Latest From
Latest From The Loop
To Get Posts Delivered To Your Inbox Enter Email Address Below:

Powered by FeedBlitz
  • 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
  • The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    by Chris Millard
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • 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
  • 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
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
  • 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

Royal Melbourne retains a beautiful, hearty, natural look which, in the way of competition, plays very glassy. It takes eternal vigilance in greenkeeping to maintain such a gem as Royal Melbourne…I was familiar with the great Claude Crockford , the superintendent of the course in my era, who neatly summed it up for me one day when he said, "You in America try to grow grass. We try to keep it from growing here." He was light years ahead of most people in his field. BEN CRENSHAW




AT&T National Photo Caption Fun, Vol. 1




Mud And Rain Forces K Club Alterations; Course Retains Its Dull And Uninspired Integrity

Mark Garrod reports that the par-5 18th was reduced to a par-3, and six other holes were played from the forward tees for European Open play.


The Rally Kill: An In-Depth Study

It's embarrassing for me to have missed such a brilliant rally killer, but frankly, I can only read so many "Tiger, now that you are a father..." questions before moving into skim mode.

Well, Chris Lewis not only caught one incredible rally kill effort during Tiger's Tuesday press conference at the AT&T National, but he dissects it with entertaining precision. 


At Least Two Players Might Be Open To Returning To Avenel After It Is Completely Demolished

Leonard Shapiro writes that Phil Mickelson and Fred Funk are the two who found something to like, though Funk's comments are a tad frightening:

"I've been somewhat involved with the redo at Avenel," Funk said yesterday of a $20 million renovation of the course and clubhouse scheduled to begin next month. "And if they do a really good job, as far as making it look like it's a finished product, I think it will be well-received. When you go to Muirfield Village [site of the PGA Tour's Memorial in Dublin, Ohio], you see the streams that are through the golf course. It looks like it's well-manicured and not overgrown.
Those darn creeks and wetlands that capture all that storm runoff and provide wildlife with sanctuary have no business being all messy! Man can do sooooo much better with flower beds and chemicals!
"There's a lot of attention to detail, and Avenel never quite had that look. You have to make it look good and really present the best product, even off the areas where you don't play, where you hope the ball doesn't go. I think it could be a really good golf course, but it still is not ever going to be a Congressional."

Hmmm...let's hope it's not that boring. 


An In-Depth Look At The Tiger Woods Foundation

Thanks to reader Mark for catching the Washington Post's front page piece by Joe Stephens conducting an in-depth investigation of the Tiger Woods Foundation's charitable giving and expenses. Stephens finds that, yes purses are a tad excessive in golf.

Tell me what you think, but I felt like the piece was stretching to make the point that there are too many conflicts of interest surrounding Foundation operations.

The charities that host such PGA Tour events collectively raise millions of dollars for good works in the community. Last year, the PGA and related tours reported having raised a total of $105 million. "We're very proud of that," said Ron Price, the Tour's chief financial officer.

Less well known is that much more money goes toward expenses and operations -- especially the purses taken home by golfers. Tour officials said their average tournament provides golfers with a purse of $5.7 million and, after paying costs associated with the event, generates $1.75 million for charity.

"You can certainly question the validity of calling something a charitable event when so much money goes to individuals," said Sandra Miniutti of Charity Navigator, a watchdog organization that rates nonprofits on efficiency.

Charity specialists say such disparities are not uncommon when it comes to special fundraising events. "It is not unusual for them to be on the expensive side, and relatively slim on the charity," said William Josephson, a New York lawyer who specializes in the ethics of philanthropy.
For me, this seemed to put a damper on most of the conflict-of-interest issues: 
Charity Navigator gives the Tiger Woods Foundation four stars -- its highest rating. One reason is that the foundation in 2005 reported spending $1 million, a relatively low percentage of revenue, on management and fundraising expenses. A factor keeping those numbers low, but not considered in the rating, is the foundation's receipt of millions of dollars raised by its sister nonprofit, the Charity Event Corp., which reports its expenses separately.

The Charity Event Corp. is the least known of Woods's charities but brings in the most money. The organization's fundraisers include the Target World Challenge golf tournament at Sherwood Country Club north of Los Angeles and Tiger Jam concerts in Las Vegas.

From 2004 through 2005, Charity Event Corp. raised $29 million and gave $6.7 million in grants and contributions to Woods's foundation and other charities, IRS records show. Much of the remainder went toward expenses, including golf prizes totaling more than $10.25 million. As in the case of many tournaments, officials at the charity said, the PGA Tour subsidizes part of the purse in exchange for television rights.

This part was intriguing...

From 1999 to 2002, records show, the Tiger Woods Charity Event Corp. paid $375,000 to IMG for what the nonprofit's tax returns describe as consulting services. IMG has helped develop Woods's public image and helped win him millions of dollars in corporate endorsements.

In 2000, the head of IMG's golf division, Mark Steinberg, joined the board of the Tiger Woods Foundation. Steinberg is Woods's agent at IMG.

Charity watchdogs are always on the lookout for conflicts of interest and self-dealing at nonprofit organizations. One charity has established a Web site that offers stark advice about how sports agents can use athletes' foundations to collect a bigger paycheck.

"By setting up a foundation . . . for your client you can obtain COMPENSATION FOREVER from gifts made from this foundation," says the Web site of the National Heritage Foundation. "You, the agent, may receive compensation directly."

McLaughlin said there was no conflict of interest between Steinberg's board position and the payments to IMG. The payments were commissions for the company's work attracting sponsors for its tournaments, he said. In recent weeks, IMG has been working to line up financial backers for the AT&T National, and IMG will be paid commissions for any sponsorship money it brings in, he said. Such commissions are paid competitively and IMG receives no special consideration from the charity.

Golf Architecture, Issue 11

GA10_Mag.jpgNow I know I say this every year, but Neil Crafter and Paul Mogford have outdone themselves with "Golf Architecture" Issue 11, they Society of Australian Golf Course Architect's glossy annual. Each of these volumes will age beautifully and prove someday to stand as some of the most important publications ever published on this peculiar art form that some of us love.

Just some of the highlights:

-James Spence reviews Bandon Trails

-Paul Mogford interviews Greg Norman

-Michael Hurdzan looks at golf architecture memorabilia and shares some of his prized purchases

-Mike Clayton reviews Port Fairy

-Jeff Mingay on Dick Wilson

-George Waters on disturbance by design

-Tom MacWood on Bernard Darwin's great hole descriptions

-Noel Freeman on Eastward Ho!

-Wayne Morrisson on William Flynn

-George Bahto on The Eden at St. Andrews

-Neil Crafter reviewing the latest books

-Brilliant illustrations and photography from Gary Lisbon, David Scalletti, Wood Sabold and many more

Yours truly also contributed an essay on the design tandem of George Thomas and Billy Bell, with a look at their revolutionary design concept for the future.

You can subscribe here for the current issue or for any of the sensational back issues, and there's also a subscription form with more past issue details in Issue 10.


"If the USGA truly believes an 18-hole playoff is pertinent, then it's guilty of sex discrimination."

Doug Ferguson complete mi$$es the point in suggesting the USGA's hypocrisy in demanding an 18-hole playoff for men vs. a 3-holer for the women.

Several years ago, some pointed the discrimination finger at the USGA for offering more prize money to the men than the women.

Fay's argument then was not politically soothing, but entirely accurate – this is the entertainment business, and the U.S. Open brings in higher TV ratings and far greater revenue. The real discrimination at the time was that the USGA only required an 18-hole qualifier for the Women's Open, whereas the men faced 18-hole local qualifying and 36-hole sectional qualifying.

It was patronizing to the women, and keeping a separate playoff format for the men is no different.

“We concluded that we wanted to have the Women's Open, if at all possible, finishing on a Sunday,” Fay said. “If you're asking why don't we have that for the men, for the U.S. Open, we're not there. We're viewing them differently at his point.”

Purists might argue that an 18-hole playoff is the fairest method to break a tie.

But if that's the case, why not make it 36 holes? That's the way it used to be, and in the 1931 U.S. Open when Billy Burke and George Von Elm were tied again after a 36-hole playoff, they played 36 more holes the next day before Burke won by a single shot.

The hypocrisy can be found in white circles around most greens at the USGA's biggest tournaments.

Those are drop zones, and they were designed to provide automatic relief from a shot being interfered by grandstands or leaderboards. Fay said such “temporary immovable obstructions” are part of big-time golf, and the drop zones simply speed up play.
David Fay, saying one thing and doing something else? No, can't be the same David Fay!
Guess what? Television interest, sellouts that bring 40,000 fans to the course, thousands of volunteers who have to get back to work and corporate hospitality also are part of “big-time golf.”

Everyone wants to see a winner Sunday, and three extra holes are ample.
You see Doug, a three-hole playoff would mean scheduling the Open to tee off earlier just in case those three holes are needed. And when they dont need a playoff, then the telecast is finished at say, 6 EST time instead of 7:30 EST.

How, in God's name, can the U.S. Open ending that early fulfill it's primary mission to provide a strong lead in for a Dateline rerun?

Get your priorities straight Ferguson! It's all about the lead-in, and don't you forget it.


New Look debuted a new look yesterday and I must say that once my Firefox browser history cleared and the warped look was gone, it appears to be a huge improvement visually.

(click to enlarge)
(Some of you might initially get a weird look if you use Firefox's browser as you can see on the left, but not to worry, a quick "History" clearing or a few clicks of the refresh button gives you the new setup. And believe me, you'll want to view the site in Firefox, because the pop-up subscription ads are relentless.)

Aesthetically, the site appears to be a ripoff loving homage to the New York Times web site, which is a good thing since that is one of the better looking sites on the web.

Howevever, the blog and article font sizes are ridiculously small while Times articles are much more readable. If you've seen The New York Times on the iphone, it looks amazing. I think would hard if not impossible to read on the iphone, which is an issue since either it or other web-friendly smart phones will be in most people's hands in the near future.

It's a bit surprising not to see Golf World get its own site, but I'm sure there are platform branding and upward cross pollination issues that I just don't understand.

Most promising is the Local Knowledge blog, which I skimmed after pulling out my magnifying glass. Here's what Editor in Chief, Jerry Tarde, had to say about it:

What's important that you need to know? What happened that was funny?

We think we're capable of doing this better than anyone else because Local Knowledge unleashes the combined resources of Golf Digest and Golf World. More than 50 writers, editors and contributors will be on this blog, seeking you out with the news you need to know.

Meanwhile the Editors Blog, Golf For Women, Campus Insider and Barf and Gag are behind a link that might cut down on their traffic. i'm not sure why they aren't linked on the home page instead of say, the Rule of the Day?


"It has died a death."

Tuesday produced a rivetting Q&A exchange between the scribblers and Tim Finchem, with tense back and forths on subjects of little interest.

At least someone asked him to flesh out how The International met its demise:

 Q. Was there always, "We would like to be involved but we want to do it on the East Coast?"|

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: There was never a discussion about -- I think in my preliminary conversation with Tiger, maybe there was some discussion about Florida or the southeast, but it never got that far. There just wasn't really any talk about it because we didn't have any schedule flexibility.

And even then when we got the -- with The INTERNATIONAL, and we waited until the 11th hour trying to marry them to a sponsor, we still looked at two other alternatives because we were not certain that all of the stars would line up here in terms of a place to play, a great title sponsor.

Does this mean he's for marriage between sponsors and tournaments, or just civil unions? 

Because if you're going to do an event with Tiger Woods, and he's going to land his persona and his energy, it's going to be a pretty special event.

And so that's the way we felt, that's the way the Foundation felt. So it had to all come together and so we were looking at two other markets with two other sponsors for a period of three weeks.


 Q. Is the modified Stableford scoring system just going to die a slow death, or do you have an emotional attachment to having that on the TOUR?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: It has died a death. I mean, it's not on the TOUR right now. So it would be would have to be resuscitated to come back to answer your question. I suppose it could be. It seemed like that concept, at first -- the first few years, it was a bit of a struggle for the fans to get their arms around it. Then it generated some interest for a few years, and then it kind of lost its appeal. I don't know exactly why that was.

The INTERNATIONAL was hit with the perfect storm. There were three or four different factors to led to us finally concluding that we should move forward; it wasn't just any one thing, but a number of things.

Sam Explained!

From a truly painful press conference transcript read:

Q. I believe Sam was a name that your dad used to call you when you were young.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, Sam, we wanted to have a name that would be meaningful to either side of the family, my side or Elin's side, because she was born basically an extension of Father's Day, it just happened to fit. My father had always called me Sam since the day I was born. He rarely ever called me Tiger. I would ask him, "Why don't you ever call me Tiger"?
He says, "Well, you look more like a Sam."
I said, "All right, that's cool." (Laughter).

And this was wild:

 Q. This is kind of a three-part question, but they are all related. Can you talk about what your autograph policy is personally at tournaments, No. 1; and will it change at a tournament like this --

TIGER WOODS: Stop. No. 1, I sign. Only thing I don't sign are golf balls. (Smiling).
No. 2?

Q. Will that change at a tournament like this, with a tournament with your name on it, will it be more opportunity for you to do PR because the tournament has your name on it?

TIGER WOODS: No. We just sign. That's our responsibility as players; we sign an inordinate amount.

Q. And will it be tough for to you walk past a kid that wants an autograph now that you're starting to have children of your own?
And just a follow up before you start that answer, now that you are a father, will you be saving each and every child in Darfur too? Oh sorry, continue...
TIGER WOODS: That's a good question. I haven't really experienced that yet. You try and sign as many as you can for kids. Sometimes it gets a little dangerous because they start getting run over, get pinched up against fences and stuff like that, and that's when you just have to call it quits because it becomes unsafe.

But as far as signing, you try and sign as many as you can because they are coming out and they want to get something that they can take home and something that they can cherish.



Europe Invades Korea!

Well, it's the European Tour "colonizing" Korea, and it seems the Asian Tour isn't too happy again. So good to see the World Federation of Tours all on such good terms. Thanks to reader Phil for this...


The European Tour continues to proceed on its expansion programme to colonise Asia with the announcement of a Korean event today without the official involvement of the Asian Tour.

This represents the European Tour’s blatant disregard towards the Asian Tour, which is the official regional sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia.

This invasive action clearly goes against the principles of the International Federation of PGA Tours which main goals are to promote cooperation between Tours through the joint-sanctioning of significant competitions.

The Asian Tour will table a motion at the next meeting of the International Federation of PGA Tours which takes place during the Open Championship in Scotland later this month, This will reflect our serious concerns as we feel that the European Tour has stepped out of its boundary.

While we fully welcome the creation of new tournaments in Asia, the Asian Tour is totally aghast at the European Tour’s actions in not following protocol and respecting our position as the governing body for professional golf in Asia.

Last month, the European Tour announced a new Indian event to take place in New Delhi in 2008 without the involvement of the Asian Tour and subsequently, the Asian Tour engaged the European Tour in discussions to seek an acceptable solution to this Indian tournament as well as the Korean event.

However, these discussions proved futile as the European Tour are clearly dictating terms without giving consideration towards the Asian Tour’s efforts to promote golf in the Asian region.

Kyi Hla Han

Executive Chairman

Asian Tour

Oakland Hills Finisher Remains...There

Carlos Monarrez reports that the R&A setup of Oakland Hills teetered on the edge of absurdity for Monday's Open Championship qualifier. But this that stood out about Rees Jones's rees-toration of his father's bludgeoning of Donald Ross's masterpiece:

Sean O'Hair, who recovered from a triple bogey on the first hole to shoot 68, wasn't a big fan of the 238-yard uphill par-three 17th or the 498-yard uphill par-four 18th. Both holes require an approach shot with a long iron or lofted wood to a narrow green.

"The last two holes are ridiculous," O'Hair said. "I hit five-wood into 17, the par three. And 18, it's like where do you hit it? If you're a little bit right, you're screwed. If you hit it down the left side, it's going to release through the fairway and you've got nothing."

So nice to know some things haven't changed. Steve Jones will be pleased. The lamest finishing hole in major championship golf remains intact.

Seriously, how is it that this hole was not addressed? Didn't RTJ II add the fairway bunker down the left that caught Lehman in the 1996 Open?


The South was lengthened about 350 yards under the recent update, and Monday it played its new full length of 7,445 yards. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, which conducted the qualifier, chose the pin placements.

"These are very, very tricky greens," said R&A director Michael Tate. "We have not put them in the most difficult places. Some greens it's very difficult to find anything less. I think also this is a qualifier event for a major championship. It's not a regular tour event. This goes directly into a major, so you might reasonably expect that things are a little tougher."

“It’s not rocket science not to put the flag where it was."

This one includes a wrinkle I've never heard of before, and I'm a connoisseur of course setup debacle stories!

Golfweek's Alistair Tait reports.

International Final Qualifying for the Open Championship at Sunningdale, England, turned into a farce when players couldn’t get near the pin at the par-3 fourth hole.
It brought back visions of the seventh at Shinnecock Hills during the 2004 U.S. Open, when no player could hold the green even with a perfectly struck shot.

But remember, Furman Bisher says that was just because that darn rain that was not in the forecast never came! 
Martin Kippax, the R&A’s championship chairman, set up the pins at Sunningdale.

Why did that sentence not come as a shock. 

Most of them were fine, with the exception of the fouth on Sunningdale’s Old Course.
Eight players completed the hole before Kippax realized he’d messed up. Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez five-putted, and Australian Brett Rumford four-putted. Four-putting isn’t unusual, but Rumford had hit his tee shot to 2 feet.
Play was suspended so the hole could be repositioned. The eight players who had already played the hole were carted back out after they had finished 18 holes so they could replay the hole.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, they got a replay! I wonder what would have happened if they made a higher score than before? Do they get to pick the lowest!?

The result was a mixed bag. Gonzalez made par the second time and his score changed from 70 to 67. England’s Richard Bland made birdie the first time around but parred the hole the second time to move his score from 72 to 73. Sweden’s Fredrik Anderson Hed was affected the most. He parred the hole on his first attempt but double bogeyed the hole on his second to change a 66 to a 68.
“I chose the pin positions because of the weather we’ve had and the forecast we had for today,” Kippax said. “I was then made aware by a referee on the course that we had a potential problem. I went out and saw that it was in an unplayable position.
“So, after consulting with various people – certainly the European Tour – I suspended play and moved the pin position.
“I admit it was a mistake and the responsibility lies on me and me only. I apologized to the eight, and Richard Bland said it was not in his interests and asked, ‘Why was it there in the first place?’
“They were perfectly justifiable things to say, but I told them it was only going to be equitable if everybody had to play it again whether it’s good or bad for them.”
Plaudits go to Kippax for putting his hand up and admitting his error, but I tend to agree with Anderson Hed.

Oh yes, big plaudits!

“I think the European Tour should do the pins,” he said. “Every time I’ve played in an event run by the R&A there have been one or two that were barely playable.”
Bland was just as caustic in his condemnation of the R&A. “It’s not rocket science not to put the flag where it was. Anything with a small bit of speed that didn’t go in was going to roll off the green.”

"In the seventh-, eighth-, ninth-largest market in the country, we weren't comfortable with that."

Tarik El-Bashir and Marc Carig file a lengthy Washington Post story on the evolution of Tiger's new D.C. event. Thanks to reader Sean for this, which includes one nice ironic bit.

Finchem said last week that he kept Booz Allen in the dark to avoid a leak of the Tour's planned schedule changes. But he also was less than generous in his assessment of the tournament's performance.

"All of this happened in the backdrop, candidly, of recognizing that the event in Washington had not performed over the years at the level we want to see a PGA Tour event perform generally, but particularly an event that we want to see perform in the nation's capital," he said. "In the seventh-, eighth-, ninth-largest market in the country, we weren't comfortable with that."

Asked for his response to Finchem's comment, Shrader said: "I felt we tried hard to earn a world-class event here in Washington. I feel that the event we had at Congressional in 2005 was a world-class event that demonstrated given a golf course and a date, we could have a world-class event here in Washington, one that the city and the people deserve. I'm happy Tiger and AT&T have come and I look forward to it being a big success."

Somehow I'm having a hard time believe Booz Allen was the problem here. It can't be all technology driving the $20 million being put into TPC Avenel.  


"I'm killing it, and it doesn't go anywhere"

PH2007070100981.jpgThe Washington Post's Eli Saslow asks PGA Tour pro Steve Marino, used to manicured greens and exquisite fairways, battles public course hazards at East Potomac.

Thanks to readers John and Phil for this fun story.

The more I watched Marino play, the more convinced I became that golf, for us, involved little common ground. When I asked Marino about the obstacles I considered daunting on PGA Tour courses -- long holes, imposing water hazards, gigantic bunkers -- Marino said they never bothered him. Similarly, at East Potomac, Marino obsessed over details I had never noticed. Overgrown fairways made it impossible, he said, to generate substantial spin on iron shots. Stiff sand traps caused the ball to release on a flat trajectory, negating the importance of touch.

I guess Marino hasn't gotten the USGA memo that U-grooves function better out of light rough than they do from tight fairways! 

The greens bothered Marino most. After six months spent on greens that ran as fast as tiled kitchen floors, Marino now felt like he was putting along the bottom of a filled swimming pool. No matter how hard he hit it, the ball almost always slid through sand or water and grinded to a halt short of the hole. After Marino left two consecutive putts short on No. 11, he dropped his putter on the green.

"I'm killing it, and it doesn't go anywhere," he said. "I might just start putting with my driver."


"‘What we’re trying to do, like all other championship courses, is modernize it and fit it to today’s golfers"

Chay Rao looks at TPC Avenel's pending renovation and featured this from course superintendent Chad Adcock.

‘‘It will be a much better layout,” Adcock said. ‘‘I know that Tiger said that he would like to stay at Congressional, but if they can’t host the [AT&T National] in ’09 and ’11, and they look for another venue, we would like to be that venue.

‘‘I know that the membership here was proud of their Tour stop, and was disappointed to lose it,” he said. ‘‘They want it back.”

One of the major changes to the course will be to its ability to handle extreme weather.

‘‘We are going to restore Rock Run Stream [which runs through the course] to the size and status that it had a few hundred years ago,” Adcock said. ‘‘We are also going to add about 12 to 14 acres of wetlands, so that the course can handle the once-in-a-generation storm, like the one we had last year.”

The PGA Tour has set aside $20 million to make extensive changes to a course that has received poor reviews from several PGA Tour players since it opened in 1987. The Booz Allen Classic — once known as the Kemper Open and FBR Capital Classic for a year — was held at Avenel annually from 1987 to 2006 with the exception of 2005.

Due to the lack of enthusiasm, Avenel’s signature event, the Booz Allen Classic, failed each year to draw many of the top players in golf. That lack of star power was one of the contributing factors to the tournament’s demise.

‘‘The game changed considerably over the last 20 years,” Dennis Ingram, the former superintendent at Avenel told The Gazette last year. ‘‘The landing areas, as they were designed to be, are basically obsolete. ... It becomes an unfair advantage for longer players versus the normal players.

‘‘What we’re trying to do, like all other championship courses, is modernize it and fit it to today’s golfers,” he said.

$20 million in part because these guys had to go and be better athletes! Glad that steroid testing will be starting soon.


Southern Hills Weathering The Floods

Despite almost daily rains, it sounds like the combination of the "PrecisionAire" system under the greens and Perry Maxwell's good old fashioned surface drainage are allowing Southern Hills to remain ready for the PGA.


"I don't know if slighted was the right word; maybe overlooked a little bit"

192098.jpgDoug Ferguson writes about Christie Kerr's clutch performance en route to winning the U.S. Women's Open and notes:
Kerr had been left out of most conversations about top young American players, with most of the attention going to Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome and Pressel. No one can ignore her now, not with her name ready to be engraved right below Annika Sorenstam on the biggest trophy in women's golf.

"I don't know if slighted was the right word; maybe overlooked a little bit," Kerr said. "But the media is the media, and they'll write that they want to write. I know in my heart of hearts who I am and how many wins I have and what I've done. And that's good enough for me."

"Talking about myself as a brand comes naturally now"

Nick Greenslade in The Observer files a lengthy profile of Nick Faldo (complete with sidebar listing his ex-wives), and focuses on his, gulp, rebranding.

'Talking about myself as a brand comes naturally now,' he says after he has driven me round the circuit at the Brooklands car museum in Surrey, where he is promoting his relationship with Maybach, the luxury-car manufacturer. 'But I had to create the right team first, and that's where Ian came in.' He is talking about Ian Forsyth, his manager. In 2002, Faldo broke with his long-time agent John Simpson. This was used by Faldo's many disparagers as further proof of his inability to maintain relationships.



Warning To Network Executives: Brand Lady To Come Knocking While You're On Vacation

...but at least she's presenting at the time of year when so many executives are vacationing in the Hamptons excited to hear pitches: August. Alan Blondin of The Sun News reports:

Bivens inherited cable contracts with ESPN and Golf Channel, and larger events are on ABC, NBC and CBS. Broadcast times vary greatly.

The tour will begin making presentations to network and cable stations in August. "The most important thing for the LPGA is to have a consistent television schedule," Bivens said. "It's very difficult for our fans to find where we are from week to week."

Since events in international locations aren't generally televised in the U.S., Bivens will try to group those to include dates when the LPGA would normally be dark, such as the weeks of the Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

That should ensure they'll never make it on American airwaves too. 
The events are important for exposure and lucrative deals with international television stations in which the LPGA is paid for broadcast rights - similar to the PGA Tour TV agreements. Right now the LPGA buys time on ESPN and the three major networks and has to sell commercial spots itself. It has other agreements with the Golf Channel.

Bivens said for 2010 and beyond she'll either seek rights fees or develop an LPGA production company that would buy time and produce the programming itself. "If you have a brand that is still forming like the LPGA, being able to control your production is worth a lot of money," Bivens said.
Wait, the brand is still forming? Well, how is it a brand if it hasn't formed yet?
"Especially in terms of educating the audience as to the personalities behind the athletes. We're a society where fans develop behind personalities."

Ahh...translation: lots of fluff!

But I'm back on this brand formtion stuff. Branding experts, could you tell us how you know a forming brand officially becomes a brand?