The greater the experience I have of designing golf courses, the more certain I am that blindness of all kinds should be avoided. ALISTER MACKENZIE
Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette questions the NCAA's concern$ over writers doing live game updates and mentions the USGA's policy on live blogging on site at Oakmont (don't even think of whipping out a PDA on the course...unless you are Walter Driver!).
From Bob Verdi's Golf World column on the U.S. Open:
...you know what they say around USGA headquarters. What's the difference between God and Walter Driver? God doesn't go around acting like Walter Driver.
I think Bob has just moved ahead of me on the hit list!
If I'm Phil Mickelson, I'm crafting a letter of apology to the USGA and the membership at Oakmont, then, at my next press conference, I'm saying I really messed up after missing the cut by blaming my wrist injury on "course set-up." For his competitiveness, and the way he treated the people in the town of Oakmont during his stay, Mickelson really won everybody over. But his comments were damaging and he needs to make it right before moving on. Another good move would be to enter Tiger's tournament, the AT&T National, but that would mean three straight weeks of tournament golf -- Lefty's already committed to Loch Lomond the week before the Open Championship.
It seemed to me no one took Phil seriously?
Well either way, Rosaforte needs to add Chris DiMarco to the list then, since he told Golf World's Jim Moriarty in this week's issue (story not posted yet):
"It's going to take somebody swinging through and breaking an arm or something for them to finally realize that maybe the rough is a little too much. It's going to take somebody getting hurt for them to maybe gear down a little bit."
"But it really is so premature it would be unfair to comment other than to say they have the infrastructure there to do it."
Wow, a PGA Tour drug testing policy is almost here but still no ball study complete. And just think gents, all we had to do was throttle the ball back 15-20 yards and stop having everyone telling us that you were better athletes and you wouldn't have to pee in a cup the rest of your careers! Oh well!
The Commish Wednesday:
“It’s unfortunate that these realities are with us, but they are,’’ Finchem said Wednesday at the Travelers Championship. “And we have to deal with them, and I think it’s important that golf deal with them collectively.’’
Doug Ferguson weighs in (tastefully I might ad, thus likely ruling him out for GWAA award consideration) on the birth of Tiger and Elin's first child.
The great coincidence about this birth was the timing.
Woods’ daughter was born the morning after he finished second by one shot at the U.S. Open, needing a 30-foot birdie putt on the last hole to force an 18-hole playoff Monday. It might be the one time, in hindsight, Woods didn’t mind settling for second.
Eight years ago, Phil Mickelson was about to become a father when he missed a 25-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole at Pinehurst No. 2 that would have forced a playoff against Payne Stewart. His daughter was born the next afternoon.
Everyone knows the Mickelson children because they are dressed to the nines when they run out to the 18th. The exception was The Players Championship, when Amy and the kids were in San Diego, and Mickelson had to settle for a hug from Butch Harmon.
The only time Elin Woods was a prominent part of the picture was last summer at Hoylake, and only because Woods was a blubbering mess of tears having captured his first victory since the death of his father.
Elin once talked about wives and children going out to the 18th green to celebrate victory, and while she thought it was “very cool,’’ she had a hard time doing it herself because “it’s just not my personality.’’
I'm actually looking forward to the press questioning Tiger about the timing of the birth. It seems like there is a decent chance he had some inkling Sunday that she was about to give birth.
I'd be curious what he knew, when he knew it, and most of all, where he drummed up the audacity to not milk the situation like you know who did back in '99!
Seems things are not shaping up very nicely at Carnoustie, where superintendent John Philp has been suspended over a personnel issue and apparently conditions aren't exactly thriving in his absense. Thanks to reader Jim for catching this.
"Improved aerodynamic efficiency, resulting in increased flight distance for golfers of all swing speeds"
Thanks to reader Kevin for noticing David Dawsey's latest golf patent post, this one on a new ball from Titleist:
A golf ball is provided that has improved aerodynamic efficiency, resulting in increased flight distance for golfers of all swing speeds, and more particularly for golfers possessing very high swing speeds, such as those who can launch the balls at an initial speed greater than 160 miles per hour and more particularly at initial ball speed of about 170 miles per hour or higher. The golf ball of the present invention combines lower dimple count with multiple dimple sizes to provide higher dimple coverage and improved aerodynamic characteristics.
"Phil Mickelson, for all the abuse he took for offering an honest opinion, wasn't entirely wrong, either."
Steve Elling played Oakmont Monday and lives to write about just how correct both Tiger and Phil were in their assessments:
Speaking for the parade of media hacks who hung around Oakmont Country Club on Monday, we're sorry we doubted you, man.
Moreover, Phil Mickelson, for all the abuse he took for offering an honest opinion, wasn't entirely wrong, either.
Last week at the U.S. Open, Woods twice asserted that a 10-handicap player, counting every shot and playing by the rulebook, couldn't crack the century mark at absurdly difficult Oakmonster, the hardest course he had ever played.
"No chance," Woods said.
Mickelson, in a parting comment that prompted some to characterize him as a whiner, said the course was "dangerous" because the rough was so deep, players risked injuring their wrists and hands.
After spending five murderous hours on the course Monday, we're here to offer assurance in first-hand fashion that both were right on the money, in either fact or principle.
You'll have to click on the story link to find out how Elling broke 100!
Thanks to reader John for this Stu Pospisil story on Ballyneal.
Love this little local touch...
A caddy at Ballyneal is a golfer's best friend. One reason is the caddy discreetly carries a GPS device in the pocket of his bib, giving precise yardages to the flagstick every time. The caddy will take you on the short walks from the green to the next tee. Better follow closely, or beware of the yucca and the occasional cactus or lizard.
Each hole on the 6,995-yard, par-71 course, routed through an area of chop hills by course architect Tom Doak, has at least three teeing grounds. Downwind holes, head to the Tiger tips. Wind gusting in the face, consider moving up one or two tees.
"How we play is that the winner of the last hole picks where to hit from," Ballyneal owner and developer Rupert O'Neal said.
The tees at Ballyneal are truly works of art. Great to hear they take full advantage of their versatility.
Bill Fields does his Darwin thing and files another enjoyable essay from Oakmont with a couple of nice anecdotes.
As part of a magazine issue that featured a number of swing sequences, I wrote LPGA Hall of Famer Mickey Wright, who was among several legendary players Golf World asked to submit their five favorite swings in golf. Less than a week after sending Wright my request, I received a handwritten response from her. Along with Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Gene Littler and Louise Suggs on Wright's list was the name of Angel Cabrera. All Wright did was win 82 tournaments and 13 majors with one of the best swings--male or female--the game has ever seen. When Cabrera seized the halfway lead at even-par 140 last week, it felt like I had a bit of insider-trading information.And...
The fate of that tee ball was a metaphor for the whole week: The line separating success and failure was as fine as it ever gets in golf, a skinny thread of demarcation that separated the golfers left with a headache and the one that hoisted the trophy. "I just don't like the black-and-whiteness of the guaranteed one-shot penalty for hitting it in a bad spot," said defending champion Geoff Ogilvy, who finished T-42 at 19-over 299. "But as I said, I'm frustrated, so it's a bad time to interview a player."
SI's John Garrity goes in an entirely different but most enjoyable direction with a tongue-in-cheek (I think!) chat with an Oakmont member.
I had gotten a lunchtime call from a stranger, who told me the Oakmont members were angry because their course was playing too easy. "Two guys broke par yesterday," he said. His voice cracked on the word broke. "Paul Casey just shot a 66. A 66!" This last lament was pitched so high that I pictured the Hindenburg going down in flames.
I can't say I was surprised. Look up sado masochism in the Physician's Desk Reference, and you'll find a thumbnail photo of the Oakmont clubhouse along with footnotes on Church Pew bunkers, overgrown ditches and H.C. Fownes, the Pittsburgh businessman who designed the course more than a century ago. Fownes loved his golf course the way Torquemada loved the rack, and he passed his cruel streak on to his son Bill. "The virility and charm of the game lies in its difficulties," wrote Bill Fownes. "Keep it rugged, baffling, hard to conquer. . . . Let the clumsy, the spineless and the alibi artist stand aside!"
"So what are you saying?" I asked. "That the USGA comes in and sets up Oakmont to play easier than normal?"
His hands flew up. "Do I have to spell it out for you? Who ordered our super to cut the rough over the weekend? Who made him slow the greens to 13 1/2 or 14? Who told you media guys that Oakmont would be 'tough but fair?' " Realizing that his nose had popped out of the shadows for a second, Deep Rough drew back. "Fair? Who said golf was supposed to be fair?"
Regaining his composure, he let his voice drop to a melodramatic whisper: "Follow the dandruff."
How does he do it? As usual, Golf World's J.D. Cuban was at the right place at the right time to capture this shot of Paul Casey's unplayable bunker shot Sunday at Oakmont. Though I'm not sure this is exactly the mark of brilliant bunker construction...outside of Oakmont, PA anyway.
"You would think the Tour would place some value on Hartford's long tradition and effort, but the suits in Ponte Vedra Beach had their eyes on bigger money."
And you thought it was bad when he turned 30!
Like obit writers prepared for a celebrity passing, it appears America's finest golf scribes were armed and ready for the birth of Tiger and Elin's daugher. Poor (well...) Sam Woods wasn't even 48 hours old and the preachy, maudlin and utterly meaningless but oh-so-award-hopeful columns have already begun (here, here, here, here, here, here) about Tiger's role as the very first father in the history of the human race.
"The decision to pull out of the John Deere Classic is the first glimmer of hope that some better decisions will be made down the road."
Ron Sirak hopes that Michelle Wie's decision to pull out of the John Deere Classic is the sign of better career management to come. He also
A defense of giving Wie a free pass into the Deere becomes especially difficult for the PGA Tour when it is hyping the first year of the FedEx Cup, and its points race, and then denies a spot in a tour event to a potential qualifier for the playoffs in favor of a 17-year-old girl who is out of her league against the best players in the world. It may be too conspiratorial to think the tour and Deere were working behind the scenes to get Wie to pull out -- no doubt offering an invitation somewhere down the road -- but there is no question both the tour and the tractor-makers are breathing a sigh of relief.
Too conspiratorial? Well now that I think about it, you are talking about the same people who killed the Western Open. So it's doubtful they were that creative in this case.