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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

Good players have the power to think while they are competing. Most golfers are not thinking even when they believe they are. They are only worrying. HARVEY PENICK

 

    

Friday
Jul202007

What's The Risk?

During Friday's TNT Open Championship telecast, Peter Dawson sat down with Paul Azinger and Ernie Johnson to tell us what an irresponsible man Gary Player was for not outting someone during his Wednesday press conference. (I'll post the exact remarks when TNT hopefully sends them out.)  Peter Alliss chimed in later with the same remark, that Player should have named names.

Dawson had to scold Player for making such a surprise statement and he made sure to let us know that he believes golf is clean. Oh but, by the way, the R&A is initiating a drug testing policy at the same time!

Now, if Player is so off base and out of line and golf is so clean, why would the R&A be establishing a policy?

More perplexing was Azinger, who suggested that a drug testing policy and program was a "risk."

Other than the cost, policy issues and annoyance factor, what is the risk?

That up and coming players might be discouraged from popping an Effexor or injecting themselves with something that won't help their long term health?

What's the risk of drug testing in golf?
 

Friday
Jul202007

More USGA Groove Spin

The USGA has posted two more reports on why U-grooves need to be banned. One report, the "Long Rough Height Report," is a reply to former USGA technical director Frank Thomas's suggestion that they should just grow more rough because after 4 inches of the thick stuff, grooves don't matter. They have now proven Frank wrong! Oh joy!

The second report titled Reductio ad Absurdium PGA Tour Skill Rankings features all sorts of fancy graphs and charts about how driving accuracy means nothing to finish in the top 10 on the PGA Tour money list. After a cursory reading, I could not find one reference or even an acknowledgement of the role narrowed fairway widths have possibly played in chipping away at driving accuracy statistics.

I suppose that would make a big mess of the premise.

What I find most fascinating with both reports is the USGA's astounding determination to protect the integrity of rough. They are willing to ask every golfer to change out their U-grooved clubs so that rough, a cancer upon the game which has only been introduced and harvested through the years to quell distance gains, is preserved.

Meanwhile, a ball rollback would bring distances back in line with the existing architecture of thousands of courses, allowing for the integrity of a course design to be restored via width and shot values. Rough would be a minor part of the game, used on courses looking to save money on maintenance.

Instead, the governing body of North American golf appears willing to do just about anything to preserve a non-architectural element that only adds time to rounds and misery for most golfers. For the good of the game?

Thursday
Jul192007

Friday's Open Championship Clippings

openlogo.jpgDoug Ferguson's round 1 game story on Sergio Garcia's impressive course record 65. And for the UK perspective, here's Lawrence Donegan's take for The Guardian.

Alan Shipnuck offers a decent reason not to root for Sergio.

0719_mcillroy.jpgPaul Kelso tells us more about 18-year-old Rory McIlroy, who beat Tiger Woods.

McIlroy's talent has been an open secret in Northern Ireland for some years and he has been nurtured by support from the Sports Council and the Irish Golf Union, who have funded his career worldwide since he left school aged 16 with "a few" GCSEs.

He resisted the lure of travelling to America to complete his golf education in the university system - "I didn't really fancy the school part," he conceded - preferring to stay within the amateur fold in Europe and take up the occasional invitation to professional events.
My kinda kid!

Tan, rested and ready, embattled Carnoustie greenkeeper John Philp finally spoke to a media member and of course, sounds like he really wishes the course was a whole lot tougher, like '99.  Graham Spiers was the lucky inkslinger:
“There’s no doubt the course is easier,” Philp said. “There is no longer the intimidation factor on the tee for the players because the fairways are wider and the rough isn’t as dense. This time, the players can definitely feel more comfy on the tee. The course is not as fearsome.”
And that's a good thing, right John? I guess not if your ego is all tied up in a high winning score.

 

Tony Jimenez reports that Retief Goosen didn't take kindly to Gary Player's performance enhancing drug accusations... 

"I don't know what Gary was trying to prove," the world number 11 told reporters after launching his British Open challenge with a one-under-par 70 on Thursday. "I am very shocked at his comments.

"I don't know why he said that. I don't know if he is trying to damage the sport. If he wants to come and make these comments, why doesn't he name them?"

And of course if Player named names, he's be roasted even more!

mont.jpgAllan Patullo on Monty's grumpy (I know, shocking) post round demeanor.

No wonder he slammed his putter into his bag at the 18th. There was little surprise, too, when he by-passed reporters afterwards and headed instead for the putting green. Seasoned Monty watchers had seen this movie before, one that might be titled The Changeling.

But it doesn't look like he'll be brandishing a winner's cheque on Sunday, and nor is it likely that Monty the showman will be appearing in front of reporters any time soon. He gave us 3,677 words on Wednesday - golf is the sort of sport where such things are recorded - but we should have known some of these should have been kept for a rainy day.

And Lynne Truss of all people offers Monty a putting tip.

Claire Middleton tracked Ian Poulter down for a fashion compliment and got a revealing reply:

Poulter is usually one of the brightest fellows to follow on the course, but last year's Liberace sequins have been replaced by a more mellow olive check - which sounds pretty revolting, but is actually very smart.

He cheered up a bit when the Diary (feeling a bit blown away by the tirade above) mentioned this. "The clothing is a business and if you think it's smart, that's lovely," he said.

And here I thought he dressed like that because he actually liked wearing pink pants. 

Finally, John Huggan talked to Paul Casey about Nick Faldo's remarks that players need to be less chummy. Huggan picked up this SI "They Said It" worthy quote:

"The friendship obviously works well in team matches," said Casey. "But I know a lot of the guys who are friendly when they want to be friendly but can still be extreme competitors. I mean, Geoff Ogilvy is a good pal of mine and I took a lot from his US Open win last year. It hasn't paid off yet, but I've watched and learned. I think I'm as good as him. I don't go around saying it, but I think it a lot."

Uh Paul, you just went around saying it.

Thursday
Jul192007

Walter Driver Sending R&A Thank You Gifts; Vows To Loan USGA Jet If More Open Boondoggles Are Delivered

Just as they were mopping up the Graham Brown debacle by sending him off for race rehab...

Yesterday, however, an R&A spokesman said: "It was mutually agreed, given the media interest in this matter, that Graham Brown would take no further part in this championship."

103tigeruling_468x337.jpg...the next rules committee chairman, Alan Holmes, bungled a Tiger Woods ruling in ways that even a USGA committeeman could never comprehend (but they surely must be enjoying the other governing body looking so ridiculous!).

The UK papers weighed in with less than stellar reviews of the incident. Derek Lawrenson writes most hostile fashion in the Daily Mail:

Everyone in professional golf knows that if your ball comes to rest against television cables, you mark the ball with a tee peg, move the cables and take a free drop. Woods did not get the chance to carry out this basic procedure after carving his drive into the rough to the left of the 10th fairway.

Like Woods, Roe was aghast at the ruling. He said: "It's perhaps the easiest rule to knowand what really disappoints you is that this guy is going to be the next rules chairman and he can't even get that right."

Just to put this into context, Tiger Woods was playing in Arizona in 1999 when a rules official declared that a 1,000lb boulder was a movable obstruction.

James Corrigan in the Independent says:

On the left side of the 10th, Holmes adjudged that a collection of television cables was an "immovable obstruction" and told Woods he could shift his ball away without penalty. No one was more shocked than the player himself, and he duly capitalised on this widely perceived lucky break by making par. It was a weird drop, I was as surprised as anybody," he admitted. "I've never seen that ruling before. I didn't ask for the drop, the guy told me I could. He tried to move them and said he couldn't. Every time I've played around the world they've picked them up, no problem."

Holmes insisted his decision had been correct and labelled accusations that he had been intimidated by Woods stature "ridiculous". They were levelled most vehemently by Mark Roe, a former professional who was following Woods in his role as a radio summariser. "In 21 years as a pro I've never seen a drop like it," said Roe. "His first lie was absolutely horrendous and he would have struggled to play the shot. I think the R&A official became like a jellyfish because it was Woods. Some rulings are complex; this was not."

Roe proved his point by picking up the cables with one hand and moving them three feet; a respected journalist did likewise. Nevertheless, the R&A backed its man with conviction. Holmes is due to be the next chairman of the governing body's rules committee and, after a week in which one of its high-ranking members was stood down for making racial slurs in a pre-Championship speech, it is the last thing the R&A needed.

sgfron1200707.jpgAnd Lewine Mair shares this from the offending official:

Holmes said it was "absolutely ridiculous" to suggest he had given Woods a favourable ruling because of who he was. "I applied the letter of the law," he said. "It was a simple decision and that's it. I couldn't move the cable appreciably so it became immovable."
Thursday
Jul192007

What You Missed If You Had No Choice But To Mute The TNT Telecast

I've tried reading these backwards, in Spanish and through the Ali G tranzlata, but no luck deciphering the wisdom... 

Clampett on the weak spot in Tiger Woods’ golf game: “If there is a weak point in Tiger (Woods’) game, that is his weakest point, the little boring, blasé chip off the green. I don’t think it’s tough enough to get his attention.”

Kratzert: “You had to look deep for that weakness, didn’t you?”

The Martin and Lewis of golf.

Clampett on Ernie Els making a birdie from the bunker on the first hole:  “When (Els) was 14 years old and a tennis star and then switched to golf, he asked his dad to blow out the tennis court in the backyard and build a chipping green with a bunker…guess that practice paid off.”

Ha! Good one!

Clampett on the ovation McIlroy received at the conclusion of his round:  “What a moment.”

Johnson: “Don’t wake up kid.  Wow, what a day.”

Clampett: “(Rory McIroy's) going to be a name to remember for a long time.”

Johnson:  “A couple of years ago he stopped playing junior events.  He’s with the big guys now and more than holding his own.”

Goose bumps.

Clampett on Toru Taniguchi (+1): “(Toru Taniguchi) may be the most confident man in the field with back-to-back wins in Japan coming in (to Carnoustie).”

How could you forget Monty!

Thursday
Jul192007

"I think they're as confused as some of us players"

Gary D'Amato talks to PGA Tour brass about FedEx Cup scenarios (get your pen and paper out) and asks if fans care about the FedEx Cup standings?

"I think they're as confused as some of us players," [Kenny] Perry said. "I think only when it plays out in September will we all have a better feel for it."

Said Goydos: "I have a pretty good idea of what I need to do, but the reality is that I don't think the public has a good grasp. The Tour needs to do a good job of educating. That's their big challenge."

Bernhard Langer is No. 53 in the FedEx Cup points but said he would skip the playoffs because he has committed to play in tournaments on the European and Champions tours. But he thought fans would embrace the FedEx Cup, once they understood how it worked.

"I think the American people are used to playoffs from all the other major sports," Langer said.

Uh except in those playoffs, it's easy to figure out who gets eliminated.  

Thursday
Jul192007

I Guess That's Where The Tour Stands...

Oh I know there's all that legal mumbo-jumbo at the end of the PGA Tour's junk emails (which I so enjoy receiving) about not being responsible for an "advertiser's content." But I also bet the lawyers and VP's could say no to an ad campaign that puts the PGA Tour in an uncomfortable position.

Apparently the Titleist NXT ads, which were very funny for about a year--unfortunately that was three years ago--do not concern the PGA Tour, even though they are part of a campaign suggesting that proponents of equipment regulation are uh, batty!

230136-927188-thumbnail.jpg
(click to enlarge)
 

Thursday
Jul192007

"I was as surprised as anybody. I've never seen that ruling before."

img10261963.jpgSteve Elling looks at the controversy over Tiger's controversial first round drop.
After opening with a 2-under 69 to begin his bid to become the first player in a half-century to win three consecutive British Open belts, Woods had to explain his role in a curious ruling that some claimed was caused by preferential treatment by a rules official.

Woods was 3 under when he hit a drive dead left on the 10th hole, which is when everything else started moving sideways as well. Given the sketchy explanation that officials with the Royal & Ancient Golf Club offered with regard to the ensuing free drop he received, the saucy British tabs fast made a federal case out of the questionable ruling.

Actually, since we're overseas, it was more of an international incident. Apparently, the belief abroad is that Woods not only rules the game, he rules the rulemakers.

After Woods yanked his drive into what might be the only stand of trees for miles, his ball came to rest on a line of television cables resting in the thick grass. Ninety-nine times out of 100, rules protocol calls for a player to mark the ball, move the cables, then drop the ball in the same spot with no penalty.

However, Woods said the R&A rules official on the scene, Alan Holmes, instead offered a free drop several feet away in an area that had been trampled by fans, claiming the cables were an immovable obstruction. Mark Roe, a BBC radio reporter and former European Tour player, was shadowing Woods' group and said he moved the cables with relative ease afterward. He more than insinuated that Holmes was intimidated.

"I think the R&A official became a jellyfish the moment Tiger Woods asked for a drop," Roe said on the air.

Roe added later: "I am absolutely disgusted. In 21 years, I've never seen a drop like it. The rules official has made a big mistake."

Woods shrugged and tried to explain what happened.

"It was a weird drop," he said. "I was as surprised as anybody. I've never seen that ruling before."

Thursday
Jul192007

Sad?

Here on TNT tape-delay and not long ago we had the segment on Gary Player's comments about steroid use (and kudos to TNT to talking about it, something the American networks might not have done).

Bobby Clampett said he respected Player's views and had heard second hand rumors of experimentation, but no concrete evidence. And then he said it was a sad day for golf, citing the usual and seemingly understandable reasons (the game has been clean, gentleman's game, shouldn't have to come to this, etc...).

How can broadcasters or golf executives ever call this a sad or dark day since the possibility of performance enhancing drug use became a reality when so many made the ridiculous claim that athleticism was largely driving the distance explosion?

Thursday
Jul192007

"Altering the way we make wedges is not the solution to this problem."

Terry Koehler of Eidolon Golf wrote in response to the USGA's proposed rule change on grooves:
“The USGA has long held to the principle that if it is good for average golfers, and good for the game, then you support the evolution of equipment.” It’s quite apparent that you have determined that “the chickens are out of the hen house” regarding drivers and balls, but altering the way we make wedges is not the solution to this problem.”

Wednesday
Jul182007

Thursday's Open Championship Clippings

openlogo.jpgSo much fun stuff to read what with the R&A stumbling all over itself and Gary Player making news. Oh, and the Open Championship starts today, too. 

Regarding the matter at hand, GolfDigest's Mike O'Malley gives us a heads up on the O.B. close to 18 green, which I seem to remember was an issue in 1999 as well (but I still can't picture the all time greatest shot ever that Paul Lawrie spoke of).

The Golf Digest writers make their picks, including Boredom and Giggle who are going semi-retro (2003) by picking Padraig and Els.

faldo_index.jpgJames Lawton considers Nick Faldo's press conference and his assertion that today's players are a bit soft.

Paul Kelso in The Guardian notes this from Faldo's media gathering:

Nick Faldo, left, was celebrating his 50th birthday yesterday and, although he joked that he had received only one present, it seems there are some gifts he can do without. After his press conference yesterday he was offered a signed copy of a new biography of Colin Montgomerie, his one-time European Ryder Cup partner. Deciding apparently that the Faldo bookshelves were already full, the six-times major champion neglected to take the book with him when he left.

Speaking of our favorite car washer, Steve Bierley calls Monty the "grand illusionist" in laughing off the Scot's newfound optimism while Lorne Rubenstein recounts some of Monty's classic Jekyl and Hyde moments.

Sergio Garcia wishes things were firmer and faster, but the weather forecast doesn't look like it's going to help matters. And judging by the photos at golf.com, it was a miserable final practice round.

John Huggan considers what things would be like with Ben Hogan returning to Carnoustie in 2007.

John Hawkins wonders what's up with David Duval, updates his whereabouts (should you care) and shares this anecdote from Duval's 2001 Open win:

After he won the '01 British, Duval let me accompany him back to the house he had rented for the week in northwest England. What struck me about that hour was the utter lack of joy exhibited by anyone in the traveling party, particularly the latest owner of the claret jug. They had a plane to catch and bags to pack, but if you had walked into that house 20 minutes into the process, you would have sworn Duval finished tied for 35th.

John Garrity visits Rhod McEwan's merchandise tent bookstore. They sell books? Why, that might compete with hat sales here in the States. 

On the Graham Brown racialist remarks (Ali G joke, please email me that it's a typo), Nick Harris writes:

However, Mr Brown, who was attending the dinner in a private capacity, shocked the gathering with a speech described by those listening as "offensive and racist". He joked about Japanese players all looking the same, referring to them as "Nips", and about a black taxi driver in a Deep South accent. Diners were left with their heads in their hands as he launched into another ill-judged story about a deaf golfer playing against an opponent with a cleft palate. "He went down like a lead balloon," said one guest. "It was like a Bernard Manning tribute night," said another.

Sadly, the Principal has not weighed in yet.

july18_player_299x209.jpgJames Corrigan offers the best summary of Gary Player's comments on possible drug use along with plenty of player reaction (They're shocked, saddened and of course don't think they know of anyone doing anything sinister because they're family men who are playing a game of honor...yada, yada. Alan Shipnuck thankfully agrees that such a response is getting old.).

In the transcript of Player's press conference, note that he called it a "wonderful question" before beginning his gabfest, so he clearly was waiting to be asked about this.

And finally, Kelso's Guardian account shared this from Ernie Els in response to Player's claims:

Els, who is one of the favourites this week, was surprised at his compatriot's assertion. "Holy shit. I know I'm not. But if he knows it, he knows something I don't. There is a list of substances they ban. I take Advil for pains and discomfort and anti-inflammatories and something for my knee when it gets damp, and I take Guinness."
Wednesday
Jul182007

Martin Kippax Tabbed To Headline Amateur Comedy Hour At Carnoustie's Craw's Nest Pub

These R&A buffoons are trying to outdo their USGA counterparts, and I must say, doing a fine, fine job!

Oh, and I'm not talking about Graham Brown's outrageous comments, but instead the opening to Wednesday's R&A press conference from Martin "Let's play those holes over again" Kippax.

Very tasteful choice here in light of his inability to secure a hole location and considering Mr. Brown's behavior the night before:

MARTIN KIPPAX: Hello, ladies and gentlemen. A little bit of humor perhaps to start with. One of our members, Rhodri Price, as you many of you know, on his way home from the course last night at 10:00 decided it would be a good idea to get a pizza, so he got his pizza and he went home to his hotel room, switched on his favorite television program, sat down, had himself apparently a present of some bubble bath.

He decided to have a bath. So there he is, he ran his bath, put the bubble bath in, went next door, 15 minutes later, watched the television program, came in and then decided it was time for the bath. Went into the bathroom, no water in the bath. He had forgotten to put the plug in. So, R&A couldn't run a bath (laughter).

Hardy har, har...banging fist on table here!

On a serious note, look how badly Peter Dawson bungled this question and how Kippax of all people had to mop up for him:

Q. What kind of message do you think it sends out, the image of the game, the image of The R&A, that he's going to continue to serve?

PETER DAWSON: If I can answer that, my understanding is that this was a private dinner held by the Association of Golf Writers. Any image that's sent out to the game is a matter for the people in this room.

MARTIN KIPPAX: I hope that what we're doing is we're saying that The R&A would not want to be associated with anything which is in the slightest bit racist or anything of that nature. And I hope that that's accepted by this room. I mean, that's the way it is. We've had it out with Graeme and that's the way we see it.

PETER DAWSON: Thank you very much indeed, ladies and gentlemen.


Wednesday
Jul182007

"While increasing the economic opportunities for our members, marketing opportunities for sponsors and opportunities for fans..."

Who else could so relentless use the same word in one sentence? Why you know who, the Brand Lady, probably fresh from a downward brand stream integration meeting where they decided this news would be branded as creating "opportunities."

Readers LPGA Fan and Phil sent this news...

LPGA acquires Duramed FUTURES Tour

Women’s professional golf now under one umbrella

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y., July 18, 2007 – Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Commissioner Carolyn F. Bivens, in conjunction with Zayra Calderon, president and CEO of the Duramed FUTURES Tour, announced today that the LPGA has acquired the Duramed FUTURES Tour effective immediately.  The Duramed FUTURES Tour has been the official developmental tour of the LPGA since 1999.  The announcement was made at the LPGA’s HSBC Women’s World Match Play Championship at Wykagyl Country Club in New Rochelle, N.Y.

        The Duramed FUTURES Tour offers rising stars in the women’s game the opportunity to prepare for a career on the LPGA.  For the past eight years, the Duramed FUTURES Tour has operated in a licensee role with the LPGA.  In recent years the organizations have worked closely to align business practices to assist the members of both tours with professional development, and to prepare members of the Duramed FUTURES Tour for the transition to the LPGA.  One of the biggest examples of the synergy between the two organizations over the years has been the awarding of coveted LPGA Tour cards for the top money leaders on the Duramed FUTURES Tour.  In 2003, the LPGA increased the cards from three to five.

“We are absolutely delighted that we have reached an agreement for the LPGA to acquire the Duramed FUTURES Tour,” Bivens said.  “This acquisition demonstrates our desire to fortify the LPGA as the home to the best golfers in the world, providing us with a powerful development system for women, while increasing the economic opportunities for our members, marketing opportunities for sponsors and opportunities for fans to enjoy the next generation of future LPGA stars.”

The acquisition will put women’s professional golf in the United States under one umbrella.  Together, the tours will bring the world’s best female professional golfers to more markets, resulting in increased exposure for the players, sponsors and tours.  Currently the LPGA has 35 tournaments worldwide and the Duramed FUTURES Tour has 19 tournaments in 14 states.

“The Duramed FUTURES Tour has strategically aligned with the LPGA to provide a seamless transition for Duramed FUTURES Tour players to the LPGA,” Calderon said.  “This agreement solidifies what all of us have been working toward for years – a cohesive tour system for the best talent in women’s golf.  The LPGA Tour features the very best in the game and the Duramed FUTURES Tour offers talented golfers and rising stars the opportunity to prepare for a career on the LPGA.”

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.  Notable terms call for Calderon to remain as president and CEO of the Duramed FUTURES Tour and become a member of the LPGA’s senior management team. In addition, the Duramed FUTURES Tour staff will relocate from Lakeland, Fla., to the LPGA headquarters in Daytona Beach, Fla., by the end of the year.

Wednesday
Jul182007

"When golfers have options, they also have the potential to make mistakes."

img20060524_2.jpgSam Weinman on the restored Wykagyl, home to this week's HSBC Match Play:
Among the intriguing elements of the match-play event's arrival is it comes on the heels of an extensive renovation to the club - one that has changed not just the aesthetic of the storied course, but how it will play.

By almost every account, those changes are particularly conducive to match play, where golfers have to constantly choose between a conservative or aggressive line. And after the renovations last year by the celebrated design team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, the difference between the two has been brought into sharper focus.

"The biggest difference is there's a lot more strategy involved," said Ben Hoffhine, Wykagyl's head pro. "And in match play, it's a lot more apparent because how you play is dictated by what your opponent does."

Said Chuck Del Priore, one of the club's top players and a member of its greens committee: "A lot of the weaker players will say the course got easier, and the better players think so, too. But what they're also finding is they're getting themselves in more trouble."

That a golf course can simultaneously be more accessible and more challenging is a reflection of the sheer volume of options players are now presented with. Trees have been cut down. Greens and fairways have been expanded. Once a string of 18 wooded holes in which target lines were quite obvious - i.e. just hit it between the trees - the sheer openness of holes means players this week will have new ways to attack them. Which also means they'll have new ways to mess them up.

"It used to be like a one-way street, but now you have tons of different options and lines," Hoffhine said. "And when golfers have options, they also have the potential to make mistakes."

Wednesday
Jul182007

"Bookies hope to shoot down Tiger"

A couple of stories detail the latest bets that can be placed on the Open Championship. Bob Fenton writes:

For those who think Tiger Woods might be blown away in the first two days, can have 9-1 that he does not start the third round for golfing reasons.
Now, I hate to be cynical, but I so rarely am. Therefore, I'm entitled. But, headlines and stories like the above which have been fairly common. The theme of these stories is that a Tiger win would be disastrous for the bookies. For some reason it makes me envision some naked bookie with an arrow pointed toward his rear end running out to distract Tiger as he attempts a birdie putt on 18 to win it all. Or to encourage some nut to tackle and injure him en route to his third round tee time.

 
My point: I'm glad betting on sports is illegal in America (outside of Las Vegas and Atlantic City). We have too many nutjobs who might read articles like this, place a bet and try to influence the outcome. In Great Britain, they just have stupid old racists who drink too much.

Anyway, I'm curious if anyone else gets the same vibe reading such stories.

On a lighter subject, Paul Lawrie and Monty are definitely going in different directions when it comes to the pre-tournament action:

Aberdonian Lawrie is back at Carnoustie - where he famously won the Claret Jug in 1999 - for The Open which starts on Thursday morning.

Lawrie is priced at 200-1 by bookmakers William Hill, and the biggest bet on him is only £25 each-way to be placed.

However bookmakers say a Montgomerie win at 25-1 would cost more than £1m.

William Hill spokesman Graham Sharp said: "Despite his failure to make the cut in the Scottish Open last week, Monty is the man the punters want to back for The Open and his have odds tumbled to 25-1 from 80-1.

"Every other bet seems to have his name on at the moment, and we will certainly be handing over a hefty seven-figure sum to punters should Monty manage to win.

"The biggest bet is £300 each-way at 80-1, but it's the volume of smaller bets. Monty is to The Open what Frankie Dettori is to the Derby."

Wednesday
Jul182007

"He is certainly not a racist, as an individual,"

Steve Elling reports that the R&A's Graham Brown was determined to put a stop to the Euro's-winless-in-majors stories and the various Paul Lawrie-Jean Van De Velde recaps by telling several off-color jokes at a writer's banquet!

Our governing bodies are in such fine shape! 

Proving that the elitist golf establishment in America hardly owns a monopoly on bad taste, pious attitudes and overtly racist behavior, a member of the storied Royal & Ancient Golf Club on Tuesday night told a series of off-color jokes at a journalists' banquet in Carnoustie that left those in attendance shaking their heads in disgust.

Graham Brown, a member of the R&A rules of golf committee, was invited to speak at the annual banquet of the Association of Golf Writers, an organization with 70 years of history. Those who attended said Brown started his remarks with a well-received impression of Spanish golf legend Seve Ballesteros, then reeled off a series of mostly failed jokes that included derogatory characterizations of Southern blacks and Asians.

One punchline about Asian golfers included the pejorative term "nip," which caused a large groan from the audience, attendees reported.

But thankfully, the R&A's crack spin control team chimed in to...make matters worse.

Adding fuel to the fire, after learning of the remarks the following day, the R&A declined to demand Brown’s resignation. As for its considerable constituency, the R&A is golf’s governing body everywhere outside North America, including Asia. The organization annually stages the British Open, which begins Thursday at Carnoustie Golf Links.
 
“The situation is, we’ve got two things here,” said Martin Kippax, chairman of the R&A’s championship committee, when asked why Brown had not been forced out. “Graeme Brown is a good golfer and he’s a very knowledgeable individual with regards to the rules of golf. And he’s a very useful member of our rules committee.
 
“What happened last night is something that is quite independent.”

Would that be Martin "Let's play those holes over again" Kippax chiming in? Yes he's a good golfer and knows the rules, so he can do as he pleases!  Ahh...somewhere Walter Driver is trying to smile, even though he's physically incapable.

Well, except that he's a member of the R&A brass, a group that apparently make the folks at historically exclusionary American clubs look like social progressives. Speaking of which, one of Brown's jokes included a mocking imitation of a black caddie at Augusta National, guests said.

The R&A has approximately 1,800 members around the world, but no women. Though the journalists' group was in no way responsible for Brown's incendiary remarks, the U.K.-based writers' association on Wednesday issued a written statement in which its members apologized "unreservedly" for the content of the commentary.

Peter Dawson, the executive director of the R&A, did little to improve the situation Thursday when he failed spectacularly to distance the organization from the remarks. Dawson said that because Brown was a guest invited "in a private capacity" by the writers, he was not representing the R&A, per se.

"We all know Graham Brown very well and I can say absolutely that he is certainly not a racist, as an individual," Dawson said.

Now, as for his other personalities, that's another story.

No, he just comes across as a member of a xenophobic fraternity -– as a group. His address also included sexually related comments that many judged to be inappropriate. One attendee said that Brown offended everybody but homosexuals, who somehow escaped his attention.

Well, you can't use all of your best material on lowly golf writers.

Dawson and Kippax said they had spoken with Brown on Thursday and that he was "horrified at learning the effects or the impact of some of his remarks," as Dawson put it.

Pointedly asked why he had refused to denounce or censure Brown, Dawson said evenly, "I didn't realize I was refusing to condemn it. But the R&A would not with [SP] to be associated with that kind of thing."

Other than having the offending party as an influential member. Because, after all, he's a good player and he knows the rules of golf, and that might come in handy come tournament time.

Wonder why golf's governance has a reputation for being whiter than the ball itself, and just as inflexible?

The banquet audience included dozens of golf writers from around the world, plus a smattering of broadcasters, agents and notable Ryder Cup players such as Ian Poulter, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington and Henrik Stenson.

Wednesday
Jul182007

"No, not surprise me because I know - I know for a fact - that there are golfers...that some golfers are doing it."

Sheesh, they invite Gary Player into the interview room for one of those sweet little gabfests with a former champion, just so the scribblers who can't bear to write a Euros majorless drought story have something to fall back on. And what does Player do? Why he makes news. Take that Peter Thomson!

Asked if he would be surprised by any positive findings the 71-year-old commented: "No, not surprise me because I know - I know for a fact - that there are golfers, whether it's HGH (human growth hormone), creatine or steroids, that some golfers are doing it.

"And the greatest thing that the R&A (Royal and Ancient Club, organisers of the Open and golf's ruling body outside of America and Mexico), the USGA (United States Golf Association) and the PGA (Professional Golfers' Association) can do is have tests at random.

"It's absolutely essential that we do that. We're dreaming if we think it's not going to come into golf.

"You look at these rugby teams today - and I followed rugby all my life - it's so obvious it's happening.

"It would be interesting what percentage of athletes, men and women, in the world are using one of those three enhancements. I think 40%.

"I've changed my mind overnight. I think it's almost 50 to 60%. I'm not saying golfers, I'm saying just across the board with all sports."

Asked what he thought the number was in golf, Player replied: "Well, I'd be guessing, I'd be guessing. You want me to take a guess?

"I would say of golfers around the world playing on tour I would say there's 10 guys taking something. I might be way out - definitely not going to be lower, but might be a hell of a lot more.

"And I'm delighted to see that they're going to start having tests at random, if that's what they officially have decided."

Questioned on how he knew "for a fact" that there are drug cheats in golf the three-time Open champion said: "Because one guy told me.

"One guy told me and I took an oath prior to him telling me and he told me and I won't tell you where, but he told me what he did and I could see this massive change in him.

"And then somebody else told me something that I also promised I wouldn't tell that verified others had done it."

 

Wednesday
Jul182007

Players Excited About Not Having To Be Annoyed By Cell Phone Cameras

Monty was even funny when talking about it.

Amazingly, the R&A still seems to be pandering to fans by begging for understanding, even after last year's debacle.

Those travelling to The Open this week are asked to leave their mobile phones at home. Searches will be conducted at the gates, and free storage for mobiles will be provided on site. The decision was made after concerns were raised by many top golfers and an R&A spokesman has said "we are confident as we can be that spectators will not be inconvenienced too much." 

 

Tuesday
Jul172007

Wednesday's Open Championship Clippings

openlogo.jpgIt's Wednesday so that must mean recycled stories day in the press tent! Today's special that you can fall asleep to here, here and here? Yes, the European's major drought. Fresh, cutting edge stuff! And in our global golf world where European's play half their golf in America, the majorless drought means so, so, so uh, little.

Judging by the photos on golf.com (with a couple posted on this site too), it looks like it was a nice day Tuesday.

Doug Ferguson reports on all the suckers taking Monty at 25-to-1.
William Hill has lowered his odds to 25-to-1, but the number of bets placed on Montgomerie to win has been so large that bookmakers say the betting turnover would be more than $50 million.

“Despite his failure to make the cut in the Scottish Open last week, Monty is the man the punters want to back for the Open,” Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said. “Every other bet seems to have his name on at the moment, and we will certainly be handing over a hefty, seven-figure sum to punters should Monty manage to win.”

WoodsTuesMattDunhamAP_600x450.jpgPaul Mahoney highlights Tiger's interesting links golf comments that I'm too lazy to go and read in the transcript tonight. Love the Ryder Cup jab:
"It allows you to be creative," he said. "Augusta used to be like that. The U.S. Open is obviously not. And the PGA is similar to a U.S. Open setup. We play so much in the States where everything is up in the air. Over here, you get to use the ground as an ally and hit different shots. It is neat to hit bump and runs, and to putt from 50 yards off the green, and to hit 5-irons from 135 yards and run the ball in.

"I wish we played more courses like this. It would be nice to see a Ryder Cup played on a real links course. The courses on the PGA Tour are virtually the same apart from the length of the rough. I think the players enjoy going back to the old-style courses like Oakmont and Congressional because we don't get a chance to play venues like that much any more."

What makes Woods so unusual is his ability to conjure up shots that his rivals (if he has any) simply don't have in their arsenals. And experimenting with his game has always been part of his makeup.

"Coming over here just enhanced that," he continued. "A lot of guys just get into a mode where they hit one normal shot all the time. If you are limited by that, when that one shot goes awry, you have no shots to go back on."

Steve Elling on the six guys with lost luggage. MickelsonBushTuesPeterMorrisonAP_600x450.jpg

Ed Sherman reports that Tiger supports a 2-year ban for those testing positive for banned substances...assuming they ever figure out what is banned. He sure is adamant about this. It's almost like he knows of someone he really dislikes using stuff! Can't imagine who that could be.

Jose Maria Olazabal is out with an unspecified injury so I think it would be a mistake to bet on him. Then again, people are throwing money away on Monty...

And finally, Martin Greig looks at Zach Johnson's faith and gets a little MBASpeak thrown in too...
"I don't know if He has anything to do with golf," Johnson said yesterday. "Golf is my job. My faith is very important to me. I'm not one that's going to flaunt it, but it's my foundation. It's what's inside of me. That's the way I feel my life should be lived.

"Now, at the same time, when it comes to golf I don't really think God cares what I do. It's just a matter of how I conduct myself and why I play. It's my job, it's the way I support my family and it's my platform. That's the way I go about it."

Johnson does not look like a major champion. He looks an insurance salesman, but he has a green jacket hanging in his closet.

Tuesday
Jul172007

Woods Agrees That Lawrie's Fluke Win Needs To Be Celebrated More

Douglas Lowe files this:

Paul Lawrie said yesterday that he did not get the credit he deserved for winning here in 1999, and no less a figure than Tiger Woods backed him up.

Lawrie came from 10 strokes behind on the final day to capitalise on Jean Van de Velde's infamous errors and make the play-off, and then hit a dream four-iron on to the final green to set up his Championship putt.

Lawrie acknowledges that Van de Velde's cock-up warranted the headlines, but argued yesterday that his subplot was underplayed. "I would have liked to have seen a little bit more of, 'Jean Van de Velde blew the Open, but, by God, Paul Lawrie shot 67 to win the tournament by two shots by hitting the best shot anyone has ever seen down the last hole'," he said.
Kind of reminds you of Monty in the humility department, eh?

 
I don't remember the best shot anyone has ever seen, do you?

"But that didn't happen very often. That's out of my hands. What can I do? There was a lot written about what Jean did. And rightly so. But I didn't read a lot about how well I did the last day."

And not a whole lot since.