Thanks to reader Joe B. for this Marisa Lagos update on the possible future of Alister MacKenzie's Sharp Park. Doesn't sound so good.
Searching for a lost ball is not a pleasant vocation, but since golf was first played a lost ball has always been a part of the game. So reconcile yourself to tradition.
Thanks to reader Joe B. for this Marisa Lagos update on the possible future of Alister MacKenzie's Sharp Park. Doesn't sound so good.
So let's see. Tim Finchem plays in the AT&T National Pro-Am and magically they are discussing a field reduction to help with the wretched pace of play. Tiger is widely believed to be offering to return if Poppy Hills is thrown out of the rotation, but we're expected to believe this was all in the works long ago? Either way, it is time to do something.
Doug Ferguson, quoting the Commish:
"Part of you says, 'Make it as good as it can be.' That's generally our attitude with any tournament," he said. "But you've got to take other things under account that might hold you back a little bit."
One other factor to consider is the strengthened relationship with the title sponsor and the world's No. 1 player. Tiger Woods has a deal with AT&T to carry its logo on his golf bag. AT&T already sponsors his TOUR event in Washington.
Woods has not played the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am since 2002, but is likely to return next year -- for no other reason than the U.S. Open will be held at Pebble in 2010.
That has led to speculation among players that Woods is behind the changes, particularly the courses. Rick George, chief of operations for the TOUR, said discussions began before Woods signed his bag deal with AT&T.
Mike Aitken reports on just how desperate European Captain Colin Montgomerie is to win.
"I feel in the past that there has been only a select few told things on a need-to-know basis but I want this to be an open campaign," he explained. "I will do it through e-mails to the players and talk to them in players' lounges. At lunch, maybe I'll sit at tables I wouldn't otherwise have sat at and say 'listen lads, this is what's happening'.
Lunching with the little people he never would have wasted his time with. Now that is determination!
I loved Tom Coyne's SI Golf Plus My Shot piece on Irish golf and the beauty of the 9-hole round. He nails it. If there was some way we could de-stigmatize the 9-hole round, I'd sure love to hear it. (I still say a match play event with 9-hole matches in pool play would help.)
As for Coyne's book, I just received it and haven't had a chance to look at it yet. But freelancer and avid book reader Tom Mackin says this about it and John Garrity's latest:
If you're not going to Ireland soon -- despite one Euro being worth $1.30 American, the best rate in a long while -- two new books will get you there in spirit. Tom Coyne's "A Course Called Ireland" (Gotham Books) chronicles his walk -- yes, walk -- around the entire island while playing almost 60 links courses. John Garrity investigates his own Irish heritage, at a more leisurely pace, in "Ancestral Links" (New American Library). Two different perspectives on the game and the country with a shared favorite: Carne Golf Links in County Mayo.
There was just the one rough patch (where he found out he was going to be Vice Captain without actually talking to Monty!), but now they are together now, reports Mark Garrod, assuming Jose Maria Olazabal doesn't play his way onto Colin Montgomerie's 2010 Ryder Cup squad. I can sleep now.
Shockingly I forgot to record round one or round two of the Tavistock Cup, always one of golf's most embarrassing shows of conspicuous consumption. Though I do see that Tiger Woods had to share a helicopter over from Isleworth with J.B. Holmes, so I'm sure the world No. 1's olfactory senses are just now starting to recover. Serves him right for supporting this nonsense.
Golf.com features a gallery of images and I think this one from Marc Serota just begs for some caption help.
With last week's sudden and unfortunately shuttering of T&L Golf, I couldn't help but notice the huge drop in circulation and the likely impact it made on decision-makers who shut it down. Making now a good time to be doing a little begging for our friends in the print world. Yes, this will sound like a PBS pledge drive, but I can speak from the perspective of someone who browsed so many old golf publications and fears a repeat of the late 30s and 40s when there was no more American Golfer or Golf Illustrated to kick around.
I just tossed a T&L renewal form that would have cost $29 for 6 more issues. Now, you might say that's not the greatest value these days but $29 will not even get you a dozen premium golf balls. And just think, for that money you would have gotten this amazing publication arriving in your mailbox filled with lively writing, vital travel tips, beautiful photography and insights into special places you either must see, or may never get to visit due to their remote location.
In a larger historical sense, publications like T&L serve as valuable documenters of golf architecture and important people in the game who may be of great interest to future generations. While I understand it is not your job to prop up a magazine so that future generations have a historical resource, do remember that we live in an information-driven world, and if you job is in anyway tied to your passion for the game, golf magazines provide you with insights that might just bridge some sort of gap between you and your superior. (There, it's all about YOU.! Thankfully, I know most of the people who read this site are not the raging narcissists who gobble such stuff up!).
And yes, most of the golf publications were woefully slow in adopting to the online world and continue to inexplicably ignore digital options (Golfweek fully exempted). They also undermine the value of a subscription by giving away too much content and offering subscribers few online perks like access to PDF's of back issues. I shouldn't complain because this is to the benefit of blogs, thank you very much.
That said, there is still nothing quite like a magazine. You can take it all of these weird places--the beach, the plane, the train, the car wash, the doctor's office, etc...--share it with friends easily and all for a ridiculously low price each month.
So while you may be cutting back on dinners, trips or other expenses, I beg you to think twice before ending your magazine subscriptions. You may not like every piece of writing and you may suffer the occasional paper cut while powering through the instruction drek stuff each month, but I can tell you that golf's major publications have never looked more beautiful and they've never been a better value.
So here's the PBS part. Just in case you aren't a subscriber or were looking for a classy gift...
Subscribe to Golf Magazine for $10.
Subscribe to SI and request Golf Plus and get 28 issues for $24.
Subscribe to Golf Digest for a whopping $12 for 12 issues.
Subscribe to Golf World and get a year's worth of coverage for $32.
Subscribe to Links and get one year for $13.95 or $14 for two years
Subscribe to Golfweek $35 and get a year's worth of coverage.
And this plea is most definitely applied to regional publications or others I've left out. The little guys need even more support than the big guns. Either way, I know you won't regret signing up for one or all of these pillars of the game. I sure don't want to imagine a world without them. Do you?
Gary Van Sickle posts a golf green fee horror story that does not bode well for municipal golf in Miami, or the game in general. Save some time to read the great reader comments. Plenty on the good, bad and greedy of public golf.
That land would be...not Ireland...yep, America!
At least, if you see what the Euro press contingent has to say.
Now, Brian Keogh is exempt because he writes for the Irish Times and is expected to report on his man.
But then there's the headline to Mark Reason's final round WGC CA Championship game story: Tiger Woods raves about Rory McIlroy as Phil Mickelson wins
One can't blame the headline writer after reading Reason's story:
It's seldom easy with Mickelson, but the Phillibuster crunched a superlative drive down Doral's brutal final hole and then nearly holed his second shot to close out victory with a touch of class.
The ivory-toothed Mickelson is Mr Middle America, but it may just be that Rory McIlroy is now the third most popular current golfer in the land. McIlroy had slipped out of contention in the final round, but still NBC was showing shots of the 19-year-old. That is the sort of obsessive coverage usually reserved for only Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Deep breaths people, deep breaths.
Speaking of NBC coverage that featured several compelling moments, including more epic sound crew work capturing the Bones-Mickelson conversation on No. 12, the SI Golf Group files their weekly serial novel and while I think they read way too much into the Jimmy Roberts-Tiger Woods interview, they do highlight what was one of the more uncomfortable Johnny Miller moments in a day filled with them. Damon Hack writes:
Lots to chew on this week, including a juicy on-air back and forth between Johnny Miller and Roger Maltbiegame's best player. Johnny said if Phil is hitting it 300 yards and straight, he's the best player in the world. Roger said he knew a guy who could beat him — last name Woods.
There is a need for entertaining give and take, something sorely missing since the demise of ABC's Faldo-Zinger-Tirico setup). But this was downright awkward, with Maltbie actually making sure to not to let Johnny's comment go. Great TV moment for us at home, yet the tone seemed to say: Johnny, you are really out of touch and I'm not going to let you embarrass the rest of us.
Which was more painful Sunday: Johnny Miller repeatedly citing non-existant "grain," or all of the bracketologists, committee chairs, analysts, experts and other assorted blowhards dropping the dreaded "body of work" phrase to describe the merits of NCAA tourney teams?
Well short of Jesus returning and weighing in on Rory McIlroy's potential, Tiger's comments Saturday should offer the European press contingent a healthier Viagra alternative:
"The guy's a talent," Woods said of McIlroy. "We can all see it, the way he hits the golf ball, the way he putts, the way he can chip, get up and down.
"He has the composure. He has all of the components to be the best in the world, there's no doubt.
"It's just a matter of time and experience in big events. That takes time and I mean he's only 19," Woods told reporters after finishing on 209.
John Huggan says the demise of Americans in the world rankings is long overdue payback for years of European discrimination...
Changed days indeed for the most powerful golfing nation on the planet. Actually, "pay-back time" may be a more accurate description of this still fairly new phenomenon. Not so long ago, before the advent of world rankings and WGCs, America ruled the professional game with a self-interested and insular attitude that served only to distort the history of the sport at the very highest level.
Despite those nasty rumours you may have heard about statistics, the numbers don't lie. Until quite recently, even the very best European players were all but completely excluded from three of the four major championships, those – surprise, surprise – played across the pond.
**John Strege takes issue with one of Huggan's points and posts a response from Huggan at GolfDigest.com.
Hey, he might blitz the Blue Monster with 64, 65 or 66 today.
But a better guess is that Woods, who's simply not going to win mired so deep in the pack 10 shots off Mickelson's lead, will manufacture another round much like his first two.
It's not that he's being careful - he says he feels "great" save for a sore right ankle - as much as it's a matter of Woods being unable to sustain anything positive. He says it's a lack of "feel" on the course, which might be true. But it's almost certainly a nicer way of saying he's rusty.
It's as though Woods is in a struggle with his internal clock. He seemed several times to be fighting an urge to hurry between shots. There's a pace to the game - heck, fast or slow play can even be a strategy - and Woods might have to get used to his own rhythms again.
Woods isn't, as he said, "playing for five bucks at home in Isleworth" anymore.
No, he isn't.
And as much good as those social rounds surely did Woods in his physical recuperation, he might also have grown too accustomed to zooming through 18 holes in much less time than it takes to compete on the PGA Tour.
Not content with having put the ex in her place, egomaniacal newlyweds Greg Norman and Chris Evert spoke to Rich Lerner for a future story of undetermined type and share this for Lerner's Hooks and Cuts from Doral:
Spent Wednesday with Greg Norman and Chris Evert for a future story. Norman's taken up tennis in the last two years and is already very good, holding his own with the 18-time Grand Slam champion on the other side of the net. When they were finished, I said to Greg, "Hey you're pretty good and you have a fairly good teacher as well." With his arm around Chrissy he cracked, "Not only do I have a great instructor, but I get to sleep with her when the lesson's over!"
I'm smelling a Greg and Chrissy Cialis commercial: tennis where she's putting him out of his misery with a blistering backhand, Greg showing Chrissy the Vardon grip (from behind of course), dueling bathtubs on the yacht deck watching the sun set, etc...
Ron Sirak, writing about the firing of William Morris Agency:
The 19-year-old Wie, who has been on a rollercoaster ride of a pro career and last won a tournament nearly six years ago, went through three different agents while with WMA. First there was Ross Berlin, who lasted about a year, and then Greg Nared, who served a similar sentence. Always overseeing the operation for WMA was Jill Smoller, who was handling Wie's affairs directly when the relationship came to an end after the SBS Open in Hawaii in February.
"It's all good," Smoller said about the termination of the business deal with Wie. "I and we love Michelle and always will." That's a lot kinder than most of her many ex-caddies would say about a work situation that includes intense involvement by Michelle's parents, father B.J. and mother Bo. In all, Wie has had about 15 caddies since she started playing LPGA events seven years ago.
I don't know if Kyle Auclair is the luckiest snapper at Doral this week, but he certainly captured Henrik Stenson in his most, uh, organic moment. More of a Bert Yancey episode if you ask me, since it's not like he has to pay for these clothes he wears.
Here's his explanation in an AP story. And here is the Getty Images page with the entire Auclair sequence.
I love how Fanny appears to be totally unfazed by the scene. Then again, she worked for Faldo so it would take a lot to shock her.
Jeff Shain looks at the emergence of Doral's 16th as a driveable par-4 and gets this sneak preview for weekend play:
From the middle of the teeing ground, it's about 300 yards to the front of the putting surface. From a front marker, the middle of the green could be as close as 280 yards. That is where Tony Wallin expects to set his lure Saturday. From the front tee box, just about everyone will have the range.
''I think when you make a par-4 go-able, it should be for the whole field,'' said Wallin, the PGA Tour official in charge of this week's back-nine setup. "I'm going to make it as tempting as possible. I usually have a fairly easy hole location as well -- let's see some eagles. If they go for it and pull the shot off, reward them.''
Some, meanwhile, won't need a front tee to give it a try. In the past five Doral stops, there has been only one round in which no one attempted to drive the green.
''If you can reach it, you will go for it,'' Vijay Singh said.
Last year brought 53 attempts. None stayed on the putting surface.
''More often I'd drive it in the bunker around the green,'' Harrington said, "which I'm very happy with.''
A few images I took in Fall 2007 of the 16th:
Michael Buteau confirms Golfweek's report that we have a match made in heaven: IMG and B.J. Wie.
And here we were just thinking that her career guidance had stabilized along with her game.