Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    by Ken Bowden

There are, of course, advocates for stroke play as the better format for identifying a champion. I prefer match play, particularly for amateurs, and if the decision were to be based on amateurs' preference reflected in the numbers who compete with each other at match play compared to those who chose stroke play, the vote for match play would be so overwhelming as to make counting votes a waste of time.
SANDY TATUM

 

  

Saturday
Sep122009

Woods Fires 62 At Cog Hill; Open Doctor May Need To Make A House Call

After Saturday's round, I think a pro-bono touch up is in order. No?

Friday
Sep112009

Los Angeles Country Club To Host 2017 Walker Cup

Announced today at soggy Merion, where the weather will not be replicated in L.A. in September 2017. Good news for fans, bad news for players hoping for 5 cashmere sweaters. This will be the club's third USGA event, the second Walker Cup to be played in California and the first on a George Thomas design.

Thursday
Sep102009

In The Mood For Merion?

Walker Cup play starts Saturday and there are plenty of stories to get you excited.

Ron Balicki says Merion is making quite the impression, with the rough apparently way up. Oh joy.

Joe Logan writes about the resurrection of the course in recent years and the story is accompanied by an astounding Steven Szurlej image (and it's not from behind a green!).

Golf Club Atlas features an interview with Captain Buddy Marucci about his home course and you won't really glean much since he sounds like he was in a cranky mood or speaking in a foreign tongue, requiring translation. But the photos are great.

Asher Wildman on the GB&I team praying for wind. Meanwhile, here's a video looking at the GB&I team. Subtitles would have been nice.

Sean Martin catches up with a 2007 Walker Cup hero who will be watching this weekend while he plays a Hooters Tour event.

Eric Soderstrom reveals some of the gear that the U.S. team has been supplied with.

4. Each player also received five Walker Cup cashmere sweaters, among all the other uniform staples (shirts, shorts, pants, rain gear, hats, golf bag, etc.)

3. Then there were the two pairs of golf shoes.

2. Socks.

1. And (drumroll, please) Polo boxer shorts with stitched-in Walker Cup logos.

And just in case you were wondering about TV times, here they are. GC from 4-6 EST both Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday
Sep102009

"Similar to most"

Steve Elling asks Geoff Ogilvy whether his opening 68 was inspired by playing the pro-am with Rees Jones, fresh off another Reestorization at Cog Hill. Ogilvy asked Twitterers for questions to pass on to Rees but sadly, did not use my contribution (How does he get all of his bunkers to look the same?).

They did talk design, or at least, Rees did.

Apparently, Jones didn't ask for much feedback. If he had, Ogilvy, one of the most glib players in the global game, might have set Jones back on his heels a bit. After his round, Ogilvy was asked by a Chicago scribe about where the course ranked as far as Jones' re-dos.

"Similar to most," Ogilvy said, evasively.

Never knew the talkative Aussie was this coy. Um, can we get a more qualitative assessment? "I don't know how you answer that, without ... I don't want to answer," he said. "Bethpage is obviously his best. From what I hear about what that was like before he got there, it was a horror show. Now it's really, really good. This is somewhere in the middle.

"I don't dislike it. I think there is a lot of stuff that's improved. I don't know if I like this one better than the old one, but it's not like this one looks bad."

I believe that is what's termed "damning with faint praise."

Thursday
Sep102009

Rory: A Call Would Have Been Nice!

Granted, he didn't play too well the last few weeks but unlike Adam Scott, Rory Sabbatini has won this year on the PGA Tour and was the first player bumped off the Presidents Cup points list. Still, Captain Norman didn't have time to drop a dime. Bob Harig reports on the first round leader in Chicago:

Sabbatini, who was bumped out of one of the 10 automatic spots at the final qualifying tournament when South Korea's Y.E. Yang won the PGA Championship, was under consideration for one of the two spots that went to Japan's Ryo Ishikawa and Australia's Adam Scott.

"There was not a single conversation or a single phone call, period -- from anybody," Sabbatini said Thursday at the BMW Championship, where he shot 66 to tie for the first-round lead with Steve Marino.

"You could say I was a little disappointed."

Speaking of Captain Norman, Tim Rosaforte flew with the Shark and bride to the Presidents Cup press conference and never confirms whether the couple was on their fourth or fifth bottle of Greg Norman Reserve Shiraz when Chrissie picked Adam Scott's name out of a hat.

Wednesday
Sep092009

Shocker: Players Exhausted As Playoff Stretch Nears Next Confusing Point Reset

The idea of playing the playoffs so soon after the PGA Championship has never made sense both because of the sheer volume of starts required in a short window, but also because it competes with so many sports at their peak (football opening, U.S. Open tennis, pennant chase baseball). And as Thomas Bonk writes, the players are already speaking up that this year's run is not going to be repeated if they have any say.

Bonk also suggests we're on the eve of another FedEx Cup points controversy as fans--and probably some players--realize there's yet another points reset looming, which of course is far less gimmicky then just having a straight-up, man-to-man, beancounter-free shootout at East Lake!

The points through Cog Hill are redone at the Tour Championship and new ones are handed out based on how you stand after the first three playoff events. Now, even if Stricker stays in first place in the points standings and even protects his 909-point lead over Woods, it's going to shrink at Atlanta: No. 1 starts over with 2,500 points at Atlanta, and No. 2 starts with 2,250. So, conceivably, if Woods stays in second and Slocum stays in third place in points at the end of this week -- and even though Woods currently leads him by 1,841 points ? Woods' lead over Slocum at Atlanta will shrink to 250 points.

Wednesday
Sep092009

"An 'ambitious' course in Russia costs at least $100 million"

Thanks to reader Jim for Ilya Khrennikov's story on upscale golf course construction continuing in Russia despite dire economic news. This caught my eye in the context of golf in the Olympics, since Jack Nicklaus is one of the proponents for using the Olympics to grow the game worldwide, and yet is behind some of these outlandishly expensive designs:

An "ambitious" course in Russia costs at least $100 million, including real estate, Kustikov said in an interview in the ornate clubhouse at Pestovo, Protcion's 18-hole complex 30 kilometers north of Moscow. Pestovo, which opened in 2007, cost $120 million and increased the value of surrounding property as much as 20-fold, Kustikov said.

Now I understand the price of the golf course is embedded in that figure with many other expenses, but we're still talking about entirely unrealistic dollar figures if you expect anyone to build courses to introduce new players. And that's not even addressing whether they're any fun to play or reasonable to maintain.

Wednesday
Sep092009

"I know the USGA wants to go to middle America in 2017"

Teddy Greenstein looks at Cog Hill's chances of luring the U.S. Open and I thought this statement by Mike Davis had to be well received in Tulsa and that little town near Erin Hills.

"I know the USGA wants to go to middle America in 2017," Davis said, adding Cog Hill is one of eight potential venues. "Most are in the upper Midwest."

The exception is Southern Hills, in Tulsa, Okla., which hosted last month's U.S. Amateur. But the favorite is Erin Hills, a 3-year-old facility 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee that already has hosted the 2008 Women's Amateur Public Links and has been awarded the 2011 U.S. Amateur.

This also intrigued me...

The biggest negative, Davis said, is that Cog Hill hosts a PGA Tour event. Davis called that "a big concern" and said Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines work around that because the venues play differently in February than in June.

Davis went so far as to say that had the USGA known that Congressional Country Club would begin hosting an annual Tour event (Tiger Woods' AT & T National), it might not have awarded the Washington D.C.-area course the 2011 U.S. Open.

 Hey, it's not too late to hold it against them.

Wednesday
Sep092009

"Our objective is to do the things that we need to do to continue to grow as we come out of a downturn, and it's not our intention to go backwards to get ready to go forwards."

Poor Commissioner Finchem. He meets with the most powerful man on the planet Tuesday and the scribblers just lob some annoying questions about purses. But there is a good reason.

The blame for Wednesday's surprisingly frank discussion about "cum audiences" (hey, I just copy and paste), demos and charitable dollar streaming goes to Seth Waugh, who had this to say last weekend (from Randell Mell's story):

“I think [the PGA Tour] needs to think about things,” Waugh said. “I would not have raised purses last fall, not because they couldn’t, but because it was the wrong message. Every model of every business is under pressure, and you have to create more value for people, either by doing it cheaper, or by creating more value. People want a deal. They want to feel like they are getting more. They have to think their way through that, having people feel good about the experience, as opposed to being dictated as to what it is.”

Now here's one of the Tour's biggest fans whose company has by all accounts had a very positive experience, essentially scolding the tour for having raised his purse in trying times. (From $7 million to $7.5 this year). He's also the first CEO of an existing event to call out the tour on raising a purse during the economic crisis.

So that brings us to today's press conference. Without being there, it's hard to grasp the tone, but in print Finchem is starting to sound stubborn in a way that reminds me of a certain recently-crowned "former LPGA Commissioner":

Q. Seth Waugh said last week, sounded rather adamant, in fact, that he thought purses should have stayed the same for this year instead of the incremental increases built into the contracts. Was that given any consideration?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Not any real serious consideration. You know, our purses have flattened considerably. If you go back six or seven years, there were fairly steep increases. That has flattened out now. I think you'll see relatively flat going into next year.

The increases have been slight, but we wanted to continue to grow. And our plan is to continue to grow. And that means purses and charity dollars. Charity is going to be off a little bit this year, not as much as we thought in January.

But our objective is to do the things that we need to do to continue to grow as we come out of a downturn, and it's not our intention to go backwards to get ready to go forwards. Our intention is to slow our growth during this period and then come back and grow more, and that's what we want to do.

But overall I'd say over the next five or ten years, you won't see the kind of increases we had the last ten years, even in an up economy; they'll be more modest. But that's our intention is to continue to grow. Again, that means prize money and charity, because charity is part of our corporate mission.

Now the growth mantra is understandable, even admirable if you think of the Commissioner as looking out for his players first and foremost. And I understand he needs to take a certain public stance in negotiations when dealing with corporate tycoons who look for any opening. However, shouldn't there be some display of compassion for the other side in these times? 

After all, if you raise the Deutsche Bank purse $500k, isn't it likely to impact the local economy or perhaps the charitable contributions raised by the event? Finchem denies this, though I don't find the answer very convincing since we've had tournament directors say charities are the first to get hit in this environment:

Q. You've referenced charity a couple times. If you trimmed purses 10 percent, wouldn't that -- I know there's a wavy line and it's --

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: No, because every tournament has a different contract structure. If we cut a purse and the dollars are tied to the contract because of the purse level, we have to go back and negotiate with the title sponsor as to where -- that could mean a lot of things. Probably just giving it to charity is not necessarily going to happen.

Our job is to focus on charity. We've done a good job of getting to where we are in charity, and we want to continue to grow charity, and we are. I think by any estimation, the performance we're going to generate this year on the charitable side is very, very strong.

With the return of his growth mantra, there's the inevitable question about the Commissioner's personal incentive to grow purses.

Q. I need to put you on the spot here. A couple players have suggested that some of your bonuses are tied to purse increases. Is that accurate?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: No. The bonus structure for our executive team is like any other company. It has to do partly with the overall performance of the company, partly with what management thinks is your particular contribution, partly with how your particular business area performed. Revenue, not prize money.

Isn't prize money a form of revenue?

Prize money is a strategic determination we do on a tournament-by-tournament basis with companies based on what we think prize money should be.

Having said that, an objective -- we have three objectives at the PGA TOUR; one is financial strength and benefits to our players and creating a good marketing platform for all the reasons I've suggested. That's important to the sport; two is generating charitable contributions to the communities where we play; and three is helping grow and protect the game. That's why we're involved in things like First Tee and the World Golf Foundation. That's our mission, and we want to grow in all three fronts.

I already miss the value proposition days.

Wednesday
Sep092009

Tiger's Influence On The Children

Great spot by Jay Busbee, who can only conclude from this YouTube video that Tiger's behavior is having an influence on the next generation of golfers.

Wednesday
Sep092009

3 Hours And 19 minutes...As A Single

I saw a few Tweets that uber-slow Ben Crane was playing as a first-out single at TPC Boston and now Michael Whitmer makes the time official:

Ben Crane went out first as a single and needed 3 hours 19 minutes to plod his way around TPC Boston. Despite three birdies, Crane shot 78, making a double bogey on the fifth hole and a quadruple-bogey 8 on No. 12, when he took two penalty drops . . .

Tuesday
Sep082009

Obama Takes Time Out From Busy Schedule To Broker Peace Accord Between Norman, Finchem

...and to scuff up the President's Oval Office desk with the Presidents Cup trophy. Helen Ross reports on the events of the day, including a meeting with Joe Biden beforehand. The happy gang:

 
Tuesday
Sep082009

"The majority of the drop was due to investments in stocks and mutual funds."

Shocking I know, but Jon Show reports that the PGA Tour's reserves took a hit last year, though compared to Warren Buffett, they had a great year.

The PGA Tour ended 2008 with an estimated market value of $694 million in investments, representing a year-over-year decline of 27 percent from $947 million at the end of 2007.

The majority of the drop was due to investments in stocks and mutual funds. The tour ended 2008 with an estimated value of $401 million in mutual funds, down 35 percent from $614 million in 2007. The market value of the tour’s stock dropped 38 percent, starting the year at $128 million and ending at $80 million.

Tuesday
Sep082009

Golf Digest Unveils List Of Americas 75 Best Golf Resorts Offering Much-Needed Discounts 

Hey, I'm just repeating what Matty G is passing along to us big game hunters...

For Immediate Release
September 8, 2009

PEBBLE BEACH TOPS GOLF DIGEST’S 2009 LIST OF THE 75 BEST GOLF RESORTS IN NORTH AMERICA

NEW YORK, NY— Pebble Beach Resort has been ranked No. 1 in the 2009 edition of Golf Digest’s 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America. The resort, which will host the 2010 U.S. Open, regains the top spot after having dropped to third place in the previous ranking in 2006. Pebble Beach was also ranked No. 1 in 2004 and in 2002.

To determine The 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America, Golf Digest called upon its 900-plus course rating panelists, who also produce the list of America’s 100 Greatest Courses. The panelists rated hundreds of resort courses in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean on a scale of 1 (“awful”) to 10 (“perfect”). The ratings were then averaged and multiplied by 10 to establish a final score. The complete rankings can be viewed at www.golfdigest.com and in the October issue of Golf Digest, on newsstands beginning today.

Rounding out the top ten in the 2009 ranking are: No. 2 Sea Island Resorts, St. Simons Island, GA (No. 1 in ’06); No. 3 Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Bandon, OR (2); No. 4 Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, The Big Island, HI (4); No. 5 Fairmont Banff Springs, Alberta, Canada (12); No. 6 The American Club, Kohler, WI (5); No. 7 Kiawah Island Golf Resort, SC (14); No. 8 The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, WV (10); No. 9 The Homestead, Hot Springs, VA (18); and No. 10 Pinehurst Resort, NC (8).

“For the big-game hunters of golf looking to knock off some of the best courses and resorts in the country, now is a good time to do it,” says Matt Ginella, Golf Digest Travel Editor. “Almost every one of the 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America are offering unprecedented stay-and-play packages.”

Tuesday
Sep082009

"Stricker wins and ESPN leads with Tiger's 63 and mops up the recap with oh by the way Stricker gets it up and down for the win. Wow."

John Strege at GolfDigest.com sounds a bit perplexed that new master Tweeter Peter Kostis is calling out a rival network for excessive Tiger Woods coverage at the expense of others. Here's the Tweet:

After pointing out that Richard Sandomir criticized the CBS crew for precisely the same discrimination at this year's Masters, Strege writes:

The feeling here is that you can't show too much Woods, just as you could never show too much Jordan or too much Montana or too much Gretzky.

Tuesday
Sep082009

"Norman picks Ishikawa, Scott; Glover, Mahan get nod from Couples"

The most exciting thing about the press conference? Counting the empty seats.

Sheesh, how about some seat fillers next time, Ty? Or maybe having this at a location where the golf media might actually be present, like the third largest market in the country, Chicago?

Either way, you have to love Captain Norman picking Adam Scott.

Norman, Couples announce captains’ picks for The Presidents Cup 2009

Norman picks Ishikawa, Scott; Glover, Mahan get nod from Couples


WASHINGTON, D.C.        September 8, 2009

Exactly one month from the start of competition at The Presidents Cup 2009, the final four players for the event were determined as International Team Captain Greg Norman and U.S. Team Captain Fred Couples each announced their captains’ picks. At a press conference today at the National Press Club, prior to a personal visit with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, Norman chose Australia’s Adam Scott and Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa, and Couples selected Lucas Glover and Hunter Mahan.  With these picks, each team has exactly 32 previous Presidents Cup appearances amongst its members.

        The Presidents Cup returns to U.S. soil and will be contested on the West Coast for the first time, October 6-11 at Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco, Calif.

International Team Captain’s Picks

The top-10 international players (excluding those eligible for the European Ryder Cup Team) from the Official World Golf Ranking after the conclusion of the PGA Championship (Aug. 17) automatically qualified for the International Team.  Scott was 14th in the International Team standings and Ishikawa was 20th when the PGA Championship ended. Ishikawa won two days ago on the Japan PGA Tour when he captured the Fujisankei Classic.    Using the current Official World Golf Ranking, Ishikawa would be ranked No. 13 for the International Team and Scott would be No. 16.  

        At the age of 17 years, 11 months and 20 days, Ishikawa’s win on Sunday was his third on the Japan Golf Tour this season, vaulting him to No. 47 in the Official World Golf Ranking and making him the youngest player ever to reach the top 50 in the World Ranking (a record previously held by Rory McIlroy).  Ishikawa is also now top of the Japan Golf Tour Money List and is the leading Japan golfer in the World Ranking, having overtaken Shingo Katayama.

        Ishikawa’s other wins on the Japan Golf Tour in 2009 came at the Gateway to the Open Mizuno Open Yomiuri Classic in June and the Sun Chlorella Classic in August.  Now a five-time winner, the Saitama-born teenager won his Japan Golf Tour debut as an amateur in May 2007, when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup at the age of 15 years, 8 months. Ishikawa turned professional in 2008 and captured his second Japan Golf Tour title at the Mmynavi ABC Championship.

        Ishikawa, who turns 18 on Sept. 17, joins five past President Cup participants who were named captain’s selections after finishing 20th or lower in the standings, although this is the first time in The Presidents Cup history that there has been a break between the top-10 players making the team and the captains’ picks: Tsukasa Watanabe (20th, 1994 International Team); Fulton Allem (22nd, 1994 International Team); Paul Azinger (24th, 2000 U.S. Team); Trevor Immelman (22nd, 2005 International Team); and Mike Weir (20th, 2007 International Team). 
 
          While Ishikawa will be making his Presidents Cup debut along with “rookies” Camilo Villegas and Y.E. Yang, Scott heads to Harding Park Golf Course with three past International Team appearances under his belt (2003, 2005, 2007).  Scott, a six-time PGA TOUR winner with eight more wins worldwide, has scored eight points for the International Team in his career (7-6-2) and joins Geoff Ogilvy and Robert Allenby as the three Australian representatives on Norman’s squad.  

        Scott’s last victory was the 2008 EDS Byron Nelson Championship, and he has posted two top-25 finishes on the PGA TOUR this season, including a T2 at the Sony Open in Hawaii.  He was T4 at the Barclays Scottish Open in July on the European Tour.

U.S. Team Captain’s Picks

The top-10 U.S. players who earned the most official PGA TOUR money from the 2007 Wyndham Championship through the 2009 PGA Championship (with money earned in 2009 counting as double) automatically made the U.S. Team.  Glover and Mahan are captain’s picks for the second consecutive Presidents Cup.  In 2007, Glover was  10th going into the PGA Championship, but was knocked down to 11th after Woody Austin’s second-place finish at the season’s final major vaulted him from 18th to 10th in the standings for the U.S. Team.  Mahan finished 14th in the standings in 2007.  

        This year, Glover, the U.S. Open champion, finished No. 11 in the U.S. Team standings after the PGA Championship, and Mahan occupied position No. 13

        In addition to his breakthrough major championship victory at Bethpage State Park in June, Glover has four other top-five finishes on his 2009 resume, including a solo fifth at the PGA Championship. Glover is currently ranked No. 14 in the FedExCup standings and leads the TOUR in total driving and total birdies (341).  The U.S. Open was Glover’s second PGA TOUR win, following his victory at the 2005 FUNAI Classic at the Walt Disney World Resort.

        A model of consistency throughout the 2009 season, Mahan is making his second consecutive appearance in The Presidents Cup.  He has made 21-of-22 cuts on the year and notched six top 10s, highlighted by a solo second at the AT&T National in July and a T4 at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational last month.  Mahan is ranked No. 21 in the FedExCup standings.  He’s T4 in PGA TOUR scoring average (69.56) and T4 in total birdies (330).  Mahan’s lone PGA TOUR victory came at the 2007 Travelers Championship.

Tuesday
Sep082009

"He wants to swing like Hogan, flat, but his left wrist is flat and his thumbs are not UNDER the shaft like Hogan's."

At the end of last week's SI Roundtable, Gary Van Sickle and I noted Brandel Chamblee's emergence as golf's version of John McEnroe, and he really backs it up on the post Deutsche Bank edition of the weekly get together.

There's way too much good stuff to post, including Jim Herre addressing Tiger blowing off Jimmy Roberts after a 63. But the Chamblee perspective is more important for discussion purposes:

Van Sickle: The chic story to write now is whether Tiger's competition is weak, compared to Jack's battles with Arnie, Player, Trevino, Miller and Watson. The world rankings might back up that theory — before the Deutsche Bank it was Paul Casey 3, Stricker 4, Kenny Perry 5 and Stenson 6. Not exactly murderer's row in majors.

Chamblee: Tiger has also lost a lot of his intimidation factor. He no longer blows it by everybody, and when you play from the same place as everybody it is hard to blow the field away. He can't swing hard anymore because he fears the driver and plays away from it. He makes careless mistakes that keep him within reach and make him look human and make putts much more important because his leads are never as large.

And Brandel can expect an email sometime soon after this...

Chamblee: In my opinion, it's not an equipment issue, it's a swing issue, pure and simple. He wants to swing like Hogan, flat, but his left wrist is flat and his thumbs are not UNDER the shaft like Hogan's. It's funny how people try to copy Hogan and just swing flatter. Hogan said the secret was cupping the left wrist, which gets the thumbs under the shaft. Having said all that, if Tiger wants to copy a swing, it should Byron Nelson, who matched Hogan's control but didn't have to work nearly as hard.

Monday
Sep072009

Do The McEnroe's Want To Announce Golf?

Reader Jim asked that question after watching week one of the ESPN2 telecasts of U.S. Open tennis.

Listening to the famous brothers or the CBS team of John McEnroe-Dick Enberg-Mary Carillo or ESPN2's Cliff Drysdale or even the opinionated analysts on The Tennis Channel, and I can't help but wonder if part of tennis' resurgence should be credited to the compelling television coverage?

(Whatever they've done to slow down serves hasn't hurt.)

The number one thing we all hear from non-golfers: our sport is so boring to watch. Yet no one was watching tennis a few years ago, and while Federer and Nadal have helped, they are no Tiger and Phil.

While I understand that tennis produces generally more intelligent and quirky characters when golf produces drones, there is no way that tennis should be more compelling when golf has beautiful venues and its fair share of characters and the world's most famous athlete?

The two sports passed each other a few years ago when golf's trajectory was up and tennis was so far down, but now it seems to be going the other direction again. After a dreadful few weeks on CBS, the Deutsche Bank telecast on NBC restored some dignity to the game by showing us more shots, providing more spirited announcing and lending that sense of urgency missed in the week's prior.

So am I overestimating the impact of the network's presentation styles in how people view a sport? Profound thoughts on this vital topic, please.

 

Monday
Sep072009

ESPN The Mag To Answer SI's Swimsuit Issue With Nude Christina Kim Images

Ron Sirak breaks the news...take that Christina Kim-chronicler Shipnuck!

The decision by three LPGA players to pose semi-nude in a magazine will undoubtedly draw some attention. But is it the kind of attention the tour wants?

The women's tour will no doubt get a triple-whammy of attention -- both wanted and unwanted -- next month when three of its players appear in ESPN the Magazine in tastefully covered states of undress. An LPGA executive said Sunday that Sandra Gal, a second year player from Germany by way of the University of Florida, Anna Grzebian, a second year player from Duke, and Christina Kim, who is in her seventh year on tour, will appear in the Oct. 19 "Bodies" issue of ESPN the Magazine.

The special theme issue, sort of a response by ESPN to the highly successful Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, will celebrate both the male and female athlete. A source familiar with the issue says Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic and tennis star Serena Williams will be on the cover. The three LPGA players will appear with golf-themed items -- carts, clubs etc. -- covering strategic parts. But as always happens in these cases, more attention will fall on the female athletes and they will somehow be seen as undermining the credibility of their sports, a charge never leveled at male athletes in beefcake poses.

 
Monday
Sep072009

"To be more precise, the selection of one Peter Uihlein over someone called Dan Woltman has many close observers reaching for their anti-cynicism pills."

I've received a few more emails from folks I'd call USGA fans who are stunned by the recent Walker Cup selection process. You may remember Sean Martin wrote about Dan Woltman last week and now John Huggan has touched on the selection process in previewing the matches.

Going into last week's US Amateur, Woltman was apparently seen as a "lock" for one of the two Walker Cup spots still available; Uihlein, whose father, Wally, is the high heid-yin at Titleist, was not.

Yet the well-connected Uihlein, who made it to the last-16 of the US Amateur after a summer of relatively few highlights, will be at Merion and Woltman, following a string of distinguished performances that included the winning of the prestigious North-East Amateur and a last-16 spot in the national championship, will not.

"At the end of the day, the Walker Cup is a team competition," commented Steve Smyers, head of the USGA's international team selection committee. "And that was a very important component, to be able to stand on the tee with your partner and have a great deal of respect, both personally and for the game. That weighed heavily in the selection process."

Draw your own conclusions, but it sounds like young Woltman has upset at least one blue-blooded blazer – complete with Roman numeral – somewhere along the way. And, it must also be pointed out, 18 of next weekend's matches will be singles, so compatibility with a "partner" is unlikely to be decisive.