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    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
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    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
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    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
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    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
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    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
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    The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    by Chris Millard
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    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

Once you've had 'em, you've got 'em."  HENRY LONGHURST on the yips

 

    

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!

Wednesday
Aug292007

The City That Never Weeps

Thanks to reader Tuco for Mark Cannizzaro's borderline comical rant about Tiger's PR swing through New York city.

Woods' appearance was a cheap shot that ripped through the heart of not only those organizations but the New York area golf fans who bought tickets for last week's tournament expecting to see Woods competing in an event he even did TV ads to promote.

I think New Yorkers need to let this one go because there's no way he's playing the Barclay's next year either. Especially after he saw the greens.

Tuesday
Aug282007

A Few Quick Comments From TPC Boston

greetingsfromboston.jpgThanks to favorable weather and the efforts of superintendent Tom Brodeur, the course is dry and firm with a promising weather forecast.

I toured the course today with Gil Hanse and Brad Faxon, so it was fun not only to hear their insights, but to hear player reactions which included several fine compliments along the lines of "I'm not sure how to play this hole" or "that bunker is right where I want to layup." Of course, the players don't realize they are paying the architects a compliment!

The new fourth is a real standout and I'll post more on that with some photos when I get the chance. Both 16 and 17 could be really fun on television, while the 18th is loaded with trouble but until the original green is blown up, I'm not sure how great it can be.

Most exciting of all is how aged the fescues already look. These images are of 5 month old bunkers. In a few years when the grasses break down and see a little wear and tear, they'll only take on more of an antique flavor.

TPCBoston15bunker.jpg TPCBoston15rightbunker.jpg

 

Tuesday
Aug282007

Marketing Cash Or Deferred Comp

fedexcuplogo.jpgI had a nice chat with Joe Ogilvie today who takes exception to the criticism of the FedEx Cup's deferred compensation purse structure. I countered that the average fan can follow it more easily with cash on the line, which he understood. But then Joe did some calculating and started dropping figures that sounded something like this from Richard Sandomir's piece in the NY Times while arguing that the deferred compensation will most certainly get the attention of players. From Sandomir's story:

If Woods wins and cashes in at 45, and the $10 million gets an annual return of 8 percent, he would get a $29.4 million parting gift. Mickelson, seven years older, would come away with $18.5 million.
If Vijay Singh, who is No. 6 on the FedEx Cup points list, wins the playoff, then sharply reduces his schedule or retires, he could get his $10 million quickly. He turns 45 in February, one day before Stricker turns 41.

Let’s say a youngster like Hunter Mahan, 25, wins it all. If he collects his deferred prize at 45, and he has received an average return of 8 percent over 20 years, he’ll have $46.6 million in his account. Now let’s let compound interest run wild. If Mahan plays until age 55 and his $10 million earns a smashing 12 percent annual return, he’d have $299.6 million. Such a prospect makes the Champions Tour look like essential estate planning.

So has the Tour made a mistake not better marketing the potential prize take or is simply an impossible concept to market because there are so many variables involved?

While it seems nice that they are "maximizing" the potential take for players due to the wonders of compounding interest, would the FedEx Cup be more fan friendly as a cash bonus pool? And therefore, a more productive exercise for the Tour's sponsors...oh and charity of course.

Tuesday
Aug282007

"I’ve made a pretty good start to this FedEx Cup playoff series, so I really want to push on from here and win one of these things."

Ernie Els pulled out of the Deutsche Bank and apparently his web handlers were last to know...
So, this week we stay on the east coast of the United States, making the short journey from New York to Boston for the Deutsche Bank Championship which starts on Friday – not the usual Thursday start – at TPC Boston. This is an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course and it has a lovely mature, almost traditional feel about it. I like it. I understand they’ve made a few changes since we were last here and I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback. I’ve made a pretty good start to this FedEx Cup playoff series, so I really want to push on from here and win one of these things.

So, yeah, the confidence is growing. My game feels in good shape. That gives me a lot of reasons to be optimistic about this week’s Deutsche Bank.

I’ll write again next Tuesday and tell you all about it.

Tuesday
Aug282007

"This looks like a dandy version of a 401 (k) plan, assuming the PGA Tour doesn’t go belly up and well-heeled folks don’t start hating golf."

Richard Sandomir looks at the FedEx Cup annuity concept and says it benefits the players.

This looks like a dandy version of a 401 (k) plan, assuming the PGA Tour doesn’t go belly up and well-heeled folks don’t start hating golf. And it is just the luck of pro golfers that in the privileged sanctum of the PGA Tour, such a retirement plan is possible and a sponsor like FedEx is financing it. The plan was approved last November by the Tour’s policy board, five months after the particulars of the FedEx Cup were announced.

“This was a decision made in the best interest of the vast majority of the players,” said Ty Votaw, an executive vice president of the PGA Tour. “But we recognize that some players would prefer to be paid upfront.”

He added, “Players were encouraged to speak to their accountants.”

 

But are accountants necessarily the best judges of what would add drama and interest to the FedEx Cup? 

Tuesday
Aug282007

First FedEx Cup Ratings...

Tod Leonard on the Barclay's television ratings...
Before the FedEx Cup can run with the big guns at the NFL and major league baseball, it's going to first have to crawl better than Little Leaguers.

On both Saturday and Sunday, the Woods-free Barclays on CBS was beaten by the Little League World Series on ABC. The World Series final Sunday between Georgia and Japan drew a 3.5 overnight rating, while the golf got a 2.1. On Saturday, both the International (1.8) and U.S. (2.2) finals bested The Barclays (1.7).

The Barclays did fare better than a tournament of few stars the week before, the Wyndham Championship. The Wyndham drew a 1.0 on Saturday and 1.3 on Sunday.
Tuesday
Aug282007

Greetings From Boston

greetingsfromboston.jpgPosting will be sporadic as I've landed in Boston and will be at the TPC the next few days soaking up playoff fever. WiFi willing I'll be posting some photos and other observations from the media center.

To whet your appetite, TPC Boston's pro Tom Ellis talks about the course changes and other issues surrounding the Deutsche Bank event, while Dave Shedloski previews the week in his Tour Insider column.

And over at Golf Digest a FedEx Cup gang bang broke out while I was flying cross country. Ron Sirak is lukewarm, John Hawkins offers less than encouraging reviews for the Cup and Westchester in his Golf World game story, while Bill Fields is hopeful that the playoffs will get interesting. Of course, he also quotes several prominent players saying that playoffs may have been a poor choice of words. Huh?

No, we like the idea of a playoff. It just has to act like one!

Monday
Aug272007

Re-branding The Re-branders

Sounds like a bad horror film, eh? Actually, it's just that wonderful world of advertising.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2007

PGA TOUR Helps Celebrate Ad Agency’s Rebranding

Commissioner Tim Finchem joins GSD&M’s announcement to become GSD&M’s Idea City and outlines new assignment

Fix the FedEx Cup?
AUSTIN, TX – The agency that helped develop the PGA TOUR’s two highest-profile advertising campaigns – These Guys Are Good and A New Era in Golf – has undergone a major re-branding campaign of its own.

In a celebration held today at its Austin headquarters that was attended by PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, GSD&M Founder and President Roy Spence unveiled the agency’s new name: GSD&M’s Idea City.

“GSD&M’s Idea City preserves GSD&M’s core values and purpose while stimulating and accelerating progress and innovation in all that we do,” Spence said.  “GSD&M’s Idea City is a destination for visionary ideas that make a difference for our people, our clients, our country and the world.”
GSD&M's Idea City just rolls off the tongue, don't you think? Now I think I'm getting a better understanding of why these branding campaigns are so, uh, incredible.


Commissioner, since you burned up some private jet fuel to be here, would you like to add something?

“On behalf of the PGA TOUR, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to one of the great branding agencies on the rebranding of itself to GSD&M’s Idea City,” Finchem said. “It’s very appropriate. Roy is one of the most creative people I know, and he has built a terrific team
that has done some outstanding work on behalf of the TOUR.”

Finchem indicated the TOUR’s involvement with GSD&M’s Idea City will grow moving forward.

“Not only will we continue our storied relationship but we look forward to expanding our association with GSD&M’s Idea City,” Finchem said.

Storied?

“This includes engaging their strategic expertise on activating, integrating and growing the charitable focus for our three Tours and our tournaments.”
Lots of ing'ing going on down there in Austin.
In addition to the PGA TOUR, the agency has helped create some of the most memorable ad campaigns for leading brands such as AT&T, BMW, NCL and the United States Air Force.

The TOUR and the agency have been partners since 1990. Together, they first introduced the award-winning These Guys Are Good ad campaign in 1997. It remains major pro sports’ longest-running ad campaign.
And they have Casey Martin to thank for it! 
Monday
Aug272007

Monday Morning Reviews

fedexcuplogo.jpgBrian Hewitt found drama in the first round of the playoffs, Rick Carpiniello loved the Barclay's but says the playoff excitement wasn't there yet and Gary Van Sickle found plenty of playoff-like drama...on his local NBC affiliate carrying the U.S. Amateur:
So here's the verdict on the FedEx Cup playoffs: The needle hasn't even moved yet. It's still on zero. It's been stuck on zero all year long as the race to the FedEx Cup never materialized, which is not a surprise since 144 players made the field. That's the whole all-exempt top 125 and another 19 bottom-feeders. No excitement there. The fact that Tiger Woods elected to skip the first of four tournaments didn't help either. Woods dropped to fourth in the FedEx Cup standings, by the way. I'm sure he's pretty worried. He really needs that $10 million in a deferred annuity to avoid ending up in a homeless shelter as an old man.

Give CBS credit for trying to paint a picture of the FedEx Cup race and make it exciting with graphics that showed how players' scores were affecting their projected position in the points standings. It just didn't work. And those graphics and assumptions quickly became annoying, especially early on the back nine during Saturday's round, when imagining where any player would finish was wistful, at best. What if Rory Sabbatini misses this putt and finishes fourth in the tournament? Who cares? What if Emma Peel traveled back in time to help the Mohawks fight off a Martian invasion?

Monday
Aug272007

"The golf course is D.O.A. Now, we're trying to see what to do with the body."

Thanks to reader Rob for this story of another golf course in danger of being paved over, this time a frequent host to U.S. Open qualifiers and other Georgia Golf Association events.

Monday
Aug272007

Walker Cup Captain's Picks

The U.S. Amateur finalist and British Amateur Champion were passed up for younger players...

FOWLER AND STANLEY COMPLETE USA TEAM
FOR WALKER CUP MATCH AT ROYAL COUNTY DOWN IN IRELAND
 
Far Hills, N.J. (Aug. 27) – Rickie Fowler, 18, of Murrieta, Calif., and Kyle Stanley, 19, of Gig Harbor, Wash., have been selected to complete the 10-man squad that will represent the United States of America for the 2007 Walker Cup Match. The Match is scheduled for Sept. 8-9 at Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle, Northern Ireland.  
 
Chosen by the International Team Selection Committee of the United States Golf Association, the squad will face an amateur team representing Great Britain and Ireland.
 
The USGA had earlier announced eight members of the team. They are: Billy Horschel, 20, of Grant, Fla.; Dustin Johnson, 23, of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and Chris Kirk, 22, of Woodstock, Ga.
 
Also previously named were 2007 U.S. Amateur and U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Colt Knost, 22, of Dallas, Texas; Trip Kuehne, 35, of Irving, Texas; Jamie Lovemark, 19, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.; Jonathan Moore, 22, of Vancouver, Wash.; and Webb Simpson, 21, of Raleigh, N.C. All but Kuehne are collegians or recent graduates, who are playing on their first Walker Cup team.
 
The alternates to the team, in rank order, are Michael Thompson, 22, of Tucson, Ariz.; Drew  Weaver, 20, of High Point, N.C., and Alex Prugh, 22, of Spokane, Wash.
 
The Walker Cup Match consists of 16 singles and eight foursomes (alternate shot) matches. The USA reclaimed the Cup with a one-point victory at Chicago (Ill.) Golf Club in 2005. Great Britain and Ireland’s team had won the three previous Matches, in 1999, 2001 and 2003, twice by scores of 15-9 and by 12½ -11½ in 2003. The USA leads the series overall, 32-7-1.
 
Fowler won the 2007 Sunnehanna Amateur in Johnstown, Pa., by one stroke, finishing at 8-under-par 272 for his four rounds. He followed with a win at the 2007 Players Amateur in Bluffton, S.C., where he was 24 under par for 72 holes. He also was a quarterfinalist at the 2006 U.S. Amateur.
 
At the Sunnehanna, he was in the 60s for three of the four rounds. At the Players, his four rounds in the 60s included a 63 and 64.
 
He won the individual title at the 2007 Southern California High School Championship and the 2006 California State High School Championship. He is currently in his first year at Oklahoma State University.
 
Stanley won the 2006 Southern Amateur in Birmingham, Ala., as part of a resume that includes five top-10 finishes in highly regarded amateur events over the past two summers. In winning the Southern Amateur, he posted a 9-under-par total of 275 for 72 holes to win by a single stroke. He reached the second round of match play at the 2007 U.S. Amateur.
 
He was individual runner-up at the 2007 NCAA Championship, where he had a 65 in the third round. He was invited to play in the PGA Tour’s 2007 Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Fla.
 
Stanley, a sophomore year at Clemson University, will be playing in his first Walker Cup Match.
George “Buddy” Marucci, 55, of Villanova, Pa., who played on the USA Walker Cup teams of 1995 and 1997 and was runner-up to Tiger Woods at the 1995 U.S. Amateur, will serve as team captain.
 
“I couldn’t be more pleased to lead this Walker Cup squad to Ireland,” said Marucci. “It is an honor to be involved with this competition and these fine young men who will represent the USA. I appreciate the commitment on the part of our players who were chosen and those who were considered.”

Anyone who follows amateur golf closely care to weigh in? On paper, it seems odd to pass up the first American to win the British Amateur in ages when you will be playing links golf. 

 

Sunday
Aug262007

U.S. Amateur Final Stories

506-t.gifI think outgoing USGA President Walter Driver--exhausted from a week hammering away at his Blackberry while being shuttled around Olympic Club (it's tough to type in that damp air)--really needs to look into a TV career. Did you see how Jimmy Roberts set him up for the winner's on-air trophy presentation, "and now here to present the trophy to Colt Knost, USGA President Walter Driver."

And in that uncanny Hord Hardin way of bungling the television spotlight, Driver then introduced himself. "I'm Walter Driver and I'm president of the USGA."

Slick! I'm telling you, this man was made to be on television. 

Meanwhile they had a wild final match and Beth Murrison sums up Colt Knost's win.Sun_KnostInside1.jpg

Ken Klavon's "Here's To All The Non-Believers" was not targeted at those astounded that Knost could walk 37 holes at Olympic Club without an oxygen tank, but instead is a look at this late starter's unlikely rise to the top of amateur golf.

Alex Miceli looks at the incredibly gracious runner up, Michael Thompson. And the official site publishes some beautiful photos from John Mummert. I can't wait to see how they look blown up in Golf Jour...oops.