A ball will always come to rest halfway down a hill, unless there is sand or water at the bottom. HENRY BEARD
Golfweek's Jeff Babineau at the Hope:
"Because I stayed busy at my office desk on Wednesday, I didn't get to catch complete first-round coverage of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.Brett Avery has some fun inside-the-ropes stuff too over at PGATour.com. He's even occasionally funny. Can't imagine how that humor stuff gets past the Ponte Vedra red pen brigade.
However, I did have my TV on in the background, with the volume turned off. Judging simply by the amount of airtime Golf Channel gave certain players, and not having seen a scoreboard, I'm guessing George Lopez has to be leading – by at least three shots ...
George Lopez's caddy is also blogging and led with this:
Imagine being at dinner with PGA TOUR pros like: Bubba Watson, Todd Hamilton, D.J. Trahan, Eric Axley, Charley Hoffman, Cliff Kresge, etc. You notice that the normally cool, calm and collected pros are all, to a man, staring almost google-eyed at something. And then I remember, sitting with us in this private dining area are: George Lopez, Cheech Marin, Samuel L. Jackson, Andy Garcia, Anthony Anderson, etc.
Uh, sorry, but who is Anthony Anderson?
Anthony Cotton in the Denver Post offers confirmation that the International passed on a FedEx Cup playoff date (fools!) and that event organizers now they are going to have a weak field. All of this was reported after a Tim Finchem-Jack Vickers conference call was cancelled "indefinitely" according to the Tour's Ty Votaw. The story also notes that the event is without a sponsor again this year.
Other than that, everything is going great in Denver.
Fun entries from Brett Avery's Hope Classic blog...
Celebrities have been all over Bermuda Dunes, wading into the galleries to give autographs and pose for photos. Can someone please explain why the only burly security guard on the property -- identifiable by the eight-inch-high letters on the back of his windbreaker -- is shadowing American Idol winner Taylor Hicks? Please.
Note to self: Spend time tomorrow with amateur team 31 (Taylor Hicks, Scott Hamilton, Alice Cooper). May be the only time in golf-writing career to put groupies and stilettos in a sentence.
I don't know what's more frightening, Taylor Hicks qualifying as a celebrity, or that all-star pairing with Scott Hamilton and Alice Cooper.
Wow...kind of makes you long for the star power of Vic Damone.
In re-reading the story on Mickelson entering design (this Golfweek version pretty much regurgitates the press release), a few things came to mind.
First, it was refreshing that there wasn't the obligatory paragraph about how he wants to design courses that are challenging for the professional and yet playable for the average golfer. (It was probably T.R. Reinman who spared us that nonsense.)
But at the same time, it would be nice to know why Phil is entering the business now just a year or so after indicating that he was slowing down to focus on playing. (He was featured in a Links cover story I wrote on emerging player-architects, but his design career was downplayed because of this apparent dedication to his game while he was still at his peak).
I'm fascinated by the move of Tiger, Phil and Ernie into design when the money is really not that great compared to what they make on the course. That was one of Mickelson's reason for not being more interested, unless of course, like Tiger, his fee has skyrocketed into a stratosphere that us mere mortals.
Actually, I think I've answered my own questions here. Thanks for bearing with me.
News item: The Golf Channel's new crystal-ball statistical device, the Win Zone computer, predicts with eight holes remaining that Howell is 72 percent certain to win. Tilghman quickly adds that once you reach that threshold, "You have a 97 percent chance" of winning.And...
Knockdown shot: Huh, what, eh? We are quantitative illiterates here at Knockdown Shots, but when Goydos is listed as having a 1 percent chance with eight holes left and ultimately wins the trophy, somebody's computer needs to be rebooted. Or booted, period.
News item: Again stumbling under a national spotlight, Michelle Wie beats two players in the field and misses the cut for the fourth year in a row at her hometown Sony Open.
Knockdown shot: Badly as she played, did you see that awful "pageboy" lid she was wearing? Did she sign an endorsement deal with the Union Pacific Railroad?
One other item of interest from Mickelson's press conference was this comment about the new square headed driver...
Q: Could you talk to us about what you think the reception of that will be on the PGA TOUR and what you think about it?
Phil Mickelson: Well, I think that the FTI, the square-headed driver, is not just an evolutionary driver. I think it's more of a revolutionary driver. Because it's such a drastic change, because the moment of inertia is so high, because the ball goes so straight it doesn't want to curve, I think it's actually going to take a little bit more time on the PGA TOUR.
There will be guys that love it. Guys that don't like to work shots and want to aim it down the middle of the fairway and rip it, this will be perfect for them because it goes so straight but some guys like to hit little draws, hit a fade, hit high shots, low shots; and the design from my manufacturer, the FT5 is a much better fit to hit those variety of shots.
But if I just wanted to hit it straight, I'll go to the FTI which is why I'm leaning towards that driver for Augusta when I tried to hit it a lot longer. I'm not really trying to manoeuvre it or curve it; I'm just trying to hit high bombs.
Thank God Hootie has retired. Otherwise they'd probably be out planting more tacky pines today at Augusta.
The Denver Post's Woody Paige says that Jack Vickers isn't happy with his new date and other demands of the PGA Tour, but offers no actual specifics, nor any quotes from those associated with the event.
In fact, as he works his way through this apparent tragedy, Paige buries this note late in the column.
The PGA Tour did propose that one of the late-season "playoff" tournaments this year be held at Castle Pines, but the timing (the first weekend of football season in Colorado and potentially cooler weather), the cost ($7 million) and the prospect of miserable ratings and few corporate partners turned him off.
Whoa Nellie. He got offered one of the playoff events, with likely a great field, and passed?
Sorry, if that's true, and it's definitely an if when read some of the other stuff in Paige's column, there won't be much sympathy here for The International's plight.
In the release covering Phil Mickelson's surprising move into course design (surprising because just a year or so ago he was downplaying his interest in this area for the time being), there is the usual stuff about projects and who he'll be working with (different people on different projects).
But reader Jordan caught this quote from his agent, which I thought was odd.
"Phil is only going to design about 10 golf courses, and RiverRock will be his mountain course," said Tim Ummel, Mickelson's agent.
Only 10? This year or ever?
"I used Callaway's technicians to help with the design of a driver that will eliminate that left shot"
I addressed it with Rick Smith and Dave Pelz who devised some devices to help me with the driving. Rick is helping me with why that happened; why after The Masters I was not able to pick up where I left off and get my swing back.
And then I used Callaway's technicians to help with the design of a driver that will eliminate that left shot because not only was it on 18, it was on 17 and it was all throughout the final round. And so we're working on designing a club that eliminates that, and I think we've got it right. So I'm excited about that.
After watching tee shots to Waialae's ridiculously narrow par-5 18th fairway (and not seeing too many drives finishing in it) I was thinking that maybe it was time for the club to simply abandon the 22 yards of width it already has, and just go with an all rough landing area.
After all, look at the scoring through three rounds (PGATour.com did not add the fourth for some reason):
Stroke Avg: 4.353
Hole Rank: 18th
Avg. Drive: 309.5
Longest Drive: 381 yards (Holmes)
So the 22 yards did not discourage birdies and eagles, nor did it prevent players from hitting long tee shots. And last I heard, preventing long drives and correspondoning low scores was the goal of such a narrow fairway.
But then I got to thinking about Peter Dawson's comments on grooves, rough and scoring, and by golly, I think we have a solution to all of this madness.
Dawson said, "We now see balls spinning more from 2in or 3in rough than they do when hit from the fairway. That cannot go on."
He's right, we can't allow this to keep happening.
So stop narrowing fairways if the grooves are allowing players to spin the ball more than they would from the fairway.
WIDENING fairways will solve this U-grooves from the rough problem!
A return to sane widths will set a wonderful example for the game and allow players to strategically pick the sides of fairways again. True precision via intelligent placement of shots will again be rewarded when all of those balls previous controlled from 2-3 inch rough will be coming from fairway lies!
Golf Channel sent out a "newsflash" on this important note:
GOLF CHANNEL to Highlight Fujikawa’s Return to High School on Tuesday’s Golf Central
The GOLF CHANNEL will follow Tadd Fujikawa as he returns to classes on Tuesday at Moanalua High School in Honolulu, two days removed from finishing in a tie for 20th at the Sony Open in Hawaii and becoming the youngest golfer in 50 years to make a cut on the PGA TOUR. The segment will air on Golf Central on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.
The GOLF CHANNEL’s Mark Rolfing will be on-hand to document the 16-year-old sophomore’s return to high school and the reception from his fellow classmates. On Wednesday's Golf Central, Fujikawa's first bowel movement will be discussed in an up close and personal sit-down interview with Rolfing.
Just wanted to see if you were still reading with that last sentence.
Andrew Both on Matthew Goggin admirably turning himself in on a rules infraction, though if he had done it before teeing off, he would not be disqualified. Therefore, no loss of those precious FedEx Cup points.
Reader Jay noticed this David Poole (Charlotte Observer) rant about the messy Nextel Cup points situation, and it's hard not to imagine reading similar diatribes about the FedEx Cup by...October?
Actually, will anyone care?
You have to give someone at Golf Digest credit for having the juevos to ask Phil Mickelson to do a significant spread on recovery shots before we even get to relive the 2006 U.S. Open theatrics.
Thanks to reader Steve for noticing this.
Thanks to reader Jonathan for this excellent unbylined piece on the future of the modern country club in the Mid-Atlantic region and in America.
Now, I love Tadd Fujikawa and it was great to see the fans so energized by his Sony Open performance.
However, did you catch the moment when he arrives at 18 and
The Golf Channel's GOLF CHANNEL's Kelly Tilghman and Nick Faldo join the standing ovation and GC (just a bit too quickly) cuts to the shot of them standing and clapping for Fujikawa?
Did anyone else get a Broadcast News flashback?
It's hard to imagine Faldo doing that without some instruction.
And needless to say, no major network would allow its announcers to be such homers.
So, was the GC "standing o" staged?
Thanks to reader Tom for spotting this story on the naming contest winner of the newest course at St. Andrews, which received 4000 entries. I'll let you hit the link to find out the news.