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Because it involves the reduction of activity to some dead mathematical formula, the giving of handicaps has always been a difficult problem to solve. In golf this difficulty has been further accentuated in the failure to perceive that a round of golf is not a continuous performance such as a race, but is divided into 18 separate parts. MAX BEHR



Stevie Williams, Caddies Gets Support For Sharing Their Stories 

The early voting must have reflected the outlier counties, because after a strong "Never" presence in early balloting, a majority of you supported looper Steve Williams for writing a memoir.

The final tally: 29% said any time is a good time for a caddie to pen a memoir, 40% said it was kosher as long as the book arrived some time after a player has retired, and 31% said a caddie should never put their stories in book form.

The weekly Confidential kicked around this topic, which is admittedly an inside-the-ropes issue, But it's one I sense won't go away in the modern media age where players are less forthcoming about behind-the-the-scenes stories we want to hear about key moments in golf history.

There were great answers from all of the gang, but here's a sampling...

VAN SICKLE: There ought to be a statute of limitations on the caddie cone of silence at some point, although there are plenty of caddies who would go to the grave before they spilled any dirt about their bosses. In the case of Tiger, one of the two most important figures in modern golf, stories about him carry historic significance since Tiger is closed off from the public behind circled wagons. So Williams, like Hank Haney, provided historical clarity to something that mattered. But I'm sure a lot of caddies and players will believe that Williams broke the code.

PASSOV: In today's tell-all climate, are there any confidentiality codes to be respected anymore? If you still harbor old school values, then yes, Williams' nasty jibes and ill-conceived recollections are out of bounds. I'm in favor of adding caddie-player to the list of Constitutionally protected conversations that apply to doctor-patient and lawyer-client.

BAMBERGER: There is no code. There's an individual's sense of right and wrong. Once you decide to write, the question becomes what to leave in and what to leave out. It wouldn't be my place to judge what Williams decided to include, but I will say that I never thought for a minute, He's gone too far.


Tiger Only Missed The Seven Hole Opening Of First U.S. Design

One of the strangest things about Tiger's follow-up surgery to his follow-up back surgery was the willingness to miss the opening of his first U.S. course design.

Yet, reading Art Stricklin's account of the opening, I'm starting to understand why alleviating back pain took priority over what seemed like an important career moment. Why? Turns out this is only the opening of seven holes, not 18. That suggests a certain (not unprecedented) anxiety by the developer to generate publicity but also makes me understand why Tiger put his ailing back ahead of the opening.

From Stricklin's report:

“For this day to finally come is very exciting,” said Bryon Bell, President of Tiger Woods Design. “It’s really important for this course to finally be open, and the real payoff is to hear the members talking positively about it.”

Nearly 100 members were on the grounds at Bluejack, which had a seven-hole loop open for the initial play, with the full course expected be ready by early 2016.

Wake us when all 18 are open. Right Tiger


Such A Relief Files: Vijay Agrees To Represent Fiji In Rio

Granted, he still has to qualify and stay off the deer antler spray, but because of the Olympic Golf format the 52-year-old should be eligible to represent Fiji next summer in Rio.

And because I know you were losing sleep at night wondering what his decision would be, I bring you good news and bad news for whoever gets stuck in an Olympic Village room with the Big Geezer Grump! He's in!

The Jet reports:

“Vijay is a proud Fijian who has been successfully representing our nation for more than 30 years, bringing great credit to Fiji by reaching the top of world golfing. For him to agree to be part of the Fijian team for Rio if he qualifies is something that every Fijian sports fan will welcome. Because I have no doubt that on his current performance, the chances of him doing so are very high”, he said.

The Prime Minister also revealed that Vijay Singh has agreed to mentor the Fijian Rugby Sevens team, which has already qualified for Rio, along with the Under 19s National Football team.

And when I think mentor, I think Vijay!


Anchorers Go Down In...Schwab Cup Success

Sure there may be a few stragglers through December, but the era of anchored putting essentially came to and end this weekend when Bernhard Langer and Michael Allen battled Billy Andrade down the Charles Schwab Cup Championship stretch. The first two are achorers but will have to give up the habit January 1, 2016.

But as Al Tays notes at, Langer is sounding more optimistic going forward than he has in recent years.

Langer has anchored his broomstick putter for 17 years, but he says he's not worried about making a change.

"I've thought about it a little bit," he told reporters in Scottsdale. "I've gathered a few putters, different styles, different lengths, different grips. My first thought is I'll probably go back to what I did before I went to the long putter, which was what [Matt] Kuchar does, holding the putter against the left forearm that way, and Soren Kjeldsen in Europe does the same thing.

"I putted that way for seven years and I won a number of tournaments including the Masters, and if you can putt on the Masters greens and win with a grip like that, I would think I could do it in other tournaments, but we'll see. There's other options."

On the flatbelly circuit, Adam Scott notched a second place finish in Malaysia and looked good over the putter, while former anchorer Ernie Els hasn't been quite so confident over his blade.


New President Bush Bio Opens With An Old Golf Story

As George (41) Bush's presidential legacy continues to grow in stature and Rummy's feathers are ruffled (not to mention 43's) over the new biography authored by esteemed historian Jon Meacham, it turns out golf is a nice part of the much-anticipated tome.

While I'm not sure pollsters would buy Jerry Tarde's assertion that President Bush is the "most beloved living president who played the game," we golfers adore anyone who made pace of play a priority and whose family has long been front and center in American golf.

Tarde says the book opens with a golf story about Samuel Prescott Bush standing on top of the Hotel Traymore in Atlantic City. Nucky Thompson was apparently not around, however.

"A prominent Midwestern industrialist, Bush was at the Jersey Shore in the early summer of 1915 to take part in what was described as ‘the highest golf driving contest ever held in the history of the great Scotch game,’ ” Meacham writes. “Facing the Atlantic, in a long-sleeved dress shirt and formal trousers, Bush, driver in hand, took his stance and swung smoothly. He connected just the way he wanted to—cleanly and perfectly.

The ball rose rapidly, a tiny spinning meteor. Bush’s shot streaked out over the sea, soaring over the white-capped waves before disappearing deep in the distance, the sound of its splash lost in the wind and turf.

“Bush won, of course. Though his opponents did what they could, they failed to surpass Bush’s dramatic drive. It was not the most serious of competitions, but that did not matter. The New York Times reported Bush’s triumph. A contest was a contest.”


SMU Signs Two-Time Cancer Survivor Justin Thompson's Kevin Casey's story about Justin Thompson committing to SMU for 2017 is of note for a few reasons. Mostly that Thompson is a two-time cancer survivor (Casey details Thompson's battle) and that he's a pupil of Jordan Spieth instructor Cameron McCormick.

But there is also the idea that the program, hit with a virtual death penalty by the NCAA and Bryson DeChambeau dropping out, might scare off prospective recruits.

So far it sounds like they are not slowing down in the signing department.  

It's fitting that someone who has already gone through so much adversity will soon enter a golf program beset by sanctions for the near future. When asked about that potential hurdle to committing, Thompson felt that by the time he gets on campus most of the sanctions will have dissipated, and the fact that the current players and coaches weren't involved in the violations swayed him to minimize their importance.

Besides, if something were to go awry, Thompson has already had plenty of experience in that department. And it's only made him better.

“With the cancer experience, you learn about having courage, having faith and that there’s a plan for everything," Thompson said. "I’m stronger and more mature as a person than had I not gone through it.”


20-Year-Old Li Haotong On Cusp Of History

Doug Ferguson reports that Kevin Kisner holds a two-stroke lead over Dustin Johnson, a former HSBC Champions winner. But if you've watched any of the event (and the ratings say you haven't), there is a really fun story potentially looming with 20-year-old Li Haotong.

Ferguson filed a separate story on Haotong, who gets some pretty entertaining crowd reactions to his shots.

“This tournament is so big - it’s too big,” Li said after a 6-under 66 that left him one shot out of the lead going into the final round. “I know that the final day, a lot of people are going to be making a lot of birdies. That’s why I thought my goal of this tournament would be making the top 10, because making the top 10 will already be a highlight and a milestone for my short career.

“I hope that tomorrow I can do well and finish at the position where I want to.”

Here's a little taste of a Li roar. Golf Channel coverage starts at 10 pm ET:


Not So Happy Gilmore: Peterson's Bold Shot Vanishes

Maybe this will just make the shot that much more legendary?

Either way, John Peterson's Happy Gilmore moment last week in Malaysia has vanished from Jason Dufner's Instagram account.

One witness who refused to go on the record says men clad in pleated pants, light blue Oxford shirts (extra starch) and Footjoy Classics rolled up to Dufner's home in black BMW X5's in the wee hours this week. After having found Dufner's cell phone believed to be the same one used to record the Peterson video, the agents were heard yelling "Geronimo secure, Geronimo secure!"

The account matches previous stories from tour players and caddies, hinting that the raid was conducted by the PGA Tour Fun Police, a super-secret outfit headquartered in the basement of TPC Sawgrass' 198,000 square foot clubhouse.

Dufner was not immediately available for comment.

There is good news, however. It's called YouTube!  **The Fun Police are more nimble these days!


Adidas Plans To Lay Off 14% Of Taylor Made Global Workforce

Steve Pike with the analysis following Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer's comments that came while announcing third quarter earnings, which were up 7% for Taylor Made.

But not enough to save jobs, apparently.

“While this will negatively impact profitability by a low-double-digit million euro amount in the fourth quarter, the immediate result will be a more nimble organization, which will have a positive effect on the Group’s profitability from 2016 onwards,’’ Hainer said.

Adidas Group reported TMaG sales for the Q3 of 2015 at 159 million Euros in the quarter, an increase from 138 million Euros the same period in 2014. For the nine months of 2015, Adidas Group reported TMaG’s sales increased seven percent to 678 million Euros. That’s approximately $738 million –only about $100 million less than rival Callaway Golf’s total sales estimate for 2015. The Adidas Group did not release TMaG’s earnings numbers.


Golden Bear Shrugs Off Possible Demise Of First Solo Design

The Canadian Press' Adam Stanley gets a statement from Jack Nicklaus, who doesn't sound like he'll be chaining himself to any of Glen Abbey's tree trunks in a bid to save his first solo design from extinction.

The course, host to multiple Canadian Opens (including the 2016 edition) and Canada's golf hall of fame, is eyed for development by its owner.

Stanley's report:

“We have been in communication with the leadership at ClubLink and they have fully explained the process to date and local economic conditions driving the potential redevelopment of the Glen Abbey site,” Nicklaus told The Canadian Press through a statement. “While it saddens me personally to think the site of my first solo golf course design might be repurposed, we understand and respect the business decisions being made.”


Video: Strong Trick Shot, Stronger Camera Work

I don't see this one yet on Morning Drive's hashtag for collegiate team trick shots but it appears Oklahoma State is up next against TCU. And while many of those have been pretty imaginative, I have to say this Oklahoma State beauty posted by their SID suggests a level of production values that raises the bar. Maybe too much? Hard to say as the shot is still pretty sweet.

Thanks to RM for catching this from Ryan Cameron, OKSU's SID.


Two Polls: Can Caddies Ever Write Memoirs And How Many Majors Was Steve Williams Worth To Tiger Woods?

On Monday's Morning Drive, we kicked around the new Steve Williams book which has resulted in the caddie taking a huge credibility hit (if social media is to be believed).  I'm more fascinated by what the book could do to his re-emerging role as Adam Scott caddie, which is utterly fascinating to watch in person if you're a golf fan, as he clearly raises the level of Scott's game (to the point I was sure after 54-holes that Scott would win The Open last year).

Doug Ferguson talked to Scott this week and he doesn't see the book as a distraction. We shall see.

That said, the comments here and elsewhere suggest strong objection to the Williams book. The combination of a slave reference, the surprise timing and the New Zealand e-book release approach suggests that the former luggage handler was working around a non-disclosure agreement of some kind. Williams now tells AAP he regrets the use of "slave" and isn't pleased with the publisher for pushing that as the first glimpse of the book.

It all does feel a bit unseemly, yet at the same time, as Jaime Diaz notes in his reading of the book, there are some fantastic golf nuggets.

Williams has vital stories related to the history of the game that should be shared for future generations who will marvel at the accomplishments of his most famous client. Like Hank Haney's book, the more sordid moments are forgotten because the golf stories are so incredible.

I've also heard bits and pieces suggesting that caddies are like lawyers, bound to protect client confidentiality by an unspoken code? Therefore, this leads to two very separate questions.

The first: Is there a good time for a caddie to write a memoir?

Is there a good time for a caddie to write a memoir? free polls

The second question, prompted by a very interesting discussion on this week's By-The-Minute Golf Podcast featuring Lawrence Donegan, John Huggan and guest Robert Lusetich: how many majors was Steve Williams worth to Tiger? Yes, it's a number that can't be known, but I think a gut reaction poll result is still intriguing to get a better sense of how we all view the importance of this particular caddie who is widely considered one of the best at his profession. (For the record, I'm voting two.)

How many majors was Steve Williams worth to Tiger Woods? free polls


Phil Flew To Vegas To Dump Butch

The jet fuel is definitely tax deductible and as Tim Rosaforte lays out in this item, Phil Mickelson gets bonus points for firing his legendary coach and friend in person.

Rosaforte writes:

This was not going to end bitterly, the way Harmon and Woods ended. Those two have hardly talked since 2002. Mickelson was equally as high road as Harmon, saying the teacher deserved to be told face to face.

"I respect him as a person and as a teacher and as a friend, and just wanted to talk to him in person about it,” Mickelson said. "It’s not something you do over the phone. He’s been good to me long before we ever started working together. That stuff is never easy, but it’s what he deserves.”

Harmon appreciated that. “He did it in a classy way,” he said.

Phil, I have Lifetime Networks on one, should I put them through to voice mail?


Boo Weekley: "Honestly, this wraparound season sucks. It does, seriously."

Why provide commentary when I can just let Boo Weekley do all the heavy lifting? He's teeing it up as defending runner-up in the Sanderson Farms Championship and needs to make a nice check to offset the inevitable fines for conduct becoming of an honest PGA Tour member.


Q. How have you come to view the wraparound season and the importance of trying to get out to a big jump in the fall?

BOO WEEKLEY: Honestly, this wraparound season sucks. It does, seriously.

Q. It's long?

BOO WEEKLEY: It's just, it's stupid. I still ain't figured out this FedEx -- what does this FedExCup stuff do? It ain't doing nothing, but it is what it is. It's supposed to be the players tour. It's Tim Finchem and them's tour is what it is.

It's aggravating having to play this much, but yet it's important to come out and try to get a good start. I mean, it's good for the rookies, I think. It gives them something they can up can out and get their feet wet before they actually get into the bigger tournament. I think that's a good thing.

Q. Does it just feel like a warn out extension?

BOO WEEKLEY: It's just golf after golf after golf. Ain't no time for hunting and fishing, man. You know, you've got to come in here and bring my rods over here to go fishing, but you can't go fishing because you get out there and next thing you know somebody's aggravating you, and you can't actually enjoy going fishing.


Phil Parts With Butch: "I need to hear new ideas"

The biggest name in the Butch Harmon stable is bolting for a swing instructor to be determined.

Alan Bastable with the exclusive for, includes Mickelson's statement.

“I’ve learned a great deal from him in our eight years together,” Mickelson said in a statement to “It’s just that at the moment I need to hear new ideas from a different perspective.”

Butch is also putting a positive spin on the firing.

In a statement issued by Mickelson’s camp, Harmon said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Phil and we’ve had great success together. Helping him win the Open Championship in 2013 was one of the pinnacles of my career. I see nothing wrong with him seeking advice from another source. We’re great friends and always will be.”

So, who should Phil go with? Vote!

Which instructor should Phil get "new ideas" from? free polls


The Links At Petco Park Preview! 

I'm about to head out for my tee time, but here's my preview of Petco Park turned into a nine-hole golf course with a few photos.

Hitting a few shots yesterday, I was most taken by the overall experience that awaits the paying customers. For $50 a person, golfers are going to essentially get a full clubhouse tour, stand at home plate and hit golf shots through one of baseball's best parks. It's off-the-charts fun for a baseball fan!

The first tee shot, also known as home plate:


New R&A Chief, Finchem Say Distance Issue Not An Issue

The R&A's Martin Slumbers and PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, speaking at the HSBC Golf Business Forum, made clear they are not the least bit interested in doing a thing about distance increases.

So much for those hoping Slumbers would reverse the course of Peter Dawson, who said things were holding steady as he ordered "The Treatment" on all Open rota courses to mask his organization's fear of doing something meaningful.

No doubt this gibberish, quoted by Doug Ferguson AP notes colum, was followed by speeches about the need for sustainability to keep the game healthy. Hard to do when 8000 yards becomes the norm.

"What we are seeing at the moment is a fairly consistent percentage of some tremendous athletes who are hitting the ball farther," Slumbers said at the HSBC Golf Business Forum. "The percentage of them is unchanged. The average is a lot less than what the media talk about. The average has only moved 3 to 4 yards in the last 10 years. There's no burning desire on our part to make any changes."

We knew about the burning desire part, but to say players are hitting it farther and then say they are not according to the average, is an inconsistency even Peter Dawson never let slip.
at least made clear he's all about the PGA Tour.

"I do think if we get to a point where 75 percent of the field is hitting it where Dustin [Johnson] is and it gets a little boring, and we see signs of it affecting the integrity of the sport, it's a different matter," Finchem said. "Right now, I agree totally. We shouldn't do anything."

Slumbers also said distance "isn't getting out of control."

"It's a single-digit number of players who hit over 320 [yards]," he said. "The average is in the mid-280s -- this is run and carry. As long as it stays within those parameters, I'm celebrating skill."



Hammons: Golf Channel Says Goodbye To One Of The Originals

Brian Hammons, original member of the Golf Channel team since the network's inception, has not had his contract renewed after 21 years.

Hammons announced the news in a Tweet.

Golf Channel Executive Producer Molly Solomon issued this statement:

Brian Hammons has been a valued member of the Golf Channel team, anchoring telecasts through the years with class and professionalism. During this Sunday's pregame telecast of the Champions Tour Charles Schwab Cup Championship, we will pay tribute to Brian. And on behalf of Golf Channel, I would like to wish Brian the best and thank him for his contributions to Golf Channel.

Scott Van Pelt, a former assistant and later Golf Channel personality now with ESPN, Tweeted:


Q&A With Tom Doak, Confidential Guide To Golf Courses

In this week's Forward Press I make the case that the holiday gift book to buy this week and going forward is the Confidential Guide To Golf Courses by Tom Doak and friends.

Yes, Stevie Williams' book is tempting and an easy download, but if you are looking for a serious holiday gift for a golfer, this is your safest and least sleezy option.

I asked Doak some questions about the book for my review and his answers were so enjoyable that I feel required to give you them in their entirety.

So here goes and remember, you can order individual copies or the entire Confidential Guide set here.

Q: You have co-authors/contributors in the new series of Confidential Guides. Could you give us an idea how you decided on this approach?

TD: There were two reasons.  First, I wanted the book to be worldwide in scope, and there were so many good courses built in the last 20 years that I'd fallen behind in the percentage of them I'd seen.  I felt I needed help with coverage if the book was going to be thorough.  

Second, my co-authors' ratings are an important counterpoint when I don't like a course.  Negative opinions are always controversial, so it helps when you have other people either confirming that opinion, or softening my opinion when they disagree.

Q: The reviews still seem very much in your voice, could you give us a sense of how this part of putting the reviews worked?

TD: I started by sending my own draft reviews of each course I'd seen to the others, and letting them add their own comments on what I'd written, as well as writing their own thoughts on any courses I hadn't seen.  But when I started putting the first draft together, it was very jarring to read a review by Darius or Masa in the midst of some of mine.  [Plus Masa needs a bit of help writing in English, anyway.]  After a while, I decided it would be a better read if I took everyone's input, but wrote the reviews in my own voice.  The numbers at the bottom make it clear who's actually seen each course, and if there are real disagreements about the merits, I will note who thinks what.

Q: This is volume two now, how has the reaction been to these latest volumes compared to your original Guide?

TD: When the original edition appeared, there was both joy and shock from some readers, who couldn't believe I put such strong opinions in print.  The reader reviews this time are more muted, because most readers are at least semi-familiar with the earlier version.  There's a lot more focus on the smaller courses, because the big ones had all been rated before.  

The press reaction is pretty similar to before.  For volume one, a lot of the press was focused on the one "zero" rating I gave [out of 288 reviews].  A couple of those articles didn't even recount what I'd actually written about the course -- just the number! -- and some tried to make it personal, even though I'm reviewing courses, and not architects.  But it wasn't much different in 1996.  GOLFWEEK's review of the last edition was all about the twelve courses that were rated a zero, including a long sidebar defending Desmond Muirhead's Stone Harbor design.

In truth, golf writers tend to be among the book's biggest fans.  They can quote me on a review they probably agree with, and let me take all the heat for it.  If they thought the review was really unfair to a course they liked, they would never mention it.  For instance, I noticed that when GOLF Magazine did their excerpts of volume 1, they edited out the negative bits of my reviews of Trump's Aberdeen course.

Q: Have you encountered much resistance to visiting/studying/playing courses that fear a bad review?

TD: A couple of my hosts have joked about it, but really, not at all.  

But I never just walk into a course and say I'm there to review it.  And I only go to courses I'm interested in seeing; I don't go anywhere with the intention of writing a bad review.  If I suspect I won't like a course -- say, the Trump course in Palos Verdes -- why bother?  I will just go somewhere that interests me instead, like Lakeside, which I'd never seen until last year.  However, if I go to see a course and I don't like it, I'm not going to pretend I wasn't there in order to duck the controversy.  That would be dishonest.
I did get turned away at a couple of courses last year, but I think it was just because I'd showed up on a busy afternoon, and the assistant pro didn't want to risk having me running the gauntlet through all the golfers.  [It's possible the assistant at Fossil Trace was worried about a negative review; I couldn't tell if he knew about the book or not.  Anyway, it won't be in volume 3, because I couldn't see it.]

Q: On the Doak scale, how would you rate the state of golf course design as an art form when the first Confidential Guide was released versus now?
TD: The state of the art is very high right now -- let's say an 8 today, versus a 6 twenty years ago.  There are a ton of talented young people in this business today, working on construction crews for us and for other big firms; our internship program has helped give some of them a foothold.  The only thing missing is opportunity.  You only see real divergences from the design style that's in vogue during boom periods, when designers are more likely to go out on a limb to attract attention.  There are so few new courses to build that developers are more cautious than ever.  They're less likely to take a risk on a young designer when the big names aren't too busy to talk to them.  

Q: The books come as beautifully produced self-punished hardcovers. Why approach it this way as opposed to a subscription website or e-book?
TD: I love books.  And I understand the economics of the book business a lot better than those other forms.  It's possible that at some point down the road I will put my reviews into some form of subscription web site, although my collaborators might have their own designs on that.  But it's also possible I'll just continue to revise and update the books every few years, when I've seen enough new courses that it makes sense … or, just put everything I see from here on out into a sixth volume someday.

Q: You greatly expanded the South America portion of the book. Give us a sense how you went about choosing what you visited and any tips for the traveling golfer you feel are essential?
TD: Being fluent in Spanish would make it WAY easier to travel around South America on your own.  For those of us who chose French in junior high, it sure helps to know people.  I leaned heavily on the expat architect Randy Thompson, who lives in Chile, and has done a lot of work in the region.  He's probably the only guy who could have figured out how to get us across the Andes from the Lake District of Chile to the mountain courses in San Martin and Bariloche -- they won't let you take a rental car across, and there are no direct flights, so Randy got one of his clients to pick us up and bring us over.  Another friend, based in Buenos Aires, took me to see the hidden gems there -- San Andres and the very private Ellerstina. 

You will rack up a lot of miles on a golf trip to Chile and Argentina, because the courses are few and far between.  Luckily, airfares are pretty cheap within Argentina or Chile; the exchange rate is in our favor there.

I also went to see the course at La Paz, Bolivia.  It's one of the most fascinating places I've ever been, in a Wild West sort of way, and the course was actually quite good.  [It was designed by Luther Koontz, who accompanied Dr. MacKenzie to Argentina to build The Jockey Club, and then stayed.]  However, getting a visa to visit Bolivia [even for 36 hours] was ridiculously hard; I suppose it's payback to the U.S. for making it so hard for their citizens.

Q: While I don’t want to impede on your annual Christmas newsletter project update, can you give us a quick overview of your various projects?
TD: We finished two projects in Michigan this year -- the reversible course at Forest Dunes, which will open late next summer, and a project down near Kalamazoo at Gull Lake View, which my associates designed and built independently of me, at my suggestion.  [The client didn't have a lot of money for design fees, and I was committed to focusing on Forest Dunes.  So it's a great way for my associates can get more credit for what they do.]  We've also had a lot of small construction work going on for consulting clients, everywhere from Garden City and Somerset Hills to Waialae and Royal Melbourne.  Our new project for 2016 is in the Dominican Republic.  

Sadly, the land deal for the rumored project with Michael Jordan in Florida fell through, as I feared it would once word got out.  But I did get to spend a couple of hours with Michael in January talking about golf course design, and that was fascinating.  He's way more interested in it than you would think.  Maybe someday the right piece of land will come along.

Q: Most recent round of golf was where and how was it?
TD: I played in a charity event at Ballyneal last week.  I hadn't played there in four years; building courses in remote spots is very overrated, as far as opportunities to enjoy your own work are concerned.  I was in a four-ball match against a friend and his father-in-law, who was getting too many strokes, and I had to shoot my best round there [75] just to get a half!  
I've seen 98 new courses this year, because of the book project, and played sixty rounds; it's the most golf I've played in ages.  But it didn't really help my game much.  I only broke 80 a couple of times.

Q: Course you have not seen that you most want to play?
For years, the answer to that was Banff and Jasper, but I played them both this summer in advance of Volume 3.  Both exceeded my expectations.  I also checked off places like Gamble Sands and Cabot Links this summer.  I guess the current answer would be the new Cape Wickham course in Australia.

Q: Most treasured item in your golf bag?

TD: My putter, a Wilson knock-off of the George Low Wizard 600 that Nicklaus used for years.  I've been playing with it since I was 13 years old.  Once Crenshaw retires, I'll probably hold the record.

Q: What’s the biggest change in golf/course design since the original Confidential Guide was published?

TD: The idea that an architect needs to be out there building his courses, instead of just drawing them up.  That was a fringe theory twenty years ago, only used by Pete Dye and a couple of his former students.  Now it's gone mainstream.


Bamberger On Stevie's Book: "Trite, superficial and vindictive."

Michael Bamberger admires Steve Williams after having worked with him on a story but after spending his Monday reading the looper's book about his caddying years, the writer comes away disappointed.

The full review is here.

Oh, and this was an interesting insight into why this may be an Amazon-only digital publication for most of the world:

He thought his best chance to evade the long arm of Mark Steinberg and American jurisprudence might be to get the book published in New Zealand, where he lives, and that’s what he did.

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