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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 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

The golfer who does not take himself a caddie at St. Andrews denies himself the wine of the country. HERBERT WARREN WIND

 

    

Wednesday
May162007

Stack and Tilt

tourswing.jpgWhich one is Stack and which one is Tilt? Oh wait, that's the method they're teaching. I was thinking of Bored and Grouchy over at GolfDigest.com.

I'm curious what you all think of the hottest teachers in the game, Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett, and their "Stack and Tilt" method that Golf Digest is humping the daylights out of in the June issue.  And Bob Carney followed up in the editor's blog.

It seems (to me) anyway that someone has finally taken what Mac O'Grady has been teaching for years, tweaked it a bit and simplified the message? No?

Wednesday
May162007

Players Ratings Up

Good to see the May date was validated...

NBC reported an overnight rating of 3.7 and a 9 share for Sunday's final round, in which Phil Mickelson won his first Players with a closing 69. Mickelson and Sean O'Hair were locked in a battle for the lead until Mickelson took a two-shot lead on the 11th hole, and O'Hair hit two balls in the water at the par-3 17th hole.

The network estimated that the rating equated to more than 4 million households tuned into the telecast at some point during the final round, and more than 8.6 million viewers.

"We're very pleased, especially since there was some unexpected competition from NASCAR, when their race was rained out Saturday. That won't happen every year," said Edward L. Moorhouse, co-chief operating officer of the PGA Tour.

"We also got a big break on the weather, and we had one of our marquee players in a very exciting finish. And some of our other players, such as Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal, playing very well down the stretch. We think all of the changes we made contributed to the high ratings." 

Now Ed, I don't think the Taj Mahal clubhouse added viewers. Then again there were a lot of flatscreens in there tuned to the golf.

Wednesday
May162007

"It's been a long time, but it's been a short time at the same time"

Thanks to reader Steve for picking up the highlights of Seve's pre-Champions Tour debut conference call:

I will do my best, but I don't want you guys to have too much expectations from me. Obviously from time to time there will be one great shot here, one great shot there, but nothing that you haven't seen before.
 
It's been a long time. It's been a long time, but it's been a short time at the same time (laughing) because it's unbelievable how quickly the time goes by, you know? They say that it's like you're going to bed -- it's like a dream. Life is like a dream. You go to bed and you wake up with age. I don't know if that's a good translation, but we say that in Spain. Life is a dream. You know, you go to bed and you wake up with age. That's exactly what happened.

In one way it looks like it's been many, many years, and on the other hand it looks like it was yesterday when I joined the TOUR, you know? Time goes by very quickly for everybody. For everybody.
 
Q. You look like you're in the same shape you were when you were winning the British Open and The Masters. What have you done to prepare for this tournament and to get ready to come out here?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: (Laughing) well, thank you for that compliment. I wish you were right (laughter).
And on Sergio...
As you say, his putting is not very consistent. He's very young, you know, and he nearly won the TPC last week. You know, he has plenty of time ahead to win a major. But remember, to win a major, there's only four per year, and it's not easy. In fact, neither have the Europeans; they haven't won a major championship for the last four years. I'm wondering what the hell is going on there (laughter).

You know, we've been beating the Americans quite easily, but when they compete in the majors, they -- I don't know. They can't win. Something is not right there. I don't know what.

Wednesday
May162007

Things Are Going Well In Fresno

Avid Reader caught this local news story from Fresno where the PGA Tour is asking for tax dollars to supplement the purse of its new event there. Oh, and it sounds like they don't have a golf course to play yet! But otherwise the October 22-28 brainchild of the Commissioner is shaping up nicely.
Tuesday two council members asked that the city of Fresno pitch in $1.2 million to sponsor it.

The city council says 90 golfers have committed to coming to town for the tournament in October.

Monday night the City of Clovis pledged $24,000 for the tournament.

Council member Larry Westerlund says Fresno could see a $30 million economic impact from the event, a return That would far outweigh the investment.

The council admitted it's been hard to find sponsors since plans for the original location at Running Horse Golf Course began falling apart.

Council members are asking for a special meeting to address the $1.2 million pledge.

Wednesday
May162007

"The golf course was built with hospitality in mind"

16golf.1.190.jpgDamon Hack, quoting Tim Finchem on the Barclay's "playoff" event moving from Westchester to Liberty National in 2009:

“With camera angles, 4,000 feet on the water and the Statue of Liberty very much a part of the landscape, it will look more like New York to the rest of the country when it’s on television. The golf course was built with hospitality in mind, and I think it will be a nice move in 2009.”

I've always said, strategy, greens, angles mean nothign if you don't build with hospitality in mind! And from Bob Cupp, with modesty:

“Players, deep down, love to compete on hard golf courses, and the Tour likes to see 30-mile-an-hour winds,” Cupp said. “The course has places to make birdies and places to make a bunch of ‘others.’ It’s a course that has every shot.”

Oh they're going to love this!

Thanks to reader Michael for this. 

Tuesday
May152007

"No one is talking it up"

fedexcuplogo.jpgThe USA Today's Jerry Potter files this downer on the lack of interest in the FedEx Cup:

That's the problem PGA Tour executives have identified with the season-long points system that will set up a four-event season-ending playoff with a $10 million first-place prize: Neither the players nor the media are talking it up. No one, in fact, seems to be talking about the FedExCup except PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem.

Ken Schanzer, president of NBC Sports, said Tuesday that was to be expected. He has seen this scenario before, notably with Major League Baseball and NASCAR. NBC will televise the final three events of the season, or three of the four events that make up the playoff that ends in mid-September with The Tour Championship in Atlanta.

"All of what we say now is speculation," he says. "We won't know about the Cup's impact until we get through the season, and we may not know then."

Schanzer and NBC were involved when baseball expanded to division playoffs, and they were involved when NASCAR went to the Chase for the Nextel Cup, the model for golf's system.

"I told Bud Selig (baseball's commissioner) and Brian France (NASCAR's president) to get ready for a lot of criticism," he says of the first year of changes in baseball and NASCAR. "I told them at the end of the first year it will either work or it won't work. There's no way to know. All you can know is that it makes a lot of sense."
Hmm...not sure about this baseball analogy.
Those changes have worked for baseball and NASCAR, creating more interest. The PGA Tour is different because it has long been driven by the four major championships. The Masters is past, the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship come in June, July and August, respectively.

Ric Clarson, the Tour's senior vice president for brand development, says two big events played in consecutive weeks — the Aug. 2-5 Bridgestone Invitational and Aug. 9-12 PGA Championship — will heighten focus because combined they'll award 15% more points.

"We're positioning them as the 15th and 16th games of the NFL season," he said. "Those games determine who gets in the playoff and who has home-field advantage."
Oh dear Lord.
Last week at The Players Championship, Finchem repeated his refrain that the system is a plus for the Tour, its players, sponsors and tournaments.

"We have to get people engaged in the playoffs," he says.

One positive sign for Finchem came Tuesday.
Oh? Uh, not really...
Corey Pavin said the FedExCup might give a lift to the July 19-22 U.S. Bank Championship, which is played in Milwaukee opposite the British Open. Players who don't qualify for the Open, he suggested, might come to Milwaukee to play for positioning in the FedExCup standings instead of taking the weekend off.

"If they need to play some more, they're going to add more tournaments in to make sure they get up as high on that list as they can get," said Pavin, the defending champ.

 

Yes, a very positive sign. I take it today was U.S. Bank Media Day? 

Tuesday
May152007

Membership Has It's Privileges...

Trophy Club tickets available for AmEx cardholders...I know you all were dying to buy into the Trophy Club. Whatever that is. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AMERICAN EXPRESS OFFERS EXCLUSIVE TICKET SALES

FOR 2008 U.S. OPEN® GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP AT TORREY PINES

New York, NY (May 14, 2007) – Beginning May 15 and only through June 17, American Express ® Cardmembers will have the exclusive opportunity to purchase daily Trophy Club tickets to the 2008 U.S. Open ® to be held June 9-15, 2008 at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California. Traditionally sold in weekly packages and only available to USGA members or through a random drawing, American Express is providing its Cardmembers with unique access to one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments of the year. Each Trophy Club ticket gains access to the grounds at the Championship course and entry into the exclusive onsite Trophy Club facility. Tickets are available to purchase with the American Express Card or with Membership Rewards® points. Beginning May 15, information on tickets can be found at www.americanexpress.com/entertainment.

In 2006, American Express became the first-ever corporate partner of the United States Golf Association, demonstrating its commitment to grow awareness of the sport and bring excitement to the game. American Express has been connected to the game of golf for more than 50 years and brings a premium level of customer service and unique benefits and experiences to its Cardmembers who are golf enthusiasts. Additionally, the company has an existing portfolio of contributions to the golf lifestyle, including specially-designed travel packages, equipment and apparel offers through the Membership Rewards program and a dedicated golf magazine.
Tuesday
May152007

For Immediate Release, Vol. 3,098

This sounds like a nice tradeout with equipment manufacturers doozy... 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2007

The PGA TOUR Brings You the Science of Golf, Presented by IBM
2-Part CBS Special Shares How Modern Technology Has Impacted the Game of Golf

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL – A new two-part special, produced by PGA TOUR Productions in association with CBS Sports, will explore and explain the critical role science plays in the modern game of golf. Science of Golf, Presented by IBM will take you from the high-tech world of building equipment, to the unique teaching methods used by the game’s greatest teachers, to the importance of physical fitness during two one-hour programs.

Produced in High Definition, the Science of Golf, Presented by IBM will air Saturday, May 19th from 2-3 p.m. and on Sunday, May 27th from 2-3 p.m. on CBS. Part one of the series, Science of Golf – Power Game will put the full golf swing under the microscope. Utilizing computer animations as well as interviews from TOUR players, golf teachers and fitness instructors, you’ll see how the human body works in unison to complete the golf swing.

Eighty percent of the strokes golfers lose to par are determined by their play within 100 yards of the green. Unlike the power game, the short game has many more intricate components and variables which will cause golfers to fail. Part two of the series, Science of Golf – Short Game will delve into the force of the swing, impact of ball position and getting the ball to stop suddenly. How the body and mind work in unison to perform under pressure as well as the nuances which go into improving your short game will be examined.

“Shot exclusively in High Definition, the Science of Golf two-part series will show how the best players on the PGA TOUR utilize cutting edge technology to elevate their game to the highest level,” said Gil Kerr, Senior Vice President of Broadcasting, Programming & Production for the PGA TOUR. “This has never been done before.
And here's why...
“We went inside the laboratories of virtually every major golf equipment manufacturer,” Kerr continued. “We sat down with the best swing coaches in the game today – including Butch Harmon, Hank Haney, David Leadbetter, Jim McClean, Jim Flick and Dave Pelz – and we have combined this with the best of the PGA TOUR archives and never before seen super slow motion footage to capture how the best players in the game utilize science and technology on and off the course. Anyone who wants to understand how the science of the game can help you add power off the tee, attack the pin or improve your short game, will really enjoy these two specials on CBS.”

A video preview of Science of Golf, Presented by IBM is available at http://www.pgatour.com/tv-times/

Oh yeah, the PGA Tour will take a stand on equipment regulation! 

Monday
May142007

"They couldn't be friggin' further apart"

Jack Nicklaus is now using friggin' while talking about equipment and the governing bodies, this time to ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski:
Nicklaus said he thinks Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has done "a great job." So I tell him he's been named Golf Czar and can change anything in the sport.

"Equipment," he said. "That would be one thing I would do. I would fix the friggin' equipment."

The problem is this: The difference between what a pro can do with the latest club technology compared to what an amateur can do with it continues to grow wider. Unless golf's two ruling bodies can figure out a way to even things up (a standardized golf ball?), the pros will continue to make courses obsolete and create a bigger disconnect with the amateur players.

"The whole idea of the R&A and the USGA is to try to play the same equipment for the average golfer and the pro, and they couldn't be friggin' further apart," Nicklaus said.

Monday
May142007

Players Pace Of Play

players_header_logo.gifThe only place I've seen any discussion of the Players final round pace of play was on golf.com, where Josh Sanburn noted the tepid final day (and check out what the readers think).

But I heard from a few current players that the four hour pace for twosomes was unfathomable just a few years ago. One even relayed this story to put things in perspective: 

Vijay jumped on me at Colonial in 1996 for playing slow. Par time was 3:30 and it was blowing 25 mph, my two-some finished in 3:18. Twelve minutes under par time. I took some heat from Vijay in the locker room after the round, told him to check with our scorer, then take it up with the rules officials, then make sure your scores on your card are accurate, don't be worring about me.

Monday
May142007

Should Gore-Tex Sue?

Don't know about you, but I didn't see a whole bunch of tee shots running furiously down the TPC Sawgrass fairways or bouncing high off of Pete Dye's greens thanks to that "layer of Gore-Tex" the PGA Tour spent millions to install.

So, has the definition of "fast and firm" simply changed? Or was it simply a failure?

Either way, I don't think the 2007 Players will be remembered for its fiery golf course.

Might this even be a setback for setback for sand-capping fairways? Is that such a bad thing? Have I asked enough questions?

Monday
May142007

"Golf is so popular simply because it is the best game in the world at which to be bad."

Thanks to reader John for this nice perspective by the WSJ's Tim Carroll, who weaved his Monday-Augusta lottery luck into a column about the democracy of golf:

My first three rounds of golf in 2007 couldn't be more different. One round was royally high-end, to say the least. Another was at a friend's respectable, but not lavish, home course. The third took place on what some might describe as a cow pasture -- but that might be an insult to cows.

I'll remember all three with affection -- the last maybe even more than the other two. That crystallizes for me something special about golf: It's a great leveler. It doesn't matter where you play or how good you are. Sometimes when you return home to see the parents and eat a Mom-made dinner, it can be just as wonderful as a meal made by a four-star chef; maybe even more so. This sport that some consider elitist can be about as democratic as it gets.

As A.A. Milne, the creator of Winnie the Pooh and an oft-quoted sage in my household, once wrote: "Golf is so popular simply because it is the best game in the world at which to be bad." A bad golfer can better his normal score by just a shot or two and be walking on air. Similarly, while it's a treat to play the name courses, sometimes an afternoon walking with a caddie down a perfectly manicured fairway isn't as fun as a casual evening carrying your own bag at a scruffy muni with your friends.

 

Monday
May142007

Phil, Butch, Tiger and Signing Flags

Reader Martin Del Vecchio raises an interesting question on a post below. I agree that it sounds very familiar. Perhaps someone in Wilton will dig up the story in question, or tell us that we are delusional.

This whole thing reminds me of an article I read years ago, back when Tiger was still working with Butch.

Phil visited Butch, and talked to him about working together. Phil sees the flags that Tiger has signed for Butch hanging on the wall, one for each major.

Phil politely declines to work with Butch.

Why can't I find it? I am pretty sure it was in one of the major golf magazines (Golf Digest, Golf Magazine).

Monday
May142007

Private Jet Travel Tax Increase?

John Hughes and Jonathan Salent report for Bloomberg on a possible Bush Administration-sponsored tax hike on corporate jet travel.

Not only would this have ramifications for the professional golf and courses in remote locations, but think of the burden this might place on USGA presidential jet travel?  Good thing they're cutting those USGA employee benefits!

Monday
May142007

Newsflash From The City: Golf Channel Viewers 31% More Likely To Be Republican...

The New York Times reports on Scarborough Research.

Not mentioned in the story is the rumored finding that 98% of all Big Break Reunion viewers are more likely to be in need of serious psychiatric care. 

Monday
May142007

"You are a cute little man, aren't you (laughter)?"

You can't say Phil's press conferences are dull...

 Q. Obviously this is a significant victory for you. Can you talk about how excited you are to be able to take this game and the new swing and all the changes into the majors next month?

PHIL MICKELSON: That's what's most exciting is I feel like we're just getting started. This is only week No. 3. I feel like in three months how much am I going to progress? In three years where am I going to be? I've seen an immediate difference in three weeks, and I can't wait for another three weeks to go by and start getting ready for the U.S. Open. And another three or four weeks to go by and get ready for the British. I'm really excited about the direction I'm headed.

Q. Just to follow it up, how much better can you get?

PHIL MICKELSON: You are a cute little man, aren't you (laughter)? I don't know. That's such a good question from a brilliant individual. I don't know (laughter).

I could swear a I heard an "Alan" thrown in after "aren't you?" 

I can't fathom who he could be talking about!

Sunday
May132007

Players Championship Final Round Photo Caption Help, Vol. 2

Courtesy of The Golf Channel, but minus what they're actually thinking. Any mind readers out there?

181652.jpg 

Sunday
May132007

Players Final Round Photo Caption Help

What's the standard bearer thinking? Courtesy of golf.com:

may13_woodsyells_600x600.jpg 

Sunday
May132007

Mickelson Slobbers All Over Butch In Players Victory; Smith To Be Put On Nationwide Suicide Watch After Watching Post Round Lovefest

181660.jpgPoor Rick. Poor Adam.

Courtesy of Doug Ferguson's Players Championship game story and mutual admiration society image photo of Phil and Butch from The Golf Channel:

His caddie loosened the flag from the 18th pin as a symbol of victory Sunday at The Players Championship, and Phil Mickelson added a personal touch. After playing one of his tidiest rounds on one of the most intimidating golf courses, Mickelson signed his name at the bottom of the note and handed it to his new swing coach, Butch Harmon. Arms around each other's shoulders, they walked up the hill toward the sprawling clubhouse for the trophy presentation, another sign that Mickelson might be on the rise.

"What's most exciting is I feel like we're just getting started," Mickelson said.

 

Sunday
May132007

"I've never cheated in my whole life. I'd rather shoot 85 than shoot 65 cheating."

181526.jpgGolf.com's Josh Sanburn reports on the latest Tour tiff between Sergio Garcia and Cliff Kresge, though this catch-basin relief-inspired spat is not as sexy as Woods-Sabbatini. The photo is courtesy of Golf Channel's excellent collection from the final round.
A bit of confusion arose when Garcia took relief from a drainage area on the 2nd hole. His playing partner, Cliff Kresge, and Kresge's caddie questioned the drop.

"I've never tried to do anything wrong on a golf course," Garcia said. "If I would have felt at any time that I wasn't taking full relief, I would have called for a ruling and do whatever was right. But I felt like I did and that's all there is to it."

Garcia said it affected his play on the 2nd and 3rd holes and may have even cost him a stroke.

"They were calling me a cheater on that. You never like that. I've never cheated in my whole life. I'd rather shoot 85 than shoot 65 cheating."

He said he finally relaxed toward the 4th or 5th hole. "It probably cost me at least one (stroke). It's fine, but you never know. Maybe I would have not finished the way I finished."