Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • 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
  • 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
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer
  • 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
  • Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    by Ken Bowden

In late May came the Colonial in Forth Worth, already entrenched as a premier event on the tour--"the Masters of the Southwest." Old Colonial, back then, was one of the narrowest and most brutal courses around. This was before architect Dick Wilson, various storms, and the Corps of Engineers defanged it. Ben won the '53 Colonial in a glide, by five strokes, with a score of 282. His finishing three-under 67 was sculpted in a high wind and gleamed as the tournament's low round. It was Ben's fourth victory in the tournament's eight years.
DAN JENKINS on Ben Hogan in 1953

 

   

Sunday
Aug302009

"It looks like 'Potpourri for $100, Alex.'"

That's Gary Van Sickle's line from this week's SI Roundtable, which was joined by yours truly even though I vowed not to do it again until they found an old AOL chat room to make life easier.

I think it's safe to say I won't be offered a job at CBS or Liberty National anytime soon, and my friend Peter Oosterhuis probably won't be wild about my laughing gas comment either (but he is very giggly these days, no?).

In my defense, this is what happens when I sit in a chair and watch all four hours of a CBS telecast of a tournament played on a golf course that epitomizes everything that has gone wrong with the game.

Sunday
Aug302009

"You got the sense the membership is very pleased that their track is kicking some tail rather than the other way around."

In reading about Byeong-Hun An's win at the U.S. Amateur Sunday, Sean Martin notes:

An beat Ben Martin, 7 and 5, on Sunday, but both players struggled in the final because of pressure, typical USGA conditions and an inconsistent breeze.

In the final, a hole was halved with double bogeys, another was won with bogey, and pars were good enough to win many holes. An played 31 holes Sunday in 9 over par, while Martin was 15 over.

In the time I watched Sunday, it was surprising and frankly disturbing to see the bermuda rough playing such a prominent role in a Mike Davis-controlled setup. Especially compared to the highly successful 2007 PGA Championship, and considering that the GCSAA fact sheet said the planned rough cut was 2.25". 

Earlier in the week, Ryan Herrington addressed the membership euphoria over the brutal conditions and high scoring.

One club member, who preferred to remain nameless to make sure the nameplate on his locker isn't unceremoniously removed, said that the course is playing better--and by better he means tougher--than when it hosted the PGA Championship in 2007. "And don't even think about comparing it to the Open in 2001," said the member. "That was a bit of a joke. The guys then would have begged to play it like this."

And...

My member friend only smiled as the discussion continued on the course's difficulty. You got the sense the membership is very pleased that their track is kicking some tail rather than the other way around. I was talking with someone the other day who noted that Oakmont CC members are probably the most sadistic group when it comes to having their home course playing so hard on a daily basis that will make you want to take up tennis. He went on to say that the folks at Southern Hills could be distant cousins of the Oakmont folks. I'm starting to agree.

Well either way you cut it, I'm sure the Southern Hills folks are giddy that the extreme setup measures produced a worthy champion in Byeong-Hun An.

Sunday
Aug302009

Heath Slocum Win Means He Can Take Next Two Weeks Off And Still Reach The World Series

There's some nice reporting to check out on Heath Slocum's upset win at The Barclays. The scribblers surely had plenty of time to whip up some fun lines, since twosomes of the world's best took four and a half hours to get around Liberty National. I doubt it was because they were busy sketching out the architectural details. More likely all of the lift, clean and cheat drops to get away from the catch basin divot clusters.

That said, Ernie Els said "it's just a wonderful place to play golf." Remember that next time they go to Wentworth and everyone's wondering how Ernie could mess up such a great place.

Anyway, about Heath. From Doug Ferguson's AP story:

In the third year of these playoffs, the FedEx Cup finally has a winner that resembles a real underdog.

He qualified for these playoffs with two points to spare – he was No. 124 out of 125 players who advance to this postseason bonanza. His victory moves him to No. 3 in the standings, assuring him a spot in the Tour Championship and a shot at the $10 million prize.

Steve Elling writes:

Ladies and gentlemen, your underdog in the FedEx race has arrived, straight from the tiny Panhandle burgh of Milton, Fla., where characters like Boo Weekley and Bubba Watson also hang out.

There's a reason Heath doesn't have a colorful nickname. He's more of the accountant, librarian type, not tobacco-spitting extrovert like Weekley or a ball-vaporizing masher like Watson. If those guys are the strawberry and chocolate in a carton of Neopolitan ice cream, Heath is the vanilla.

And Jason Sobel shares a nice anecodate about Vicky Slocum before putting the win in perspective:

Even so, surging from that number to a victory at The Barclays is the equivalent of a sub-.500 club in a team sport earning a playoff series win. He is golf's version of the 1975-76 Detroit Pistons, who went 36-46 before scoring an opening-round postseason victory, or the 1985-86 Toronto Maple Leafs, who were 25-48-7 in the regular season, but also advanced. Speaking of playoffs, Slocum's final-hole putt avoided a five-man overtime with Woods, Els, Harrington and Stricker -- a quartet that has combined for 97 career PGA Tour titles and 20 major championships.

Sunday
Aug302009

USGA Makes Final Two Walker Cup Picks...

Anyone who follows this stuff have anything to add about the committee's choices?

 

TRINGALE AND UIHLEIN ADDED TO USA TEAM FOR 2009 WALKER CUP MATCH
 
Far Hills, N.J. (Aug. 30) – Cameron Tringale, 22, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., and Peter Uihlein, 20, of Orlando, Fla., have been named to the 2009 USA Walker Cup Team by the International Team Selection Committee of the United States Golf Association.
 
Tringale and Uihlein are the final two players selected to the USA Team that will compete against 10 amateurs representing Great Britain and Ireland in the 42nd Walker Cup Match, to be played Sept. 12-13 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
 
Tim Jackson, 50, of Germantown, Tenn., has been named as the first alternate for the team. Ben Martin, 22, of Greenwood, S.C., will be the second alternate.
 
The eight players previously named to the USA Team on Aug. 9 are Bud Cauley, Rickie Fowler, Brendan Gielow, Brian Harman, Morgan Hoffmann, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Smith and Drew Weaver. The captain of the USA Team is George “Buddy” MarucciJr.
 
The USA Team has won the last two Matches, posting one-point victories at Chicago (Ill.) Golf Club in 2005 and at Royal County Down in Newcastle, Ireland, in 2007. The USA leads the series overall, 33-7-1.
 
For the first time, the Walker Cup Match will comprise 18 singlesmatches and eight foursomes (alternate shot) matches in 2009. Ten singles matches will be played on Sunday.
 
This change marks only the second time in the 87-year history of the Walker Cup that the format has been altered.
 
From 1963 to 2007, the Match comprised 16 singles matches and eight foursomes matches. From 1922 to 1961, the Match comprised four foursomes matches on the first day of play and eight singles matches on the second day of play.

Saturday
Aug292009

Tigers Braces For Emotional Final Time Around Liberty National 

Okay it's not Bobby Jones at the Old Course in '36 knowing this would likely be it, but you can just imagine how emotional it'll be for Tiger and the other PGA Tour greats to know this is likely the last time they'll ever have to get to play Liberty National.

With Tiger, the smiles and the cranky body language could be fatigue, but it was more likely the dread of knowing you have to play Liberty National one more time. I expect a chipper and fired up Tiger Sunday. Jim McCabe explores the first three days of very un-Tiger like intensity.

Until this week, that is, when a first-round 70 and second-round 71 were followed by quick exits from Liberty National.

Laryngitis? No. Sick of the media? Possibily, and who could blame him, given that he’s playing for the fifth time in seven weeks. But more than anything, you get the feeling that these greens give him the creeps and the sooner he’s out of here, the better. Maybe he was afraid if he got going on them, he’d get himself in trouble, yet when Woods finally stopped to talk and offered his views, he had all he could do to be diplomatic.

“The greens,” he said, “they are just so different.”

Steve Elling noticed the same thing.

Woods said that he turned up to play this week mainly to help give the tour, the FedEx series and the sponsor a shot in the arm, since he missed the Barclays in each of the past two seasons. Yet after seeing the critically panned course, his body language for the first two rounds suggested his give-a-crap meter was running low.The New York Post on Saturday said he had spent the week "acting like a child whose parents forced him to go to summer camp against his will."

Seems Tiger also had this to say about the setup Saturday. From an AP notes column:

Tiger Woods was surprised that players were allowed to use some forward tees at Liberty National on Saturday in The Barclays.

"Where the tees are, they are playing the ladies' tees most of the day," Woods said after shooting a 4-under 67 to reach 4 under overall on the rain-softened course.

Uh Tiger, for those green committees you'll be working in the future. It's forward tees.

Gary Van Sickle suggests that this unusual calling out by Woods was a ploy to get the tour rules officials to move things back.

Woods said he thought the tees would be back at the tips because the tour was using lift, clean and place rules due to wet conditions and a forecast of additional rain Saturday (that luckily never came, by the way). Steve Marino, who shares the lead with Paul Goydos, disagreed, saying he thought the course played plenty long.

What might be behind Tiger's mild rant? Simply that he wanted more of a challenge? More likely, he's looking for a competitive edge going into the final round.

Saturday
Aug292009

"Anybody could play there and have a good time."

John Huggan played Castle Stuart--the new Gil Hanse creation for developer Mark Parsinen in Northern Scotland--and offers a glowing review along with comments from others and a nice mention about the efforts of shaper Jim Wagner.

"Castle Stuart is unbelievable," says European Tour pro Stephen Gallacher. "I think it is the best new course I have ever played. The layout is fantastic, as are the facilities. It looks as though it has been there for ever, completely natural.

"The fairways may be wide at first glance, but you have to attack the greens from the right sides. Plus, there aren't many holes where the high-handicapper couldn't get away with a 'skitter' off the tee. Anybody could play there and have a good time.

"I especially enjoyed the short par-4s, classic risk-and-reward holes where you can take a chance off the tee. That's a nice change from many courses these days where 250-yard par-3s and stupid rough seem to be the norm. In contrast, Castle Stuart is proper golf."

Gallacher speaks the truth, of course. The outwardly generous fairways – 60-80 yards wide in places – at Castle Stuart are a feature increasingly less common in an age where great spaces to drive into are far from the convention at the professional level. There, one-dimensional thinking of officials defines the point of golf as asking players to drive down narrow and constricting corridors of fairway bordered by long grass.

Happily, that sad and depressing scenario is the antithesis of golf at Castle Stuart. With width comes a multitude of options from the tee, affording the player the chance to decide where best to play. This does not make driving easy; as it is at all seaside courses the skill is to drive the ball through the winds to the correct spot on the fairway. So it is that there are many different shots to be had from different sides of the fairways. But one thing is constant: the thoughtful, accurate player can always open the ideal angles that provide for significantly less demanding approach shots.

I've previously posted images of the course here, here, here, here, and here.

 

Saturday
Aug292009

"I figure if I hit it in there, I should have to play it as it lies. I was very surprised by what they did. I’ve never seen a rule like that before.”

The ghost of Bivens strikes!

Jim Achenbach reports on one of the stranger committee calls: lift, clean, place in the semi roughs at Pumpkin Ridge for this weeks' Swine Flu Safeway Classic, where the players not dropping out with a mysterious illness are gettting to take drops in the rough.

Pumpkin Ridge is dry as a bone, groomed by superintendent Bill Webster to be firm and fast, similar to U.S. Open conditions.

Sue Witters, manager of tournament competitions, clarified the reasons for the step-cut addendum, which had never before been used in any LPGA tournament: “Several weeks ago, we asked Pumpkin to put in the step-cut. It’s about six feet wide, or two paces. Normally they don’t have one. Unfortunately, there was a record heat wave, and the step-cut took the brunt of it. It’s spotty, the ground is cracked, it’s a lot more extensive that we originally thought it was.”

Marking the affected areas, according to Witters, was out of the question because a player might be able (remaining within one club length, no closer to the ball) to place her ball in the fairway. This would not be fair, Witters indicated.

On the other hand, veteran Heather Young was more philosophical. “In golf, if you miss the fairway, you’re in the rough,” Young said. “That heavy grass is rough. It isn’t that bad. I figure if I hit it in there, I should have to play it as it lies. I was very surprised by what they did. I’ve never seen a rule like that before.”
Pumpkin Ridge officials were furious.

“We weren’t told until this morning,” Webster said. “I was shocked. Sure, it was tough on the edges, but it’s always been that way. You get that around here with seasonal grasses.”

Saturday
Aug292009

TCC, USGA Finally Wrap Up Negotiation 

It's not the U.S. Open that The Country Club should be hosting in 2013, but the amateur will do. Only took three years to wrap up that negotiation? Hate to think how long it'll take them to iron out a U.S. Open contract, if that ever gets back on the table (we can only hope).

As for this year's NCAA match play final, Ron Balicki files a game story on Saturday's semis, Ryan Herrington previews the finale and Sean Martin says finalist Ben Martin's dad is already planning the Masters trip.

Friday
Aug282009

"This is a phenomenal golf course. I think this is good enough for a major." 

Liberty National has fans!

Granted, one of the guys wears pink pants with pride and the other looks to Howard Hughes for life inspiration, but at least two guys won't get fined this week.

Steve Elling reports. Padraig first:

Harrington was asked whether a monkey wrench had been thrown in the FedEx Cup series' week because a course picked mainly because of its panoramic views and proximity to Manhattan had been pelted by bad weather that grounded the aerial blimp. Yet Harrington unexpectedly sprang to the defense of the three-year-old track.

"This is a phenomenal golf course," Harrington said, unprompted. "I think this is good enough for a major. This is a major golf course we are playing here, this is a superb test, really puts us right on the limit.

"This is exactly what we should be playing. This is an excellent golf course. It may look good, but the actual layout of the golf course, it's a real test out there. And you know, at all stages, you've got to pay attention. Absolutely."

And...

Maybe his membership certificate -- initiation dues here are $500,000 -- is in the mail or something. Then Ian Poulter, another Ryder Cup player who is known for expressing the unvarnished truth, didn't exactly pooh-pooh the notion.

"Yeah, a few of the greens might be a tiny bit severe," Poulter said. "But with a couple of little tweaks, which I'm sure they will do in time, it's a hell of a golf course."

Friday
Aug282009

"With this fescue, shades of an Open Championship layout."

Kelly Tilghman on today's telecast, talking about Liberty National.

Friday
Aug282009

"It's like a tornado just went through."

Reader Don grabbed this round one screen shot of Liberty National and offered the fitting description quoted above.

Thursday
Aug272009

"We have no plans to add any additional golf ball rules."

Ryan Ballengee follows up with the USGA's Dick Rugge about his groovy chat with Phil Mickelson this week and shares this:

"I expect that the Tour players will deal with the reduced spin from the rough in a variety of ways – whatever works best for each individual. How their adaptation affects other parts of their games will be seen after the rule goes into effect."

Rugge is confident, though, that the players will be just fine. "These are the most adaptable athletes in the world. Their conditions of play can change from event to event, day to day, hole to hole, and shot to shot. "

And the USGA's tech czar is certain that the golf ball will not be further regulated anytime soon.

"We have no plans to add any additional golf ball rules."

Now considering we're in year six of the USGA's ball study, should we take that to mean the study is finished? Or that they went into the study with a closed mind? Or simply that they currently have not plans for the ball because the study still has a ways to go?

Thursday
Aug272009

“Maybe Tom did this course before his eye operation.”

Just when the doctor cleared me to watch a CBS telecast the rest of the year (only two more!), he advised against listening to the fawning over Liberty National and suggested I not view anything featuring divot swarm-decorated catch basins, faux creeks or fairways lined by containment mounds. 

So there I was during an accidental Golf Channel moment today catching David Feherty in full dry hump mode, declaring his admiration for the course. (Perhaps to make up for Nick Faldo, who apparently was less kind. Why couldn't I have been watching then?)

But after reviewing a few stories this evening, it's become clear that this week's visit to the Bob Cupp-Tom Kite masterwork has awakened the average PGA Tour player's inner sense of humor, usually buried under threats of a Sid Wilson driving range visit.

Granted, we only a know who a few of the culprits are, but how can you not enjoy these gems?

Adam Schupak reporting Robert Allenby's post round remarks:

“I really don’t know how to answer that in the right way, because I could really could get myself into a lot of trouble.”

“They set it up very well,” he added, “That’s as good as I can go on the course.”

That's just an appetizer. It gets better.

John Hawkins suggests that the PGA Tour's deal with Liberty National "was built on something other than the best interests of the competitive standard" and features these beauties:

Even those who consider Liberty National unfit for a tour event, much less a tournament of this magnitude, are blown away by the aesthetics. "It's like this beautiful birthday cake you bring into the room and slice into pieces, everyone takes a bite and realizes there's [bleep] inside," is how one player put it, a quote that earned the award for creative criticism of the day among the two dozen or so tour pros and caddies I spoke with Wednesday.

"If it was a fish, I'd throw it back," picked up second place, and though neither player is likely to have made those statements on the record about any course, the tour's sensitivities are particularly high this week. So high that Camp Ponte Vedra has asked those in the field not to make any negative public statements about the design, a Bob Cupp-Tom Kite collaboration with small, very severe greens.

Steve Elling takes the temperature of players and comes away with these gems:

Said one prominent player: "I guess $250 million doesn't buy what it used to."

And this...

Even the kindest players have struggled mightily to say something positive. Said Zach Johnson, who ranks third in FedEx Cup points, when asked for a comment on the track: "I am not your guy."

Ah but the best involves Tiger, found by Ian O'Connor:

According to Sanjay Jha, a Motorola executive and one of three amateurs who played with Woods on Wednesday, Tiger took time out of their five-hour loop to joke, “Maybe Tom did this course before his eye operation.”

And after sharing some anecdotes about Tiger's respectful pro-am conversation, O'Connor writes:

Tiger shared some stories, shared some laughs. But when he surveyed the course, Woods looked about as happy as a Mets executive reviewing the disabled list.

Finally there was this...

So Tiger had a little fun at Kite’s expense. When Jha started relaying the line to a reporter, Lauer tried to cut him off. “I don’t think you should repeat it,” the Qualcomm guy told the Motorola guy.

Jha couldn’t help himself. By sharing an inside-the-ropes joke, he humanized the red-shirted automaton bent on world domination and inspired this singular question:

Can Tiger Woods conquer a course he can’t stand?

The answer will be in by the Sunday evening news.

Thursday
Aug272009

"We are getting back into it"

Uh, who is Sergio Garcia referring to in this quote from his press conference today, and published in this wire story on round one at The Barclays?

Garcia took another important step toward recovering from a troublesome season Thursday with a 6-under 65 at Liberty National for a share of the lead with Paul Goydos and Steve Marino.

"We are getting back into it," Garcia said. "Last week was nice. It was good to see ourselves ... getting that feeling of being out there trying to win a tournament and getting the juices flowing a little bit. We're just looking forward to hopefully finishing the year well here, keep this good momentum going."

Is there more than one Sergio? Does he have a pit crew?

Thursday
Aug272009

"Jordan Thomas: Making A Connection Between Golf & Health Care Rights"

Nice post and audio interview of Jordan Thomas by Ryan Ballengee. Check it out and Thomas's foundation here.

 

Wednesday
Aug262009

in·ter·est·ing (in-t(ə-)rəs-tiŋ) : holding the attention : arousing interest

It's hard to interpret the early reviews of Liberty National, but it seems like most of the players are trying their best not to blast the design. Shoot, Norman Vincent Ogilvy is tweeting about how great it is that players are actually discussing design. Granted, it took a Cupp-Kite nightmare, but he's finding the positive in that. Impressive restraint!

In case you want the backstory in print form before CBS drums it into us, Michael Buteau does a nice job explaining how the place came about and how much it all cost.

Adam Schupak sums up Tiger's not so subliminal description of the design in today's presser.

“It's interesting,” Woods said.

In a good way?

“It's interesting,” Woods repeated.

Hank Gola writes this...

One prominent Tour player was saying earlier this year it would be the worst course his fellow golfers would play in 2009. Another quipped it will be the best course he'll play this week.
Vijay Singh thinks the course has "its own character" and "will grow on people."

But his answer to what style of player the course favors was telling.

"One who doesn't worry about what the golf course is and just plays one shot at a time," he said. "You go out there and start criticizing the golf course, then you might as well not show up."

Jonathan Wade says this is probably Liberty's only shot...

It's clear the tour is considering the idea of making Liberty National a regular part of a rotation in the New York metropolitan area. A press release by the PGA Tour on Monday announced that Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., and Plainfield Country Club in Edison, N.J., will host the event in 2010 and 2011 respectively, but the event's future is unclear after that. The tour also has a contract with Westchester to bring the event back there once before 2012, but there was no mention of Westchester in the release.

The press conferences revealed one player who likes the place and one who artfully avoided the question.

Q. What do you think of your golf course since you're a member here?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I love it. I love it because I think the shots around the greens have been very well thought out. I think the greens have movement to them, but it's subtle movement. It's not these big humps and hollows that modern architecture seems to have. The rough doesn't go right up to the edge of the green. There's a lot of shaved areas that extends out. There's a lot of movement, so you get different lies, and I think around the greens it's within very well thought out. I think it's hard, though. It's a hard golf course. Tee-to-green it's very demanding.

Q. How many times have you played this before?

PHIL MICKELSON: Just a handful, just five or six.

And the artist...

Q. Your thoughts on the course in general?

LUCAS GLOVER: It's in perfect shape. Kind of intimidating scenery. But it's in great shape.

Wednesday
Aug262009

"But the most egregious moment came when the official basically said to the three, now is the time to inform me if you think any member of the group is to blame."

Ryan Herrington on the disastrous day for the Walker Cup team except Mike Van Sickle's 6&4 win. Oh wait, that's right, he's not on the team...yet.

Sean Martin follows up on round 1's medalist Tim Jackson defeating John Kostis after the two were involved in a slow play incident Tuesday. Peter Kostis kindly took the time to weigh in on what he saw as the flaws of the USGA policy under the comments section of the earlier post. Check it out. This was particularly interesting to me as someone who supports the USGA policy, but it easy to see why this

The most disturbing parts of the whole episode were the fact that the USGA has factored in the "correct" amount of time to play a hole poorly and its included in the timing stations. I never realized that it's ok to make a double that only adds 4 minutes to the pace of play, but a 6 minute extra time double is too much! But the most egregious moment came when the official basically said to the three, now is the time to inform me if you think any member of the group is to blame. Asking someone to throw someone else under the bus to save a stroke is sickening to me. What does that teach? I'm all for speeding up play, but there must be a better way. When a group waits for 10 minutes to play the 15th hole and finishes the round 2 minutes past their allotted time, is that worth compromising the integrity of the competition?

Wednesday
Aug262009

"Guys who haven't won a tournament all year could win the FedExCup. It is quite interesting how it could work out that way."

Tiger Woods Wednesday at Liberty National:

Q. Do you think it's fair if you could win the next three weeks and not win the FedExCup with eight wins this year?

TIGER WOODS: It could happen.

Q. It could very well happen?

TIGER WOODS: It could very well happen, no doubt. Guys who haven't won a tournament all year could win the FedExCup.

It is quite interesting how it could work out that way.

Q. Should it be a season-long marathon, or the four-week sweepstakes that it has become? It's like it's trying to serve two masters and not really successfully doing either one.

TIGER WOODS: It used to be season-long, but also season-long for Player of the Year, Money List title, I guess it was the Arnold Palmer Award, and that's what you're playing for all year is the money title. You win the money title here, you could lose the FedExCup. So it is different, there's no doubt. But then again, this is what we're playing for. This is our opportunity to play well. You play well at the right time, you should be all right.

Steve Elling explained the latest wacky FedEx Cup points possibility:

Woods has won five times already this year, three more than anybody else. He could win this week, then follow suit in Boston and Chicago, but if somebody from the top five in points beats him in Atlanta by a shot, he can't win the title.

Worse, Woods conceivably could have eight wins to his credit and lose the FedEx Cup crown to a player well down the points list who didn't win a single tournament all season, like David Toms (No. 12) or Hunter Mahan (No. 14). Thanks to the reshuffle before the finale, Woods loses much of his edge.

Bob Harig tried to find the positive in this:

Another stipulation already is causing some concern. Anyone in the top five heading to Atlanta who wins the Tour Championship is assured of winning the FedEx Cup. So if Woods wins this week and next but doesn't win in Atlanta, he still could be denied the top prize.

That, however, seems like a fair trade to create some much-needed drama in the last event.
And just like in those other playoffs, the regular-season champion does not always prevail at the end.

Wednesday
Aug262009

"PGA Tour big bird didn't like this tweet"

Steve Elling reports that master Tweeter Stewart Cink heard from The Man Wednesday after Tweeting about AT&T's wretched (I can attest!) cell coverage.

That's when Commissioner Tim Finchem called to ask him to stop ragging on key PGA Tour sponsors on his Twitter site. AT&T is the title sponsor at events in Pebble Beach and Washington, D.C., and now stands as the lone sponsor of multiple events on the U.S. tour.

Cink was somewhat amused by it all. Later, when he got to the course, he was asked by another tour official to take down the posting, which he did. Eventually.

The offending Tweets:

 

Wednesday
Aug262009

"We think it brings a new sharpness to the Playoffs."

Say goodbye to strengthen and platform and say hello to sharpen.

The Commish unveiled a new word Wednesday at Liberty National and the world is a better place for it.

Here we go into the Playoffs. We are excited about the way the Playoffs are structured this year. We think it brings a new sharpness to the Playoffs.

After all, we strengthened last year and well, it wasn't really stronger so now we are sharpening. Next year we'll be activating a new points system...again.

I think overall thus far, as we get to our third set of Playoffs, we are very pleased with the traction the Cup has had in golf, the stature, recognition, positioning of competition takes years to accomplish, and I think this one has really been at warp speed to get to the position of where it is after only 2 1/2 years.

Warp speed down the drain?

And now on to Liberty National...wherever it is.

With that said, we are delighted to be back here in New York. I think the visuals this week for CBS and the GOLF CHANNEL will be outstanding. We have a good weather pattern moving in which is going to sharpen those visuals of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

Sharpen those visuals. But will that sharpen the brand?

So what we decided to go forward with a few years ago is in fruition and we are excited to see it play out this week. With that said, I'll be happy to try to answer your questions.

Q. First, spending 20 years in Jersey, New York is over there; but anyways, coming back here, I know you're going to go to Ridgewood, but the logistics that the undertaking of having this event here and some of the players we spoke with yesterday were, they bit their tongue a little bit about the untraditional layout and the untraditional construction of the course. I wonder what your long term plans are and thoughts are for coming back to a site like this?

New York/New Jersey...picky liberal media elitists!

And on to the Olympics...

Q. If you were to get in, and I know that's a bit of a hypothetical, but it does look promising, if you were to get in, does that open doors for you with the PGA TOUR kind of getting access to the Olympic sponsors and possibly parlaying that into more sponsorship on the PGA TOUR?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I don't think so. I mean, if you look at the configuration of the sponsorship of the Olympic Games, it's companies that we already talk to. I don't think there's much for us there, and No. 2 I think we are largely sponsored already. Even though we will have some turnover on this downturn, we are already working hard to fill those gaps. I don't see that.

But I do think that the texture of the game is richer to some extent with golf in the Olympics, which makes it even more attractive to sponsorship. So I think it will help us possibly globally with sponsorship, even though it may not be a direct interface with some sponsor that happens to be at the Olympic Games, so indirectly.

Got that?