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Shoving large quantities of dirt around back then was difficult and arduous undertaking, whereas these days designer can just roll in an army of earth-moving machines and remake nature virtually overnight. Add to that the huge improvements in golf equipment since the golden oldies were built, plus the developer syndrome that big yardage denotes "championship" quality, and you have the answers to why the game becomes even more power-oriented.  JACK NICKLAUS



The Links At Petco Park Preview! 

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

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

The first tee shot, also known as home plate:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Hammons: Golf Channel Says Goodbye To One Of The Originals

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

Hammons announced the news in a Tweet.

Golf Channel Executive Producer Molly Solomon issued this statement:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Most treasured item in your golf bag?

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

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

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


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

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

The full review is here.

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

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


Hank: Tiger's Been Out 6 1/2 Of Last 9 Years

Brentley Romine notes Hank Haney's Monday comments on Sirirus/XM about news of Tiger's latest "procedure" along with his reaction to Steve Williams publishing a tell-all book.

I thought this was especially interesting:

"My diagnosis is the fact that he’s missed so much time. ... You add up the knee injury, you add up the scandal, you add up everything you want to add up and it equals 6 1/2 years of the last nine years.

"You take a superior athlete – I don’t care what sport they are in – and you take them out of their sport for six out of nine years, and then you couple that to the fact that it is a 40-year-old professional athlete, so you are competing against a lot of great young players that just seemingly get better all the time, that aren’t scared of you because they’ve, frankly, a lot of them have never seen his greatness, at least they’ve never competed against it, and you think, ‘How can you get your game back?’ And especially when your game is in the state that Tiger’s was in last year, which was not good.”


HSBC Renews Commitment To Golf, Awkward Celebratory Pics

As he's prone to do, HSBC's Global Head of Sponsorship and Events made it sound dire before committing some of his bank's sizeable resources to sponsoring golf tournaments on the PGA and European Tours, along with The Open Championship. The latter was already secured, but on the eve of the WGC-HSBC in Shanghai, the company committed to a five year renewal in Shanghai.

Even better, the news led to arguably the most awkward golf photo ever taken.

For Immediate Release:


HSBC, one of the most prolific supporters of world golf, announces renewal of its global golf sponsorship portfolio
SHANGHAI - November 3, 2015 - HSBC, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations, has announced the renewal of three key pillars of its global golf sponsorship portfolio and confirmed its commitment to the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, the HSBC Women’s Champions and the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship following the news earlier this summer that the bank will continue as Patron of The Open Championship.
Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship and Events at HSBC, made the announcement on stage at the 2015 HSBC Golf Business Forum in Shanghai ahead of the 11th edition of the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions at the Sheshan International Golf Club later this week and against the backdrop of the bank’s 150th Anniversary.
Morgan, flanked by an impressive cast of PGA TOUR Commissioner, Tim Finchem; European Tour Chief Executive, Keith Pelley; Chief Executive of the R&A, Martin Slumbers; Asian Tour Chairman Kyi Hla Han; HE Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) and Global Head of Golf at IMG, Guy Kinnings, announced HSBC’s wholehearted commitment to golf with the renewal of its title sponsorship position of all of the professional tournaments in its portfolio.  Multi-year extension contracts for the renewals of the HSBC Champions, the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship were all agreed this morning in Shanghai.
Morgan said: “In the last decade we have been involved in 45 tournaments and brought world class golf events to China, Singapore and the UAE.  Today we are re-stating our commitment to golf in Asia and the Middle East. Here in China, our flagship World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions event has proved to be the perfect stage for golf in Asia to come of age; in Singapore, HSBC Women’s Champions has become an annual highlight of the LPGA Tour, whilst the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship has cemented its reputation as the jewel in the crown of Middle Eastern golf. We believe today’s announcement represents a major statement of intent as golf prepares to return to the Olympic Games following a 112 year absence – it’s a huge opportunity for the sport and one golf needs to grab with both hands.”
HSBC is one of the biggest supporters of golf worldwide with extensive youth and community programmes in place to underpin their commitment to elite golf . The presence of so many of the leaders in world golf at the announcement underlines just how significant HSBC’s contribution is considered to be to the game and how much the Tours each value the bank’s committed support.
PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem: “We are delighted to be here today to be with Giles to announce this excellent news. The World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions is the flagship event in Asia for the PGA TOUR and a great example of collaboration with the different members of the International Federation of PGA Tours along with the CGA and IMG to deliver a world-class tournament. We are thrilled that with this five-year extension, the HSBC Champions will be a part of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup schedule through the 2020-21 PGA TOUR season. ”
European Tour Chief Executive, Keith Pelley, said: “Today’s announcement is wonderful news for The European Tour and continues our partnership with HSBC which stretches back to November 2005 when the first HSBC Champions tournament was part of our International Schedule. Since then, both the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament and the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship have become hugely significant events and to have them both part of The Race to Dubai for the next five years is fantastic news. We thank HSBC not only for their commitment to The European Tour, but to the game of golf as a whole.”

Uh, I guess this means the HSBC Champions will continue to be part of the Race To Dubai? Anyone else need to kiss up to HSBC? Oh, I see we have a line forming!

LPGA Commissioner, Mike Whan commented, “HSBC is a world class sponsor of women’s golf and it is fantastic to be here representing the LPGA as part of this important announcement for golf globally. HSBC Women’s Champions is one of the best events on our Tour and HSBC’s commitment to women’s golf is unwavering.”
Asian Tour Chairman Kyi Hla Han said, “We have been part of the HSBC Champions since 2005 and have enjoyed seeing this tournament grow and establish itself. It is great news that HSBC has guaranteed the future of the only World Golf Championships held in Asia.”

HE Aref Al Awani, ADSC’s General Secretary welcomed the renewed partnership, saying: “HSBC has greatly contributed to the Championship since coming on board in 2011. With its support we have strengthened the field, significantly enhanced the spectator offering and hugely expanded our messaging outreach.  Through this partnership the Championship has become stronger year-on-year and we believe that will hold true for the coming half decade.”

Zhang Xiaoning, Vice President and Secretary General of the CGA said, “We welcome this traditional tournament to continue to take place in China. For a long time, CGA has enjoyed working with HSBC on this tournament and their junior programme and very much appreciate their commitment to golf in China.”

Anyone else need to get in a thank you quote? Going once...


USGA, Golden Gophers Announce Golf Sustainability Study

Oh to be a fly on the University of Minnesota's Les Bolstad Golf Course when the researchers say, "you know, if the ball didn't fly so far we wouldn't be having these back-ups on our par-5s, we wouldn't have to redesign holes to be relevant for the college kids and we wouldn't have to ask donors to pay for it all." Oh, and the allure is not really making anyone want to come play the course. Oh well, we can dream...

For Immediate Release...with a fancy, only mildly self-congratulatory video embedded at celebrating the partnership.

USGA and University of Minnesota Announce Research Partnership to Tackle Golf’s Challenges and Foster Innovation
FAR HILLS, N.J., and MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (Nov. 2, 2015) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) and the University of Minnesota (UMN) announced on Monday a five-year master research partnership to study and develop solutions to golf’s present and future challenges.

“Participation and growth are central issues for the health of our game, but there are many other critical and complex factors that will contribute to its long-term sustainability,” said Mike Davis, USGA executive director. “This agreement will further the USGA’s mission to apply fact-based research and deliver tested solutions back to the industry, particularly in three areas: the game’s cost, the time it takes to play and golfer enjoyment.”

The partnership, which allows both parties to identify projects and assign funding on an individual basis, leverages the full assets of the University of Minnesota, recognized as one of the most comprehensive public research universities in the U.S. The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; Carlson School of Management; College of Science and Engineering; and Humphrey School of Public Affairs are among those that are expected to contribute throughout the five-year period.

“We look forward to expanding our existing interdisciplinary research to build a sustainable future for the game of golf,” said Eric Kaler, University of Minnesota president. “This unique strategic partnership with the USGA will help us to identify and advance solutions through some of the university’s key strengths and mission: science, research, teaching and learning, and community engagement.”

The partnership will utilize the university’s Les Bolstad Golf Course as a living, learning laboratory to support critical research projects, as well as a classroom for demonstrating best practices in course design, maintenance and operations. The historic layout, established in 1929, is open to the public and valued by students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community.

“We firmly believe the impact of our work will transcend golf by identifying core concepts and solutions that can be applied to all sports and public green spaces,” said Rand Jerris, Ph.D., senior managing director of public services for the USGA. “This partnership accelerates learning and solution development by augmenting our own in-house research team with investigators from different disciplines, working jointly to advance core economic, environmental and social principles in the game.”

With an emphasis on innovation, projects will focus on technology, resource management, best practices for facility operations and design/renovation, community and economic impact studies, and participation behavior. In addition to conducting research on-site at the university, the partnership will utilize golf facilities nationwide for collecting data, which will be processed and analyzed by UMN students and faculty working closely with USGA experts. 

“In this time of significant societal change, it’s important that golf remain relevant to its broad customer base,” said Brian Horgan, professor in the UMN department of Horticultural Science and Extension turfgrass specialist who is leading the partnership. “A transdisciplinary approach to research will allow golf to be responsible in its consumption of resources, and help golf facilities provide an experience that is affordable, enjoyable and compatible with the time people have available for recreation.”

This partnership will complement the series of studies conducted by universities nationwide that the USGA has funded since the 1920s, particularly in turfgrass and agronomic research.

The organizations will also explore the potential for online and on-campus educational programs, as well as partnership opportunities with other organizations and institutions to foster information-sharing worldwide.


Analytics Coming To Golf? PGA Tour, Microsoft Going To Try

I'm just a fan of analytics right now, what with all the championships they are winning for baseball teams, so why not quantify the sport least quantifiable!

Granted, if one or two stats come out of this, and we get some better uses of ShotLink to see how a course is playing, then it's a victory. But I can't wait to see some of the ideas about how to play the game that come out of this...

PGA TOUR and Microsoft Strike Three-Year Technology Agreement to Bring Instant Insights to Golf Fans Everywhere

Microsoft to provide PGA TOUR with engaging technology and media solutions for fans, players and broadcast commentators across TV and digital devices

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla., and REDMOND, Wash. (November 2, 2015) –The PGA TOUR and Microsoft have entered a three-year relationship that will focus on utilizing Microsoft solutions to create new ways for fans, players and broadcasters to engage with the PGA TOUR. The solutions will be designed to instantaneously mine the TOUR’s vast video library and statistical information to enhance and simplify the way data is interpreted, providing fans, players and commentators new and engaging ways to access insight as never before.

 “The PGA TOUR is thrilled to enter into this relationship with Microsoft which, at its core, is designed to produce deeper, richer and more immersive content for our fans to consume across all of our platforms,” said Tom Wade, the PGA TOUR’s Chief Commercial Officer. “We also look forward to partnering with such an iconic global company to continue to improve the presentation of our sport to our fans.”

Over the next several months, the PGA TOUR is primed to adopt Windows 10, Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office to make data analysis easier to interpret and understand for every golf fan, as well as players and broadcast commentators. Microsoft will create innovative solutions by helping the PGA TOUR analyze information faster and more efficiently, giving fans instant access to insight about players, courses and conditions.

When there's a stat that tells us how many eight-footers they make while their neck is tight or they are going through a divorce, then they'll have something.

“Through its collaboration with CDW on ShotLink, the PGA TOUR has been on the cutting edge of technology innovation and real-time insights around historical information, drives, putts and course conditions for golf fans everywhere,” said Chris Capossela, Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We believe the TOUR’s commitment to our Windows 10 platform and Microsoft Cloud offerings will enable fans and broadcasters to access ShotLink and other PGA TOUR content in ways that have not been previously possible across all digital devices.”

I know, four paragraphs before a Cloud reference.

There are several technology integrations underway, including the development of new apps for the latest Microsoft devices and platforms across Windows 10, Surface and Microsoft’s Lumia phones. Microsoft will also utilize the 80,000-plus hours of PGA TOUR library footage and other information to deliver this content to fans and commentators in new and engaging ways.

Additionally, the TOUR will look to enhance its employee productivity and infrastructure with the addition of Microsoft’s newest products as part of its backend business operation. This will include Windows 10, Office 365, Media Pilot and Cloud Services. Through this multi-faceted relationship, Microsoft becomes the “Official Operating System,” “Official Analytics Partner” and “Official Office Productivity Software” of the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour.

Surface's for everyone!


Big Changes Coming To Euro Tour Final Series, China Swing?

I'm glad someone went to Turkey for the start of the European Tour's Final Series, which now makes a weird leap to the HSBC Champions in Shanghai without some of Europe's best players. That, reports Alex Miceli at, is about to come to end.

Miceli says there may be fleeing from HSBC and BMW from the current China swing that is carried out over the next two weeks, leading to big scheduling changes for both European and PGA Tours. The real domino may be HSBC ending its run in Shanghai:

The fate of the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, however, remained uncertain.

HSBC, the London-based banking company, has sponsored the prestigious event since 2005 but reportedly was looking at not extending its contract with the World Golf Championships past this year because of increased scrutiny of the bank and its expenses.

“This is our last year of our golf portfolio, so we are in discussions with everybody,” Giles Morgan, HSBC’s global head of sponsorship and events, said at the Sports Matters industry conference in September in Singapore, according to Agence France-Presse.

Morgan has been outspoken (and maybe a tad inconsistent) about appearance fees as well, but carries a great deal of power in the golf sponsorship world.


Vine: The Old Hit-In-The-Face-By-Your Tee Shot (Non) Trick

Cara Robinson picked this Vine from America's Funniest Home vines recently surfacing which will (A) remind that some driving range mat tees are way too tall for everyone by Chi Chi Rodriguez, and (B) you can be so steep on the backswing that it's painful.

Poor wee lad...


Justin Thomas: Another Week, Another Millennial Wins

Unlike old guys Emiliano Grillo (23) and Smylie Kaufman (23), Justin Thomas (22) has been contending in PGA Tour events longer, so the third straight win by this youngster seems like shocking. Still, on his 39th try as a professional Thomas won the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. John Strege with some notes from the win, which is also likely to get Thomas into the world top 50.

Besides finally coming through after several strong showings that led to weekend struggles, Thomas only had one huge hiccup during Sunday's final round, dunking his wedge approach into the 14th hole pond. He bounced back with a near-ace at the par-3 15th, then holed a nice putt at 17th while Kevin Na looked on.

Na continued to play some amazing golf but had his usual oddball antics late in the round, capped off by hitting three-wood off the 18th tee when he desperately needed to reach the par-5 in two and drain an eagle putt.

Also noteworthy in the exciting final round: a second place finish by Adam Scott, who looked much better over putts and appears to be striking the ball as well as ever. More importantly, his body language suggested someone who his moving forward and no longer dwelling on his understandable frustration over the impending anchoring ban.

One other fascinating component of Thomas's win: his "Class of 2011" mates Patrick Rodgers and Justin Spieth stayed up to watch the middle-of-the-night proceedings (assuming they were in their normal time zones). Rodgers was channel-flipping between the CIMB and Stanford's fortunate escape from Pullman while Spieth merely tweeted a congratulations at a early morning hour. Or, perhaps, he had just returned from late night Trick or Treating dressed as C-3PO?

Anyway, it's a camaraderie that is pretty unusual in an individual sport and certainly something hard to see happening between, say, I don't know, Tiger and Phil?


The final round highlights:


Victor Dubuisson Is Back And Staying In Europe

While the Reuters game story understandably focuses on Rory McIlroy's putter letting him down during the Turkish Airlines Open final round, the second victory in Turkey by Victor Dubuisson marked the re-emergence of the 25-year-old Frenchman after a rough year on the PGA Tour.

Check out this very groovy European Tour "interactive" recap of his win.

The PA story focused more on Dubuisson's emotions pouring out after a resurgent week that also gives the European Tour a piece of good news in the face of concerns about player loyalty.

"It was so hard because there were so many personal reasons why I did not play so much this year," said Dubuisson, who declined to reveal any details.

"That's why I am so emotional. I played a few events on the PGA Tour at the beginning of the year and I was not feeling good to be far away from my family. I did not play well and I was feeling lonely so decided to come back to Europe. Now, for the next three or four years, I will just stay in Europe 100 per cent."

You can view the European Tour highlights from round four here.

Dubuisson was in many of the highlights from best shots in Turkey this week. Most of them around the greens.


Happy John Peterson Had A Prominent Co-Conspirator!

Lost in the joy over John Peterson going all Happy Gilmore to kick off his CIMB Classic final round: Jason Dufner was the lone shooter of this defiant act.

The question stands: will the PGA Tour Fines Dept, LLC be calling to inform Duf that a portion of his winnings will be donated to charity because he knew of this stunt and didn't stop it, or for violating the PGA Tour's policy of shooting video during tournament action.

His case with the Fines Dept. will be weak since Dufner was Instagramming a few photos of Peterson from the week in Malaysia. So Jason, we are hear for you. If we need to Kickstarter this to pay off the fine, do not hesitate to reach out.

Alex Myers at with the lowdown on Peterson's joyous act that will no doubt be seen by Commissioner Finchem as an all-out act of terrorism. And here it is, shot from the grassy knoll to the stunned silence of the crowd (not that this was atypical reaction to any shot played in the CIMB):


Stevie Williams Book Excerpt: I Felt Like Tiger's "Slave"

Break out the tissues because Stevie Williams is finally telling all about his days carrying Tiger's luggage (with help from journalist Michael Donaldson) and it's a tearjerker.

In the excerpt posted by New Zealand's, Williams explains how he knew nothing of Tiger's philandering and was kept in the dark during Tiger's rehab, except for an email from the boss. But he sets things up with the week in Melbourne when Tiger's affair with Rachel Uchitel was about to be revealed and the boss got out of town in a hurry.

But the joy of winning dissipated in the strangest fashion. No sooner had Tiger fulfilled his media obligations than he fled to the airport in a chopper, leaving me to head back to the hotel on my own. As I was driving, I got a text from Mark Steinberg which read, 'There is a story coming out tomorrow. Absolutely no truth to it. Don't speak to anybody.'


Williams goes on to explain all of the things he got off his chest about how he was treated during the scandal by Tiger, Steiny, Steiny's "lackeys" and had this to say about Tiger's most irritating traits.

One thing that really pissed me off was how he would flippantly toss a club in the general direction of the bag, expecting me to go over and pick it up. I felt uneasy about bending down to pick up his discarded club – it was like I was his slave.

Technically, I believe that is part of the job if the boss says so. Go on...

The other thing that disgusted me was his habit of spitting at the hole if he missed a putt. Tiger listened to what I had to say, the air was cleared and we got on with it – his goal was to be the best player in history and my goal was to keep working as best I could to help make that happen.

For a little while longer, anyway.

The book goes on sale Monday.


Lorne: An Ode To Glen Abbey

Lorne Rubenstein sounds resigned to the demise of Glen Abbey and while he points out that it's no Pebble Beach, there is plenty of history there.

He writes:

Then there was the first Open at the Abbey in 1977, won by Lee Trevino. The Abbey has hosted 26 more Canadian Opens since; I’ve attended most every one and caddied in a few, for Jim Nelford first, and then, in 2004, for Richard Zokol. The Abbey has been a terrific home — well, all but a home — for the Canadian Open. But times change. Land values swell. It’s not a shock that ClubLink is interested in turning iconic golf holes into what will likely be cookie-cutter homes. Any other view is sentimental and clouded. I say this as a golfer and writer long smitten with the game’s history.


Tiger To Design Course In Nashville?

With his golf game looking increasingly like it'll be on ice for the forseeable future, Tiger Woods at least has picked up another design job.

According to GolfNewsNet, the job comes from the same developers of Bluejack National, which opens this week without Tiger able to appear at the ribbon cutting due to this second back surgery in a little over a month.

Dallas-based Beacon Land Development is planning on a 1,200-acre development, located 30 miles south of Nashville, that would feature a Woods-designed golf course, according to the Nashville Business Journal. The community, as one might guess, will also feature a music venue.

Beacon Land Development is the firm which hired Woods to redesign Bluejack National.


"Are guns welcome at Trump hotels? Depends on whom you ask"

Following Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate discussion, Jonathan Allen of Reuters seeks to answer the question: are guns welcome at Trump hotels?

Allen sets up the moment from the debate:

Trump, who has spent months as the Republican favorite in polls, was in the middle of saying that gun-free zones in schools and elsewhere are a "catastrophe" that only make it easier for shootings to happen when a moderator asked him about his properties.

"We called a few Trump resorts," said moderator Carl Quintanilla, "that do not allow guns with or without a permit. Would you change those policies?"

Trump's eyes drifted up in thought for a split second. "I would change them," he said almost immediately, in a tone suggesting he had not considered it before but liked the idea. "OK. I would change them."

But Allen reports good news for those wanted to carry a Glock around the Blue Monster just in case the group in front of you gets too slow.

But the Trump Organization said there was nothing to change: guns are already allowed at Trump properties, even if the boss and some resorts appear unaware of this.

"While laws vary substantially from jurisdiction to jurisdiction," the company said in a statement, "we allow security personnel and other licensed individuals the ability to carry a firearm in an effort to protect themselves, our guests, associates and the general public." The firm, based in New York City, is opposed to gun-free zones, the statement said.

It declined to say why Trump and some of his hotels seemed unaware of this policy. Spokeswomen for Trump, who has been attacked by his Republican rivals who accuse him of being a less-than-serious candidate, did not respond to requests for comment.

Allen says calls to Trump properties either were not returned or garnered irritable hang-ups.



Roundup: Tiger's Back "Procedure" Sends Him To Bed For Rest

Jason Sobel, working off of the usual Friday afternoon report, says Tiger has presented no timetable for a return after a back "procedure" by Charles Rich, the same doctor who performed the two prior (unsuccessful) surgeries. Apparently the definition of insanity apparently doesn't apply to surgery decisions.

Anyway, there was this oddball quote:

Woods, in a story on his website, said there remains no timetable for his return to competition.

"It's one of those things that had to be done," he said. "I have an outstanding team of doctors, and I'll be back as soon as I can."

Let's skip the doctor discussion for a moment and focus on the 2016 golf season, which sounds in doubt.

Bob Harig wonders if this is the case and also questions the severity of the latest setback since Tiger is skipping a press conference next week to promote his Hero World Challenge. Even more telling, is passing up next week's opening of his Bluejack National redesign in Houston.

Dr. Charles Rich was quoted as saying that Woods was doing well and would make a full recovery, but Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, declined to comment further. What did the procedure entail? What is different about this recovery?

It can't be good that Woods will be unable to attend a scheduled media day for his Hero World Challenge event on Wednesday, nor the opening to a golf course he designed in Houston the following day. The release said he is on bed rest.

Reading Brian Wacker's report and the accompanying list of Tiger's injuries is pretty somber stuff if you want to see one of the greats make one last run.

Now, I understand Tiger is very loyal to his doctors. After all, he had Dr. Leo Spaceman fly down from Canada 14 times and an assistant make another 49 visits for in house platelet rich spinning sessions he could have gotten at any sports medicine clinic. Or in Germany.

But a few random questions at this point:

--How do you return to the doctor after the first surgery for a check up, only to be on the operating table for a "quick turnaround" surgery? No second opinion?

--How do you return to the same doctor after the first and second unsuccessful surgeries and allow him to put you on the operating table for a third "procedure" that leaves you resting in bed?

--Is the stress of a looming $54 million payment to ex wife Elin inflicting stress on the back here that no surgery will ever be able to remedy?


Monty Has Put 4,000 Miles On His Current Rental Car

Now, we know the man loves to wash cars to relieve stress, but renting them in Newark and driving them around America? That's a new one.

Teeing off in Newport Beach's Toshiba Classic, making its fall debut today as the penultimate Champions Tour event, Colin Montgomerie took the media on hand through his interesting travel schedule this fall.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  Yeah, we had to go to Russia, yeah.  I got home from Pebble Beach, from San Francisco, which is a long flight, and then back to London.  Got home for a couple of days and then had to leave for the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan.  I opened a course there in Azerbaijan.  Then back again just in time to get back to Newark.  I hired a car in Newark for a company day for Aberdeen Asset, an outing I did at Baltusrol actually where your PGA is played next year.  Hired a car in Baltusrol and I've still got it.  I've still got my car.  I drove from Newark then down to North Carolina, played at the SAS tournament, and drove on from there to San Antonio.  Back to Houston to do some work for MD Anderson here, and then Houston across here to Newport Beach.  Then I'm going to drive from just around the corner this time, I could walk to Phoenix from here.  Then I'm going to have to unfortunately hand my car in in Phoenix after nearly 4,000 miles.

Q.  Who's paying that bill?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  Well, it's an Avis bill so it will come to me unfortunately.  And I'll hand it in in Phoenix and BA will look after me on the way home back to London.

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