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Books
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    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
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • Men in Green
    Men in Green
    by Michael Bamberger
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins

    Kindle Edition

  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

Everyone knows how pleasant it is, after striving against a strong wind and hitting harder and harder at each hole with less and less result, to turn one’s back upon the gale for a hole or two and play gigantic shots down wind. After doing this we are refreshed, and feel in a mood to battle with the “brute” who tries to destroy our best efforts. H.S. COLT

 

    

Monday
Mar242008

“We feel we are democratising golf"

And how are we doing this? By "bringing online gamblers back in play" with online golf gaming!

Chris Nuttall of the Financial Times delivers the breathtakingly good news.

American executives frustrated by online poker bans have been taking to the virtual golf course, where they can work on lowering their handicaps and make money at the same time.

Utour Golf and World Golf Tour are two sites exploiting a developing demographic of casual gamers: males over 30 looking to compete with one another online.

Utour has staged more than 500,000 games on four different online courses during its beta testing phase and allows wagers of up to $100 on a single hole. There is stroke play or match play for pairs and tournaments where thousands of dollars can be at stake.

Groove Games, the company behind Utour, says the golf prizes are not classified as gambling as golf is a skill-based game rather than one of chance.

Riiiiigggggghhhhhhttttt!

“We’re just like real golf leagues funded by player-entry fees and the PGA’s prize pools subsidised by advertising,” says Jon Walsh, chief executive. Groove takes a 15 per cent cut of every dollar staked and sells advertisements placed around its golf courses. It says the average player is a 34-year-old male.

World Golf Tour will go fully live this summer with its Kiawah Island’s Ocean course in South Carolina. The company took the unusual step of taking high-resolution pictures of every inch of the course with helicopters and radio-controlled drones to create the imagery, rather than use artists to render the landscape.

The photos were then matched up pixel-by-pixel with the 3D topology of the course and rendered in high quality within a browser window. Over half a million people have already played the beta, spending at least 20 minutes per session.

“They are very affluent, college-educated, mostly male, average age 35 and average income of $110,000 – not your typical gaming demographic, but middle-aged professionals are great for advertisers,” said YuChiang Cheng, chief executive.

Strong demo! Not long before the PGA Tour wants a piece of that.

World Golf Tour’s business model is based on in-game advertising, sponsorship and sales of virtual items such as new clothing and clubs. It encourages foursomes among friends and will introduce social networking elements.

“We feel we are democratising golf,” says Mr Cheng. “For those who think it’s too expensive and takes too much time, this is free and you can just play from your desk.”

Sunday
Mar232008

God Must Really Hate The Tavistock Cup...

24golf.190.1.jpg...what with this silly rain delay forcing the boys to come back at 8:30 a.m. to finish up the WGC at Doral. Larry Dorman reports that Geoff Ogilvy was about the only player who would spend a few minutes with the scribblers, while Jeremy Fowler tells us far more than we ever wanted to know about how the Tavistock Cup and how the demonstration of conspicuous consumption will go on.

Sunday
Mar232008

Mike Bianchi Makes It Official: He's Run Out Of Column Ideas

8743.jpgThe Orlando Sentinel columnist writes: "Why there has not been more of an outcry about the Tour's tacit approval of smoking is harder to figure out than the World Golf Rankings."

Eh, eh before you think this is an April 1 beauty, check your calendars, we're still a week away. Hit the link if you don't believe me. Or read this, where even Tim Finchem offers his own version of "have you absolutely no other ideas for a column?"

Congress has made a major issue about pro sports sending the wrong message when it comes to steroids, but what about pro golf sending the wrong message when it comes to lung cancer? Scientific fact: A relative handful of deaths have resulted from steroid abuse; hundreds of thousands die every year because of nicotine abuse.

"I don't think we have a problem with smokers," PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational. "We have some. We don't have many. . . . I don't think it's worth spending any energy on."

A few years ago, Finchem was similarly nonchalant when it came to mandatory drug-testing of golfers, but finally capitulated amid public pressure. Why there has not been more of an outcry about the Tour's tacit approval of smoking is harder to figure out than the World Golf Rankings.
Saturday
Mar222008

The Future of Majors

There's another Golf World/ESPN poll worth checking out in the righthand column of the ESPN.com golf page:

Should majors be given to new courses such as Chambers Bay and, potentially, Erin Hills before hosting high-level tournaments.

You can comment here to get your remarks in Golf World. 

Saturday
Mar222008

"Stage a tournament for marquee instructors."

I'm a little behind in my reading, so I just got to Bill Fields' column from the March 14 Golf World where he suggests his platform if he were President of Golf.

While I loved all of his ideas, I particualrly loved the thought of this one.

• Stage a tournament for marquee instructors. How fun would it be to see Hank Haney, Butch Harmon, David Leadbetter and other teachers to the stars practice what they preach? The odds against that happening, though, might be greater than getting Tiger back to play in Milwaukee.

 

Saturday
Mar222008

Newton: "You keep hearing comments about how they don't think there's any shame in coming second to Tiger. You would never have heard that from a Raymond Floyd."

Thanks to reader Mark for this Will Swanton piece from The Age quoting Jack Newton:

"Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Raymond Floyd, Lee Trevino, who I still think is the best player I ever played with, were tough and uncompromising men who would have stood up and fought him," Newton said.

"They were great players in their own right, but hard as nails to go with it. They would have eaten their own grandmothers on the course if they had to. I'm not sure you could say that about any of the guys out there trying to beat Tiger now.

"I'm not exactly saying they're soft. Tiger could well be the greatest player of all time. But I don't see many of them aiming up or getting in his face. I get the feeling they're just playing for the money. They make their millions every year and that's enough for them.

"You keep hearing comments about how they don't think there's any shame in coming second to Tiger. You would never have heard that from a Raymond Floyd."

Saturday
Mar222008

"A combination of European Tour (petty) politics, his age and the drum beating that has already been set in motion by the well-connected Colin Montgomerie's various media mates..."

John Huggan offers this on the 2010 Ryder Cup Captaincy and Sandy Lyle's chances:

Not for the first time, Sandy Lyle this past week expressed an interest in assuming the role of European Ryder Cup captain when the matches make their first visit to Wales in 2010. This is entirely appropriate. Not only does the former Open, Masters and Players champion command universal respect for the undoubted quality of his playing career – for a brief period in the late 1980s the Shropshire-born Scot was the best player on the planet – he is also one of the nicest people in the game, a man who would easily unite any dressing room.

Sadly, however, the odds are that the likeable Lyle will go down as the only member of European golf's "Big Five" not to fill the role of skipper in the biennial contest with the United States. A combination of European Tour (petty) politics, his age and the drum beating that has already been set in motion by the well-connected Colin Montgomerie's various media mates, will probably see Lyle, who recently turned 50 and embarked on a new career on America's Champions Tour, passed over. Which is a shame, even if – whisper it – the best and most qualified man for the job is actually two-time Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal.

Monty over Olazabal or Lyle?

Wow, Monty really is well connected!  

Saturday
Mar222008

"What sponsor would walk away from a tournament that has produced champions like Annika Sorenstam, Cristie Kerr and Ochoa in the past four years, all the while attracting record crowds?"

In noting the sponsor loss at the seemingly healthy Safeway LPGA event in Phoenix, Bill Huffman says it's time to get "a little bit scared" if you're, say, The Brand Lady.

Four tournaments into the 2008 season and already two of those four events are on the endangered list and need sponsors if they are to return in 2009.

For those keeping track, the Fields Open in Hawaii — the second tournament of the season won by Paula Creamer — reportedly is not only searching for a new title sponsor, it also needs a new course to host the tournament.

Closer to home, the Safeway International announced last week that its title sponsor — America’s third-largest grocery store chain — is bagging it after next week’s tournament at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club, which is willing to hang around if a new sponsor can be secured.

The Safeway International had made record-breaking crowds on the LPGA its calling card, much like its big brother, the FBR Open, does on the PGA Tour. Granted, the numbers were dramatically smaller, but 151,000 fans came out last year to watch Lorena Ochoa win the tournament, and that’s about double the average galleries on the LPGA.

What sponsor would walk away from a tournament that has produced champions like Annika Sorenstam, Cristie Kerr and Ochoa in the past four years, all the while attracting record crowds? And what about Superstition Mountain, voted as the “best-conditioned course on the LPGA’’ the past three years by the players?

 

Speaking of the Safeway, reader Phil noted that the reason for Michelle Wie's latest WD is going to prompt more questions. 

Wie's agent, Jill Smoller of the William Morris Agency, said the Stanford freshman reinjured her left wrist when she accidentally hit a ball that was embedded in thick rough on the driving range at Stanford on March 13. 

Thick rough on the range? 

Saturday
Mar222008

Robert Hunter On Book TV

ShowImage.aspxCSPAN Book TV Programming note for fans of Robert Hunter, co-architect of Cypress Point and Valley Club and author of The Links:
Speaking Out for America's Poor: A Millionaire Socialist in the Progressive Era
      
Author: Edward Allan Brawley
Upcoming Schedule
Saturday, March 22, at 3:00 PM
Sunday, March 23, at 4:45 AM
Friday
Mar212008

"The best golfer of all time and the best gallery-puller of all time."

Geoff Ogilvy's post round press conference at Doral is worth a read.

Steve Elling condenses the best lines in this blog post.

Friday
Mar212008

"The imagined sounds of Berman on the telecasts - 'K.J. Choi To The World, for par' - have made people tense as a mousetrap."

Phil Mushnick appears to be the first media critic to note that ESPN is not letting Chris Berman get anywhere near Augusta National. I know, I know. What took so long to celebrate?

But wouldn't you love to see something like this in Butler Cabin?

Friday
Mar212008

"Are you by any chance a member of the media?"

Got to give Bob Carney credit for posting an entertaining but not particularly flattering letter from a Golf Digest reader.

Friday
Mar212008

Palmer To Host 50th Hope Classic; Will Finally Get To See The Classic Club In Person

Oh I'm sure he's been there many times. Probably slaved over the details of each hole. Anyway, the news that will not improve the field unless The King trades Bay Hill exemptions for appearances at the Hope, but which will ensure several hours of bantering with Kelly Tilghman and Nick Faldo

ARNOLD PALMER NAMED HOST OF 2009 BOB HOPE CHRYSLER CLASSIC
 
The man who won the event five times will host its 50th anniversary next year
 
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – Golf and Palm Springs icon Arnold Palmer will host the 50th anniversary of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, to be played Jan. 19-25, 2009.
 
Palmer has not only played the tournament 42 of its 50 years, he also won five of his 62 PGA TOUR titles there, including his last, and he’s as much a staple of the Coachella Valley as the tournament itself.
 
“We can’t think of a more appropriate person to help us celebrate our 50th year of this wonderful event,” said Bob Hope Chrysler Classic President Dave Erwin. “In addition to his success as a player here, Arnold’s classic style and unmatched connection to his adoring fans helped us reach such an honorable milestone. We feel privileged to have him as our host for this special year and know that Bob would agree.”
 
“It was very special to me when I was asked to serve as the host of next year’s 50th anniversary Bob Hope Chrysler Classic,” said Palmer, who won the inaugural event in 1960. “I enjoyed some of my greatest success in the Hope in the early years and have loved the Palm Springs area ever since I first went there. I consider it a great honor to follow in the footsteps of Bob Hope as host of this wonderful tournament, which has been a mainstay on the PGA Tour for so many years. I thought the world of Bob Hope and spent many priceless hours with him on and off the golf course.”
 
Palmer’s 62 career wins – seven majors – rank him fifth on the all-time wins list, but it was his go-for-broke style and approachable, charismatic personality that made him a fan favorite.

Friday
Mar212008

"The Tour, however, has set a normal level at 250."

Rex Hoggard offers an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at Shaun Micheel's issues with drug testing and changes he is making to accomodate the tour's mandated "normal" testosterone level.

When Micheel was originally diagnosed, his testosterone levels were 279. A recent test recorded his testosterone levels at 537, which his doctor, Tour-approved endocrinologist Dr. Adrian Dobs, said was perfect.

According to Dobs, normal testosterone levels range from 300 to 800. The Tour, however, has set a normal level at 250.

“If people are sick, they deserve to get the medications they need,” said Richard Young, the Colorado-based lawyer who helped create the Tour’s anti-doping program. “You don’t get in the door unless you need something. But if a doctor says this is good for you, you don’t necessarily get a (therapeutic-use exemption).”

The first drug testing isn’t scheduled until early July. But make no mistake, the policy’s first exam is already under way.
Thursday
Mar202008

“Just a habit"

Doug Ferguson answers a question some readers had about Steve Williams's typical move of discarding his caddie bib before the final putt dropped. In the case of Bay Hill, was it because he knew Tiger was going to make the putt, or because Stevie was just being Stevie the hall of fame luggage toter that he is.
According to his caddie, Tiger Woods had about a 1-in-15 chance of making that downhill, 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win at Bay Hill last week.

But upon further review, Steve Williams must have been confident it was going in.

Look at a replay of Woods standing over the putt, and Williams is in the background with his caddie bib already removed. If Woods had missed, there would have been a playoff with Bart Bryant.

This was brought to Williams’ attention Thursday. He thought about it, then smiled.

“Just a habit,” he said.

One can only assume the “habit” was taking off his bib on the 18th green. It had been seven years since Woods was in the final group and made a birdie putt on the 72nd hole to win.
Thursday
Mar202008

Change To No. 7 At Augusta

Thomas Bonk gets this from Adam Scott after a practice round at Augusta National:

"[The] green is significantly different and you can see the difference, and I think they did a nice job of it," Scott said. "It's very subtle. But there's a new [pin] location now on 7."
And Jim Moriarty on GolfDigest.com shares this from Phil Mickelson
While Augusta's 17th seemed like an even tighter driving hole than it had been and there was some minor softening of the ledges on the ninth green, the biggest change was the room added to the back of the seventh green. "It changes the hole because now long is OK," says Mickelson. "You can go over the green and get up and down possibly. Whereas before that wasn't really realistic."

This ought to be an interesting change. Taking away the fear of going long is certainly a nice compensation for the added length and narrowness. Though I'm not really sure what was wrong with the old drive and pitch Maxwell hole where the fear of hitting approach shots long made for so many unusual situations. 

Wednesday
Mar192008

"The Masters is always on the second weekend in April and it has been that way for 400,000 years"

OB-BE212_golfbo_20080319171048.jpgThe WSJ's Jeffrey Trachtenberg reports a book title bogey (depending on your interpretation).

Wednesday
Mar192008

"I have a little bit of a problem with criticizing somebody when you're on time."

Steve Elling reports on Sean O'Hair's reaction to Johnny Miller's criticism of slow play and in particular, O'Hair's pace at Bay Hill.

"As far as last week, I actually heard that I was criticized a little bit more than Tampa. The thing I don't understand is that we played the front nine in 1:42. We waited on every single shot on the back nine. So when you're watching the telecast, is he sitting there saying that? No.

"I mean, to me what does it matter if I take two practice swings or eight practice swings? I do what I have to do to play well. Obviously what I'm doing right now is right. But I think it's a little unfair to criticize somebody about their routine and talk about how slow they are when basically you're waiting on every single shot.

"We waited for almost ten minutes on the 16th tee, and I took eight practice swings because obviously we were just standing there not doing anything. If I walked up to the 16th tee and the fairway was clear, I might have taken two or three practice swings. You know, he can say what he wants to say. I can't control that. But I have a little bit of a problem with criticizing somebody when you're on time."

So if you are waiting on schedule you can take over a minute and a half to play a shot? That's just not going to fly. Now, maybe once in a while I can understand a 90 second grind if it's an absurdly difficult shot, but just to go through too many practice swings after not being ready when the green cleared?

Penalty shots really do need to be assessed. O'Hair's thinking speaks to the mentality of too many players better than just about any rationalization I can recall.

Wednesday
Mar192008

"And fun, at least to me, is golf played in a natural setting with shots calling on feel more than a scientific approach."

Golfweek.com finally got around to posting Gil Hanse's promised-in-print piece on designing in the technology era.

Wednesday
Mar192008

Hope Classic Puts Dollar Figure On George Lopez's Humiliation and Pro-Am Suffering: $60,000

Wow, guess they didn't think the press was that negative if they only coughed up $60k: 

BOB HOPE CHRYSLER CLASSIC TO DONATE $60,000 TO THE NATIONAL KIDNEY FOUNDATION OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA IN THE NAME OF GEORGE AND ANN LOPEZ
 
Charitable contribution will cover expenses for three Kidney Early Evaluation Program screenings in the Coachella Valley, accommodating 300 participants
 
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – The Bob Hope Chrysler Classic announced it will make a $60,000 donation to the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California in the name of 2007 and 2008 tournament host George Lopez and his wife, Ann – the foundation’s national spokespeople.
 
The contribution, taken from the tournament’s Special Grants Fund, will go towards the foundation’s Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP) – designed to screen those at increased risk for kidney disease because of high blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of kidney disease – and will fit the bill for three screenings in the Coachella Valley, accommodating 300 participants.
 
Since the inception of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in 1960, the tournament has donated over $45.5 million to charities throughout the Coachella Valley. In 2007, over $1.6 million was raised for charity, and at least as much charitable contribution is expected for 2008.
 
“Our chief mission is to give back to the community that hosts and supports the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic,” tournament President Dave Erwin said. “We are proud to be in a position to help the National Kidney Foundation with their endeavors. We thought it fitting that this gesture comes from George and Ann Lopez, who serve the National Kidney Foundation, and served our tournament, with such a high regard for excellence.”
 
“I have enjoyed hosting the tournament for the past two years and I am grateful for the Classic’s donation to the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California,” George Lopez added. “Many lives will benefit as a result of their generosity.”

Well, 300 to be exact.

The National Kidney Foundation of Southern California, based in Encino, serves 10 counties from San Diego County to San Luis Obispo County and seeks to prevent kidney and urinary tract diseases, improve the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases, and increase the availability of all organs for transplantation. Most people at risk are unaware of the symptoms or causes of kidney disease.
 
“We’re so grateful for the donation, which will enable us to launch our first three KEEP screenings in the Coachella Valley,” said Linda Small, Executive Director of the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California. “There are two million people in Southern California with kidney disease and another two million people at risk. I know this is close to the heart of our spokespeople, George and Ann Lopez.”

In this week's Golf World (not posted), there's a strongly-worded piece by Jaime Diaz explaining that Lopez's departure had more to do with his edgy humor than Arnold Palmer. Diaz sums up the item by recalling the committee's various boondoggles and what the series of missteps means for the seemingly doomed event.