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  • 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
  • Men in Green
    Men in Green
    by Michael Bamberger
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • 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
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins

    Kindle Edition

  • 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

Don't worry about your caddie. He may be an irritating little wretch, but for eighteen holes he is your caddie. ARNOLD HAULTAIN


    

Wednesday
Mar192008

"I have a little bit of a problem with criticizing somebody when you're on time."

Steve Elling reports on Sean O'Hair's reaction to Johnny Miller's criticism of slow play and in particular, O'Hair's pace at Bay Hill.

"As far as last week, I actually heard that I was criticized a little bit more than Tampa. The thing I don't understand is that we played the front nine in 1:42. We waited on every single shot on the back nine. So when you're watching the telecast, is he sitting there saying that? No.

"I mean, to me what does it matter if I take two practice swings or eight practice swings? I do what I have to do to play well. Obviously what I'm doing right now is right. But I think it's a little unfair to criticize somebody about their routine and talk about how slow they are when basically you're waiting on every single shot.

"We waited for almost ten minutes on the 16th tee, and I took eight practice swings because obviously we were just standing there not doing anything. If I walked up to the 16th tee and the fairway was clear, I might have taken two or three practice swings. You know, he can say what he wants to say. I can't control that. But I have a little bit of a problem with criticizing somebody when you're on time."

So if you are waiting on schedule you can take over a minute and a half to play a shot? That's just not going to fly. Now, maybe once in a while I can understand a 90 second grind if it's an absurdly difficult shot, but just to go through too many practice swings after not being ready when the green cleared?

Penalty shots really do need to be assessed. O'Hair's thinking speaks to the mentality of too many players better than just about any rationalization I can recall.

Wednesday
Mar192008

"And fun, at least to me, is golf played in a natural setting with shots calling on feel more than a scientific approach."

Golfweek.com finally got around to posting Gil Hanse's promised-in-print piece on designing in the technology era.

Wednesday
Mar192008

Hope Classic Puts Dollar Figure On George Lopez's Humiliation and Pro-Am Suffering: $60,000

Wow, guess they didn't think the press was that negative if they only coughed up $60k: 

BOB HOPE CHRYSLER CLASSIC TO DONATE $60,000 TO THE NATIONAL KIDNEY FOUNDATION OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA IN THE NAME OF GEORGE AND ANN LOPEZ
 
Charitable contribution will cover expenses for three Kidney Early Evaluation Program screenings in the Coachella Valley, accommodating 300 participants
 
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – The Bob Hope Chrysler Classic announced it will make a $60,000 donation to the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California in the name of 2007 and 2008 tournament host George Lopez and his wife, Ann – the foundation’s national spokespeople.
 
The contribution, taken from the tournament’s Special Grants Fund, will go towards the foundation’s Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP) – designed to screen those at increased risk for kidney disease because of high blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of kidney disease – and will fit the bill for three screenings in the Coachella Valley, accommodating 300 participants.
 
Since the inception of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in 1960, the tournament has donated over $45.5 million to charities throughout the Coachella Valley. In 2007, over $1.6 million was raised for charity, and at least as much charitable contribution is expected for 2008.
 
“Our chief mission is to give back to the community that hosts and supports the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic,” tournament President Dave Erwin said. “We are proud to be in a position to help the National Kidney Foundation with their endeavors. We thought it fitting that this gesture comes from George and Ann Lopez, who serve the National Kidney Foundation, and served our tournament, with such a high regard for excellence.”
 
“I have enjoyed hosting the tournament for the past two years and I am grateful for the Classic’s donation to the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California,” George Lopez added. “Many lives will benefit as a result of their generosity.”

Well, 300 to be exact.

The National Kidney Foundation of Southern California, based in Encino, serves 10 counties from San Diego County to San Luis Obispo County and seeks to prevent kidney and urinary tract diseases, improve the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases, and increase the availability of all organs for transplantation. Most people at risk are unaware of the symptoms or causes of kidney disease.
 
“We’re so grateful for the donation, which will enable us to launch our first three KEEP screenings in the Coachella Valley,” said Linda Small, Executive Director of the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California. “There are two million people in Southern California with kidney disease and another two million people at risk. I know this is close to the heart of our spokespeople, George and Ann Lopez.”

In this week's Golf World (not posted), there's a strongly-worded piece by Jaime Diaz explaining that Lopez's departure had more to do with his edgy humor than Arnold Palmer. Diaz sums up the item by recalling the committee's various boondoggles and what the series of missteps means for the seemingly doomed event. 

Wednesday
Mar192008

"Proposed new slogan: These guys are ballers."

From Alan Shipnuck's golf.com Hot List:

5. The Bay Hill parking lot. With so many players making their homes in Orlando, it's a chance to celebrate conspicuous consumption: two Lamborghinis, a Ford GTO, and too many Escalades, AMG'd Mercedes and Motorsports BMWs to count. Plus enough rims and tinted windows to supply a half dozen rap videos. Proposed new slogan: These guys are ballers.

 

Wednesday
Mar192008

"The testing said it was 25 yards driver and 25 yards ball."

gwar01_080321love.jpgGolf World's E. Michael Johnson talks to players about the last time they used a persimmon driver. Some of the answers are pretty interesting.

Phil Mickelson says he last used persimmon during practice for the 2007 EDS Byron Nelson Championship, conducting an experiment of sorts. "It was an old Wood Brothers," said Mickelson. "Callaway did some tests three years ago with a persimmon driver and a ball from the 1990s, comparing it to an HX Tour ball and modern driver. There was a 50-yard difference. The testing said it was 25 yards driver and 25 yards ball. So I tested it, and that turned out to be about right. I couldn't believe how different the launch conditions were -- and that was a driver I used to play with."

Wednesday
Mar192008

"It was a 5-iron from 164 yards"

Doug Ferguson writes that Tiger's putt was nice, but the approach on 18 Sunday at Bay Hill was even more amazing. Thanks to reader Patrick for this, which includes quotes from Hank Haney:
It was a 5-iron from 164 yards, and those two numbers are but one example why this was an exquisite shot.

The wind had switched and was coming into him from the right. The flag was tucked behind the lake on a green framed by rocks. Bunkers guard the back of the green, which slopes toward the water.

And the most important detail? Woods was on the 18th hole, tied for the lead.

He could have hit an 8-iron that distance, even in this scenario. It's surprising to hear Woods' club selection over various shots, considering his strength, yet Haney said Woods is all about control, and he prefers to use more club than usual in the wind.

"The hardest thing to do under pressure is play a delicate shot," Haney said. "Under the hardest conditions, you'd rather have a shot that you can swing at hard. All he could talk about was the shot on 18. He told me, 'I knew if I didn't do it right, I could upshoot it into the wind and it's in the water. If I flipped it, I hit it in the back bunker.' He had to commit to do it correctly. And he pulled it off.

"That was phenomenal. That made him feel good."
Wednesday
Mar192008

"That's why it was a no-brainer for the Buick Open to offer Daly an exemption for this year's tournament when he asked for one."

Carlos Monarrez writes that John Daly deserved the sponsor's invite awarded this week from the Buick Open folks in spite of his recent behavior.

Fans love him for it. After all, it's not about what sports writers, coaches and other pros think of Daly. It's about what he gives fans -- a refreshing dose of honesty among the cookie-cutter world of pro golf.

That's why it was a no-brainer for the Buick Open to offer Daly an exemption for this year's tournament when he asked for one.
Okay fine. And this was a nice touch from Daly:

On the day after Harmon dismissed him, Daly was disqualified from the Bay Hill Invitational for missing his Wednesday pro-am tee time. It was an honest mistake. Daly, who already had played in the Monday pro-am, got the wrong tee information from the tournament office. Daly apologized to tournament host Arnold Palmer and went so far as to track down three corporate representatives from his amateur group and played a round with them Sunday.

pga_g_imada_600.jpgBut here's the problem...

The truth is that Daly's behavior rarely hurts anyone but himself.

Bob Harig notes that Ryuji Imada might not agree with that statement.

Wednesday
Mar192008

"It does not look very good if the captain [Nick Faldo] is qualified to play in the Masters and you're not"

Kind of an odd statement from Monty, whose hope of playing in the Masters is fading...

"I don't want to miss out on the Masters because this is a Ryder Cup year and, if you don't play, you lose out on all the precious points available at Augusta," he said. "If you're not there, you're on the back foot. And it does not look very good if the captain [Nick Faldo] is qualified to play in the Masters and you're not, now does it?

 

Tuesday
Mar182008

"I first felt a little bit like Michelangelo felt when he worked in the quarry."

I'm sure you know better than I what this means, but here's Robert Trent Jones Jr., talking to Thomas Bonk about Chambers Bay:

"When I saw the land, I first felt a little bit like Michelangelo felt when he worked in the quarry. We can re-craft this, cut the piece of marble into a David or a Pieta.

 

Tuesday
Mar182008

Tiger Has (Maybe Not**) Nice Place To Stay If U.S. Open Ever Returns To Shinnecock

photo01.jpgThanks to readers Tuco and Smolmania for the New York Post story on Tiger's new $65 million home on the East End, where he too can now enjoy sitting in Hampton's traffic and complain to Punch Sulzberger that Larry Dorman's New York Times articles are too focused on Phil.

 His new neighbors in Southampton include real-estate developer Alfred Taubman, former New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs "Punch" Sulzberger and fashion designer Vera Wang.

Included in the recently renovated 19th-century manor home are six bedroom suites, a music room, a cypress wood-paneled library and staff quarters.
Stevie's got a place to stay too.
The guesthouse, which also features ocean views, includes three bedrooms, each with bathrooms, a den and a kitchen.

"It's one of the oldest and grandest estates on the East End," one broker said. "As soon as something goes on the market on Gin Lane it gets snapped up quickly, even in this slowing economy."

Woods' bid nearly landed in the rough.

"Tiger almost lost the house," a source said.

"Another buyer came in with a higher offer, but the deal was already sealed just hours before."
And I'm still kicking myself for only offering $65.1.
The seller of the estate, known as "By the Sea," is Austrian-born leveraged-buyout specialist, Gerhard Andlinger, 77.

Obviously clever home names was not part of his leveaged-buyout specialties. Now, "Buy the Sea" maybe... 

There is a slideshow of photos too.  

Monday
Mar172008

Tavistock Cup News!

Always one of my most cherished naps of the year, there's news on the annual matches between the rich guys from Lake Nona and the richer guys from Isleworth.  

Thomas Bonk wonders how Ernie Els can be too tired to play Bay Hill yet still can find the energy to play in next week's Tavistock Cup.

Speaking of the $3.88 million event, its founder and the lone funder of those carbon footprint killing helicopter rides for Tavistock contestants took a bath on the Bear Stearns collapse.

British billionaire Joseph Lewis made his fortune gambling on currencies. His recent investment in Bear Stearns (BSC, news, msgs) has turned out to be a disastrous bet.

The elusive septuagenarian is one the biggest losers from the New York investment bank's problems. In just a few months, he has lost almost all of the $1.1 billion he spent building up his roughly 9.6% stake in Bear, which agreed last night to be acquired by JPMorgan Chase (JPM, news, msgs) for just $2 a share.

Monday
Mar172008

"At this year’s Honda Classic the “Bear Trap” netted an astounding 356 over par, compared with last year’s 254 over par, proving the improvements enhanced not only the quality of the course, but also its difficulty."

I can't say that I can ever recall a press release going out celebrating the increased difficulty of a course, or in this case, the dreaded "Bear Trap." Until now... 

Much-Feared “Bear Trap” Ranks as Toughest Three-Hole Stretch in Professional Golf
 
Palm Beach Gardens, FL (March 14, 2008) –  South African Ernie Els and his fellow PGA tour players kicked off the Florida Swing at The Honda Classic,  recently taking the stage on “The Champ” course at PGA National Resort & Spa.  After two separate rounds of renovations in as many years, The Champ proved to be as formidable an opponent as the players themselves with the course’s daunting “Bear Trap” – a series of three holes, starting with No. 15 - continuing to test the game and spirit of the best players in modern golf.  At this year’s Honda Classic the “Bear Trap” netted an astounding 356 over par, compared with last year’s 254 over par, proving the improvements enhanced not only the quality of the course, but also its difficulty.
 
“We are thrilled with the extensive renovations by Nicklaus Design and Superior Golf Concepts,” said PGA National Resort & Spa managing director, Joel Paige.  “The combined scores from holes 15, 16 and 17 have shown that our “Bear Trap” offers professional golfers the toughest three-hole stretch anywhere in the world.”

 I'm booking my trip to Palm Beach Gardens as soon as possible.

Monday
Mar172008

"It surprises me a lot of guys don't learn from the way his routine is."

Steve Elling caught up with Tiger luggage handler Stevie Williams in a mood that could best be described as jovial, drawing these quotes out of him:

 "In 2000-01, Tiger was putting unbelievable; his putting was amazing," Williams said. "He didn't hit the ball anywhere near like he hits it now, didn't have anywhere near the array of shots and anywhere near the course management and course control. I don't even compare the two, to be honest with you."
And this is one that has crossed my mind...
 "If he was unprepared, he'd probably withdraw. He doesn't play as much as other players. I've always wondered why a lot of other guys don't take a leaf out of his book and do like he does. It surprises me a lot of guys don't learn from the way his routine is."

Of course in their defense, Tiger does keep his work out and practice programs relatively secret.  

Monday
Mar172008

Taking (Dead?) Aim At Bristol

Thanks to reader NRH for John Ourand's lengthy Sports Business Journal story questioning the platformable synergies of ESPN. There isn't really anything golf related here, though somehow I suspect PGA Tour players who question the Tour's 15 year Golf Channel deal may find this in their lockers with a nice note from Tim Finchem that reads, "This is why you overpay me. Love, Tim."

Monday
Mar172008

"Great. I love to see the players suffer—52.6%"

maar01_survey.jpgI'll be away for a few days and Internet access appears to be dicey. I'm staying at a five-star hotel that touts their in-room VCR's, so you can imagine why I don't have high hopes for high-speed Internet anywhere nearby. (Bet you can guess what country I'm headed to!).

Should this be my last post through Wednesday afternoon, I thought it would be a nice one to let simmer for a few days. And what better time to kick off the pre-Masters hype?

Now, you've all been subject to my rants about the envy that drives the mentality of "relatable golf," better known as wanting to see the world's best players brought down to a level of mediocrity.

Still, knowing how much criticism there has been of Augusta's par-protecting ways in recent years this April Golf Digest online survey question and reponse blew me away:

8. How do you feel about Zach Johnson's winning score of one over par at the 2007 Masters?

Great. I love to see the players suffer—52.6%
Hated it. I watch the Masters for birdies and eagles—39.2%
Zach Johnson won the Masters?—8.2%

I'm hoping for at least one eloquent explanation why the Masters is better when it's a celebration of suffering, as opposed to a contest of skill where, on occasion, someone might shoot 14-under par for the week. Don't be shy!

Monday
Mar172008

"There went $200."

Just how powerful is Tiger? He can distract an online poker player.

From the comments under Steve Elling's story recapping Sunday's final round, a reader named lelandjr posts:

OK. Just how 'wow' was that last birdie! I was sitting at my computer playing online poker and foolishly going all in on a pair of cowboys and was so sure that I would low. Then I look up as El Tigre's putt rolled ever so nonchalantly back towards the hole and I bent over waiting, waiting just to see what it would do. Of course, as always at these big moments, the Golf Zen Master himself soundly rolled the putt over twenty feet into the hole. And then... he gave a resounding celebration, which was well deserved after the comeback he staged this weekend. Anyway, while I was busy watching El Tigre, I thought I had went all in when in fact I still had 30 chips left. Of course my opponent raised me all in and while I wasn't paying attention, I was forced to fold (for taking too much time) and lost. There went $200. So this much I know, don't watch Tiger play golf while playing poker for money... Incredible tournament.

 

Sunday
Mar162008

Did You Catch Johnny Miller Keeping Tabs...

Of Sean O'Hair's practice swings during the final round at Bay Hill? Worse was O'Hair not being in position to begin his pre-shot preparations when the 17th green finally cleared after a long wait. He apparently hadn't realizes it was his honor, but did not make up for lost time as Johnny noted that he'd take 1:25 to get to the point where he was over the ball and about to pull the trigger. 

Let's hope Johnny keeps up the slow play watch.

Sunday
Mar162008

Tiger, Denis Watson Prevent Historic Bryant Brother Wins

tiger64_r1_c1.jpgThat's right, Tiger beats out Bart Bryant and Denis Watson stops Brad Bryant in a playoff on the old geezers tour. Or did Tiger beat Brand Dennis beat Bart?

Anyway, Tiger also happened to match Ben Hogan's all time PGA Tour victory tally while winning his fifth official event in a row, and his sixth or seventh straight worldwide win, depending on whether you count the Target World Challenge.

But really, doesn't that pale when compared to stopping the Bryants?


Saturday
Mar152008

Palmer Implores Tiger To Low Round...

...probably knowing that with greens that bad, the only way Tiger's only coming back if he's defending.

Steve Elling reports after Saturday's third round at Bay Hill:

Palmer, who sauntered over to Phil Mickelson on the putting range and later visited Woods on the practice range, was a fount of goodwill, and coincidentally or not, the world's No. 1 seemingly took it to heart.

"He came out and watched me hit a few shots," Woods said. "He liked what I was doing with my swing and said, 'Just keep going, you're headed down the right path. Just go shoot a low one today.'"

Yes, your majesty.

Besides, what's not for Palmer to like? The king and the crowned prince have been inextricably tied for a few weeks now, ever since Woods moved past Palmer on the PGA Tour's all-time victory list, moving one peg ahead with his win last month at the Accenture Match Play Championship. It was Woods' 63rd win and he's only 32 years old.

"The way he's playing, he could double that," Palmer said Saturday.

Saturday
Mar152008

Huggan: WGC's Should Be Out of Finchem's Hands

He's allowed to dream a little. Well, a lot...

Anyway, with Finchem out of the way – no bad thing in any circumstances – control of the WGCs must pass to a committee formed by those who run the four major championships. While far from perfect – the R&A and USGA, for example, have badly let down the game with their neglect of the various technological issues over the last decade and a half – their hearts are at least in the right place.

Besides, in these days of multi-million dollar/pound/euro incomes, the only things capable of exerting any real influence over Tiger and the gang are the game's four most important titles. They certainly don't pay much attention to the pathetic posturings of the various tours when it comes to the currently appallingly slow pace of play worldwide. So it should be that, if a player misses a WGC for any reason other than injury, illness or a family crisis, he will automatically be banned from competing in the next major. You don't fancy that trip to Australia in February? Then don't bother making any plans to visit Augusta in April.
Oh yeah, that'll happen.
Imagine, a World Match Play Championship at, say, Morfontaine or Royal Dornoch, or even the Old Course at St Andrews. I'd love to see a top player chipping to the second green at Dornoch, or, one up with two to play, deciding whether or not to risk all and go for the green at the Road Hole.

The possibilities, of course, are almost endless. But I would expect my committee to come up with an Open Championship-like rota of maybe 20 courses worldwide. Places like Kingston Heath, the Emirates club in Dubai, Barnbougle Dunes, Muirfield, Sunningdale, Fontainebleau, Portmarnock, Royal County Down, the Durban Country Club, Cape Kidnappers, Royal Portrush, Royal Porthcawl and Carnoustie, where the very best players and shot-makers will be suitably inspired rather than bored by their surroundings, never mind the inherent drawbacks of modern clubs and balls.

Yeah, but where are the partner's chalets going to go?