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Books
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    by Chris Millard
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

Most of the difficult things in golf are mental, not physical. Are subjective, not objective. Are the created phantasms of the mind, not the veritable realities of the course.
ARNOLD HAULTAIN

 

    

Saturday
Sep012007

Diaz On Nicklaus

Jaime Diaz blogs about some of Jack Nicklaus's candid stories told during this week's session to publicize the amazing new Martin Davis book.

Saturday
Sep012007

"I don't have much good to say about 18"

230136-993204-thumbnail.jpg
View of No. 18's bunkering (click to enlarge)
You throw a bunker in the center of the fairway and our boys can't deal with it! And people wonder why we get slaughtered in the Ryder Cup.

From Jim McCabe's Boston Globe round one notes column:

The pot bunker that's been added into the middle of the layup area at the par-5 18th offers a quaint look. The only thing is, does it come into play? "It definitely did for me," said Kuchar, who only drove it 240 yards and was left with about 290 yards. For sure, Kuchar had to consider the deep pot bunker on his layup, but he executed it perfectly. "I don't have much good to say about 18," he said. . . Tim Herron told Gil Hanse, who led the redesign efforts, that he didn't like the pot bunker. It was right where he would want to lay it up, Herron told Hanse, who nodded and replied that's why it was put there, to force guys to be precise with their second shots . . .

FYI, the sprinkler head on the back side of the bunker, closest to the green, is 95 to the center of the green. The nearest head short of the bunker is marked 117. Yes, they might have to hit an easy pitching wedge instead of a full SW.

Oh, and there's a good 15 paces of fairway on either side of this little bunker.

What a menace to society!

At least Rocco, who actually gives this stuff serious consideration, likes what he sees.

As for the overall changes to TPC Boston, Rocco Mediate is a big fan. "Fax did a great job," said Mediate, a reference to PGA Tour colleague Brad Faxon, who consulted with Hanse on the redesign. "Then again, I knew he would. He's old-school, so he wasn't going to force some new-fandangled goofy stuff."

Friday
Aug312007

I Wonder If...

TPCBoston4rearview.jpg...the brand platforming experts down in Ponte Vedra will note TPC Boston 4th hole's impact on day one Deutsche Bank play. Tiger Woods's double bogey 6 and Phil Mickelson's eagle 2 were run on sports highlight shows across the country.

I did notice that TGC/NBC showed it quite a bit more than any other front nine hole.

Here's what first round leader Camillo Villegas said about the hole:

Q. You talked about the new hole at No. 4. Can you give me your general impressions of that hole beyond the birdie?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: Tricky one. It's a tricky one. There's obviously -- the green just goes away. I think we should play that hole from the front tee all week, just because from the back tee it's a little too funky. You're going to be hitting maybe a 5-wood into a very narrow space, and it's going to be hard to even hold the green from 100 yards, and then if you hit driver and you get it up there where you have 50 yards, you can be in the middle of the fairway and I don't think you're going to be able to hold the green.

It's a tricky one. It's a good hole from the front, I believe, and I'm just trying to get it over that green somehow and just chip it back up. 

Here's what Tiger said about his surprising double...

 

Q. Can you talk about the 4th hole?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the 4th hole I was telling Stevie, we've got to be committed to hitting the ball right of the green. I could hit the ball 50 yards right of the green. I was just trying to hit the ball right, right, right, and I just pulled it about five yards left of the flag. I was in the bunker, the only place you can't be.

Q. We couldn't see it from where we were standing. What were you trying to do with that shot?

TIGER WOODS: I was just trying to keep the ball on the green. Trying to keep it on the green.

Q. Runs away from you?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, big-time. I wasn't even trying to get cute with it. I said, well, if I make a mistake, make this mistake long, hit the ball over the green, chip back and try and make par that way. It just came out soft and buried under the lip.

 Q. Still in the sand?

TIGER WOODS: It was actually underneath the lip, so I couldn't get it out. 

 

And here's what Mike Weir said after his 65:

Q. So you liked everything?

MIKE WEIR: I liked everything, yeah (laughter).

I heard that No. 4, that that was kind of a narrow tee shot and a big -- I like the drivable par 4s because you miss it in the wrong spot with these firm, fast greens, and you're going to be struggling for par. Good risk-reward hole.

Q. As an example, and I could ask this of someone who had an eight-foot eagle putt, where could you miss it where you do get in some deep doo-doo?

MIKE WEIR: Left. I played with J.J. and he hit it left, and he had to hit it just right to get it barely on the green, and he hit a good shot and it rolled all the way down the hill and he had to make a really good up-and-down for par. That's a really good hole. If you miss it in the wrong spot, even though he was in the fairway you don't have much. Even if you miss it right, you can pitch it up the green. 

Friday
Aug312007

He Would Have Moved To 4th! On Friday!

Mark Rolfing, trying a wee bit hard to push the FedEx Cup,  alerted us that the playoffs are so volatile that had Camillo Villegas made his birdie putt on No. 16 to get to -7 and take the FIRST ROUND lead, Camillo would have moved to 4th in the projected FedEx Cup standings.

Friday
Aug312007

Explaining The Chase

Jim Peltz in the LA Times explains the NASCAR playoffs. This is interesting in the context of the FedEx Cup. Here they are in year four of the revamped system and it's still having to be explained. And NASCAR's system seems much simpler than the FedEx Cup.

Thursday
Aug302007

Greetings From Santa Monica

I’ve returned to the Home of the Homeless where, mercifully, I will not (A) won’t have to see another artificially faded Boston Red Sox hat for at least a week, and (B) listen to any more complaints about a centerline bunker.

jacknicklausandmartindavis.JPGHowever I will not ever forget a lovely evening spent listening to Jack Nicklaus tell stories while discussing the impressive new Martin Davis book chronicling his life in the same format as the classic Hogan Mystique and The Greatest of Them All. I did not take notes from Jack's remarkably honest chat, but I'm sure several of those who were scribbling away will recount some of the stories he told. Then again, some of the stories he shared were so revealing that maybe they should not be repeated. That, anyway, is my excuse for not doing a post about it.
 
As for the Deutsche Bank, it’s always good for to get out to a PGA Tour event and be reminded just how few players have anything interesting to say golf architecture, and more remarkably, how few care.  After Ogilvy/ie, Oberholser, Harrison Frazer (who knew?), Baddelay, Pernice, Browne, Elkington, Woods and a handful of others, most of the field isn't too interested in what went into the major overhaul of the TPC Boston or how it might make their golf more interesting. (Maybe they're just too distracted by the stress of the playoffs. That's it!)
 
You would think that with so much money at stake there would be a bit more driving range discussion about the many nuances injected into the course, but then again, there is a reason many of these fine young men are good golfers: they don’t think about golf architecture. Which, I suppose, is why I admire the talents of the aforementioned players just that much more. Being so thoughtful and trying to play great golf is not easy.
 
The writer's reactions should be interesting once play begins and they have a chance to see the design impacting their play. Many should be pleasantly surprised at how many odd little lies and unusual circumstances players will face due to the new bunkering or the new/old style mounding I wrote about earlier in the week or other significant adjustments to the green complexes.
 
230136-1004711-thumbnail.jpg
No. 5 (click to enlarge)
A few front nine design highlights to look for during NBC's telecasts...

- New 4th hole that should feature all sorts of birdies and bogies
- The revamped 5th that has become is (good) tough, beautiful par-4
- The new 6th tee out of the chute inspired by the late John Mineck
- The cross bunker on the par-5 7th that has induced entertaining whining because Heaven forbid if someone hits a poor drive they will have to lay up short of it and not have a very good view of the flagstick
- The depth perception altering bunkers at the par-4 9th where they constructed a brand new punchbowl green.

230136-993204-thumbnail.jpg
No. 18's centerline bunkering (click to enlarge)
Highlights on the back:

- The par-4 15th rewards players flirting with the fairway bunkers a good view of the hole while blinding those playing safe right
- The new 16th is a dynamite short par-3 with a nasty penalty for bailing out right;
- The 17th should make for great theater with the spectators hovering over the new and deceptive little green
- And the 18th, with it’s bunker strewn landing areas that are causing so much entertaining player whining (those bunkers are where I want to hit it!).

The TPC Boston has the potential to become a lot more interesting if Hanse and Faxon are allowed to tinker over the coming years. Namely, take out the modern mounding and catch basins for starters. They need to immediately dynamite the 2nd, 8th, 12th, 13th, and 18th greens and match them in style and character with their newly constructed putting surfaces.
 
And most of all, it'll be fun to see fescue grasses age under the incredible eye of superintendent Tom Brodeur. Because do remember as you watch, that these are new bunkers and new grasses, even though much of it looks like it’s been there for 50 years.

Thursday
Aug302007

Tiger's Press Conference

TigeratDeutsche.jpgTiger's sit down with the scribblers Thursday included all of the right FedEx Cup answers...

Q. What would be meaningful about winning the FedExCup?

TIGER WOODS: Well, any time you win something that's never been done before, it's always meaningful. This is an experiment for the TOUR, and I equated it out there to very similar to what NASCAR went through. No one really understood it until after it happened, and then after a couple years people really got behind it. As we can all see, it's been flourishing.

Q. Several players have said this week, Rich Beem the other day said, let's be honest, without Tiger in the field, the Playoffs -- a Playoff event doesn't really matter. What's your take on the reaction you've received for taking a week off from players, from media, from fans? What's your take on you taking a week off?

TIGER WOODS: As far as the players, I really haven't heard much. I know that a bunch of my buddies were giving me some grief (laughter). But as far as any of the media stuff, I haven't seen it. I've been out on the boat and getting away from it.

Q. What kind of grief?

TIGER WOODS: Any kind of grief imaginable, just like we always do. We do it each and every day.

Q. No details, though?

TIGER WOODS: We just need to find an excuse and we're going to needle each other.

And for today's rally killer, courtesy of a television reporter (like that needed clarification!)...

Q. One of our local sports celebrities Tom Brady just had a baby, and I'm wondering do you have any new dad advice for him?

TIGER WOODS: Well, you don't sleep, that's for sure (laughter). It's fantastic. You hear from every parent who's ever had their first child that it's an experience that you'll never forget. You always want to be there. It's the little things. I've only been a dad for about two months now, but it's just the little things each and every day.

I'm away from home this week, and you miss those things. Granted, when you're at home it drives you crazy at times, especially late nights, 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning gets a little tough. But those times actually you really do sort of miss them, as well.

On the golf course...

Q. Can you talk about coming back here as the defending champion, and also now that you've played a full Pro-Am round, what about the changes on this course? What are your thoughts about that?

TIGER WOODS: Well, every time we've played here, this has been one of the greatest sporting towns you could ever play in front of. These fans, they love their sport, and they've supported this event. I know they've changed the golf course several times, and this time they've really done I think just a heck of a job and made it much more natural to the surroundings.

They made it probably slightly more difficult. The greens are a little faster right now, the fairways are giving it up a little bit, and you're really going to have to make sure you manage your game a little bit.

Before in some of the years we've played, we just had to make a bunch of birdies, just go super-low. It's going to be a little more difficult to do that this year.

On short par-4's, including this week's 4th hole...

Q. Can you talk about drivable par 4s and specifically the 4th hole out here this week?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I've always thought that's been a neat attribute to a golf course if you have one par 4 you can drive. But generally if you don't play it well, you're going to probably make bogey or even double. I think that's one of the neat things about having a par 4 like that.

You've got to hit -- you think you ought to just blow it in the bunker up there or whatever, but that's one of the harder bunker shots, too. You've got to make sure you know what you're doing, where the pin is, and it's a little more strategic than you think. It's very similar to No. 10 at Riviera. You think, oh, this is no big deal, driver down there, and up-and-down easy. We see a lot of bogeys for some reason on that hole when guys take a run at it.

And one more...

 

Q. In follow-up to that question about the 4th hole, how did you play it today and what is the game plan?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I drove it just short of the green probably maybe about two yards short of the bunker. I just hit kind of a flop shot. Pin was right in the middle of the green.

You know, if I hit a really good drive, I might be able to fly it to the front. I've got to really hit a good one. But generally my normal shot is going to be just slightly short of the green. A lot of it just depends on the angles you want. Obviously the green goes basically from back left to front right is the angle. To try to hit the ball to the right you've got to hit it a lot further, which makes it a little more interesting.

It's a very clever hole. You think it's pretty easy, you think you should be able to walk away for the week playing it 3-under par, 2-under par at the worst, but you'll see some bogeys there.

 

And they say there is no such thing as a dumb question...this isn't even a point misser.

 

Q. Are you presently designing any golf courses? If yes, where are they; if no, will you do some in the future?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, one in Dubai and one in Nashville [Asheville]. We have two that we're working on. You know, we're probably going to limit it to that.

 

Sounds like it's fun to build in Dubai...

Q. I want you to talk about maybe a couple of things that you've learned as you've started these first two projects.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, there's quite a few headaches that are involved. Just like anything, you're trying to create something from nothing, so there always are going to be some impediments along the way.

For instance, like the Dubai project, we've -- how do you get water that far into the desert? You think, okay, it's pretty easy, build a couple lakes, dump the water in. Well, it's 130 degrees, it's humid, everything is evaporating and all gone. Trying to create and shape the golf course and keep the dirt from blowing away, the wind blows there, too, it's not like it's calm every day, is a challenge. This is something that we didn't really think about at the beginning. We thought, okay, we can get around this, no big deal. All of a sudden it's a reality and it's presenting quite a problem.

On the Westchester television ratings...

Q. Did you get a chance to watch any of last week's at all and did you happen to see what the TV ratings were?

TIGER WOODS: No and then yes. I didn't watch any of it, but I read the paper on Monday.

Q. Were you a little surprised it was as low as it was given kind of the hype and the lead-in?

TIGER WOODS: I was surprised.

This did not exactly put the Hank-Tiger breakup rumors to rest...

Q. You mentioned practice. Over the last couple weeks there have been a couple reports about Hank and you guys' status and how much he's going to be intimately involved. Can you give us your view on how that's going to go going forward?

TIGER WOODS: Well, we're still working together.

Q. Just not as often?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, definitely not as often. He has some things that he needs to take care of, which is totally understandable, and he really should be there.

And last question on getting a cut of the real estate in his design ventures...

Q. When it comes to your courses and your design and the structure of them, I know they won't all be tied to real estate, but the first couple having the design part and then the real estate part on the back end for years to come, why is that? And can you just talk a little bit about the structure of that? And some other players, Jack has done deals like that that have kind of backfired on the real estate part of it for him. What are your thoughts on having it structured that way, and can you talk a little bit about it?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, that structure has its faults and can be fallible. But also if you're lucky enough, you can hit the home run, too. So it's a hit-and-miss.

But yeah, you definitely do take a chance when you do that. But that's the whole idea of being around people who are reputable, who understand what they're doing, and who have created projects in the past that have been very successful. And these people are the ones you want to partner up with.

 Like Donald Trump!

Thursday
Aug302007

Say It Ain't So...

I was walking up to the driving range when a fast moving limo and accompanying Cadillac flew into the TPC Boston entrance circle with two flanking Massachusetts state police cars and one motorcyle officer leading the way (lights flashing of course).

Why, I didn't know the Governor was playing in today's pro-am, that's wonderf...wait, no, no, it can't be.

Look who popped out to march up the clubhouse steps and sign in for his 12:50 tee time...

TrumpatTPCBoston.jpg 

Thursday
Aug302007

Deutsche Bank Championship Photo Caption Help

Tootling around the back nine I spotted Sid Wilson shuttling around PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. Oddly, the Commish never made it by the media center to chat with us scribblers, but he did kindly stop to answer a question from two spectators.

Hmmm...I wonder what were they asking and what was the Commish saying?

finchemandslugger.jpg 

Thursday
Aug302007

The Tiger Ratings Effect

Doug Ferguson details the changes at TPC Boston and also dispels the myth of horses for playoff courses.

Accompanying his piece was an unbylined sidebar not posted on the USA Today's web site noting the 2.1 television rating for the Barclay's. It pointed out that the same week last year featured Tiger winning at Firestone, drawing a 6.6 rating.

Thursday
Aug302007

Overheard

Arriving at the press center here on everyone's favorite--pro am day--a father and his son were asking one of the shirt-and-tie clad security folks what hole Tiger was on. Pulling out a pairing sheet he noted that Tiger teed off at 7 a.m., and they take about 10 minutes to play each hole, and....whoa. Try ten minutes to tee off on each hole there ace!

Thursday
Aug302007

"We'll play the up tees"

Jim McCabe offers an extensive look into the TPC Boston's renovated 4th hole and looks at some of the issues that arose over how the PGA Tour would set up the short two-shotter.

Wednesday
Aug292007

"If I don't know it and I'm involved in the game of golf, how is Mr. Joe Public going to know it?"

JackNicklausDeutscheBank.jpgJack Nicklaus sat down to talk about the President's Cup and as usual, offered his take on several issues along with many more enjoyable anecdotes. The entire session is worth reading, but here are some highlights.

On Rory Sabbatini and Tiger:

Q. You know the background, right?

JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, yeah. How could you miss it (laughter)?
I don't know, a lot of times, too, I'll ask Tiger, and I'm sure that Gary will ask his guys, who would you like to play? In other words, at the matches the last time, I went down and I had -- Phil said, "I'd like to play Cabrera." "Tiger, who would you like to play?" "I don't care, it doesn't make any difference to me." Freddie said, "I'd like to play Vijay." I don't know what Gary's guys did.

Those are the only two that I had a mandate if I could get them. As the selection process goes, I pick a player, Gary matches him, Gary picks a player, I match. So forth and so on, it goes back and forth.
It's like the last two times I captained prior to that, I had -- let's see, I had Tiger in Australia ask me to pick Norman for him. I got him Norman. We were in South Africa, and both Ernie and Tiger would like to play each other, so Gary and I talked and tried to figure out, can we get Tiger and Ernie to play. So that's fine.

So if Gary comes to me and says, Jack, I've got Sabbatini wants to play Tiger and Tiger says he wants to play Sabbatini, then we'll try to make that happen. But if Tiger says I don't care and I've got somebody else -- a lot of guys, they say, I want that guy. I had one guy on the other team I had five of my guys say I'd like to have him. They just want to try to beat him. I'm not going to tell you who that is.

That's sort of the way it works. If it turns out that that's a good match, it's a good match. I think frankly that probably Tiger and Vijay or Tiger and Ernie would be a better TV match, but Sabbatini has had a great year. He's played very, very well. He's had a lot of press.

And on his rivals making comments ala Sabbatini:

Q. How did you handle it? And is this atmosphere a lot different in the sense that everybody seems a little bit more sensitive, so to speak?

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I don't know. We didn't have that much press. The only time -- I had several times, but the one that I remember a lot was -- I was still an amateur, and I was a defending champion. I had won in '59 and '60 going into St. Louis. Phil Rogers in those days, Phil just (motioning talking with hand), and he was holding court at St. Louis about -- he said, "I see in the brackets here if Nicklaus wins his first few matches, he gets to play me." Like he had a bye the first two rounds.

My dad heard it, and my dad said I heard that in conversation, Phil was really running his mouth. I said, I've got to win my first two matches. I won the first two matches, and we went out and played 12 holes and Phil was one under par and the match was over. I beat him 8 & 7.

It turned out Phil turned out to be one of my best friends. I mean, he's a wonderful guy. But in those guys Phil was just all mouth.

And Rory is a little bit going this way a little bit right now. So I think when you get that kind of a thing, a guy says, "I think I want to take care of that situation." And I think Tiger probably said he wanted to take care of that situation.

Now, did I get a little bit of that as I went along? Yeah. But I didn't pay much attention. When I was a 20-year old kid it got my dander up a little bit. I'm sure Tiger is very used to it, I don't think Tiger paid a whole lot of attention to it. He just paid attention, took care of business and went out and played very, very well, as usual.

Q. But it is an slightly extra incentive do you think?

JACK NICKLAUS: A guy doesn't miss it (smiling). You don't miss that comment. It doesn't pass by the way.

And on the FedEx Cup:

Q. We're in week two of a new playoff system. Just curious to get your take on it. Does it interest you at all?

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't understand it to be very honest with you. Tim told me it was supposed to be good for the game of golf so I went along with him (laughter). I think that the whole objective was to get the guys to play, and the first week Tiger skips. So I didn't understand that at all.

I sort of thought that the system was that when you had the Playoffs that everybody started over. But no, the Playoffs carry on.

Now, I can understand that if they didn't carry on and Tiger decided to play the first week and Phil missed the cut, they're gone.

But I would like to find out what does a guy have to do that's 100th on the Money List or 120th to win the FedExCup? What does he have to do?

Here he tried to be more upbeat about it...

Do I like the idea? Yeah, I think it's great to try to get the guys to play at the end of the year, great to have a season-ending playoff. My bet is that it'll get tweaked after this year. Like every event we have ever had the first year we have it, we'll have tweaks in it, and I think the whole objective was to get the guys to play. That was what it was, beyond the PGA Championship, and to be able to have a season-ending thing.
They end it with the TOUR Championship, so it's going to be the TOUR Championship, but it's how you get to the TOUR Championship and create more interest and so on and so forth. I commend them for that. I wish I understood what it was, and I think you guys fall into the same category trying to understand it, too.

If I were Rich Beem trying to figure out the projected 130, 124, when somebody makes birdie, par, bogey, give me a break. How does he win? I just don't know. I just don't know that. And frankly if I don't know it and I'm involved in the game of golf, how is Mr. Joe Public going to know it? That's the problem.

To get the public interested, they've got to understand what's going on. Very simple when you play a football game and you're in the Playoffs, you're a wildcard team and you're playing the division leader, you win, you go on. You lose, you go home. We don't exactly have that here. So I don't really -- I think they'll tweak it someplace.

And my question...

 Q. Can you talk then in general about kind of the interest in short par 4s we're seeing at a lot of tournament venues and if that's maybe impacting your philosophy at all?

JACK NICKLAUS: My favorite holes are short par 4s. I think they're the most fun to design, and I think they're the most fun to play.

I think if you look at Muirfield Village, I think the players love the 14th hole at Muirfield Village, and that's a nasty little hole. It can be a nice hole, too. I mean, it can be a nasty little hole if you play it wrong. And I'm sure there are some other holes throughout the year on the TOUR that you'll find. Royal Montreal has one hole where we'll play the tee up and the tee back. I don't remember what number it is.

I was up there as I said in June, went around the golf course on a rainy day and we went around as fast as we could go because we were freezing to death. It's totally different than when I played there in the '70s, so I don't remember much about the actual holes.

And a really strange question...

Q. I just wonder if you've seen any of Tiger's designs yet, and if you have seen them what your opinion on them might be?

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't think Tiger has any designs yet.

Q. He has the course in Dubai that --

JACK NICKLAUS: He's got a contract. I don't know that he's got a golf course.

Q. He has laid out some of the holes already for it. I don't know if you've seen them at all?

JACK NICKLAUS: No, I'm not going to Dubai to see his golf course (laughter). He'll go through the same process as the rest of it if he is truly interested in design and learn the business.

And my favorite exchanged, started by Doug Ferguson...

Q. What's the last golf course you did for your ego?

JACK NICKLAUS: For my ego? Oh, gosh. I don't really know, but I would say probably -- I mean, I didn't even do the Bear's Club for my ego. I had a membership there that I thought was going to be a fairly elderly membership. I would have done that course a lot more difficult if it was for my ego. I would have made it a lot stronger and a lot different, but I didn't do that. It's still plenty tough enough.

But for my ego, oh, probably back to -- probably Castle Pines maybe, back in that area, early '80s because Jack Vickers really wanted a very difficult golf course. Jack Vickers keeps changing it and making it tougher. Of course you guys aren't going there anymore, but he'll have events there again. I'd say it's been 25 years since I've really done one for my ego. I've been involved with other people's ego, but that's okay.

Wednesday
Aug292007

Weighing Options On TPC Boston's 4th

As expected, the Hanse-Faxon-Wagner redesign of TPC Boston's 4th hole is generating the most discussion, fueled in part by the possibility that officials may play the 356-yard tee for two rounds. Since that tee was never intended to be used for Deutsche Bank tournament play, it appears the Tour officials have decided to play it at around 300 yards all four days.

Until we see actual tournament play, we won't know which option players will most often chose to take. Just from observing some play on it, the hole looks like a Redan merged with elements of Riviera's 10th. It seems that a few will lay-up with a four or five iron, most will hit three wood at the front opening or into the front bunker, while some will take driver and err on the long side of the green.

A few images, starting with the view from the tee.

TPCBoston4teeview.jpg 

And the view from the left center of the fairway...

TPCBoston4centerview.jpg 

 

And the view from the right center, which is the ideal layup angle.

TPCBoston4layupviewright.jpg 

Finally, the rear view which flattens out some of the neat features over the green (fall off, bumps, etc...) that may make the player driving it long think twice. There are some small mounds meant to look like the old style New England bumps that are often found in this area when crews would bury large rocks instead of trying to cart them off property. 


TPCBoston4rearview.jpg
Wednesday
Aug292007

"It appears Miss South Carolina has found work writing ad copy."

Grant Boone weighs in on the FedEx Cup and always provides
I have no idea where PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem was when he came up with the idea of these playoffs. And despite spending last week in the crapper of public opinion, the Commish still hasn't apologized for foisting this bogusness on an unsuspecting golf world. On the contrary, the TOUR's PR machine keeps pumping out ads like this full-pager in Tuesday's USA Today:

Every drive. Every wood. Every iron. Every bunker. Every chip. Every putt. Every shot counts.

It appears Miss South Carolina has found work writing ad copy. It's repetitive at best, inaccurate at its worst, and repetitive at best. Every shot counts? What, as opposed to regular TOUR events where players buy mulligans before each round?
Wednesday
Aug292007

"Apparently he's a celestial being that you can't touch. That's the way I see it."

RorySabatiniDeutscheBank.jpgLike the motorist who has to slow down for a car crash, I decided to sit in on Rory Sabbatini's meet and fight greet with the scribblers at Wednesday's Deutsche Bank press conference. And he didn't disappoint.

After a pretty rigid, uninspired effort (the course is "fair" and in "great shape"), a question about an incident last week got him going before this question delivered some good old fashioned tension in the room. 

Q. Outspokenness has been a double-edged sword for you, hasn't it?

RORY SABBATINI: No, actually the media has been the double-edged sword in the fact that I'll make a statement and they tend to paraphrase it to their liking and change it. You know, if anybody actually had bothered going back and reading transcripts from previous interviews, they would understand what I said instead of just going with the paraphrasing and following that lead.
You know, I'll say that the media has really put a very bitter taste in my mouth.

Q. Do you suppose that's because of the fact that you speak up or that you speak out on certain topics and no one else really takes a stance publicly on anything, so therefore -- because I haven't disagreed with anything you've said all year. I think you've been right.

RORY SABBATINI: Understand, I'm generalizing. I'm not saying every member of the media.

Q. I know, I don't feel that way.

RORY SABBATINI: The situation is I speak my mind. People always say they want something different; you get me, you get something different, and then they burn you for it. So what do you want, do you want different or do you want the usual fraternal player out here? You guys need to pick and choose what you want. If you want your generic standard answer, hey, I can spend all day long here and talk generic answer with you. But that's not the person I am.

You know, if the situation continues where people continue to burn me and manipulate what I say into what they want to turn it into, I'm just not going to bother talking. That's why, you guys have got to pick and choose what you want.

It's called copy and paste my friend.

Q. Fair enough.

RORY SABBATINI: You make me out to look like the bad guy when I've done nothing but ever actually, in a sense, praised Tiger because I've seen Tiger at his best. I'm the first one to admit, when Tiger is on his game, there's hardly -- I don't know if there is a person that plays on the PGA TOUR or anywhere in the world that can beat him, and I've said that repeatedly.

Q. When you said what you said, he had just blown a three-shot lead with six holes to go at Wachovia. I thought, you know what, he's making a valid point.

RORY SABBATINI: But the thing is people don't see that as a valid point. Apparently he's a celestial being that you can't touch. That's the way I see it.

Well that ought to put things to rest!

Q. If you were Gary Player, who would you pick to take on Tiger at the Presidents Cup in the singles?

RORY SABBATINI: Why not pick me?

Q. I think that's what he's asking you.

RORY SABBATINI: Why not pick me? I would pick myself.

 There's a newsflash.

Wednesday
Aug292007

"Is there another name we could probably call it? Yes."

Jim McCabe looks at the suddenly dirty "playoff" word.  

 "It's not really a good term," said Zach Johnson.

"Is there another name we could probably call it? Yes," said Heath Slocum.

All right then, instead of "playoffs," what should we use? Heads are scratched, laughs are heard, then smiles break out.

"I don't know what you call it," said Charles Howell III.

"I don't know. It's a tough one," said Pampling. "It's a word you've got to use, I think. Obviously, it's not a regular playoff, but it's got to be golf's playoffs, maybe."

Johnson, one of the PGA Tour members who gets involved with company policies, recalled that there was much talk about what to call this series of four tournaments.

"There's not really a good term," said the Masters champ. " 'Playoffs' is the best term you can come up. There really isn't another term that would be sufficient. [But] it's just a word."

Wednesday
Aug292007

Honorary Membership For Wounded Warrior

If only our government treated vets this well...

For Immediate Release

 WOUNDED WARRIOR MARC GIAMMATTEO WILL BE AWARDED HONORARY MEMBERSHIP TO TPC
                 BOSTON DURING DEUTSCHE BANK CHAMPIONSHIP

NORTON, MA (August 27, 2007) – As part of the PGA TOUR’s ongoing commitment to support U.S. military men and women and their families, the TOUR will award an honorary TPC Boston membership to Captain Marc Giammatteo at a special ceremony at the Club on Wednesday, August 29 at 5:30 p.m.  Working in collaboration with the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), the TOUR is providing honorary memberships to special wounded warriors at each of its 17 TPCs across the country.

In addition to receiving the honorary membership, Giammatteo will serve as the TOUR’s special guest during the Deutsche Bank Championship – the second tournament in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, which is taking place at TPC Boston August 31 – September 3.  PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem will be on hand to make the presentation to Giammatteo, a West Point graduate who was severely injured during his tour of duty in Iraq in 2004.

“On behalf of the PGA TOUR, we feel privileged to have the opportunity to give back to the brave men and women of our military and their families, who sacrifice so much so that all Americans can enjoy a level of freedom and quality of life unmatched around the world,” said Finchem.

Wednesday
Aug292007

Club Adjustability Rule Change

From the R&A press release on rule changes to accomodate adjustable clubs:

“We believe that the Rule change regarding club adjustability will create opportunities for both manufacturers and golfers alike, without diminishing the challenge of the game,” said David Rickman, R&A Director of Rules and Equipment Standards.

“Top professional golfers have long had the opportunity to have their clubs adjusted or modified quickly and often. This has allowed them to ‘fit’ their clubs to their swings as they wished. By changing the Rules to permit greater club adjustability, all golfers will have the opportunity to enjoy similar fitting benefits” added Rickman.

Yes, the benefits of tour vans will be felt by millions of golfers with this move! 

Wednesday
Aug292007

"Everybody needs to cool their jets and see how it plays out."

As a rule it is tough to take a newspaper seriously when they run headlines like "Big Ten extends it brand with new network," but Michael Hiestand does feature some interesting stuff in his Wednesday column. First, some slightly different (higher!) ratings for The Barclays...

Last week's first-round playoff action — The Barclays on CBS — didn't suggest postseason golf is a gimme putt. Sunday's final round drew a 2.1 overnight — translating to 2.1% of 56 urban TV markets. That's up just 5% from ABC's final round last year, when the event was in June. Saturday's third-round drew a 1.7 rating — even with last year.
And then he talks to Johnny, where the real fun starts.
But lead analyst Johnny Miller suggests, "Everybody needs to cool their jets and see how it plays out. I think it will grow on the public and even on the guys in golf. If the players look excited at the end, people might say it's pretty good."

What an endorsement. Thankfully, Johnny hasn't cooled his jets...

Talk about being cautiously optimistic. Miller says back in his playing prime, he "wouldn't have been thrilled" to play four consecutive late-season events — which this year are followed by NBC's Presidents Cup and, next year, by NBC's Ryder Cup. "The public might not understand, but that's a lot at the end of the year."
So, here's Miller's modest proposal — "which won't make me too popular with the PGA or NBC" — for tweaking the format: Allow players' scores to be counted from just two of the first three playoff tournaments.

And that's why Johnny will never be commissioner.

This is just plain ridiculous.

This year's playoff field will be whittled down to 30 for the fourth and final event, meaning it might not end up that star-studded. Miller has a nit to pick with that: "I don't see why they need to go under 70."

Might not be star-studded? The system makes it nearly impossible for the stars to miss it!