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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
  • 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
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
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

If I wanted to know how I played, I awaited the next day's account in The Times. With what was therein written I was content, for here was the truth of things. I want nothing more than to be remembered by posterity in the words of Bernard Darwin.  J.H. TAYLOR

 

    

Monday
Jul302007

"No Jeans, training pants or hot pants."

Reader Steve was checking up on the Russian Open, this week's European Tour event, and stumbled on this spectator's etiquette guide. Some of the more intriguing recommendations:

Turn your camera flash off. If you can't, refrain from taking any photographs while a player is taking a shot. Also, if your camera automatically rewinds at the end of the film, be aware of how many shots you have left before you snap away.
It's great to hear digital cameras still haven't made it somewhere on the planet. And what a shame Stevie's not there with Tiger. 
Golf promotes a specific Dress Code. Please dress appropriately when attending the golf tournament. The Dress Code is as follows:

No high heels are allowed, flat soled shoes only. To avoid damage to the course and for your safety.

Shirts with collars only must be worn at all times (no bikinis/swimsuits).

No Jeans, training pants or hot pants.

No hot pants? What does Ian Poulter do?

Monday
Jul302007

"I wonder if the members of the Green Bay Packers when they won the very first Super Bowl in 1967.."

The bigwigs gathered to plug the upcoming Deutsche Bank event at TPC Boston, and they even included my pal Gil Hanse to talk about the course architecture. Even though you and I know we'll be watching to see those exciting FedEx Cup point permutations unfold.

RIC CLARSON: I wonder if the members of the Green Bay Packers when they won the very first Super Bowl in 1967, which wasn't even called the Super Bowl then, realized their place in history. The fact of the matter is they knew it was a big game and an important game, but they didn't realize that the way that New England's fans realized it when the Patriots won the Super Bowl. Thus we embark on a new era in golf called the FedExCup.
Wow Ric, how long did you spend sculpting that gem? 
Adam Scott, the very first winner of the Deutsche Bank Championship, you never get a second chance to be first, and we're delighted on behalf of the PGA TOUR after 24 years to actually have a season now that is structured like other sports where our athletes have the chance to not only perform over a 33-week regular season but a four-week Playoffs.

Some of the greatest moments in sports come from Playoffs. Some of the greatest moments in golf have happened right here at the Deutsche Bank, and when you combine those two ingredients, we think we're in for a great new era in golf.

Some of the greatest moments in golf have happened at the Deutsche Bank? And you say you don't learn things coming to this website?

BRAD FAXON: I just want to say here, I've been part of the TPC since day one when we broke ground here. It's been six or seven years ago we broke ground. We always needed a facility like this, and I'm proud to say that the TPC of Boston is the best TPC in the country, especially now with what's been done, with everybody partnering now to make this tournament, the Deutsche Bank tournament, Seth, the TPC, the PGA TOUR, to go ahead and let us make changes to make this tournament-worthy golf course.

Easy Brad, let's break 'em in slow!

Like Seth said, everybody knows Deutsche Bank is on Labor Day. We're going to have an unbelievable field, and I'm pretty excited to see the reaction of all the players when they come here and see a course that was maybe liked but not super-well-liked, and hopefully the changes that you're going to get to see now, you're going to say, wow, this is different, this is a New England-style golf course, this looks old, it looks like it's been here. The bad lies and the bad shots that you get today are going to be Gil's fault (laughter).

And from Gil:

As Brad mentioned, what we were really hopeful of doing was trying to create a golf course that looked and felt a little bit more like New England. So I think the touches that you'll see out there will really be reflective of we borrowed literally and liberally from The Country Club, places that are close to our hearts, great old New England golf courses, drop mounds, some blind shots, fescue edged bunkers, fescue out in the rough areas. So hopefully the golf course will feel and look a little bit more rustic and a little bit more like New England.

From a playability standpoint, these guys are so good that I'm skeptical that there's anything we can do from a physical standpoint to limit or restrict what they do. You can always make bunkers so deep, you can only grow rough so thick and tall and you can only have greens so fast.
But what we really tried to concentrate on is the place where I think is the most vulnerable is the mental aspect, trying to make them have to think significantly of different options and different ways to play golf holes, making them feel uncomfortable over shots because they can't quite see the bottom of the flagstick or they might have been in a bunker or on an island and they don't quite have a perfect lie. I think these are the things that architects are going to have to rely more and more on as we go forward with technology and as good athletes as these gentlemen are and the way they play the game.

So hopefully you'll find more strategy, more areas -- I think Pete Dye has a phrase, "Once you get these guys thinking, they're in trouble." I think that's what we're hoping for is we can make them think a little bit more as they go around the golf course and explore different options and opportunities.

Tiger then joined in at this point and he artfully sidestepped questions about the course changes he hasn't seen yet.

Monday
Jul302007

Stupples Ditched For Pursuing Radical Heterosexual Lifestyle

stupplestrophy.jpgRemember the good old days when sponsors would love to have a pregnant LPGA golfer on staff? Not anymore, reports Lewine Mair:
Karen Stupples, the former British Women's Open champion, claims that she was ditched by two sponsors because she became pregnant.

Stupples, 34, whose son, Logan, was born in April, says she is still owed £20,000 by Hi-Tec, the sports shoe manufacturer.

According to Stupples, Hi-Tec were meant to give her a cheque for £10,000 in January and another cheque for £10,000 this month but have not done so.

Stupples also claims that another of her sponsors, the Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girdeau, Missouri, wanted to cut her annual fee of $40,000 in half, on the grounds that she would be playing less than in a normal year.

"I felt so hurt because I considered these people to be friends," said Stupples, who claims she turned down more lucrative deals to stay loyal to her sponsorship partners after she became British champion in 2004.

No one at Hi-Tec was available for comment yesterday but they have told her managers, IMG, that they are concentrating their resources on Padraig Harrington and Ian Woosnam.
Ian Woosnam? He still plays?
Monday
Jul302007

"He's got the wrong swing coach, that's for sure."

It's always dangerous when otherwise excellent sports writers try to cover golf, but at least you can sympathize with their plight. And then there's Mike Lupica, who really isn't excellent and who is frequently paid to write about golf. And I'm always left wondering why.

Case in point, from his New York Daily News column, courtesty of reader Tuco:

It will be interesting to see how Tiger Woods does at the PGA in Tulsa next month, because there are smart, informed golf guys I know who say he is burned out right now.

He's got the wrong swing coach, that's for sure.

Yep, that's a given. No Grand Slam under Hank's watch!

 

His knee bothers him more than he lets on.

But this guy I talked to said that the biggest problem is that Tiger is simply a little burned out, after the long run he's had being ... Tiger!

Turns out it was Jerry Corzzinni, a runway technical supervisor at Teterboro who spotted Tiger rubbing his finger between his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose during a particularly nasty post-FedEx Cup ad campaign launch luncheon in New York City. 

Lupica gets all of the scoops.

Seriously, is must be nice to be burned out and still nearly win two majors! 

Monday
Jul302007

"I originally thought the piece was a parody out of The Onion."

Hey, I'm not the only one mystified by the USGA or Furman Bisher's swooning. Ryan Ballengee thought Bisher's column was produced by The Onion!

Monday
Jul302007

"I've been told by the family not to talk to the press."

wieandcaddie.jpgIs that Luca Brasi talking about the Corleone's? No, just another caddie (not) talking about the Wie family. 

Ron Sirak serves up that and several other interesting Michelle Wie observations from the Evian Masters:

Want an indication of the tension level surrounding the Michelle Wie Camp as she continues to struggle with her game? David Clarke, who is about the 14th person to caddie for Michelle - and I'm being serious with that number - was approached by a reporter after Saturday's round and asked what club she hit on the 115-yard par-3 17th hole and replied: "I've been told by the family not to talk to the press." Hardly seems like revealing club selection is divulging a state secret. Clarke should know how to handle these situations. He toted luggage for Justin Rose on the men's tour before swing guru David Leadbetter hooked him up with Wie. At least Clarke finished the Evian Masters. Two years ago, Brian Smallwood, a long-time caddie for Betsy King, quit after one round here, fed-up with second-guessing from Wie's parents. And last year, Wie fired Greg Johnston after she finished T-26 in the Women's British Open the week after the Evian. Why caddie for Wie? The possible upside is too great - and there is that six-figure guarantee.

 

Sunday
Jul292007

Is That Anyway To Treat A Flag?

Reader NRH noticed Natalie Gulbis's lack of American flag etiquette, but perhaps since she won the Evian Masters on French soil she was entitled to treat the flag as a stool cover? 

Now boys and girls, let's try to keep the photo captions PG-13 rated...photo courtesy of golf.com:

july29_gulbistrophy_425x600.jpg 

Sunday
Jul292007

Romero!

Phil Casey reports on Angel Andres* Romero's impressive comeback from his Open catastrophe to win the Deutsche Bank Players Championship, earning a 5-year European Tour exemption.

Romero began the final round two shots ahead of Scotland and was five strokes clear after four birdies and a bogey in the first seven holes. His attacking approach is always likely to lead him into trouble and it duly arrived on the 9th when he went for the island green from heavy rough but came up short in the water.

Unlike his double bogey on the 17th at Carnoustie, however, he still had plenty of time to recover and he birdied the 11th to move four clear again. However, Wilson then birdied the 16th to cut the gap and it was down to two when Romero bogeyed the same hole 30 minutes later.

Two shots clear with two to play once more, Romero this time made no mistake and sealed victory in style with a long-range birdie on the 18th.

*It was late! 

Sunday
Jul292007

"The bunkers are going to be right in play for us, much more than they seem to be for the men these days."

An unbylined (John Huggan?) Scotsman piece talks to Catriona Matthew about what the players will be facing and she has plenty of interesting things to say:

Matthew took the opportunity to reacquaint herself with the sorts of shots you just don't see on the LPGA Tour, where 'hit and stick' is generally the order of the day. Things will be very different on the Old Course.

"A lot depends on the weather, but the hardest thing for the Americans will probably be adapting to the idea of putting from so far away from the flag," she smiles. "All the little chips and pitches will be strange for them, too. Those shots are tough to practise in the States. The game is played far more on the ground in Scotland; over there, almost every shot is flown most of the way. So I suppose I have a slight advantage in that I will 'see' those types of shots more readily than someone who hasn't played in Scotland before."

It quickly became apparent that Matthew and her fellow professionals are going to be, as former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy recently pointed out, "playing the course like we are supposed to." Where the leading men are able to either blow their drives way over the fearsome bunkers, or lay up well short of them, the shorter-hitting ladies will be forced to hit their drivers from most tees and thread their way between the hazards.

"The Old Course is going to be a fascinating test for us all," agrees Matthew. "The bunkers are going to be right in play for us, much more than they seem to be for the men these days. They seem to whack right over them. In contrast, we'll have to 'take them on' and try to manoeuvre our drives between the bunkers. Which is what it is all about around here. It is better to be hitting a wood to the green than be 50 yards farther on and in the sand."

A perfect example of this dilemma came at the 16th hole. Taking her driver, Matthew hit the perfect shot between the Principal's Nose and the out-of-bounds fence on the right. The ball, however, finished no more than five yards from the sand. So it was a risky shot. Her alternative was to lay up short and left of the bunker, leaving a longer second and less friendly angle of approach. That scenario will be fine downwind, but into the breeze, Matthew and many of her competitors will be forced to hit the longest club in the bag from the tee. It will be fascinating to watch and, inevitably, some disasters will occur.

 

Sunday
Jul292007

Trump v. Parsinen

asset_upload_file591_2512.jpgWhile we're in the mood for links golf--including this week's Women's Open Championship at St. Andrews--check out Gil Hanse's Links Magazine story on constructing a links style layout. (You may recall the Castle Stuart videos linked here and here.)

Meanwhile Golfweek's Brad Klein authors a fascinating piece Castle Stuart developer Mark Parsinen and Donald Trump's competing projects.
Mark Parsinen and Donald Trump are worlds apart in terms of their golf aesthetics and taste, but a revival of Scottish course development has brought the two men here to embark on their most significant projects yet.

Oddly, they never have met though they share a common address, 57th Street in Manhattan; Trump’swhotrumpswhom.jpg office is a mere two blocks from Parsinen’s part-time dwelling there. But their ambitions seem destined to clash, intentionally or by fate, given the limited nature of the upscale Scottish golf travel market that both are targeting. Parsinen has examined Trump’s Aberdeen site and has some concerns about the locale, while Trump recently dispatched his deputies to size up his rival’s plans. The outcome of their matchup almost certainly lies in their distinctive approaches.

Parsinen, best known for his acclaimed creation of Kingsbarns, is working along the Moray Coast just west of the Inverness airport. He’s a devoted student of ground-hugging links golf, someone who makes every effort to incorporate local traditions and vernacular forms in his design, grassing and modest clubhouse buildings.

Trump, by contrast, is a jet-setting casino and real estate magnate with an insatiable appetite for self-promotion, whose golf preferences lean heavily toward manufactured signature holes, elaborate waterfalls, and scrutiny of course rankings to make sure his layouts get the plaudits he’s convinced they deserve.

“Don’t even call me if my course doesn’t get No. 1,” he once told a golf course critic.
Sunday
Jul292007

"Walter W. Driver Jr. was the perfect fit — especially with his awesome name."

There is lame hometown paper fluff, and then there's Furman Bisher transcribing what outgoing USGA President Walter Driver wants him to write.

This gem is listed under blog content at the Atlanta Journal Constitution web site (gosh I hope this didn't actually hit a printing press):

Being president of the USGA is the trophy at the end of the well-ordered ascendency of a faithful servant, from board director to general counsel to vice-president in the case of Walter Driver Jr. It’s officiated by the well-bred whose names oftimes begin with an initial, or are concluded with a Jr. or II or III. As in C. Grant Spaeth or James D. Standish Jr. Walter W. Driver Jr. was the perfect fit — especially with his awesome name.
Hit the link, I did NOT insert that last line! Furman sculped that treasure all on his own.
On top of that, he was an accomplished player, scratch at the time of induction, and an alumnus of Stanford University, the pipeline which gave us such celebrated golf personages as Lawson Little, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods and Sandy Tatum.
leadership2.jpgScratch, wow, remember that later.
Arriving in Atlanta, he became a member of the distinguished firm of King & Spalding, but just two years ago switched interests to the investment firm of Goldman Sachs, Southeast manager no less.
Gee Furman, why didn't you throw in a "not too shabby" to make it feel like a Macon Light and Penny Saver society column.
Twice he won the club championship at Peachtree, the shrine to golf that Bobby Jones inspired. Once he became involved in the USGA it was inevitable that he should eventually rise to the presidency, succeeding as he did a former U.S. Amateur champion, Fred Ridley. He got a forewarning of the storm ahead when at the Open at Shinnecock Hills in 2004 he served as chairman of the competition committee and took the blame for high winds, fractious weather and a course as slick as an interstate.
Now he took the blame. Of course, back in June, Bisher wrote that it was a faulty weather forecast, but I guess Walter, having found that spin didn't fly, is telling his biographer that he took the blame. If you can find an apology or even an ounce of contrition in the transcripts here and here, you have been blessed with Furman Bisher's reading comprehension skills. And look who Bisher/Driver actually blames:
Truth is, he merely represented the membership; two hired staff employees, now departed, were responsible for the condition of the course, Tom Meeks and Tom Moraghan.

Tom Moraghan? Note to Bisher's editor: Google is your friend. 

Driver was a susceptible target, tall, well-constructed and rather handsome in a rustic sort of way. Media were looking for a scapegoat and laid it on him, laced with an overdose of resentment.
It's those rustic looks!!! The media resents! Yes, and only I could have his pot belly, would my life be complete.

By the way, well-constructed?  Is there something you know Furman from personal experience? Not that there's anything wrong with that! 
There was still a chorus of writers looking under rugs for reasons to indict the USGA on an unspecified charge, and Walter Driver. In the end, though, Oakmont drew a harmonious response from the competitors, sort of an unofficial gift to the outgoing president.

"Muchas gracias Senior Driver!"

He still has his favorite championship left, the Walker Cup, to be played in Northern Ireland. “That’s a championship I can get teary about,” he said.

Teary? Well-constructed men don't cry!

There have been internal matters that rattled the furniture at the USGA headquarters in Far Hills, N.J. Driver has seen fit to whittle on some of the staff benefits and came to cross swords with Marty Parkes, the senior director of communications.
Just an FYI Furman. I wouldn't use "well constructed" man and cross swords in the same column. It could be misconstrued.
There has been crossfire about equipment standards, whose terminology is like trying to translate something off a cave wall to me. Then there was the matter of travel by private jet, which, as it turned out, was a practice Fred Ridley left behind.
You'd think the good folks might have come up with something better at this point than "Fred did it."
On another matter, Driver’s game has suffered. His handicap is now a plus-two.
He went from scratch to plus-two as president? Ah the suffering!
Meanwhile, back at the homestead, Betty Driver counts the days.
gw20070608_cover.jpgShe's not the only one counting the days. 
It’s sort of like the time when the kids, now grown and out, waited to get a glimpse of dad. “Work, work, work,” they would say, “golf, golf, golf, that’s all daddy does.” Reg Murphy, now a resident of Sea Island, preceded Driver in the office 12 years ago. “There are times when you need a steward and there are times when you need to change,” he told Golf World. “Walter is a change agent.” Wonder if they really understand what he’s saying in the media center, or if they’re still wondering “if the USGA can survive Walter Driver?” as Golf World headlined its report.

Wow, I need to shower now.

Saturday
Jul282007

"It's a course where you can never play enough practice rounds and I'm so delighted I made the trip over."

Elspeth Burnside talks to Paula Creamer about a pre-Open practice round at St. Andrews.
Not many players pop across the Atlantic for a practice round. But Paula Creamer proved she is deadly serious about the Ricoh Women's British Open when she paid a flying visit to St Andrews earlier this year as part of her preparations.

It was further proof of the 'special' tag that every one of the world's best players is attaching to the historic first staging of a women's professional tournament at the Old Course. My goodness, they are even allowing the competitors into the male-only sanctuary of the members' locker room.

For Creamer, a typical all-American girl, victory at St Andrews would be as sweet as apple pie. It would be a first major title and a further step towards her belief that she can become the world No.1. Victory on Sunday, August 5 would also be the perfect way to celebrate her 21st birthday.

She already has good vibes about the famous links having packed three practice rounds into her April sojourn from her new home in Florida. "It was an invaluable visit," she reflected. "The course was very different from the way it looks on television.

"There are a lot of blind tee shots and the greens are a lot bigger than I imagined. Every day, the wind was blowing from a completely different direction, so that was also a great learning experience. It's a course where you can never play enough practice rounds and I'm so delighted I made the trip over."
Saturday
Jul282007

"Hay-like rough, like that at Muirfield this week, is 'pointless and boring,' by the way."

John Huggan writes about the worst caddy nightmare of them all: rain, and lots of it. All during his two day stint looping for Mike Clayton at the Senior Open Championship:
The low moment actually came a couple of holes later. By that time the rain had gone from merely torrential to monsoon-like and my man had vindictively decided to hit his tee-shot at the short fourth into the bunker on the left side of the green. After he had splashed out to four feet or so, I had to rake the sand. Standing there, everything already soaked and with 14 holes still to play, it was hard to think back to the time when this caddying thing seemed like a good idea.
He also writes about Clayton's playing companions and this exchange:
Over the course of the two days, Russell and Clayton must have covered most aspects of golf course architecture and course set-up. Hay-like rough, like that at Muirfield this week, is "pointless and boring," by the way.
Meanwhile Clayton had plenty of positive things to say about Muirfield even though on television it looked terribly confining and excessively defined:
In an age when architects like Bill Coore and his partner, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Doak and Gil Hanse are building some of the most beautiful bunkers since the nineteen twenties and thirties, Muirfield has some of the least impressive looking bunkers of any great golf course. Some like the bunker short and left of the 10th green would not be out of place on the most basic of public courses yet every single bunker is perfectly placed to influence both shots and decisions.

The greens are one of the best sets to be found and they are brilliantly tied into the surrounding ground and without being overly severe they demand that you putt from the right side of the hole and approach from the correct side of the fairway.

The holes are routed unusually with the opening nine going clockwise all the way around the outside of the inward nine but unlike Troon it's difficult to determine which half is the more difficult which is a comment on how well the course is balanced so that it favours no particular type of player.

Length is of no great advantage, rather placement and the ability to make the right decision are rewarded at Muirfield and whilst it may not appear so special at first glance it is one of the purest golf courses one can find and its promise is that it will ask fascinating but different questions every day and one never grows tired of the rare and special courses that do that for us.
Saturday
Jul282007

"If I’m sitting in the stands I don’t want to see bogeys, double bogeys and quadruple bogeys, I want to see birdies.”

Rodger Baillie quotes an unhappy Gary Player about the setup at Muirfield:
Outspoken Gary Player had some sharp words for the Royal & Ancient yesterday, accusing them of making the Seniors Open at Muirfield tougher than the course Padraig Harrington and Co had to take on at Carnoustie in the main Open Championship last weekend.

The South African, back at Muirfield 48 years after his first Open triumph in 1959, said: “It’s surprised me they’ve made the seniors so much more difficult than the regular British Open. The rough must be five or six times higher. The standard of play is extremely high yet it’s projecting that the players are not all that good. We’re trying to build up the European senior tour and the wrong message has been sent out. If I’m sitting in the stands I don’t want to see bogeys, double bogeys and quadruple bogeys, I want to see birdies.”
Friday
Jul272007

"You wouldn't find Roger Federer practising for Wimbledon on a clay court the week before."

Monty scored some serious points for pointing out one of the silliest things in all of golf: the Scottish Open played on a distinctly American course. Imagine the field they would get if played on a links instead of a lush, inland slog. Well, players are starting to take notice as Mike Aitken reports:

"Yes, I would consider not playing in the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond," said Monty after coaching a group of children as part of the Scottish Executive's clubgolf initiative. "Hopefully, the public wouldn't go against me in that view. It just so happens that the event falls in a great date the week before the Open; but on a course, in terms of preparation, which is not quite right.

"If you think about the play-off at Loch Lomond, where Phil Mickelson was playing OK, even though his driver wasn't great, and Gregory Havret, came through to win, both men subsequently missed the cut at Carnoustie. It's a very different format at Loch Lomond, where it's like playing on clay in tennis, and then going to compete the following week on grass. They are two different forms of competition. You wouldn't find Roger Federer practising for Wimbledon on a clay court the week before. He warms up on grass.

"The best decision Harrington ever made was to play links golf the week before Carnoustie and I think you might find a number of players before Birkdale next summer doing something similar. We've all pencilled in Loch Lomond, but that might not be [next year]. I know Luke Donald has said he will need to consider his preparation next time. I'm not saying anything against the event or the course or the sponsors Barclays, who are all fantastic.

"But it's not preparation for the Open. We're practising on a course that's very different from the one we're playing the following week. The balance isn't there. In terms of preparation [for the Open], it's only five out of ten. But we play for a lot of money [£3 million], a lot of Ryder Cup points and it's very difficult to say 'no' and take that particular week off in the middle of July. But it certainly paid dividends for Harrington."

 

Friday
Jul272007

"There's a buzz in the locker room regarding the point system."

Trevor Immelman, quoted by Len Ziehm in the Chicago Sun Times, talking about the FedEx Cup:

''I'm paying attention now because I'm just outside the top 30,'' he said. ''This is the point where players start paying attention to it. There's a buzz in the locker room regarding the point system. Everyone wants to be a part of it.''

While the system has its critics, Immelman said the players have gotten behind it.

''The point system is what it is,'' he said. ''The guys embraced it because the decision [to use it] has been made. We need to go ahead to make this a success, and everything the PGA Tour has done has been a success.''

That's right, the Tournament Players Championship The Players Championship The PLAYERS PLAYERS is the fifth of golf's four majors.

Ed Sherman looked at the likelihood of players entering all of the playoff events after sweating out half their body weight in Tulsa and Akron. 

The PGA Tour is hopeful. It knows if Woods and Mickelson don't buy in at 100 percent, the FedEx Cup will feel more like the Standard Mail Cup.

"We want to see how it plays out," said Bob Combs, a senior vice president for the PGA Tour. "The top players have said they will play the entire stretch. You may have a player opt to sit out an event, but they will be putting their position at risk [in the playoffs]."

Of course, haven't we been told that they would be putting their position at risk unless they played more often? That doesn't seem like it's happening. Not yet anyway.

Thursday
Jul262007

"Right now in golf there is no cheating because it doesn't ban anything."

Hey, that Tour de France is going well isn't it!?

If you have HBO, don't miss the latest episode of Costas Now that had Barry Bonds foaming at the mouth. Because if you're on the fence about the need for a drug testing policy in golf, the mess in baseball or the Tour de France might be put into better perspective. 

Golf World's Ron Sirak dealt with the issue that many outside of golf have tackled, namely the disarray in sports right now and the possible reprecussions for golf. The New York Times's George Vecsey also considered this crisis in sports but didn't mention golf. However, he did question when fans would have enough, and I'm starting to wonder how many golf fans are growing suspicious each time a famous player or announcer launches into one of those "golf is a game of honor therefore there is no cheating" speeches.

Vecsey also makes this point, which Tim Finchem might want to note next time he is going on the record that he thinks testing is unnecessary (my money is on NEVER AGAIN, but you just never know!):

The ashen looks on the faces of three of America’s sports commissioners indicate that they know they are in the same shaky state as the commissars who indulged doping in cycling over the past generations and are now paying the price in public shame.
Meanwhile Gary Player went on a little tirade, defending himself at this week's Senior British Open from the many criticisms lobbed his way about how dare he accuse someone of cheating!! Of course, as Player points out, how is it cheating when there is no rule against it (the key point for me in Bonds's case as discussed in the Costas show.


Player, from The Scotsman's Mike Aitken:

After signing for 72, one shot more than his age in the Senior Open at Muirfield yesterday, Player was in no mood to back down about his drug cheat claims. "I was shocked by his [Alliss'] comments because he doesn't know anything about it [drugs in golf]," said the winner of nine majors. "He clearly doesn't know anything about it. But why was he saying I was a 71-year-old man as if I was in my grave? I could reply and say a 75-year-old man should be au fait with what was happening. He just has no idea.

"He also wanted to know why I hadn't named the players [on drugs]. Someone said to me 'what do you think about human growth hormone?' and then asked for my word not to ever mention what he's doing. He told me he was trying it. My advice to him was he shouldn't do it. Am I then going to go and mention names when someone has spoken to me in confidence? If I did that, they would crucify those guys. Perhaps justly so, because the average man doesn't know [golf doesn't have a drugs policy]."

Player also said he was taken aback when his remarks were reported so prominently. "I was very surprised by the reaction because this is what the golfing bodies have been saying and the game has been highly criticised by the Olympic committee as the last sport to have a policy on drugs. Tiger Woods and other top players have also been calling for testing, so why the big fuss when I say something ?

"The thing I'm saying is we've got to have a policy. I had dinner in Geneva with one of the Olympic committee and when I made my comments at Carnoustie, Dick Pound [head of the world anti-doping agency] was very complimentary.

"Lots of golfers have taken things like beta blockers and many have said so. Right now in golf there is no cheating because it doesn't ban anything. Others sports have a policy, we don't. It's like the baseball player Mark McGuire who took creotine until they said you can't. Once we start testing, the ones who are taking things are going to stop. That's the beautiful thing about having a policy.

"We shouldn't be the last sport to do it but we are. Mark McNulty told me something interesting. In France, they held a tournament several years ago which was government sponsored, so they tested for drugs. When that was announced, 20 withdrew ..."
Uh, I'm not so sure about that last one. Does anyone have a link that clarifies what went on in France? I couldn't find anything.


Thursday
Jul262007

"My only excuse was one John Huggan on the bag."

Mike Clayton is filing daily reports on his Senior British Open appearance. You can read the first two, including this summary of his first round 80:

This is a summer (at least that's what the calendar says it is) like no other and if you drive it in the rough the guarantee is you will find three or four of the member's balls before you find your own.

You don't want to hear about my miserable 80 and it certainly it's not worth talking about other than to say my only excuse was one John Huggan on the bag.

Wow, but look at his technique. One arm crossing over the other resting lazily on the bag to hand Mike the driver. Such enthusiasm! Your captions please...

Clayton_Huggan.jpg 

Thursday
Jul262007

Norman's May Not Go To Trial; Brand May Be Saved

Because I know you were very worried about that IRS issues the Shark faced on his jet sale, you'll be glad to know it's about to be resolved, sparing us of a brand-diminishing trial in which...oh we'll never know.

 

Thursday
Jul262007

"At 80 years of age he will still be endorseable."

padriaiaia_252648d.jpgLiam Kelly auditions as Padraig Harrington's ghostwriter by penning this breathless Belfast Telegraph take on the new Open Championship winner's potential earnings.

Clean-cut hero Pádraig Harrington can comfortably smash the €100m barrier in lifetime earnings after his historic British Open victory at Carnoustie.

Winning the Open Championship means that Pádraig Harrington Inc becomes a global brand and elevates the 35-year-old to a new level of financial worth.

The Dubliner, who proved nice guys can win Major titles, could sit back and let the cheques roll in for the rest of his career.

Ahhh, now the fun... 
Remember that John Daly, winner of two Majors, admits to having gambled away €48m as part of a chaotic lifestyle.

That's not going to happen to Harrington whose image reflects the real thing - he's open, honest, reliable, responsible, hardworking, level-headed, articulate and a good family man.

Jeese, does he rescue dogs from burning buildings too? Can we get him a Mutual of Omaha campaign?

Throw 'successful champion golfer' into that mix and it's a licence to print money.

Kelly was out of breath at this point, so he let someone at IMG take over:

Roddy Carr, a former professional who was an executive with IMG, knows the sports marketing business inside out. He would not put a figure on Harrington's potential - "Adrian Mitchell is his manager and you'd have to ask him that" - but he was unequivocal about the new Champion's marketability.

"Start multiplying . . . for a start this victory establishes Pádraig as an iconic athlete in Ireland for the rest of his lifetime. At 80 years of age he will still be endorseable.

Padraig can look forward to Cialis or Depends ads.

"Even if he never wins another Major, he will always have that special status in Ireland. But you also have to realise this achievement qualifies him for elite status in global markets.

"Pádraig is almost 36 now and he's fit as a fiddle. He could have 20 more years playing and earning at a high level and he's a perfect long term investment for sponsors," he said.

"The great thing about Pádraig is that he won't be blown away by all this and go chasing money for its own sake.

No, that'll be for the agents to do.