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Books
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    by Chris Millard
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

Royal Melbourne retains a beautiful, hearty, natural look which, in the way of competition, plays very glassy. It takes eternal vigilance in greenkeeping to maintain such a gem as Royal Melbourne…I was familiar with the great Claude Crockford , the superintendent of the course in my era, who neatly summed it up for me one day when he said, "You in America try to grow grass. We try to keep it from growing here." He was light years ahead of most people in his field. BEN CRENSHAW

 

    

Tuesday
Oct072014

Nike Golf CEO Cindy Davis Retiring At 52

The highly competent if not overly-dynamic Cindy Davis announced her retirement at 52 from Nike Golf, where she's been since 2008.

David Dusek's report includes this corporate spin:

Jayme Martin, the vice president and general manager of Nike Global Categories, said, “We thank Cindy for her leadership throughout the years as she has led the development and growth of Nike Golf Business worldwide. Under Cindy’s direction, Nike Golf has steadily delivered profitable growth year after year since 2009.”

Mike Stachura notes in his item that Davis was the "first woman to be named president of a major golf equipment company and still the highest ranking female executive in the game."

Golf was recently singled out in news stories like this one about Nike's robust quarter for being the only sports because the "Action Sports" category not showing all-vital, life-essential growth. Forbes just named Nike the top brand in sports.

Tuesday
Oct072014

Surveys: R&A Pace Of Play, Possible Golf Media Down The Road?

The R&A has posted a Survey Monkey poll to ask about pace-of-play issues in golf.

The twenty or so questions are very straightforward and most of you probably have better things to do with your time. However, I'm also curious what you think of the five minute process and the possibility of this website doing a golf media survey this fall when the news cycle grinds to a halt. Considering the state of things and the ever-changing nature of how we get information, I sense that it would be an interesting exercise to do such a survey and unlike the R&A poll, post some or all of the results here.

Anyhow, all thoughts welcome on Survey Monkey and the idea of a golf media-specific survey.

Tuesday
Oct072014

What Could Go Wrong Files: A-Lister Task Force To Study Team USA's Ryder Cup Issues!

Here we go! You knew that the relatively straightforward issues for Team USA's Ryder Cup prospects--largely addressed by Paul Azinger in 2008 and pretty much ignored by all since--would make this pretty simple. But noooo. Team USA can only be saved by the golf world's go-to, sure-fire way to get nothing done: a celebrity task force!

The PGA of America is going to add another high-profile task force to its docket, reports Rex Hoggard, and by the sound of it this one will rival the PGA's millennial taskers for golf's top ranked task force. The report says the PGA will be countering their Bode Miller and Mark King with Tiger Woods and maybe Phil Mickelson.

According to Bishop, the task force will consist of 10 to 12 members who will be current and former players, former captains and PGA officials. Numerous sources have told GolfChannel.com the group will likely include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III and possibly Paul Azinger, the 2008 U.S. captain who has been mentioned as the next possible captain.

Bishop said the PGA will announce the makeup of the task force “in the next week or so.”

Tim Rosaforte and Damon Hack talked about the task force on Morning Drive, with Hack sharing some insights from Steve Stricker who is lurking as a candidate for the captaincy. Rosaforte says the task force would have been done without Mickelson sounding off after the Cup, via his source, PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua.

Monday
Oct062014

Mickelson vs. Watson Still In The Discovery Stage?

The spat between legendary Hall of Famers hasn't really subsided after Bob Harig's story outlined details of Tom Watson's unusual Ryder Cup behavior, with more unflattering details appearing in Jim McCabe and Alex Miceli's reporting. And yet the analysis feels like it's just scratching the surface.

John Hawkins wonders how "perhaps the greatest wind-and-rain golfer ever turn into such an accountability-dodging curmudgeon amid a foul-weather team atmosphere?" He also concludes that "Watson’s inability to cope with his team’s shortcomings amounts to a much larger and less excusable failure, a catastrophic breach of conduct by a guy who obviously knows better."

Tim Rosaforte talked with Morning Drive's Damon Hack Saturday about Tom Watson's Ryder Cup captain situation and revealed that Phil Mickelson had started bending PGA of America presidents ear at the Scottish Open about Watson's communication style as far back as June when Mickelson had been unsuccessful in talking to the Captain.

Jaime Diaz noted in his Golf World analysis that it’s telling “that as of Sunday, not one player or even assistant captain has publicly come to Watson’s defense” and also points out that the Europeans, while not thrilled with certain captaincies of late, have never broken ranks like the Americans did at Gleneagles and since.

Going forward John Barton thinks Steve Stricker has the makings of a successful captain based on this chart  capain's who are humble and who cares "deeply for his players and who isn't blinded by the size of his own ego" will be successful.

If you plot the 15 American and European skippers since 1985 on a graph, with passion on one axis and humility on the other, it's clear that the humble, passionate men generally win (McGinley, Olazabal, Woosnam, Langer, Torrance, Crenshaw, Stockton), while detached captains with big egos always lose (Watson, Faldo, Nicklaus, Trevino).

I talked with Gary Williams about how the generational gap was going to be an issue all along and also chatted about future captain's and it's hard to see an easier choice than Paul Azinger to commence a forthcoming era of continuity and with just a bit more structure. But as I pointed out, not too much. We wouldn't want to appear as desperate as the other guys!

A golf.com poll of Mickelson vs. Watson ended in a landslide at 694 votes, with Mickelson taking 80% of the votes.

Monday
Oct062014

Video: Brandt Snedeker's 4-Iron Skeet Shot

Nice job by Ned Michaels capturing a one-in-a-million shot by Brandt Snedeker skeet shooting with a 4-iron in the Tennessee woods.

The clip:

Monday
Oct062014

Tiger Goes Where No Golf Architect Has Gone Before...

With the golf course construction-site white belt!

Please, if you know Marty Hackel, do not under any circumstances let him see this image. Lives would be in danger.

This very traditional player-architect-wearing-his-affiliated-$10,000-timepiece photo was taken at Bluejack National, where Woods is reconstructing an existing course.

You can see more images here.

Monday
Oct062014

Writers Name Captain McGinley Euro Tour Golfer Of The Month!

Without citing his ability to navigate the many crossings and other issues involved in driving a four-seat cart at Gleneagles, the Association of Golf Writers have bequeathed September's European Tour Golfer Of The Month award on winning European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley.

Ryan Lavner reports on this vital award given to a man for not hitting a shot!

As always, McGinley was humble and gracious in accepting the award, saying, “I feel there are 12 winners of the Golfer of the Month Award rather than me, but I’m delighted to accept this award on behalf of those 12 players who represented Europe so magnificently in the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.”

And the crew who kept your cart in fine running order, too. Plus the give assistant captains who delivered Band-Aids and other necessities with grace under fire.

Lavner noted this from a voter:

Wrote a breathless panel member, “McGinley got his deserved reward (a Ryder Cup victory) for an 18-month stint where he performed the role with admirable diligence and immense patience and craft.”

Sunday
Oct052014

Bill Haas Was A Captain's Pick Before He Wasn't A Captain's Pick

The ever-likable Bill Haas will need to get in the Tom Watson-disdain line following Alex Miceli’s report that the PGA Tour veteran and former FedExCup champion was a Ryder Cup captain’s pick before the Captain was talked out of the selection by Webb Simpson.

From Miceli’s report that includes a case for Haas over Simpson (and even Chris Kirk) and news that Watson might have consulted fellow Stanford alum and future buddies tripmate Tiger Woods about Haas as a team member:

It's unclear how Woods might have advised Waston, but on Monday night after the Deutsche Bank Championship, Watson called at least some of his team members who were flying from Boston to Denver with the news that Bradley, Mahan and Haas were the picks.

Tuesday morning at Cherry Hills, where the BMW Championship was to be contested, word of Watson's selections had leaked out and the news was being discussed among the caddies and players on the range.

As word began to spread in Denver, Watson was home in suburban Kansas City, listening to an impassioned phone plea from Simpson.

So impassioned that he picked Simpson, only to quickly sour on him at Gleneagles, as Jim McCabe writes in a follow-up to add texture, contrast and some general warm-fuzziness to Bob Harig's report on Captain Tom Watson's bizarro inspirational tactics.

Watson met Mickelson, Bradley and Simpson in the lunchroom and told them that they would be on the bench for the afternoon foursomes, too. (It meant that Simpson, who had played in Friday morning’s four-balls, would sit out three straight sessions and play just twice in this Ryder Cup.)

Several sources said the news was enough of a blow to Mickelson, Bradley and Simpson; what made it worse was how blunt Watson was, disparaging the way the three of them had played Friday. To Mickelson, the captain had crossed the line.

“Phil’s a leader,” said a source who was in the locker room all week. “His fatherhood came out. He’s a protector. He was angry with the way Watson had talked to Keegan and Webb.”

Oddly, while McCabe's sources try to downplay Watson's handling of the gift from the team, a centerpiece of Harig's report, the only thing his conflicting views agree on is the Captain's horrific communication skills, which are at the heart of how he accepted his gift and managed his team.

“Watson didn’t communicate, and he didn’t listen to his vice captains,” said one source. “He was disrespectful (to players), but it wasn’t the time or place for Phil. Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Yet another source took another view. “If Phil did this in private, if he said it to Watson’s face, to (PGA of America president) Ted Bishop’s face, no changes would be made. The U.S. would continue to go down the same alley.”

The PGA of America soon will release a statement, separate from the Watson statement: no decision will be made on the 2016 captain for several months and that plans first will be put into motion to form a committee that will decide on future captains. That would seem to indicate that Mickelson’s bold and aggressive move could serve a positive purpose going forward.

That is confirmed in a radio interview given by PGA of America president Ted Bishop, who selected Watson  and now is confirming that the PGA is going to button up their captaincy selection process with a task force. GolfNewsNet has the link to the interview. Bishop more directly addresses the intention of Mickelson in calling out tactics and confirms that the methodology was productive in getting the PGA's attention.

Sunday
Oct052014

Monty Mum On Next Euro Captain, Names Only The Final Five

Colin Montgomerie isn't saying who he and his colleagues will consider for the next European Ryder Cup captaincy, except to narrow it down to five names.

Tom Clarke
at Golf Monthly reports:

Montgomerie is one of the five-man panel tasked with selecting the next European captain but he wasn’t giving much away when asked about the decision.

“I think there are five main candidates: Thomas Bjorn, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood, Miguel Angel Jiminez and Darren Clarke,” he said.

“There is no question that it is more difficult away from home. The Americans played their ‘wildcard’ this time in selecting Tom Watson as captain, but the question is where they go from here."

Not back to Tom Watson, that I know!

Sunday
Oct052014

Video: Rory Putts Into The Hole...The Road Hole Bunker

Thanks to Andy Zunz at Golfweek.com for spotting the European Tour’s Jamie Kennedy’s posting of this video showing Rory McIlroy knocking it into the hole…granted it was the Road hole bunker.

Oliver Wilson
ultimately won the Alfred Dunhill at St. Andrews in emotional fashion after years of struggle following years of perennial top-50 status.

Alasdair Reid’s story on “one of golf’s greatest redemption tales ever” featuring a Carnoustie byline from St. Andrews.

Sunday
Oct052014

6th Grader Finishes Campus Visits, Selects UConn!

Lance Ringler could almost be filing for The Onion with his report on 11-year-old sixth grader Ben James committing to UConn Men's Golf for the fall of 2021.

This gave me a particularly good laugh:

“I think it’s going to be really fun to play on a team instead of as an individual because that’s how I play – it would be fun to have a team,” said James, who is a Connecticut basketball and football fan. “(Pezzino) is a great coach and fun to be around. The campus was beautiful and he showed me the workout room and practice facility. It was a really nice visit.”

James also made unofficial visits to Wake Forest and Duke and spoke with South Carolina and Clemson.

James’ father, Don, is an assistant coach at Sacred Heart University, a Division I school located in Fairfield, Conn., and member of the Northeast Conference.

“We see it as all positive, and he stays local and we will be able to watch him,” Don James said. “We have thought about it. It is an educational fit for us. Dave (Pezzino) is a great guy and coach. Ben will be close to home and we like to watch him play golf.”

And it goes on to talk about the coach's offer, etc... just comical stuff.

Sunday
Oct052014

Tom Watson Pens "Open Letter" To His Ryder Cup Squad

Responding to the details emerging from Bob Harig's reporting and other inevitable tidbits over the coming weeks, 2014 USA Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson did his best to stop the bleeding by issuing an "open letter" via his friends at the PGA of America. The letter dropped on a busy college football Saturday, a little more than 24 hours after Harig's story.

Here is the letter in its entirety:

OPEN LETTER FROM TOM WATSON, 2014 U.S. RYDER CUP CAPTAIN

In response to all of the recent discussion about our Ryder Cup loss, I would like to make a few comments.

First, I take complete and full responsibility for my communication, and I regret that my words may have made the players feel that I didn’t appreciate their commitment and dedication to winning the Ryder Cup. My intentions throughout my term as Captain were both to inspire and to be honest.

Secondly, the guys gave everything. They played their hearts out. I was proud to get to know each and every one of them. I know they are all going to win tournaments, be on future Ryder Cup teams and have wonderful careers.

Our team certainly showed guts when it took it to the other team early in Sunday's singles matches. We were indeed tied with them as the scoreboard turned wonderfully “red.” Our players started fast as I had asked them to in my comments the night before. I asked them to really concentrate on holes 2-5, as the Europeans had won too many early battles on these particular holes.  But in the end, the facts are that the other team played better. My hat's off and congratulations to them.

As for Phil's comments, I completely understand his reaction in the moment. Earlier this week I had an open and candid conversation with him and it ended with a better understanding of each other's perspectives. Phil's heart and intentions for our Team's success have always been in the right place. Phil is a great player, has great passion and I admire what he's done for golf.

The bottom line is this. I was their Captain. In hindsight whatever mistakes that were made were mine. And  I take complete and full responsibility for them. I want to say again to the players, their families, the PGA and our country how proud and honored I was to captain this talented group of golfers, and how privileged I was to spend the past two years working this labor of my love for the Ryder Cup.

In the Higher Ground Open, Watson took over the early lead and probably has, sadly, defused this completely non-vital but utterly entertaining saga. And he wisely did this in writing so that his sincerity could not be judged. Assuming, of course, that he wrote this and it was not just the work of the PGA's crack PR man Julius Mason and signed off on by Watson.

More interesting will be just how much this ends up as the last word on the matter that golfers remember, or will the slow drip of embarrassing details ultimately overshadow the letter and our memories of Captain Tom Watson.

Friday
Oct032014

St. Andrews: 250 Years Ago Today, Golf Became 18-Holes

Thanks to Edwin Roald who is all for shortening the length of a round and who reminds us it was 250 years ago today (October 4th) that the Society of St. Andrews golfers decided to reduce the size of the Old Course from 22 to 18 holes.

From an R&A story:

In October 1764, a momentous decision was taken by the Society of St Andrews Golfers, which would become The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in 1834.  On the 3rd of October, twelve golfers had played in the Challenge for the Silver Club and the new Captain was William St Clair of Roslyn.  The next day, the 4th of October, they decided that the Old Course should be reduced from 22 holes to 18.

It was minuted that:

‘The Captain and Gentlemen Golfers present are of the opinion that it would be for the improvement of the links that the four first holes should be converted into two, they therefore have agreed that for the future, they shall be played as two holes, in the same way as presently marked out.’

Friday
Oct032014

OMG Ryder Cup Report: Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting! 

Get a little passive-aggressive action in!

After Team USA's 3-1 defeat in Saturday foursomes and then put out of their misery in singles, the question of how the loss might taint Tom Watson’s legacy came up.  Even with it apparent there was more to the story following the surreal press conference and Team USA's bleak prospects heading into the matches, a backroom Ryder Cup soap opera is hardly something that should even put a smudge on Watson’s legend.

But after reading Bob Harig’s report of Saturday night’s meeting debacle, not only is it easy to see Tom Watson’s apparent behavior hurting his legacy and image, but you have to wonder about the state of his sensibilities.

We learn that he inexplicably scoffed at a team gift, denigrated Team Europe's players and opened the proceedings in front of forty or so by telling the team, “You stink at foursomes.'' Take that Lombardi!

Harig quotes multiple sources who witnessed the scene.

After praising the rookie team of Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth, Watson went through the Sunday singles pairings and ridiculed several members of the European side as he went through the matchups. Soon after, Watson was presented a gift by Furyk, a replica of the Ryder Cup trophy that was signed by every member of the team. Instead of thanking them, the sources said Watson said the gift meant nothing to him if the players didn't get the real Ryder Cup on Sunday and that he wanted to be holding it aloft on the green in victory.

Said one of the sources: "That's almost verbatim. He said it basically means nothing to me.''

Added another: "It was fairly shocking that he treated this thoughtful gift with such disdain.''

Harig goes on to explain how Mickelson, excoriated in some circles (notably here and here), tried to salvage the evening by telling stories about each of his teammates after speeches by assistant drivers North, Floyd and Stricker.

Friday
Oct032014

Video: Azinger Says "The Problem Is Deep"

Nice get for lifestyle network Back9 to get Paul Azinger on to talk with John Maginnes and Jeff Rude about the state of the U.S. Ryder Cup selection and organizational model. Nothing too different from his previous quotes but interesting to hear the explanation from the horse's mouth.

Here's the clip:

Thursday
Oct022014

The Course Formerly Known As Avenel Is Back!

The TPC Avenel was once loathed by players--some say unfairly--and now it's back on the PGA Tour in 2017 as part of the Quicken Loans National rota. Having reemerged from the witness protection program as the TPC Potomac, the course has undergone a complete renovation under the eye of PGA Tour Design Services head Steve Wenzloff.

From an unbylined PGATour.com report:

“My foundation is deeply committed to the D.C. area with our three learning centers and Earl Woods Scholarship Program students,” Tiger Woods, two-time Quicken Loans National champion and Tiger Woods Foundation founder said. “We are excited to take the Quicken Loans National to another top course in the area that will challenge our strong field.”

“We believe TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm will prove to be an outstanding test for the Quicken Loans National field in 2017,” said Charlie Zink, Co-Chief Operating Officer of the PGA TOUR. “With the extensive work that was done in 2008, the players who competed there previously will find it to be a much different golf course and tournament facility. We very much look forward to bringing the Quicken Loans National to TPC Potomac in three years.”

The move to TPC Potomac will follow the Quicken Loans National being held at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia, July 27 - Aug. 2, 2015 and the 2016 tournament returning to Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.

Thursday
Oct022014

Video: Rory Duels Dog, Reminder That They Get It In The UK

They bring their fury friends for rounds of golf and even as they spectate a relaxed event like the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Good on Rory McIlroy to have fun with an joyfully oblivious black lab that got loose during round one. McIlroy opened with a 73.

The video:

Thursday
Oct022014

Steve Harmon Is The New Editor At Golfweek

According to this week’s issue, Jeff Babineau has “stepped aside” for Harmon, the deputy editor.

The item says Babineau will be returning to covering the PGA Tour. I had originally posted Babineau's very classy farewell editor to the staff that made the rounds, but Babineau took exception and I removed it even as the same letter was quoted in Golfweek’s story on his departure. The item in the magazine says he will be covering the PGA Tour full time.

Thursday
Oct022014

Stevie Displays Rare Sense Of Humor: Open To Looping For Tiger

An unbylined AP story says Steve "Don't Call Me Stevie" Williams has thrown his last camera into a lake and is "90 percent" sure he's done lugging around oversized golf bags.

Except, perhaps, if the guy who called him Stevie calls.

From an unbylined AP story:

Asked if he would be prepared to work with Woods again, Williams said "he's definitely someone I'd consider."

"He's a tremendous talent, but it's hard to say right now because it's only two weeks since I've hung up the clubs," Williams said.

Thursday
Oct022014

Only Pope Francis Not Yet Mentioned As USA Ryder Cup Savior

And I’m pretty sure at this pace Pope Francis is next on someone’s list.

Here's a quick roundup of those nominated or discouraged from taking the currently mythical job of helping Team USA not embarrass itself at future Ryder Cups...

Gary Williams says former Deutsche Bank CEO Seth Waugh would be an agent for change capable of bringing a “cache of humility” to solve Team USA’s various issues. I can't disagree, though I'm not sure the problems Team USA face are worth wasting the time of an ex-CEO who could probably make greater societal contributions than ensuring millionaires tell millionaires if they are playing afternoon foursomes.

Doug Ferguson nominates no one but is clear who should not take the job: Paul Azinger. Why? Because “his reputation only grows each time the Americans fail. Why would he want to risk that when there is no guarantee of reward?”

Jay Coffin
wants us to take a Team USA basketball approach and look to someone like former Suns owner and dour personality extraordinaire Jerry Colangelo to structure the Golf USA model. Why not the Pope?

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