Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • 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
    Sports Media Group
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • 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
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford

The object of golf architecture is to give an intelligent purpose to the striking of a golf ball. To be worthwhile, this purpose must excite and hold interest. If it fails in this, the character of the architecture is at fault.
MAX BEHR

 

  

Tuesday
Jan262010

"Used a brassie."

It was a bit of a stretch, but who cares? That's my take on the L.A. Times' Bill Dwyre using Carl Pettersson's double eagle at the Hope to call John Wooden and learn more about his epic double eagle/hole-in-one round back when they were still calling hybrids brassies:

Golf Digest also lists something even more incredible: a golfer having a hole in one and a double eagle in the same round. It doesn't give odds, but just think in terms of double O.J., or maybe triple. Golf Digest says that feat has been reported as happening four times in history.

One of the four was by John Wooden.

It was 1947, and Wooden, 36, was soon to move to UCLA and change the course of the school's athletic history.

Although Golf Digest reports it as taking place at the Erskine Park Golf Course in South Bend, Ind., Wooden said Monday that it was at the Chain of Lakes course, now the South Bend Country Club.

"I used a four-iron for the hole in one," Wooden said from his home in Encino. "It was about 185 yards. Then I made the two on the par five on the back. Used a brassie."

Tuesday
Jan262010

"By virtue of his win, they became the eighth father-son combo to win on the PGA TOUR."

Reader Mike noted an intriguing claim by the PGA Tour and I know when I heard it said on the telecast, the number seemed high:

• Bill Haas joined his father, Jay (1988), as the winner of this tournament. By virtue of his win, they became the eighth father-son combo to win on the PGA TOUR. The last to do so were Al and Brent Geiberger.

Randell Mell noted the previous seven father-son combos. And if you didn't guess the first two since they never knew what the PGA Tour was, well, you're forgiven:

Here are the seven previous father-son combinations listed in the PGA Tour media guide as winners of Tour events:

Tom Morris Sr., Tom Morris Jr.
Willie Park, Willie Park Jr.
Joe Kirkwood Sr., Joe Kirkwood Jr.
Jack Burke Sr., Jack Burke Jr.
Clayton Heafner, Vance Heafner
Julius Boros, Guy Boros
Al Geiberger, Brent Geiberger

Tuesday
Jan262010

"How about we decide that if appearance fees are paid, there are no more World Ranking points?"

Loads of interesting tidbits in John Strege's Golf World game story from the beleaguered Hope, starting with this from Paul Goydos on the issue of conflicting-event releases.

"Tim [Finchem] has a relationship with everybody involved, and right now it doesn't seem like he's doing a good job keeping the players and helping our sponsors," Paul Goydos said. "I think Tim needs to do a better job at that."

Strege then quotes the Commish:

Later pressed on the matter in an interview with Golf World, Finchem replied, "We believe, in general, that the conflicting-events guidelines are working fine. We will not overhaul the conflicting-event guidelines just because of one week."

Granted, it's a week without a sponsor and in Ponte Vedra-speak, was a longtime platform anchor that did more than any single tournament to activate the tour's brand as a charitable beneficiary while cross-pollinating golf's unique status as a sport of presidents and celebrities, but why help it in this time of need?

I know, I know, market forces trump loyalty and in this case, common sense.

Strege goes on to remind us of Finchem's December, 2008 kidnapping video along with Anthony Kim's ties to the Hope that included a sponsor's invite in 2007. But I was most intrigued by this suggestion from Goydos:

"You think any of those guys would be over there playing if [event organizers] weren't paying an appearance fee? How about we decide that if appearance fees are paid, there are no more World Ranking points?"

Monday
Jan252010

Tiger's Been Spotted Clippings, Vol. 4

Gene Yasuda and Bradley S. Klein look at different elements of the Woods marketing empire, including the prospects for his design projects. Namely, The Cliffs in North Carolina.

In a promotional spot videotaped that day, he says: “With a wife and two kids, your perspective on life changes. I want to have my kids experience something like this. I want to be able to bring them up here and feel safe, feel secure and enjoy running the trails and being a part of nature like this. Because your priorities start changing and evolving once you have family, and I want to be able to come up here as often as I can.”

The words ring empty now. So, too, does his development.

Even before Woods’ life unraveled with an admission of infidelity, the battered economy made sales at High Carolina negligible: As of September, 29 lots had been sold for $29.2 million.

High Carolina officials didn’t respond to repeated interview requests from Golfweek, but all indications are that the project has stalled. Executives at The Cliffs Communities, which owns the development, haven’t announced how, or if, they’ll change their marketing strategy. But any route they take could be challenging, considering what has been an almost singular reliance on Woods.

Jason Sobel makes the not-unreasonable point that Tiger really didn't enjoy playing golf anymore.

From temper tantrums after sprayed tee shots to profanity-laced tirades based on shifting wind directions, from faraway stares as awestruck fans chanted his name to a general look of utter disdain while playing the game, the No. 1-ranked player helped formulate my idea from inside the ropes. Finally, I understood what was eating at the man, why he looked so miserable while he so often dominated.

Tiger Woods no longer enjoys playing golf.

This theory is more relevant now than ever before, because it serves as an explanation for why his current self-imposed exile has continued into what would have been his first appearance of the PGA Tour season at Torrey Pines, and might extend longer than most of us realize.

The reader comments are worth reading...if you'd like to see just how insane some folks are.

The SI Confidential this week kicked around the Tiger-public relations effort and the gang draws the conclusion that Tiger's calling the shots and his desire for secrecy has made the situation far worse than it would have been had this been handled better.

Rick Lipsey, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: If Tiger and his team had dreamed up a worst-possible scenario for most every step of this mess, it wouldn't have been as bad as what's unfolded. If Tiger had issued a one-sentence "I'm going into rehab" statement, the rehab would've ended up as a non-event. Instead, the hoodie images get beamed around the world. As Farrell said way back, it's not the transgression that kills you, it's the cover up.

Shipnuck: Rick is correct is that this obsession with secrecy keeps hurting Tiger. He's always been a control freak and this story became uncontrollable a long time ago.

Van Sickle: Heads should roll at IMG, which continues to show that it has little interest in or understanding of the world's media. In their defense, the best spin doctor in the world couldn't diffuse this mess. It would be like trying to hold back Lake Michigan with a spork.

Lipsey: I disagree. A terrific adviser could have steered the TW ship differently and this whole thing would've been over, or on the relative backburner.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I think Tiger's "strategy" of saying nothing will prove to be brilliant for him. He's rejecting all convention. In his silence he is saying what we've long suspected: I'm not doing any of this for you. Now it's confirmed. His attitude has always been take no prisoners. When he comes back, I'm guessing we'll see even more of that.

On a lighter note, Stephanie Wei couldn't help but notice that a PGA Tour rookie's Facebook photo looked eerily similar to a now infamous shot.

And finally, Mel Gibson continues to talk about Tiger...

Monday
Jan252010

"Exacerbating the dilemma is that IMG, the most powerful sports marketing firm in the world, is now managing more events worldwide"

Tim Rosaforte wonders if there will ever be a better time for the PGA Tour to institute a 1-every-4 years rule for tournament appearances after the Hope drew a weak field and longtime La Quinta resident Anthony Kim passed for a chance to play in Abu Dhabi.

At the core of this dilemma is that the global axis has tilted to the point where a majority of the players in the top-30 are from Europe, Asia and South Africa. Exacerbating the dilemma is that IMG, the most powerful sports marketing firm in the world, is now managing more events worldwide, such as Abu Dhabi and the HSBC Champions, which at the end of last year became a World Golf Championship event. While HSBC had to cut out appearance fees to get the sanction, there are ways around it week-to-week. Abu Dhabi is one of those full-on European Tour events, like Torrey Pines, representing the first big-field start of the year, and with a purse of just $2 million there's a good chance there was some enticement to make the trip halfway around the world for just one tournament, as is the case with Kim, who is represented by IMG. The fact is, it's just greener in Abu Dhabi.

Say Kim gets $300,000 to make the trip. He pays IMG the commission, pays his taxes, his caddie and expenses, he probably nets $80 grand out of that. By the way, this is the same Anthony Kim who said he traveled too much last year, but that's another story. First place for the Hope is $900,000, and there's less wear and tear.

But IMG doesn't benefit from that, now do they?

Monday
Jan252010

"Who is going to want to play golf when they're setting off dynamite and running haul trucks with all that noise and dust?"

Bill Fields looks at the endangered Clearview Golf Course in the wake of course creator Bill Powell's passing.

On a damp winter day, with the American flag still at half-staff two weeks after Powell's passing, his family and friends ought to have been able to mourn in peace. Instead, they were busy trying to rally support against Buckeye Industrial Mining's proposal to mine coal, from sunrise to sunset, within 370 feet of Clearview's 15th hole. "It's a dire threat," says Jeff Brown, who was instrumental in helping the course be listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2001. "What they propose -- mining and blasting over a period of five years -- will kill this course economically. Who is going to want to play golf when they're setting off dynamite and running haul trucks with all that noise and dust?"

Powell's daughter, Renee, the second black woman to compete on the LPGA Tour, is urging Clearview supporters to write letters opposing the strip mine, which is awaiting approval from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. State Senator Kirk Schuring has communicated with Kevin Collins, president of Evergreen Energy, Buckeye Mining's parent company, urging him to halt the project. "There doesn't need to be a strip mine here," says Schuring.

He also filed this video report:

Monday
Jan252010

Phil Contemplating PING Wedge Switch...

Tim Rosaforte reports a couple of not entirely shocking but still intriguing items from Phil's Sunday practice round at Torrey Pines. The first, that he toured the course "with short-game instructor Dave Stockton by his side," and "two Ping Eye 2 wedges tucked inside the Callaway bag over his shoulder." He's also been hanging out at the Callaway test center...

While there, Mickelson prepped a set of irons he says are actually a step forward from conservative V-grooves he used last year. That, along with the use of a new Callaway ball, had Mickelson backing up 9-iron approach shots out of the Torrey Pines rough on Sunday.

"Spin won't be a problem," Mickelson said. "I'll actually have more spin than last year."

A far cry from the USGA hostility of a few weeks ago. Those darned Callaway engineers!

Still left to be determined is whether Mickelson will put the two Ping Eye 2 wedges in play in his first tournament round Thursday. After reading about John Daly and Dean Wilson using ths same wedges at last week's Sony Open, Mickelson dug a few out of his garage and brought them to Callaway, where they were bent from 60 to 64 degrees, and adjusted the soles. But the player is still evaluating player sentiment about the Ping loophole, wondering whether it falls into the spirit of the new groove rule.

Ahhh...testing the old PR waters.

Ladies and gentlemen, your thoughts on whether Phil should cheat or not? I mean, take advantage of the legal loophole or not? Err, I mean, play PING or Callaway wedges this week?

Monday
Jan252010

"Tiger's Thanksgiving Mystery — Solved"

Gerald Posner claims to have two sources close to Elin Woods and files this account of what happened Thanksgiving night. It's pretty believable and would explain Tiger's errant driving. If true, the account prompts more questions about the Florida Highway Patrol investigation and still makes you wonder what the house surveillance cameras captured.

Sunday
Jan242010

Tiger's Been Spotted Clippings, Vol. 3

Get past Matthew Futterman and Douglas Blackmon's slightly misleading lede, because it's a fascinating WSJ look back at Tiger and the PGA Tour's relationship. There were several "oh-wow-I-forgot-about-that" anecdotes. My only beef is with the opening assertion that this week at Torrey Pines is a glimpse into the post-Tiger-accident PGA Tour (weren't things a mess there before the accident?):

The troubles facing the professional-golf tour without Tiger Woods will be on display when the annual tournament tees off at the Torrey Pines course in San Diego this week: Ticket sales are down, fewer hospitality tents have been sold, and the title sponsor had to be lured with a cut-rate price.

It is a harbinger of what the PGA Tour may be without its most popular player. Three of the Tour's 46 tournaments scheduled for 2010 don't have a lead corporate sponsor, nor do 13 of next year's tournaments. Television viewership of the first two events of this year's Tour tumbled.

I guess I struggle with the theory that even when Tiger doesn't play events, he brings a certain number of viewers because he's on the PGA Tour and will play against the very same players at some point. Then again, maybe that mentality has something to it.

Anyway, there was also this curious graph with the story:

The '94 number (pre-Tiger) was the same as '99, at (arguably) the height of the Tiger craze?

While we're doing misleading, the headline with this Telegraph story said, "Sergio García: American Ryder Cup team better off without Tiger Woods."

Here's what Sergio actually said:

The 30 year-old Spaniard said: "Tiger's absence made a difference. It made some of the other players step it up. They wanted to show everyone they could win without Tiger. Maybe when he's there, he's the leader and everyone falls in behind him. Without him, everyone wanted to be the leader. They played amazing golf. You could see a different energy in the team."

Well we have some idea how long "Disclosure Day" for Tiger and Elin lasted, as Radaronline reports that Elin has been in Hattiesburg for the last five or so days while her sisters care for the children. People Magazine backed up the claim with a sighting of Elin at the local mall doing some shoe shopping. Or, it was just a blond woman looking like her, wearing Nike sweats, sunglasses inside, diamond necklace, Coach bag (always a giveaway!) and accompanied by two security guards.

And finally Jane Atkinson & James Desborough file a lengthy report on a new Tiger mistress with a doesn't-pass-the-smell-test tale of a $500,000 buyout paid in cash with nary a lawyer (or Brinks truck) around.

There is one tidbit that is golf related:

Emma then moved to a rented villa on the Bay Hill golf resort near Woods' home and was in constant contact with him.

Our insider said: "Emma was living like someone in witness protection, always looking over her shoulder, and being checked on by two security guys. But Tiger assured her he would sort her out."

This is the second or third time Bay Hill has come up in various tabloid reports, each time not in exactly the prettiest light.

Note to Tiger: I'd take a big pass on returning to the PGA Tour at Bay Hill. Potentially waaaayyyy too many awkward questions. 

Sunday
Jan242010

Bubba Watson Will Do Anything To Be On Ellen

Tod Leonard profiles Bubba Watson and opens with this wacky anecdote about his desire to get the attention of Ellen DeGeneres:

On Thursday, when play at the Bob Hope Classic was washed out by rain, Watson shot a video that he posted on Tweet Reel in which he hits a trick shot through a door out of his rented house, over a pool and into a bucket. He then takes a victory lap, jumps onto a slide and flops into the pool, fully clothed.

“I can show you this trick shot and you can teach me how to dance!” Watson says in the video.

He also shot another video in which he sings a birthday song to DeGeneres, and yesterday while he was finishing his third round, Watson looked into the camera and made another plea to Ellen.

All very creative, but here’s a thought: winning a golf tournament might help.

Sunday
Jan242010

"Finchem said to me, 'If you appeal, you would come down to court in Jacksonville and will lose.'"

Nice work by Ryan Ballengee with his interview and latest info on Doug Barron. Obviously the tour will counter this with their side, but it's going to have to be a strong case to outweigh the power of Barron's claims that these were essentially the last acts of a man desperate to improve his health:

Barron admits that he did receive a testosterone shot approximately two to three weeks before the St. Jude.  It was a medical decision of desperation.

"Having been denied for a TUE twice, I said 'Heck with this.  I'm going to go with my doctors and be treated'," he said with emphasis.  "I couldn't get out of bed in the morning."

He contends that the testosterone treatment in June was his only treatment in the last 14 months.  Despite being suspended by the Tour for a year, the Tour can opt to test him anywhere, anytime because he is a member of the Nationwide Tour.  If he fails another test, he can be banned for life.

"My testosterone level is back to that of an 80 year old man.  It's as low as it ever has been."

After being notified of his positive test for both of his samples, Barron inquired with Tim Finchem about the appeal process.

"Finchem said to me, 'If you appeal, you would come down to court in Jacksonville and will lose.'," Barron claims.

"[The Tour] had attorneys.  They tried to bully me.  But I can't prove that I was made to be an example."

Sunday
Jan242010

"I've even thought about quitting but what am I going to do with myself?"

It's hard not to feel great sympathy for Michael Campbell as he shares frank thoughts about his golf game struggles with Martin Davidson.

"When I spoke to Ernie all he said he was trying to do was break 40 for nine holes and that's how low he got.

"So having very low expectations helped him come through that period of his career and to start winning again.

"So that was a nice little tip from Ernie but I'm trying to soak-up information as I can and filter out what I feel will work for me.

"But while they have been helpful it's up to me to choose my path. I know whatever it is can be fixed very easy so here's hoping."

Saturday
Jan232010

"Short grass works because it tempts us to go for shots we maybe shouldn't go for."

John Huggan profiles former Open Champion Todd Hamilton who has a lot of interesting things worth reading, including this on course setup:

"The way courses are typically set up in the US seems to me very mundane," he claims. "It's the same every week and they are ruining golf by doing it that way. When I'm at home I don't go to my club and play every day. That would be boring. So I play all over town if I can. I like variety.

"There's not much of that on the PGA Tour. It seems like the tee-markers are moved five yards in four days. The courses are always long and the rough is always high. Not every par-3 has to be 230 yards with the pin placed maybe four yards from the edge of the green. And the ground always seems to be soft. You don't need rough to make a good test. If you get the ball running off line and there is nothing to stop it, the course is actually more challenging and interesting.

"Short grass works because it tempts us to go for shots we maybe shouldn't go for. And it is so much more interesting around the greens. From a tight lie, I have options. I can use my lob wedge. I can use my 9-iron. And I can use my putter. If the grass is long, all you do is chop it out with a 60-degree wedge. We are all good at that shot by now."

Saturday
Jan232010

"It's all about the golf."

Great to see John Paul Newport filing this excellent look at the return of the golf-only, smaller-scale clubhouse, including some great stuff on the economics of big buildings. There's also a slideshow with the column.

You could see the trend beginning in the early 2000s, just as the golf course building boom was ending, with the opening of such clubs as Dallas National in Texas, The Dye Preserve in Jupiter, Fla., Friar's Head on New York's eastern Long Island, and the Chechessee Creek Club in Okatie, S.C. All of these have relatively small, understated clubhouses, superb golf courses (those at the last two designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore), and no swimming pools or tennis courts. It's all about the golf.

Whisper Rock in Scottsdale, Ariz., which opened in 2004, is another good example. It's expensive, with initiation fees running now at $130,000, and, as an all-male club, politically incorrect. (Women and children are allowed to play golf there several days a week.) But its casual atmosphere (club motto: "It's all about the hang") and two highly ranked courses have attracted an enviable membership that includes something like 40 current or former PGA Tour players, all of whom pay the full initiation fee and regular dues. During a recent lunch visit there, I spotted Paul Casey, Gary McCord and Peter Kostis.

So out of curiousity, what would you all nominate as an ideal clubhouse in golf?

Friday
Jan222010

Just When You Thought Tiger Was On The Right Path...

...comes the strangest turn yet in this saga. No really, it's just that weird.

Let's step back for a second. In the February 1, 2010 National Enquirer featuring the first images of Tiger at a Mississippi rehab facility, the accompanying story includes this from a source:

"Originally, Tiger planned to go to a clinic in Arizona, but when it became known he was going into sex addiction therapy, he decided on Hattiesburg--thinking it would be easier to keep it a secret there."

So the world now finds out Tiger's in Hattiesburg. The Enquirer claims Tiger has invested a large sum to renovate his cabin (angering fellow patients), and that he has rented a sizeable home with extensive security for Elin and the kids for when the dreaded "Disclosure Day" arrives and Tiger is required to talk about each and every sexual dalliance. (I think they're going to need more than a day.)

These anecdotal bits of evidence tell me Tiger really had no desire to be located nor did he want the world to know he was in sex rehab. Understandable. But what's done is done. They've found you, you're behind fences and with recently beefed up security.

But as with everything in this saga, Tiger and his team just couldn't leave it at that.

Assuming you want your privacy back, what would you do if you were Tiger and his advisory team? Remember, these are the same folks who have so far overseen the greatest PR scandal bungling in modern times. So what do they do? Parade out a somewhat look-alike who, upon closer inspection, is clearly not Tiger. (Of course he doesn't have the golfer's tan-lines, but who's going to notice?)

Either way, voila! The photographers pack up their lenses because, you know, the clinic that went on a total lockdown happened to let a patient walk around in the exact same outfit for all the cameramen to see!  Tiger must be in Arizona! Then the reporters would see it was not the same man, leave town too and the righteous could declare the National Enquirer got it wrong like they always do! Patton in his prime couldn't come up with something that good!

Well the last part came through, as a few sites were ignorant enough (here, here, here) to fall for this pathetic ruse. And it is a ruse, as the National Enquirer pointed out in a thorough examination and comparison of the men.

So just imagine:

  • There was a meeting to discuss how to make the press go away, and they came up with a convoluted idea that now proven a charade, will only add to the farce that this has become.
  • There was a casting call to find an African-American man who was built like Tiger but who, in a close inspection of images, was clearly not Tiger because he has arms reaching down to his ankles. So who handled that session and how much did they pay the chagrined fellow?
  • There was a prop and wardrobe session to dress this guy up, replete with a Stanford hat and long socks that Tiger wouldn't be caught dead wearing (he's an anklet sock guy). Unfortunately they left out the plastic bracelet Real Tiger was wearing. But again, apparently intelligent people sat around, discussed these details and who knows, maybe even had Nike ship out some of the props!
  • There was cooperation with the clinic to parade this model out for the cameras on their grounds, all in hopes of making the press people go away. So they thought this would work too, but at least they have a financial stake in keeping Tiger around for the full 6-week, $60,000 (at least) program.

The only conclusion I can draw is that Tiger or those handling his affairs have become so out of touch that they actually thought this would be a successful and practical move. Yet just as he taunted the press with those website scoldings early on in this saga and his later pleas for privacy that only encouraged scrutiny, now they're trying to pull off a ruse to make the paparazzi go away? Oh yes, they'll really back off now.

Sadly and more important to those who'd like to see Tiger get his life together and get back to making golf history, this latest episode doesn't bode well for that happening anytime soon.

Thursday
Jan212010

Tiger's Been Spotted Clippings, Vol. 2

Stephanie Wei asks CBS spokesperson Leslie Ann Wade why the network's announcers have been told not to speak about Tiger Woods.

Both Gary McCord and Ian Baker-Finch were talking to people they know a little tongue in cheek. CBS suggested to its commentators to wait until the network came on with its golf coverage in San Diego. [The Tiger story] had very little to do with golf and they’re not reporters; they’re not speaking for a magazine or a show — they’re specifically golf analysts, analyzing the tournaments as they’re being played.

Wei reminds us of David Feherty's little diatribe from last month, which one might surmise probably led to the ban. But there's good news!

[The commentators] would certainly be free to speak about the developments with Tiger and how his lack of presence will affect the season.

I'm sure they'll just be all over that next week in San Diego!

EA Sports President Peter Moore was interviewed on USA Today's Game Hunters blog and offers his full support for Tiger Woods the golfer as the company prepares to unveil "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11."

If you want to hear the latest recordings between trooper and dispatcher released from the Florida Highway Patrol, local station WESH has them. Or for a print interpretation by Rene Stutzman in the Orlando Sentinel paints an unusual picture.

"Was he, ah, doing something he shouldn't have been doing to cause it?" she asks.

"No," said Evans. "He's good."

That was at 6:11 a.m. Woods was at HealthCentral, an Ocoee hospital, where he'd been taken for treatment of injuries from the crash, including cuts to his face.

No one from FHP had seen or talked to Woods yet, according to FHP spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Montes. In fact, because Woods hired an attorney and would not talk to state troopers, no one from that agency saw him until Dec. 1, four days after the crash.

In the interim, Evans or someone at FHP decided to check further into whether Woods might have been drunk or impaired by drugs. On Nov. 30, Evans asked the Orange-Osceola state attorney's office to subpoena Woods' medical records for blood results.

A witness — believed to be Woods' wife, Elin Nordegren — told troopers Woods had been drinking earlier in the day and had prescriptions for Ambien, a sleep aid, and Vicodin, a painkiller.

There was no subpoena. Assistant State Attorney Steve Foster killed the request, saying there was insufficient information, his office reported.

John Mayer has some interesting advice for Tiger.

An unbylined story reports on modifications to the Hattiesburg clinic where Tiger has begun treatment. Routine maintenance I'm sure.

Most obvious was a 100-foot stretch of fence at the rear of the compound, which had been raised by 5 feet to some 13 feet. Hattiesburg police and officers from Forrest General Hospital, which owns the clinic, were cruising in marked and unmarked cars, and they approached reporters who showed up.

I think Philip Kennicott of the Washington Post is reading a wee bit too much into the Tiger photos that surfaced this week. But he does offer this from an Enquirer editor about how they were captured:

They exist, says Larry Haley, assistant executive editor at the Enquirer, because of hard work and persistence. "At one point while we were on public land, the gate opened and there he was," Haley says.

If authentic, the photographs complete the downward arc of yet another celebrity scandal, the darkest night of which is always marked by a total loss of control over one's own image. Woods might look like any other celebrity caught by the stalking paparazzi, but these photographs weren't taken on a sun-drenched beach or at an exclusive restaurant in Malibu. The background, a drab brick structure apparently photographed on a gray, wintry day, places Woods in a milieu that would have been unimaginable only three months ago.

Dr. Drew Pinsky talks to Hollie McKay about what Tiger faces in rehab and suggests that he feels a chemical addiction should be treated first, assuming there was one.

Pop Tarts spoke with famed addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky, whose VH1 reality series “Celebrity Rehab” follows him as he helps reform stars seeking treatment for sexual and substance abuse. According to Pinsky, who does not treat Woods, the pro golfer has a long road ahead of him before he can achieve recovery.

“The whole treatment takes about 3-5 years, it is a 12-step among other things and usually involves very delicate therapy and trauma therapy as well as a lot of education,” Pinsky told Pop Tarts. “But first you have to establish whether the addiction is chemical or sexual. If it is chemical then you always treat that first. More often than not, the sexual addiction comes under control and is managed in the process of the overall recovery.”

And finally, sports fans are already heckling Tiger and it's not even at a golf tournament. Instead, it's the Australian Open:

Thursday
Jan212010

"It's up to Finchem. He can do that. He can say, 'Anthony Kim, you can't go to Abu Dhabi.'"

John Strege documents that latest non-groundswell of outrage from La Quinta where releases continue to be on people's minds. After calling out Anthony Kim, new PAC board member Scott McCarron has these words of wisdom for the Commissioner:

"The tour does not have to give the conflicting events release," McCarron said. "It's up to Finchem. He can do that. He can say, 'Anthony Kim, you can't go to Abu Dhabi. You've got to play here. Sorry.' For tournaments like the Bob Hope, when you have guys like Anthony Kim and some other guys, especially with local ties, he should be here at the Bob Hope.

"We're at the start of the season, we need sponsorship, we need everybody playing here. And I mean everybody. For me, being on the PAC, I would say, 'Mr. Finchem, don't let any guys out, at least the first couple weeks.'"

Thursday
Jan212010

"Do we ever go back to the way things were?"

John Garrity files a lengthy Golf Magazine story titled "The Gilded age of golf design is dead." The piece is mostly quite productive and focused on talking to productive, interesting folks like Bobby Weed and Chris Monti who are trying to reimagine how the golf course will fit into a future with increased energy and water demands. And then there's Tom Fazio.

Tom Fazio, for one, sees the impending period of frugality and downsizing as a logical correction after decades of free-spending by developers. But he's not sold on the idea that golf must become leaner and meaner to survive. "You can buy a Kia for seven or eight thousand dollars," he observed on our scenic drive between two of his Carolina courses. "But how many people buy them? How many people want them? Do we ever go back to the way things were?" He also dismissed the idea that future courses will be as brown and bouncy as a rural landing strip. "Back in the seventies we had this same discussion. There was a recession and costs were going up, so there was an article in a golf magazine: ‘Let Your Course Grow Shaggy!' So we did that for a while." He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. "But all of a sudden we had growth and development, and everybody forgot about it."

Yes and you got rich while the game benefited how exactly?

Thursday
Jan212010

"This groove change was a knee-jerk reaction to distance gains that have mostly leveled off in the past six years, and it takes us into the dangerous territory of making the game more difficult for amateurs."

It's been way too long since Peter Kostis wrote some non-sensical, credibility-crushing fluff for his friends at Titleist, but the "Golf Products Design Consultant" for the company put together quite possibly the lamest and most inevitable argument one could make about the groove rule change: you're hurting the average man who won't be affected by this rule change anytime soon!

This groove change was a knee-jerk reaction to distance gains that have mostly leveled off in the past six years, and it takes us into the dangerous territory of making the game more difficult for amateurs because we're trying to reign [sic] in Phil or Tiger. That's ridiculous. Yes, the groove change won't take effect for amateurs for 14 years,

Wait, what was that Peter? 14 years? Oh please do tell us how it impacts the everyday man since your company won't be selling that soft, spinny ball that could drive little old men from the game because they lost five yards on their drives.

but if the plan is to roll back technology so that 50- and 60-year-old players can't hit the ball well enough to enjoy the game, then we've messed up.

Whoa there big guy. How is it again that this rollback of a spinnier ball (not sold to the public) and a groove rule only impacting competitive golfers, is rolling things back for 50-to-60-year-olds and driving people to take up tennis? That was quite a leap, even for you.

The game needs growth, which won't happen by making it harder. Not so groovy, baby.

Because it's grown so much in the age of revolutionary technical advances.

Thursday
Jan212010

“I’d personally like to see the tour do a moratorium on them, until things pick up."

Tim Finchem said there was no groundswell to limit overseas releases but as Larry Dorman writes in a New York Times "analysis" of the Bob Hope Classic, not everyone sees things as the Commissioner does.

Still, to restore the Hope to its former glory, more than a title sponsor will be required. The professional and amateur star power that drove TV ratings and attendance for the first 40 years may never return to the level it enjoyed when three former United States presidents played in the 1990 pro-am. But both sides will need a significant boost from this year’s levels.

It is not often that a longtime tournament director goes public with complaints about the number of players missing from his field, as the Hope tournament director Michael Milthorpe did this week in an interview with Golf World.

Noting that 8 of the top 14 players in the world — including the local star Anthony Kim — chose the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in the United Arab Emirates over the Hope, Milthorpe suggested the tour suspend giving releases that allow members to play events opposite those on tour.

“I’d personally like to see the tour do a moratorium on them, until things pick up,” Milthorpe said. “Support our events here.”

Such a move would not be well received by most players, who are independent contractors who value their autonomy. Last year when Finchem asked tour members to consider giving tournament sponsors more value by adding events they did not usually have on their schedule, some indicated they would. But few have.