It is a wonderful tribute to the game or to the dottiness of the people who play it that for some people somewhere there is no such thing as an insurmountable obstacle, an unplayable course, the wrong time of the day or year.
A letter then was sent to the LPGA Board of Directors calling for Bivens’ resignation and an establishment of new leadership, a player who received a copy of the letter told Golfweek on Monday. Players stated in the letter that all of the tour’s problems can’t be blamed on a poor economy and expressed a desire to rebuild relationships with longtime sponsors. Those players in favor of Bivens’ resignation attached their names to the note. It was uncertain late Monday how many players support the resignation.
You have to figure that this happening during U.S. Open week speaks to how dire some of the players feel the situation has become. Perhaps it's necessary to keep a couple of key events around.
Contracts have expired for the Jamie Farr and Wegmans LPGA, two long-standing events. Wegmans tournament director Linda Hampton said the two parties are nowhere near making a decision about the Rochester event’s future. Farr’s 25-year run also remains uncertain.
“We have respect for (Bivens’) vision,” Hampton said. “What we have difficulty in is keeping pace with her vision, especially in this economy.”
I saw the plug for this last weekend and wondered about the details. Here they are courtesy of CBS, including--unlike the Open Championship--high def...
CBS Sports to Air 1963 Match between Nicklaus and Snead on Sunday, July 12 Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf Competition hasn’t been shown in 46 years
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL – July 6, 2009
From the archives of Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf comes a classic 1963 match-up between 23-year-old Jack Nicklaus and legendary Sam Snead, then 50 years old and owner of a PGA TOUR-record 81 wins. Filmed at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Monterey, CA, the 18-hole stroke play competition pitted current and future greatness in Snead and Nicklaus, who was the reigning U.S. Open champion.
The match came down to a decisive birdie on the 18th hole. It hasn’t been rebroadcast in any manner since 1963, until now. Nicklaus vs. Snead Revisited will be aired by CBS Sports on Sunday, July 12, at 2 p.m. ET.
Produced by PGA TOUR Productions and digitally re-mastered to high definition, the one-hour special will feature an exclusive interview with Nicklaus regarding the match and his fondness for Pebble Beach, swing tips from both Nicklaus and Snead, mini-features on the two contestants as well as the golf course, and interviews with writers, television producers and fans who were in attendance.
The airing of Nicklaus vs. Snead Revisited leads into CBS Sports’ final-round telecast of the John Deere Classic.
"Maybe in a couple of years we could just abandon television coverage all together and give the highlights via Morse Code."
Props to Ryan Ballengee at Waggle Room for spotting Shane Bacon's post lamenting ESPN-on-ABC/TNT-via-BBC-feed's coverage of next week's Open Championship that is coming to us in stunning standard definition television.
People complain about links golf looking burned out and "brown" once the British kicks off, but Turnberry is different. It has the light tower and the Aisle Craig and it rolls along the west coast unlike any course you'd see in Scotland. Some of the holes are breathtaking, so it's disappointing we won't get to see it in high definition.
I guess the one good thing that can come from this is it takes the historic championship back to what it once was. Maybe in a couple of years we could just abandon television coverage all together and give the highlights via Morse Code.
So is this a BBC thing? Or a final-year-ABC-deal thing?
Either way, we'll be able to complain together all weekend long during the interactive live blog.
There have been plenty of Tiger-bounces, but this has to rank as one of his greatest ratings gifts:
RATINGS ROAR AGAIN FOR CBS SPORTS’ COVERAGE OF PGA TOUR’S
“AT&T NATIONAL” FINAL ROUND WITH 207% INCREASE
CBS Sports’ final-round coverage of the PGA TOUR’s AT&T NATIONAL, which saw host Tiger Woods win his tournament with a birdie at the 16th hole and pars at 17 and 18 to beat Hunter Mahan by a stroke, on Sunday, July 5 (3:00-6:30 PM, ET) scored an overnight household rating/share of 4.6/11, up +207% from last year’s 1.5/3 in the metered markets.
Sunday’s 4.6/11 was the highest rating for a PGA TOUR event (non-major) on CBS Sports since a 4.6/9 for the final round of the BUICK INVITATIONAL (1/27/08) and the highest rating for the final round of the AT&T NATIONAL since the inaugural event in 2007.
Sunday’s final-round rating peaked at a 6.3/14 from 6:00-6:30 PM, ET.
CBS Sports' third-round coverage of the AT&T NATIONAL on Saturday, July 4 (3:00-6:00 PM, ET) earned an overnight household rating/share of 2.6/7, up +100% from last year's third round 1.3/3 in the metered markets.
Since Tiger interest seems to be greater than ever, there's an iphone app now devoted to following his every move on the golf course.
"The problem seems to be that Bivens has stuck to her hard-line negotiating even as the economy has imploded."
Shipnuck: It's clear Bivens's hard-charging personal style has rubbed a lot of players and corporate types the wrong way, but you can't fault her original vision: raise purses, improve the pension and retirement benefits, and expand the tour's TV presence. The problem seems to be that Bivens has stuck to her hard-line negotiating even as the economy has imploded. Sponsors are hard-pressed to maintain their current commitments, and she's asking for them to pour in more money for next year and beyond. Something had to give, and it's being reflected by the tour's contracting schedule.
There has been no sign that Bivens called an audible after the economic collapse and postponed her vision to get them through these tough times and save some of these mom-and-pop events that are dropping like flies. That will ultimately be her undoing.
Jim Gorant reports that a "dozen or so" top players had dinner last week to decide if a different commissioner could run off fewer sponsors. He also indicates that a letter to the LPGA Board may be in the works.
Player director Juli Inkster, who was at the dinner, also said that as far as she knew no letter had come out of the meeting. Inkster told SI that the dinner "was kind of a personal talk about where we need to go and what we can do. As far as who was there and who said what, I can't get into that."
Don't we at least get to hear how much wine was consumed? That would give us a better idea how nasty the name calling got. Just a thought.
I can't post much because I'm looking into two health stories related to the 2009 AT&T National final round. One involves reports of several suicide attempts after the second mesmerizingly depressing SPCA ad ran during the finale. The other involves the poor lad turning his back and bending over to avoid Anthony Kim's 18th hole drive, only to be plunked on the tush.
Meanwhile, Thomas Bonk, writing about Tiger Woods' win over rival-in-the-making Kim:
Kim dropped to third behind Mahan with a one-over 71. The way things were going, his most interesting shot of the day might have been his tee shot at the 18th, where the ball went so far off-line, it popped a fan on the derriere.
Woods and Kim shook hands before they got started and that's about as close as they got the rest of the day, unless you count the times they stood in the tee box together. Until they chatted while walking down the 18th fairway, they hadn't exchanged a word.
"He told me to stay positive, something like that," Kim said.
See how took those words to heart!
Kim chalked the whole thing up as a learning experience, sort of on-the-job training.
"I learned that if you have a birdie putt, you'd better make it, especially on the last day," Kim said. "Tiger obviously wins for a reason."
See, he doesn't miss a beat.
Two mind-boggling Tiger stats, courtesy of the PGA Tour's Mark Williams:
• Woods has now won 46 of 49 tournaments (94%) when leading/co-leading after 54-holes. The three he didn't win -- 1996 Quad City Open/T5, 2000/2004 THE TOUR Championship/2ndboth times.
• Woods has won 32 of 38 tournaments after holding the 36-hole lead/co-lead -- that's 84 percent.
Doug Ferguson reports on Sunday's potentially exciting showdown between Anthony Kim and Tiger Woods, with background on Kim growing up idolizing Woods. But unlike Woods who committed every Jack Nicklaus record to memory, Anthony is still fuzzy on Tiger's history.
Actually, wouldn't it be fun if old geezer Michael Allen slipped in and won the thing?
I took over July 1 and based on Rex Hoggard's posting, I have a claim ticket to cash in!
What remains to be seen is how the new rule impacts play on Tour – most players didn’t think there will be a drastic adjustment but few have actually tested wedges with the new grooves – and how players will react to having their opinions brushed aside by the Tour.
“If Tim wanted a union, he’s got one now,” said one player who noted that a healthy cross section of the Tour was in favor of delaying the rule one year.
Of all the reasons to form a union and open up the books, this is the topic that got some guys worked up? Really?
Rex Hoggard says that D.A. Points attributes his improved play to...his iPhone 3GS.
“It’s amazing,” said Points, who has his caddie video him with the new device and then e-mail it to his swing coach Brian Mogg in central Florida. “We can see everything, frame by frame.”
"There are markets we'd like to get to, and we've done some things to get there in a variety of ways."
Thanks to reader Jeff for Joe Juliano's story about the AT&T National's move to a much better course Aronimink for two years. But as Jeff asked, how are the Philly fans going to like being lumped into the same market class as Minneapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Portland and Seattle?
Maybe that's why the paper ran that less-than-flattering peppy shot of the Commish?
I have to confess it's been a while since I looked at Congressional very closely but today's AT&T National first round was an eye-opener. The list of cringe-inducing sights is too long, so let's just hope they do some tree and bunker work before the 2011 U.S. Open. To call the bunkers there two-dimensional would be unfair to two-dimensional bunkers.
Rex Hoggard blogged about this change, which actually sounds like it fits with the rest of the course:
The Blue will close shortly after this week’s event and the greens rebuilt, but some new tee boxes that the U.S. Golf Association may use have already been installed, at Nos. 9 and 15 for example, giving players a glimpse at what may await in ’11.
“(Nos.) 15 and 9 seemed very awkward because they move away from the way the slope is,” said Jim Furyk, who has played in the last four Tour events played at Congressional (’97 U.S. Open, ’05 Booz Allen Classic and ’07 and ’08 AT&T Nationals). “They both slope left to right and the tee is going back to the left, which makes the tee shot a little bit more awkward.”
Speaking of awkward, that hill behind below the new 10th tee, old 18th green site. They will find a way to put people there in the U.S. Open, right? It looks a little strange right now with just a television tower. Actually, that's the least of Congressional's issues.
Golfweek "Fashionistas Ash and Ash" were invited "to hang out on the set of the latest IJP Designs photoshoot."
Poulter had better be careful, especially after the part where he's doing his hair. It might not be long before his fellow pros tag him with the Bruno knickname.
Actually, Bruno's a lot more fun.
Reading the AP blurb that went out suggesting the $1.4 million Jamie Farr Classic has only a 50-50 chance of returning in 2010, it was hard not to wonder if anyone at the LPGA is thinking that it might be nice just to have some tournaments next year, regardless of purse size and market?
Then I see that Beth Ann Baldry raised this very point in a tough Golfweek.com plea for the Brand Lady to wake up before it's too late. Calling the LPGA "a floundering tour with flourishing talent" Baldry writes:
The days of Bivens doing too much too soon should be over. The LPGA needs to bend over backwards to make things work from here on out. The tour needs strong partners such as Wegmans, a supermarket chain in the Northeast (Everyone’s got to eat, right?) now more than ever.