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It doesn't seem as glamorous to me as the Crosby I used to watch on TV. A lot of the old movie stars and amateur regulars are no longer around. They've been replaced by briefcases, friends and neighbors of briefcases, and celebrities like Bumpy Weems, a popular comedian, who about as funny to me as a terrorist with a gun pointed at my head.
DAN JENKINS as Bobby Joe Grooves




A Good Sign?

After her first round 70, Michelle Wie passed on interview requests and won't be talking until Friday. Couple that positive development with actually playing Q-school, and perhaps we're finally seeing her career handled more shrewdly? You know, like, with an emphasis on letting her focus on her game instead of pleasing her sponsors and parents desire for media spectacles?


Ryder Cup Rumblings, Vol. 1

I'll be doing most of my Ryder Cup posts over at starting today. To kick things off, I've pieced together an array of stories that I think provide a nice primer on all things 2008.

Make sure to check back often and join me in getting through the Opening Ceremonies with a live blog starting at 12 p.m. EST on Thursday, before we focus on the matches starting dark and early Friday morning.


Azinger: My Nick Would Never Say Something Like That!

Lawrence Donegan reports that Paul Azinger isn't buying the report that Nick Faldo suggested geezer assistants Stockton and Floyd were not helping the U.S. out much.

Yet Azinger was at it again yesterday, standing by his opposite number after it emerged Faldo let it slip the US captain was regretting the choice of Ray Floyd and Dave Stockton as his vice-captains. "Did he say that? I question whether he said it, and if he did say it, it is completely not true," Azinger insisted.

The US captain might have to dip into his little book of big apologies once again, especially if a tape recording emerges of Faldo's remarks.


"Sources close to Sea Island said the PGA Tour believes the concentration of touring pros that reside on the island will help strengthen the field."

Thanks to all of the readers who sent Jon Show's story on the PGA Tour courting Sea Island for a possible Fall Finish event. A couple of noteworthy items from the story:

Industry sources said the tour is trying to sell a $2 million annual title sponsorship, which would include rights fees, ad inventory and four rounds of live coverage on Golf Channel.
Two Fall Series tournaments are title sponsored by their host resort courses, but sources said such an option is unlikely in this case because of Sea Island’s financial position. The company, which owns two resorts and a high-end housing community on the island, recently announced massive layoffs as a result of the weakening economy and downturn in the real estate market.

And I thought this was kind of sad statement about the way you have to take tournaments to the players to get them to play. I know, I know, the Fall Series interferes with Caitlin's cotillion, etc...

The Fall Series, which starts this week at the Viking Classic in Mississippi, was created last year as a package of seven events played after the conclusion of the FedEx Cup season. The inaugural series failed to attract most top-ranked players, but sources close to Sea Island said the PGA Tour believes the concentration of touring pros that reside on the island will help strengthen the field.


Missing Monty Files, Vol. 1

Mike Aitken is the first to miss Monty...

As a dozen of Europe's finest golfers posed for a team photo after the mist cleared at Valhalla this morning, the absence of Colin Montgomerie from the ranks for the first time since he made his debut in the match at Kiawah in 1991 was as jarring as Halloween without trick-or-treat.
For who, the photographer who brought his 17 mm wide angle lens only to find a bunch of ripped young guys?
Although no one, least of all the player himself, could argue the veteran Scot deserved a pick on the strength of his performances this year, that's not the same thing as debating how much Europe could miss his experience and tenacity in Kentucky.

According to Bernard Gallacher, who was Monty's captain on three occasions, the big Scot, at his best, brought versatility and inspiration to the team room and the course.

"Colin had the type of game which was good in both foursomes and fourballs," recalled Gallacher, who is working for Radio 5 in Louisville this week. "People talk about his unbeaten record in singles, but it was his adaptability I liked."

But just think how much food is left on the team buffet spread for Sergio when he's the last to stumble out of bed?


"I think people are going to see a lot of birdies made. You're going to have to play aggressive and loose."

I like the sound of what Hunter Mahan says about the course setup and its potential to provide some excitement this week:

Q. From what you've seen of the course so far, what is it that excites you about the setup and what maybe intimidates you, as well, from what you've seen?

HUNTER MAHAN: Well, the course is right out in front of you. It pretty much tells you what to do on every hole. It's in great shape. There is not much rough. I mean, the first cut is very big in a lot of areas. It could be 12, 15, 20 feet wide. It's a great golf course.

I think people are going to see a lot of birdies made. You're going to have to play aggressive and loose. It's a course to go out there and just have fun and play.

Q. Just a quick one. Hole 13 looks quite challenging with the elevated green. If that becomes a 260 , 270 yard, do you fancy a quick drive up into the heart of the green there?

HUNTER MAHAN: What hole is that?

Q. 13 is the par 4 island hole.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, that could be an interesting hole. I think there's a lot of things that could happen on that hole. They could put the tees up, entice a few guys to go try to hit the green. There's another par 4 on the front nine, I think No. 4 you can do the same thing.

Definitely a lot more risk on 13, but I think there's a lot of fun things you can do on this golf course. Obviously that would be a pretty neat, interesting shot with it being surrounded by water and everything. But that would I have a feeling that tee is maybe up; that's my guess.

"Montgomerie has vowed to ban them if he becomes captain, although he said that when he was single."

One of the great traditions of modern Ryder Cup coverage: making fun of the wives and questioning their role.

Paul Forsyth is the first to weigh in this year:

The wives, of course, are the Ryder Cup’s biggest sideshow. Whether they are to be known as Wags or Wabs (wives and birdies), they will be lined up in front of the cameras for the opening ceremony. Faldo is reported to have asked Valerie Bercher, from whom he was divorced two years ago, to assume the role of lady captain, which is another way of saying she has helped with the wardrobes. “She’s a pretty cool, chic lady and knows how to dress them well,” he said, although Irish designer Paul Costelloe, who kitted them out at the K Club in 2006, was expected to be the guiding hand.

Quite what the wives add to the occasion is unclear. Montgomerie has vowed to ban them if he becomes captain, although he said that when he was single. Westwood insists they have a calming effect. “They are important, especially when you go to an away match. It’s always nice to see a familiar, friendly face inside the ropes. If things are going well, it’s great. If things are going badly, it gives you a lift. That’s the nice thing. You have worked so hard all year to make the team, and you can share it with your wife.”


"As the country's golf boss, he was regularly photographed with such homegrown greats of the game as Bob Charles."

And here I was just about to add links to some of my best acting work only to find out from reader Warren via this Jonahan Marshall and Jim Mahoney story that they fire people for that kind of acting.

The recently appointed head of the New Zealand Hotel Council has resigned after his board discovered he starred in a porn movie and was pictured having sex in a six-page spread inside an X-rated Kiwi magazine.

Garth Stirrat, 40, last night quit the council as it also emerged he had featured in the porn shoots using the alias Steve Parnell when he was employed as chief executive of the New Zealand Professional Golf Association.

As the country's golf boss, he was regularly photographed with such homegrown greats of the game as Bob Charles.

I'm reallly glad the writer prefaced that sentence by noting that "as the country's golf boss."

But the more graphic images of Stirrat in R18 magazines NZX and Brass left NZHC bosses at a loss for words.

"I don't know what to say," said Southern North Island area manager Zayne Boone, who appointed Stirrat.

"Obviously we need to make sure that the way in which we conduct our business is in keeping with what we would expect our members to expect."

Boone said the spread, which featured Stirrat having sex in a number of positions, was "disappointing".
He found the positions disappointing or the sheer number of them?
The NZHC confirmed on Friday it was investigating Stirrat's secret life as a porn star but yesterday issued a statement saying he had moved on after just one week on the job.

"I've spoken to Garth and he told me that he was involved in some filming over six years ago, while he was single, living in Auckland," chairwoman Jenny Langley said in the statement.

It's Auckland's fault!



Not much of interest in the Captain Faldo and Captain Azinger chat with the lucky media getting to spend Monday in Louisville.

There was one obviously testy exchange, with an attempted rally kill as noted by Lewine Mair. The transcript:

Q. By your own admission, you've taken a bit of a bashing from the Irish media recently; but can you give us your thoughts on the two Irish golfers you've got on your team and whether you fancy playing them together? And to Paul, how pleased were you to see Darren Clarke not in Nick's lineup?


CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: All I'll say is that I didn't want to justify why I didn't pick anybody but I would be glad to justify why I picked the guys I did.

So I'm not going to try to justify why Nick didn't pick Darren Clarke. He just brought over 12 I think pretty darned good players, and he had a couple more that he could have chosen. If it was 14 players, I'm pretty sure I know who the other two would be, but it's only 12.

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: The Irish boys are playing well. From two years ago, we have a three-time major winner, who is pretty impressive. And whoever I put the two Irish boys together, it's Monday afternoon, I just walked off a plane.

Q. How important is it for you to sort generate an awful lot of excitement along the local fans here in the days leading up?

CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: I think the local fans are already motivated and we'll do everything we can to get those fans ready. I think those fans, they have been waiting for two years for this, so I think they have embraced The Ryder Cup. I feel like they have made me one of their own here and I'm real happy to be here and I couldn't think of a better place for us to play the 37th Ryder Cup than Louisville, Kentucky. If I could hand pick any place in the country this would probably be the spot. I think they will be behind us. The message to the crowd is be enthusiastic, raucous, crazy if you like, but keep it all within the realm of good sportsmanship.

Q. The Open Champion, would you be slightly worried about what you've seen in the last few weeks, that perhaps fatigue might be setting in, and is it that you think the adrenaline rush of The Ryder Cup can overcome that?

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: No, he's rested. I spoke to him. I'm very pleased. We're very pleased, the way guys that played last week in Germany, obviously Robert Karlsson won, and the rest of the guys played very well.

Outside of that, the rest of the team is rested, and Padraig is one of them. He's had the weeks off. I chatted with him and he knew what he was doing with his schedule, so the guys have been practicing and kept themselves all light and well oiled, that was kind of one of my requests. No, the team is raring to go.

Hopkins Defends Faldo In Totally Nonsensical Manner

How else to explain The Times' John Hopkins giving Captain Faldo a standing-O for sharing a private comment from Paul Azinger about his two geezer assistants. And why, but to deflect attention from Faldo's much criticized decision to go with one assistant? Yep, that's something to praise. If you can make sense of the reasoning, please explain in the comments link below!

Interesting, this, isn't it? A bit of subtlety from Faldo, who is not known for it. He has stuck a knife between Azinger's ribs so quietly that Azinger probably hasn't even noticed it. And he has given it a quick twist by quoting Jack Nicklaus, who believes that Stockton and Floyd have too much baggage with them. "He (Azinger] is not sure about that one," Faldo said. "Too many cooks."
It doesn't really matter whether Faldo is right in what he says. Azinger has been put firmly on the back foot. Ignore what Faldo said and Faldo's comments will assume a certain veracity. By answering them, Azinger would give them a patina of truth.
It is hard to conclude anything other than this: well done Faldo.
Wow, that's just a disturbing piece of journalism. It's one thing to savor the drama, gamesmanship and spirited antics, but quite another to encourage childish behavior.

Perhaps Hopkins should read Daniel Wexler's almost Rodney King-like plea for everyone to just get along.

"Where's the rest of the team?"

Hard to imagine there was much to say about the Euros boarding a chartered jet to Louisville, but Giles Smith managed to file and entertaining look at the festivities and questions about the rather light load Captain Faldo had with him.

Sky Sports News had Peter Staunton on the ground at Heathrow and when Ian Payne, in the studio, with a slight yelp in his voice, asked, 'Where's the rest of the team?', Staunton was able to point out that some of the players were based in the United States and would be joining up later. It wouldn't have been worth a golfer's while, Staunton said, to fly over to London in order to fly straight back out again.


"We're not putting hair spray on."

Jenni Rees profiles Valhalla superintendent Mark Wilson who I've had the pleasure of dealing with a few times (most recently for this Golf World story). He's not only one of the very best in the profession, he's a damn good quote too. Far better than probably anyone you'll hear from this week.

On Valhalla:

"She's a little rough, because we have so many wide-open areas, native areas," Wilson said last week on a tour of the course. "She's not one you'd put a lot of makeup on, not real frizzle. It's a golf club, not a swimming pool, not a tennis court. I try to do some aesthetics. But we really try not to have flowers out here (on the actual course). We're not putting hair spray on."


“I’m sure we could probably sell as many as we brought in, but we’re not really looking to capitalize on it at this point"

Jon Show reports that those ugly shirts the Americans will inevitably wear for Sunday's singles matches will be sold in limited quantities at the merchandise pavilion. I pity the poor folks who have to witness doughy, cigar-smoking men change into their ($94!) purchase so they too can walk around Valhalla while experiencing what it's like to wear a Nike Dri-Fit while getting smacked around by Europeans.

But at least the PGA of America is humble about it...

Officials would not disclose how many are in stock but said quantities are extremely limited.

“I’m sure we could probably sell as many as we brought in, but we’re not really looking to capitalize on it at this point,” said Kevin Carter, senior director of business development for the PGA of America.

The PGA of America declined to speculate on how much revenue the apparel could bring in, but it should be less than six figures based on sales of uniforms at the Presidents Cup, a similar team golf competition.
By any definition of capitalize, that quote makes no sense.


Valhalla Damaged; Unfortunately Not Enough To Move Ryder Cup Matches

I'm not sure what's more disturbing: that Valhalla was hit by the remnants of Hurricane Ike damaging tournament infrastructure and the 12th green, or that Mark Lamport-Stokes is already in Louisville and able to report on it:

Winds gusting up to 90 kph blew a television tower on to the 12th green at Valhalla Golf Club, causing minor damage, and the on-course media centre was closed as a safety precaution.

"The wind has had an effect on other items on the course but we do not yet have a full account," tournament director Kerry Haigh told Reuters. "We will have to wait for the wind to die down before we can make a full assessment.

"We have kept everyone on the course safe and the media centre is closed for the protection of the few people who are still setting things up there."

Asked about the damage to the 12th green, Haigh replied: "The television tower behind the green was blown over on to the green and caused a couple of small indentations which have already been corrected and repaired." offers an image gallery of the damage.

Karlsson Says Monty Will Be Missed; Secures 2014 Assistant Captain Gig

Robert Karlsson had to go and win Sunday, as if Europe wasn't playing well enough. Before he did that, Karlsson told John Huggan that Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomerie will be missed this week:

"As a newcomer, Colin and Darren were fantastic towards me," says the 6ft 5in Swede, who qualified for this year's side on the back of an enormously consistent season highlighted by top-20 finishes in all four major championships. "Monty sat down with me on the Thursday evening and talked about his experiences. So did Darren. They prepared me for the first few holes on the first day.
"Monty told me I would feel nervousness like I had never felt before. And he was right. The Ryder Cup is great, but it is hard to enjoy the playing part of it. There is so much pressure, especially on the first tee. Everything is just so big and it is so different playing for more than just oneself. I sat and listened rather than asked questions. They made me feel like I belonged. And they helped me enjoy the experience."

Faldo: Zinger Regrets His Assistant Captain Selections

Under fire for only having one assistant captain, Nick Faldo is deflecting some of the negative attention by suggesting that Paul Azinger has suggested that he regrets about naming Ray Floyd and Dave Stockton as his assistants. This is going to be an entertaining week!  Tom English reports:

Faldo reveals that Azinger has become uncertain about his key lieutenants. Drawing conclusions from private chats they've had of late, Faldo says that if Azinger had his way again he wouldn't pick the two veterans, both of them controversial Ryder Cup captains of the past.

"I think he (Azinger] already regrets – not sure if regret is the right word – but if he did it again, I don't think those guys have brought to his team what he wanted. He's a bit like me, he feels that you've got to make the decisions yourself. Maybe those captains are from an old era and this is a new era in the Ryder Cup. He thinks he has (gone for the wrong guys]."

Jack Offers Irrefutable Proof That He Never Watches Golf: Predicts American Victory

Jack Nicklaus, in a guest column for The Times:

If you ask me why I think America will win, it’s because I believe they have the better players, despite the evidence of the most recent Ryder Cups.


"The Highlands Links is attached emotionally and historically to the small community of Ingonish, much as the Old Course is linked to St. Andrews, Scotland."

Lorne Rubenstein reports the exciting news that Ian Andrew has been commissioned to prepare a plan for the "rambunctious" Cape Breton Highlands. Now it seems that Parks Canada just needs a little nudging to let Andrew properly restore this masterpiece.

Thompson, who died in 1953, when he was 59, elevated the game beyond recreation at the Highlands. Because he was an artist and had a powerful canvas at his feet and all around — ocean, forest, and mountains — he made an important contribution to Canadian culture. As historian and local authority Ken Donovan said, "This is the story of small village life in a Canadian context."
The Highlands Links is attached emotionally and historically to the small community of Ingonish, much as the Old Course is linked to St. Andrews, Scotland. It's far more than a golf landscape. It's a cultural landscape, one reason the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada designated Thompson a person of national historic significance three years ago. A plaque to this effect was supposed to be unveiled here on Thursday, but the ceremony was cancelled when the federal election was called.


"How much will the rule alter performance?"

Before the Ryder Cup news takes over, let's not forget the grooves. In last week's Golf World, Mike Stachura raised some interesting questions about the validity of the rule change for 2010.

Second, if several popular irons already in use on the PGA Tour are said by their manufacturers to have groove patterns that already conform to the new rule (Titleist, Cobra, Adams and Ping have irons that may meet the new requirements), how much will the rule alter performance? And if the answer turns out to be not all that much, what is the USGA's next move?
It starts with a b and ends with an l and would have been much easier to change.

I do believe that Adam Scott has been playing conforming grooves all year, and suspect many others have. If so, Stachura's point would seem to kill the case that a groove chance would reduce the amount of flogged drives.

Then there is manufacturer research that says the shot that might be affected most is the pinched wedge from the fairway. Does it not seem odd that a rule meant to restore the value for hitting the ball in the fairway might result in less effective shots from the short grass? 

Oh great, another reason to narrow fairways. Just what the game needs.


Where's Marty Hackel When You Need Him? Anna Rawson Edition

Magazine editors are praying for Anna Rawson to post three more stellar rounds so they can start plastering her pictures everywhere. already pulled together an archive of beauty shots.

Then again if she keeps wearing this woven plant holder and the Yoko shades, I think she's going to need an intervention led by Golf Digest fashion guru Marty Hackel. Photo courtesy of