Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • 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
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • 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
  • 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
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Sports Media Group
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford

The history of every artificial appearing golf course is one of continual change…golf architecture can only be rendered permanent by art. Art is usually associated in the mind with the aesthetic, but if we comprehend it in a larger sense, it will be seen that only by art is every walk of life rendered stable and enduring. MAX BEHR



Tiger's Been Spotted Clippings, Vol. 5

Tim Dahlberg of AP tackles the question of what sex rehab means for Tiger, talking to Maureen Canning of The Meadows in Arizona.

''Most sex addicts are extremely lonely emotionally,'' Canning said. ''They look really good. They're intelligent, bright and personable. But emotionally, they're lonely because they don't know how to feel feelings or allow anyone close. They confuse the intensity of sex with that of intimacy.''

Canning says the best part of her job is helping a patient sift through his or her life to find the underlying reasons behind the addiction. For almost all, she says, there was a traumatic incident in childhood, anything from being spanked to more extreme things.

Often, it has something to do with the parent of the opposite sex.

Oh right, it's all Tida's fault!

Linda Shrieves in the Orlando Sentinel (thanks reader Tom) asks various experts whether they believe sex addiction is a real thing.

Grieco says that athletes are surrounded by — and tempted by — women, just the way doctors are surrounded by and tempted by prescription drugs. "These opportunities challenge our human frailties," he said. "We're all weak; some of us have stronger boundaries. But for younger males, who have high levels of success and opportunity, it's a gauntlet out there."

Making matters worse: Research shows that testosterone is linked to success and failure. Men who are told they're great have higher testosterone levels than men who've been chewed out by the boss.

That's not to say that a man can't say no. "Testosterone doesn't make anybody do anything," Grieco said. "But it primes the pump. It's a heady mixture of hormones and success."

Garry Smits sat through a Jim Furyk clinic and while Furyk thinks Tiger will be back by the Masters, he also believes the "reaction of fellow players is going to involve 'mixed feelings.'"

“There will be people who probably won’t be as friendly and people who are,” Furyk said. “Tiger probably understands that and realizes that the people who he considers his friends will pat him on the back and encourage him. It’s been a real life-changing experience. I’m sure you’ve seen it with friends and I’ve seen it with friends. Some people take sides. He probably expects some people to be pretty cold about it and some will support him and give him encouragement.”

Good news for Tiger, Kenny Perry won't be one of the less friendly ones. Bad news for Tiger? Kenny Perry won't be one of the less friendly ones.

“I am going to give him a hug and shake his hand,” Perry said Wednesday as he prepared for the start of the Qatar Masters, the American’s first appearance in a European Tour event.

Woods has been away from the game since his Nov. 27 car crash in Florida and subsequent revelations of marital infidelity. He has still not said when he will return to the PGA Tour.

“I am going to tell him that if he needs to talk to me in any way I will,” Perry said. “That’s the way I think we all should be. I am sure he’s had a lot of phone calls and a lot of people trying to get near him, but when he decides to come back I am going to approach him.”

Maybe Hattiesburg isn't looking so bad after all?

Michael Buteau and Doris Bloodsworth report from the PGA Show that Nike is distancing itself from Tiger, whose image printed on a piece of paper is actually treated the same as the living, breathing Tiger.

Nike Inc.’s outdoor booth at the event’s annual Demo Day features only one photo of Woods, located near an apparel display inside the company’s tent. The area is only accessible to media and those with invitations.

Outside of the booth at the Orange County National Golf Center’s 42-acre driving range, in an area open to the public, are photos of Nike-sponsored golfers Justin Leonard and Suzann Pettersen alongside versions of the company’s newest clubs.

“Tiger has said he’s going to be out of golf indefinitely so obviously we’re not going to ask him to be part of any marketing right now,” Cindy Davis, chief executive officer of Nike’s golf division, said in a telephone interview. “He’s not playing, so it makes sense to not feature him.”

Adam Fusfeld reports that Bloomberg and BusinessWeek have put Tiger atop their list of most powerful athletes. Guess we know when they closed on that issue.

Punters like the odds of Tiger returning for the Masters, so William Hill has cut the odds to 1-4 from 4-6. I love what they are using to gauge the change according to spokesman Rupert Adams:

"Within the British press there's a suggestion that Elin has been to see him for a week. Apparently they are getting along quite well, or rather better," Adams said. "Therefore, obviously if on the private side things start perking up, then what better rehabilitation to him than getting on the golf course."

Tod Leonard shared many interesting comments from golf media members Mick Elliott, Steve DiMeglio and Steve Elling about Tiger coverage and the future of Tiger's media relations.

One of the primary curiosities for reporters is what Woods’ demeanor will be when he returns.

“I’m afraid his guard is going to be up more than ever,” Elliott said. “I think he’s going to go to the lowest common denominator and lump us all in the same media bucket as the celebrity Web sites and tabloids. We’ll never see anything but the plastic Tiger.

“There were times on occasion when you’d see the real human being. I think it will now be, ‘Just talk to the hand.’ I hope not.

Phil Mickelson wisely gave a non-answer when asked about the media coverage, as Billy Witz reports for the New York Times.

Mickelson’s gift of charm and his ability to finesse his way around a question have clearly not been dulled. Asked if he had called or sent text messages to Woods, Mickelson said he had limited communication with the Woods family. Pressed if he had contact with Tiger, Mickelson said, “With the family, not necessarily saying with who in the family.”

Asked for his reaction to the news media coverage of Woods, Mickelson turned the tables on the questioner.

“That’s what you guys do for a living,” he said. “How do you feel it was covered? I don’t know.”

Stephanie Wei looks at the catfight over Tiger breaking out between...Joy Behar and Kirstie Alley.

And finally, Tom Watson talks to Kansas City's KSHB about Hawaii last weekend, grooves and eventually, Tiger Woods. If you want to see the condensed version and his pointed remarks aimed at Tiger's on-course swearing and club throwing, there's a shorter version of the clip here. If you want a good giggle, the 24 minute version is here. At about minute 19 he talks Tiger, but before that he shares how he's always wanted to visit Dubai to see what it is they are doing to prepare for the post-oil boom economy.


"Quiet please, Monty"

Captain Monty...make that, Field Marshal Monty's relentless Ryder Cup hyping is even wearing down the British press, which normally soaks up Ryder Cup talk. Seizing on a Daily Telegraph quote, here's Lawrence Donegan writing for The Guardian:

"The team is looking extremely strong. They all want to make the team so badly. I know that. They've told me. It's very exciting.

"I will have an issue with my three picks. I'm going to have 10 potential clients for three spots, all feeling that they have a right to be there. It's going to be difficult. This year I'm going to be talking team set-up and not trousers, shirts, menus and rooms."

And previous Ryder Cup captains, unlike Field Marshal Montgomerie, concentrated on the trousers rather than the important stuff, like team set-up? Please.

No doubt there will be more of the same this week, and next week and the week after that, all the way until October. It's hardly Montgomerie's fault if he is asked about the Ryder Cup. But does he really need to frame every shot, every moment, of the golfing year in the context of an event that won't take for another eight months? He could respond by saying that if, as Kaymer points out, the players don't take subject seriously until June, it would be best if everyone else adopted the same approach.


"We're the kind of club that [Henry] Ford built."

As part of Time Inc.'s look at Detroit, Golf Magazine's Alan Bastable considers the state of the wonderful Detroit Golf Club and how it's coping with lean times.

Thanks to Detroit's 15-percent unemployment rate and, more specifically, the implosion of the automotive industry, more than 100 club members have resigned in the last three years, prompting DGC to drop its initiation fee from $39,000 in 2006 to $6,500 today. It is a dilemma faced by many southeast Michigan clubs that have for decades relied on Big Auto to keep their tee sheets full.

"We're the kind of club that [Henry] Ford built," Beals says. "It used to be nothing to have our upstairs bar full every day of the week with salesmen wooing the GM guys or whatever. They'd take them to play golf to close the deal, but that has all dried up."


Phil's Split Decision

He's turned one of his old PING Eye 2 wedges into a 64 degree, and sticking with his Callaway 60 degree. So he's only partially stampeding over the spirit of the new rule. From Wednesday's Torrey Pines press conference:

Q. What wedges are you going to use? If you wanted to address it right away, what are you using and why?

PHIL MICKELSON: I feel like my Callaway wedges have been the best wedges that I've ever used, so I'm only switching the one. What we found in our testing is that the top edge of the groove is what's been changed, and so it's not as sharp. As we add loft and create a shallower angle, if you will, into the ball, the top edge isn't catching the ball once we get past 60, 61 degrees of loft.

So what I did was a took a 60-degree i2 wedge and turned it into a 64, and those grooves seem to be catching the ball similar to what my wedge did last year. My 60 I still felt like my Callaway wedge was much better performance and got every bit of the amount of spin that I needed.

I actually net gained spin this year. I know that sounds crazy. My grooves last year were conforming to this year. They weren't very aggressive. I've always put a lot of spin on the ball for that reason, angle of attack and hand action and whatnot.

This year's groove that Callaway has is fractionally move aggressive than the groove I used last year, and so I'll end up picking up it shows about 200 to 400 rpms of spin on the launch monitor, plus with the addition of the golf ball I'm getting a little bit more spin than I did last year.

Q. How much time did you spend analyzing it?

PHIL MICKELSON: Quite a bit. Yeah, quite a bit. You know, this affects my career. This is a big change.

I think it's a ridiculous change. I think that it costs each manufacturer millions of dollars. I think it's confusing, and I don't agree with it one bit.

We could do the ball instead? Yeah, that's what I thought.

But it's a big change for the game of golf, and we've got to adapt. Like I say, I don't make the rules, but I do abide by them, and I spent a couple months working on this -- well, actually it's been a couple years, but the last couple months full bore.


The Future Of Golf Instruction Remains On Hold; Hope For Books?

I've devoted two hours of my life today listening to late 90s style audio feeds and live blogs to soak up the Apple "iPad" announcement and without touching a device, it's still pretty easy to get excited.

The good news? For book lovers, it looks fantastic and they've already lined up relationships with book publishers. I can already envision ways that books will come to life on the device. Golf architecture books could be really neat with loads of interactive touches.

The yet-to-be-determined news? There wasn't much in the way of demos for how magazines would work, though a New York Times demo appeared nice. I'm sensing they haven't ironed out itunes relationships with magazine publishers yet. Apparently the publishers want to hang onto control so they can harvest information about subscribers while Apple wants to use the itunes store to sell either subscriptions or magazine apps. Let's hope the magazine folks don't resist iTunes the way the music business did.

The bad news? No camera, which means golf instructors won't be able to capture a swing and then analyze it on top of the pad. That's something to look forward to in iPad 2.0, and something I suspect will happen if Apple is as serious as they claim in making this a device used by doctors and hospitals.

Did any of you techies watch and have any thoughts?


Jim Thorpe May Make A Few Starts Before Reporting To Prison

Golfweek's Jim McCabe tracked down the recently convicted Champions Tour player and quotes one unnamed player who hopes the PGA Tour does not suspend Thorpe to prevent him from teeing it up. (Online digital version here...not sure if you can view unless you are a subscriber.)

Thorpe must report by April 1st, meaning he could play in four events before reporting. Should the PGA Tour suspend Thorpe?


"We're as committed as ever to High Carolina and the Tiger Woods golf course"

There appears to be a difference of opinion in how to represent the state of Tiger's project for The Cliffs in North Carolina, as Dawn Wotapka files a lengthy WSJ story quoting developer Jim Anthony that the project is still very much on, contradicting a Golfweek report posted online yesterday.

"We're as committed as ever to High Carolina and the Tiger Woods golf course," Mr. Anthony said in a recent interview. "The reasons we chose Tiger are still true: his dedication to golf and he is the greatest golfer in the world."

As you read further though, there are glimpses that the project is stalled, as Golfweek reported.

Mr. Anthony acknowledged the weak economy has posed a big hurdle. "Our timing could not have been worse," he said. "It's been a tough year and a half, but we can see the marketplace beginning to turn."
And when the high-end market returns, Mr. Anthony hopes its location will help set this development apart from other golf-course projects.

And as Ms. Black points out, Mr. Woods's problems even might be a blessing.

"The good twist on it would be it's not likely he's going to be doing another course anywhere" in the U.S., she said. "It will probably make it a more scarce product, which, in turn, increases its value."

Well they've got that going for them.

In noting the Golfweek story, Lawrence Donegan concluded his post this way:

On a wider note, is it too much to hope that the troubles besetting these Woods' golf courses might cause a re-evaluation of the widespread practise in which leading players are paid enormous fees to "design" golf courses when, in fact, the closest they come to "designing" them is visiting the site a few times for photo opportunities, leaving the actual design work to a team of largely uninspired hacks? The upshot is a world covered in golf courses that are expensive to play (because the owner has to claw back the players' "design" fee somehow) and all look the same.


"He's used to going in this robot mode of hitting a ball over and over as a way to escape"

Corky Siemaszko-New York Daily News reports on a Us Weekly story (which I can't find on their site) suggesting that Elin Woods stayed at Bret Favre's 460-acre ranch in Hattiesburg while commuting to the Gentle Path clinic for "Disclosure Day(s)". Buried in the story is this from a source about Tiger's current golf practice schedule.

Woods checked himself into the clinic earlier this month under orders from his management team and his wife.

"He didn't want to go to rehab," a source told Us Weekly.

Woods has discovered the hardest thing about this kind of rehab is not the "celibacy contract," which bans all sexual contact while in treatment.

It's not being allowed to play golf.

"He's used to going in this robot mode of hitting a ball over and over as a way to escape," another source told the magazine. 
"His dad taught him that at age 2. But he can't do that now."


"I can't fathom the idea of taking six hours to play golf."

Randy Youngman profiles new LPGA Commish Mike Whan, who had a good day today in announcing a new/old event addition to the schedule (and in the U.S.!), according to Stephanie Wei.

But in this Youngman piece, he has this to say about playing golf:

"My invites have gone through the roof since getting this job, but my interest in playing has gone way down," he said. "I can't fathom the idea of taking six hours to play golf. There's too much to do, and frankly I'm too excited to play. I want to get started."

Not picking on the Metamucil Man in any way here, because isn't his comment exactly how too many of us feel about what has become of a round of golf? An ordeal of sorts?

How on earth is the game going to change this perception?


"Anywhere you play golf for money it's a putting contest."

Farrell Evans posts another entertaining Q&A, this time with Tommy Armour III. Love this exchange:

Q:  Many people in the game have called the Senior Tour a glorified putting contest?

A: Anywhere you play golf for money it's a putting contest.


"Used a brassie."

It was a bit of a stretch, but who cares? That's my take on the L.A. Times' Bill Dwyre using Carl Pettersson's double eagle at the Hope to call John Wooden and learn more about his epic double eagle/hole-in-one round back when they were still calling hybrids brassies:

Golf Digest also lists something even more incredible: a golfer having a hole in one and a double eagle in the same round. It doesn't give odds, but just think in terms of double O.J., or maybe triple. Golf Digest says that feat has been reported as happening four times in history.

One of the four was by John Wooden.

It was 1947, and Wooden, 36, was soon to move to UCLA and change the course of the school's athletic history.

Although Golf Digest reports it as taking place at the Erskine Park Golf Course in South Bend, Ind., Wooden said Monday that it was at the Chain of Lakes course, now the South Bend Country Club.

"I used a four-iron for the hole in one," Wooden said from his home in Encino. "It was about 185 yards. Then I made the two on the par five on the back. Used a brassie."


"By virtue of his win, they became the eighth father-son combo to win on the PGA TOUR."

Reader Mike noted an intriguing claim by the PGA Tour and I know when I heard it said on the telecast, the number seemed high:

• Bill Haas joined his father, Jay (1988), as the winner of this tournament. By virtue of his win, they became the eighth father-son combo to win on the PGA TOUR. The last to do so were Al and Brent Geiberger.

Randell Mell noted the previous seven father-son combos. And if you didn't guess the first two since they never knew what the PGA Tour was, well, you're forgiven:

Here are the seven previous father-son combinations listed in the PGA Tour media guide as winners of Tour events:

Tom Morris Sr., Tom Morris Jr.
Willie Park, Willie Park Jr.
Joe Kirkwood Sr., Joe Kirkwood Jr.
Jack Burke Sr., Jack Burke Jr.
Clayton Heafner, Vance Heafner
Julius Boros, Guy Boros
Al Geiberger, Brent Geiberger


"How about we decide that if appearance fees are paid, there are no more World Ranking points?"

Loads of interesting tidbits in John Strege's Golf World game story from the beleaguered Hope, starting with this from Paul Goydos on the issue of conflicting-event releases.

"Tim [Finchem] has a relationship with everybody involved, and right now it doesn't seem like he's doing a good job keeping the players and helping our sponsors," Paul Goydos said. "I think Tim needs to do a better job at that."

Strege then quotes the Commish:

Later pressed on the matter in an interview with Golf World, Finchem replied, "We believe, in general, that the conflicting-events guidelines are working fine. We will not overhaul the conflicting-event guidelines just because of one week."

Granted, it's a week without a sponsor and in Ponte Vedra-speak, was a longtime platform anchor that did more than any single tournament to activate the tour's brand as a charitable beneficiary while cross-pollinating golf's unique status as a sport of presidents and celebrities, but why help it in this time of need?

I know, I know, market forces trump loyalty and in this case, common sense.

Strege goes on to remind us of Finchem's December, 2008 kidnapping video along with Anthony Kim's ties to the Hope that included a sponsor's invite in 2007. But I was most intrigued by this suggestion from Goydos:

"You think any of those guys would be over there playing if [event organizers] weren't paying an appearance fee? How about we decide that if appearance fees are paid, there are no more World Ranking points?"


Tiger's Been Spotted Clippings, Vol. 4

Gene Yasuda and Bradley S. Klein look at different elements of the Woods marketing empire, including the prospects for his design projects. Namely, The Cliffs in North Carolina.

In a promotional spot videotaped that day, he says: “With a wife and two kids, your perspective on life changes. I want to have my kids experience something like this. I want to be able to bring them up here and feel safe, feel secure and enjoy running the trails and being a part of nature like this. Because your priorities start changing and evolving once you have family, and I want to be able to come up here as often as I can.”

The words ring empty now. So, too, does his development.

Even before Woods’ life unraveled with an admission of infidelity, the battered economy made sales at High Carolina negligible: As of September, 29 lots had been sold for $29.2 million.

High Carolina officials didn’t respond to repeated interview requests from Golfweek, but all indications are that the project has stalled. Executives at The Cliffs Communities, which owns the development, haven’t announced how, or if, they’ll change their marketing strategy. But any route they take could be challenging, considering what has been an almost singular reliance on Woods.

Jason Sobel makes the not-unreasonable point that Tiger really didn't enjoy playing golf anymore.

From temper tantrums after sprayed tee shots to profanity-laced tirades based on shifting wind directions, from faraway stares as awestruck fans chanted his name to a general look of utter disdain while playing the game, the No. 1-ranked player helped formulate my idea from inside the ropes. Finally, I understood what was eating at the man, why he looked so miserable while he so often dominated.

Tiger Woods no longer enjoys playing golf.

This theory is more relevant now than ever before, because it serves as an explanation for why his current self-imposed exile has continued into what would have been his first appearance of the PGA Tour season at Torrey Pines, and might extend longer than most of us realize.

The reader comments are worth reading...if you'd like to see just how insane some folks are.

The SI Confidential this week kicked around the Tiger-public relations effort and the gang draws the conclusion that Tiger's calling the shots and his desire for secrecy has made the situation far worse than it would have been had this been handled better.

Rick Lipsey, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: If Tiger and his team had dreamed up a worst-possible scenario for most every step of this mess, it wouldn't have been as bad as what's unfolded. If Tiger had issued a one-sentence "I'm going into rehab" statement, the rehab would've ended up as a non-event. Instead, the hoodie images get beamed around the world. As Farrell said way back, it's not the transgression that kills you, it's the cover up.

Shipnuck: Rick is correct is that this obsession with secrecy keeps hurting Tiger. He's always been a control freak and this story became uncontrollable a long time ago.

Van Sickle: Heads should roll at IMG, which continues to show that it has little interest in or understanding of the world's media. In their defense, the best spin doctor in the world couldn't diffuse this mess. It would be like trying to hold back Lake Michigan with a spork.

Lipsey: I disagree. A terrific adviser could have steered the TW ship differently and this whole thing would've been over, or on the relative backburner.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I think Tiger's "strategy" of saying nothing will prove to be brilliant for him. He's rejecting all convention. In his silence he is saying what we've long suspected: I'm not doing any of this for you. Now it's confirmed. His attitude has always been take no prisoners. When he comes back, I'm guessing we'll see even more of that.

On a lighter note, Stephanie Wei couldn't help but notice that a PGA Tour rookie's Facebook photo looked eerily similar to a now infamous shot.

And finally, Mel Gibson continues to talk about Tiger...


"Exacerbating the dilemma is that IMG, the most powerful sports marketing firm in the world, is now managing more events worldwide"

Tim Rosaforte wonders if there will ever be a better time for the PGA Tour to institute a 1-every-4 years rule for tournament appearances after the Hope drew a weak field and longtime La Quinta resident Anthony Kim passed for a chance to play in Abu Dhabi.

At the core of this dilemma is that the global axis has tilted to the point where a majority of the players in the top-30 are from Europe, Asia and South Africa. Exacerbating the dilemma is that IMG, the most powerful sports marketing firm in the world, is now managing more events worldwide, such as Abu Dhabi and the HSBC Champions, which at the end of last year became a World Golf Championship event. While HSBC had to cut out appearance fees to get the sanction, there are ways around it week-to-week. Abu Dhabi is one of those full-on European Tour events, like Torrey Pines, representing the first big-field start of the year, and with a purse of just $2 million there's a good chance there was some enticement to make the trip halfway around the world for just one tournament, as is the case with Kim, who is represented by IMG. The fact is, it's just greener in Abu Dhabi.

Say Kim gets $300,000 to make the trip. He pays IMG the commission, pays his taxes, his caddie and expenses, he probably nets $80 grand out of that. By the way, this is the same Anthony Kim who said he traveled too much last year, but that's another story. First place for the Hope is $900,000, and there's less wear and tear.

But IMG doesn't benefit from that, now do they?


"Who is going to want to play golf when they're setting off dynamite and running haul trucks with all that noise and dust?"

Bill Fields looks at the endangered Clearview Golf Course in the wake of course creator Bill Powell's passing.

On a damp winter day, with the American flag still at half-staff two weeks after Powell's passing, his family and friends ought to have been able to mourn in peace. Instead, they were busy trying to rally support against Buckeye Industrial Mining's proposal to mine coal, from sunrise to sunset, within 370 feet of Clearview's 15th hole. "It's a dire threat," says Jeff Brown, who was instrumental in helping the course be listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2001. "What they propose -- mining and blasting over a period of five years -- will kill this course economically. Who is going to want to play golf when they're setting off dynamite and running haul trucks with all that noise and dust?"

Powell's daughter, Renee, the second black woman to compete on the LPGA Tour, is urging Clearview supporters to write letters opposing the strip mine, which is awaiting approval from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. State Senator Kirk Schuring has communicated with Kevin Collins, president of Evergreen Energy, Buckeye Mining's parent company, urging him to halt the project. "There doesn't need to be a strip mine here," says Schuring.

He also filed this video report:


Phil Contemplating PING Wedge Switch...

Tim Rosaforte reports a couple of not entirely shocking but still intriguing items from Phil's Sunday practice round at Torrey Pines. The first, that he toured the course "with short-game instructor Dave Stockton by his side," and "two Ping Eye 2 wedges tucked inside the Callaway bag over his shoulder." He's also been hanging out at the Callaway test center...

While there, Mickelson prepped a set of irons he says are actually a step forward from conservative V-grooves he used last year. That, along with the use of a new Callaway ball, had Mickelson backing up 9-iron approach shots out of the Torrey Pines rough on Sunday.

"Spin won't be a problem," Mickelson said. "I'll actually have more spin than last year."

A far cry from the USGA hostility of a few weeks ago. Those darned Callaway engineers!

Still left to be determined is whether Mickelson will put the two Ping Eye 2 wedges in play in his first tournament round Thursday. After reading about John Daly and Dean Wilson using ths same wedges at last week's Sony Open, Mickelson dug a few out of his garage and brought them to Callaway, where they were bent from 60 to 64 degrees, and adjusted the soles. But the player is still evaluating player sentiment about the Ping loophole, wondering whether it falls into the spirit of the new groove rule.

Ahhh...testing the old PR waters.

Ladies and gentlemen, your thoughts on whether Phil should cheat or not? I mean, take advantage of the legal loophole or not? Err, I mean, play PING or Callaway wedges this week?


"Tiger's Thanksgiving Mystery — Solved"

Gerald Posner claims to have two sources close to Elin Woods and files this account of what happened Thanksgiving night. It's pretty believable and would explain Tiger's errant driving. If true, the account prompts more questions about the Florida Highway Patrol investigation and still makes you wonder what the house surveillance cameras captured.


Tiger's Been Spotted Clippings, Vol. 3

Get past Matthew Futterman and Douglas Blackmon's slightly misleading lede, because it's a fascinating WSJ look back at Tiger and the PGA Tour's relationship. There were several "oh-wow-I-forgot-about-that" anecdotes. My only beef is with the opening assertion that this week at Torrey Pines is a glimpse into the post-Tiger-accident PGA Tour (weren't things a mess there before the accident?):

The troubles facing the professional-golf tour without Tiger Woods will be on display when the annual tournament tees off at the Torrey Pines course in San Diego this week: Ticket sales are down, fewer hospitality tents have been sold, and the title sponsor had to be lured with a cut-rate price.

It is a harbinger of what the PGA Tour may be without its most popular player. Three of the Tour's 46 tournaments scheduled for 2010 don't have a lead corporate sponsor, nor do 13 of next year's tournaments. Television viewership of the first two events of this year's Tour tumbled.

I guess I struggle with the theory that even when Tiger doesn't play events, he brings a certain number of viewers because he's on the PGA Tour and will play against the very same players at some point. Then again, maybe that mentality has something to it.

Anyway, there was also this curious graph with the story:

The '94 number (pre-Tiger) was the same as '99, at (arguably) the height of the Tiger craze?

While we're doing misleading, the headline with this Telegraph story said, "Sergio García: American Ryder Cup team better off without Tiger Woods."

Here's what Sergio actually said:

The 30 year-old Spaniard said: "Tiger's absence made a difference. It made some of the other players step it up. They wanted to show everyone they could win without Tiger. Maybe when he's there, he's the leader and everyone falls in behind him. Without him, everyone wanted to be the leader. They played amazing golf. You could see a different energy in the team."

Well we have some idea how long "Disclosure Day" for Tiger and Elin lasted, as Radaronline reports that Elin has been in Hattiesburg for the last five or so days while her sisters care for the children. People Magazine backed up the claim with a sighting of Elin at the local mall doing some shoe shopping. Or, it was just a blond woman looking like her, wearing Nike sweats, sunglasses inside, diamond necklace, Coach bag (always a giveaway!) and accompanied by two security guards.

And finally Jane Atkinson & James Desborough file a lengthy report on a new Tiger mistress with a doesn't-pass-the-smell-test tale of a $500,000 buyout paid in cash with nary a lawyer (or Brinks truck) around.

There is one tidbit that is golf related:

Emma then moved to a rented villa on the Bay Hill golf resort near Woods' home and was in constant contact with him.

Our insider said: "Emma was living like someone in witness protection, always looking over her shoulder, and being checked on by two security guys. But Tiger assured her he would sort her out."

This is the second or third time Bay Hill has come up in various tabloid reports, each time not in exactly the prettiest light.

Note to Tiger: I'd take a big pass on returning to the PGA Tour at Bay Hill. Potentially waaaayyyy too many awkward questions. 


Bubba Watson Will Do Anything To Be On Ellen

Tod Leonard profiles Bubba Watson and opens with this wacky anecdote about his desire to get the attention of Ellen DeGeneres:

On Thursday, when play at the Bob Hope Classic was washed out by rain, Watson shot a video that he posted on Tweet Reel in which he hits a trick shot through a door out of his rented house, over a pool and into a bucket. He then takes a victory lap, jumps onto a slide and flops into the pool, fully clothed.

“I can show you this trick shot and you can teach me how to dance!” Watson says in the video.

He also shot another video in which he sings a birthday song to DeGeneres, and yesterday while he was finishing his third round, Watson looked into the camera and made another plea to Ellen.

All very creative, but here’s a thought: winning a golf tournament might help.