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    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
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    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
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    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
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    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
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    The Golden Age of Golf Design
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    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
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    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
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    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
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    Men in Green
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    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
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    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • 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
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins

    Kindle Edition

  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

I attribute the insane arrogance of the later Roman emperors almost entirely to the fact that, never having played golf, they never knew that strange chastening humility which is engendered by a topped chip-shot. If Cleopatra had been outed in the First Round of the Ladies’ Singles, we should have heard a lot less of her proud imperiousness.
P.G. WODEHOUSE


    

Thursday
Aug132015

Grantland On Why The Media Adores Jordan Spieth

Bryan Curtis of Grantland descends upon last week's WGC Bridgestone to explore the affinity the modern golf media has for Jordan Spieth.

If you're a Spieth or golf fan it's well worth the few minutes of your time as Curtis elicits some fun takes on the relationship between modern golfers and press. I'll be curious what you all think of the conclusion he reaches about the integrity of Spieth's "artifice."

But first a few points worth noting, starting with this on golf writers having been spoiled by the likes of Palmer and Nicklaus, and turned cynical by Woods.

While Spieth loves drowning the press in detail, Woods is a vicious self-censor. “I remember in 1998, when Tiger was going through his first swing change,” said Golf Digest’s Ron Sirak. “It was at the Bay Hill tournament, and we were in the interview room. I asked him what he was working on, and Tiger’s knee-jerk reaction was, ‘It’s too complicated.’ I said, ‘I’ve been around the game 30 years. Give it a shot.’”

Getting the high hat from Tiger was one thing. He was a generational star. But golf writers noticed a side effect: Young players were not only copying Woods’s swing but his manners. “Tiger was such a grim figure, so dominant, that I think to some extent he just gave permission to everybody to be kind of a dick,” said Jaime Diaz. “A lot of players were. They thought to be a good player you had to be.”

There is also this, which I would agree with my colleague Myers on...

It’s also a strange moral universe that says a Tiger fist pump is a sin against Ben Hogan, but dropping your club after a bad shot or lecturing your ball in midair (both Spieth faves) are lovable eccentricities. “The Tiger stuff bothers me because anything he does, especially now that he’s down, gets portrayed in a negative light,” said Alex Myers. “Anything that a Rory or a Jordan does on their way up — when they’re young, when everybody likes them — they’re being charming.”

Now for the ending, which, I hope you'll read in the context of the piece. Curtis is a Texan and is injecting his experience into matters. That's fine, but I was a bit surprised he took the Texas-style upbringing described as strictly artificial.

A Nice Young Texan is trained, almost from birth, to yes-sir and no-ma’am. To establish eye contact. To call everybody “Mister” (a courtesy Spieth once extended even to Bubba Watson). To comb his hair and tuck in his shirt and not wear anything that isn’t “classy.” The sum of these niceties is to uphold a regional code of conduct — and, mostly, to please strangers. A Nice Young Texan knows no greater reward than hearing his mom’s friend say in a stage whisper, “Your son is such a nice young man.”

After Friday’s second round in Akron, Doug Ferguson asked Spieth, “Why don’t you play golf left-handed?”

“To give everybody else a chance,” Spieth said, finishing the joke.

As if on cue, Spieth added: “Don’t quote me on that.” For if there’s anything a Nice Young Texan doesn’t want, it’s for his niceness to be revealed as a front. The integrity of the artifice — if that’s the right term — is everything.

During the ascendance of Jordan Spieth, a question has floated through the mind of nearly every golf writer: Could Spieth really be this abominably nice? Is it all a show? He isn’t acting, unless it’s Method acting. What Spieth gets out of his love affair with the golf media is no less than a fulfillment of his birthright.

Thoughts?

Wednesday
Aug122015

Stars Aligning? The 2015 PGA Is Here!

Which means, with all of the elite players on their game or hovering around the almost-there stage, plus a pretty solid looking weather forecast, the 2015 PGA Championship has all the makings of a dandy.

So that means we'll probably get a Monday finish with two drones.

Most interesting will be to see how low the scores go. The course is soft and in impeccable shape, a recipe for the first 62 in a major if it weren't for the severity of Pete Dye's design. (Jason Sobel explored the mysterious 62 barrier in this ESPN.com feature earlier this week.)

As for coverage, TNT does not come on until 2 pm ET Thursday and Friday, but PGA.com will have featured group coverage and other goodies. Your direct link here.

As John Strege reported, also look for some new bells and whistles from CBS this week, including more ProTracer and drone footage.

I'm going to spend a lot of time on the course after being inside writing the last few days, so consider this your first round comment thread too.

The opening day groupings.

And the leaderboard.

Wednesday
Aug122015

Sounds Like SEC Will Struggle To Make Its Mickelson Case?

Until the last graph of the WSJ's extensive story on Phil Mickelson, Billy Walters, Dean Foods and the SEC investigation (first mentioned as heating up again by the New York Times) sounded ominous considering the recent resignation of Dean's CEO.

But to make Mickelson a criminal, quite an exchange of favors will need to be proven. It seems hard to fathom based on the tone of WSJ's Michael Rothfeld, Jean Eaglesham and Christopher M. Matthews that Mickelson can be implicated.

From end of the story:

While all three men’s activities are being investigated, the SEC could face a heightened legal hurdle in bringing any case against Mr. Mickelson, after an appeals court last year overturned the convictions of former hedge-fund traders Todd Newman and Anthony Chiasson . The court cited judicial error and prosecutors’ failures to meet their burden of proof in a decision the government has criticized as weakening insider-trading law.

If that ruling were applied in full to any action potentially brought against Mr. Mickelson, the golfer would be liable only if the U.S. could “show that the tipper…expected to receive a personal benefit from disclosing the information and that Mr. Mickelson knew that the insider expected to receive that benefit,” said Adam Pritchard, a law professor at the University of Michigan. The U.S. solicitor general has asked the Supreme Court to review the 2014 ruling.

Wednesday
Aug122015

Trump PGA Still "Scheduled" For '22; Women's PGA To Chicago

The PGA of America held their annual state of the PGA gathering prior to the start of the 2015 championship at Whistling Straits.

Besides revealing a two-for-one KPMG LPGA Championship in Chicago (Olympia Fields 2017, Kemper Lakes 2018), CEO Pete Bevacqua practically gushed over Fields, making it sound like a future PGA Championship venue.

Q. Do you see Olympia Fields as a potential future venue for a PGA Championship, a Senior PGA Championship?

PETE BEVACQUA: I would tell you and obviously Kerry jump in, we have had and continue to have a wonderful relationship with Olympia Fields and we look forward to conducting this championship. And it's our goal to really keep that strong relationship with this unbelievable club going well into the future. We think it's a relationship the PGA of America will have with championships for the next half century.

As for Donald Trump's first PGA in 2022, the event is still on for now even as the Grand Slam of Golf at Trump National LA is off (with no venue selected).

Q. One of the nice touches both here in the media center and all across the golf course was the banners that fly for the future PGA Championship venues. But there seems to be an omission, you made an announcement awhile ago that Trump Bedminster was going to host a PGA Championship in 2022 but as we are here, there isn't a single banner either in the media center or on the grounds that indicates Trump Bedminster is going to be hosting it. Has there been a reconsideration, are there discussions going on, what are we to make of the absence of the Trump Bedminster banner?

PETE BEVACQUA: I would say you're to make nothing of it. We are scheduled to go to Trump Bedminster for our PGA Championship in 2022. As you said we have announced that. It's a wonderful facility, it's two great golf courses. I mean obviously everybody in this room's aware of the situation and presidential politics that is we don't want to get involved in. We're not here to talk about presidential politics. We're certainly here to focus on this year's PGA Championship but we have a relationship in terms of our 2017 Senior PGA Championship presented by Kitchen Aid in the Washington, D.C. area and the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster. Both of those are scheduled.

Scheduled. On the warm and fuzzy scale, I'd put "Scheduled" at 5 on the scale, with Absolutely No Comment a 1 and Can't Frickin' Wait a 10.

As for the idea of getting involved in "presidential politics" as a way out of this, that answer might work had the Grand Slam not been pulled form Trump L.A. It's unclear why one venue is subjected to punishment for having a leader who is alienating people in the eyes of golf's leadership, but other venues are not subject to the same line-in-the-sand.

Wednesday
Aug122015

USGA Opens TV Studio Complete With Non-Conforming Grooves

Dak Dillon of Newscast Studio reports on the USGA opening a new broadcast facility to "make announcements, produce original content and facillitate the participation of USGA guests in outside broadcasts (providing a remote location)."

Dillon says the "sets most unique element is the desk, patterned after a golf club."

The United States Golf Association teed off a flexible studio this summer, part of a broadcast facility upgrade at its Far Hills, New Jersey headquarters.

The studio will be used to make announcements, produce original content and facilitate the participation of USGA guests in outside broadcasts (providing a remote location).

- See more at: http://www.newscaststudio.com/2015/08/11/united-states-golf-association-adds-flexible-studio-with-upgrade/#sthash.84Hr4sT7.dpuf

“The design of the ‘driver’ desk – as we call it – came out of our fascination with the sensuous shape of the golf club’s head, many famous variations of which are prominently displayed in the museum below (at the USGA headquarters),” said Eric Siegel.

“Its complex curves and cantilevered top were a fun challenge for the artisans at Gotham Scenic, who fabricated its base by building it up – layer by layer – and then hand polishing it to a lustrous finish.”

But about those grooves...

Wednesday
Aug122015

Whistling Straits: Who Has The Edge, Will It Separate The Field And Is This Really What A Golf Course Needs To Be?

These are questions I try to settle in 550 words for the Golf World Wednesday edition from the PGA Championship. (It's free and publishing daily, if you haven't subscribed.)

There were some intriguing comments about who the course favors during Tuesday's press conferences and in talking to players. I weigh those, plus my feelings about the scale of the place (it's bloated, relentlessly severe and makes Chambers Bay look manageable in spots).

But most important of all: is this is really a great test of skill and will it separate the merely great from the exceptional? Sadly though, this week may show that a golf course like this may be as good a test as an architect can concoct in a game eroding at its core in adapting to silly professional driving distances.

Anyway, here is the column.

Tuesday
Aug112015

Video: 20 Years After Steve Elkington's Riviera Win

Hard to believe it was 20 years ago this week, and while it's certainly not remembered fondly due to the greens or one of the last tough tickets to sell prior to Tiger's arrival, the 1995 PGA at Riviera was a great week for many of us who attended or volunteered. But most of all, it was a career defining win for Steve Elkington, whose final round 64 allowed him to beat Colin Montgomerie in sudden death. (Brad Faxon's final round 63 to make the Ryder Cup team was pretty sweet too.)

In a Tim Rosaforte-helmed report that also got into Elkington's recent Twitter run-ins (and not appreciated by Elkington, who appears ready to bolt at one point), we see some great footage from that week in 1995, including some of Elkington's swing which, for me, is one of the best of all time.

Tuesday
Aug112015

Sparse Turnout For PGA Champions Dinner; Tiger Appears Dressed As A Faux Wood Pillar**

If you look closely there between Y.E. Yang and Phil Mickelson, the ghost of Tiger Woods is there at the 2015 PGA Championship Champions Dinner

Love how John Daly was enlisted to act as a floral backdrop for the Wannamaker. Nice touch. Wait, maybe Dan Pino had it right, Tiger's the photographer!

The photo Tweeted by the PGA Championship account:

Tuesday
Aug112015

Zach Johnson On Links, Whistling Straits & Liking A Course

Open Champion Zach Johnson was very engaging in today's pre-PGA press conference despite getting a tiny crowd of reporters (peaked at 16!?). Mercer Baggs has a nice roundup of his comments here.

Even though he missed a playoff the last time around at Whistling Straits by just a shot, Johnson was not afraid to admit the course is not a favorite.

I brought up his January comments about the Old Course not being a favorite, hoping to hear less about that and more about his feelings on Whistling Straits and whether a player has to like a course to play well on it.

Here's the full exchange:

Q. Earlier this year you had said The Old Course was not one of your favorite courses in the rota. But you won there.

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah. I'll clarify that. It's inaccurate -- go ahead.

Q. You can clarify. My question, though, related to this week is, do you have to like a golf course to win on it and do you like this golf course?

ZACH JOHNSON: That's a good question. Second part, no, you don't. This isn't my favorite golf course that we stop at for the PGA Championship, but I've played okay here, so evidently I can play here. So, no.

The first part, maybe you did say it right, forgive me if you did, but year in, year out, that's my favorite golf tournament. And inside the ropes, as a competitor and I would say as a quasi--athlete, I don't need motivation to play at the Open Championship. We don't have it here, maybe that's the reason, we don't have true links golf here, in my opinion. I just appreciate what that tournament is all about, and what it requires of me and us, my peers.

Now, if I'm going to go down the list of ranking the venues of The Open Championship, it wasn't my favorite. I mean, that's because there's two or three golf courses I've played in that tournament that I would probably put in my top five, potentially my top two. But St. Andrews is not in the top two or three. It's probably still in my top 10 favorite of all time. Does that make sense?

I just love true links golf. Yes, my love for St. Andrews has certainly grown. And it literally it grew three weeks ago. My appreciation and respect for St. Andrews was always there. It's probably also mushroomed a little bit, for the right reasons.

But it's hard to rank them. And it's not fair to rank them, either, because I love The Open Championship and I love true links golf. I've said that all along.

Someone said I've made now, I don't know what, nine or ten cuts in a row in that tournament. And maybe it's because I love it. Maybe I've got to start doing that in other tournaments. Mentally I go in there and I'm so excited to play, regardless of the venue of that tournament.

Now you tell us punters!

Tuesday
Aug112015

Pelley's First Move: No Euro Tour Sanctioning Of WGC Bridgestone

New European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley is off and running at headquarters in a move somewhat expected but still refreshing to see in the swiftness of the decision/announcement: pulling European Tour sanctioning of the 2016 WGC Bridgestone because the Olympic-year edition conflicts with the Alstom Open de France (the French).

The event is one of the tour's oldest and most important, as it leads into The Open and is played at the 2018 Ryder Cup site, Le Golf National.

Here is the full release. From the text:

“The Alstom Open de France has been a staple on our Tour since 1972 and we are confident that next year’s event, with an increased prize fund alongside the current renovations to the golf course, will properly reflect the importance of the tournament alongside the 100th anniversary celebrations.”

The WGC Bridgestone moves to June 27-July 3rd in 2016 due to the Olympic Games in Rio's schedule-wreaking havoc.

Monday
Aug102015

Feherty: "It was entirely the wrong decision and one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in major championship history."

I'm pretty sure DJ-18-Whistling Straits fatigue will be setting in soon, and if so, you know the drill: scroll on by this or the posts below. But it's interesting to see some of the reflections on this episode from 2010 and in one case, a key spectator speaking his mind.

We can safely assume that at this point you have heard that the walking official, David Price, has repeated his story about asking DJ if he "was OK". I know in the rules world that absolves him even though no one who enforces the rules has ever found themselves in a chaotic situation like that.

These histories, plus the peculiarty of placing a tent over the spot this year, reminds us that the entire situation was out of control, goofy and beneath that of a major championship. As David Feherty, CBS's on course reporter, says in this oral history compiled by Rex Hoggard at GolfChannel.com, the player got a raw deal in this one.

“I was the first one to get to the ball except for the crowd that was spreading beer bottles all around it. It was so not a bunker. It was entirely the wrong decision and one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in major championship history.

“I looked at it and didn’t look at it again and was thinking it was a pretty good lie.

“[Price] goes up to him after he putts out and I’m thinking, does he want an autograph? I had to get [Johnson] out of the shower to interview him. The whole thing was bizarre.

“I was in shock; I can’t imagine how poor Dustin felt. I felt sorry for him to have that yanked out from underneath him like that, it would have destroyed other players.”

Monday
Aug102015

Covering Up The DJ Bunker, No Relief From Reading

On a showerly, sometimes rainy Monday here at Whistling Straits there wasn't much to do but take in the scene of the last 18th hole brouhaha here...wait, what? The Dustin Johnson bunker really as been covered by a corporate tent? And who is the company directly above the half-covered bunker?

I answer that with images on The Loop.

The players are also learning about the bunkers in all of the same places as last time.

That still may not clarify things either. I explain at The Loop.

And we talked about all of this and the remnants of 2010 on Morning Drive.

Monday
Aug102015

NY Times: SEC "Has Escalated" Walters Investigation

Initially it was game on between Billy Walters and Phil Mickelson and the SEC on the subject of an insider trading investigation, then the role of Phil Mickelson was said to be "overstated."

Now the New York Times' Alexandra Stevenson and Matthew Goldstein mention the case in their look at the Securities Exchange Commission feeling under fire for not having caught many white collar criminals.

But in their latest story, the Times reporters are suggesting the Walters case has "escalated," but they do not specify if much has changed as it relates to Mickelson.

Elsewhere, the S.E.C.’s investigation into whether Mr. Mickelson and Mr. Walters possessed inside information about the plan by Dean Foods to announce a spinoff in August 2012 has escalated. The authorities suspect the tip about the spinoff came from a board member at the company who knows Mr. Walters, who then shared the information with Mr. Mickelson, the people briefed on the investigations said.

Mr. Walters’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for Mr. Mickelson declined to comment. Representatives for Mr. Mickelson and Mr. Walters have previously said the men did nothing wrong.

Monday
Aug102015

Where In The World Is Whistling Straits? Haven! 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Gary D'Amato explains why Whistling Straits is in Haven, Wisconsin (Population 30). Not Kohler (the preferred address of those staying in The American Club), Sheboygan (AP's choice) or even the town of Mosel.

D'Amato writes:

The PGA of America and CBS Sports use Kohler as the dateline. In that case, follow the dollar signs, not the ones on the map, because Kohler is 10 miles away.

Technically, Whistling Straits, which will host the 97th PGA Championship starting Thursday, is in the Town of Mosel, a rural/farm community with a population of 781 and fewer than a dozen businesses.

The Journal Sentinel always has gone with Haven as the dateline because County Road FF, which ends at the main entrance to Whistling Straits, passes through Haven about one-quarter mile west of the course.

Haven is unincorporated and consists of about a dozen homes, The Haven Bar & Grill and Richco Structures, which makes roof trusses.

"We call it a 'rural hamlet,'" said Dirk Zylman, the Town of Mosel chair. "My predecessor came up with that, and it kind of stuck."

Monday
Aug102015

Poll: Spieth Wins PGA, Greatest Year In Modern Majors?

As noted in Golf World and debated on Morning Drive, Jordan Spieth has a chance to join Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods as three-out-of-four major winners in one year. A win also gives Woods a strong run for the best single year in major play.

My question: would Spieth’s Win-Win-T4-Win match Tiger’s 2000 5th-Win-Win-Win? (This assumes no runaway win by Spieth, which seems unlikely given the form of so many players with good vibes at Whistling Straits.)

Damon Hack noted in our Morning Drive debate the size of Tiger’s winning scores as evidence of Woods-2000 remaining the greatest single season performance in majors. Call it the Secretariat factor.

Ben Hogan
won the '53 Triple Crown, choosing to play The Open over the PGA. Got him a ticker-tape parade, so I'm including it too as an option for the non-millennials.

Even if Spieth just finishes in the top five, he becomes just the fourth player in history to finish fifth or better in the season's majors (Rickie in '14, Woods twice, Nicklaus twice). Pretty incredible.

What say you?

If Jordan Spieth wins the PGA, greatest year in the modern majors?
 
pollcode.com free polls

Sunday
Aug092015

Handicapping This PGA Should Be Easy, Right?  

Which means this’ll be the year YE Yang finds his touch and becomes a two-time PGA Champion?

As John Strege notes, Bubba Watson has to be the favorite based on his WGC Bridgestone driving show. Or not, based on his play in majors?

The runner-up last time the PGA was played in Wisconsin, Bubba is certainly on my list of eleven, which does not include Rory McIlroy due to his return from injury. But he's dangerous off a layoff and can't be discounted.

Still, the 2010 leaderboard looks eerily like the list of top players in the world right now, making this, to me, a pretty easy one to take some handicapping swings. Day, Watson, Spieth, Johnson and Johnson should all be right there.

Here is my GolfDigest.com breakdown of the eleven I feel are most likely to contend, including all of the obvious names, reasons to like them, and my longshot from the European Tour who made his major debut at Whistling Straits.

Sunday
Aug092015

Video: Jim Nantz's Tribute To Frank Gifford

During the WGC Bridgestone final round, Jim Nantz delivered the news that Frank Gifford had passed and then paid tribute to the quarterback and broadcaster. Gifford loved his golf and did some golf broadcasting for ABC as well.

Nantz's tribute:



Sunday
Aug092015

Revisting The Dustin Johnson Episode, Because We Need To

In the August Golf Digest, Ron Whitten does an excellent job counting the number of hazards at 2015 PGA venue Whistling Straits while revisiting the whole bunker fiasco as idea behind playing all sand as a bunker.

Many will not enjoy the dredging up of this unfortunate moment, but considering that Johnson is a pre-tournament favorite and the incident has never sat well with anyone registering a pulse, it won't hurt to to rehash this as we return to the Straits Course. If nothing else, the talk will serve as a public service reminder to all players to not touch any area of sand with their club before impact.

There was this from Whitten's piece on DJ's odd episode, which ultimately ended up involving his brief, barely discernable pre-shot routine club grounding, not a grounding behind the ball to improve his lie. The randomness and lack of intent makes the entire thing that much more regretable.

Johnson told officials he thought he was in a patch of rough trampled by the gallery. Trouble is, every patch of sand at Whistling Straits is considered a bunker. The course looks like a links in towering sand dunes along the western shoreline of Lake Michigan, but in a previous life, the site was a flat Army air base, crisscrossed by concrete roadways and runways and containing the type of bunkers in which ammunition was stored. When Dye starting transforming it, he found no pure sand on site. The soil was rocky and mostly clay--even the beach was mostly rock--so Dye had 13,126 truckloads of sand hauled in.

Again, in Johnson's defense, photos taken before the Straits opened in 1998 show some of the faux dunes created by Dye were covered in sand, which had been dumped and spread in an apparent attempt to make them appear as natural sand dunes. But then tall fescue grasses overtook them, and the hillsides went from white and barren to green and wavy (golden in the fall). But in 2010, spectators' wear patterns might well have exposed some of that thin layer of sand.

This bit is highlighted not to dispute the findings in 2010, but to just remind all how peculiar the situation is given that the game on links evolved with a "play it as it lies" mantra and the PGA adopted this philosophy at Kiawah for the 2012 PGA, yet not at Whistling Straits. Whitten writes:

Player confusion might lie in the fact that this all-sand-is-a-bunker rule isn't universal. The opposite rule was applied at the 2012 PGA at Dye's Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C., where nothing was considered a bunker. All sand was considered a "transition area," and players could ground their club anywhere. It also differs from the rule the USGA applied at last year's U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, where only sand having rake marks was considered a bunker. All other patches of exposed sand were treated as "through the green," and a final determination was left with the rules official accompanying each group.

From the archives, if you want to relive the episode, there was this post on intent that might be worth a minute of your time. And this from Pete Dye, who would have none of it when talking about Johnson not recognizing he was in a bunker.

"I was standing right there," Dye said. "When he hit the ball in the bunker, the referee walked up to him and said, 'Do you need anything?' and Dustin said, 'No, I'm good.' There were no beer cans in the bunker, there were no chicken bones in there. Ray Charles could have seen it was a bunker."

The CBS coverage from back then showing the "split second" grounding, as Nick Faldo called it. Feherty's return to the bunker after the episode is telling in how (A) many people didn't understand the local rule (B) and how much he felt for Johnson in trying to ID the bunker as a bunker.

Five years later, it seems as if this episode ultimately still feels unresolved because the rule seems so contrary to the spirit of the game, especially since it was so clear that the situation was frenetic, uncontrolled and carrying such hugh ramifications.

Sunday
Aug092015

Reminder If You're Going To Whistling: Drive Very Carefully!

Going back through the archives of posts from the 2010 PGA at Whistling Straits, I'd forgotten just what a lousy time was had by most.

The combination of the marshaling crew (including one laughing at a media member who seriously injured himself falling), awful crowd control, the scale of the venue, the spectator-unfriendlness of the course and the commute for most, meant the gripes were applenty. But best of all was the effort by local law enforcement to enrich the state and local coffers by setting up a ticket-distributing speed trap, even nailing a PGA of America officer rolling a tad too liberally through a stop where an officer was waiting to write up a citation.

So remember players, drive your ball carefully and your courtesy course even more deliberately.

From my post summarizing the week of phone calls that ensued after the 2010 PGA:

And then there were also many remarks of surprise that none of the post-2004 issues with spectating had been resolved. To which I reminded these folks that it'll only get more awkward when the USGA goes to Erin Hills and Chambers Bay, each of which is just as difficult to navigate for those outside the ropes, if not more problematic.

But we know our ruling bodies don't care about these things. They care about how much money they can rake in and how much affection they'll get for going to venues with cachet. Yet it seems in the aftermath of the Dustin Johnson escapade and above mentioned items, Whistling Straits has lost its cache as an elite major venue. What can Herb Kohler do, if anything, to restore order?

It'll be interesting to see what is done this week to make for a better experience or what the USGA is going to do to make Erin Hills another of the made-for-TV major venues despised by most who visit.

Sunday
Aug092015

Video: Lowry's Recovery Shots To Win '15 WGC Bridgestone

If you were trying to follow the WGC Bridgestone action for the low, low Gogo 3-hour price of $21.95 (streaming jams included!), or more likely, out enjoying some Sunday golf, Shane Lowry pulled off some killer back nine shots to clinch the WGC Bridgestone at Firestone. The only thing better than the Irishman's breakthrough win? It's another year until we have to watch golf at Firestone!

Wait, what did you say? Its earlier next year? Less than a year away? Oh well...

Anyway, thanks to PGA Tour Productions for quickly posting Lowry's clever approach shot on 10, aided by a Seve/Arnold finish:

And his Seve shot from the trees on 18.

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