...or your Pilates instructor, or your HeartMath guide or your...no, the agent wouldn't pick up the bag.
Bob Harig explains how having his trainer watching came in handy for Robert Allenby after his caddy quit mid-round.
Once you've had 'em, you've got 'em." HENRY LONGHURST on the yips
...or your Pilates instructor, or your HeartMath guide or your...no, the agent wouldn't pick up the bag.
Bob Harig explains how having his trainer watching came in handy for Robert Allenby after his caddy quit mid-round.
Reader Jack Sprat correctly notes that with the greens demise at East Lake comes the Tour's makeshift clinic/pro-am, where "one torture is substituted for another."
Sounds like a great chance for the boys to interract with MBA types...
Despite the cancellation, tournament officials have scheduled activities for Wednesday to bring a unique and worthwhile experience to pro-am participants. All 30 players in THE TOUR Championship field will honor their commitment to the pro-am by participating in a Q&A session in the morning, followed by the “Ultimate TOUR Clinic,” in which amateurs will cycle through three stations with PGA TOUR professionals for tips and instruction in driving, chipping and putting. The day will conclude for amateurs at a luncheon and additional Q&A session with the TOUR players.
And just in case you boys thought you might fly back to Atlanta on Wednesday...think again, that's a morning clinic!
On a serious note, if the concept of playoff pro-am's was in fact one of Phil's beefs, this will not exactly make him more agreeable, will it?
Wait, no, Phil loves corporate America and interacting with pro-am types. I don't know what got into me.
"My thoughts?" veteran Jim Furyk said Sunday morning, weighing his words carefully as he looked at the player advisory posted on the Cog Hill locker room bulletin board. "It's very poor timing. There's already a lot of rumblings and negativity about how things have been working out already.
"Now there's room for everybody else to pile on. The timing could not have been worse. Those are my thoughts."
If the Chicagoans weren't fired up, this John Maginnes piece from PGATour.com ("Playoff format overcoming criticism") ought to get Western Open fans riled up:
But the old Western Open changed its stripes this year. The inaugural BMW Championship brings a new name, as well as a new face to this historic event. From the stark white trimming of the corporate tents and grandstands to the expo village filled with vintage cars, this tournament has a new look. In typical BMW fashion, the tournament has taken on a sleeker, more modern, tone while keeping its traditions and history close. Another innovation is the fact that the old Western Open has a new set of wheels.
On Sunday, it will fill up the tank and head south where it will set up shop in St. Louis. On the even-numbered years the BMW Championship will alternate between the city with the arch and Indianapolis, returning to Chicago in between.
See that change stuff is progress.
Well, this year anyway.
Does anyone remember something like this happening before? It is hard to imagine that keeping thirty players and a pro-am off the East Lake greens could make that big of a difference, but it's admirable of the Tour for trying everything it can to ensure good uh, Super Bowl conditions. A ban on spikes would have been nice too.
From the PGA Tour:
Practice rounds restricted, pro-am canceled at THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola to ensure best possible playing conditions for tournament
Course closed to public until Thursday, tickets to be honored
ATLANTA, Sept. 9, 2007 – As a result of severe heat and drought in the Atlanta area this summer, the bentgrass putting green conditions at East Lake Golf Club, site of next week’s TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola, have suffered. In order to present the best possible playing conditions for THE TOUR Championship, the final event in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, tournament officials and the PGA TOUR have restricted the players’ practice rounds and canceled Wednesday’s pro-am.
“We are working diligently to improve and present the golf course in the best condition possible for next week’s tournament,” said Henry Hughes, executive vice president and chief operating officer, PGA TOUR. “While restricting players’ practice rounds and canceling the pro-am is not an ideal scenario, we felt this was the best decision in order to allow us a few more days to prepare the greens for the event.
“The weather has improved this past week, and the forecast is for continued good weather through Wednesday, allowing for additional growth and recovery of the bentgrass. Despite the challenges, we are confident that THE TOUR
Championship will provide an exciting, dramatic culmination to the FedExCup season.”
With the course closed to the public until Thursday, all Tuesday and Wednesday tickets will be honored Thursday through Sunday. The tournament will staff the general parking lot at Turner Field to exchange spectators’ tickets, as well as add additional volunteers and staff to the admission gate on-site.
All Tuesday and Wednesday tickets that are marked “Clubhouse” or “Delta Crown Room Championship Club” will be honored; however, those will be exchanged for GROUND tickets. These tickets were only sold on a weekly basis, and therefore, those purchasers will also have a ticket that they can use for Thursday - Sunday.
Restricted practice rounds
Players will not be permitted to practice on the greens at East Lake Golf Club, although they and their caddies can walk the course Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, hit drives on par 4s and par 5s and approach shots on par 5s if they do not reach the greens. The driving range, putting green and short game practice area at East Lake Golf Club will be available to players all week.
Despite the cancellation, tournament officials have scheduled activities for Wednesday to bring a unique and worthwhile experience to pro-am participants. All 30 players in THE TOUR Championship field will honor their commitment to the pro-am by participating in a Q&A session in the morning, followed by the “Ultimate TOUR Clinic,” in which amateurs will
cycle through three stations with PGA TOUR professionals for tips and instruction in driving, chipping and putting. The day will conclude for amateurs at a luncheon and additional Q&A session with the TOUR players.
East Lake greens, Atlanta weather
The strain of grass at East Lake Golf Club is Crenshaw creeping bentgrass. It was introduced in the Southeast in the 1990s and offers a superb putting surface most of the year, but when temperatures reach the 90s, the greens can be susceptible to more diseases, shorter roots and dry spots.
During the month of August, Atlanta reported record temperatures of 90-plus degrees for 28 days, including 10-straight days with temperatures reaching or exceeding 100 degrees.
The average daily high in Atlanta in August was 96.5 degrees, compared to a normal average of 87.9, and the average daily low was 75.2, compared to a normal average of 69.9. New high-temperature records in Atlanta were set
on nine days last month. The area experienced 25 consecutive days without rain, and year-to-date rainfall is at 20.90 inches, a deficit of 17.84 inches compared to average rainfall totals.
Plans for 2008
Although weather patterns may improve in future years, the PGA TOUR has reached an agreement with East Lake Golf Club to replace the bentgrass greens with Bermuda grass before the 2008 TOUR Championship.
The Washington Post's Michael Wilbon appears to pen a column suggesting FedEx Cup remedies, but I stopped when it became apparent that he and his esteemed paper were going to insist on calling the PGA Tour the PGA. Just when you thought every sportswriter and paper knew there was a difference...
Another understandable factor in Clarke's on-course woes this year has been dealing with the first anniversary of his wife's passing. He and the boys were back home in Portrush for two weeks' holiday last month, in the middle of which fell the fateful day.
"To be honest, in the build-up to the anniversary I wasn't at the races at all," he says, his eyes suddenly focused on a point far away.
"It was all a bit much for me. But then, when August 13 did come around [one day before his own birthday], it was almost as if a wee bit of weight was lifted off my shoulders. By then I had done every birthday, every anniversary, the first Christmas, so all the bits and pieces had passed. I'd been through everything once.
"We all went up to the grave together. It's not as if I shush anyone when Heather's name comes up. The kids and I talk about her all the time. It would be wrong to exclude her name from conversation. In the car the other day Connor asked if I remembered when mummy was alive and we did this or that. That's the way they talk. Sometimes I get a lump in my throat but I wouldn't have it any other way. I want them to remember their mummy.
"I went up to the grave on my own for quite a bit of time late in the day. There were a lot of flowers, including a lovely big bouquet from Padraig and Caroline Harrington. I'll never forget that gesture, it was just so nice of them to think of Heather."
Yes, there are two official sites for this weekend's Walker Cup at the splendid Royal County Down (no, television does not do it justice).
According to the USGA, the Walker Cup will be televised on ABC from 2-4 EST Sunday. I'd check local listings though just in case. After all it may be on ESPN on ABC.
Good news for the Commissioner: fewer people are talking about Phil's defection.
Bad news: because everyone is talking about the lousy attendance and lack of buzz at normally amped up Cog Hill.
Read Four-putt posted a few thoughts on this, while Steve Elling wrote that Chicagoans can be comforted by the fact that 2008 will likely see more star defections at all of the season ending playoff events.
Chicago was a fantastic musical, and the media types have been crowing and dancing in both unison and perfect harmony to express their outrage that a burgh with 10 million folks will be left holding the bag in two of the next three years.
Let's not have a Mrs. O'Leary-sized cow, OK?
As much critical fire as the FedEx Cup plan has drawn from fans and sponsors for failing to deliver on its implied promises to put Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els on the same stage over four consecutive weeks, the real issues are fast becoming apparent.
By next year, the fields from this season's inaugural FedEx run are going to feel like the stars were present in perfect attendance. The potential potholes for 2008 with regard to scheduling, barring an organizational miracle, make this year's foibles seem like minor nuisances.
While the 2008 schedule hasn't been formally released, based on its likely structure, top players will be asked to compete seven times in an eight-week span, culminating with the greatest cauldron of pressure in the game, the Ryder Cup. When it comes to finding excuses not to play next year, gentlemen, start your search engines.
Meanwhile, Tiger was asked about the crowds, after getting some hard hitting questions out of the way...
Q. Did you go home from Boston or did you come straight here?
TIGER WOODS: I came straight here.
Q. Did you wear that shirt last week?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah.
Q. When is the last time you wore a shirt twice?
TIGER WOODS: I wear it all the time, actually. I'm not that way.
Q. I know it sounds really gay, but I recognized it (laughter). It looks good.
TIGER WOODS: Thanks. I love it.
Not that there's anything wrong with that!
Q. How were the crowds today?
TIGER WOODS: There were a few more people. Still, it's not the same as the Western, that's for sure. Granted, the weather was a little sketchy, so maybe they didn't come out because of that.
And I thought this was interesting. It seems Tiger thought so too:
Q. This is a public course, you obviously play really well here, and some of the other public courses you play really well. Is that a coincidence? Do you play well at these types of places? Do you feel at home? It's an odd question, but you grew up and cut your teeth on them.
TIGER WOODS: I certainly did not grow up on a country club, that's for sure. Yeah, public courses is where it was at. I grew up on a par-3 course, just with -- the longest hole was 150 yards I believe it was. Granted, I couldn't get there -- I used to hit driver, 7-iron when I first started playing it. That's what we did. The great thing with playing Southern Cal junior golf is you got a chance to play country clubs every now and then, and it was like the coolest thing in the world. Oh, my God, the greens are great here, that kind of thing.
I don't know, that's a good question.
Q. What was the par-3 course?
TIGER WOODS: Hartwell. It's in Long Beach.
Back to the sensitive subject at hand...
Q. Do you see any difference in the tournament from last year to this year with the tournament having BMW as a sponsor?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the crowds haven't really come out this year so far. The atmosphere hasn't been quite the same. Granted, we moved the tee times up yesterday and then the bad weather today, so it's been kind of a double dip against the tournament. But hopefully this weekend people will come out and we'll get some great weather, and hopefully we can play some good golf and get everyone fired up.
Have you seen those shots of the Shark sitting with Chris Evert at the U.S. Open, looking like he's just been told that video of his hemorroid surgery is going to be posted on YouTube?
Of course, it looks like he's about to write a really big check judging by the smirk on his ex-wife's attorney (left).
From the Palm Beach Post:
As a Stuart judge declared the marriage all but dissolved and gave back Laura Norman her maiden name of Andrassy, the 58-year-old left the courthouse in tears hidden by thick, rhinestoned Chanel sunglasses.
"I don't know how they all sleep at night," she sobbed, referring to Norman and his attorneys. "I just don't know."
Seconds later, it was Norman's turn to leave the courthouse. The Great White Shark smiled.
"I'm happy," he said, impeccable in a dark suit and light-blue tie that matched his eyes. "Justice was served."
The two-time British Open winner, 52, then talked enthusiastically of his future, in which he could see himself settle quickly with another woman and repair the damage that the divorce did to his image.
Norman took umbrage with a recent Page Two report on court documents that showed Laura tried to buy lunch in Manhattan last month - and found her credit cards canceled by Greg's people.
"There were some things said during this process that weren't true," said Norman, who's romantically linked to former tennis superstar Chris Evert. "I never cut off her credit cards. Some damage was done with sensational headlines. I got questions from people. There's always two sides to a story."
Don't worry Tommy, it's a compliment really. And just think, you'll never have to sell your soul and pose for a photo like this one from Golf Digest:
Anyway, the release on The Donald's last ditch effort to save his Scotland project all while luring the R&A by hiring their Open Championship Doctor.
DONALD J. TRUMP HIRES FAMED ARCHITECT DR. MARTIN HAWTREE TO CREATE WORLD-CLASS GOLF COURSE IN SCOTLANDWait, has Desmond Muirhead inhabited Martin's body?
Aberdeen site will set new standards in the ‘home of golf’
New York, NY: 6th September, 2007, Donald J. Trump is teaming up with famed British golf course architect Dr. Martin Hawtree on plans to create what Mr. Trump hopes to be the finest golf course anywhere in the world. With its majestic sand dunes stretching four miles along the sea in Aberdeenshire, Mr. Trump decided that Martin Hawtree was perfect to transform the Great Dunes of Scotland into a world class championship golf course, with construction scheduled to being in January, 2008.
The course will be a Martin Hawtree Signature Design. Hawtree Limited, of Woodstock, England belongs to the longest continuous golf course architectural practice in the world. Hawtree, consulted by the R&A on some of the Open Championship links, is regarded as the leading authority of links golf and because of this coupled with Mr. Trump’s passion for building a true world class British Links Course in North East Scotland, Hawtree has been appointed as the lead architect on this development. He is world-renowned for his work at Royal Birkdale, Portmarnock, Lahinch and Carnoustie to name but a few.
“Martin Hawtree brings a distinct vision and flair to every course he touches,” Mr. Trump said. “His work is impeccable. He and I share such a passion for links golf and the tradition of the game is evident in the golf courses he designs. This is ideal for Trump International Golf Links, Scotland. This piece of land is so special and my relationship with Scotland is so special, that I wanted to work with the world’s best links course architect to deliver Trump International Golf Links, Scotland”
Hawtree said, “I am intrigued by balance in the composition of a golf hole, trying to ensure that the wider landscape surrounding a hole, in the case of this project towering dunes, is fully balanced by great playing interest within the fairway and green; that the one does not dwarf the other and that the interest is in some way generated by and in complete harmony with the surroundings.”
A third-generation golf course architect, Hawtree has continued a family legacy that began in 1912. The Hawtree list of courses built, reconstructed and/or consulted on totals more than 750, with partnerships and collaborations with historic golfing greats J.H. Taylor and James Braid. The Hawtree history – begun by Frederick George Hawtree, who was joined by his son, Frederick William Hawtree in 1938 -- is revered within the industry for its experience and knowledge that are the heart of a multi-disciplinary practice known throughout the world.
Donald J Trump’s passion for Scotland stems from his pride in his Scottish roots. His mother, Mary MacLeod, grew up on the Island of Lewis in Stornoway where her first language was Gaelic, before moving to New York City at age 20. His decision to build the Trump International Golf Links, Scotland is the fulfillment of a long-held dream.
Here's a newsflash from Daytona Beach:
Sept. 7, 2007 –Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Commissioner Carolyn F. Bivens has
Excuse me, is the "F." new? Does have more brand gravitas, I must say. Sorry, continue...
announced that Jane Geddes has been promoted to LPGA vice president of competition, effective Sept. 1. Geddes recently held the position of senior director of tournament business affairs.
One vice president added, just 700 more to catch the PGA Tour.
“I am pleased Jane will assume a leadership role in the area of LPGA competition,” said Bivens. “Tournament competition is one of the most important and certainly the most visible area of our business.
And here I thought streaming upward brand dynamic models was the most visible area of LPGA business.
It not only impacts the LPGA players who compete week-in and week-out, but also impacts our fans and sponsors attending the tournaments, as well as the online and broadcast experiences. Jane will lead our tournament officials and operations team, ensuring that the venues and the staging of events are optimal for maximum fan enjoyment and showcasing the very best golfers in the world.”
As vice president of competition, Geddes will oversee the selection and set up of all LPGA Tour golf courses and facilities, as well as the conduct of the competition, from the membership regulations process through the holing of the last putt. She also will serve as the LPGA liaison to the recently acquired Duramed Futures Tour on matters regarding venues, competition and membership regulations.
Sounds like a job for about 9 people.
“I am excited about my new role since this is an opportunity to use my experiences as a player and, most recently, in tournament business, to further enhance the LPGA tournament experience for our players, our sponsors and our fans,” said Geddes.
Today's key word: experience. How long before they start changing tournament names to the the ADT Experience?
Because they don't have enough problems, the PGA Tour is facing potentially poor greens at East Lake, according to the AJC's Stan Awtrey. And it sounds like the members aren't wild about the Tour's hope of converting to the new Champion bermuda strain...
Finchem said plans had been made to resurface the greens, but the schedule didn't work out with the club. Such a change would require club to close for member play for three or four months.Meanwhile, Tiger was asked today about East Lake and he said the darndest thing. I don't think I've ever heard him say this before about a course.
"We are now again in discussions, we knew we would be anyway, even if it was a cool summer," Finchem said. "Going forward we've got to prepare for this to be the norm and deal with it, and we can."
Players and members shouldn't be afraid of the change, Cink said.
"When the course was redone, we didn't have this kind of bermuda," Cink said. "Now we've got lots of choices that are better tolerant to mold, that cut better. The day of the stigma against bermuda are in the past and members who think otherwise need to take a look at the facts."
Q. Can I get you to talk about East Lake as a venue, as a golf course? Do you like it? Do the sight lines fit you?
TIGER WOODS: Well, East Lake is a great golf course. It's right in front of you. The Bermuda rough can be tricky there. The weather can be very interesting there, and when we play the TOUR Championship there we can get some pretty cold days, but obviously not this year.
The greens are always perfect there, so if you drive the ball well there, you can shoot some pretty good scores.
It's right in front of you! We really do need to get him a new throwaway line.
Q. Have you heard anything about the greens there this year?
TIGER WOODS: No.
Q. They're supposed to not be very good.
TIGER WOODS: I haven't heard anything. With the heat? Oh, well.
Craig Dolch thinks the players need to start reading their green sheets when it comes to the FedEx Cup and other PGA Tour issues:
As much as the PGA Tour has been force-feeding the media and fans about the FedEx Cup for more than a year, I can’t believe they weren’t using the same approach with the players. The problem is, too many players either don’t listen or care.Meanwhile scribblers from all over blasting the FedEx Cup. You can read them here, here, here, here, here and here.
I remember going to this year’s Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines to do preview stories for the newly-placed Honda Classic, and I was struck by how few players were aware of how the Florida Swing had been shifted. Granted, it was still a month away, but it might have been years away as far as they were concerned.
Too many players just want to hear the yardage from their caddy, so they can hit the next shot. They’re not concerned about what happens on the next hole, the next week or the next year. Too few see the big picture, leaving the decision making to the tour’s four-man Policy Board.
I think we know now how the USGA Walker Cup committee tabbed Trip Kuehne for the Walker Cup team: he landed first on Golf Digest's ranking of really rich, really white Wall Street golfing dudes. Surely it wasn't based on his tournament play over the last year.
Meanwhile, USGA President Walter Driver finished a disappointing T-32 but did take first prize in the Blackberry typing category, clocking in at an impressive 62 words per minute all while measuring closest to the hole in a first round U.S. Amateur match.
The reality is that Mickelson made a statement by skipping this week's BMW Championship. It said: Professional golfers are so pampered, they don't mind damaging the inaugural FedEx Cup because it's not exactly how they wanted it.
After being showered with so much money that about 80 players earn at least $1 million a season, they are biting the hand that feeds.
I'm curious what you all think, but reading the transcripts from Wednesday at Cog Hill, I found myself again actually feeling slightly sorry for Tim Finchem. Granted, tough questions need to be asked of the Commissioner, but the press has passed on numerous occasions, so it seemed odd reading this interview only to see so many questions finally being asked long after they should have come up and at a time when it seems somewhat inappropriate.
Granted, the timing of this is somewhat understandable because Phil Mickelson made a spectacle Monday and the flaws in the FedEx Cup structure are showing. But after two pretty exciting events that brought a lot of good players together, I'm having a hard time understanding the sudden dismay at so many elements that were questionable a year ago when this concept was revealed.
More disturbing is this collective whining that is beginning to take place from players who apparently have forgotten that their predecessors drove without air conditioning between stops and played as many as two months in a row, and that there are thousands of aspiring players who would gladly have to deal with the burden of playing four weeks in a row for $7 million per and $35 million more in deferred compensation But even that's fine, I can appreciate that they have different obligations today that help them pay for jet fuel and that you lose touch with reality at a certain income level.
No, the capper was this from Doug Ferguson's story on the player griping:
"Personally, I don't like it," mild-mannered Steve Stricker said. "It's a lot of golf in a short amount of time. I do like the end of the season that it's in the middle of September, where if you play well enough you don't have to chase for your card."
Now here's a guy who didn't have a place to play not that long ago and he's got a chance to win $10 million in deferred compensation and he doesn't like it?
Yes, the system is not perfect and yes the Tour pandered to its two biggest stars, but come on Steve.
This was interesting too, also from Ferguson's piece:
For as much as Els complained about the lack of communication, it's not clear who's responsible for the breakdown. Players rarely attend meetings or read the "green sheet," a weekly bulletin the tour leaves in their lockers and e-mails to them. At a mandatory players' meeting at the Wachovia Championship, more than half of them left early.
"I think we're in our own cocoons sometimes and we don't get the information, but yet most of us don't seek it out," Arron Oberholser said. "And I think to a certain extent, the PGA Tour does its best to get us the information."