"I'm just thrilled that the first time we had match play we had some excitement. That's what this is all about."
Ryan Herrington says the early returns on the new NCAA format are positive after an epic Georgia-OSU match in round one.
Perhaps there should be less emphasis on lists of "great courses" and on "toughness." Challenge is one thing. Extreme difficulty is quite another. Unfortunately, nobody likes to think his course can be taken apart by anybody, and that too often becomes the measuring stick by which courses are designed. JACK NICKLAUS
Ryan Herrington says the early returns on the new NCAA format are positive after an epic Georgia-OSU match in round one.
"In the face of some tough questioning" Sergio Garcia endures a withering cross examine from the Internet Sports Writer of the Year, who also close-talked and ordered the former World No. 2 to read putts pose for a lame photo during a round at Turnberry. Refreshing to see Britain's top tabloid pursuing the questions we've all been wanting answered: What's wrong with your puttin...oh, wait, sorry.
So on Monday he was prepared for bad weather. What he was not prepared for were questions about his relationship with Morgan-Leigh Norman, the daughter of Greg, a relationship that had ended in March. Yet when confronted with the unexpected, Garcia did not flinch. He spoke truthfully and honestly. He did not ask for the conversation to go off the record or say that he did not want to talk about it ask for the tape recorder to be turned off. In fact, at one point he was given the opportunity to end the interview and play the last hole but declined, saying instead, "I don't want to play. I'm talking."
I'm weeping. The courage! The focus!
The interview, which took place between the 14th and 18th holes of the Ailsa course on Monday afternoon and was tape recorded, began with his memories of the 1996 Amateur. It soon moved to his current poor form and he explained that the break-up of his relationship with Morgan-Leigh was the reason for that and he went on to speak about it. An article about this appeared in The Times on Wednesday, May 27, headlined "It was being dumped by my girl that drove me into the rough, Sergio Garcia reveals." In the story Garcia said: "It was probably the first time I have been really in love. It took me a while to get over it.
Well at least the original story was given proper attribution. You don't often see that in a tabloid like The Times!
Naturally I had to be traveling when Bloomberg's Michael Buteau and Mason Levinson revealed that LPGA Commish Carolyn Bivens blabbed that she'd like to...oh I can't type, it's too funny even though it's not really a surprise.
“I’d love it if players Twittered during the middle of a round,” Bivens said in an interview today in New York.
“The new media is very important to the growth of golf and we view it as a positive, and a tool to be used.”
Uh, the problem.
Bivens said the LPGA was awaiting word from the U.S. Golf Association on whether the use of handheld devices for Tweeting during competitive play is within the rules. The USGA oversees the sport in the U.S. and Mexico, with the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrew’s, Scotland, governing the rest of the world.
An e-mail to the USGA seeking comment about using smart phones, such as Research in Motion Ltd.’s Blackberry and Apple Inc.’s iPhone, for social-media purposes during a round wasn’t immediately returned.
The USGA’s 2008 Rules of Golf make no mention of the use of handheld devices such as mobile telephones.
Rule 14-3 -- “Artificial Devices, Unusual Equipment and Unusual Use of Equipment” -- states that a player may not use any equipment “that might assist him in making a stroke or in his play; or for the purpose of gauging or measuring distance or conditions that might affect his play.” The penalty for violation of Rule 14-3 is disqualification.
Not mentioned here is that on Twitter, followers can respond to posts. And do it immediately.
So say player L had had trouble all week on 17 with club selection, she could send out a Tweet asking what the followers think of her outfit today, which could actually be code for, what are the others using on 17? Or her instructor could be watching on television and notice a swing fault and Tweet the player.
Actually, the list of potential pitfalls is quite long and I'm sure the person in LPGA headquarters who suggested this was either ignored, or was fired already. You know, those golfy people.
Impressive reporting job by Golf Mag's Josh Sens who went into the club world shattered by Bernie Madoff, revealing just how hard some were hit by the Ponzi schemer.
The tally so far registers in grim estates: a staggering $1 billion-plus purportedly swindled from the membership of Palm Beach CC; a reported $100 million from those at Hillcrest and Oak Ridge country clubs in Minnesota; and on. But the damage to the game can't be measured in dollars alone. In his wide-ranging betrayal, Madoff not only stole a fortune, he frayed the social fabric from which golf is stitched. His still-unraveling scheme has left some players questioning the sense of trust supposedly inherent among golfers, and others contemplating the cruel irony of having joined clubs that were built to keep the riffraff out, only to discover that the worst kind of riffraff was already in.
After a stunning opening 68 in Ian Baker Finch's first competitive round since 2001 (!!), sources inside the CBS back-up announcer trailer report that Bobby Clampett was seen optmistically searching Travelocity for flight info to next year's Masters just in case IBF should go on to win the Crowne Plaza at Colonial.
We love Ian and are thrilled about his great play. But you better not abandon us in April. We can't handle any more Hogan's Bridge references.
On a serious note, Ron Sirak puts the performance in context.
What Baker-Finch accomplished in the first round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational may not live in my brain as one of the most memorial moments I have witnessed, but it will linger in my heart as one of the bravest and most touching. His two-under-par 68 nearly 12 years after he shot a 92 in the British Open was a testimony to his courage as well as his considerable skill.
"I'm older now," he said after the round in which he made five birdies and three bogeys about fighting his nerves. "I just tried to stay in the moment. I never had second thoughts about doing this. Hey, I can still play the game." Of that there is no longer any doubt.
Steve Elling thinks the latest move to install Jerry West as part of the Northern Trust Open executive ranks is a move to distract us from recent events. If only they were so clever.
John Strege finds the PGA Tour's silence on John Daly's suspension downright Seinfeldian, especially since PGATour.com featured a headline noting John Daly's return from suspension.
Gary D'Amato updates us on the latest changes at Erin Hills and talk of the course possibly landing the 2017 U.S. Open.
Regarding the changes, is it odd that there isn't much talk anymore about architects Hurdzan, Fry and Whitten having a major hand in the work? Just course owner Bob Lang and contractor Bill Kubly are quoted.
Regarding the U.S. Open, it's reportedly a done deal, it will be fun to see if Lang lands the Open after what has to go down as one of the least subtle major campaigns ever (though there is always The Donald).
Looks like there was a new type of rally killer in Geoff Ogilvy's sitdown with what remains of the working press.
First, the rally...Geoff talking about the nuances of the Colonial course changes:
GEOFF OGILVY: Yes, it's actually quite nice that they've made some changes that you kind of keep looking at going, did they change that, did they not change that? It's a pretty seemless kind of change. Most of them I think is better, the course is better for it. A few extra bunkers here and there. The tees, a lot of them they look like they've just gone down a couple of feet which gives it a different look and probably makes it play a little longer in some respects because you are down a little bit. They cut the back of some of the greens, the ball is going to run away from a few more greens than it did before. All in all, pretty good changes. I would still like to see a couple of trees in a few places come out of this course. Apart from that, it's one of my favorites courses and probably nearly every guy in the field, if you polled them, it would be in their Top-5. And they haven't done anything to damage that by changing the course. A lot of times they change courses these days, that can happen. So fortunately that probably improved it. It's nice.
Q. Hi, Geoff, I'm doing interactive marketing for the tournament this week running the Twitter for the guys. I have a question from one of the followers. What part of your game is feeling best this week and what part of your game might not be feeling the best that you need to focus on to be successful this week?
The followers taking priority over the writers? Oh I smell an emergency meeting of the GWAA Directors! Wait, the new prez writes for the PGA Tour, maybe not!
Later on, Ogilvy on how the changes will impact play:
GEOFF OGILVY: In some cases for sure. I don't know if the fourth tee went back, but it feels like it's longer than it was. It definitely went down three or four feet. I think which makes it almost feel uphill. But that's always been a hard hole. The third is going to play a little trickier off the tee. It looks exactly the same, but the bunkers are 20 yards further to carry. They are not such an extreme carry, but our line has changed 20 yards from where it was the last 10 years. So getting it into your head you have to aim it 20 yards further right than you have been for the last eight or nine years is hard. You are used to teeing it up right next to the right-hand tee marker and hitting a driver in the normal spot, r the 3-wood in a normal spot. That line is now moved over and that's hard to get into your head. When you change a golf course subtlety like they have here, that we've played so many times. 12 is the same. 12 we've always blown it over the left bunker. Not many guys will be able to get it over there now. So it's hard to get it in your head you have to aim it up the fairway as opposed to aim it over the bunker. So it's more that sort of trickiness. The par-3, 13, I think it might actually be easier than it was before, even though it's 10 or 15 yards longer. 14, it's adjusting to the bunkers that are on the inside of the dogleg, not the outside of the dogleg. You are so used to stepping it up, autopilot, the normal spot, your driving lines are going to change on the 14th hole. It's more awkward changes like that, rather than out and out difficulty.
Steve Elling gets a nice phone call from Phil Mickelson with a thank you for a nice column and an update on wife Amy's care.
Ron Kroichick reports that the MPCC Shore-in-place-of-Poppy swap is almost here and talks to Arron Oberholser about it.
"I think it would be absolutely phenomenal," said Arron Oberholser, the 2006 AT&T champion. "It needs to happen. No disrespect to Poppy Hills, but can you imagine having the Shore Course, Spyglass and Pebble? It would be epic."
Let's forgive Oberholser's exuberance, because it would take Cypress Point's return to truly reach "epic" (and that's not happening anytime soon). Even so, the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula counts as a significant upgrade - in the quality of the course, the coastal setting and, most importantly, the perception of players.
Interesting take on John Daly's acceptance of an exemption to the Memphis event by Bob Harig. It's a view that will be especially interesting in a few months to look back on if he tries to get a few spots in America, or if, as Harig advocates, Daly spends much of his summer in Europe rebuilding his confidence.
Why? Because that is where he has a better shot at success, where he could gain some confidence, make money and be productive.
The chances of that on the PGA Tour, where he has to rely on sponsors' exemptions, are remote. Daly has not earned enough money in each of the past three years to retain playing privileges. But he'll do it this year starting his season in June?
And to his credit, Daly seems to recognize this.
"I don't really have any goals at home now because I'm so far behind," Daly said last week in England, where he played in the BMW Championship at Wentworth and tied for 72nd. "I'm kind of a little far behind here, but I feel like I could maybe make a move and maybe get in the Race to Dubai here. So I definitely will try and get some tournaments in the States, but there's no way I'm going to get 15 in.
"All I know is there's two or three exemptions I know I'm getting right now. The Fall Series, you never know. So I want to go. If I get into Memphis, I would like to play Memphis, but after that, I don't know what I'm going to do."
For a super short AP item, two jabs in a Twitter-length filing does not say much for the LPGA's Stanford Financial-free Tour Championship.
Steve DiMeglio notes that the Brand Lady isn't entirely to blame for this.
IMG, a worldwide sports, entertainment and media company, is responsible for the estimated $3 million annual payment or finding a new title sponsor for the Tour Championship. The tournament is one of three LPGA tour events owned by IMG, which also operates the Ricoh Women's British Open and represents LPGA stars Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie, Natalie Gulbis, Morgan Pressel and Yani Tseng.
I, of course, am much more positive and won't dwell on those jabs or the way ADT was lost as a sponsor, and instead will highlight the poetic press release's lone questionable comment.
WOMEN’S PROFESSIONAL GOLF MAKES WORLD-CLASS RETURN TO TEXAS WITH
LPGA TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP, ‘THE CROWNING MOMENT’ OF 2009 SEASON
The Houstonian Golf & Country Club named site for first LPGA tournament in Texas since 2003
Houston, TX – Long considered one of the top sports cities in the United States, it has been almost six years since the stars of the LPGA Tour have competed in Houston, Texas. But this fall, golf fans can look forward to the return of women’s professional golf to Texas when The Houstonian Golf & Country Club plays host to the LPGA Tour Championship.
The 2009 LPGA Tour Championship, to be held November 17-22, will feature a field of 120 of the top LPGA professionals in the world, a $1,500,000 purse, and a unique format that will see a cut after 36 holes to the low 70 professionals and an additional cut after 54 holes to the low 30 pros.
“As the crowning moment of the 2009 season, the LPGA Tour Championship promises to showcase the very best in women’s golf, both on the course and in our ‘Outside the Ropes’ commitment to the community,” said LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens. “Houston is a premier sports city that will embrace a season finale featuring the game’s greatest stars. LPGA players have been eager to return to the great state of Texas, and they’re thrilled that they’ll do so on such a spectacular course.”
The LPGA boasts a strong history in Texas, with some of the biggest names in women’s golf winning tournaments including Nancy Lopez, Jan Stephenson, Betsy King and Annika Sorenstam. Apart from Houston hosting the Samsung World Championship in 2003, the last regular LPGA Tour event held in the city was in 1986. The 2009 LPGA Tour Championship not only marks the long-awaited return of the LPGA Tour to Houston, but brings perhaps the most prestigious women’s golf tournament in the area’s long sports history.
The strong history in Texas also includes moving their headquarters from Houston to Daytona Beach.
Thanks to reader Warren for spotting Brad Rock's in-depth story on the antics of Steven Davis, the genius bonehead loser patron who made a splashy but little untelevised spectacle on the 17th hole of this year's Masters finale. Turns out, he can't blame the alcohol. He's just that big of a loser.
"I was turned off by all the stuffiness and arrogance, and even the players seemed so arrogant," he said.
Despite the big stage, he didn't get picked up by the TV cameras, and only small stories appeared in the newspapers, detailing how a fan had jumped into the bunker to retrieve his billfold and sunglasses.
"It was a lot more than that," he said.
He suspects there were photos taken of his stunt, but Masters officials blocked their release. Only credentialed photographers can shoot the event, and cell phones and private cameras are not allowed.
"I ran maybe 100 yards up the fairway, past the players. I was running as fast as I could," he said. "I was jumping and hooting and hollering and then I jumped as high as I could and dove into the bunker like a swimming pool."
And they include this proud moment in his obituary...
The highlight of the day — at least for Davis — was while he was lying on his back in the sand, as Mickelson peered warily over the lip of the bunker.
"The look on his face was priceless. His jaw dropped so far," said Davis. "He looked me in the eye and was shaking his head like, 'What's going on?' I fist-pumped and said, 'Go, Phil!' while I was doing an angel."
Stewart Cink gave the revamped Colonial a big thumb's up on Twitter ("I really like the "new" Colonial. Smart changes and not too drastic. Great condition too."), but I was hoping for more details and haven't seen any other reporting except for this GCSAA summary.
This week the PGA Tour returns to Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas for the Crowne Plaza Invitational. GCSAA Certified Golf Course Superintendent Scott Ebers (pronounced E-brrs) completed a significant renovation last summer immediately following the 2008 tournament. Improvements include new tees, bunkers, and a new green at No. 13. Native stone walls were installed on two of the water features and trees were repositioned in a few strategic areas. The tournament yardage was increased to 7,204 yards.
Ebers caught a break from a wet and cloudy month, with warm, sunny weather last week and has the bentgrass greens rolling at 11.5 feet on the stimpmeter, and the bermudagrass rough at three inches tall.
Tom Kensler profiles the new Renaissance Golf Design work at the former Mira Vista Golf Course, renamed to sound like a drug rehab center CommonGround), but thankfully serving a greater purpose (at least, if you are a golfer).
CommonGround is a 7,198-yard complete redo of the former Mira Vista Golf Course at Lowry. Co-owned by the Colorado Golf Association and Colorado Women's Golf Association, CommonGround was constructed with a budget of $4.8 million. By comparison, Doak recently completed work on $100 million courses in Palm Springs, Calif., and in the Hamptons on Long Island.
I don't even think Fazio can say he has two $100 million jobs!
The Mira Vista redo was a natural because three Renaissance Golf Design staffers grew up in Colorado. They contributed their "local knowledge" to the project. For example, their familiarity with playing golf at elevation convinced Doak that bunkers and other hazards must be placed farther down the fairway.
"For those guys, it was a rare 'home game,' " Doak said. "They suggested things that looked out of play for me but at this elevation are in play for a really good player."
That's not to say that Doak was a newbie to Colorado. Early in his career, in the mid-1980s, Doak worked for Pete and Perry Dye on Riverdale Dunes near Brighton. In 2006, Ballyneal Golf and Hunt Club opened in Holyoke to much fanfare. Meandering through natural sand hills, Ballyneal is ranked No. 8 among Golfweek's top-100 modern (1960-present) golf courses in the U.S.
Apparently at press time the names of Eric Iverson and those other staffers who did the dirty work, were unavailable. Either way, nice work Team Renaissance, sounds like a great addition to Colorado golf.
Nice Stewart Cink exclusive reported by Bob Smiley.
Speaking of Cink and Twitter, he posted this Monday:
Heading out for CrownePlaza. Looking forward to seeing the changes at Colonial. Some angst when they tinker with the great tracks.about 14 hours ago from Tweetie
I doubt there's much to worry about since Keith Foster, who did such a super job at Southern Hills, also did the Colonial work. The ASGCA website features this short interview with Foster about touching up a beloved classic.
It's a bit odd that John Daly is returning to the tour at the Memphis event considering some of the past events there, then again, what city doesn't have a Daly episode that might bring back bad memories? And besides, he'll serve as a great distraction from the memory that it was once the Stanford Financial St. Jude Classic.
PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said the tour does not comment on player discipline; it never confirmed that Daly was suspended and now cannot confirm that a suspension has been lifted.
Daly told The Associated Press over the Christmas holidays that he had been suspended for the second time in his career, and he said he found out two weeks ago while playing in Ireland that he had been reinstated.
"I don't really feel I deserved to be suspended," Daly said. "But I'm not going to dwell on it. I'm going to turn it into a positive. I'm getting my life back in order and I'm more organized."