Not much news here except that it seems the Tour has the option to return twice and it could be any combination of 2010, 2011 or 2012.
There is always a way at St. Andrews, although it is not always the obvious way, and in trying to find it, there is more to be learned on this British course than in playing a hundred ordinary American golf courses. BOBBY JONES
Not much news here except that it seems the Tour has the option to return twice and it could be any combination of 2010, 2011 or 2012.
Sam Weinman reports that the PGA Tour will be returning to Westchester CC at some point, just not 2008, and the Commissioner will be apologizing for those letters that got out and where they never really meant what they said. Oh, and here's $1.1 million for your troubles...this year.
Even better we now have a definition for accelerating the rotation.
The Tour issues a release confirming, everyone is happy:
The Barclays moves to Ridgewood Country Club for 2008 event Westchester remains in rotation, will host again by 2012
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL – The Barclays, one of the premier events on the PGA TOUR schedule and the first of four events in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, will move from Westchester Country Club to Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., for the 2008 event, scheduled for Aug. 18-24.
“As we have said before, we believe it is in the best interest of The Barclays to rotate among various venues in the New York area, as do other significant events,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “We look forward to beginning that rotation with Ridgewood in 2008 and a return to Westchester, which has been a terrific host for PGA TOUR events since 1967, for at least one more play by 2012. I want to thank the membership of Westchester Country Club for making this possible. It is yet another reflection of the great integrity and character of our partners at Westchester.”
As previously announced, the 2009 Barclays will be held at Liberty National in Jersey City, N.J. The rotation for The Barclays for 2010 and beyond will be announced at a later time, though under the terms of the contract with Westchester, The Barclays will return at least once by 2012.
“Westchester Country Club has been proud to partner with the PGA TOUR for more than 40 years, and our members overwhelmingly agreed last year that rotating The Barclays among New York-area courses was in the best interest of our club and this great event,” said Westchester Country Club President Philip Halpern. “We have agreed to begin that rotation this year in the true spirit of partnership, while ensuring that our club’s charities will benefit from the 2008 event as planned. We are proud that Westchester remains in The Barclays rotation. It’s an honor that our world-class golf course, and our passionate and loyal membership, have earned and deserve.”
So much for the South Course growing on players. Rex Hoggard reports on the Golfweek blog:
Wandered out on the North Course this afternoon. Not to see Tiger Woods inch his way closer to No. 6 on the SoCal coast, but to get one final look at the venerable North.
Come June when the golf world descends on Torrey Pines for the U.S. Open the South Course will be cast under a microscope while the North will just be cast under. The North – one of the most scenic and enjoyable munis anywhere – will become the home to corporate villages, media tents, driving ranges and infrastructure during the national championship.
Here’s the rub. Ask a local to pick their Torrey Pines favorite and many will say the North Course. A few years back Southern Cal native Charley Hoffman summed it for many. “Which one would I rather play? The old South (before the 2001 redesign). Now? The new North.”
Considering his frustration with slow play, it's not a surprise that Tiger is a fan of the new cut policy, as Steve Elling reports on his CBSSports.com blog:
In fact, in 2002, 85 players made the cut at the Buick Invitational and eventual winner Jose Maria Olazabal, who advanced on the number, caught fire with rounds of 67-65 on the weekend. However, it should be noted that in 2002, Olazabal was eight shots back in a more tightly packed field, versus the 13-stroke margin the guys who were bumped on Friday would have faced.
Tiger Woods, who is leading the tournament by four shots at 12 under, hardly provided a sympathetic shoulder.
"It's very simple, play better," Woods said. "If you hit the shots that you want to hit and hit them properly, then you won't have to worry about that."
Of course, Woods almost never misses cuts.
Added Woods: "I think what I've tried to talk to some of the guys and with the commissioner is that maybe the fields might be too big when you have daylight savings, because, obviously, we're trying to get the round finished.
"And we weren't finishing the top players weren't finishing on time, guys were finishing Saturday mornings or Friday mornings, their rounds, just because it was too slow. If you had any kind of fog delay, rain delay, guys aren't finishing, a frost delay in Phoenix, things like that happen."
Before graduating from Q-School this year, Kevin Streelman, who is in second right now at the PGA TOUR's Buick Invitational, earned one of his biggest single-event paychecks ever in last year’s The Ultimate Game, a unique event co-created by former Falcons quarterback Steve Bartkowski where players compete for a purse composed wholly of their own entry fees.
In last year’s event, Streelman won both his matches to make the 12-man final, earning $25,000 in the process, a huge chunk for a mini-touring pro in one event. And this was eight months ago. This week, Streelman could take home nearly $1 million.
In the final, he shot 69-70 to finish in fourth place. A class act, despite not winning anything additional in the final, Streelman was awarded another $25,000 by his sponsorship group for his effort and conduct throughout tournament week, a gesture that brought him to tears.
Sallie Brady pens a New York Times "Escapes" piece on the burgeoning market for homes in various Latin countries. Included are a couple of fun anecdotes and even more reminders at how poor most of us are:
On Anguilla, Mr. Kanavos has developed the island’s first golf course, designed by Greg Norman, in the Baccarat Hotels and Residences at Temenos, a 115-villa project with a spa and a David Bouley restaurant. Eager to appeal to high-end buyers, Mr. Kanavos successfully lobbied the government to extend the airport runway to accommodate private jets.And this ought to bring great joy to the branding team in Ponte Vedra:
“I’ve been to almost every Caribbean island and this was Shangri-La” said Kenny Bergstol, 48, a New City, N.Y.,-based developer of golf courses and real estate, who bought a three-bedroom villa at Temenos, where furnished villas are priced from $1.4 million to $13.2 million. “While my home is being built, they’re letting me and my family stay at the resort for a week a year, they gave me hours on my Marquis Jet Card, they even threw a party in New York.”
“I had thought about buying a piece of property and putting a hacienda up on it, but there are issues in Mexico,” said Larry Harvey, 43, a wealth consultant in The Woodlands, Tex., who recently bought a two-bedroom town house at the Viceroy Mayakobá, part of a new 1,600-acre golf community along the Riviera Maya, 42 miles south of Cancún, that Viceroy is developing around a Greg Norman championship course with the Rosewood, Fairmont and Banyan Tree resort developers.
Mr. Harvey was referring to a Mexican law that puts limits on foreigners who seek to buy near the coast. Mexico employs a system that allows a Mexican bank to act as a trustee on behalf of a purchaser of this restricted land.
“I had stayed at the Viceroy Santa Monica and liked it,” said Mr. Harvey, noting the California hotel’s designer, Kelly Wearstler, is also designing the Mexico property. "I have four boys who are learning how to play golf, and my wife, Mari, and I like the fact that the FedEx Cup is here in February. We’ll be able to rent” Mr. Harvey said.
The FedEx Cup is coming! The FedEx Cup is coming!
Ryan Herrington reports that after two years of losses, the United States Golf Association is profitable again.
The report shows that the USGA and USGA Foundation had a net income of $1.21 million on revenues of nearly $137 million for the year ending Nov. 30, 2007. Net assets at year's end were $253.3 million.Analysts reacted differently to the news.
The 2007 figure is modest compared to the USGA's reported net income $8.4 million in 2002, $4.4 million in 2004 and $2.3 million in 2005. However, a year ago, the governing body had a deficit of $6.12 million on revenue of $126.6 million, so things are moving in a positive direction.
"They really did a nice job ensuring the profit is privatized and the risk was spread evenly among all public agencies down there," Tasselloafer said. "Plus I love all of the initiatives geared toward the 18-34 year olds. It's shows they are looking out for the needs of their most important constituency: advertisers."
However, Steve Acluistic of Hunkerdown and Goldbricker has downgraded USGA stock to "unload faster than Blockbuster" on the lower than expected net income. He says rising fuel costs combined with the USGA's private jet use mean flat net income for several years.
"And until they can get David Fay's bloated salary off the books, I'm afraid the stock price is going to be flat," said Acluistic, who won't issue a positive evaluation "until we see naming rights sold on championships to boost revenues."
Bob Harig at ESPN.com has all the juicy details:
Tiger Woods made his 2008 debut at Torrey Pines, predictably shooting up the leaderboard at a place where he has won the Buick Invitational five times, including three in a row.Sounds like I left San Diego a day too early:
And there alongside him in third place, two shots behind tournament leader Troy Matteson, is Tiger's 2007 punching bag, Rory Sabbatini. Safe to say, they didn't exchange New Year's greetings when they passed each other in the Buick media center.
In fact, they didn't even acknowledge one another.
Their relationship is as frosty as the temperature, which caused a run on scarves, mittens and sweaters. It didn't keep Woods from picking up where he left off 130 days ago, when he put the finishing touches on an outstanding 2007 season by winning the Tour Championship and the inaugural FedEx Cup.
Players such as Fred Couples and Mark Calcavecchia were not kind, with Couples saying, "It's just not right," and Calcavecchia adding, "Rory is Rory." Woods was none too pleased, either. "I'd like to try and get to the bottom of it when we're done here," Woods said on Dec. 16. "And we'll see what happens."
Apparently, Woods never got to the bottom of it.
"I haven't talked to him about any of it," Woods said Thursday, just minutes after walking past Sabbatini without saying a word, without making eye contact. "It is what it is."
Couples was among those who suggested that Sabbatini donate his $170,000 to the Tiger Woods Foundation, but on Wednesday Sabbatini visited a nearby naval base, where he gave the money to the United Through Reading Foundation. The organization provides a video program for military personnel to keep in touch with their families.
"It's unfortunately one of those things that we seem to forget about and we take for granted out here on the tour," Sabbatini said. "And we were just fortunate that we were able to contribute to it."
When asked if he donated the winnings from Woods' event, Sabbatini said: "That is what the situation was. Unfortunately, the media took a lot of criticism towards me after the event, and in that situation I was there, I was tired, and we thought about it and we thought we'd put it to some good use."
So does this mean if the media hadn't ragged all over Rory, that he wouldn't have made the donation?
...the Thursday Sprint Post-Game following round 1 of Buick Invitational play. Surely seen by hundreds, I was half asleep and only heard Kraig Kann noting that Rory Sabbatini was not seeking a high profile outlet for the vital announcement (and he found it!) that yes, after much painstaking deliberation and vigorous pleading from his agent, he was donating the $170,000 last place winnings from the Target World Challenge which he left so abruptly.
Apparently the full interview and in-depth profile of Rory will be airing this weekend on Golf Channel. Set your TiVos!
Today's technical snafu ought to really help relations between The Golf Channel and CBS, who was handling the production of TGC's opening round Buick Invitational telecast...
Steve Elling prepares us for Kelly Tilghman's return on today's Buick telecast, and includes a couple of excellent points:
As Tilghman returns from a two-week, in-house suspension, the Golf Channel discussed making her available to media this week to address her misstep. But network officials instead declared her off-limits, a spokesman said, leaving Woods to deal with the fallout alone.I did think she would have wisely just walked in the press room and started picking up some homework, allowing for a quiet return alongside her media peers. Instead she was probably locked up in some hotel room eating room service and practicing her apology speech.
The unwanted Golf Channel sideshow also shortchanged Buick, which paid $7 million to puts its name on the tournament. At the Golf Channel, poor judgment has been compounded by poor leadership.And he's not done...
Woods, meanwhile, is getting hammered for not being Martin Luther King in spiked shoes. Last week, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts wrote, "One has to wonder what it would take to get a rise out of this guy: burning crosses on his front lawn?"
Rob Parker of the Detroit News, appearing on ESPN, insisted that Woods "has a responsibility to respond to this."
Parker added: "Tiger Woods would rather be a pitchman than a man."
Woods, who has never been particularly political about anything, said he does plenty on the cultural front with his foundation, to which he has donated millions. Monday, which coincidentally marked the MLK holiday, he announced a new program to inspire kids to reach for their dreams.
Randell Mell also publishes a nice rant about some of the silly things asked of Tiger.
In reading John Hawkins' latest Bitter Golfer column, he continues the trend of ripping the players for whining about the new cut rule that reduces the number of weekend players at PGA Tour events. I joined in that ripping myself because the boys are slow and not particularly bright for not reading the documentation provided by the PGA Tour brass.
While the entire episode seems to speak to the insular world of pro golf and the folks who cover it, there also seems to be a disregard for the fan. I've contended to any poor soul who would listen that the rule needs to be amended for the fans. Picture the fan coming out early on Saturday after a long work week. He has pin-pointed an early group to follow so that he can see a favorite player up close, or simply enjoy a more intimate fan experience. He should not be stripped of that pleasure.
It would seem that the entire episode would be easily solved by Jeff Sluman's retro suggestion of a Saturday cut. Frankly I'm surprised it hasn't picked up more steam.
Wednesday was an educational day at Torrey Pines...
-I learned that if you want to see the briefest, slightly deranged stare from Commissioner Finchem, just have a cell phone go off during his press conference! Twice during his chat today it happened and both times myself and a couple of other scribblers noticed his little inner cell phone demon rearing its ugly head. You had to be watching closely, no easy feat when he's rambling on.
-I learned that by studying the third green on the South Course (pictured), one can induce nausea. Or sea sickness? Or Reesphobia? Either way, after about 10 minutes of staring at this disaster, I can only surmise that the shapers were looking at the wrong set of plans or perhaps had them upside down. The green would be fun to play to oh, from about 150 yards off the back edge or maybe 150 to the right. And then there's that artistic front bunker...
-I learned a prime new buzzword and because I'm a kind soul, I am going to share it with you so that you too can roll your eyes. While trying to kill some time to avoid rush hour traffic, I attended a meet-and-greet with the folks from CDW, the PGA Tour's new technology partner. There, the marketing dude gave a talk about the usual stuff. You know, the general obsession with reaching the youth demo. And Ty, if you think I'm exaggerating the Tour's youth obsession again, I simply ask you this: could I make up the buzzword that was dropped? Ready? Millennials.
The terms Millennials and Internet generation ("iGen") are attempts to give the Gen Y cohort more independent names that are tied with key events and cultural trends that are strongly associated with the generation.
Don't you ever say this blog is not educational.
Golf World's Ryan Herrington previews the USGA Annual Meeting and considers the state of the organization.
Reading the quotes you'd think these guys were talking to a CNBC reporter about delayering offline incentivization streams.
"We've created a more fluid, efficient structure," says Pete Bevacqua, six months on the job in the newly created post of chief business officer, reporting directly to executive director David Fay. Responsible for all commercial endeavors -- broadcasting, marketing, members, new media and communications, among others -- Bevacqua says his charge is to make sure the various departments do a better job of working congruently. "My goal is to allow us to make more informed decisions because we'll have a better idea how [initiatives are] going to affect the various departments, and perhaps quicker decisions."
Indeed, a common refrain among USGA brass on both the volunteer and staff sides is the need to work at an "accelerated rate of business," a perceived weakness (not to mention an example of MBA-speak heard now within the association). "This is all very energizing, stimulating and exciting," says Fay of the new people/organization in place, noting his own commitment remains strong. "It will be rewarding for the USGA."
Easy for him to say, he still has a job! A highly paid one at that.
Another potential point of contention is a plan to offer online a revised version of the USGA members newsletter, one tangible benefit given to individuals who financially support the USGA. Bevacqua said no final decision has been made, but the association reportedly could stop printing the newsletter this spring. Still, there are reasons to believe the USGA is moving in a positive direction. In the annual report to be released in Houston, the association will report net income in fiscal 2007 of $1.21 million on revenues of nearly $137 million, a noteworthy improvement from a $6.13 million deficit in 2006.
Poor newsletter. It never had a chance. And guess what, there's a rebranding on the way:
Brought aboard in December, Wightman, who spent five years as publisher of Golf magazine, will present a communications plan to the Executive Committee next week, one that details ways to enhance and improve the USGA brand and de-mystify the association. It's an endeavor Fay and Bevacqua contend will be key to future growth.
De-mystify the USGA. Now there's an undertaking.
Golfweek's Adam Schupak looks at the adjustable club movement and writes:
Yet other equipment company executives liken the USGA’s action to opening Pandora’s box. They argue the USGA simply relaxed an existing rule on adjustability (moveable weights, for example, previously were allowed) which won’t appreciably affect the way the game is played.The story also includes a video worth watching, including comments from Dick Rugge.
Critics say the USGA, after clamping down on technological advances and proposing a roll back on grooves, is trying to placate equipment makers with its version of Innovation 2.0 – a metaphorical invitation for new design ideas that is suspiciously light on true innovation.
“This is the USGA’s strategy for how it can be perceived as allowing innovation into the game,” says John K. Solheim, Ping’s vice president of research and development.
Furthermore, industry critics say the USGA didn’t think through the long-term ramifications its decision might have on the business of selling clubs.
Though it is difficult to imagine off-the-rack clubs disappearing completely, adjustability at least opens the door to such a possibility. That prospect, no matter how unlikely, radically could alter the practices of clubmakers, component suppliers and retailers. Which has everyone scrambling for a crystal ball, hoping to capitalize on the situation – or at the very least protect their vested interests.
Thanks to reader Kevin for this YouTube epic, Mark Rolfing's priceless (it was the Mastercard Championship after all) faux pas:
A couple highlights from Tiger's sitdown in the Torrey Pines media center on the eve of the 2008 Buick Invitational. Starting with this question about the possibility of playing the Northern Trust Open at Riviera:
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, LA is still kind of up in the air. I've always loved playing Riviera. I've only played well I think two times. But hey, hopefully one year I'll be able to get it under my belt.Just not this year!
Q. You're known as one of the better shot-makers out here, which seems to be somewhat of a dying breed on TOUR. Can you talk a little bit about shot-making and why you think so few guys aren't good shot-makers and just pound the ball now?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think the guys don't -- they didn't grow up with the ball moving all that much. I was still on -- when I grew up playing I was on that periphery of persimmon and balata balls, so the ball moved quite a bit.
These kids now, they grow up playing big drivers. The ball doesn't move. They don't have the gear effect in the drivers like they used to. A lot of big changes.
The golf courses have changed, as well. So the game is played totally different now than it used to be. So yeah, you have to make the adjustments.
What year did Vijay have that great year, four years ago? He proved just hitting driver on every hole was the best way to attack golf courses. If you're driving it well, great. If you're not, you're going to have a wedge in your hand. That's not the way the older players used to do it. They used to shape it, move it around the golf course and go about their business that way.