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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
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    by Geoff Shackelford
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  • The Art of Golf Design
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    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
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    by Geoff Shackelford
  • 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
    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
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    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
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    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
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  • 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
  • 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
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  • 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

Every golfer wants a challenge, but he doesn't want to be out there fighting the Korean War.



Video: The Happy Dog At White Sand Beach 

It's hard to imagine a more perfect looking day at Pebble Beach during round one of the 2015 AT&T National Pro-Am, and this guy pretty much summed it up. Love the beach cam bringing him all of his glory, as well as the blimp shot that didn't make this cut.

From PGA Tour Entertainment:


Steiny: Tiger Wants "To Play Right Now" & "Chomping At The Bit"

You almost have to feel sorry for agent Mark Steinberg and Tiger's team as they watch the drama unfold and undoubtedly wake up wondering what is next. Almost.

Talking to's Rex Hoggard, see if you can read this part without at letting out a chuckle.

As to when Woods, who has played just nine events in the last year and a half, may return, Steinberg wouldn’t speculate, saying only that Woods plans to start working on his game on Monday in south Florida.

“He wants to play right now, to be honest with you,” Steinberg said. “He’s chomping at the bit. Honestly, he competes to compete at the absolute highest level. Clearly these last two events weren’t up to that. When that swing gets grooved he’ll be ready to go.”

Let's ignore the obvious: that playing golf is sheer misery for Tiger right now, and just stick to the practical.

If Woods wants to play "right now," the Northern Trust Open is still available as an option.

And when he gets that swing grooved? He still has that wedge game. The putter isn't thrilling either, but he did make some nice 8-footers at Torrey Pines at least.

Steinberg also told's Bob Harig about the relief the Woods camp felt when the physios inspected the patient "over the weekend" and found the glute deactivation was not related to the sacrum popping issues of last year. Oh yeah, you'd forgotten his sacrum popped and had to be put back into place.

Steinberg said there was "relief'' in the Woods camp when it was revealed that the latest back trouble was not related to surgery he had in March of last year. "He got treatment immediately and over the weekend when he got home, and it alleviated the discomfort quite a bit,'' said Steinberg, who also added Woods has been able to do some light chipping and putting.

Woods left open the possibility that he would play the Honda Classic in two weeks, but that would appear a bit premature. Steinberg suggested Woods would get back to work in earnest next week, which means he'd have five days to find his game before entering? Seems unlikely.


Golf Channel Prez On Ratings, More College Golf & Protracer

Golfweek's Martin Kaufman sits Golf Channel President Mike McCarley down for a three-part interview as part of the channel's 20th anniversary celebration. Part one is here, part two and part three.

Most interesting were his comments on ratings and Tiger in 2014.

GWK:Tiger Woods has been the big ratings driver. How do you feel about golf as we’re beginning to approach the post-Tiger era.

McCarley: This year was a great example. Tiger was out for basically his entire season, and for Golf Channel, the rating for the year was exactly the same as it was last year, which was the best year in the history of the network. That’s a testament to a lot of things. There’s a lot of programming and production changes and improvements that have been made that are reflected in those numbers. And two, there are a lot of things in the game that are working well. The LPGA had a terrific year. There are things like the Drive, Chip & Putt, which was new. The NCAA Championships were back on TV. The “Arnie” documentary (aired).

We had the highest-rated April in the history of the network, and there was no Tiger in April at all.

McCarley explains the channel's interest in college golf after years of not showing much:

One area where we’ll focus more because it’s an important piece of the fabric of the game is youth. So what we did this year with the NCAA (Championships) got a lot of people’s attentions, we saw a really nice lift in ratings, but more importantly we introduced the stars of the professional tours to the audience at a younger age. And hopefully that will start to make those kids more recognizable, so they . . . arrive on the professional scene with more cachet. I think college golf has been an overlooked and under-covered part of the game, and a lot of that is on us. We’re diving in and the response we’ve gotten from both the college golf community, the professional tours and the industry as a whole has been really positive.

The other topic of interest for those who (like me) want more Protracer will get it in 2015.

I think Protracer has been terrific, and we’re going to have Protracer at nearly 40 events this year – not only using it in tournament coverage but in our news coverage. One of the most interesting news shows we had (in 2014) was one of the pregame shows from Doral when Tiger was on the range and we had Protracer, and you were seeing the ball go left and right, and really didn’t know what was going on with this guy. Later that day, he had to get out of the event because of his back. There’s something weirdly mesmerizing about watching the path of the ball flight, especially when the players are on the range and are working on things. And there will be more things like that.


Robert Allenby’s Credit Card Thief Nabbed; His Kidnappers To Remain At Large In Perpetuity

Honolulu strip club regulars and tourists walking of the Amuse Wine Bar can breathe a big sigh as police have caught the man who took Robert Allenby's credit cards while the Australian PGA Tour golfer lay passed out after hitting his head on a rock.

Though Allenby concocted for multiple television interviews a story of kidnapping and ditch dumps and what sounded like offspring of the Manson family beating him up for national television, the Honolulu Police Department spokesman tells the Herald Sun's Aleks Devic that the media exposing the contradictions made their job more difficult.

A Honolulu PD spokesman said Allenby’s version of events as “very consistent” throughout and criticised media coverage of the incident, which he said had made the police’s investigation more difficult.

When asked if police believed the suspect had obtained the cards from a passed out Allenby, the police spokesman said: “We’re not speculating as to how he got it. We know he had it and he used it.”


Bound To Happen Files: First Coachella Valley Course Closes

Thanks to all the readers who sent in Larry Bohannan's story about the plight of Palm Desert's Santa Rosa Golf Club.

While Palm Springs enjoys a resurgence and even a youthful reinvention of the Rat Pack era hotels, many in golf wonder about the future of the Coachella Valley going forward. And now it's losing its first course in part because of dwindling member support, but mostly because of location and banks.

Economics is at the heart of the issue, said Altofer, an investment advisor who moved to the desert from Connecticut 10 years ago.

"As the membership was diminishing, cash flow was diminishing," he said.

The club was paying off a 15-year, $700,000 bank note, but the bank had the right to call in the note at various times. That's just what the bank did, even though Altofer said the club was paying the loan like clockwork.

"They were getting a good rate on it, particularly in this environment," Altofer said. "And they said we are not lending to golf anymore. We are not going to renew it. They were very firm on that."

The course also faced repayment of what Altofer described as a $400,000 member loan. In the end, club members knew they weren't going to be able to come up with the cash as membership continued to drop. The decision was made to sell the property two years ago. The natural buyer was RJT Development, which owns 17 undeveloped acres adjoining the Santa Rosa property. Combined, the property will feature about 96 acres for residential development in a prime Palm Desert location.


Tiger Deactivating His Game To Spend More Time With His Game

In Tiger's exclusive to the headline writer seemingly didn't know how to interpret the copy: "His back feeling better, Tiger plans to work on his game and play again soon."

But the short item (and Tweet) by Tiger lays the groundwork for not playing again anytime soon. Maybe.

Right now, I need a lot of work on my game, and to still spend time with the people that are important to me. My play, and scores, are not acceptable for tournament golf. Like I've said, I enter a tournament to compete at the highest level, and when I think I'm ready, I'll be back. Next week I will practice at Medalist and at home getting ready for the rest of the year. I am committed to getting back to the pinnacle of my game. I'd like to play The Honda Classic -- it's a tournament in my hometown and it's important to me -- but I won't be there unless my game is tournament-ready. That's not fair to anyone. I do, however, expect to be playing again very soon.

Woods appears to be preparing cynics and videographers of the world for an appearance of Lindsey Vonn's downhill competition and charity fundraiser Saturday night.

Then he's letting the range staff at Medalist know he'll be out next week, so pack up any of the mirrors or glass objects within 30 yards of the practice green. Shoot, no ball pyramids either. Too embarrassing when you take those out, too.

And finally, he'd love to play the Honda but by golly, it's probably not in the cards.

Beyond that? Who knows and as Darren Rovell notes, the only people who truly care are the sports books in Vegas taking prop bets from the true believers.

A "leave of absence" phrase--not in the statement--made many early appearances on Twitter and on's item, but agent Mark Steinberg tells's Bob Harig that is not the case.

"Nowhere did we say it was a leave of absence," Steinberg said. "He's going to work on his game and when his game is back to form ... his game was in bad shape when he made swing changes in the past. He needs to work on this away from a public setting. He needs to work on this on his own."'s Jim McCabe on the statement:

All in all, it seemed to be a rather confounding statement, one that was hardly definitive, nor did it go into details about “the latest injury,” he mentioned.

Brandel Chamblee talked to Rich Lerner on Golf Central and called the decision “predictable.”

Ernie Els, returning to Pebble Beach for the AT&T says he is not relishing seeing what Tiger has become, reports Doug Ferguson.

"As competitive as we are, we don't want to see anyone suffer like that," said Els, who has finished second to Woods more than any other player. "We've got to do our stuff in public. I don't care if you're Tiger Woods, Ernie Els or whoever. If you have some error in your game, you get exposed."

Ryan Lavner notes at that the deadline to commit to the Honda Classic is February 20th, and shares this from Woods life-coach Notah Begay.

“I don’t think this is an issue of physical limitations,” Woods' close friend Notah Begay III said on “Golf Central”. “It’s an issue of trying to get this short-game thing worked out and then … carrying it over into tournament golf.”

Randall Mell of concludes...

The news today, as best we can surmise, is that Tiger is pulling away from the game, in some sort of way that differs from his usual breaks. Why else pen a story like this and tweet it out?


Olympic Club's Famed Burger Stand Crushed By Tree

Thanks to the reader who forwarded this tragic sight: the Olympic Club's world famous Lake Course snack bar, home to the user-friendly and one-of-a-kind Bill Burgers.

The tree fell after recent rains hammered the Bay Area.

The club hosts the inaugural USGA Four-Ball this May, where spectators were no doubt praying Bill Burgers would be available. Hopefully the stand is back up and running soon!


PGA Tour Launches Rickie Fowler Network...No Wait, Skratch TV

The New York Times' Richard Sandomir says the "PGA Tour hopes that a new digital network will help bring it younger fans — those who prefer short videos to televised tournaments and footage of golfers whooping it up when they’re not characters in hushed-voice network broadcasts. These millennial fans want to watch golf differently from earlier generations who were weaned on the feats of Arnie and Jack."

And apparently, if you change the spelling of scratch to Skratch the juices just flow down Millennial River.

“We’ve had a healthy anxiety that we weren’t going to reach this generation with our traditional platforms,” said Rick Anderson, the tour’s executive vice president for global media.

Oh come on Rick, CBS dumped their theme. Yanni outHelmut VonLichten in. But go on...

“If we’re not producing content and putting our sport out there on platforms in ways that they’ll consume it, are we going to miss them?”

Did they ever watch before?

The concept as presented by Sandomir and in the press release below isn't all horrible. We all know the PGA Tour needs to spice up their presentation, speed up the sport and embrace more fun. A quick view of the initial videos suggests someone is eerily obsessed with Rickie Fowler.

Maybe that's where the K in scratch comes from?

Anyway, the theme for Skratch TV is, of course, all about short, cool, GoPro, etc... and no one over 34 is known to have a pulse much less a cool bone in their body.

Undoubtedly, some of the content will be really good and embedded here. They've got pros on the case, though joint venture suggests the Censors of Ponte Vedra could numb the content down.

To find them and keep them, the tour has begun a joint venture with Bedrocket, a digital entertainment company, to create an online network called Skratch TV. The deal will be announced Wednesday.

The goal of Skratch is “to be a storyteller in short, shareable ways,” said Brian Bedol, the founder and chief executive of Bedrocket. Videos focusing on golfers’ personalities and lifestyles and goings-on at tournaments away from the action will be posted on social media in hope of drawing people to the Skratch site, where they can see more.

Like most other things, this is millennial driven since golf is behind even MLB in reaching the only people who matter. But was the PGA Tour ever anywhere but in a distant fifth in reaching the coveted kids, regardless of the era? Sandomir writes:

According to a 2014 Doublebase survey by the media research company GfK MRI, only 20.2 percent of the tour’s television viewers are millennials — which the survey defined as people born between 1977 and 1994. That is the smallest share among the five organizations examined, which included the N.B.A., the N.F.L., Major League Baseball and Nascar. In addition, at 52.3, the mean age of tour viewers is the oldest.

Here is the full press release with some nice jargon. "Rich cooperation" is a keeper...

Skratch recently launched a social-platform beta, in conjunction with the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Farmers Insurance Open. Delivered natively across Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Vine, and YouTube, the preview was bolstered by rich cooperation with GoPro, Callaway, and Farmers, and featured top pros Rickie Fowler, Ryan Palmer, Patrick Reed, Keegan Bradley and others.

Of the videos posted to YouTube, this one was almost spectacular and still fun. Next time, less Jason Day and more skydiver, please.


New R&A Chief Makes Growing The Game His Focus; Could Start By Helping Out The Pete Cowen's Of The World

Alistair Tait reports that incoming R&A Chief Martin Slumbers, who takes over this fall for Peter Dawson, is already beating the grow the game drum.

Don't worry, he'll learn soon enough. In the meantime...

“I think we have to get back to grassroots. We have to find something that appeals to different generations. I think the answer for under 15- to 20-year-olds is going to be different than the answer for 30- to 40-year-olds is going to be different than the answer for 50- to 60-year-olds.

“Absolutely I think the R&A can help. What we want to make sure is we help the unions, help the PGA, do everything we can, use the benefits of the commercial success of the Open and really work to go, over a number of years, find a series of solutions that get people wanting to play this game."

Mr. Slumbers need not look far: The Daily Mail's Derek Lawrenson opens his weekly column with a look at the struggles of noted instructor and all-around nice guy Pete Cowen, who has developed many top golfing talents.

Cowen's Rotherham-based academy hosts all kinds of aspiring players, from disabled children to elite amateurs, but has been broken into recently and faces funding issues.

Picture a British tennis coach so good he pulled off the equivalent of tutoring the top three the last time The Open was staged at St Andrews. This is a man whose teaching skills are so respected 11 of the 12 players who contributed to Europe’s Ryder Cup victory at Gleneagles last year were coached or asked for his help at some point. The untold largesse the Lawn Tennis Association would lavish in his direction.

In golf? ‘I’ve been in touch with the various bodies but when you ask for help it falls on deaf ears, unfortunately,’ says Cowen. ‘I’m not looking for any massive handouts. I don’t think you produce great sportsmen and women that way. But we do need a helping hand.

‘My fear is golf is dying at grassroots level. If places like mine are forced to close, what hope is there?’

Sounds like a perfect place for the R&A to spend its new Sky money!

Oh and on that topic, it seems Slumbers' predecessor and mentor for the next six months, Chief Inspector Peter Dawson, has been hearing from his constituents about leaving the BBC for Sky.

In a roundtable with reporters, Dawson suggested the BBC did not even make a final offer (or cynics might suggest the Beeb saw where things were headed and didn't want to help drive up the price).

James Corrigan reports on this and the hate-mail received by Dawson.

“We have had plenty of hate mail, mostly from people who clearly haven’t read our rules regarding etiquette judging by the intemperate language they contained,” Dawson said here at the R&A clubhouse.

“It is a natural reaction for people to be upset, but when you analyse the two bids we received, they shouldn’t be. If they could see what those bids involved, everyone would have made the same decision that we reached.”

Everyone! He will be missed.

Ewan Murray of The Guardian noted Dawson's stance that moving from BBC to Sky would not in any way matter with regards to the state of the game, and sadly, Dawson probably is right. Though I can picture some serious jaw-clenching as he says this...

“I think it is actually borderline absurd at this stage to suggest that, given where we are at in golf and broadcasting, four days of the Open is going to make a dramatic difference in participation in itself,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the case, frankly."

But as The Scotsman's Martin Dempster writes, Dawson also contradicted himself in defending the BBC's decision.

He was asked if the BBC had lost interest in golf due to the game losing some of its appeal, a fact backed up by a drop in both participation and membership numbers. “I think it’s certainly something that crosses one’s mind from time to time. I think BBC, as anyone does, has to make choices as to their priorities,” replied Dawson. “I think it’s down to the economics of it all and the commercial pressures that free-to-air TV is under.”

Lawrenson, in his column also took on the R&A's stance after surveying golfers.

Rarely in 30 years writing about golf can I recall an announcement provoking the depth of anger that has followed the Royal and Ancient Golf Club’s decision to take live coverage of The Open away from the BBC.

Indeed, you’d probably have more luck finding business CEOs who support Ed Miliband than golfers who think our leaders have got this one right. I’ve had emails from readers asking me to organise petitions, even a boycott of this year’s Open at St Andrews.

At my local club on Saturday, the verdict was unanimous. ‘Even my friends who are R&A members think it’s a dreadful decision,’ said one influential member, who really would know plenty of R&A types.

Meanwhile, as Brian Keogh notes based on a radio interview Peter Alliss gave today, this year's Open may be the last for the announcing great.


Even Notah Is Laughing At The Glutespeak

Emily Kay documented Tiger life coach Notah Begay's appearance on the Dan Patrick Show and even someone who has done a nice job balancing his Golf Channel commentator role with his Woods friendship could not stop chortling at the deactivated glutes nonsense.

Kay reports:

"Tiger said his ‘glutes failed him,’ whatever that means," said Patrick, to which Begay responded with amusement.

"I think it was ‘the glutes weren’t firing,’ Dan," Begay clarified with a chortle.

After Patrick conceded he had never heard an athlete express, well, anything, in just that way, Begay agreed.

"I think Webster’s is going to add that in the next edition of the dictionary," Begay said, still snickering. "I guess if that’s the place we have to start, we’re way further behind than we originally thought."

 On a serious note, injury sufferers can relate Begay's concise view of what plagues Tiger:

"The mechanical deficiencies leaked into his confidence and then confidence leads into doubt, and then it's just an avalanche of doubt and second-guessing after that," he added. "That's kind of what we're seeing, this culmination of physical scar tissue from his injuries, mental scar tissue from playing a lot of bad golf, and now [his] confidence is definitely lower than it's been in a long time." For sure, that’s no laughing matter.

The full interview is worth a listen:


When Tour Players Twitter Correct: Cyprus Point Edition

Jordan Spieth Tweeted that he played "Cyprus" Point Tuesday and his friend and rising PGA Tour talent Justin Thomas channeled that University of Alabama education to pounce on his bud, who left Texas early.

Roll Tide!

Spieth, to his credit, acknowledged his mistake succinctly. 


Captain McGinley’s Clubs Stolen On AT&T Eve Prompting Annual Question About The Field For This Once Proud Event

Hamed Aleaziz of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that victorious European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley stopped to check out the fresh air at SF’s Ocean Beach and came back to found his clubs, Ryder Cup charity items, passport and luggage had been stolen.

This prompted the world to ask, just who gets in this event again? Oh, wait, first the Captain's nightmare:

“I was just disappointed,” said McGinley, 48. “I had only been in the country an hour and a half. It can happen in any country, or city in the world. I thought it was safe, and it didn’t cross my mind.”

While we all sympathize with McGinley’s plight and hope the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce works quickly to ensure he has another passport and his trip made less awful, this was yet another reminder that the AT&T National Pro-Am digs deep down the depth charts to fill out its PGA Tour (mostly) field.

What some would consider a week of a lifetime—playing Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula CC while sipping fine Napa wines, savoring artichoke soup and hanging out with well-connected blowhards—has become a chance to see names entered in a PGA Tour event that recall glory days of centuries past. I know that some of today's Hogan and Sneads can't deal with poa and the craters created by amateurs, but isn't this mostly about the PGA Tour calendar spreading stars thin and turning what should be one of the most watched events of the year into a glorified Callaway Invitational?


14 Collegiate Players Get A Monday One-Spotter At Riviera

This has to be one of the neater ideas and just the kind of thing that needs to happen on Mondays at PGA Tour stops now and then to generate buzz while serving the game at large. Too bad, it'll be behind closed doors.

The inaugural Northern Trust Open Collegiate Showcase features 14 pros with a collegiate player (mostly from their alma mater) and two amateurs raising money for college golf.

The only downside to this Monday pro-am replacement for the usual pro with briefcase event? The course is closed to spectators for Monday and Tuesday practice rounds of the Northern Trust Open to save money. Oh and Monday is a national holiday and the weather forecast is ideal.

With stars like Haas, Spieth, Furyk, English and Holmes playing for the cause, too.

Anyway, here is Brentley Romine's item on the inaugural event listing the committed players and their collegiate representatives. And the full release below:

First-ever Northern Trust Open Collegiate Showcase kicks off tournament week
Tournament exemption on the line as 14 collegians play alongside top PGA TOUR players
LOS ANGELES – Northern Trust Open tournament officials are pleased to unveil the inaugural Northern Trust Open Collegiate Showcase, a first-of-its-kind event that will take place Monday, February 16, and kick off an exciting tournament week at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.  Top PGA TOUR pros will play alongside 14 standout collegiate golfers from across the country and two amateurs, representing their respective universities.  The professional and the two amateurs (not the collegian) will team up in a best-ball competition and compete for the Collegiate Showcase Trophy and a donation of $50,000 to the university’s golf program. Each collegian will play their own ball with the low medalist earning a spot in the Northern Trust Open just three days later.
“We are excited to launch the Northern Trust Open Collegiate Showcase and are thrilled with the caliber of players who are giving back to their schools by participating,” said Northern Trust Open Executive Director O.D. Vincent.  “Our goal is to promote growth of the game by bringing more attention, and ultimately funds, to collegiate golf, and to offer another avenue for an up-and-coming collegiate player to experience the best the PGA TOUR has to offer.”
“We are extremely proud to add the Collegiate Showcase to Northern Trust Open week,” said Rick Waddell, Chairman and CEO of Northern Trust.  “In addition to being a one-of-a-kind exemption supporting college golf, it also allows us to build on our 125-year-old culture of caring and giving back to the communities we serve.”


The Initial Dozen: Royal And Ancient's First Women Members

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews' past discriminatory ways have been belatedly remedied by the admission of Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal (Princess Anne), who gains honorary admittance to the club before the Royal Highness of all Royal Highnesses, Her Majesty The Queen. Maybe as an R&A "patron" Queen Elizabeth will get some revenge by revoking Royal status to some courses?

James Corrigan in the Telegraph notes Princess Anne's inclusion is a tad strange because her past deragatory remark that "Golf seems to me to be an arduous way to go for a walk - I'd prefer to take the dogs out."

Perhaps more glaring is the case of St. Andrews University principal Louise Richardson, who remains the first leader of that institution to be snubbed by the club. Something tells me going public about members waving their ties at her did not help the cause. I know, big limb there.

And how about a little posthumous nod to Mary Queen of Scots, the first woman golfer beheaded 457 years ago last Sunday? There's always next year.

Before we get the "ordinary" members who have been added (below the release), let's look at the first women admitted to the club free of financial obligations! Well, except maybe a few token appearances here and there...maybe when cameras are present, even.

Tweeted and also For Immediate Publication...

For Immediate Publication
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club announces new honorary members

10 February 2015, St Andrews, Scotland: The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is delighted to announce that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Dame Laura Davies, Renée Powell, Belle Robertson MBE, Lally Segard, Annika Sorenstam and Louise Suggs have accepted invitations to become honorary members of the Club.

George Macgregor OBE, the Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, said, “It is an honour and a privilege for The Royal and Ancient Golf Club to welcome these remarkable women as honorary members. The Princess Royal enjoys a strong bond with Scotland and has shown great energy and commitment to developing sport through her work in the Olympic movement.

“This is an historic day for the Club and we could not be more proud also to welcome women who have distinguished themselves in golf over many years and have been great players and champions. They are extremely worthy additions to our roll of honorary members and will become ambassadors for the Club as they have been for the sport of golf throughout their careers.”

The Princess Royal follows Their Royal Highnesses The Duke of Edinburgh, The Duke of York and The Duke of Kent in becoming an honorary member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club.

For those of you keeping score, the highnessess in order: Princess Anne, Prince Phillip, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.

Having herself competed in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, The Princess Royal is a member of the International Olympic Committee and was a member of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games. The Princess Royal is a Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle in Scotland and has been Patron of the Scottish Rugby Union since 1986.

In September, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club’s members voted by an 85% majority to admit women as members for the first time in its 260-year history. Today’s announcement follows that historic ballot and, in addition to the honorary members, a number of women have been admitted as members of the Club with more set to follow in the coming months.

Dame Laura Davies, is widely regarded as Britain’s greatest female golfer having won four Major Championships and 79 events around the world. Davies won the Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale in 1986 and the US Women’s Open in 1987, becoming the first and only player to hold both titles at the same time. She played in every Solheim Cup match from 1990 to 2011 and is the leading all-time points scorer. A former world number one, Davies was the first non-American to finish at the top of the LPGA money list and she also won the LET Order of Merit a record seven times. In 2014 she was appointed DBE for her services to golf and in July 2015 she will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame at a ceremony in St Andrews.

Renée Powell played in more than 250 events on the LPGA Tour. In 1979, Powell became the first woman to be a head professional at a golf course in the United Kingdom, at Silvermere, near London. After leaving the LPGA Tour in 1980, Powell developed inner-city youth golf programmes in the United States and in 1995 she became the first African-American female Class A member of The PGA of America and the LPGA. In 2003, she received the Professional Golfers' Association’s First Lady of Golf award and four years later the inaugural Rolex For the Love of the Game Award. In 2008 she was made an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) by the University of St Andrews.

The great Scottish amateur golfer Belle Robertson won the British Ladies Amateur Championship in 1981 and the Scottish Ladies’ Close Amateur Championship on seven occasions. Robertson represented Great Britain and Ireland in seven Curtis Cups and was part of the first team to win the match on American soil in 1986.  She captained the team twice. Robertson was voted Scottish Sportswoman of the Year on four occasions and Woman Golfer of the year three times. In 1973, Robertson was appointed MBE for services to golf and was named as one of the 50 inaugural members of the Scottish Sport Hall of Fame in 2002.

Lally Segard (née Vagliano) is one of France’s greatest golfers, winning the British Girls’ Championship in 1937 and, as Vicomtesse de Saint-Sauveur, 15 international titles including the British Ladies’ Amateur in 1950. As President of the Women’s Committee of the World Amateur Golf Council (now the International Golf Federation) she helped found the Espirito Santo Trophy, the women’s World Amateur Team Championship. She was France’s non-playing captain from the inaugural event in 1964 until 1972. Segard is an Officer of France’s National Order of Merit and a Commander of the Order of Sporting Merit.

One of the most successful golfers in history, Annika Sorenstam is a former world number one who won 89 events around the world, including ten Major Championships. She won the Rolex Player of the Year award on eight occasions and represented Europe in the Solheim Cup eight times between 1994 and 2007, before serving as vice-captain for the victorious European side in 2011 and 2013. Sorenstam was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003 and retired from competitive golf in 2008 to focus on establishing the Annika Academy and the Annika Foundation, which support aspiring junior golfers.

Louise Suggs, a co-founder and former President of the LPGA, won the US Amateur in 1947 and the British Ladies’ Amateur in 1948, before turning professional and winning 58 events, including 11 Major Championships. Suggs was an inaugural inductee into the LPGA Hall of Fame, established in 1967, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1979. The Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, given each year to the most accomplished first-year player on the LPGA Tour, is named in her honour. In 2007, Suggs received the Bob Jones Award, given by the USGA in recognition of great sportsmanship in golf.

Enough about the freebies, below is the notice to members on new dues-payers. Mrs. Bonallack finally gets to see where her husband's office used to be!


IBF On Tiger: "It's not the yips. It's not a spasm. It's a fear."'s Nick Menta summarizes Ian Baker Finch's SEN radio appearance talking about Tiger Woods.

As a former Open Champion who was for a time one of the world's best and who later struggled with his driver, Baker-Finch sums up the struggles accurately.

"I would hit 50 perfect drives on the range, and snap-hook it off the first tee," he said. "[Woods] does exactly the same thing. At the first tee at Augusta every year he’s so nervous he hits it 100 yards off line, and he’s just hit 50 perfect drives on the range. You can’t tell me that that’s a bad back, or a swing flaw. It’s totally mental. It’s a fear.

"And it's not the yips. It's not a spasm. It's a fear."

AP's Doug Ferguson sums up what is so disturbing about Woods' decline:

Most disturbing is how easily it has become to withdraw. In his brief interview among a circus atmosphere in the parking lot, no one asked if Woods risked further injury by completing the last six holes (and presumably two putts). Could he not have gutted out the first round and tried to activate his glutes Friday morning? Notah Begay said over the weekend on Golf Channel that a text from Woods indicated it was not a "major concern."

One major concern is motivation and, yes, desire.

That would be unlike the Woods of yesteryear — no one would ever dare question his desire — but it's reality.

And this from Golf World's Jaime Diaz on the events of last week leaving Tiger closer to "retirement than resurgence."

Thus did a 14-time major winner, still the most powerful man in golf, attempt to use his influence to deflect attention from what he doesn’t want others, and probably himself, to believe: that his game is on a cliff’s edge, teetering more toward retirement than resurgence.

Woods’ stubborn ability to stay unceasingly on message and concede nothing has long made him a difficult subject to present with any depth, and never more so than now. When he deems the topic positive, he gives little information. When he deems it negative, he gives none. It’s understandable for a relentlessly scrutinized athlete who wants to minimize the noise, but in the process, he basically dares journalists to call him a liar. Very few have gone there.

Garry Smits caught up with Mark O'Meara, making his first Hall of Fame visit, and naturally the Tiger topic arose.

“If I would tell him anything, I would say, ‘here’s your ball, hit it over there,’” O’Meara said on Monday during a visit to the World Golf Hall of Fame, which he will enter with David Graham and Laura Davies at St. Andrews, Scotland on July 13. “Get over there and try to hit some shots in the middle of the clubface, get back to some really simple, easy fundamentals. Don’t try to over-analyze everything.”


Photo: Man Saves His Clubs From A Burning Car

Thanks to reader Matthew for this Ballarat Courier Tweet of a man, standing beside his clubs and trolley as his car is in flames.

Clearly, the man has his priorities straight...



Video: Rémi Gaillard's On-Course Pranks

Rémi Gaillard is "world famous for his dangerously funny videos" according to his YouTube and I'm not going to argue based on page views.

I have to say I particularly enjoyed the Satan-airlifts-ball-attached-to-a-balloon bit...


Engaged Couple Wins Victorian Opens On Same Day

Thanks to reader Ken for The Age's Matt Murname with the story of Richard Green and Marianne Skarpnord winning the men's and women's Victorian Open running concurrently at Thirteenth Beach Golf Club.

Green aced a par-4 while cameras were running earlier in the week.

"I really think it's fascinating that we've both done it (win)," said Green, who with Skarpnord has just bought a house at Thirteenth Beach. "It's great for the tournament.

"The format of this tournament is amazing and I really hope it kicks off some interest in other tournaments around the world because it's a great atmosphere. Having the girls around, they're great players and they create just as good an environment."

We talked about this format on State of The Game last week in light of the forthcoming Olympics and the just announced U.S. Senior Women's Open, which we had intended to kick around on this morning's Morning Drive.

Wouldn't it be fun if the US Senior Opens ended on the same day at the same course? And same with the men's and women's Olympic golf stroke play. So that week two could be used for a proper team event!

Just dreaming...


A-Listers Beware: Fox Showing Weekday Coverage In Prime Time

Mike Reynolds reports on Fox's ambitious plans for U.S.G.A. event coverage and in particular, the U.S. Open. The news coincided with Fox's launch at the USGA annual meeting at the hotel of the people, the Waldorf Astoria. (Brad Klein with notes on the weekend.)

While the coverage time is up about only three hours for the U.S. Open over NBC/ESPN (who were on seemingly all day) with Fox Sports 1 showing golf from noon to 8 pm ET, the real eye-opener is Fox's plan to air three hours Thursday and Friday in east coast prime time (8 pm to 11 pm). NBC used to come on weekday afternoons to show a few hours of marquee players.

This means a "11.5 of the 22.5 hours scheduled for Fox will air in primetime," according to Reynolds.

Generally, the late wave of play at west coast US Opens has consisted of qualifiers and the trash crews. Galleries are thin and volunteers often outnumber fans. By 8 pm PT the A-listers are off having dinner and most of the media has moved on, while sensible spectators left hours before. And with a 17-mile spectator shuttle ride for all, the masses will be long gone even if Bobby Jones came back from the dead to qualify and is out on the course.

Yet with Fox (the big network) going live from the U.S. Open Thursday/Friday for prime time and the network paying handsomely for the privilege, this would seem to force the USGA to go with elite pairings very late in the day. It's hard to imagine Fox showing qualifiers on the big network on a Thursday night. But stranger things have happened.

The full U.S. Open broadcast schedule:


Video: Where Does Tiger Woods Go From Here?

I know so many are upset by the attention given to Tiger and his dramatics, with the inevitable TMZ references made to encapsulate coverage of his bizarro tooth tale or his deactivated glutes WD. But what we are witnessing with the greatest golfer of our time (and quite possibly of all time) is an unprecedented decline. So as always, I urge those not able to put this into historical context to scroll on by.

But if you are intrigued by the topic, or the yips, or desires, or what some think could help him regain his form, the coverage below is meant to document what folks are saying now. And let's hope for the game's sake it all turns out to have been an overreaction, but as you'll see, some very smart analysts acknowledge the unprecedented nature of what we're witnessing. After all, Tiger is now a once-unthinkable 50-1 to win the Masters and falling fast (Alex Miceli reports).

Christopher Devine quotes Greg Norman, talking at the USGA Annual Meeting to launch Fox's foray into golf, who hits on the key point: we're seeing a player lose a part of the game that he was once so brilliant at:

"He was a brilliant short-game player," Norman, a former world No. 1 like Woods, told Perform. "For that to fall off a cliff as quickly as it has is mind-blowing. I've not seen that in any other athlete.

"The only sort of person I can relate it to is Bernhard Langer. I remember playing with him one time in Europe during the early '80s and all of a sudden he was four-putting from 2 feet and five-putting from 2 feet. He just lost the control of his putting, he got the yips. That's the only other person I think I could use. So is it mental? Or is it physical?

"You can see the physical side of it about where his weaknesses are and what he's doing wrong but I think it's more deep-seated. I think it's deep inside his head and maybe deeper than that."

There is video of Norman talking with the piece.

As for Sunday's Morning Drive "roundtable", what could have gone either way content-wise turned into very compelling TV as Gary Williams hosted Phil Blackmar, Jaime Diaz, Brandel Chamblee and Michael Breed to discuss the state of Woods.

The clips are all worth your time if you're a Tiger fan and have the spare moments.

On Tiger's swing.

The segment on what's next for Tiger and where the gang pretty much concurs that Woods needs to shut it down until he has the focus and desire.

And in maybe the most powerful segment, Michael Breed saw what I saw in person: Tiger was essentially going through the motions. Not a shocking sight in terms of pro athletes, as all the great ones eventually lose the fire. Still, Tiger has brought such energy to his golf that it was shocking to see. Not sad in my view, as he's given the game so much, but still shocking after all these years of intensity.

Brandel Chamblee
also brings up the very plausible argument that Woods has many contractual obligations for starts and was at Torrey Pines to satisfy those:

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