Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • 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
  • Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution
    Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution
    by Matthew Futterman
  • 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

As far is possible, there should be presented to each golfer an interesting problem that will test him without being so impossibly difficult that he will have little chance of success. There must be something to do, but that something must always be within the realm of reasonable accomplishment.
BOBBY JONES


    

Wednesday
Apr012009

Padraig Harrington Must Really Want To Sit On The Golf Digest Panel

Golf Digest has posted their top 100 list earlier than planned so that you can stare at Augusta National in the #1 spot. I've been around well traveled golfers the last two days and the ranking is nearly always talked about. That would normally be great, except that nearly every conversation spirals into the dreaded "what were they thinking" or "that ranking has lost all credibility."

But it's not all bad. Padraig Harrington, using the dreaded "fair" word, loves the changes. Of course, fair rarely is a word associated with the fun, interesting, volatile, edgy or ingenious design elements, all attributes you think of when considering Augusta National before Hootie Johnson and Tom Fazio scrubbed it clean.

Q. Speaking of it not being the same course, can you just address a little bit on Augusta and how it has changed over the years?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think since I played it, I started playing in 2000, and I think the changes they've made are fantastic since then. I think when I first went there, I hit sand wedge into 1, I hit pitching wedge into 5, 9-iron into 11, lob wedge into 18. These are not the clubs were being hit into the holes when I watch it -- these are not the clubs I saw being hit into those holes when I watched it on TV.

What they did was they tended to put the pins very close to the slopes and the course was tricky. Since they've lengthened the golf course, it made a bigger, solider challenge and they use fairer pin positions. So to me the golf course got stronger but fairer since then.

So instead of -- you know, four would be a good example. They use that pin in the back left. The flag would be a foot from the slope in 2000 or 2001. You would be hitting 7-iron in there. Now you're hitting in a 3-iron, 5-wood type shot but the flag is cut two, three paces from it.

I think that's better. I prefer to be asked to hit a bigger, solider shot but to a fairer target. I think they've improved the golf course no end. It is a long course, but no longer than what we saw on TV in the '80s.

I don't know about you, but I'm going to stick with observations from players who actually played it in the 80s instead of watching on TV.

And not to be a total stickler since I'm not Strunk, but solider?

Wednesday
Apr012009

"Where are you going to make up for it?"

In the April Golf Digest, Jaime Diaz writes about the lack of excitement at recent Masters and concludes that simple tweaks are all the place needs.

This is a significant story for a number of reasons, the most obvious being that it's a major shift from Diaz who penned a Golf World story just three years ago with the subtitle: "On Second Thought, Masters officials knew precisely what they were doing when they executed the most recent changes to Augusta National."

But as with that story, embedded you will find more telling details that speak to the impact of architectural changes at Augusta National. While he focuses on "tweaks," it's clear that Diaz talked to many figures and few feel the course has evolved in a positive way.

For the record, what I thought was a slightly misleading headline (just in case five years from now he writes something titled, "Cut the Rough And The Silly Trees Down Mr. Chairman Ridley, Please":

Adjusting the Volume: For all the fretting that the Masters is trading roars for bores, a few tweaks (and good weather) might be all that Augusta National needs

That's a bit misleading since Diaz proposes restoring two of the most famous tournament holes in golf, which seem like they were recklessly altered when you read some of the really interesting tidbits Diaz picked up from players.

In excusing the defensive nature of the event in recent years, Diaz writes:

The 10 yards that have been added to the front of the tee on the par-4 seventh were sorely needed. The hole was the redesign's worst effort in terms of strategy and aesthetics. Lengthened by 85 yards since 2001, to 450 yards, it was also counter-intuitively tightened with more trees. Even after a good drive, the super-shallow green--which was built in the '30s to receive an exacting short iron or wedge--is unreasonably small for a middle-iron approach. As Woods has said, "I don't have that shot." What used to be a tricky and tantalizing risk-reward has become a hard par where the mandated conservative play is a competitive buzz kill.

I don't see how 10 yards and no tree removal fixes No. 7? Television does not do justice to how absurdly narrow this hole has become (it wasn't exactly wide before!).

Alright, here's where Diaz gets to the main point in all of the ANGC change discussion. The once beautiful balance is gone, putting players in a constant state of defensiveness.

"The whole thought process of playing the golf course used to be, get through the first six holes around par, and you can birdie 7, 8 and 9 ... and you have a great round," Phil Mickelson said last year. "It changes when you can be aggressive--and the whole complexion and the mind-set of how to play the first six or seven holes."

Diaz focuses on the 13th and 15th as the keys to restoring Augusta National to its former self. He explains why players lay up more than ever, then writes:

It's a procession of almost laughably mundane short-iron lay ups to what essentially becomes two 100-yard par 3s, giving the Masters another wedge-fest. The 13th, in particular, used to be considered the best tournament hole in the world, but that reputation is being diminished.

It also contributes to boring golf to play. Without a payoff looming on 13 and 15, players, to use Faldo's term, get "switched off" to creative, aggressive shotmaking and go into a sort of play-for-par U.S. Open mode that has hurt the Masters.

His solutions, which all make sense:

So here's a simple stimulus package: Make the 13th and 15th worth going for in two again.

Augusta National has all the options. The club can move up some tees, soften greens, set less-dangerous hole locations, cut the fairway grass in the direction of the green instead of toward the tee, flatten some speed slot-killing fairway humps, trim some overhanging branches and take out a tree or six, grow the grass around the water hazards just a hair longer--or any combination of the above. The goal, as Jim Furyk succinctly states, should be to "put the gamble back in."

A first step has been taken, with the tee on 15 being moved forward about eight yards. Something similar should happen on 13. The landing area on 13 since the hole was lengthened is much more sidehill than the old one. The awkwardness of the lie, versus the more level former landing area, is a big inhibitor to players going for the green. Length isn't the issue as much as loss of control.

While those are great suggestions, it's hard to imagine 13 and 15 reclaiming their former glory without removing all of the recently planted trees. (Look how absurdly narrow 15 is in the photo accompanying the story. And remember, it plays narrower than that due to the tilt of the fairway.)

Losing the second cut would compensate for restored width by sending errant balls further into trouble. More importantly, the look of width might subliminally encourage more aggressive play.

Ultimately the entire sense of defensiveness established by the club and Tom Fazio has to be eliminated from the architecture in order for The Masters to regain its place as golf's greatest championship. This means losing the rough, having more tee placement options, removing the silly trees and restoring holes like 1, 2, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, and 17 to resemble their riskier, more volatile selves.

Wednesday
Apr012009

"I've always dreamed about seeing Augusta as just one big carpet"

I was most struck by how forthcoming the guys were in Dave Shedloski's quizzing of players about what they'd do to Augusta. Perhaps my memory has been clouded by nostalgia, but it seems to me that if 15 years ago or even 11 years ago (pre-you-know-who), no one would have wanted to be on the record questioning what they do. Nor would there really have even been a thought that such an article was needed.

Anyhow, I'm copying the three comments about getting rid of the rough because they make great sense, but the entire piece is interesting.

Ben Curtis: "Augusta National is an unbelievable place. But, you know, I was watching a tape of the '97 Masters, and if we could get the golf course like it was then, without the rough, have the ball rolling 30-40 yards, I think with the length it's at now, that would make it an even better test. Take away the rough, and then if you've got a big hitter who is hitting it off line, he finds himself in the trees and the pine straw. I think without the rough you actually have to be more precise. That would be the only thing I would do."

Justin Rose: "I would love to see it play as long as it is now, but with no rough. I would love to see what that would be like. I've always dreamed about seeing Augusta as just one big carpet, which you don't see now with the second cut and it gets trampled down. It doesn't look as pristine as it could, and I would just really love to see that just once."

Stewart Cink: "I would get rid of the intermediate rough and I would like it to be all fairway again. I would leave everything else the same, but have that one cut, all fairway. That totally separated it from every other course in the way it looked and the way it played."

Tuesday
Mar312009

Forbes World Match Play Final

In lieu of the traditional April Fool's Day post, here's a bit of enjoyable viewing highlighted by a not-particularly- subtle cameo appearance from Jimmy Roberts. Still, this is all in good fun from the folks at Forbes:

Tuesday
Mar312009

Still Wondering After All These Days...

I'm still digesting Wally Uihlein's statement last week to Mike Stachura of Golf Digest that a line in the sand has been drawn and the golf ball "fenced in" distance-wise under current rules. And I just keep wondering if this is in fact the case, what is now so offensive about the idea of a competition spec ball or a rollback for elite players? After all, the manufacturers signed off on a groove rollback to restore the value of skill, why is the ball different?

I even sense Blago and Goiter over at GolfDigest.com are open to this discussion based on their most recent post where Goiter seems open to considering bifurcation. And Wally, I just know you'll be anxious to join in on this potential Kumbaya moment.

Tuesday
Mar312009

"It only appears that the world ranking makes this more confusing than it needs to be."

In light of the revelation that Davis Love could have sat out Bay Hill and made it into the Masters, Doug Ferguson makes a case for the Official World Golf Ranking as a tool to determine Masters qualifiers:

If the 1998 criteria were still in effect, Love could have booked his reservations to Augusta National four months ago after he won at Disney for his 20th career PGA Tour victory. Then again, the Masters field would also include the likes of Parker McLachlin, Marc Turnesa, Ryan Palmer, Michael Bradley and Richard S. Johnson, all of whom won against watered-down fields.

And if the '98 criteria were used today, here are some of the players who not be eligible -- Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Rory Sabbatini, Tim Clark, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald and 54-year-old Greg Norman.

Some of them -- but not all -- would have received special invitations the Masters typically reserved for international players.

Tuesday
Mar312009

"Anything to help the TOUR and the ratings, we're all for it."

Craig Dolch looks at the debate over miking caddies and the various dynamics involved. I'm not sure what the big concern is (well, no more leering and talking between shots). Still, one of the top leather bag toters is resisting.

"I'm going to recommend we not do it," Eric Larson, Anthony Kim's caddie, said Monday. "I think they get enough from the boom mic. A lot of stuff we talk about (during a round) is personal stuff that has nothing to do with golf. They say that won't get out on TV, but somebody is always listening, so you always have to be careful with what you say."

Larson isn't the only caddie who sounds concerned. Reached Monday on his way to Houston, though, Bones said he would follow the lead of his player.

"If Phil is for it, then I'm for it," he said. "We know the TV contract comes up next year. Anything to help the TOUR and the ratings, we're all for it."

At least someone out there has a big picture view! Commish's assistant: send Bones a case of the PGA Tour label's finest Cab right away. Chop, chop.

 

Tuesday
Mar312009

"I did my good deed for the day"

Robbyn Brooks reports on a pretty amazing bit of heroism by Reggata Bay superintendent Doug Higgins, who pulled a woman to safety after her car plunged into water near the 16th hole.

"I was on the 16th hole and I could hear tires squealing," said Doug Higgins who had been making his morning rounds on a golf cart.

Higgins continued to drive toward U.S. Highway 98 where he thought the wreck was when he noticed a black Toyota Camry in the water.

"She was in the middle of the water," Higgins said. "She had her window down, but she was elderly and kind of out of it. She didn't try to get out."

Higgins had called 9-1-1 and could hear sirens in the distance, but the car was sinking rapidly. The woman rolled up her window instead of climbing out. That's when Higgins said he ditched his shoes and wallet and jumped in the water.

"The front door was too far in the water. I couldn't get it open," Higgins recalled. "I was beating on the glass saying, ‘Unlock your doors. Unlock your doors.' "

Higgins watched until the lock moved and then began to force the back door of the car open. The pressure was so great that water rushed in as he pried it.

"I got her seatbelt off and pulled her over the seat and to shore," Higgins said.

Tuesday
Mar312009

"I think it's fair to say that Shot Values and Resistance to Scoring were the likely categories that contributed to Augusta’s elevation.”

Golf Digest confirmed in a news release that the new Top 100 list will appear online April 6, listed the new entries on the list, confirmed rise of Augusta National to #1 and included this apology explanation from architecture editor Ron Whitten.

“Although the architectural changes at Augusta National have received criticism over the past few years, our panel consensus ranked it No. 1,” said Ron Whitten, Golf Digest Senior Editor of Architecture. “We evaluate seven different aspects of each course's design, and while it's hard to pinpoint individual reasons for a course’s ranking, I think it's fair to say that Shot Values and Resistance to Scoring were the likely categories that contributed to Augusta’s elevation.”

Those are probably the kindest words Ron or anyone else in his position could muster up to explain what happened.

Of course, since no one knows what Shot Values actually means and anyone...ANYONE...ANYONE can design a golf course that is Resistant to Scoring, hardly what I'd call a ringing endorsement for the new #1.

Monday
Mar302009

"But when Woods stood over his ball, just 15 feet from the hole, I could not see the cup."

Thinking about Tiger's putt today, I kept marveling at how dark it must have been since the photographs were so dark. Bob Harig sets the scene and explains just how difficult the conditions were...at least for seeing the ball and the cup.

Monday
Mar302009

April Fool's Comes Early This Year: ANGC Vaults To No. 1 On Golf Digest's Top 100 List

Golf Digest appears to have been scooped by GolfClubAtlas.com's discussion group where the early posters are howling at Augusta National's ascension to the No. 1 spot in the biennial Top 100 ranking.

Why is this not Golf Digest's finest ranking moment? Well for starters I devoted a solid third of my Keynote slides at the Golf Digest Panelist Summit to the butchery of Augusta National. So you can see how influential I was to the 120 or so panelists who were an otherwise dream audience to address (I'm used to architects, members and superintendents who scowl and yawn...or do both at the same time).

As the GCA readers have pointed out, the rise of ANGC to the top spot is particularly odd considering that Golf Digest has so nobly tried to reorient their panelists toward the reward of leaner and more environmentally friendly course conditioning. Augusta National certainly does not fit their ideal in any way.

Architecturally it's a head scratcher because the course is a bit of a mess. If you put today's mangled 7th hole or 11th holes on any other course, a majority of panelists would write the place off immediately. Throw in the awkward injections to the 15th and the lack of diversity in teeing grounds that discriminates against golfers between the handicaps of 18 and 4 (small audience!), and it really is hard to imagine how anyone can call this the best course in the land. Then again the serious architecture students are still badly outnumbered on the panel, so I'm not sure why I would expect architectural details to matter.

Overall I'm struck by how the list is populated with so many courses I have no desire to play. Fun appears to be an elusive quality of courses on the Digest list.

Anyway, the 2007 list for reference. I'll spare you comments for the entire list...


1 Augusta National G.C. - The Christmas tree planting is so strategic and yet so aesthetically pleasing too.

9 Fishers Island Club - Great place and no irrigation system! Go figure.

11 Oak Hill C.C. (East) - They meant 311th right?

20 Medinah C.C. (No. 3) - Rev up the dozers, about time for the bi-annual redo isn't it?

31 Riviera C.C. - Up 30 spots. Never hurts having a panelist running the joint!

32 Pinehurst Resort & C.C. (No. 2) - Serves them right for sterilizing the scrub off the property.

42 Canyata G.C. - I'm sorry, where is this?

46 Rich Harvest Links - They must have taken the artificial turf tee out finally!

47 Los Angeles C.C. (North) - After Rich Harvest and in front of Kinloch. 

53 Garden City G.C. - Wait, this is fun...how can it be ranked so high?

63 Flint Hills National G.C. - I'm sorry, where is this?

68 Stone Canyon Club - Their ads do look great!

74 Shoreacres - Again, way too much fun and full of character for this list.

83 Eagle Point G.C. - I'm not sorry, where is this?

84 Sahalee C.C. (South/North) - They're hosting a Senior major! Lucky guys.

88 Somerset Hills C.C. - Almost off the list finally, you never belonged. Too brilliant!

94 Hudson National G.C. - This still exists?

Monday
Mar302009

"The LPGA has long been fan-friendly."

Alan Shipnuck on the LPGA event at Papago last week:

At Papago an autograph booth was set up behind the 18th green, and even the most high-profile players signed until their fingers were numb, repeatedly thanking fans for waiting in line. Throw in reasonable pricing — a one-day pass in Phoenix cost $16 — and it's no accident that attendance was up by 24% through the first four tournaments of this year. Michelle Wie's presence had given the LPGA more than a little box-office appeal. Last Saturday, Wie had dew-sweeping duty as the third time off, at 7:56 a.m., but about 300 fans turned up to follow her, and the Wie group was chaperoned by four armed Phoenix cops.

Monday
Mar302009

The Donald Files: Madoff And Club Championship Exemption Edition

Deborah Soloman interviewed Donald Trump for the NY Times Sunday magazine and besides his hilarious stuff about how well his businesses are doing, there was this on Bernie Madoff and golf:

I hear you are personally acquainted with Bernie Madoff, who visited your country club in Palm Beach.

I met Madoff a number of times at Mar-a-Lago. He loved golf, and I’d also see him at my golf club, which is nearby. One time he said to me, “Why don’t you invest with me?” I said jokingly, “No thanks, I can lose my own money.”

What do you think will happen to Ruth Madoff?

The wife should be put in jail on the other side of the hallway from him. I think she’s guilty, his sons are guilty, and I think that many of the people in the firm are guilty. He had 16,000 clients, and he’s one man. What, he’s going to send out every envelope every week?

But perhaps my all time favorite Donald anecdote I actually read right over the first time through this piece. Thankfully reader Clark didn't miss this gem from Beth Ann Baldry's note on Morgan Pressel. The italics are mine (since I missed it the first time):

Morgan Pressel has stepped onto the caddie carousel. Her longtime caddie, Jon Yarbrough, told her in the offseason that he took a job on the PGA Tour. Pressel found a replacement in Dylan Vallequette, who then quit after Singapore to head for the European Tour.

So who’s the big guy on Pressel’s bag this week? Donald Trump’s caddie, Barry Cesarz. Pressel often practices at Trump International and asked Cesarz, nicknamed “The Rock,” whether he might be interested in carrying her bag for two weeks.

Cesarz agreed, even though it meant ducking out of the club championship. Trump gets a bye in the first two rounds, putting him straight into the semifinals.

“Ownership has its privileges,” Cesarz said. “I got a better offer. He understands.”

He gives himself a bye into the semis. Now that is one special man.

Monday
Mar302009

Cink And Others On Twitter

I'm warming to Twitter and Stewart Cink has now made me a full fledged fan with his posts. If you are on Twitter, here's his page. Just a few highlights from last week. A little instruction, a little humor, some course setup observations and general miscellany from a PGA Tour vet. Commish, you better not ban this!

  • What a waste! Played well all day then threw it away on 18. I was posing on what I thought was a perfect 7i approach. Hit the rocks.about 16 hours ago from twitterrific
  • Jason Gore's caddie trips over sprinkler head?7:57 PM Mar 28th from web
  • Teach the little ones to have fun and hit it hard. They will naturally learn to hit it straight.6:33 PM Mar 28th from twitterrific
  • Hole 8 144yds: 7iron Hole 18 142yds: SandWedge3:23 PM Mar 28th from twitterrific
  • Bay Hill is playing very tough. Rough has grown a full inch since they last cut it Tuesday. Also today was the windiest so far.3:22 PM Mar 28th from twitterrific
  • Had to play one out of the edge of water today with shoes and socks off. Thought briefly ;) about doing by Stenson impression.6:50 PM Mar 27th from twitterrific

A few others I'm following and enjoying:

Parker McLachlin
Shell Houston Open
Augusta.com
LPGA
PGA TOUR
Golf Digest

Monday
Mar302009

Bay Hill Final Round Pace Of Play

A scribe present says Tiger's birdie putt dropped at 7:53 ESTSean O'Hair mopped his par putt up a minute later. They teed off with Zach Johnson at 2:49 EST. Nothing like top players taking five hours.

Monday
Mar302009

Tiger Deserves 4.9 Million Shares In NBC/Universal For Single Handedly Saving Them Sunday

Not that those shares would get his attention, but hey, it's a gesture for making the putt and averting a disastrous Monday playoff.

From the PR folks at NBC/Universal/GE/Sheinhardt Wigs (that's for all 3 of you fellow 30 Rock watchers).

Woods Sixth Title at Bay Hill Scores Highest Event Rating in 7 Years & 23% Increase Over Last Year

NEW YORK – March 30, 2009 - NBC Sports' final round coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational yesterday (2:30-8 p.m. ET), which stretched into primetime, earned the best overnight rating for a golf event since the 2008 U.S. Open and the highest for any PGA TOUR event (excludes major championships) in more than two years (Jan. 28, 2007, Buick Invitational) according to Nielsen Media Research. The 4.9 overnight rating and 10 share was the best for the final round of Bay Hill in seven years (2002 - 5.7/11, Woods victory) and an increase of 23 percent over last year (4.0/9) which Woods also won with a birdie putt on the final hole.

The rating peaked at a 7.8/13 from 7:30-8 p.m. ET as Tiger Woods secured the one-shot victory with a birdie putt on the 18th hole as the sun was setting, his sixth Bay Hill title and first since last year’s historic U.S. Open victory.

The Bay Hill rating outperformed two of last year’s major championships: 48 percent higher than the final round of the British Open (3.3) and 75 percent greater than the final round of the PGA Championship (2.8).

Saturday’s third round coverage on NBC delivered a 2.7/6, 17% higher than last year (2.3/6).

Top metered markets for Sunday’s final round coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on NBC are as follows:
1. Fort Myers, 11.6/20
2. Orlando, 10.6/20
3. West Palm Beach, 8.8/15
4. Tampa, 7.6/15
5. Providence, 7.4/12
6. Buffalo, 7.1/13
7 Milwaukee, 6.9/13
T8. Minneapolis, 6.4/14
T8. Baltimore, 6.4/11
10. Cleveland, 6.1/11

Monday
Mar302009

Would Davis Be In The Masters If He Had Skipped Bay Hill!?

Below Doug Ferguson's GolfChannel.com version of his story on Davis Love narrowing missing the Masters, reader "Robopz" comments...

“I got to give Davis kudos for at least playing at Bay Hill. I guess he didn't want to "back in" to a Masters invite. If the Masters was his only consideration, the safer play for him would have been to skip Bay Hill. As it turns out, had he sat out this week he would have only dropped to #50 with a rating of 2.282... just enough to pass Oosthuizen at 2.276 and get into The Masters.

So if he goes snowboarding, he's in. He plays, misses the cut and he's out? What a world.

Monday
Mar302009

"Tiger is extremely smart and has a great feel for the game and would have won 60 or so tournaments with a pull cart."

When I saw that this week's SI Golf Group LLC chatfest was a four pager making War And Peace look like mass market paperback material, I dove in reluctantly. But it's a grabber from page one and easily their most entertaining yet. Guest Mike Donald delivered several cranky one-liners and the group did a nice job dissecting why NBC is pulling so far away from CBS's golf coverage.

I wholeheartedly agree with their take on the caddy-player mike subject, which was heightened yesterday by Sean O'Hair and Paul Tesori constant gabfest, culminating with the 7-iron talk on 18 where O'Hair repeated the club of choice at least three times and then checked mid-preshot routine to see if in fact it was a 7 in his hands, astutely noted by Johnny.

Evans: Sean was shaky coming down the stretch on Saturday, playing with Jason Gore. He's tinkering with his swing and getting an earful on every shot from his excellent caddie, Tesori. I don't think Tiger was in his head as much as O'Hair is struggling to "feel" what he wants to do.

Herre: Love the conversation between O'Hair and his caddie. NBC is smart to mike the caddies next week in Houston.

Dusek: I loved listening to the caddies on those last few holes. Steve Williams and Tiger in the fairway on 16, O'Hair and his man talking 7-iron vs. 8-iron on 18. NBC is doing a nice job of keeping quiet and letting the player and caddie tell the story.

Friedman: Love the colloquy between O'Hair and Tesori, as conveyed by the on-course mikes. Fun to listen in. "Don't be in a rush ... we ain't playin' any more anyway!"

Friedman: Mike, would you be comfortable if your caddie was miked?

Donald: I would not like everyone hearing me and my thoughts. Too much second guessing in the weeks after by Monday morning QBs.

Herre: I'd guess that most pros feel that way, Mike, but listening in helps us civilians better understand what's happening out there.

Bamberger: Mike, I know you were not one to have a lot of chit-chat with caddies. But from your experience, is this new, this intense conversation between caddie and player, even when the player is almost over the ball? Is Steve Williams really telling Tiger anything he doesn't already know?

Donald: I am always amazed by the banter between Phil and Bones. I know that Steve is a great caddie, but I think Tiger is extremely smart and has a great feel for the game and would have won 60 or so tournaments with a pull cart.

Later on...

Herre: Again, I really like the miked caddies, and NBC is going to push that hard in Houston. The Tour needs to get onboard running interference for NBC with the players and some of the caddies, who are sure to push back. As for which network is best, CBS has been doing a fine job for decades, but is a bit stuffy. NBC is doing all the innovating at the moment.

Morfit: I agree with Sir Herre. It's cool that NBC invited Jake to do the Bay Hill telecast seemingly on a whim. I can't see CBS allowing itself such a flier.

Donald: In this economy, everyone should do whatever it takes to make it more interesting and a good buy for the advertisers. Nascar!

And after Rick Lipsey brings up the unhealthy state of the game and the gang kicks things around a bit, Donald offers this.

Donald: Golf is going down because the courses have become too difficult and equipment is too expensive. Most golfers can't even post a real score any more.

Monday
Mar302009

"Even his raking of a bunker two holes later received loud applause."

John Huggan relays some epic stories from Greg Turner and others about the last time Tiger received a huge appearance fee to play in the New Zealand Open. Say what you want about IMG, but I doubt they will let this kind of stuff go on at the Australian Masters.

Monday
Mar302009

"Lack of amenities? We have tees, greens and fairways. That's all we need, bottom line."

Dan Bickley talks to Christina Kim about how Papago held its own in hosting the LPGA without the usual bells and whistles.