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  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • Men in Green
    Men in Green
    by Michael Bamberger
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins

    Kindle Edition

  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
  • 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

St. Andrews? I feel like I’m back visiting an old grandmother. She’s crotchety and eccentric but also elegant. Anyone who doesn’t fall in love with her has no imagination.



Look Out Arianna: Commissioner Makes Second Blog Post In Three Months

commissioner4.jpgI most enjoyed the section on Phyllis Wade's recent recognition as volunteer of the year. Finchem Someone writes:

Phyllis first volunteered at the L.A. Open in 1948, and was a walking scorer for Ben Hogan. In recent years, she has provided clipping services for the media at several tournaments on the West Coast. During a ceremony honoring Phyllis, she received a standing ovation from the media in attendance, something I can't remember ever happening for anyone.

Well Tim doesn't know it, but there is a silent media room standing-O whenever he finishes rambling on about the corporate partners and their devotion to charity.  

I did find the note about Phyllis the highlight. As far as I know, there was no ceremony, but there was an airing of a Golf Channel feature that led to the impromptu ovation (mostly standing). Easily the highlight of the week.

Now here's the fun part. I'm the only one who wrote about it. Does that mean the Commissioner is a reader? Or just his ghostwriter is? Or maybe I missed a ceremony? Either way, nice to see Phyllis getting recognition from the big guy in Ponte Vedra.


"That means this place has touched a lot of lives."

image_6860931.jpgKevin Robbins reports on the fight to save Lions Muny, owned by the University of Texas, one time grooming ground for Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw.
A group of residents, including a veteran of the two previous campaigns, is trying to figure out the best way to prevent the short, busy and historic course from being lost to development by the University of Texas, which owns the land. The UT System Board of Regents meets today to consider the next step as it formulates a plan for the 345 acres known as the Brackenridge tract.

The citizens group — which formed Thursday at the Lions clubhouse and heard an impassioned plea from pro golfer and West Austin resident Ben Crenshaw — is planning a tournament in June to raise money to advertise its cause. Other events are expected.

"It's another opportunity for people who support and love Muny to get together," said Mary Arnold, a longtime environmental activist.

Arnold was involved in successful efforts in the early 1970s and late 1980s to persuade UT to leave the 84-year-old course right where it was on 141 acres between Exposition and Lake Austin boulevards.
Since the last campaign in 1989, Lions has seen more than a million rounds of golf, Fleming said.

"That means this place has touched a lot of lives."

Celebrity Chef Grazed By Bullet At Zurich Classic; Hillary Clinton Reportedly Jealous

march26_prudhomme_299x199.jpgFrom AP:

Paul Prudhomme was setting up his cooking tent on the practice range at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans golf event when he felt a sting in his right arm, just above his elbow.

Prudhomme shook his shirt sleeve and a .22 caliber bullet fell to the ground, a spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies believe Prudhomme was hit by a falling bullet, probably shot about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday from somewhere within a 1 1/2-mile radius of the golf course, said Col. John Fortunato. The celebrated chef didn't require medical attention.

"He thought it was a bee sting," Fortunato said. "Within five minutes, he was back to doing his thing."

Witnesses said the bullet cut Prudhomme's skin on his arm and put a hole in his white chef's coat. But Prudhomme continued cooking until he left the course about 3:30 p.m.

Prudhomme was at the course to cook for players, their caddies and guests at the annual PGA Tour event, which begins Thursday and runs through Sunday.

Prudhomme, who grew up outside Opelousas, rose to prominence after being named the first American-born executive chef of New Orleans restaurant Commander's Palace in 1975. He landed on the national stage as the chef-owner of K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen. He's also appeared several times as a guest on television network morning news shows and late-night talk shows.

If Hillary only had been so lucky


Leadbetter Dishes On Wie, Els

Robert Thompson found David Leadbetter in a chatty mood about his clients Michelle Wie and Ernie Els and offers some interesting thoughts on what it all means. Thanks to reader Andrew for this.


Tiger Tries Not To Laugh When Grilled By ESPN About Dropping F-Bombs

You can almost see Tiger thinking, is this The Onion interviewing me or the worldwide leader in self indulgence?


"Tiger's streak is over, and so is mine."

You think John Daly has issues? Bob Smiley is writing a book about watching every hole Tiger plays this year and just had his streak ended. Let's just hope for Bob's sake, the publisher is picking up his travel expenses.


"Let's listen."'s Michael Bamberger offers a fun behind-the-scenes look at why NBC's sound dudes are picking up more conversations. Now if we could only get you know how to shut his trap for a second we might hear them.
For years, the Woods-Williams discussions were off-limits. But late last year, NBC producer Tommy Roy started to notice a change. During the FedEx Cup playoffs, he had two sound men, Andre Carabajal and Frank Ricciardi, take turns working Tiger's group. Each carried a new model microphone — the Sennheiser 816, replacing the Sennheiser Mke2, for you audiophiles — that permitted them to pick up conversation from about four or five feet away, instead of three. When it comes to Tiger's personal space, every foot counts. Steve Williams wasn't moving them out.

The payoff came at Bay Hill. Carabajal, tall and lanky but unobtrusive, was assigned to the Woods — Sean O'Hair group. On the 16th fairway on Sunday, Woods and Williams were throwing grass and analyzing a make-or-break shot when Roy said into the earpieces of all his announcers, "Let's listen."

Shut up Johnny!
Johnny Miller stopped talking, and we heard Tiger say to Stevie, "If that flag changes, let me know." It was an insight, among other things, into how much Tiger trusts his caddie. Then on 18 Williams threw grass and told Woods to add 13 yards to a 167-yard shot. Tiger didn't say a thing. We watched him process the information and then play a low, fading five-iron from a place another golfer might have smashed a seven.

Golf Digest Conditioning Score To Focus On Fast And Firm

mail02_environment.jpgThis is from the May Golf Digest:

To do our part, at the urging of some members of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, Golf Digest has redefined the Conditioning category used in our various course rankings.

The old definition asked panelists, "How would you rate the playing quality of tees, fairways and greens when you last played the course?" The new definition reads, "How fast, firm and rolling were the fairways, and how firm yet receptive were the greens on the date you played the course?"

Uh, what if the course has kikuyu fairways?

Seriously, this is a nice step. Lop off Resistance to Scoring and you might start seeing some of those dogs flopping off the list of America's Best Courses.


1960 U.S. Open Getting The HBO Treatment

According to Kevin Robbins, HBO's sports documentary team is putting the finishing touches on another of their fine programs in time for a June airing.


"The Daly show is no longer funny."

gwar01_080321daly.jpgRon Sirak croons that enough is enough
Clearly, the sponsor exemptions have to stop. Certainly, no one would blame the PGA Tour for imposing a suspension. Absolutely, the media should quit glorifying this behavior. Desperately, someone close to Daly needs to get him the help he needs.

“These guys would bitch about ice cream.”

Jim McCabe offers a mix of thoughts on the season to date. My favorites:
After hearing all the talk about those bad greens at the Bay Hill Club, you wanted to remind the players that Arnold Palmer won all 62 of his PGA Tour tournaments — including those seven majors — on greens that were probably worse than what they were playing on that week.

Then again, that goes along with what Ed Dougherty once said about the fickle nature of professional golfers: “These guys would bitch about ice cream.”

Let me see if I have this right: Ten players who had to come back Monday morning to finish the $8 million CA Championship were then whisked off in limousines to the Miami airport where private jets took them to Orlando where helicopters then relayed them to Isleworth for a VIP corporate outing? Yeah, that sounds like the way Byron Nelson and Jug McSpaden made their way out of town after winning the Miami Four-ball March 11, 1945.

Tiger Exposes Jackson Pollack's Methodology And It Ain't Pretty

Thanks to reader Tuco for this reminder that (A) contemporary art is a farce (B) that the ad gurus are consistently nauseating to listen to when describing the deep, hidden context of their lame ad campaigns and (C) that at least this is an upgrade from the spots with Tiger raving about the Enclave's family-friendly safety.



"I don't know if we're impervious"

Garry Smits is the first to address the inevitable questions about the PGA Tour's financial well-being in the face of an economic downturn, with quotes from Tim Finchem and Joe Ogilvie.

He reported that TV ratings are up slightly over last year, mostly because of Tiger Woods being on another hot streak and stars such as Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson winning tournaments in which Woods did not appear. That keeps advertisers happy.

Tournament pro-ams, ticket sales, corporate hospitality and other tournament-site revenue, part of which flows to the Tour's charitable concerns, also remains level with 2007 or even slightly up, when taken as a whole.

Close to home, The Players Championship is seeing corporate tents, sky boxes and other forms of hospitality at nearly the same pace as last year, with ticket sales a bit ahead of last year, said executive director Ron Cross.

But even Finchem agreed that the PGA Tour, like any other business, probably could not avoid being affected if the economy continues a downward trend.

"I don't know if we're impervious," Finchem said recently. "We have a lot of long-term stuff with fundamental building blocks at the tournament level. Ads and TV ratings are on a shorter leash, but so far we haven't seen any falloff."

Finchem said the economic outlook for the Tour is not as dire as in 1999 and 2000, during the bust. For example, the Tour had to fill nearly 10 title sponsorships within a year, including an umbrella sponsor for its developmental tour to replace


"Anything to do with residential development might be a problem pretty soon," Ogilvie said.

"You look at retail, like cars, which would be a problem, but we have a great relationship with Buick, and they have Tiger on their team. They're one U.S. car brand that is doing well.

The Tour season also has six months remaining, and more bad news from the economy could start having ripple effects.

"When businesses suffer, they put on the brakes," Finchem said. "They don't entertain, and advertising is easy to cut. But some are cutting back now and some remain aggressive. We might come out OK."


"I don't need a coach. I need a woman in my life."

Okay, John Daly's drinking is a concern, but going through divorce number four and saying things like this takes it to another level. From an unbylined Irish Independent story:

"I don't need a coach," said Daly, reportedly going through his fourth divorce. "I need a woman in my life.

"Once I start playing great golf again, everything will be all right. Now I'm getting poured on, but when I'm playing great, everybody talks about how great I am. That's the way it's always worked.

"I'm hitting the ball great. I'm close now. New Orleans is going to be a great week."

Read it and weep!

One of the most sober assessments of Daly's current predicament was made by Pat Perez, probably one of his closest friends on Tour.

"It used to be cool to hang out with JD and go out and party ... but now you can't drink with him because you're really contributing to something really terrible."



Tiger Has An Index?

From a reader whose identity will be protected because really, who wants the world to know they were watching the Tavistock Cup?

Anyway, this brave viewer passed along this mind boggling anecdote from Golf Channel announcer Gary McCord:

Tiger's index at Isleworth (Course rating 77, Slope 142, length 7,500 yards) is +13.5. Which means that he'd have to give a 5 handicap a stroke a hole.

Of course I looked on GHIN and could not find an index listing for Tiger, so take that one for what it's worth. 


"The groove rule as proposed should be implemented on the PGA Tour for a five-year evaluation period."'s Bread and Grub look at some unfortunate shilling by Johnny Miller before launching into a discussion on U-grooves. You know, the thing the USGA and R&A can't agree on and which the PGA Tour won't get near.

A couple of things they wrote caught my eye. From Bread:

I find it difficult to believe the USGA will just walk away after three years of research without doing something. But I think that is exactly what they should do. Driving distance on tour this year is down three yards from the same time last year. Sure, it's a small sample, but I think everyone would agree that by year's end it's not likely we will see an increase of any substance, if any at all. And that would make it difficult to defend implementing a groove rollback, don't you think?
And from Grub: 
As for grooves, there's no question this issue, which appeared all but signed, sealed and delivered last fall, is about as near a resolution as me not wearing a seat belt anytime soon. Fact is, the best thing that could happen won't. Namely, the groove rule as proposed should be implemented on the PGA Tour for a five-year evaluation period. Only then will we see if it makes a difference.

So let's consider this for a moment. The PGA Tour is all about it's "product," right? And as was noted in my course setup story for Golf World, tournament director Mark Russell believes a groove change would allow for less rough on the tour and the return of the flier lie. Firm greens would also have more meaning. All of that would be more entertaining to watch and a better example for the game.

Yet the Commissioner keeps deferring (understandably) to the governing bodies because he knows what happened to Deane Beman when he raised a stink about grooves.

So how can the PGA Tour be convinced to adopt something along the lines of a tour-specific evaluation period? Thoughts? 


"The next time a photographer shoots a !@#$%&* picture I'm going to break his !@#$%&* neck."

Lawrence Donegan reports on Tiger's latest unfortunate incident with photographers.
The world No1 made birdie at his penultimate hole but was then reliant on others slipping up. They did not, and he finished on 15 under par, two behind Ogilvy's winning score. "I thought seven birdies in a row," he said afterwards when asked if he had any idea of what was required to extend his streak before play started. "But I made too many mistakes. I had four three-putts in the week, two bad lies in bunkers and a photographer got me on the 9th hole yesterday. All in all, to only finish two shots back was a pretty good effort."

The photographer in question fired off some shots on his backswing at the par-three hole on Sunday, and Woods ended up making bogey. It is debatable whether or not the incident cost him the tournament, but it will have cost him a few thousand dollars in PGA Tour fines after he hurled a few epithets at the snappers, the most of choice of which was: "The next time a photographer shoots a fucking picture I'm going to break his fucking neck."

The PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem takes a dim view of such tantrums and has fined the famously foul-mouthed Woods a fortune over the years. He will do so again.

"Maybe sometimes you bounce it through a fairway and get into the rough, but really it's not that bad a spot."

ogilvy-big1.jpgAfter his WGC win at Doral, Geoff Ogilvy was asked about hitting just 44.64% of his fairways.

GEOFF OGILVY: There's a lot of holes, I mean, the fairways hit stat can be a little bit -- like 16, you go for a green, that's a fairway you're going to miss but it's the right play. That's four fairways that I missed that I would have maybe hit.I don't know, I mean, the fairways bunkers are very playable. If you hit it in a fairway bunker, especially after they pat them down, they're actually a nice place to be. There's no massive penalty being in a fairway bunker. The Bermuda rough, when you're in the thick bit, it's horrible. But when you're in a not-so-thick bit you can advance to the green and at least give yourself a chance for up-and-downs or pars.

The greens weren't firm enough or they weren't fast enough this week, especially after round 2. They really get fiery if you start getting flyers over the greens out of the rough, but actually to hit it out of the rough and stop it on greens and stuff, it's just one of those things.

I don't think it's a bad thing that you can miss fairways and make birdies. You should obviously have to think about where you should hit your tee shot, miss them in the right spots, get penalized for missing fairways on the wrong sides. But out here if you miss the fairways on the correct sides you've got a chance. I don't know, I mean, maybe I just had one of those weeks where I just always had good lies and always had a chance.


Q. And even with that kind of run going, because of the way your driving wasn't quite on, did you ever feel comfortable with the fact that you were getting away with pars?

GEOFF OGILVY: I never really felt like I was getting away with them. There's a certain -- there's five or six holes out here that are really hard and really key holes. 3, 4, 13, 18, holes that you really have to hit proper golf shots on. You can't miss the fairways. You've got to hit real golf shots. Every single time I played one of the really, really tough holes, I hit proper golf shots. I hit the 18th green four times in a row. Well, I was on the fringe, I think, maybe Friday. Actually I missed the 18th fairway on the second round, but it was in play, it was not a bad spot. Today I got a lucky chip and I played 13 quite well.

I hit the key holes well, and then the other holes, like the 1st hole you can miss the fairway, get away with it. Sometimes you get a shot at the green. The second hole, it's a smash driver up, and sometimes the rough isn't that bad.

The holes there were important to hit good shots off the tee, I did most of the time, and maybe when I was slashing away at a few of the drivers -- some of these holes you just want to get as close to the green as you can, get as far up you can. Maybe sometimes you bounce it through a fairway and get into the rough, but really it's not that bad a spot.

And this was a nice anecdote unrelated to the above...

Q. Speaking of family, have you had any contact with your parents this week?

GEOFF OGILVY: Early in the week.

Q. I was just wondering, were they going to stay up until 2 a.m. to watch the finish today? Was it on live?

GEOFF OGILVY: My dad probably was in bed. My mom would have been in front of the computer. If it was on TV she would have been watching. If it wasn't she would have been watching the screen on the computer. She doesn't sleep much when I play.


“We feel we are democratising golf"

And how are we doing this? By "bringing online gamblers back in play" with online golf gaming!

Chris Nuttall of the Financial Times delivers the breathtakingly good news.

American executives frustrated by online poker bans have been taking to the virtual golf course, where they can work on lowering their handicaps and make money at the same time.

Utour Golf and World Golf Tour are two sites exploiting a developing demographic of casual gamers: males over 30 looking to compete with one another online.

Utour has staged more than 500,000 games on four different online courses during its beta testing phase and allows wagers of up to $100 on a single hole. There is stroke play or match play for pairs and tournaments where thousands of dollars can be at stake.

Groove Games, the company behind Utour, says the golf prizes are not classified as gambling as golf is a skill-based game rather than one of chance.


“We’re just like real golf leagues funded by player-entry fees and the PGA’s prize pools subsidised by advertising,” says Jon Walsh, chief executive. Groove takes a 15 per cent cut of every dollar staked and sells advertisements placed around its golf courses. It says the average player is a 34-year-old male.

World Golf Tour will go fully live this summer with its Kiawah Island’s Ocean course in South Carolina. The company took the unusual step of taking high-resolution pictures of every inch of the course with helicopters and radio-controlled drones to create the imagery, rather than use artists to render the landscape.

The photos were then matched up pixel-by-pixel with the 3D topology of the course and rendered in high quality within a browser window. Over half a million people have already played the beta, spending at least 20 minutes per session.

“They are very affluent, college-educated, mostly male, average age 35 and average income of $110,000 – not your typical gaming demographic, but middle-aged professionals are great for advertisers,” said YuChiang Cheng, chief executive.

Strong demo! Not long before the PGA Tour wants a piece of that.

World Golf Tour’s business model is based on in-game advertising, sponsorship and sales of virtual items such as new clothing and clubs. It encourages foursomes among friends and will introduce social networking elements.

“We feel we are democratising golf,” says Mr Cheng. “For those who think it’s too expensive and takes too much time, this is free and you can just play from your desk.”


God Must Really Hate The Tavistock Cup...

24golf.190.1.jpg...what with this silly rain delay forcing the boys to come back at 8:30 a.m. to finish up the WGC at Doral. Larry Dorman reports that Geoff Ogilvy was about the only player who would spend a few minutes with the scribblers, while Jeremy Fowler tells us far more than we ever wanted to know about how the Tavistock Cup and how the demonstration of conspicuous consumption will go on.