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  • 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 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
  • Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • 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

I do not like making the pace. It gets harder and harder as you go. The other fellows, with nothing on their minds but their hair, are shooting the works while you keep wondering if you hadn't better be careful and try not to lose any strokes, which is the best possible way of losing them.  BOBBY JONES




Mickelson Part Of Group Buying Fairbanks Ranch

The well-located by pretty dreadful design in San Diego that also hosted equestrian events in the 1984 Olympics has been purchased by Union-Tribune publisher Doug Manchester and Phil Mickelson, reports Roger Showley of the Union Tribune.

The group outbid a proposal from Club Corporation of America.

But a former board president, Louis Ferrero, said the Manchester-Mickelson bid came out of an earlier proposal to sell to ClubCorp, operator of the University Club in downtown San Diego, Morgan Run Club & Resort in Rancho Santa Fe and the Shadowridge Golf Club in Vista.

While ClubCorp offered top management credentials, Manchester offered a more ambitious improvement plan and a link to his Grand Del Mar property in Carmel Valley, Ferrero said.


Gallacher Misses By One But He Better Be Ryder Pick Now!

Scotland's Stephen Gallacher needed to win or finish second in the Italian Open. He finished third after a final round 65, but as Ryan Lavner spells out in this case for Gallacher as a Ryder Cup pick, Paul McGinley will have a hard time showing his face in Scotland if he denies Gallacher.

Lavner writes:

It’s not just that Gallacher rose to the challenge and contended for the title in Italy – his eight top 10s this season are the most of any European Tour player. Plus, he has an intriguing history at Gleneagles, residing only 40 kilometers from the club and losing in a playoff there last year.

With Gallacher seemingly a no-brainer wild-card pick, Paul McGinley will have to decide between veterans Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald for the final two spots.


Landslide: Portrush Members Vote 235-2 To Hold The Open

Even though R&A Chief Executive Architect Peter Dawson has all sorts of changes in mind for perennial world top 15 Royal Portrush, the members of the Northern Irish course were not deterred, voting overwhelmingly to join The Open Championship rota and allow major changes to the course, including two new holes and moving another green 60 yards.

Brian Keogh with the full report and details of the renovation work planned. It still sounds tight to have the new holes finished and mature enough for a possible 2019, which the R&A has made clear is not set in stone as the year of Portrush's long awaited Open Championship.

With planning permission now being sought, it is likely that work will not begin on the new holes proposed for the Valley Course until the winter of 2015 which means that the two new holes proposed for the Dunluce Links will almost certainly not be built until the winter of 2016 for play in the spring of 2017.


MJ (Unsuccessfully) Heckled Ian Poulter At Medinah

I'm not sure this will bode well for Michael Jordan getting an inside-the-ropes badge at future Cups after fessing up to heckling Ian Poulter down the stretch in the 2012 Ryder Cupi.

In the first of three "Road To The Ryder Cup" shows airing on NBC Sunday at 2:30 PM ET and Golf Channel Wednestday at 6:30 ET, Mark Rolfing sheds light on the little known battle between Poulter and Jordan. Tune in for the first episode of 'Road to the Ryder Cup' on NBC Sunday 8/31 at 2:30PM ET and Golf Channel Wednesday 9/3 at 6:30PM ET.

The preview:

R&A Asks Members: "Open to letting 15 women in at once?"

Sam Weinman looks at the upcoming Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews vote on adding women as a membership options. The results will be revealed September 18th and a miraculous bit of timing to coincide with Scotland's vote on independence.

Besides asking members if they would accept the other gender, there was also another curious question.

Weinman reports:

In the ballots that went out last week to its roughly 2,500 members, the club asked two questions: Are you in favor of women members? And if so, would you be open to letting 15 women in at once?

What if you have strong feelings against the number 15? Do you vote no?

No one ever said this was going to be easy!


U.S. Amateur Champ Playing Year Of Pro Golf As An Amateur

This may be a new one, but U.S. Amateur winner Gunn Yang has decided to take a leave of absence from San Diego State to play professional events around the an amateur.

Tod Leonard
reported this on Twitter a day after the San Diego Union Tribune writer profiled Yang's meet-up with 84-year-old Gene Littler, WGHOF member, former U.S. Open winner and owner of one of golf's all-time great swings.

Of course, Yang had no idea who he was but at least he did his homework.

“I had to search for him on Google. His old bio came up on Wikipedia,” Yang said.

He laughed at himself.

“I’m not even on Wikipedia! I’ve got to play better, so I can see myself on Wikipedia.”

What he found on Wiki was this: Littler is in the World Golf Hall of Fame with 29 PGA Tour victories, including the 1961 U.S. Open championship. He played in seven Ryder Cups, with the United States either winning or tying every one of them.


2023 U.S. Open Going To Los Angeles Country Club?

Potentially historic news--pending a member vote and signed contract--but it appears the USGA would like to bring the first United States Open to the Los Angeles area since Ben Hogan's 1948 win at Riviera.

Here is my story at working off of an LA Times report by Mike James revealing that an email has gone out to all Los Angeles Country Club members notifying them of an upcoming vote.

And of course--full disclosure--I worked with architect Gil Hanse on the 2010 restoration of the North Course.

The North Course most recently hosted the 2013 Pac 12 Championship won by California and Max Homa. You can see photos of that event here and here.


Ryder Deadline: Euro Captain McGinley's Options & Dilemma 

There's a nice pre-Italian Open interview here with European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley who is not shying away from the options he faces in selecting three players to round out his team for Gleneagles.
This European Tour unbylined story focuses on the one player who still has a chance to make the team on points: Stephen Gallacher. Easily the sentimental choice because of his Scottish heritage, efforts to make the team and overall genuine nature, Gallacher has to win or finish second to make the team on points.

“This is the last lap of qualifying for The Ryder Cup and from the World Points angle this tournament could make a contribution,” said the Irishman who is at Circolo Golf Torino this week to also compete himself after a number of weeks on the sidelines nursing a shoulder injury. All eyes will be on Stephen Gallacher, the Scot needing to finish in the top two to force his way past Graeme McDowell into the final qualifying place, but the likes of Joost Luiten and Francesco Molinari will be among those hoping to impress McGinley in this final week as he weighs up his wild card options.

Alistair Tait files an excellent piece weighing the easy way out for McGinley--pick stars Poulter, Donald, Westwood--or the more European Tour friendly choice in Gallacher, who has made a gallant effort to get on the team and has shown loyalty to the home tour.

What some commentators might not be taking into consideration is McGinley’s European Tour loyalty. He’s an establishment figure, serving on the European Tour’s tournament committee for many years. He will feel honor-bound to choose a player like Gallacher who’s fully committed to the European Tour.

The case for Gallacher also includes the new blood argument in a year when Europe appears so strong on paper that putting Gallacher on the team doesn't seem a stretch, especially as he's shown plenty of game.

And for what it's worth, Jason Sobel reported the strange remarks of Lee Westwood from last week, who said he'd next see the golf world at the Ryder Cup even though he's well outside the points cut off on either European list.

“Off until the Ryder Cup,” he said. “After that, I don’t know.”

Westwood currently isn’t qualified for one of the nine automatic spots on the European team through the world points list or the European Tour list. Which means that if he’s not playing again between now and then, he’ll need to rely on captain Paul McGinley as being one of three wild-card selections.

For Americans, Italian Open coverage begins on Golf Channel at 5:30 am. ET Thursday from Turin.

McGinley announces his picks Tuesday at 7 am ET.  Morning Drive will have the coverage.


Frank Deford: "You think Angela Merkel poses in a golf cart?"

Opinions vary widely on President Barack Obama's love of golf and when it's appropriate for him to play--that's my nice way of saying save your polical rants. But I think we all can get behind Frank Deford's NPR plea to the President and his handlers: lose the carts!

The audio can be listened to here. Or there was this version in text form:

But here's a tip to the White House media office. Never, never again let the president be photographed in a golf cart. What is the wussiest item in all of sports? A golf cart — that electric chaise lounge. A movable divan. Could you ever picture Vladimir Putin in a golf cart? You think Angela Merkel poses in a golf cart? In a pig's eye.


Photo Caption Fun: Bill Clinton And Rory McIlroy

Loved the photo of President Bill Clinton and Rory McIlroy deep in conversation, though Rory's Tweeted caption left me feeling a sense of what might have been.

Maybe you all can help. Are they talking about how to get Rory to Clinton's January tournament in the desert? Hillary's New Hampshire strategy? Or maybe bickering about Hogan's Secret?

Anyway, the Tweet and remember, this is a family website. Keep it rated PG!





Video: 2014 PGA Championship Final Round "Quad Supercut"

Michael David Murphy's supercuts of major final rounds are always revealing, but this one combining McIlroy, Fowler, Mickelson and Stenson is mind-blowing. How he came up with this I have no idea but it's fascinating viewing. And btw, nice consistency on the overlay of first tee announcer Derek Sprague's calls.

You can follow Michael here.

The video:


Johnny And Brandel Chime In On Tiger's Coaching Move

To promote the positively spellbinding playoff chase looming over the next few weeks, Johnny Miller and Brandel Chamblee took reporter questions Tuesday to hype the upcoming events on NBC and Golf Channel.

After the Denver crowd got in a few questions about the superb Cherry Hills, host to next week's BMW, the talk turned to what else? Tiger. As expected, Johnny and Brandel had plenty of interesting things to say about Tiger Woods parting ways with his third high-profile swing instructor this century.

Randall Mell filed a couple of pieces, starting with this on Tiger's "explosiveness" obsession.

“Tiger needs to quit being Ponce de León, looking for that fountain of youth,” Miller said. “He's looking for explosive power. What he really needs to do with the long game is swing a little smoother, instead of exploding into it, and blocking everything right and flipping it left . . . I think it would help his long game if he used a little smoother action, like he does with his irons . . . He’s trying to explode up through it, and his feet are hopping, and he's squatting down and hopping, and he's raising up, instead of just swinging level.”

And Brandel added this...

“Even on Jimmy Fallon's show, he was talking about how he needed to get more explosive, and in another interview he said he needed to get stronger glutes,” Chamblee said. “He keeps referring to getting stronger and stronger and stronger, which is bizarre to me, because he just needs to be faster. He traded speed for strength.”

Yes, but he looks so good in that Jack LaLanne estate sale gear!

I asked a question about the rise of celebrity swing instructors and Mell wrote a separate item on the remarks there, which were equally fascinating.

“It's interesting for all of us to talk about,” Chamblee said. “It's fun for us to sit down and talk to these instructors and listen to their ideas, but I don't know that this helicoptering, this helicopter teacher, this constant hovering, well‑intentioned, well‑informed constant teaching, is doing the player a great service.”

Chamblee believes a player can become too reliant on a teacher.

“I think the very nature of the way golf is taught now has led to a timidity in players, and it's certainly upped the profile of the teacher . . . A lot of theory is being put forth, and golf is in sort of a revolutionary stage, of lots of number, lots of ideas, lots of geometry, lots of science being thrown at these players,” Chamblee said. “It's intriguing, it's interesting, and I think a lot of these teachers have done a great job of promoting themselves. But, unfortunately, I think that there's discovery and there's confidence that's found in solitude."

Chamblee elaborated on these thoughts in a column released around the same time:

Tiger at 21 knew enough about his swing to orchestrate the changes that lead to the greatest stretch of golf in history. At 38 he may be golf’s version of Humpty Dumpty and all the king’s men hopeless to place him back into his origins. Perhaps he should tell all the king’s men to take a hike.
Alone in thought, watching the video from the 1997 Masters Tiger was in as powerful a state as any athlete can be. He decided what needed to be done, he had a game plan, he could feel it, taste it, smell it and he executed it.

Who should be his next coach is likely the difference between him breaking Jack’s major record or not and because of what he means to golf, that decision means a lot to the game. This is all precisely why I hope his next teacher’s name is Tiger.


The Greater New York Area Venue Obsession...

The Barclays is slated for the greater New York area on an annual basis, with an unofficial rota of Ridgewood, Plainfield, Liberty National and Trump Ferry Point (2017). Batting .500 isn't all bad. Anyway...

Tuesday's excessive commitment to Liberty National for ten PGA Tour events over the next 25 years ensures the Manhattan skyline will get no shortage of airtime.

However it's not just the PGA Tour that is staking a claim to this amazing region for great golf.


2016 PGA Championship  Baltusrol Lower
2017 Presidents Cup  Liberty National
2018 U.S. Open   Shinnecock Hills
2019 PGA Championship  Bethpage Black
2020 U.S. Open   Winged Foot
2022 PGA Championship Trump National Bedminster
2024 Ryder Cup  Bethpage Black

I can't think of a bigger logjam of major events in one region over such a short period. Yet if there is one market that can handle the workload, it's this one. But it still seems like overkill.


Spieth's Ideal 21st Birthday: Golf At Preston Trail!?

I love the kid's passion, but come on, a round at Preston Trail, where they don't accept anyone under 21, as your big birthday celebration?

Okay...whatever Jordan says!

Doug Ferguson reports on Jordan Spieth's idea of a perfect 21st celebration at the all-male and apparently anti-early-millennial Preston Trail Golf Club:

"I must have played Bent Tree about 50 times and I always looked over at Preston Trail knowing I couldn't go over there," Spieth said. "When I was playing in college, or even last year as a professional, I'd get home and a couple of buddies would say, `Yeah, we're going over to Preston Trail.'"
He was invited to play by Malcolm Holland, a Preston Trail member and prominent USGA official. Spieth said the superintendent prepared for their visit by rolling the greens twice and finding some of the toughest pin positions. He played with former U.S. Amateur champion Colt Knost and Carlos Ortiz, who tops the Tour money list.
It was everything Spieth thought it would be. 


"Ponte Vedra Beach residents express concerns over PGA Tour development plans"

Stuart Korfhage of the St. Augustine Record reports on the conflict between Ponte Vedra residents and the PGA Tour over undisclosed development plans near the TPC Sawgrass.

The tour is asking for waivers without disclosing what it is they want to do on parcels of land between the TPC Sawgrass and Palm Valley Road. Though as a meeting went on, the tour's "consultant" Vernon Kelly revealed that a five-star hotel may be in the plans if only the awful economy were better!

That question was probably never truly answered, but Vernon Kelly, a consultant for the tour, did finally provide some insight into the tour’s development objectives an hour into the meeting.

Kelly said the most likely developments would include a small, five-star hotel as well as upscale retail and office space.

The property already has the approval for allowable uses that include: commercial, office, patio homes, multi-family, single family and special use. Mostly, the tour wants the flexibility to have those uses wherever they fit on the entirety of the property and not in “bubbles.”

“Nobody is going to be developing anything in this economy,” Kelly said. “If it is developed, it will be in a way that is complementary to The Players (Championship). We don’t want to build something that’s bad.”

That could be in the eye of the beholder, Kohnke argued.

“I do not trust the tour,” she said. “They (the PZA) never should have messed with our rules.”

No one is developing anything in this economy? The five-star hotel in the current climate is a non-starter? Did I miss a memo?

Interesting view on things down there at 100 PGA Tour Blvd!


Hank & Butch Agree: Tiger Needs No Stinkin' Coach

The former coaches have spoken: Tiger should go solo.

Butch Harmon said it yesterday (reported by Rex Hoggard).

“I don’t think he needs a swing coach. If I were advising Tiger I’d tell him, ‘You’re the greatest player that ever lived, just go to the range and hit shots.’”

And Hank Haney talked to Morning Drive, saying the same thing, reports Ryan Lavner.

“He certainly knows enough,” Haney said Tuesday on “Morning Drive". “I think he’d probably be better off just going and doing it himself. He’s the one that he’ll listen to the most. He’s the one that he’s always listened to the most.”

Though the former world No. 1 has all the tools to go it alone – access to TrackMan, an understanding of video technology and the swing, etc. – Haney said doing so could potentially pose an issue, because of Woods’ tendency to “get off on tangents and work on things that aren’t really part of the plan.”

“That’s the biggest challenge that Tiger would face in helping himself,” Haney said. “He has trouble staying on point and staying on a plan. ... It’s making a plan and staying on point, that is where a coach really can help, if he can do that.”

Meanwhile I ran Sean Foley's official statement through the What They Said, What They Meant algorithm.

And John Feinstein had some interesting things to say about Tiger's history of firing coaches in this Golf Central segment.



Get Ready To Hear About Liberty National's Views For The Next 25 Years

I was just praising the PGA Tour for making a concerted effort to go to classic venues in the playoffs and now they announce an unprecedented 25-year partnership with Liberty National, the twice-renovated Bob Cupp-Tom Kite course next to New York City.

The course's claim-to-fame? Manhattan skyline views. The actual ground on which they play? Not so much. Liberty National was voted the second worst course on the tour in Golf World's survey of PGA Tour players.

After the 2017 Presidents Cup and a Barclays every three years, my math says there is still room for something else in there.

For Immediate Release...

Liberty National selected to host The Presidents Cup 2017,
Start of 25-year partnership with PGA TOUR

Paul Fireman announces $5 million donation to The First Tee, with half to benefit area chapters
JERSEY CITY, N.J. – At a flag-raising ceremony today overlooking the Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty, PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem officially announced Liberty National as host site for The Presidents Cup when it is next staged in the United States, in 2017.  The announcement is part of a 25-year partnership between Liberty National and the PGA TOUR, which will bring up to 10 PGA TOUR events to the venue over the course of the agreement.  Joining Finchem to mark the occasion were Liberty National co-founders Paul Fireman and Dan Fireman, as well as New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.
Liberty National will be just the fourth golf course in the United States to host the prestigious team match-play competition, joining Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Prince William County, Va., (1994, 1996, 2000, 2005), TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, Calif., (2009) and Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio (2013).  The Presidents Cup 2017 will take place September 25-October 1.
“We’ve had several very compelling announcements relative to the future of The Presidents Cup so far this summer,” said Finchem, alluding to the announcement of Jay Haas and Nick Price as 2015 captains and TPC Harding Park in San Francisco being named 2025 host, “but standing in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty today to announce Liberty National as our next U.S.-based host of the event is really icing on the cake.  The Presidents Cup has come so far in its relatively short history, and seeing the world’s best players compete in this market, on this incredibly fantastic venue with such an amazing backdrop in 2017 is something fans of this great game will never forget.
“I’d like to thank and congratulate Paul Fireman and his son Dan for their partnership through the years, which has previously brought the PGA TOUR to Liberty National for The Barclays in 2009 and 2013 and has now resulted in a long-term relationship that will see some of the TOUR’s biggest and best events staged here over the next quarter century.  Paul and Dan have exemplified a true dedication to the future of the game, and we are thrilled to work with them to showcase Liberty National and the PGA TOUR in an incredible way.”
“Being chosen by the PGA TOUR to host the 2017 Presidents Cup is every golf course’s dream,” added Paul Fireman.  “We at Liberty National Golf Club are proud to receive this honor and will dedicate our efforts to live up to both the TOUR and the players’ expectations.  This new 25 year agreement is a mutual acknowledgement of trust and respect between Commissioner Finchem, the PGA TOUR, Liberty and our membership.  We embrace this selection with great pride and look forward to fostering this relationship for years to come.”
One of the world’s most picturesque golf courses, Liberty National is located along the Hudson River in Jersey City, N.J., with striking views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Manhattan skyline. The golf club fittingly opened on July 4, 2006, and is guided by the vision and leadership of former Reebok Founder/Chairman & CEO Paul Fireman, currently chairman of Fireman Capital Partners, and his son Dan Fireman, managing partner of Fireman Capital Partners. Designed by U.S. Open Champion Tom Kite and esteemed golf course mastermind Bob Cupp, Liberty National has been the proud host to the first event of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Playoffs, The Barclays, in 2009 and 2013.

Esteemed golf course mastermind. There's a keeper.

The Barclays 2009 at Liberty National was won by Heath Slocum in dramatic fashion as he holed a 21-foot putt for par on the last hole to deny Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods the chance at victory.  The Barclays returned to Liberty National, which has been part of the tournament’s rotation in recent years over some of the area’s best courses, in 2013 and again provided an incredibly compelling finish.  Adam Scott carded a final-round 65 and then waited nearly two hours as the likes of Justin Rose, Gary Woodland and Woods all narrowly missed an opportunity to force a playoff.
As part of today’s event, Paul Fireman also announced a $5 million commitment to The First Tee over five years (beginning in 2015), with half of that amount earmarked for programs in the New York/New Jersey area: The First Tee of Metropolitan New York; The First Tee of Raritan Valley; The First Tee of Monmouth & Ocean Counties; and The First Tee of Greater Trenton.  In addition, Liberty National will host an annual fundraising event for The First Tee, with any additional money raised through those events to benefit the local chapters.
Matthew Chung, a member of The First Tee of Metropolitan New York, performed the National Anthem before Lt. Governor Guadagno, Finchem and Paul and Dan Fireman raised The Presidents Cup 2017 flag in a newly constructed flag garden to forever commemorate Liberty National’s selection and the Fireman’s commitment to The First Tee.

“As The First Tee moves closer toward our goal of reaching 10 million additional young people with character-building programs, support from Paul and Dan Fireman is significant and will have a far-reaching and lasting impact,” said Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., chief executive officer of The First Tee. “We are grateful for their continued investment in young people through The First Tee, and for their commitment to the four chapters in the New York Metropolitan area.”


Roundup: Tiger & Sean We Hardly Knew Ye

Just to get the most out of this post, may I propose you right click here for a little Barbra to set the appropriate mood during this upsetting, utterly-first world time in golf history as Tiger Woods and instructor Sean Foley have split.

Anyway, I spoke to Hank Haney briefly today. The former Tiger teacher sounded sympathetic to the plight of  Foley, even though Foley was never particularly complimentary of the former instructor's efforts.

"There’s tons of hall of fame coaches that have been fired," Haney said from Philadelphia where he was working. "Working for Tiger is not as easy as it looks."

That seems to be the general takeaway on Sean Foley and Tiger's breakup: the pupil is a once-in-a-lifetime talent not at his peak and it just didn't work out for a teacher with proven results elsewhere.

Doug Ferguson's AP story recounts some of Tiger's instructor past, which is extensive.

Woods began working with Butch Harmon as a teenager, and they changed his swing twice. The biggest overhaul was after Woods won the Masters by 12 shots. Many believe the new swing produced Woods' most dominant golf, though he also was in his early 20s and had not had serious issues with his knee. Woods won eight majors while with Harmon, including seven in 11 attempts and an unprecedented sweep of them in 2000-01. They parted in 2003.
Woods went to Hank Haney and produced another memorable stretch with an entirely different swing. In a two-year period covering 34 tournaments, Woods won 18 times (including four majors) and was runner-up six times. That ended with the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, right before his fourth and most invasive knee surgery.
That was his 14th major, and Woods has not won another since.

Jaime Diaz explores the ups and downs of their four years together and comes away feeling like life comes down to timing. And "Foley's timing was bad."

As science based as Foley's teaching is, he soon enough learned that his biggest challenge would be fixing not the physical, but the mental. Which was actually a challenge and opportunity Foley welcomed. Naturally open and gregarious, a self-described searcher who enjoys sharing his own life lessons, Foley had openly looked forward to getting to know Woods well as a person, and helping him through what he knew was a difficult period. He saw that dynamic as part and parcel of a successful coach/student partnership.

"I want to be a teacher who teaches his guys more about life and themselves than just about the game," Foley said. "By helping them become better people, they're going to become better at their sport by having less conflict."

But based on reliable observers, what Foley had hoped for didn't happen.Though their working relationship never showed any public strain, it remained more clinical than close.

The ambulance chasers are littering the streets of Jupiter hoping Tiger will stumble upon their card, so Paul Azinger has something to sell Tiger. But he's not quite saying what it is. Randall Mell reports.

“There are only three things great players have done the same with their swing, the three fundamentals,” Azinger said. “That’s physically. There’s a mental side. Of the three physical things, Tiger has lost track of one, and he’s got to fix it. It’s a very easy fix.”

What is it?

Azinger says he isn’t sharing that publicly, but he would tell Tiger Woods.

Bob Harig says the two "sensed it" according to Foley, and the parting was on good terms. So we'll get fist bumps on the range at Augusta, which is comforting. Harig also says Woods gets all the blame for messing things up.

While Foley might have offered advice, who said Woods always took it? He is his own man, with his own thoughts, and many players use bits and pieces of what they are offered.

A coach can only do so much. He can't give advice between the ropes. He can't necessarily control how much a player practices or even works on his short game. It is an individual sport, and the blame almost fully rests with the guy hitting the shots.

It is true that Woods' inability to figure out the driver and how to get it in play consistently has been a vexing problem. And yet, how much better was it five years ago when Woods won seven times worldwide?

In 2009, Woods ranked 86th in driving accuracy, hitting just over 64 percent of the fairways. Last year, he was 69th although his percentage was just 62.5 percent.

Jason Sobel asked Hunter Mahan and Justin Rose about Foley's work just before the parting, and the idea that Foley was somehow to blame.

“It's comical,” Mahan stated flatly. “It frustrates me and kind of angers me a little bit. But you know, that's the world we live in and that's just kind of the way things are, and Foley is better for it because he can handle a guy like Tiger – a lot comes with that and I think he's done a pretty good job of containing himself and not letting it bother him. He just does his job every day and does it better than anyone.”

Rose was more diplomatic, but no less adamant in his view that Foley has shouldered too much of the blame over the past half-decade.

“It’s difficult to hear,” he said, “because I put a lot of trust in him with my game and I believe in his abilities to help me with my game.”

With over 500 votes, a clear majority of you would recommend Tiger to your golf instructor friends.

Tiger's swings through the years can be seen in this GIF posted by Luke Kerr-Dineen at The Loop.

Tiger's various swings were also analyzed on Golf Central.


Best Signs Yet Of Ice Bucket Challenge's Inevitable Demise

There is no better sign of a social media craze dying out than the first criminal to be apprehended by participating, and Jesean Morris was nabbed by Omaha police on a parole violation thanks to his Facebook posting of a dousing. Gawker reports.

And somehow I missed the first warning side a few days ago, but thanks to reader John for former Golf Channel anchor Win McMurry's effort to take part by dousing herself (in a bikini) with some sub-75-degree tropical bay water. Not quite an ice bucket, but it should do the trick in confirming that enough money has been raised and time to move on to our next, uh, cause.

Jack Jorgensen with the details of Win's effort:


Butch Called Sean: "Nothing lasts forever"

The Former Tiger Woods Instructor Society (aka The Society of The Crossed Instructors) unofficially extended its invitation to the newly scorned Sean Foley in an official phone call from Butch Harmon.

Okay, it wasn't that blatant, but Harmon called Foley to assure him that he's not alone in having been put out to pasture by Tiger.  Rex Hoggard reports.

“Sean’s had great success. He has nothing to hang his head about. I called him and told him that. I told him he worked his tail for this guy,” Harmon said. “Nothing lasts forever.”

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