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The tearing up of a card is generally regarded as rather discreditable business, showing at once vanity and pusillanimity in the tearer; and I must say that I do feel something more of a man when I have gone on to the bitter end and handed in the horrid thing.
BERNARD DARWIN


    

Tuesday
Dec192006

Wie To Stanford

Doug Ferguson has the details...

“No one really believed me,” Wie said from Orlando, Fla., where she is working with swing coach David Leadbetter. “Now that I got into Stanford ... it was one of my dreams, and I want to go through with it. I definitely want to go there and really try to graduate before I launch my golf course design firm."

Just checking to see if you were reading!

She has no plans to open up her own design firm. Not for at least 5 years. 

Tuesday
Dec192006

Australian Open News

Thanks to reader Graeme for this Jim Tucker story on positive numbers for the Australian Open, as well as hopes that a Mike Clayton-refurbished Royal Queensland may make a run at hosting sometime soon.

Monday
Dec182006

The TV Deal Quote(s) Of The Year

Sal Johnson recaps the end of ABC's run televising golf, which reminded me that the new TV deal was analyzed in far greater depth here than probably necessary. So instead of rehasing the coverage, I thought it would be fun to dig up the best things said and written about the PGA Tour's 15-year commitment to The Golf Channel.

In the Writer Division, we have a tie between Golfweek's Rex Hoggard, who wrote...

Fifteen years? That's not a TV contract, that's alimony.
and Golfobserver's Frank Hannigan wrote... 
For the Tour to find and command a new audience would require a freakish event ­ like a hermaphrodite dwarf becoming leading money winner. And it would help if the dwarf's caddie could be Anna Nicole Smith.

In the Player Division, Fred Couples summed things up nicely when he told Golf World's Bob Verdi:

"I don't understand the new TV deal. We signed for 15 years with The Golf Channel? Isn't there a number between one and 15? Did the NBA sign for 15 years with TNT? How'd we lose ESPN? I also don't get that. What if ESPN decides in three years they want golf again? What does the PGA Tour tell them? Sorry, we're with The Golf Channel until 2021?"

And in the Commissioner Division, I was partial to this subtle but beautiful justification from Tim Finchem to explain the loss of ABC, ESPN and ESPN on ABC:

 

Number one is that we have a streamlined set of relationships with NBC and CBS having all the weekends. It really relaxes and reinforces the continuity we can now provide to our fans.

 


Sunday
Dec172006

Rally Killer Of The Year: "What is your favorite color?"

There were so many fine candidates for the rally killer of the year, an award of no distinction given to some anonymous scribbler who witnessed a player in the midst of an interesting, thought-provoking answer and decided that there was no better time than that moment to blurt out a totally worthless question.

I narrowed the finalists down to a few of my favorites. The selection process was made difficult by these finalists. First, here was Tiger, revealing that he was joining the team flight to Ireland for a little pre-Ryder Cup practice.

Q. Are you going to the K Club?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I'm going. We're all going together. I had to reschedule a couple things.

Q. When are you coming back?

TIGER WOODS: Wednesday morning. I get back Wednesday morning here.

Q. What's the puppy's name?

TIGER WOODS: Yogi, like Yogi Bear. He looks more like Yogi Bear.

Q. What kind?

TIGER WOODS: It's a Labradoodle.

Back to golf (laughter).

Nice attempt to kill the rally, but ultimately not quite as serious a topic as this example of Fred Funk ending a great rant on the state of the game or this one of Geoff Ogilvy elaborating on the genius of Winged Foot:

The greens here are so well designed, you've just got to play the hole backwards before you start. You've got to know if you're going to miss the tee shots you're going to miss the shots because they're narrow, extremely narrow. So if you're going to miss it, you've got to miss it on the correct side so you can run it up near the green to a spot where you're going to have a chance of getting it up and down.

On a good golf course you have to think backwards like that. Augusta National you have to think backwards. I like a golf course that makes you think that way. St. Andrews makes you do that.

I enjoy that aspect of golf, you know, just really plotting my way around there and thinking about it.

Q. You're going to be the first Australian since '95 to win a major.

Yep, super, so glad we are on that subject than hearing more about that stuff about looking at the course backwards and thinking and...ugh.

Here's a David Toms rally kill that nearly took the crown. He's talking about the changes to Augusta and really letting loose. So what better time than now to interrupt him!

Q.   So were guys right in saying it feels more like a U.S. Open, the guys that said that?

DAVID TOMS:   Oh, sure, if you brought in the fairways another five yards on both sides and grew that rough up to where it was four inches, that's exactly what you would have.   You'd have a Masters/Open because the corridors are getting awfully tight with all of the trees they are putting in.   Who knows 20 years from now what it's going to look like with all of the new trees.   And the greens are obviously, they can firm them up because of the sub-air system and they can make it play as difficult as they want.

Q.   Just to change the subject, I'm doing a piece on hole-in-ones, and just kind of asking guys what their first hole in one is and their most memorable hole-in-one.   I'm pretty sure I can guess your most memorable?

But for me, there was no better rally kill in 2006 than the day Michelle Wie was asked about her father as a caddy, leading to a surprisingly blunt answer from Wie.

Q: Your father is not your caddie anymore. Do you miss having him on the bag?

MICHELLE WIE: Honestly, not really. (laughter)

Q: What don't you miss?

MICHELLE WIE: Umm, well he is in the room. No, but it was fun when he caddied for me, but he is getting old. He cannot carry that big bag around. He wouldn't make it around. (laughter)

Q: What is your favorite color?

Yes, why use this opening to ask about dad and his weirdness when you can know her favorite color!

Sunday
Dec172006

Harding In 2009 And Never Again?

Ron Kroichick updates the latest at Harding Park, with between-the-lines implications all over the place.

The Tour informally proposed bringing the Presidents Cup to Harding in 2009, a possibility previously reported in this space. City officials are amenable to the Presidents Cup, as long as the Tour provides assurances it will meet the other terms of its contract with San Francisco.

That deal calls for five tournaments in 15 years, starting on Jan. 1, 2005. Those tournaments, according to the contract, "shall include" the Tour Championship, the NEC Invitational or the American Express Championship. Woods outlasted John Daly to win the AMEX at Harding in October 2005.

Here's the catch: As also reported here previously, the Tour has commitments to hold these tournaments elsewhere through 2010 (the AMEX has morphed into the CA Championship and will be played annually near Miami). So, predictably, Tour officials are scrambling and suggesting other events for Harding Park.

Okay, but here's where it gets fun. 

City Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, whose District 7 includes Harding, insisted he is not worried. But Elsbernd also sounded weary of what he called "this negotiation dance."

"One important thing to remember is we as a city do have a contract with them, so something has to give," Elsbernd said. "At some point, the Tour will have to meet its responsibilities under the contract, because we have met ours. ...

"They have suggested they're in a little bind, and they've made commitments on those tournaments in other spots. We've said, 'Why are we the one with whom you have to break a commitment?' "

So is the Tour offering the Presidents Cup in hopes of getting the other events waved, with the idea being that the President's Cup is just that special? Sure sounds like it. 

Sunday
Dec172006

Tiger And Mercedes, Vol. 2

Tiger's latest non-denial denial on Kapalua:

Q. How much can we expect you to play this coming season? Can we expect to see you in the Mercedes? Can we expect to see you in all those events that are playoff events and leading up to it?

TIGER WOODS: Jerry, I'm going to play every event next year (laughter). I'm not taking any weeks off (laughter).

You know me, I'm going to sit back here in the next week and start playing out my entire schedule for next year. I wanted to get this tournament over and done with and get on vacation and enjoy skiing, having a great time, and then I'll get the entire itinerary for next year and start planning the schedule, what I need to do and when I need to do it.

Saturday
Dec162006

Lewis On Daly

Paul Lewis in the New Zealand Herald provides an excellent overview of the saga that is John Daly. Many things caught my eye, but this in particular made me realize why I need to stop writing architecture books and get into tell-all bios...
Perhaps the best insight into Daly comes from his book, which is approaching 500,000 copies sold since its release this year. It is the most frank, unabashed and downright odd story of any sportsman. It is the laying bare of a life - unusual in sports biographies which tend to re-hash material already known and/or allow the sportsman involved to recount history according to his or her own perspective.
Saturday
Dec162006

The Huggy's 2006

Sunday Scotsman's Scotland on Sunday's John Huggan weighs in with his year end awards. My favorites include the drop of the year (congrats Stevie!), the most welcome disappearance (Hootie...no wait, I want him back!) and the worst shot of the year (Huggy loves Monty!).
When Hootie Johnson took his leave of Augusta National this year, we lost one of golf's bigger egos. As the man who had most to do with the scarring of Augusta National - once one of the game's most interesting and strategic layouts; now almost just another course with rough, water and trees - Johnson's retirement is welcomed wholeheartedly here at Huggy HQ.
Okay, you put it that way. But he gives such good press conference!

The "Plonker of the Year" kind of shocked me:
Having previously had nothing but pleasant conversations with the young Englishman, the journalist approached thinking a brief 20-minute chat would be no problem. But it was.

His face darkening by the second, the Sassenach announced that the scribe should "talk to my manager". Three days and five phone messages later, the manager deigned to call back and to say there was "no chance" of even the shortest sit-down with this new "star."

Sadly, even fleeting success can do this to people, but it is a shame when it happens to what appeared to be one of the good guys. So it is that the final Huggy of 2006 goes to World Matchplay champion Paul Casey who, having become the first man to finish off a Ryder Cup match with a hole-in-one, has very quickly become terribly big for his spikes.

Then again, maybe this new-found arrogance isn't really so new.

Relating the above tale to a friend, said journalist commented that Casey was "suddenly very important, in his own mind at least". To which a passing player, another Englishman, added, with some feeling, it must be said: "It isn't sudden."

Oh.
Funny, I had a lovely 10 minute on the record chat with Casey on the range at Sherwood. Could not have been more delightful!

Oh, and my favorite award...
GOLF WEBSITE OF THE YEAR

Although this Huggy almost went to the often hilarious but sometimes inane principalsnose.blogspot.com, the winner is geoffshackelford.com.

Log on today if you want to know what is really going on in golf.

Saturday
Dec162006

The Greens Go White

An AP story on winter golf at Cog Hill. Sounds eh...cold.

Friday
Dec152006

Week(s) In Review, December 2-16: Platforming Gone Wild

WeekInReview2.jpgA busy few weeks highlighted by Tiger's entry into design and the PGA Tour Communications Summit.

On Tiger's Dubai project, David Sucher wrote: consider the implications of creating a course with "lush landscaping, stunning water features" in an area which I believe is intense desert. Unless he has some trick clubs in his bag, this project will make 'Shadow Creek look ecologically sustainable. Tiger has needlessly made himself a target for ridicule. I have hitherto had a very favorable impression of him but I think he has grossly mis-stepped here.

NRH: Since Eldrick has so much cash and a solid work ethic, you would think he could find a site in the States to serve as a practice run. A project with little fanfare, in the middle of nowhere that he could get to in a couple of hours on his jet. His type of place, with no demands from an eight figure investor. Work the kinks out, establish a rapport with the crew, etc. Instead, he chooses Dubai. If nothing else, the precedent is Trumpian.

We had a naming contest to translate Al Ruwaya, and while there were many fine entries, reader ken-one-putt got my vote with "It's Right In Front of You."  Ken, please email me so I can send you a Masters of the Links!

On the news that the USGA had sold U.S. Open presenting sponsors rights to American Express, Tom G wrote: I'm a capitalist as much as the next guy, but this is waaaaay tooo far. Golf lost today.

JPB: I'm more of a capitalist than the next guy, but this is way too far and golf lost today. Maybe they are doing this so Tiger will play the US Open as he endorses Amex.

And then there was the PGA Tour's Communications Summit, which raised more questions than it answered.

John Karl: "To our partners in the golf equipment industry"  what partners? is there a fortune brands open i'm not aware of? is there a Cobra invitational on next years schedule? i apoligize, i thought i heard him say partners in the golf equipment business. that is what he said isn't it? what a bafoon, kiss ass. Only, i'm not sure why he's kissing the manufactures asses, he must get a new bag and clubs every year.

Regarding a golf writer's concern about the nonsense of players being burned, DAW did offer this interesting rebuttal: Paul Casey got burned for comments that should have been laughed off. This writer has no empathy at all for his subjects. I am confident that if Tiger, for example, ever gave an honestly negative opinion of a golf course or a specific writer that he would be *roasted* in the press. He would spend months dealing with constant questions about it; how would that possibly benefit him? Is it any wonder that he cultivates a boring public persona?

On the repeated use of MBAspeak, ABF writes: I don't have an MBA, so the use of "platform" here is new to me, and, to put it kindly, seems pretty fluid. No help from our dictionary. However, from Wikipedia: "A platform is a naturally occurring or human-made surface for people to jump from."  As in free-fall. As in jumping off a cliff.

Thursday
Dec142006

Target Leaderboard

Why is that the PGA Tour does not carry the Target World Challenge leaderboard, but instead, links to Tiger's web site? After all, it is a PGA Tour sanctioned event listed on the '06 schedule...

Does anyone know the thinking behind this pressing issue?
 

Thursday
Dec142006

"From sort of a functional content platform to a real content platform."

I saved the best from the PGA Tour Communications Summit for last...here's some hip dude named Paul Johnson, who is definitely in tune with my former demo, the 18-34 year olds... 

We'll cover the key trends.  Some of them are what I would call core key trends, some of them are a little bit on the newer side and a lot of the buzz words that you guys are hearing.  So we'll try to talk through that, and I'll do my best to do it in English in a language that everybody can understand.  If I use the buzz words, stop me and tell me to go back and explain.

Be careful what you wish for Paul! But hey, at least someone down there acknowledges these are buzz words.

I think the key thing is starting with the answer, or starting with a context for the answer of where are we going, where is this going, and the way we think about it or have started thinking about it is the future of at least the visual media is moving towards a threescreen world.  This is where it's going to go.

A threescreen world? I feel like I'm looking at three screens just reading this stuff!

When you look across at the additive platforms, the internet platform and the mobile platform, you see users, tremendous depth of content there obviously, almost unlimited, and you see users spending a lot of time on those platforms.  If there's a key message in the way we think about it and look out there is the consumers expect to be able to consume off of these three platforms, consumer content.

Additive platforms? I do love to consume off of those. These guys are good!

I'll just spend a couple minutes on internet trends and mobile trends because those are sort of the core pieces.  The most important trend on the internet is the penetration of broadband, and I will put that into English.

If you think about internet, the blue line on that slide, if you think about internet, it's relatively fully penetrated in the U.S.  It's 80, 90 million homes.  So you're not going to see a lot of growth with new internet connections.  But what you are seeing is people switching over and adopting broadband.

Now, what that means.  Broadband, what does that mean?  Broadband, simply put, is a fast connection to the internet.

No, it's a series of tubes!

So that said, that translates into I'm having a better experience and I'm going to spend more time doing this.  So the broadband trend is really the trend that's driving two key things; one, people spending more time online.

The second part is more on the economics side, a little more subtle, we also have economics that we think about, so from an advertising perspective, broadband also allows advertisers to deliver their brand name message. 

Oh joy!

For us, this is where mobile changes really from sort of a functional content platform to a real content platform.

And for us, this is where the doublespeak goes from sort of silly to really sort of silly.

Trend number three that I'm sure people in this room have heard a great deal about, blogging.  In the promise of not using terminology that doesn't make sense, it actually comes from the term web log and was shortened to blog.  It's a stylistic thing  it can take many styles, but it's more of a journal style.  It's not necessarily the formal structured 1,500word article or 900word article.  It's much more free form than that.  It's much more almost top of mind than that in some cases.

In some cases.

When I say that, I need to be careful.  I'm not saying that means it's not good.  A lot of stuff on the blogs is very interesting.  It's very insightful.  It can be edgy; it's very opinionated.  It's obviously very popular with readers.

Thanks Paul. Oh, you weren't talking about me?  Well, what you've pointed out is precisely why the golf publications don't have blogs. Well, I forgot about Bip and Glop over at Golf Digest.com...

An interesting one that Steve will talk a little bit more about is trust.  Interestingly enough, people  to me one of the issues with blog would be does this person really have that ability?  Do they really know what they're talking about?  It doesn't really seem to matter.  People trust what they read and they trust volume to some extent, and I'll let Steve talk more about it.  But it helps make blogs work because people trust what they're reading to some extent.

This is where it gets scary!

I would say if I put it under a brand, put it under the PGA TOUR brand, for example, I think the trust level is much higher.

Oh yeah! Trust that you are getting a full censored and whitewashed blog.

I would say in general, our strategy is to evaluate the new trends, to experiment and then to roll out.  Sounds a little conservative, but we are careful to make sure that since we're a corporate voice in those worlds, and those worlds really aren't about a corporate voice, that we want to make sure that we do that the right way, and we'll do that through experimentation because we won't get it right the first time.

A corporate voice? Huh, and here I was thinking they were non-profit.

And there is some brand risk in some of these environments where you just don't want to have your brand in the wrong spot at the wrong time.  But we'll keep experimenting and we'll keep pushing.

I've always said, make sure your brand isn't in the wrong spot at the wrong time.

I think that's it.  I think if there's a takeaway, the main takeaway, whatever you think about the trends, is consumer behavior is changing.  There is explosive growth on these new platforms, and that's what our fans do today and they are going to consume content.  It is very strategic and very important to connect with them on these platforms, and we think as we do that, we think that helps elevate the entire sport.  If we are consuming more online they are more likely to watch the telecasts.
   
Thank you.


(Applause.)

(Cries for an encore!)

Thursday
Dec142006

The Red Pens Of Ponte Vedra...

...sounds like a children's story? Actually, it is in a sense.

Now read this clip from Doug Ferguson's AP game story from the Target World Challenge.

Woods was surprised to hear that Daly didn't earn a single paycheck over $100,000 this year, although he can understand given the distractions he had off the golf course.

On the eve of the Buick Invitational, Daly got word that his wife, Sherrie, was on her way to prison to serve a five-month sentence. She was indicted a week after giving birth to their first child, and eventually pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to structure a transaction to evade reporting requirements involving an alleged drug and gambling ring.

Then came the nagging injuries, first to his back, then to ligaments in his left hand, ultimately a broken pinky on his left hand when he was trying to make compensations for his grip.

"Just the injuries killed me this year," Daly said. "That stretch in June or July with my back when I had that sciatic nerve for six or seven weeks, I tried to play and couldn't play. That cost me six, seven, eight tournaments. Later in the year, my pinkie broke. Just been a year with a lot of injuries. It was just one thing after another."

Then came what Sherrie Daly's lawyer described as a "race to the courthouse." She filed on Oct. 17, he filed the next day.

"We're trying to work it out," Daly said. "I think we will."

He thought about seeking a minor medical exemption to help win back his card, but only would have received two tournaments to get that done and opted to take his chances asking for sponsor's exemptions.

Now the PGATour.com version...

 Woods was surprised to hear that Daly didn't earn a single paycheck over $100,000 this year, although he can understand given the personal distractions he had off the golf course.

Then came the nagging injuries, first to his back, then to ligaments in his left hand, ultimately a broken pinky on his left hand when he was trying to make compensations for his grip.

 "Just the injuries killed me this year," Daly said. "That stretch in June or July with my back when I had that sciatic nerve for six or seven weeks, I tried to play and couldn't play. That cost me six, seven, eight tournaments. Later in the year, my pinkie broke. Just been a year with a lot of injuries. It was just one thing after another."

He thought about seeking a minor medical exemption to help win back his card, but only would have received two tournaments to get that done and opted to take his chances asking for sponsor's exemptions.

Well, you know how the Internet is. Space constraints.

Wednesday
Dec132006

FedEx Cup Help

I've asked this question several times, and I'm still not sure whether this is just flying over my head or it just speaks to general confusion over how the FedEx Cup works.

During his Target press conference Wednesday, Davis Love was talking about the Cup:

So we figured out a way to make it where the last four weeks there's a lot riding on it.  You know, if you're 60th on the money list with four weeks to go, you can win the FedEx Cup or you can get sent home in two weeks.

Okay, so logically, as Davis says, this playoff would allow someone to come from way back and make a wild charge in a four week rush.

A Cinderella story, about to become the Fed Ex Cup Champion.

But then I remember this from the PGA Tour's Ric Clarson, quoted in a Jerry Potter story:

"We've run hundreds of computer models," Clarson says, "and no player came from lower than 13th seed to win the Cup. If you're not in the top 15 going into the playoff, your chances of winning aren't great."

So again, is the winner of the $10 million Fed Ex Cup first prize only going to be one of 15 or so players heading into the Cup, or will this be more wide open, with the potential for an upset? 

Wednesday
Dec132006

"We do that through not only visual monumentation..."

Here's the PGA Tour's David Pillsbury, talking about the revamped TPC Sawgrass The Player's Stadium Course THE PLAYERS Stadium Course during the PGA Tour's Communications Summit:

The feedback has been extremely positive.  The rough is very punitive.  It will grow another inch and a half or two by the time we get to THE PLAYERS.

The idea is that the ball, unless it's hit perfectly, rolls into the rough.  That's the way this golf course was designed, to play firm and fast.  And that's the way it will play in May, and we are very excited to have our players out there, the best players in the world, with what we think is one of the greatest golf challenges in the world as a result in large part to these renovations and the masterpiece that Pete Dye created 25 years ago.   

We obviously also focused on the clubhouse, along with a number of other areas that touch various constituents of THE PLAYERS.  The clubhouse is critical to our proud partners.  By the way, without their support, none of this would be possible, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, UBS and JeldWenn are the three partners that have really driven this process for us financially.  But they also wanted a world class venue for their clients during the tournament.  So we wanted to create a clubhouse that matched the iconic stature of this golf course.  What we've created is something that has some majestic qualities.  It adds a new dimension, a presence at Sawgrass that we simply didn't have before.

Just to give you some scale, 77,000 square feet.  Just the tile for the roof weighs 680,000 pounds, two Boeing 747s.  It is a massive building.  It's also going to be a lovely building.

I've never heard massive, 77,000 square feet and 680,000 pounds likened to lovely!

It's going to be a building that will be a place where stories are told on the walls.  Stories will be told by our teams, and that carries onto the golf course, with the improvements we've made to the experience itself.

Our mission is to bring to life the PGA TOUR experience across all of our TPCs starting here with the mother ship.  We do that through not only visual monumentation but with caddies, caddies that tell you about great moments at THE PLAYERS Championship.

Monumentation. Take that Commissioner! 

Wednesday
Dec132006

Davis On TPC Architecture

When Davis Love sat down with the meager gathering of scribblers for a pre Target World Challenge press conference, he didn't even screw off the top of his Gatorade before someone asked him about...Phil Mickelson. Being a kind soul, Love went along with it and answered admirably (I of course would have said, next question).

A few minutes into the cart barn conference, I asked him this, which I think elicited some pretty frank talk:

Q.  On the subject of architecture, right now a lot of TPC golf courses are being renovated and changed.  Do you think this is a product of changes in the game or perhaps a statement about the quality of the architecture that a lot of these TPCs have had and is it a new direction for the Tour?

DAVIS LOVE III:  Well, it's obvious that some of them weren't successful financially and we're trying to sell them. And some of them weren't popular with the players, like Boston. I talked to Brad Faxon about Boston a couple nights ago, and they're just beside themselves how nice it is.

Unfortunately, you get a little aggressive and you just let a guy go and you don't get what you want, just like building a house. Sometimes you build a house and the kitchen doesn't work and you've got to fix it. Boston just didn't work for the tournament, and they're making it very, very nice.

TPC Jacksonville, it was just like the stuff that Augusta does all the time; we finally went and did it. We got excellent drainage, we got subair systems under the greens. We can play if there's a flood.  We can play. And then we re-did the mounds.  But there are a lot of courses built with the stadium concept that it hurt the architecture trying to build the stadium concept, so we learned.  We're evolving. I think David Pillsbury is doing a great job of while we need to rebuild a 20 year old set of greens, let's fix the rest of it and make it work.

I mean, Scottsdale and Jacksonville have made the Tour a lot of money, the players a lot of money. We've just got to get the rest of them to where they carry their weight. We've got a lot of good golf courses but we don't have a lot of great golf courses, and that's where we're trying to get.  Our level of service, running clubs, every facet of our business except for our architecture is at the top of its class, so we're just trying to update that.
 

Wednesday
Dec132006

Tiger's New Nike Deal

No one has dollar figures, but Ed Sherman reasons that it's valued at $200 million, perhaps more.

Wednesday
Dec132006

Tiger And Mercedes

In yesterday's Target press conference, The Golf Channel's Brian Hewitt asked Tiger Woods:

Q.  Any decisions yet or even leanings towards Mercedes and in early January?  I know you don't have to commit until the week before.

TIGER WOODS:  I haven't really looked forward to that.  I'm just looking forward to actually playing this event and then going skiing and just getting away and actually having some time off and then basically evaluate. 

Uh, that's 18 days away. Haven't really looked forward to that? That's Tigerspeak for "I'm not playing." 

Tuesday
Dec122006

Target Practice

Tuesday's practice round at Sherwood was well attended by media eager to hear Tiger Woods address their questions in advance of the Target World Challenge.

I have to say it was the most boring Tiger press conference I've sat through, though there was one bizarre-bordering-on-awkward moment when Golf Magazine's Cameron Morfit asked a question and Tiger either didn't understand it, or just didn't like it.

Q.  You mentioned your skiing; are you a Black Diamond skier these days?  Black Diamond, the hardest?

TIGER WOODS:  It's not the hardest.

Q.  Double Black?
   
TIGER WOODS:  Mmhmm.  (Laughter).

Well it was more like (lots of long silence), mhm and (awkward laughter) at the strangeness of it all.

Naturally, I would not drive all the way out there with asking something, so here was my softball that actually seemed to stump him before he launched into his standard (and wonderful) diatribe on modern setup and design. Forgive my lousy phrasing...

Q.  Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus both when they did their design work, built dream courses or home clubs that hosted tournaments, do you see yourself taking on some sort of a project like that that's maybe your own concept for a course, and maybe it's a club just for your friends; and if so, what kind of course and place would it be?

TIGER WOODS:  Yes, and hopefully one day.  Obviously you have to get the right situation where you can do that, you can go ahead and design what you think is how golf should be played.  For me, I always believe in golf should have open front.  You should be able to utilize the ground and don't take away the short game.  I play golf courses on Tour and we all see it, miss the green, automatic lobwedge, hack it out of the rough.  That to me is not fun golf.  Fun golf is Pinehurst.  Fun golf is playing links golf.  Fun golf is learning to how to maneuver the ball on the ground and give yourself options.  One of the hardest up and downs is when you have options.  You have so many different ways to play and you see a lot of pros really mess up easy shots because they have so many different options.  I think that's taken away from the game of golf now, and ridiculous at how the modern golf courses are designed, that's how they are designed is they have taken that option away and that's too bad.

Tuesday
Dec122006

"The FedEx Cup, specifically how a player wins it, how a player not only survives but thrives on it."

Now it's Ric Clarson's turn to wow us with multiple platform references. From the PGA Tour Communciations Summit: 

RIC CLARSON:  We wanted to spend a little bit of time telling you about the FedEx Cup, specifically how a player wins it, how a player not only survives but thrives on it.

Now, there are several of you in the audience I'm sure who have seen this presentation before, and the only thing I'm going to tell you is you probably didn't know all the words to Margaritaville the first time you heard it, and we would like you to know how the FedEx Cup is going to work because that is our new platform.

What a metaphor! Uh the difference between Margaritaville and the FedEx Cup? One conjures up images of the good life, the other induces naps.

I do think it's important to hear about this as a platform, and each of the stakeholders that are in the audience this morning, when we go through this, think about it as it pertains to your constituency and how that connects.

I read this article in the Wall Street Journal about how profits launch from platforms. 

Oh yeah this is fun:

It said, "A couple years ago, in the days before YouTube™, a short video website spread like wildfire on the internet.  It showed the fourth richest man on the planet, Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, doing a crazy jig on stage at a conference screaming 'developers, developers, developers.'  Truer words have never spoken  or repeated.  Without developers, Microsoft would not possess its desktop monopoly or billions of dollars in profits."

It goes on to say, "Those developers are the little platoons of software programmers and product inventors who turn operating systems like Microsoft Windows, internet browsers, game devices and much else, into something more than themselves, into platforms upon which a whole economic ecosystem rests."

So all of us in this room, we're actually part of an ecosystem, and we have developed a new schedule, a new season, something called the FedEx Cup competition, and if we all execute against it, this will be a platform for all of you in the room, players included, that is going to take us into a new era in golf.

This is YOUR platform. YOUR ecosystem. Embrace it. Sell it. Hump the living daylights out of it whether you think its worth it or not.

When you think about some of the progress that other sports have made and how they've done it, you realize quickly that the PGA TOUR and golf as an industry could not, cannot and will not hold still.  We must be able to compete with a new product.

But if the game is healthy... 

So a new schedule, a PGA TOUR season, 44 weeks, a new season, FedEx Cup season that gives us new meaning.  This will be a generational change.  This is not going to be turn on the switch and everybody gets it from the start.

But it's a new performance measurement.  We've had Player of the Year in the past, we've had Leading Money Winner in the past.  But this is a defined, onthefield performance measurement over a 37week period of time and a sevenweek Fall Series right behind it.

This gives us a onceinalifetime opportunity, and all of us in this room are involved.  This is why we are referring to the FedEx Cup as a new era in golf.  I hope today's communications summit is indicative of the determination we have to go into a new era.

Okay that's enough of that.

Media, I was talking to Craig Dolch last night and I know personally I'm thrilled to have a true season to market against.  It's easier, it's logical, there are better points during the year to garner attention for the sport, and just like those of you in the media who cover other sports with a defined season, we think this is a huge enhancement for you to cover the PGA TOUR and our new season in the FedEx Cup points race.  More quality story lines.

Oh yeah. Uh huh. Right!

We're delighted that you're here because this is an important day for you to absorb this information.

I gave a presentation to Golf 20/20 because the stakeholders who run golf clubs are important stakeholders.  They're influencers.  So we've reached out to just about everybody we could think of.
This has also given us the platform to sync our media internally.  We're getting a lot better at our messaging and how we do it through all the different media channels through a collective effort.

A platform to sync our media internally. Now that's a keeper!

Our communications phases, we started a tease campaign in July, we've just moved into a prelaunch and merges right into the launch campaign that will take us through the first three to six weeks of the season.  Then we get into the season itself, the playoffs and the Fall Series.

The tease to the pre-launch to the launch. Such seamless MBAspeak marketing.

Time to dim the lights and watch some PSAs...

We're just trying to get the FedEx Cup name out there and that tag line "A New Era in Golf."  Well, did it work?  When Golf World wrote an article after THE TOUR Championship entitled "The End of an Era," we were so pleased with that because we do plan on definitely going into this new era.

And I'm sure it just warms the heart of Golf World's headline writer that he helped brand the FedEx Cup.

This is going to take us into what we call our player desire spots.  We've used some historical footage, again, to appeal to the core and connect this past history to what will be new history. 

And...

Nothing is more believable than hearing it from the player himself, so we have a collection of player desire spots that we've done, and now we've started a little bit of seriousness and historical perspective.  Now we're going to use a little bit more humor to tell the passion of players.  (Video shown.)  

Player desire. Is that an oxy...eh forget it.