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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
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • 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
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins

    Kindle Edition

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

Alister MacKenzie was a genius. He always forced you to play the game of golf backward – from green to tee. First, you had to figure out where the pin was on the green, and then figure out where you wanted to come in from, and then figure out that you have to hit your tee shot over there. He challenged you to a game of chess – find the easiest way to play the hardest hole.  GREG NORMAN



    

Friday
Oct192007

Has The USGA Got It's Groove Study Results Back?

...on the news that the PGA Tour is honing in on a drug testing program and penalties for violators.

Who would have ever thought, based on Commissioner Finchem's reluctance, that the PGA Tour would adopt a comprehensive policy and appear close to putting it in place before the USGA officially deemed U-grooves non-conforming or finished its golf ball study?

Things sure have been quiet on the groove front considering the USGA first announced this in February.

Might the R&A be getting cold feet? Has a manufacturer (other than the Ping dudes) threaten to sue after reading the USGA's documentation? Or did all of the manufacturers actually use their brains and realize that what seemed like a fun idea (new irons and wedges for everyone!) was actually setting a disastrous precedent by rolling back equipment and opening the door for the end-of-the-world scenario: a ball rollback?

Thoughts? 

Thursday
Oct182007

Leaks On First FedEx Cup Tweaks

Golfweek's Rex Hoggard has the scoop on the changes under consideration, one of which sounds excellent, the other I'm not so wild about.

During an Oct. 16 meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., commissioner Tim Finchem told the 16-member PAC that the FedEx Cup, which he proclaimed a “success” in its first year, needed only “minor tweaks” in 2008. Sources told Golfweek.com one of those possible adjustments would be reducing playoff fields; the other would be altering the schedule so that the FedEx playoffs and the Ryder Cup Matches (Sept. 19-21 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.) would not be staged in five consecutive weeks.

Instead, under one proposal, top competitors would play the first two playoff events (The Barclays, Aug. 21-24, and Deutsche Bank Championship, Aug. 29-Sept. 1) as scheduled, have a week off, play the third playoff event (BMW Championship) and then the Ryder Cup. The Tour Championship, now scheduled for Sept. 11-14, would be moved to Sept. 25-28, on the heels of the Ryder Cup.
Okay, that's a winner. That off week should make it tough for guys to skip an event. Should. 
Among the changes for ’08, the Tour is considering reducing the number of players that qualify for the circuit’s four-event “playoff” series. The proposal presented to PAC members was to trim playoff field sizes to 120 players for The Barclays (144 were eligible this year); 90 for the Deutsche Bank Championship (from120); 60 for the BMW Championship (from 70); and the traditional 30 for the Tour Championship. That’s a reduction of 64 total spots from this year’s playoffs.

The trim from 144 to 120 is a no-brainer, but I don't know about you, but I'm growing bored with all of these limited field events, their typically lackluster finishes and reduced playing opportunities. Granted, Tiger's partially to blame for being so much better than everyone and blowing away those limited fields, but I'd vote for leaving the other field sizes as they were while ramping up the point system volatility.

Hoggard also details the first rumored drug policy penalties:

The Tour’s anti-doping policy is expected to have plenty of teeth. According to one PAC member who wished not to be identified, potential punishments for positive tests would be a $5,000 fine for the first offense; a one-year suspension for a second positive test; and a lifetime ban from the PGA Tour, and presumably all members of the Federation of PGA Tours, for a third strike.

The proposed anti-doping legislation announced late last month has  universal support among i the game’s  governing bodies. A positive test and resultant punishment would apply to all of the game’s major championships, as well as on all of the world’s primary tours.

Included among the Tour’s “model prohibited substances and methods list,” are anabolic agents, such as testosterone, as well as beta-blockers, which diminish the effects of adrenaline and narcotics. 

Thursday
Oct182007

More On Tiger's First U.S. Design

asset_upload_file452_3651.jpgLinks editor Hunki Yun pens the most extensive feature I've read to date on Tiger Woods's first U.S. course design at The Cliffs. The spread also features easily the best lit staged architect-developer photo of all time (left). Nice use of reflectors boys! Though way too much Dockers ad for my taste.

Anyway...

Anthony contacted Woods in February, and a major factor in Woods’ decision was the Cliffs’—and Anthony’s—emphasis on health and wellness, which mirrors Woods’ values. In the spirit of fitness, Anthony and Woods originally announced that High Carolina would be walking only. But in the only misstep of the day, they later clarified that walking will be encouraged but not required.

Oh well.

There remains the considerable task of building a course worthy of the hype, not to mention Woods’ fee, estimated to be more than $20 million including real estate sales incentives—nearly 10 times the highest previous going rate. The Cliffs is still working on the permitting for the site, which sits at about 4,000 feet and features 50-mile views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Meanwhile Woods’ design team, led by Beau Welling, formerly Fazio’s top man, has yet to finalize a routing—construction is not likely to begin until mid-2008 and the course won’t open for at least two years after that.

I'm sure we won't hear a thing about it between now and then.

Thursday
Oct182007

"Then I've done what should be done."

The architect press release quotes are getting more torturous every day.

Jack Nicklaus, on the Tucson course he's started that will reportedly land the WGC Match Play when it's done, assuming the design proves worthy...well, and that site licensing fee check clears in Ponte Vedra...

 "Golf course design has been a blessing for me," said Nicklaus. "It has allowed me to take what I learned playing the game of golf and apply it to a piece of ground to create a legacy that will live well beyond what I accomplished as a golfer. If I can design The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain to take advantage of its spectacular high desert setting and beautiful vistas, while integrating solid strategy and good, fair golf shots, then I've done what should be done."
Thursday
Oct182007

Knockdown Shots...CBSSports.com Edition

Steve Elling's much missed "Knockdown Shots" column is back...

 

Wednesday
Oct172007

"A yellow school bus idles in its parking lot; the driver collects ten dollars from those who board."

img10412091.jpgT&L Golf's Thomas Dunne covers the one day a year you can get in the gates to walk Pine Valley.
Clementon Amusement Park in South Jersey is not exactly a place brimming over with good cheer. Although it is celebrating its hundredth anniversary this year, Clementon carries a distinct aura of hard luck—all faded paint and sharp edges and arcane dangers.

But once a year, usually on the last Sunday afternoon in September, the park becomes a portal to another world. A yellow school bus idles in its parking lot; the driver collects ten dollars from those who board. The bus heads down a nondescript lane and then, minutes later, pulls up at the end of a gravel road, where local kids sell burgers and hot dogs off a grill and soft drinks from a cooler. Nearby, a small green-and-white building serves as both town hall and police station and hints that the territory beyond is a separate and sovereign place, far removed from the strip-mall tedium of the surrounding burbs.

A man in a blazer waits near a guardhouse and hands the visitor a scorecard. "Have a nice time," he says. And just like that, one steps, blinking in disbelief, inside the sylvan fold and onto the grounds of what's commonly regarded as the greatest golf course in the world: Pine Valley.

In a strange coincidence, a Links profile by the late, great Pam Emory was posted over at CBSSports.com.

Wednesday
Oct172007

"Just giving him the respect he deserves is really all it would take for Finchem to carve out a relationship with the No. 2 draw in golf."

In this week's "Quiet Please" column, Golf World's Tim Rosaforte writes:

Tim Finchem might learn a lesson from Phil Mickelson's appearance at this week's Fry's Electronics Open.  Mickelson is playing at Grayhawk GC for no other reason than he's a loyal guy. He's carried the club logo on his bag without re-upping his contract since 1994, has the grillroom named after him and is the front man and course designer at Whisper Rock, just north on Scottsdale Road. It's his way of paying back a community that has been supporting him since his days at Arizona State. The lesson: Phil is good to people who are good to him. Just giving him the respect he deserves is really all it would take for Finchem to carve out a relationship with the No. 2 draw in golf.

Now, off the top of my head, I can think of one embarrassment Finchem saved Mickelson from this year.

So I'm struggling to understand what it is that the Commissioner is supposed to do that he's not doing now for Mickelson? 

While we're on the subject of Whisper Rock, Tom Dellner profiles it for the current issue of Links. 

Wednesday
Oct172007

Rory's Mom: It's The Irish Blood That Makes Him Do It

maar01_sabbatini.jpgJaime Diaz profiles Rory Sabbatini in the November Golf Digest and gets to the bottom of the South African's easy going manner:
"You pass the genes on," says his mother, Sharon, by phone from South Africa. "I've got Irish blood in me, and I've got a very, very short fuse. And I also speak my mind, and it gets me into trouble as well. You get to a boiling point, and you explode, and obviously you regret it afterward. But most people appreciate me for being straightforward. I'm not one of these mundane, boring people, and neither is my son. I've always let him be himself."
Wednesday
Oct172007

"Which is why they’re going to wear full rain gear to practice Thursday, regardless of the weather."

chappell.jpgSean Martin's Golfweek.com excellent profile of the UCLA men's golf team and issues they are facing, starting with the fact they haven't played an event yet.

Then there's the team member who is playing round 1 of PGA Tour Qualifying school the day after UCLA finishes their first event (they call this amateur golf!?) and there's the incoming freshman who had a rough summer...after missing three PGA Tour cuts.

Oh and this reminder that college coaches have been known to overthink things from time to time.

Even the course that’s hosting the Bruins’ first tournament – Chambers Bay Golf Club in University Place, Wash. – is a mystery. The links-style layout opened just four months ago, but is already No. 2 on the recently-released Golfweek’s Best New Courses list. The late-October weather in Washington could throw another wrench in the Bruins’ debut, which is why they’re going to wear full rain gear to practice Thursday, regardless of the weather.

If they're playing Riviera, should be nice and warm in those suits. 

Wednesday
Oct172007

Gatorade Photo Caption Fun, Vol. 1

See, Tiger really did pick out the flavors himself.

I wonder what's being said here... 

Tiger-Testing-025_Web.jpg 

Wednesday
Oct172007

In Case You Missed It...TNT Notes From Grand Slam Day 1

Shocking as it may seem, but I elected to have baseball on instead of the Grand Slam of Golf. But thanks to TNT, we can still relive Bobby Clampett's most profound day one insights:

Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the 25th Annual PGA Grand Slam of Golf from the Mid Ocean Club in Bermuda

First Round – Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Clampett on Zach Johnson’s early-round struggles:  “(Zach Johnson) has been like a deer in headlights on these greens.  (The greens) have really spooked him.”

Like a deer in headlights? Never heard that one before.

Clampett on the different style of play at the Grand Slam: “Players are not used to playing in foursomes, so it’s a different pace of play.  That’s why I like a guy like (Angel) Cabrera who plays so quickly in this format.  The slower player feels like he is in everybody’s way if he takes extra time.”

Or the fast player gets itchy and cranky thinking that he picked the wrong month to quit smoking.

Clampett on Angel Cabrera’s physical fitness: “(Angel Cabrera is) a modern-day John Daly.”

I'm sorry, did I miss something? John Daly is still alive and playing isn't he?

Clampett on player’s hitting off the scenic 18th tee along the shoreline: “It’s a challenge to get set up on a hole like this with all this beauty around.”

Kratzert: “(Players) find (themselves) staring and kind of dreaming.”

Clampett: “Zach Johnson and (Angel) Cabrera (are) looking out in the ocean more than they are looking at (Jim) Furyk (hitting his tee shot).”

Boy am I sorry I missed that exchange when it happened. 

Wednesday
Oct172007

Oakmont East Closed...For Good?

230136-1097695-thumbnail.jpg
Oakmont East From Googe Earth (click to enlarge)
Mike Dudurich
reports on Oakmont Country Club closing it's neighboring 1938 Emil Loeffler public course, possibly for good.

The 18-hole public layout, which borders historic Oakmont Country Club's 3rd hole, was closed for play in the fall of 2006 as preparations began in earnest for the 2007 U.S. Open.

It has not opened in 2007 and, while no decisions have been made beyond 2008, the possibility exists that it may not reopen at all.

"With all of the considerations for the 2010 Women's Open (which will be held at Oakmont CC), at least for 2008, we are not going to open the Oakmont East golf course," said Oakmont CC general manager Tom Wallace. "It would require rebuilding the course so that it's safe again for play and then it would be put back in use for the Women's Open. We need a clearer picture about what the footprint will be for the Women's Open before we make any long-term decisions. We're reviewing all options."

If the USGA Executive Committee were in touch with reality, they might understand that the closing of a public course to make it a one week permanent tent village every few years or could ultimately reflect poorly on them and their all important corporate partners.

Tuesday
Oct162007

“I'm scared for her future.”

Lorne Rubenstein writes about Michelle Wie and features some strong comments from her coach, David Leadbetter.

“If she hadn't played those [men's] tournaments, then everybody would have considered 2006 her best season yet,” Wie's swing coach, David Leadbetter, who had made his opinions known to her and her family, said Monday from his home in Orlando. “It was absolute madness for her to play them. That started the whole debacle. Now with Greg Nared leaving, you feel like this is the Titanic.”

Wie has also been dealing with injuries. She'd developed tendinitis in her right wrist. Then, in February, she broke her left wrist. She came back too early.

“First, the wrist hadn't healed properly and she'd done very little rehab,” Leadbetter said. “You don't come back and play so fast. The injury has to heal and then you have to rehab it. Then you have to get stronger. When you don't use your wrist, the forearms and upper body atrophy. After you get stronger, you have to hit balls and get competitive. Then you play. Michelle bypassed the whole process.”

And... 
Wie is a wealthy young woman because of endorsements with Nike and Sony. For a time anyway, it seemed reasonable for her to play PGA Tour events. She had a dream, and she came close to making a PGA Tour cut when she was 14. But at some point, as Leadbetter said, her and her parents' approach became unrealistic.

“It's not even logical,” Leadbetter said. “I'm scared for her future.”
Tuesday
Oct162007

"Talk about a lost opportunity."

Alan Shipnuck notes in this week's Hot/Not golf.com column something missed by most in the announcement of ESPN as new Masters cable partner:
1. Golf Channel. First it misplaced its 'The.' Now the Masters has dumped USA for a new Thursday-Friday cable provider, but it snubbed the so-called home of golf in favor of ESPN. Talk about a lost opportunity.
Tuesday
Oct162007

"Woods even picked out the flavors himself"

This man is hands-on! And it's definitely a slow news day since I see nearly every paper online picked up this vital story.

Tiger Woods will have his own brand of sports drink next year under an endorsement deal announced Tuesday with Gatorade that marks a couple of firsts for the world's No. 1 golfer — his first U.S. deal with a beverage company and his first licensing agreement.

Gatorade said it will introduce "Gatorade Tiger" in March, with more products to follow. Woods even picked out the flavors himself, with the drink available in a cherry blend, citrus blend and grape.
That's so good to know!
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, although Golfweek magazine reported last month it was for five years and could pay Woods as much as $100 million, moving him closer to the $1 billion mark in career endorsements.

"There have been some licensing elements to things we've done," said Mark Steinberg, his agent at IMG, who cited video games produced by EA Sports as an example. "But everything he does with Gatorade is going to be creating new products. It's something Tiger and I and our licensing business has been looking at for some time."

Fascinating! 
"Gatorade has been part of my game plan for years, whether I'm training or competing, so this is an ideal match," Woods said in a statement. "I'm eager to launch my first signature product in a few months and look forward to developing additional sports performance beverages with Gatorade in the coming years."

It's almost like he said that himself. Almost.

Woods, with 61 victories on the PGA Tour and 13 major championships, joins a stable of star athletes at Gatorade — Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning and Mia Hamm. None of those athletes has licensing deals, which also is a first for Gatorade, a division of PepsiCo.

"His iconic nature resonates everywhere he goes," said Jeff Urban, senior vice president of Gatorade. "Bridging that iconic nature with his will to win, those things make this a big deal for us."

Urban said it was too early to say how Gatorade would market Woods and his new product line, especially since the drink will not be available until the spring.

On pins and needles here.

The company released video of Woods going through sweat analysis testing with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, which tested such things as his sweat rate and energy needs during exercise.

Woods has endorsed everything from sports equipment and apparel (Nike) to financial services (Accenture) to automobiles (Buick) to shaving products (Gillette). His first beverage deal comes after 11 years as a professional.

"We wanted to get away from a straight endorsement deal in the beverage category," Steinberg said. "We thought this would be the best fit for his first licensing deal. It's authentic to what Tiger does every day, as hard as he works out every day."

Okay I gotta cut this one off.

Tuesday
Oct162007

Angry About Bandon

Golf Digest's anonymous "Angry Golfer" isn't very pleased with the service at Bandon Dunes these days.

 

Tuesday
Oct162007

Mid-Ocean Tour

hole_17.jpgAfter checking out this hole-by-hole walking tour and T.J. Auclair's preview story, I'm more inclined to watch some of the Grand Slam of Golf today to check out Mid-Ocean.


Monday
Oct152007

Woods Skips Christening, U.S. Media Skips The Story

I missed this story last week while traveling but I'm not sure what excuse the golf press has for not reporting it. Here it is, first reported (in English) by Marcus Oscarsson in the Times:

The golfer Tiger Woods has missed the baptism in Sweden of his three-month-old daughter, Sam, according to Swedish media reports.

Woods is married to the Swedish model Elin Nordegren, whose family turned out in force for the christening ceremony in Stockholm yesterday. But one source close to the family said: "“Everybody was very surprised over the fact that Tiger did not show up.”

This Daily Express story explored things a bit more:

While the traditional christening was important to Elin and her family, insiders said Woods’s Buddhist beliefs meant the ceremony was less of a priority.

However, photos of Woods, 31, posing with his arms around Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher at the fund-raiser 6,000 miles away merely fuelled gossip. One columnist wrote: “Hey, hasn’t the guy heard of a daily planner?

“Couldn’t he and Elin, have picked a free day – no charity events, no golf, no shooting a dozen TV ads – then had their daughter baptised?”

Elin’s Swedish relatives were reportedly “very surprised” her husband was not there.

After flying into Stockholm on a private jet, Elin, 27, and baby Sam Alexis Woods were picked up by the model’s twin sister Josefin and the baby was christened in a specially decorated gymnasium. Meanwhile, last Saturday’s Tiger Woods Block Party in California raised £500,000 for a school learning programme.

A friend said Woods was “in great spirits”, adding: “He was the life and soul of the party. We had no idea his baby was being christened on the same weekend.”

Allan Maki in the Globe and Mail was the only writer to question Tiger's decision:

But hey, hasn’t the guy heard of a daily planner? Couldn’t he and his wife, Swedish model Elin Nordegren, have picked a free day – no charity events, no golf, no shooting a dozen new TV ads – then had their three-month-old daughter baptized?

Now, I could care less what Tiger does or does not do with his spare time. And frankly, I can't say I blame him for skipping a baptism in a gymnasium halfway around the globe.

But considering that way too many questions asked of Tiger this year in press conferences were schmaltzy, lame and mindless softballs revolving around the birth of his daughter, resulting in countless "fatherhood will make him a more complete man" columns, shouldn't some of the scribblers who peddled that at least report this?

Monday
Oct152007

"Three weeks ago I did not know who Gary Player was. And I am sure that - with much greater reason - he had never heard of me either. But now we are tangled up in one of South Africa's messiest controversies."

George Monbiot apparently started the Burma nightmare for Gary Player and probably doesn't make things any better with this Guardian guest column discussing his questions for Player's design group following Player's response.

He first explains how the controversy came about:

I came across him while researching the column I wrote about Burma a fortnight ago. In trying to discover which western companies have been operating there, I stumbled upon a list of the country's recent golf course developments. He was named as the designer of the Pun Hlaing course in Rangoon. His website boasted that he had turned "a 650-acre rice paddy into The Pride of Myanmar".

I asked his company who owned the land on which the course was constructed. How many people were evicted in order to build it? Was forced labour used? As his company is based in Florida, did this work break US sanctions? It refused to answer my questions. I suggested in my column that Nelson Mandela should remove his name from the charity golf tournament Player is due to host next month.

My call was taken up by Desmond Tutu and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu). The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, which claims to own the event, asked Mr Player to stand down as the tournament's guest of honour. Player's company responded by claiming that it was in fact the joint owner of the event; he has refused to stand aside. The controversy is still raging. Cosatu has promised to turn up and protest if Player does not withdraw.

One result of the fuss is that the Gary Player Group was obliged to issue a statement about its involvement in Burma. It maintained that "the company's decision to design the course in Burma was actually humanitarian in that it took no profit from the endeavour, but rather encouraged the developer to put the money toward creating jobs, as well as the establishment of a caddy & agronomy program ... the company was paid expenses only". Converting 650 acres of rice paddy in a country suffering from malnutrition into a golf course likely to be used by the generals looks to me like an unusual object for charity, so I asked Player's company to provide some evidence for these claims.

Oh boy, here's where it reeeaaaaallllyyyy awkward.

The same statement maintained that "Gary Player has always been a great supporter of human rights" and has "a solid record of campaigning for democracy around the world". To test this claim, I ordered the book he wrote in 1966, when he was 30 years old and at the peak of his remarkable career. Grand Slam Golf is well-written and strangely compelling: it makes the game seem almost interesting, even to me. But chapter two contains the following statements: "I must say now, and clearly, that I am of the South Africa of Verwoerd and apartheid ... a nation which is the result of an African graft on European stock and which is the product of its instinct and ability to maintain civilised values and standards amongst the alien barbarians ... The African may well believe in witchcraft and primitive magic, practise ritual murder and polygamy; his wealth is in cattle. More money and he will have no sense of parental or individual responsibility, no understanding of reverence for life or the human soul which is the basis of Christian and other civilised societies. ... A good deal of nonsense is talked of, and indeed thought about 'segregation'. Segregation of one kind or another is practised everywhere in the world."

Journalists in South Africa pointed me to allegations that Gary Player was used as a kind of global ambassador by the apartheid government. In 1975 he collaborated with the Committee for Fairness in Sport, which was set up by the government to try to overcome the global sporting boycott. In 1981 he featured on the UN's blacklist of sports people breaking the boycott. So I asked Player's company questions about these incidents as well.

All this is a long time ago, and Gary Player's attitude towards the apartheid regime is very different today. But another human rights issue is still current. There is a real problem with golf, and it is not confined to the dress sense of the participants. All over the world the construction of golf courses is associated with dispossession and environmental destruction. You'll find a flavour of the controversies it stirs up in Aberdeenshire at the moment, where Donald Trump is promoting a project to create the "world's greatest golf course" on a site of special scientific interest.

From there it spirals into a rant about environmentally destructive practices in golf, not all of which are true. 

Monday
Oct152007

Cialis Jokes and Lame Bathtub Ads No More; IBM Out Too

From Sports Business Journal:

After 10 years, IBM presses ‘escape’ on PGA Tour deal

Oh wouldn't you love to know the Cialis-inspired headlines that were considered?

The company has been the tour’s “official information technology partner” for 10 years and has wide-ranging rights. It is embedded deeply enough into the sport that it may still be involved with the tour or possibly provide products or services to its successor as the tour’s technology sponsor, sources said, but it won’t return as an official sponsor.

Darn, and I was hoping this meant no more lousy IBM laptops in press rooms.

IBM provides the ShotLink real-time scoring system and the TourCast application, which provides online graphical webcasts of tour stops on PGATour.com.

Other than pricing, sources said IBM was distressed that some competitors gained access to tour equity through affiliations with local events, like EDS’ title sponsorship of the Byron Nelson Championship.

Gained access to tour equity. That's a keeper.

Hey, but at least now we all know what business EDS is in.

IBM has been a Masters sponsor for more than 20 years, and with its official PGA Tour status winding down, it is looking at more tournament affiliations. However, the tour is asking its tournaments not to do any exclusive deals with IBM in deference to any future sponsorship it may cut with a technology partner. An e-mail this month from PGA Tour CMO Tom Wade to tournament directors, obtained by SportsBusiness Journal, stated, “A continued relationship with IBM beyond 2007 is uncertain.” It went on to say the tour is in discussions with “a few different technology partners” who would “invest significantly with many of our tournaments.” Wade asks event directors to contact the tour before granting IBM official or exclusive rights.

Fun times.

Meanwhile, Cialis will not renew its official marketing partnership with the tour. Eli Lilly signed the four-year deal late in 2003 as it prepared to go to market with the erectile dysfunction drug.

But their ad looked so good on the scoreboards. And think of all the fathers who will be deprived of the privilege of explaining Cialis to their sons and daughters.