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Books
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • 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
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

Good players have the power to think while they are competing. Most golfers are not thinking even when they believe they are. They are only worrying. HARVEY PENICK

 

    

Tuesday
Aug142007

They Don't Call Him The Shark For Nothing!

Daphne Duret reports on the latest Norman divorce antics that ought to really help wine sales with the married female demo. Thanks to reader Steven T. for this:
What months ago was characterized as a nearly resolved divorce settlement between golf great Greg Norman and his wife, Laura, has now turned into the most contentious aspect of their split to date - one that has Laura Norman accusing Greg of changing the locks to the couple's Jupiter Island home and cutting off her credit cards.

According to paperwork filed by Laura's attorneys Monday, the tactics are all part of an attempt to "coerce" their client into signing a marital settlement agreement both parties referenced before Judge Lawrence Mirman in June.
Back then, they announced that they had settled all but one issue - a potential IRS tax liability from Greg's jet - in their yearlong divorce battle.

The couple's attorneys have since failed to get both Greg and Laura's signatures on several drafts of settlement terms, and Greg has cut off her access to credit cards which were Laura's only way to pay daily living expenses.

"She now has no means of support," her attorneys wrote.

Greg Norman's attorneys last week filed paperwork asking a judge to compel Laura Norman to sign the latest of these "term sheets," but Laura's attorneys in their motion Monday said the only reason Laura hasn't signed the papers is because Greg has altered and expanded the terms.

Laura says Greg, who in the golf world in nicknamed "The Great White Shark," has also refused to pay her attorneys' fees and "is attempting to starve (her) out so she has no choice but to surrender to his positions," Laura's attorneys Jack Scarola and Russell J. Ferraro wrote.

Greg's lawyers, in a letter to Scarola, said he has already paid them about $725,000 to fund the litigation, including a half-million dollar payout in April. The money, according to Laura's lawyers, has been used to pay attorneys' fees and hire a number of expert witnesses who pored over the couple's finances to come up with the settlement.

Attempts by Laura's lawyers to get more money was met earlier this month with a refusal from New York attorney Howard Sharfstein, part of Greg's legal team. In addition, according to Laura's lawyers, Greg fired the couple's housekeeper and changed the locks on their $21 million Jupiter Island estate.

Laura's attorneys said she never previously asked for alimony because she had been using credit cards from Great White Shark Enterprises, one of Greg's companies, but she is now asking Mirman to force Greg to pay until the divorce is final.

Greg's attorney Martin L. Haines last month said that he was eager to give Laura a huge payout that is a part of the settlement, but refused to do so until she signed the papers.

Sharfstein offered only one way out in a letter dated Aug. 6: "An expedited execution of the marital agreement will put into your client's hands more than sufficient funds to meet all of her obligations," Sharfstein wrote.

Attorneys for the Normans could not be reached for comment Monday.

Greg Norman, whose net worth has been estimated at half a billion dollars, filed for divorce in the summer of last year to end the couple's 25-year marriage, citing irreconcilable differences.
Tuesday
Aug142007

Ed Seay R.I.P.

One of the game's great characters has left us...

Golf Course Architect Ed Seay Dies at Age 69
 
ASGCA Past President and Winner of ASGCA Distinguished Service Award
Was Design Partner to Arnold Palmer for 35 Years
 
Ed Seay, a past president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, died August 14, 2007 at his home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., after a long battle with cancer and related health problems.  He was 69.
 
Born in Dade City, Fla., Seay served as ASGCA president in 1976-1977 and was given the ASGCA Distinguished Service Award during the organization of golf course architects’ 2006 Annual Meeting. During a career that spanned five decades, he was responsible for nearly 300 new golf courses and more than two dozen golf course renovations, including Bay Hill Club. Most of his designs were created in partnership with golf legend and ASGCA Fellow Arnold Palmer, with whom Seay began working in 1972 and formed Palmer Course Design Company in 1979. Designing a golf course in Communist China in 1981, Seay was among the first American golf course architects to work outside the United States.
 
Among Seay’s representative golf courses are Sawgrass C.C., Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; The Tradition G.C., LaQuinta, Calif.; The K Club, Straffan, Ireland; Four Seasons Resort at Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica; Kapalua Village Course, Maui, Hawaii; Aviara, Carlsbad, Calif.; Old Tabby Links, Spring Island, S.C.; Tralee C.C., Tralee, Ireland; and Adios G.C. in Coconut Creek, Fla.
 
“ASGCA is saddened with the loss of Ed,” said President Steve Forrest, ASGCA.  “He was one of a kind as a person and did so much for the profession of golf course architecture.  For 40 years, he was one of ASGCA’s great leaders and contributed greatly to the growth and recognition of ASGCA.  He will be missed.”

A graduate of the University of Florida and a retired Commissioned Officer of the United States Marine Corps, Seay began his work in golf course architecture in 1964 near Pinehurst, N.C., where he worked for ASGCA Past President, Ellis Maples, a noted golf course architect Seay called one of the finest golf course architects ever knew.
 
Seay is survived by his wife, Lynn, and adult children Mason Seay and Tracy Raymond.
 
A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, August 18, at 10 a.m. at Christ Episcopal Church in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. It will be followed by a reception at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club at 11 a.m.
 
In lieu of flowers, ASGCA members may make donations to the ASGCA Foundation, 125 N. Executive Dr., Suite 106, Brookfield, WI 53005. Others making donations are encouraged to donate to the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, P.O. Box 37, Mountain Lakes, NJ 07046.
 
More information on Mr. Seay’s career, as well as video clips of him discussing his work, is available at the ASGCA “Architects Gallery” on the internet. Simply visit www.asgca.org and click on “Inside ASGCA” then “Architects Gallery.”

Tuesday
Aug142007

Huggan On Weir Selection

John Huggan is so excited about the President's Cup, he actually wrote about it and loves the International selection of Mike Weir, a Canadian who loves his country so much he lives in the predominantly Mormon province of...Utah.

Quoting Captain Gary Player:
"Mike, as we know, won the Masters and has been a very, very good player throughout the years, a very, very good match player," babbled Player, who clearly had no idea that he was talking about a man who, four up on the 15th tee, lost the last four holes to Australian Geoff Ogilvy in last year's World Match Play Championship at La Costa. "Mike is a terrific competitor, a real fighter."

Yet again, that assessment has little basis in reality and more to do with the diminutive Weir's lack of inches because, as we all know, every little guy (see Player himself) just has to be a "battler," especially in head-to-head match play. Then again, maybe not. The Canadian, it should be noted, has only once made it through more than one round in the aforementioned WGC Match Play, a record that hardly commends him as a "fighter" or a man to fear when holes, not strokes, really count.

Plus, the numbers don't lie. This year the former Masters champion has but two top-ten finishes in 19 PGA Tour starts, lies 84th on the money list and his statistics are off the charts.

Driving distance? 110th.
Driving accuracy? 89th.
Greens in regulation? 155th.
Putting? 64th.
Scoring average? 54th.
World ranking? 46th
Tuesday
Aug142007

Skins Game To Feature Four Players!

Twenty five years ago it was Nicklaus, Palmer, Watson and Player. And now... 

G SKINS GAME LEGEND FRED COUPLES, DEFENDING CHAMPION STEPHEN AMES, MASTERS CHAMPION ZACH JOHNSON, LONG-HITTING BRETT WETTERICH FORM FIELD FOR 2007 LG SKINS GAME

25th anniversary of the LG SKINS GAME to be played on new Celebrity Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort

And what celebrities they have added alongside the one celebrity in the group, Fred Couples.

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (August 14, 2007) — LG SKINS GAME defending champion Stephen Ames, SKINS GAME legend Fred Couples, Masters champion Zach Johnson and long-hitting Brett Wetterich will form the field for the Silver Anniversary LG SKINS GAME to be played Thanksgiving weekend at the spectacular new Celebrity Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort.
 
The announcement was made jointly by ESPN Regional Television (ERT), Trans World International (TWI), LG Electronics USA, Inc. and the City of Indian Wells.
 
The $1 million 2007 LG SKINS GAME will be produced by ESPN and broadcast on ABC in its customary Thanksgiving home: Saturday, Nov. 24 and Sunday, Nov. 25. Nine holes will be aired Saturday from 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. and on Sunday from 3:30 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (check\ local listings). This is the 17th year ABC has served as the U.S. broadcast home to the SKINS GAME.
 
“You have one of the hottest up-and-coming golfers in Zach Johnson, who everyone saw hold off Tiger Woods in the Masters, a member of last year’s Ryder Cup, Brett Wetterich, whose powerful long drives are fun to watch, our defending champion Stephen Ames and the most successful player in SKINS GAME history – Fred Couples,” said Barry Frank, vice chairman of IMG Media. “This field has something to offer both the devoted golf fan and the casual golf fan, and the vistas and challenges of the Celebrity Course simply add to the allure of our 25th LG SKINS GAME.”
 
Title Sponsor LG Electronics applauded the field for the 2007 LG SKINS GAME. “As LG Electronics proudly returns as sponsor of one of professional golf’s best-loved televised events, we are enthusiastic about this diverse and talented group of players that promises to deliver an exciting Thanksgiving weekend of world-class golf,” said Michael Ahn, President and CEO of LG Electronics North American Headquarters.
 
“Over the past 25 years, the LG SKINS GAME has become a Thanksgiving weekend institution,” said Tony Renaud, vice president of new business for ESPN. “We are thrilled to feature such an accomplished, yet diverse field that will not only celebrate the past 25 years, but add to the rich history of this very special golf event that families and golf fans have enjoyed.”

Wait, the pile-on isn't finished...

“Our exceptional resort city is delighted to play host to the LG SKINS GAME, and we’re very excited to showcase this famed event’s silver anniversary on our new Celebrity Course,” said City of Indian Wells Mayor Rob Bernheimer. “This promises to be a great year for the LG SKINS GAME and one that fans will not want to miss.” 
For sure. Oh you said will NOT want to miss. My bad.
Tuesday
Aug142007

Half Price Sale Starts Early In Greensboro!

They paid $525,000 to help secure this date? 

John Dell reports the stunning news that the last spot on the FedEx Cup schedule isn't all that the folks in Greensboro hoped it would be.

Mark Brazil, the tournament director, says that concession prices have been slashed in an effort to attract fans to Greensboro’s Forest Oaks Country Club for the four days of the tournament and its pro-ams.

“We want the fans to be able to have a great experience out here,” Brazil said. “I ran this idea past other tournament directors, and they said they just never had the guts to do this. But we are focusing on making this a better experience for the fans, even if we might lose a little money with concessions.”

The price for a beer has been cut from $4 to $3, and all Coca-Cola products, including bottled water, will be $1. Other concession prices have also been reduced, Brazil said.

So get them drunk!

The tournament is doing what it can to offset a lack of star power in the field. The Wyndham is the final regular-season tournament of the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup, and only the top 144 players in the points race advance to the playoffs, which will start next week.

There is no shortage of players hovering around the 144th spot on the points list, but those already secure for the playoffs are taking the week off. The Wyndham has a $5 million purse with $900,000 going to the winner, but the players are looking at the FedEx Cup points to be won as much as the money.

K.J. Choi, who is ranked 12th and won in Greensboro in 2005, pulled out of the tournament yesterday, citing fatigue. He was the highest-ranked player to have committed to the tournament.

Only two of the top 50 in the updated world rankings are in the field - Davis Love III, the defending champion and ranked 43rd, and Carl Pettersson, ranked 48th. Pettersson, a former player at N.C. State, lives near Raleigh and played his high-school golf at Greensboro Grimlsey.

Davis Love is playing because he's the defending champion and Carl Pettersson is in because it's his hometown event. Otherwise no one in the top 50 would be in to uh, jockey for more points.

I hate to belabor this, but it was noted here a year ago:

Of course, now that we know this final event before the FedEx Cup finale amounts to a shootout between spots 140-150 for those final places in the playoffs, and that it's before a stretch of four straight weeks of golf, is it really that great of a date?

Why would Tiger, Phil or Vijay or any other stars play Greensboro after playing the PGA/WGC Firestone and before the four-week stretch?

Tuesday
Aug142007

"I don't understand how it all works"

Thomas Bonk looks at the FedEx Cup and seems pretty sure Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will be skipping the Barclay's. And he featured this from Phil:

"I don't understand how it all works," he said. "And certainly there are some things that can be done in the coming years to make it better. But it's the first year and you're never going to have it perfect the first year. It's kind of an evolutionary thing."

Meanwhile Sam Weinman talks to Padraig Harrington who sounds like he is really pumped up about it too.

"I could use a break," Harrington said. "Ideally, we'd play the first two weeks and then a week off, and then the last one. For guys like me, this FedExCup gives me a chance, because if I get hot at the end of the year, I could win it. And four weeks off is not the end of the world. But with all that's gone on with me the last few weeks, I could use a break."

Monday
Aug132007

A Few Golf Magazine Thoughts

I'm not sure how many of you have received the Golf Magazine course ranking issue, but it did cause me to put the brakes on my normal power-flip through the mag. Which is good since I have gotten a few paper cuts lately trying to break my all time leaf through record of 63.6 seconds.

Well, besides the stuff I linked earlier, there were a few panelist sidebars describing their favorite courses, and other than ones from Larry Lambrecht and Masa Nishijima, these descriptions are not exactly packed architectural revelations.

Which brings me to a general thought about the list. While I still agree with it more than Golf Digest's, there is a sense that its panel is a bit behind the times, while Golf Digest, for all of its faults, seems to have a more active group out monitoring what's going on at our best courses.

That's not to say that I think heavy turnover on a list is a good thing, but we are living in a very exciting time with so many compelling new courses, cutting edge restorations and a newfound appreciation for many architectural elements. Looking at the Golf panel and the list it has produced, I just sense there is a lot of dead (star name) weight and an excess of conflict of interests holding back the enthusiasts from really putting together a list that highlights fun, interesting and timeless architecture.

But it's Joe Passov's first full list and if given the time and freedom, I suspect he'll put together a stronger panel.

This also caught my eye:

In 2007, we switched to a web-based system that allowed panelists to vote on a combined master list of 475 courses from around the world. Panelists can only vote for courses they've played. (On average each panelist has played 73 courses on the World Top 100 list.) From this master list, the top 100 point earners make up our Top 100 Courses in the World. The Top 100 in the U.S. are determined by taking U.S. courses from the World list, in order, and then rounding out the list with the remaining top point earners that did not make the World list.

The points break down as follows: Each course placing in the top three earns 100 points; spots 4-10 earn 85 points, followed by 11-25 (70 points), 26-50 (60 points), 51-75 (50 points), 76-100 (40 points), 101-150 (30 points), 151-200 (20 points), 201-250 (10 points), 251+ (0 points). Any course that received a "remove from ballot" vote has 10 points deducted. The results at the top were remarkably similar to 2005, with Pine Valley, Cypress Point, St. Andrews' Old Course and Augusta National keeping their 1-4 spots.

Does anyone understand this balloting system. Help me here!

This was interesting:

Our rankings are guided by our panel, whose 100 members represent 15 countries. The men and women who cast their votes include major-championship winners, Ryder Cup players, architects, leading amateurs, journalists and a cadre of nearly a dozen course connoisseurs who've had the doggedness to play all Top 100 Courses in the World.

To keep it fair, course architects and course owners on the committee can't vote on their own properties. In the end, the opinions of our staff editors are factored in as well.

So we trust the panel to figure out a great course, but we re-jig the final tally as we see fit. Well, at least they're honest about.

Now, that doesn't explain how Torrey Pines-South is still on the list.

Monday
Aug132007

Could The Record Fall At St. Andrews In 2010?

When I saw the premise I thought Ron Sirak was desperate for a Tiger post-PGA column, but he actually makes the interesting point that if Tiger keeps up on this pace, he could be on target for a St. Andrews arrival with 18 majors in his pocket.

Let's say Woods does win two of the next three Masters. That would give him six green jackets, tying the all-time record held by Nicklaus. Let's say Tiger wins two of the next three U.S. Opens. That would give him four, tying the all-time record shared by Nicklaus, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Willie Anderson. And let's say he wins one of the next two PGA Championships. That would give him five, tying the record held by Nicklaus and Walter Hagen.

That means that Woods would go into the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews not only tied with Nicklaus at 18 majors, but also with the exact same breakdown: Six Masters, five PGA Championships, four U.S. Opens and three British Opens. And since Tiger already has Nicklaus beaten in U.S. Amateur titles -- three to two -- it would indisputably make Woods the most dominant golfer in the history of the game.


Monday
Aug132007

"That's the ocean, not the bay."

sept_trump2_299x350.jpgLooking pink, bloated and determined to win the What-John-Daly Will-Look-Like-On-The Champions Tour-If-He-Lives-That-Long Contest, The Donald sat down for an all-too-frequent Q&A wth Golf Magazine's Michael Walker to plug his various golf courses and other assorted ventures.

The proverbial Trump L.A. is better than Pebble story is getting even more extravagant...

Q Trump L.A. is better than Pebble Beach! Are you crazy?

A That's what people say until they play my course. I have 3,000 acres and 2.5 miles on the ocean.

And why is that the course is jammed into only 110 acres?

That's the ocean, not the bay.

How could we forget?

Every single hole fronts the ocean. I love Pebble too, but even people who love Pebble say Trump L.A. is superior to Pebble. What Pebble Beach has is history and some day Trump L.A. will have history, though I might not be around to see it.

Oh no it has history Donald. There was that time the 18th hole slid into the ocean and... 

Trump L.A. is also far better than Bandon Dunes [in Oregon]. It's unfair to compare a course in Los Angeles, a great metropolitan area, to one in a wasteland far away from civilization.

LA's no wasteland, that's right Donald. Of course the drive from LAX to Trump National takes about the same amount of time as Portland to Bandon thanks to our traffic, but who cares when you can drive Crenshaw Boulevard!

Q A web site (TMZ.com) published pictures of you playing at your L.A. course and claimed they showed you giving yourself an illegal drop. Did you see that?

Those are fun. Check out the link. He makes Smails look like a regular Bill Campbell

Monday
Aug132007

Golf Magazine 2007 Rankings

The U.S. list is posted here, the world top 100 here.

A sidebar on panelist's favorite courses is here, while this is the list of people who rarely ever pay to play golf.

Just taking a quick glance I noticed several interesting things, but all in all it looks like the usual suspects are still popular. But I have paying work to attend to, so in the mean time let the bickering begin.

Monday
Aug132007

For Immediate Release, Bury It On A Saturday In August Edition

When you have star power like Bobby Clampett, it's hard to fathom a show with this much promise is going to be buried on a summer Saturday when most of the world is not glued to their computers. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“RULES OF THE GAME” INTERACTIVE GOLF QUIZ SHOW PREMIERES

AUGUST 18TH ON CBS SPORTS AND GOLFDIGEST.COM

Hosts Bill Macatee and Bobby Clampett Make Sense of Golf’s Trickiest Rules

Burbank, CA (August 13, 2007) – The first ever web interactive television quiz show highlighting the rules of golf premieres August 18, 2007 (4PM Eastern) on CBS Sports and GolfDigest.com.

RULES OF THE GAME is a one-hour special highlighting funny, surprising, and unexpected applications of the rules of golf in a fast-paced interactive quiz format.  The show, shot on location from Ginn Reunion Resort in Orlando, Florida, features memorable moments from PGA Tour events, as well as re-enactments performed by CBS Sports golf team members Bill Macatee and Bobby Clampett.

Among the gems revealed on the show are:
        - The penalty for asking your opponent about his club selection.
        - The penalty for tapping in a short putt with the grip end of your putter.
        - The options presented by a shot that has landed on a bridge.

- The penalty for accidentally tapping a ball during a tee-box waggle.

Viewers are also encouraged to log on to www.GolfDigest.com to play along with the quiz throughout the broadcast.  Those completing the quiz will be ranked on the accuracy of their answers.

RULES OF THE GAME is produced by Juma Entertainment in conjunction with the editors of Golf Digest.  Bob Horowitz is creator and executive producer.  CBS Sports’ Bill Macatee and Bobby Clampett are the hosts.  RULES OF THE GAME is sponsored by Bobby Jones Golf Company and the PGA Tour SuperStore.


Monday
Aug132007

With All South African Family Friends Already Qualified, Player Tabs Weir To Ensure President's Cup Exhibition Status

Convinced that his 2005 selection of No. 22 points man Trevor Immelman vaulted the family friend rising star to even greater success, International team captain Gary Player expects to boost gate receipts resurrect the career of Mike Weir by adding him to the President's Cup team.

Mike, as we know, won the Masters, and has been a very, very good player throughout the years, very, very good match player. Even though he didn't finish in the Top-10, you know, it's a different story when you're playing match play and medal. And Mike is a real -- he's a terrific competitor. He's really a fighter, and I've got tremendous confidence in him. He's a wonderful -- you couldn't ask to have a better team member than Mike. If you don't put him in, he doesn't sulk. If you put him in, he always says he's willing to play anybody. As a captain, you know, it's always a difficult position because you can't satisfy everybody, even though you're trying your best. But he is a terrific team member.

And being played in Canada, if we didn't have a Canadian in the team in my team and playing in Canada, I can assure you in my opinion only, the series would be quite flat amongst the Canadian people. Mike is a hero in his country, deservedly so. And I'm sure the Canadian people are going to be relieved, because I continuously had questions every week: "Are you putting Mike, are you putting him in?" And I said, we have to wait till the end obviously.


Jack Nicklaus rounded out the American squad with Lucas Glover and Hunter Mahan. I'd make a joke, but the state of American golf just isn't very funny anymore.

Sunday
Aug122007

PGA Final Round Clippings, Vol. 1

2007pgalogo.gifSeveral final lede's and stories considering the burning desire our finest scribblers had for departing to the Tulsa Airport as soon as they possibly could. Oh, and Tiger's won 13 of these major thingy's now and it gets just that much tougher to say something fresh...

Doug Ferguson writing for AP:

The 13th major for Tiger Woods looked like so many others until he finished.

His father is no longer alive for Woods to walk into his arms. His mother no longer travels to any major but the Masters. He now shares his triumphs with a wife and baby daughter, and the biggest surprise Sunday at the PGA Championship was seeing them when he walked into the scoring trailer to sign for a 69 and a two-shot victory.

Thomas Bonk writing for the LA Times:

Row after row, they rose to their feet in the sun-splashed late afternoon and cheered as Tiger Woods reached the 18th green at Southern Hills Country Club, ready for another chapter of history to be made, this time right before their eyes.

aug12_tigerfist_464x600.jpgMike Strain in the Tulsa World:

The billboards around Tulsa advertised the PGA Championship as Tiger vs. Southern Hills. We have a winner.

Damon Hack writing for the New York Times:

There was a different texture to this five-mile walk, an appearance of tension and conflict in Tiger Woods’s midst as he stepped into the furnace of Southern Hills Country Club and tried to pass another milepost.

As an old foe and a hot-tempered journeyman prodded him along the way, Woods pushed back during the 89th P.G.A. Championship, throwing a roundhouse punch after an early birdie and holding off all challengers in the end.

Lawrence Donegan writing for The Guardian:

The surest bet in golf became drama of the highest order last night as first Ernie Els, then Woody Austin, turned an expected procession in Tulsa into a genuine contest as they sought to deny Tiger Woods victory at the 89th PGA Championship. That he finally secured the title by two strokes from Austin with a closing round of 69 might read as a routine victory, but it was anything but.

And Steve Elling for Sportsline:

The perspiration beads dripped off his nose, down his chin and, at one point, from the bill of his sweat-saturated black cap.

And not solely because the 89th PGA Championship shall officially go into the meteorological record books as the hottest major in history after weathering four consecutive days of Tulsa's triple-digit boil, either.

gwsl10_pga4.jpgHere are the final results and more importantly, the FedEx Cup point breakdown.

The final course stats are here. The 13th was the only hole that played under par for the week and I don't think it's a coincidence that the holes with the more dramatic short grass banks produced most of the others during the week.

Chris Lewis selects highlights from the final day, with photos and a nice acknowledgement for the scribblers who dared to be on the first tee instead of in the Southern Hills tennis center.

Gary Van Sickle with some fun, offbeat awards for the week including a nice award package of Woody Austin's best diatribe.

Eddie Pells on Woody Austin bumping Lucas Glover out of an automatic spot on the President's Cup team while Stuart Appleby edges Nick O'Hern.

Reuters reports 264 were treated for heat related exhaustion during the week, with 85 on Sunday alone.

Please, help the big golf sites generate page views since I borrowed a few here: golf.com's photos are here, Golfchannel.com's are here, and GolfDigest.com's are here.

Sporting Life compiles the best quotes of Sunday, but if you want to read more, Tiger, Ernie and Woody are posted below the ASAP transcript links are here.

Sunday
Aug122007

Some Southern Hills Setup Thoughts

2007pgalogo.gifThe one glaring weakness of Southern Hills is a lack of flexibility that might have given the PGA's Kerry Haigh a chance to move up some tees and encourage drives at a short par-4 (the par-5's proved reachable thanks to the heat and the remarkable athleticism of guys like John Daly). Still, it seemed like the hole locations were nicely varied throughout the week and offered a great mix of both easily accessible and tucked.

However, two hole locations looked a bit silly Sunday, and I'd love to hear from those on site if they agreed.

Number 6 was tucked so close to the creek and shaved bank that there seemed to be no rational reason to attack it. It made 12 at Augusta on Sunday look accessible.230136-953403-thumbnail.jpg
(click to enlarge)

Same deal with No. 12, which was hidden behind the front bunker.

To achieve some element of temptation, and therefore risk/reward scenarios that make for captivating golf, both holes probably saw their best Sunday locations on...Saturday. For round three, the sixth was cut in the center left while No. 12 was cut in the center back right near the shaved bank leading to the creek.

That's quibbling though. Once again, the PGA Championship left me feeling like the players faced a tough test and yet were able to display their skill at the right times. Sure, they were on the defensive quite a bit due to the narrow nature of Southern Hills and there were still plenty of irons off tees, but the opportunity was there to attack at times during each round, as opposed to select times chosen by the committee as we see more and more at the first two majors.

Thoughts? 

Sunday
Aug122007

"At home all the miles I log on the road and run in that heat, granted it's not as hot as this but it's certainly more humid. And that's what you do. You pay the price. You go outwork everybody and days like today or weeks like this week, it shows."

200218.jpgSome great stuff came out of Tiger's post-PGA Championship win press conference, though shockingly, no one asked about the pressure of being the FedEx Cup points leader.

Q. This is a great victory on Thai Mother's Day. Would you like to make a special message to children in Thailand that look up to you?

TIGER WOODS: Well, every time I go back there it's been fantastic. We do junior clinics there and my mom helps with a few shelters there in Bangkok. So we try and help the kids as much as we possibly can. And what my mom's done back there no one really knows about it, but she's done a lot for a lot of kids. And awfully proud of her.
Tiger note to self: tell Steiny to send mom flowers asap for Thai Mother's Day.
Q. Just to get back to Steve's question earlier, the television crew seemed to indicate they thought perhaps you had hurt yourself when you fist pumped on 8 after that birdie and might have hurt you going into 9. Talk about that. Secondly, a local question: Your thoughts on Southern Hills, Tulsa, and Oklahoma hosting this major this week?

TIGER WOODS: As far as hurting myself, no. All good. The only thing that hurt me on 9 was I didn't trust the wind up there. The wind was right to left all day, and you look at the flags up behind 18 and 9, they were left to right. And Steve says the wind's off the right, you gotta trust it's off the right. I just kept telling myself, Look at those flags behind 18. It's off to the left. So we just shoot it more down the left side so the wind will bring it back and actually took it the other way, took it left. So that was my fault for not trusting Stevie and trusting how the wind was all day.

As far as Tulsa hosting the Championship, I mean, this has been a great crowd. For them to come out and support this event with the temperatures the way it was, absolutely phenomenal. I don't know how they could have been enthusiastic being that hot and that tired, but they were. And they were supporting all of us and want to see great shots and they applauded. It was just a great atmosphere all day, all week, especially today. Especially given the temperatures.

TigerCelebVuich7_600x400.jpgHey, granted he was gimpy, but an admission that he hurt himself doing the fist pump would mean he's human. 
Q. You disproved the belief that your game wasn't meant for Southern Hills, do you believe that your ability to hit the 2-, 3- and 4-iron the way you did all week really made this a golf course that was really well-suited to your game?

TIGER WOODS: I don't understand why people kept saying that. If you watched the way I hit the ball in 2001, I wasn't hitting it very well. But if you look at where I was hitting it, I was hitting it to exactly the same spots I did this week. I just wasn't able to hit the fairways.

I played to the same spots, Stevie and I had the same strategy. Nothing's changed. The only difference is we're hitting less club because the ball's going so much further this year because of temperature and also the improvements in the golf ball in the last six years.
Uh, don't  forget to include the grooves. They make you more likely to bomb driver and, oh, I don't even know. Just remember, it's the grooves, not the ball!
Q. In hindsight, what advantage might you, your conditioning advantage have you in this heat, and also does this change at all your intentions to play all four of the playoff events?

TIGER WOODS: As far as the last part, yes, my intent is to play. As far as your first part of your question is physical fitness is always a huge advantage. And when you play any sport and you have heat and anything that wears you down mentally and physically, the more in shape you are, the more fit you are -- I feel when I walked up 18 I felt the same way as I did going off the first tee. I felt great.

At home all the miles I log on the road and run in that heat, granted it's not as hot as this but it's certainly more humid. And that's what you do. You pay the price. You go outwork everybody and days like today or weeks like this week, it shows. I felt fresh all week. And I felt great.

Other guys may have gotten tired and you see their shoulders slumping and dragging a little bit; I feel fine. I think that's how you should always be. You should always train hard and bust your butt. That's what a sport is, is to do that. And not everyone considers golf a sport and they don't treat it as such.

Take that boys!

Q. You've won your last three majors using a long iron off the tee, a 5-wood off the tee, primarily Medinah. Here you made your birdies with irons. In the back of your mind, do you get frustrated with your driver and the driver swing, and is it any different, could you explain to the rest of us, than your regular swing and why is it a struggle?

TIGER WOODS: I feel the same. The only difference is when you're hitting it, especially this week, 330-, 340-yard fairways 20, 22 yards wide, that's not a lot of room.

And most of the tournaments, if you look at the configuration of how they design the golf courses now for us is that they pinch the fairways in about 280. 280 to 320 is kind of like the major number where they start pinching fairways in.

So a lot of times they're more narrow at that distance than they are shy of 280. And sometimes I see a lot of guys hit driver down there try to play out of the rough. Some golf courses you can, some golf courses you can't. And as far as my swing being different, I feel it's the same.

The only difference is not a lot of room for error when you're hitting it that far. And that's one of the reasons why you see a lot of longer hitters hit 3-woods off the tee because the 3-wood nowadays goes as far as it used to when I first came out here as far as a driver went. I had no problem hitting 3-wood this week over 300 yards, just because it was so hot. And every week is different. It really is. It's kind of a feel thing.

And a groove thing too, right? No? It can't be the combination of narrow fairways and a ball going longer. Just can't be!

Q. You said a little bit earlier you feel by far you're a better player than you were in 2000 which is the year when you won the last three majors, and people were wondering if anybody else would win another tournament you were entered in. This year you had to grind it out in the last major of the year to get your first major and I'm wondering just what that says and maybe in terms of the challenge that it becomes over the years to keep winning these majors?

TIGER WOODS: Well, everyone's not going to stay stagnant. Everyone is going to try to improve and they all have. Everyone's worked hard to improve their game through technology, through fitness. Look back when I first came out here on Tour, how many guys had personal trainers. I don't think any of them did.

Now going to the fitness van everyone has a trainer there. So the game has changed and everyone's gotten stronger, more fit. They're hitting the ball further. Technology has certainly helped that out. Your dispersion patterns aren't as wide.

Well that'll all change in 2009 when you are playing with V-grooves!

And guys are shooting a lot better scores. And it has become a lot harder to win tournaments. And that's the fun of it. That's the challenge.

And finally, a jab at the scribblers...

Q. Stephen Ames said there wasn't as much craziness inside or outside the ropes when he played today. He said there just wasn't the mayhem. Has Tiger mania changed that much or has everybody's concentration levels so much more concentrated now?

TIGER WOODS: No, I think you guys are lazy (laughter). I didn't see a whole lot of you guys walking with us like you normally do. It's a little hot. And I think maybe the buffets are good in here and air conditioning is nice (laughter).

No, it was different. We didn't have as many media inside the ropes, being whether it's you guys or it's photographers or TV crews. There weren't just as many.

Sunday
Aug122007

"What, are we going to fight? Are we going to get into a fight? Why should I be intimidated?"

The Golf Channel boys were lauding Woody Austin's wonderful week of rambling, neurotic media center appearances. And why not, it makes great television! Highlights from Sunday's train wreck:

 Q. You were right, yeah. That was sort of -- but that was where I was kind of going. Now that it's over, how do you feel?

WOODY AUSTIN: Well, like I said on Friday, you cannot give somebody seven shots, especially someone who happens to be the best player in the world.

And I -- like I said, I went over his round and over my round, and I outplayed him from tee-to-green. Seven shots I gave up in one round. Now, I wasn't supposed to be disappointed? Like I said, a person in my position cannot give that man that much cushion. That's why I was disappointed and that's why I came up short.
Okay Rory.
Q. My question is quite similar. You're in your early 40s, why now, what about your game, your career has made this possible?

WOODY AUSTIN: Well, like I said all along, I was a pretty good player a long time ago. I didn't just come out of the bank like everybody thought I did. I just got sidetracked. Everybody gets sidetracked.
Kind of a Roy Hobbs of golf, eh? 
There's only a few of us that their lives just kind of go according to plan. Most of us have all of those bumps and peaks and valleys. Unfortunately I had a few pretty big peaks and valleys, and it's just taken me a little bit longer to maybe -- like I said, it may be just that at 43 I deal with my nerves better than I did at 32. I was a better player at 32 than I am now, but maybe I just handle my nerves better. That's the biggest key for me is how I handle my nerves.

I don't think anybody plays any better than I do when I'm on; I know that's crazy, but I think I can hit any shot anybody in the world can hit. But it's hard to do that when you're afraid of it, and that's the fight I have every day.

Yeah, it's crazy, but we'll let it slide.

Q. I understand that qualified you for the Presidents Cup. Do you have any thoughts on that or is it too early for you to tell?

WOODY AUSTIN: Well, that makes me real happy because I've always wanted to be in one of those things. I think my personality suits that kind of competition. I'd like to think that my personality is a lot like Tiger's, very out there, very emotional, and I think in that format, in a team format, in a two-man or a one-on-one, I like the idea. I like the competition. I like the mano-a-mano, one-on-one, look you in the eye, as opposed to coming out at 8:00 and the other guy comes out at 3 o'clock. I like looking right at you when I'm playing you and I think that's going to be a lot of fun.

Ah but it won't be the same seeing you in nice clothes.

Q. Going back to your comment about liking to look players in the eye, would you have liked to have been paired with Tiger today?

WOODY AUSTIN: I said it yesterday. I was upset -- I was disappointed with my bogey and Steve's birdie. I wanted to be in that arena. Like I said, I maybe looked at it as a little bit strange, but I think I have the almost identical personality in a way that he does, in that I want to be right there.

He always says -- what does he always say? He always says, "I want to be in the last group on Sunday." If he wants to be there, and I want to be -- why do I not want to be there? Why would I want to be somewhere else? I want to be there just as much as he does. I don't get why you would want to not be there or be, as you say -- as you always say, are you intimidated by him? I don't get that either. What, are we going to fight? Are we going to get into a fight? Why should I be intimidated?

I'm intimidated by the fact that I have a chance to win a golf tournament. I'm not intimidated by any other person. I'm intimidated by the golf.

Ok, on that note, let's move on to the heavyset gentleman sweating profusely in front of mike 4.

Q. You've had a good summer. What do you attribute the good play to, and the second part is, you putted well today, were there any adjustments you made after Friday on the stroke?

WOODY AUSTIN: I did work on some things today. One of the best -- one of the best pieces of advice I think I ever got far as putting-wise was from one of the best putters of all-time, Ben Crenshaw. I really concentrated really hard today to not grip the putter. I did the best I could on short putts or anywhere from ten feet or closer to make sure I had the lightest grip I could possibly have and still actually make the stroke.

You know, I putted from ten feet a hell of a lot better today than I did the rest of the week.

Now, I swear I heard him then say "So thank you, Ben."  

Am I hearing voices or are these transcripts lacking? 

Sunday
Aug122007

"We've got the FedEx thingy coming up; I'd like to play well there and finish my year off here in America."

I swear I heard Ernie Els say things on the Golf Channel version of his post round press conference that did not make the transcript, so, working with the digital edition, here are a few highlights after his second place finish at Southern Hills:

Q. There are times when people come in here after Tiger has won a major and he just went out and beat everybody. Do you feel like you guys really put up the fight that you wanted to, and that maybe you did some things that kept you from winning today?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I mean, every day I've made a bunch of birdies. You know, I haven't done that in any majors that I've played recently.

So, you know, there's a lot of good in my game. As I just said, you know, I'm not quite there where I think I can be. But if I get up to this next level where I want to be, maybe I can at least give him a real go, a run for his money. Because somebody needs to step up; he's playing some awesome golf.

My Callaway equipment, I'm starting to feel comfortable with it. It's been a big change for me this year, I changed before the Masters, and I'm starting to feel comfortable with that. My putting is better, my short game is coming around. I just have to keep going on this trend and hopefully start giving him a go soon.

And it's still the thingy...

Q. You said before that you're just a little shy of that next level. I just want to find out, what's going to have to happen to get you to the next level, and do you believe more in yourself as Major Champion again after the past month?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, first of all, I do believe that I'm working on the right stuff, and I've made strides, especially the last couple of months.

But you know, you just -- I just need to keep working on it. I just keep grinding it out, you know. I'm happy with my equipment, the way things are going.

We've got the FedEx thingy coming up; I'd like to play well there and finish my year off here in America. I need to start, you know, basically winning tournaments, and that will create more confluence, and winning becomes almost a habit; look at Tiger.

I had a couple of years where I won a lot of tournaments, and you start feeling a lot more comfortable on Sundays and Saturdays and weekends, so that's what I'm working on. Thanks, guys.


Sunday
Aug122007

Okay, I Give Up! - Sunday PGA Blog Continued

I've tried to keep the live blog going but way too many technical issues made me have to end Sunday's and take down Saturday's for now. Thanks for your comments and interaction, it was fun and I'm sure Altcaster will work out the kinks because it's really cool software but definitely still in beta form.

So please post your profound thoughts below! At 2:42 we have a three man race! Tiger -8, Els -6, Austin -6, with Tiger in the back bunker on 13 in three!

2:43 - Unlike the other announcers, Macatee is not shy about pointing out the decline in Tiger's game since tweaking the eagle on 8. 

2:48 - Tiger taps in on 13 but looks gimpy as he walks off.  

2:52 - 6-iron from 222 on 14 for Tiger! 

3:01 - Tiger three putts 14, the lead is one over Austin and Els. 

3:03 - Kostis says Els has 96 yards for his third shot on 16, takes full, hard swing with what must be a 60 degree wedge and hits it 20 yards past the hole! Bogey. 

3:04 - I just noticed the American Express card on the leaderboard. Has that been there all week!? 

3:08 - In between the now relentless commercial breaks we see Tiger hit it pretty close on 15 (12 feet?) while Els bogies 16 and Austin is down the center of the par-4. 

3:13 - Woods birdies 15. Ian Baker Finch: "this man can really roll the potato."

3:16 - Driver gives it the full club twirl on 16 tee, and that should just about do it. Though Woody Austin hangs tough with a nice par save on 16 green

3:22 - Els pars 17 to stay 3 back, Tiger's on 16 with a relatively easy birdie putt. Austin is in 17 rough and misses the
green. No way Tiger can lose.

3:33 - Faldo apologizes for his earlier telecast comment about Woody Austin having the lights on but no one home. Did CBS tell him to do that? 

3:35 - Tiger in the middle of 17 green and it's over with Austin in trouble on 18. And the Crowne Plaza ad is the capper for me! Sayonara, looking forward to the post round analysis, it certainly was a lot more interesting than many thought it would be.

Sunday
Aug122007

"Guys use protein, they take creatine, which is legal, but really, we're all just following the example Tiger has set."

The Denver Post's Anthony Cotton looks at the performance enhancing drug issue in golf and includes some interesting player comments late in the piece. First, Woody Austin:

"It could be tempting because the game is a power game now. It isn't about precision any more," Austin, a pro for more than 20 years, said. "Back in the day, the game was about controlling your ball; now, that's not the case.

"When the top five players in the world say they don't even worry about hitting the ball in the fairway when you're talking about 340-yard drives and 7,500-yard courses — I guess somebody might be tempted."

Oh but wait until they get those V-grooves Woody. It'll all change overnight.

Now here is the interesting part, courtesy of Sean O'Hair.

But younger players, like the 25-year-old O'Hair, say illegal substances aren't needed to reach those numbers, or to succeed at the game's highest level.

"The guys I talk to, we kind of laugh at all of this," O'Hair said. "Steroids create bulk — which isn't good for golf. They're going to affect your mind and thinking — which isn't good for golf. There's just no benefit from it.

"Guys use protein, they take creatine, which is legal, but really, we're all just following the example Tiger has set. The younger guys work out harder than the older guys do; they're in better shape than the older guys were — that's why we hit it longer, and that's why we're going to have longer careers than they did."

So, will just ignore the "we're better athletes" fantasy for a moment. O'Hair says no one would ever think of using something to help bulk up or improve endurance, yet he says guys are taking creatine, which helps you bulk up and improve endurance.

Ah, but creatine is legal, and apparently, because we are talking about golf, home of the self-righteous and law-abiding, no one would ever do anything illegal.

And about following that example Tiger sets, FYI, he advocates performance enhancing drug testing.  

Sunday
Aug122007

What Are Those Blue Blobs?

I was clicking through the golf.com slideshow previewing Golf Magazine's new course rankings and couldn't help but wonder what the story is behind this photo of Mayacama. Any thoughts?

sept_100nmayacama2_600x600.jpg