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No matter with what heights he is faced or with what winds assailed, the sportsman in battling with nature makes no complaint. But immediately he is faced with problems of human origin, he feels justified, if he finds them too difficult, in turning upon their creator with murder in his heart.  MAX BEHR



"We don’t reach everyone. Just the people with all the money"

23golf-600.jpgThe New York Times's Michel Marriott files a piece on the PGA Tour's cool-looking new scoreboards which unfortunately provides a chance for one of the Vice Presidents to say something obnoxious. This time it's Tom Wade:

Although much of the PGA Tour’s fan base remains mature and affluent, Wade said, significant numbers in that group are “heavy technology adaptors.”

“As we say: We don’t reach everyone. Just the people with all the money,” Wade said.




"He hit a lot of 'stingers'"

Michael Dudurich talks to Oakmont's Bob Ford about Tiger's practice round.

This item would seem to be bad news for anyone hoping to watch him spray that lovely Nike driver all over the lot:

For the most part, Woods hit 5- and 3-woods off the tees.

"There aren't too many driver holes for him out there," Ford said. "He hit a lot of 'stingers' with both of those clubs. He's a very strategic person, no doubt about it."

If It All Ended Today...

...I don't believe anyone else has noticed this, but if the FedEx Cup playoffs started this week, Parker McLachlin would be on the outside looking in.

Just thought you'd want to know. That 144 number is going to be one cruel cut-off point.


"I refuse to hit driver. It's against my religion."

About the only highlight of Tiger's first tour around Oakmont was his refusal to use driver on the 8th hole's absurd 288-yard tee. Someone from AP spills the beans on his practice round...

Woods played the back nine early Sunday morning with members and swing coach Hank Haney, then stopped for lunch and played the front nine in the afternoon.

The U.S. Open, to be played June 13-16, returns to Oakmont for the first time since 1994. It is one of the few classic championship courses in the United States that Woods had not played. He first qualified for the U.S. Open in 1995 as an amateur.

Woods said he thought Oakmont as a members' course was far tougher than Winged Foot, where last year he missed the cut for the first time in a major as a pro.

On the par-3 eighth, he played the back tee at 288 yards, and hit 3-wood to the middle of the green.

"I refuse to hit driver," Woods said, smiling. "It's against my religion."


Vijay Withdraws From Design Project So He Can Spend Less Time Mailing It In

Thanks to reader John for the sad, sad news that Vijay Singh will not be lending his name to a pair of former IMG Design Services masterpieces in his native land.

IMG Worldwide Inc, the manager of Fiji's star golfer, last week cancelled its design contract for the championship golf course at Natadola Resort.

In a statement today, Renee Lal, legal representative for IMG, says the Natadola Bay Resort Ltd (NBRL), a subsidiary of the Fiji National Provident Fund will no longer have the right to use Vijay Singh's name to promote the course.

No comments could be obtained immediately from NBRL's chairman Felix Anthony.

Last month, the FNPF, the financiers of the multi million dollar project, had said it had cancelled the Natadola project manager's, Asia Pacific Resort International (APRIL's) contract after Anthony claimed that Interpol reports showed that APRIL chief executive Gerard Saliot had a criminal record, which he did not disclose when obtaining a work permit.
A show of integrity from IMG? Eh...
APRIL, which is the founder of the Natadola scheme, says its contract is still in force and has not been legally terminated.

Golfer Singh had said he would withdraw from the Natadola Golf Course project in Fiji if APRIL and Saliot are removed.

"I thought that (the statement) was a bit irresponsible," Anthony had later said in a press conference.

Lal says Singh has indicated publicly his trust and confidence in APRIL and Saliot, its chief executive.

Singh in association with IMG, has been personally involved in the design and development of the course.

Well...let's not get carried away here. 
Lal says she received a message from Singh through IMG expressing his concern at the circumstances that led to the contract cancellation.

"His actual words were that what had happened 'has caused great disappointment to me as my dream is now altogether gone to provide this masterpiece for the people of Fiji'.

"I have been instructed to say that criticisms of Singh by FNPF and NBRL board member, Felix Anthony, are completely false," Lal says.

She claimed that they were made without as much as a "phone call to Mr Singh or an offer of discussion".

Lal says that any suggestion that Singh does not fully understand the situation between the FNPF and APRIL is untrue.

"He is well informed and is in regular contact," she said.

Lal claims FNPF's contractual default has led to a new crisis.

She said IMG had exercised its right to terminate the course design agreement with immediate effect and that the NBRL was informed about this late last week.

Lal claims that despite repeated requests, the NBRL had failed to pay outstanding sums of about $103,000 to IMG.

She claims that there was a clear and unequivocal breach of the design agreement.

Lal says that IMG may proceed without further notice to take legal action against NBRL to recover the full amount due, together with costs and interest.

According to her, the IMG is also making a demand for payment of sums due under a separate management agreement which she said at March end totaled about $275,000.

In IMG's view, the NBRL's failure to pay these amounts was also a clear breach of agreement, Lal says.

She said that although the design agreement had been terminated, it was still possible to negotiate a new agreement.

"The option is still there if matters can be resolved."

Lal who also represents APRIL says it was estimated that the interruption of the golf course contract alone could involve additional expenditure of some $5 million.

She claims the FNPF is now exposed to a number of legal problems with potentially far-reaching consequences.

Well if you can make sense of that, please feel free to explain in the comments section. 


Van Sickle On Schulz

Gary Van Sickle catches up with Ted Schulz, the 1991 L.A. Open champion at Riviera who has taken a "real job" and loves it.

Shoot this piece was so enjoyable I'd tell Gary to nominate it for a GWAA award even though it does not involve a death or disease.

"Or that Tiger Woods will ever play tournament golf again in Texas?"

The Star-Telegram's Gil Lebreton realizes that if Tiger isn't coming to the Nelson this year, he probably won't be coming back ever again.

The message this time, though, seems unmistakable. If the tributes planned for Byron weren’t enough to lure Woods back this year, what makes anyone think that he’ll come back next April? Or the year after?

Or that Tiger Woods will ever play tournament golf again in Texas?

His first and last appearance at Colonial came in 1997. A disappointing final round left Woods steamed and tied for fourth place, and he has never returned.

He played in the Texas Open, a fall tour event in San Antonio, in 1996 and came in third. He has never returned.

Woods has never played in the Shell Houston Open.

The Nelson, however, was supposed to be Woods’ tournament. The tournament where Fergie, the Duchess of York, once came to see Tiger play. From 1997 to 2004, Woods played in the Nelson Championship seven times, shooting a combined 77 under par.


"DVD of the 2007 Masters could, and should, be marketed as a 100% guaranteed cure for insomnia."

Sunday on The Scotsman's Scotland on Sunday's John Huggan notices a trend since 1997: majors gone awry. Seven "dodgy" majors to be exact. Which he revisits in detail.
Ever since the greatest golfer the world has seen annexed his first major title at Augusta in 1997 - blitzing the field by 12 strokes and wedging seemingly every approach on to what used to be distant greens - those in charge of the four most important events seem to have engaged in an unofficial contest to host the daftest Grand Slam event in history.

Unofficially at least, they call it "Tiger-proofing". I call it golf's so-called administrators attempting to disguise their incompetence over the shameful non-regulation of the modern ball.
You know I've suggested it many times, but Huggan gets the credit for actually coming out and saying it.

And bad news for the "so-called administrators." More and more people are making the connection between extreme setups and faulty equipment regulation. And that's before I they even hear me ramble on!
Most were consciously ruined in order to deflect attention away from the men who were 'asleep at the wheel', when they should have been paying closer attention to the dangerous and unlit technological road that golf was travelling. The rest were merely the playthings of those who take a one-dimensional delight in watching the best players suffer.

And so, golf at the very highest level is today too often a pedestrian and penal game designed to punish even the slightest indiscretion. Forget the spectacular and interesting prospect of watching a skilled practitioner attempt a risky recovery shot. They are long gone. Veer from the increasingly straight and narrow fairways, and the only option available is more than likely the chip back into play: penalty one stroke.

How tedious. Tennis anyone?

Phil Proposes, Butch Accepts!

mickelson_harmon2.jpgGolf World's Tim Rosaforte has the details, Dom Furore's photo still says it all (left):

But sources have told Golf World the Mickelson-Harmon alliance will be made official before the EDS Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Tex. By then, Mickelson and Harmon will have worked at an undisclosed location in preparation for The Players Championship and ultimately the U.S. Open.

Yes, we want to make sure they nail the details of the prenup!

Sources have also told Golf World that Harmon and Smith have spoken and will remain amicable.

 Ah and I was hoping for a pay-per-view cat fight!

Harmon had no comment. Smith did not return calls. Friends of Mickelson have said this is the toughest professional decision he's had to make. He and Smith have evolved as close friends and partners in golf course design. 



"Players... [choose events] for golf courses that they like and golf courses that are in good shape"

The Byron Nelson has lured a field nearly as weak as New Orleans, and Jimmy Burch of the Star-Telegram looks at the reasons why:

Another wrinkle this year is the April date, which broke up a Dallas-Fort Worth tradition of playing in back-to-back weeks with the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial (May 24-27). Some players cited the move as a logistical problem.

Todd Hamilton, a Westlake resident who will compete at the Nelson, said the biggest challenge Nelson officials face in attracting players is the TPC Las Colinas course, which will get an off-season face-lift.

"Players... [choose events] for golf courses that they like and golf courses that are in good shape," Hamilton said. "And I don't think that particular course is as good as it could be for an event like that."



Tiger's House Plans

Thanks to Steven T. for spotting this Jose Lambiet story in the Palm Beach Post about Tiger's house plans.

Golfing god Tiger Woods unveiled the look of his yet-to-be-built Jupiter Island home this week with the filing at town hall of a first batch of documents to support his upcoming building-permit applications.

First observation: The home will be seen by only a selected few, unless there's trespassing involved. The 9,729-square-foot, two-story main house is smack-dab in the middle of a 12-acre tropical forest that stretches from the beach to the Intracoastal.

"Obviously, this is someone who likes his privacy," said town building boss Jeff Newell. "Whether from South Beach Road or the Intracoastal, no one will know whether he's there or not. No one will even know that there's a house."

Second: The home is modest, almost nondescript, at least on paper. No Palm Beach-style castle. No McMansion. No flourishing Mizner job. The artist's rendition shows a simple, yet modern-looking building with giant windows on one side and barely any on the other.

The main home will be connected to a 6,400-square-foot gym-media room-bar with a glass-covered walkway. There's an elevator. A reflecting pond. A library and a children's playroom. A weirdly skinny lap pool. And a steel roof.

But from the outside, the place looks like a northern European part-brick, part-concrete motel or government building.

Clearly, his Swedish wife, Erin Nordegren, had a say in this.

"Can't comment," said the architect, Jupiter-based Roger Janssen. He declined to allow Page Two to publish the sketch.

Woods last year bought four adjacent properties in the tony Martin County enclave for a total of $44.5 million, and named his new place "Sand Turtle." His plans call for the late-summer leveling of the four homes currently on the land. There's no price tag on the upcoming construction as of now.

And from what Newell says, it sounds as if Woods won't have problems getting his way.

"By our standards here, this is a modest project," Newell said. "He's not pushing the envelope like some residents do when they build here."

Woods' lawyers have a mid-June date with the town's Impact Review Board.


"I think this rough might even be a little too juicy for some of the older guys like myself''

Normally I would find the idea of harvesting thick rough for a Champions Tour event to be ridiculous, but somehow hearing Johnny Miller complain about it makes it a bit more tolerable. After all, he celebrates the USGA's mindless approach, so it's nice that Johnny gets to experience it.

Tim Guidera quotes him:

"I think this rough might even be a little too juicy for some of the older guys like myself,'' added Johnny Miller, who is playing his first event on any tour in nearly 10 years this week. The NBC commentator is teaming with longtime friend Mike Reid in the Raphael Division. "It's major championship rough.''

Daly To Unveil First Non-Signature Signature Design

Thanks to reader Scott for this historic moment in player-architect lore, courtesy of the (where else) Branson Daily News: 

John Daly’s Murder Rock Golf & Country Club, which will host opening ceremonies this fall, will have the distinction of being a Daly signature course.

“John is very close friends with (Branson entertainer) Johnny Lee, who was instrumental is getting John and (Murder Rock owner) Glenn Patch together,” said Chris Meade, director of golf and general manager of the club.

Meade thinks Daly’s association with the club is a natural, considering the PGA and British Open winner’s Missouri and Arkansas roots. ‘The Lion’ was born in California, but went to high school at Jefferson City Helias and attended college at Arkansas.

“We feel in this part of the country he’s a big draw,” Meade said.

Murder Rock is the third Daly signature course, the others being Thundering Waters Golf Course in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, and Wicked Stick Golf Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C..

He also designed Wicked Stick.

Daly has no ownership in Murder Rock and wasn’t part of the course’s design group.

Yes, it's a signature design and he was not part of the design group! Take that Jack and Arnold! 


Did Nike Golf Borrow Someone Else's Idea?

David Dawsey on his Golf Patent blog looks at a possible case of theft by Nike Golf.


Say It Ain't So, Vol. 2,599

No. 9 at Maidstone (click to enlarge)
The East Hampton Star reports on Maidstone's plan to irrigate fairways, but even more depressing is Golfweek's Forecaddie reporting that USGA officials and Tom Fazio are going to soften three greens at Merion, including the 12th. (If the magnificent 5th is included in that group, it's a sad, sad day for golf but certainly not the first or last time the USGA will have had a hand in selfish and short-sighted architectural changes.)  

Nice to see the Forecaddie (oh come on, this has Dr. Klein written all over it!) blasting away:

The forecaddie remembers that the course performed famously well during the 2005 US Amateur and figures that USGA officials just can't help tinkering with old courses, even when it means permanently compromising their character for the sake of one four-day event.

Doctored Image?

100greatest_pinevalley.jpgSomeone at the GolfDigest editors blog answers a reader question about the possibility of a doctored photo.

Well, the question is never actually answered except that yes, it seems they ran a doctored image of Pine Valley that came from the club. It's not exactly going to rank up there with questions about say, the Lee Harvey Oswald rifle photo (oh boy, probably a bad example), but it's nonetheless an interesting issue in media circles and admirable that Golf Digest confronted it head on.


"This saga vividly illustrates why few big-time golf events are held on municipal courses."

Ron Kroichick does no hide his disgust for the Board of Supervisors in reporting that a lousy $140,000 hang up could cost the city several PGA Tour events, including the President's

Say what you want about Harding Park and San Francisco's latest deal with the PGA Tour. Maybe you consider the Board of Supervisors short-sighted for fretting about $140,000. Or maybe you lament the legacy of Harding's budget-busting renovation, which will keep greens fees high whether or not Tiger Woods returns to the shores of Lake Merced.

Either way, know this: If the supervisors reject the revised agreement, the PGA Tour will stage a tournament on Mars before it comes back to Harding.

This saga vividly illustrates why few big-time golf events are held on municipal courses. In order to do so, tour officials are forced to wade through the thicket of local politics, seldom a pleasant exercise and an especially daunting journey in such a fractious city as San Francisco.

And that is perhaps the saddest bit in all of this, assuming the city blows this.


“Odessa could be the new Bulgaria"

18golf_span.jpgKevin Brass files one of those strange New York Times pieces that tries so hard to be "balanced" that you come away wondering what the point of the whole affair was.

Apparently in this case, it's an elaborate attempt to say that most new courses are being built outside the U.S. and that some people think a name architect helps, others do not.

Glad the paper of record is so ahead of the curve.

"Odessa could be the new Bulgaria,” Mr. Hemstock said, referring to southwest Ukraine’s potential as a sunny second-home market.

Today, three-quarters of all golf courses planned or under construction are outside the United States, Britain and other traditional golf centers, according to industry estimates. With 17,000 courses already functioning in the United States, for example, the number of new 18-hole courses opening in the States fell to 119 in 2006 from a peak of 398 in 2000, according to the National Golf Foundation. Britain and Ireland are “among the most mature golf markets in Europe,” with more than 3,100 courses, according to a recent report by the Budapest office of KPMG Advisory, a consulting company.
This would actually be funny if it were true...
This continuing growth of luxury residential and resort development around the world is feeding a high-stakes competition in the traditionally staid community of golf course designers, people in the industry say. Architects are increasingly trying to top one another with elaborate layouts and spectacular water elements, to woo homebuyers to international projects.

Somehow I don't think that's all the architect's doing.

And industry executives say that a well-known course architect can add more than 20 percent to the value of a development’s houses and jump-start a project.
“The name gives credibility to a development,” said Alan Mishkin, president of Abigail Properties, which is based in Phoenix and is building Las Palomas, a residential and golf project in Puerto Peñasco, Mex.. “Golf courses are not moneymakers,” he said. “They’re the sizzle on the steak” of residential developments.



Momma's Boys

mom_2.jpgDigest's Jaime Diaz proudly declares himself a momma's boy and talks to various players about the influence of mom's.

Charisma and Charm Lift Green, Strange To Hall of Fame

Hey, if Vijay can get in, the voters figured these two charmers were overdue. Ryan Herrington reports...