting again.

The story also notes we'll be getting the PGA-Ryder Cup task force list soon and there are many names listed, but Paul Azinger isn't one of them. Yet. Here we go!

Monday
Oct132014

“The PGA’s Ryder Cup problem is not one of communications or optics or who makes the most putts. The problem is cultural and systemic."

Global Golf Post's Steve Eubanks says the PGA of America did “what bureaucrats do” in announcing a task force to study the Ryder Cup issues facing Team USA and takes them to, uh, task.

He points out that Paul Azinger has already provided the model, but he doesn't appear to be a priority for the PGA.

They’re calling it a “task force” because that sounds muscular and decisive but have no illusions, this is deflection, a committee created to beat back criticism and kick the proverbial cup down the road.

Asinger didn’t hear a word from the PGA until Tuesday afternoon last week when news broke of the possible task force.

Eubanks, a former PGA of America member, says the organization is “incapable of making the kinds of changes Azinger proposes" and ends with this, uh, zinger...

“The PGA’s Ryder Cup problem is not one of communications or optics or who makes the most putts. The problem is cultural and systemic. And, unfortunately, that is not something a blue-ribbon panel is ever going to change.”

I wasn't nearly as tough as Eubanks but it sounds like we've been comparing notes on the strange treatment of Azinger post-2008 along with our takes on the unnecessary "task force."

My discussion with Damon Hack today on Morning Drive:

Monday
Oct132014

Sandy On World Hickory Win: It Got "My Ticker Going"

Richard Watt of the Courier catches up with World Hickory winner Sandy Lyle and even a former Masters and Open Champion who is still very competitive as a senior admits to still getting nervous down the stretch.

From Watt's report:

“It’s been a very good experience which certainly got my ticker going, especially over the last two or three holes of the last round, which were very nerve wracking.”

Presenting the award, Lionel Freedman joked that Lyle had won another Major.

Professional Andrew Marshall from Norfolk tied for second with defending champion Paolo Quirici, a Swiss specialist in hickory golf.

Tad Moore sent some nice close-ups of the woods used by Lyle, including the Cleek. More works of art:

Sunday
Oct122014

Fazio To Be Consultant On 2020 Olympic Course?

C.H. Alison's Kasumigaseki, host to the 2020 Olympic golf competition, appears to be headed for a carving under Tom Fazio's reliably-lamentable classic era renovation knife, reports Joe Passov.

Architect Tom Doak, far more likely to be sympathetic to master designer Alison's work, had helped the club determine a composite course for the 2020 games. But it was Fazio's work at Augusta which got him the job.

“We haven’t signed the deal yet,” Fazio told Golf.com, “but we’re expecting to get this done within a few days.”

Fazio wouldn’t comment on specific changes, stating only that he would undertake an evaluation of the entire 36-hole property before proceeding on both short-term and long-term alterations. Club officials, however, are confident that Fazio, who serves as Augusta National's consulting architect, will take the project in the right direction.

“We will be making improvements, not big, big changes,” said Kiichi Kimura, president of Kasumigaseki. “[Fazio] has a great reputation, as we know from his role at Augusta National. He emphasized that he would respect what we have here. He will balance the natural feeling here with the improvements needed to challenge the best players.”

Ugh.

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