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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
  • 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

The greater the experience I have of designing golf courses, the more certain I am that blindness of all kinds should be avoided. ALISTER MACKENZIE

 

    

Wednesday
Jun062007

“That’s just ridiculous.”

Golfweek's Beth Ann Baldry on Wie's press conference:

When asked if the tour’s ‘88 rule’ was a factor in her decision to withdraw, Wie said “that’s just ridiculous.”

It was clear that Wie and her handlers had rehearsed this part of the interview. But when it came to questions about a conversation Tuesday with LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens, Camp Wie looked like a deer in headlights.


Wednesday
Jun062007

Fun Times at Bulle Rock

Ron Sirak reports on several more Michelle Wie related incidents, this being the most interesting sign the LPGA Tour is finally getting the message:

There was also another incident Tuesday in which head LPGA rules official Doug Brecht ordered Wie's mother and father, Bo and B.J., and her physiotherapist off the practice range, citing the LPGA rule that only coaches and caddies are allowed on the range with players. Even though Wie is not a member of the LPGA she signs a form at each event she plays saying she will abide by tour rules, according to a tour official. That discussion also went less than smoothly, sources said.

Wednesday
Jun062007

Nonconforming Driver

driver.jpgChris Millard's Golf World piece on Walter Driver and the state of the USGA has been posted. I see I was quoted accurately throughout. So much for claiming I was misquoted!

**Just finished reading it. Driver's answers to tough questions are priceless non-answers.  

Wednesday
Jun062007

"You're better off on the fairway 230 yards out than you are in the rough 120 yards out."

Gerry Dulac cornered some of the players who tested out Oakmont on Monday and offered these insights from Geoff Ogilvy and Ian Poulter.

"This was harder than the Monday 10 days before that tournament," Ogilvy said. "The first-cut stuff last year was playable. ... This is playable-ish, and in a week it can grow. You're better off on the fairway 230 yards out than you are in the rough 120 yards out."
Newsflash: Cialis sales just plummetted in the greater Far Hills region. 
"This is a lot tougher," Poulter said of the Oakmont rough. "You're not hitting greens from that rough. It's as thick as I've seen it."

You know, Frank Hannigan and others tell me I'm nuts to say an injury to a player will be caused by this rough-on-steroids we're seeing so often at these majors. And yet, I didn't realize this, but it's already happening. From Thomas Bonk's L.A. Times note today on Phil Mickelson's MRI and decision to skip Memphis this week to help his ailing wrist:

 Mickelson injured his wrist chipping balls out of the rough during a practice session May 28 at Oakmont.

Tuesday
Jun052007

Let The Oakmont Previews Begin...

oakmont2.jpgI rolled my eyes through E.M. Swift's excellent Golf Digest piece on the Oakmont members and their obsession with humiliating guests via greens stimping at 15 and other nonsense.  There really is more to the game than inflicting misery, isn't there?

Meanwhile Gerry Dulac looks at the club's tree removal for Golf World, building on his original Post-Gazette piece, and offering some fresh insights into the politics:

The decision to get rid of all the trees created one of the most contentious periods in club history, pitting members who liked shaded, tree-lined fairways against those who sought to restore Oakmont to its original design (and, by doing so, improve turf conditions). It didn't help that some of the trees were secretly removed without the consent of the membership. But with the U.S. Open returning for the first time in 13 years, most of the members have apparently embraced the new look, even if some are reluctant to say so publicly. Trees have been replaced with high fescue grass that sways in the wind, creating the Scottish look Fownes desired.

"If [the support is] not 100 percent, I don't know who is on the other side," says Ford, Oakmont's pro since 1979. "There is no grumbling at all. Everybody is very upbeat about it."

To be sure, the new-look Oakmont has received rave reviews from just about everyone in golf. What's more, the restoration, which began shortly after the club hosted the 1992 U.S. Women's Open, has helped restore some luster to the Oakmont tradition. Because of the changes, Oakmont has moved up to No. 5 on Golf Digest's America's 100 Greatest Courses, behind only Pine Valley, Shinnecock Hills, Augusta National and Cypress Point. Even the USGA is pleased with the new look, advising other clubs seeking to undergo similar restoration to form a committee and visit Oakmont.

Fast forward... 
Oakmont's decision to remove trees was not widely embraced, even outside the membership. Environmentalists wrote letters and e-mails, protesting the wide-ranging elimination and citing the ecological problems created by their loss. A local church even offered prayers, asking for the trees' survival. Internally, some club members threatened lawsuits, claiming trees were removed without their knowledge.
Tuesday
Jun052007

Players React To Wie

The reactions are fairly consistent on Michelle Wie's WD, starting with tough remarks from Paula Creamer and Annika.

From Ron Sirak's piece:

Creamer, whose autograph was one of the most sought after last week, was one of those ill at ease about the Wie withdrawal. "I don't think the LPGA should ever get involved in something like that," Creamer said. "I think it's sad we have to do that. The LPGA shouldn't get involved with players on the golf course unless it is a ruling or something like that."

Annika, quoted by Chris Baldwin who is at Bulle Rock for this week's McDonald's LPGA:

"I just feel there's a little bit of lack of respect and class to just leave a tournament like that," Sorenstam said, pulling no punches in a half filled interview room. "Especially being the hostess, it just seems really weird."

Baldwin also talks to Laura Davies, who has a slightly different take.

"She obviously wasn't injured to the point where she couldn't keep playing," Davies told WorldGolf.com in an exclusive interview after her pro-am round at the McDonald's LPGA Championship Tuesday.

"She withdrew because she was getting close to not being allowed to play the rest of the year as I understand it. I think that decision was a good one too."

Yes, Davies - a 20-time LPGA Tour winner and 45-time international event winner - is convinced that Wie withdrew to skirt Rule 88, the provision that a non-LPGA member is bared from competing in another Tour event for a year if she cards an 88 or higher. But Davies is all right with that. In fact, if LPGA officials alerted Team Wie to that right before she walked off - as it appeared, Davies is completely onboard.

"As long as the LPGA Tour's all right with it and the Tour seems more than all right with it, as far as I'm concerned that's all that matters," Davies said.


Tuesday
Jun052007

"I mean this is my sixth year out here"

Travelgolf's Chris Baldwin reports that Michelle Wie and Carolyn Bivens chatted about Wie's Monday pro-am performance, and it wasn't pretty.

LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens talked to Wie and her Nike manager Greg Nared in a closed conference chat today at the LPGA Championship. Part of the talk centered on Wie's conduct in her pro-am round Monday. At least one of Wie's pro-am partners complained about the way the teenager treated her pro-am group during the round.

It's not known whether Bivens and Wie also got into a discussion over Wie's ever-increasingly-controversial withdrawal from the Ginn Tribute last Thursday with the 88 rule hanging over her - and the Tour's - head.

Wie called the conversation with Bivens "very insulting." "I mean this is my sixth year out here," Wie continued. "I've played in numerous pro-ams and this is the first time there's been any type of false accusation about me. I think it's ridiculous."

 

Tuesday
Jun052007

"He was out there [with] a tournament sponsor watching a sponsor exemption play, which is really not that unusual"

Ron Sirak weighs in on the Wie WD with several new insights, including this laugh-out-loud funny spin from the LPGA Tour.

While most players and knowledgeable observers found it odd an LPGA official would get in a cart, ride onto the course and talk with a player's manager, deputy commissioner Libba Galloway disputed that view. "[Chris Higgs] is head of tournament business affairs, and he's often on the course with tournament sponsors and he was out there [with] a tournament sponsor watching a sponsor exemption play, which is really not that unusual," said Galloway.
Except that he said it was for "no particular reason."
Asked about the conversation with Nared, Galloway said, "[Chris] knows Greg, and Greg asked him for some confirmation on some information he had gotten from the LPGA." Asked if Nared was aware of the 88-stroke rule before speaking with Higgs, Galloway said, "Yes, that's my understanding."

But it gets better.

Nared, reached by phone Saturday, told Golf World his conversation with Higgs was purely social. "I saw [him] on No. 7, and we spoke for about 30 seconds," said Nared, who works for the William Morris Agency. "There is nothing I can do about that. You know me, I am a cordial person." Asked what they talked about, he said, "It was a private discussion," a characterization Higgs also used Thursday before making himself unavailable for the rest of the weekend.

Nared said Wie "tweaked [the wrist]." While Wie never indicated she was in distress, Nared said, "I know my player, and I know when she is not swinging well. I felt as her manager I should check with her." They spoke as she walked from the seventh green to the eighth tee appearing as if she were going to continue play. Nared said it was Wie's decision to quit.

Wait, is he her manager or her agent? Ah what's the difference!
 

Tuesday
Jun052007

"The most laughable golfing canard since a hapless Rodney Dangerfield ricocheted a shot off a ballwasher in Caddyshack"

The analysis on Michelle Wie's WD is trickling in and it's not pretty. Tod Leonard in the San Diego Union Tribune is tough, Bob Harig has many of the same questions we have here, and Steve Elling contrasts the plights of Wie and MacKinzie Kline and provides this classic imagery.

She hadn't complained about the injury all day, her playing partners reported, and witnesses said she never flexed the wrist or seemed in any discomfort. Thus, it looks like the most laughable golfing canard since a hapless Rodney Dangerfield ricocheted a shot off a ballwasher in Caddyshack and it clipped his own wing.

"Oh, my arm, I think it's broken. I can't play.”

Elling also attempted to follow up with the LPGA's Chris Higgs about his "no particular reason" comment.

Higgs, the LPGA's chief operations officer, told ESPN that he left the clubhouse to speak with the Wies "for no particular reason.” A tour spokesperson said Higgs was not available for comment this week and Higgs did not respond to a SportsLine email.
Tuesday
Jun052007

Can The USGA Survive Walter Driver?

This week's Golf World includes a cover story from Chris Millard on Walter Driver...oh looks like someone's going to be doing a lot of copying and pasting!  Come on GolfDigest.com production people, chop chop! Let's get that baby posted! While we're young!  :)

gw20070608_cover.jpg 

Tuesday
Jun052007

"She actually plopped herself onto the grass and sat cross-legged in the middle of the fairway, fingering one of the dolls that dangled from her golf bag."

The Baltimore Sun's Rick Maese follows up on the Michelle Wie saga by following her at the McDonald's pro-am. Let's just say, not only is it time to get an agent and publicist who can help her remember which wrist she injured, but after reading this, it may be time to call in child welfare services.

Just four days after that wrist ached too much to play, Wie was matched with four amateurs yesterday for the pro-am tournament. There were more course volunteers than spectators around the tee box at 7:30 a.m., watching Wie wince slightly and flex her hand, trying to shake the pain from her fingertips. She walked to her trainer, who massaged Wie's hand and fingers.

Golfer officially injured and controversy over, right? Not quite.

The hand the trainer rubbed - the one with the tightly wrapped wrist - was her right one. In withdrawing from last week's tournament, Wie cited pain in her left wrist, which she hurt this year.

Wie teed off, and for 18 holes, a golfer who's usually full of expression and emotion didn't show any signs of pain. She didn't look at her wrist - either of them - didn't flex her hands, didn't try to rub away any pain.

Wie didn't answer questions after finishing her round yesterday, heading from the final green straight to the clubhouse. Her publicist later explained that the golfer still feels chronic pain in her right wrist from a previous injury and confirmed that it was the left wrist that forced her to withdraw last week. He said a final decision would be made today on whether Wie would compete at this week's LPGA Championship.
This is particularly grim... 
Wie played OK in yesterday's pro-am. Because it's a best-ball format, it's difficult to quantify her performance with scores or stats. While she hit some fairways and some greens, Wie also missed several shots, did nothing worthy of an ovation and failed to sink a single putt of any length.

Late in the round, Wie's energy level was nearly nonexistent, like a thermometer dropped in a bucket of ice. On the second-to-last hole, she actually plopped herself onto the grass and sat cross-legged in the middle of the fairway, fingering one of the dolls that dangled from her golf bag.

For a moment, Wie didn't seem to notice that her back was turned to one of her playing partners, who stood just a few feet away and was addressing his ball. She rose to her feet and the group continued the round.

Just as puzzling, on two of the last three holes, Wie didn't even attempt a putt, scooping her ball as soon as a playing partner sank his and walking onto the next tee.

Last week, at the Ginn Tournament, ESPN.com reported that she showed "little energy" and barely interacted with her caddie or playing partners. "I kind of felt bad for her," playing partner Alena Sharp told ESPN.com. "She didn't seem happy."

And Maese nails what bugs many about this...

If Wie feigned injury to escape a harsh Tour penalty last week, it's a slap in the face to a sport that relies on honesty, a game in which both the weekend hacker and the Tour money leader self-report their infractions. It's why this sport more than any other can reflect a competitor's true character.

But let's not assume that Wie orchestrated last week's mess. The LPGA, her agent and her parents were all complicit, and all deserve more than a wrist-slap for this wrist flap.

Tuesday
Jun052007

Where's The Brand Consistency?

Or is it brand synergy?

I don't know about you, but I see major cross-pollination and brand contamination issues here...

For immediate release: Tuesday, June 5, 2007

THE PLAYERS Community Senior Center grand opening set for June 8

(Ponte Vedra Beach, FL) -- THE PLAYERS Championship and St. Johns County are proud to announce the grand opening of THE PLAYERS Community Senior Center in Ponte Vedra Beach on Friday, June 8. THE PLAYERS committed $300,000 to help construct a new 10,000 square foot facility located off County Road 210 and Landrum Lane in Palm Valley.

Shouldn't that be THE PLAYERS Community CHAMPION Center? Or Champions? That way they make the uh, successfully aged, feel compelled to watch? (Oh, sorry, the successful aging concept isn't mine. Read on...)

Less than 10 minutes from TPC Sawgrass, the new center will serve seniors and the entire community of St. Johns County. “Thanks to the SJCCOA, THE PLAYERS, the Board of County Commissioners and the County Recreation and Parks Department this is truly just the beginning of a dynamic, responsive and successful partnership,” said Cathy Brown, Executive Director for the St. Johns County Council on Aging.

THE PLAYERS Community Senior Center is equipped with an art room, library, computer lab, exercise room, restaurant-sized kitchen, wrap around veranda and a meeting area with space for 100 people for community gatherings and events.

“Seniors are a vital component of Florida’s rich heritage,” said Governor Charlie Crist.
“THE PLAYERS Community Senior Center is a great example of a public-private partnership that reinforces our state’s commitment to creating and expanding opportunities for Florida’s seniors to live active and enriched lives.”

“Many of the volunteers who donate their time to THE PLAYERS Championship are seniors,” said Brian Goin, executive director of THE PLAYERS. “Their efforts and support of the tournament allow us to improve the quality of life for them and the entire St. Johns County community.”

Ah now the picture becomes complete. This is where tomorrow's THE PLAYERS marshalls will be reared!

The Center will offer educational classes, physical fitness, intellectual stimulation, socialization and entertainment.

“THE PLAYERS Community Senior Center is the end result of our combined dreams and visions and would not have been possible without a true understanding of what "successful aging" can and should mean in a society so accustomed to focusing on youth,” said Brown. “To have this level of participation and commitment from both THE PLAYERS organization and from the Board of County Commissioners is truly extraordinary.”

Monday
Jun042007

U.S. Open Sectional Scores

The USGA has scores posted for Monday's sectionals while Mark Lamport-Stokes has the rundown on big names who made and missed the chance to slap it around Oakmont.

And so nice to see that everyone decided to show up for this year's European qualifier!

Monday
Jun042007

"There are now 85 bunkers on the Ailsa and this plodder seemed to splash out of most of them."

The Scotsman's Mike Aitken hunkers down in full resort-newsletter mode and swoons breathlessly over the R&A's distance deregulation driven changes to Turnberry, artfully running through the cringe-worthy checklist of what a major championship "test" is to provide.

In terms of heightening the difficulty of the Ailsa - both Tom Watson and Nick Price won at Turnberry with 72 hole totals of 268, the lowest winning scores for an Open in Scotland - the most significant changes have taken place at the 16th, 17th and 18th holes. The 16th, once pretty but toothless, has been transformed. By moving the fairway left, the re-modelled par 4 has become a 458-yard dogleg which approaches the same green from a far trickier angle.
Key word, trickier. That usually means rigged to combat the distance jumps that we failed to understand and regulate.
This alteration enabled Martin Ebert from MacKenzie Ebert course designers, with input from the Royal and Ancient,

 His name's Peter Dawson...sorry, continue... 

to create a new back tee for the 17th which stretches a previously soft par 5 to 558 yards. Throw in a new 18th tee built to the left of the 17th fairway and it's little wonder George Brown, Turnberry's golf course manager, believes the alterations to the last three holes have added a stroke-and-a-half of difficulty to the finish.
And now you know why they haven't turned out a decent architect since MacKenzie, and he wasn't really even Scottish. 
Where previously the aspiring champion standing on the 16th tee thought about making a couple of birdies, matching par is now no disgrace.
Well, and you know Turnberry has produced such dogs for winners. Watson, Norman, Price and that horrible duel in '77! It had to go!
According to Michael Tait, director of the R&A, the changes to the Ailsa are sure to enhance the reputation of a links which hasn't staged an Open since Nick Price clutched the Claret Jug in 1994. "It's important at any Open venue to have closing holes which will test the best players in the world and we believe the changes at 16, 17 and 18 will give Turnberry a very strong finish," said Tait. "The burn in front of the 16th green didn't really come into play for the top players before. By re-routing the hole, and changing the angle, we feel the second shot there is much more challenging.
Yawn... 
"The Ailsa has always been renowned as the most scenically beautiful links on the championship rota and we were fortunate to be able to build new tees on the seventh and the tenth holes which add to the visual appeal as well as toughening the golf course. The new tee on the seventh has been built on reclaimed land from the sea, while the new tenth tee, with a shot over a rocky promontory, is quite spectacular."

As well as adding 227 yards of length - the par-70 Ailsa measures 7,224 yards compared to 6,967 in 1994 - 21 new bunkers have also been built. Having played the course last week with Stewart Selbie, Turnberry's manager, it is clear how shrewdly these hazards have been deployed. There are now 85 bunkers on the Ailsa and this plodder seemed to splash out of most of them.

Okay everyone on three, one, two, three, "oy vey!"

Monday
Jun042007

Honoring Stu

geoffstu.jpgGeoff Russell's Golf World tribute to Stu has been posted.

It was a really wet Sunday at the Mercedes. I heard they wouldn't let Charlie Rymer walk the fairways unless he observed the 90-degree rule. (Jan. 14, 2005)

A few years ago I hired Stu Schneider to be Golf World's television critic. Stu's golf journalism career started in 1995 when he became editor of GolfWeb, one of the Internet's first golf-only websites--and soon, under Stu's leadership, golf's best website. In an e-mail last week, GolfWeb founder Ed Pattermann wrote, "Stu grasped the potential of the Internet and its ability to cover every facet of golf on a global scale instantly. Stu pioneered common website components such as online polls, contributing writers, player diaries and interactive forums."

As many as a dozen golf writers working today owe their start to Stu. Unfortunately, his own career didn't progress as smoothly. When the Internet world went bust in the late 1990s, GolfWeb was sold a couple of times, and in 1999 Stu was replaced as editor. He dabbled in websites and real estate, but until I called him in 2004, he hadn't been able to get back into golf journalism.

I don't want to say Nick Faldo is spreading himself too thin, but last weekend he showed up to adjust my satellite dish. (Oct. 13, 2006)

Stu's column, "TV Rewind," quickly became one of Golf World's best-read departments, especially at the TV networks. It was a complicated assignment. TV officials--like pro golfers and, for that matter, magazine editors--don't take kindly to criticism, especially from an outsider. Also, my wife, Molly, happens to be a producer for NBC Sports. This put Stu in the unenviable position of both fending off charges of favoritism towards NBC and having his slightest mistakes (like confusing the roles of a director and producer) pointed out by the boss's wife. But Stu navigated the currents, skillfully and fairly.

Stu acquired another assignment. "Front 9," the snarky little column that usually appears on this page, had become stale under its previous writer--who happened to be me. His first week at Golf World, I sent him a draft of "Front 9" for a little "polishing." I did it again the second week. The third week, I fired myself and promoted him to the job.

He could even write funny from a hospital bed. Last month during the Players, Stu suffered a recurrence of the colitis that first felled him last November. Though in excruciating pain, he insisted on fulfilling his assignments for two more weeks (he said it gave him "something to do"). But during the final round of the Colonial, Stu asked for a week off. His recovery had stalled, and he was contemplating surgery to have his colon removed.

Two days later, he was stricken with an infection. He was rushed to intensive care, but went into cardiac arrest and died. He was 52. He leaves a wife, Linda, and two sons, Matthew, 8, and Ben, 4. His passing was as cruel as it was swift. Five days later as I type this, I still can't believe it.

This week, in honor of the Players, the Denny's in Ponte Vedra Beach will be serving a Grand Slam Breakfast with five items. (May 11, 2007).

When I arrived in Connecticut from California in 1986 to begin work at the Golf Digest Publications (Golf World's parent), I couldn't afford my own place. The human resources director put me in touch with a guy named Stu Schneider, Golf Digest's public relations director. After promising him I didn't smoke, he invited me to move in. We lived together for almost four years.

Stu, a native of Long Island, introduced me to Madison Square Garden, Bethpage Black, Albert Brooks movies--and a quirky sense of humor (when his teenaged niece had nose surgery, instead of a get-well card, Stu mailed her a pair of plastic Groucho Marx glasses). I'd like to say we lived a swinging existence, but mostly we played golf and basketball and fought over who hadn't cleaned the lint filter in the dryer. Our most outrageous stunt was probably the year we wore red Converse high-tops with our tuxedoes to the company holiday party.

We both wanted to be golf magazine writers, and despite the fact that I was succeeding at that dream and he wasn't, we became close friends. When Stu and Linda were married in 1995, I was his best man (that's a picture of us from that day; Stu is the fashionably bald guy on the right). Two months later when I married Molly, Stu was one of my groomsmen. Afterward, Stu moved to California to become the editor of GolfWeb.

I can think of no greater void on earth right now than the one in the lives of Linda, Matthew and Ben. Farther down the list of those impacted by Stu's death are his teammates at Golf World. Finding a new TV critic will be hard--who else wants to watch 20 hours of golf coverage every week? Meanwhile, I guess I'll go back to writing "Front 9."

I have big shoes to fill.

For more tributes to Stu, check out the original post where several more great remembrances have been added in recent days. Also, information about a June 14 memorial at Bethpage State Park has been posted by Stu's brother, Brian

Sunday
Jun032007

Wie WD Follow Up

It's almost unfathomable to think that just 364 days ago PGATour.com's Brett Avery was texting us updates on Michelle Wie's U.S. Open qualifying quest. Here we are a year later and Wie's game is a mess, and it's clear that the management of her career is in shambles. Meanwhile, the events of last Thursday raise serious questions about the integrity of her advisors and LPGA Tour officials.

I'll be curious to see how the weekly publications cover the madness that took place last Thursday and whether they will focus on the purported and unprovable rules violation by father B.J. Wie, or if they zero in on the big picture story of her forced withdrawing at the apparent insistence of her advisors, with assistance from the LPGA's COO (and with the LPGA Commissioner on property).

While some stories focused on the possible rules violation, Eric Adelson's ESPN.com account raises plenty of questions about the behavior of folks calling themselves adults. These fine folks essentially told a young woman to stop playing, embellish the truth about an injury, and all so that she would be eligible for the remainder of the year. (Let's forget the silliness of the 88 rule for a moment, because it is a rule nonetheless.)

So let's review.

First, if there were any doubts cast from the LPGA offices about come of Adelson's observations, Golfweek's reliable Beth Ann Baldry reaffirms Adelson's original account after looking at the possible rules violation.

Golfweek's Rex Hoggard opted not to delve into the specifics of the WD and instead focused on why Wie's even playing in the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic, with these tough quotes from Retief Goosen:

“The players in general feel it is not right,” said Goosen, competing this week at the Wales Open. “If she qualifies to play in an event then fine, but there are youngsters and good players coming up who could have taken that spot and broken through. We all know with her playing in the men’s events that she is not going to get anywhere, so I’m not really sure what she is trying to achieve.”

While that's a fair question, it's the annectodal evidence about the events last Thursday that cry out for tough questions regarding the conduct of COO Chris Higgs in giving the appearance of having suggested to her agent the ramifications of a high score, but then claimed he had made a trip out to Wie's group for "no particular reason."

As Ron Green noted, Wie seemed intent on finishing and only stopped at the insistence of her advisors, who appeared to be in close contact with LPGA officials.

And if Green's observations weren't enough, Sal Johnson at GolfObserver noted:

In a interview with Golf Channel's Kay Cockrill [Sp.], Wie said that she was going to ice down both of her wrist and practice in the morning, then try to play next week in the McDonald's LPGA Championship.

As someone who has hurt their wrist playing golf, the last thing you want to do is think about hitting golf balls the next day if you are in any pain at all.

Wie's post round press conference appearance stinks too, not necessarily because of Wie's answers, but again, because of the LPGA's conduct.

Adelson writes of initial questions about her WD:

An LPGA official answered that question for her, saying, "Michelle, thank you for coming in after your withdrawal from the tournament because of your wrist. Are you optimistic from here on out once your wrist does heal?"

Yet, the opening comment from the LPGA official is not in the transcript because the recording had not "started."

DANA GROSS-RHODE: (Recording started) Are you optimistic from here on out once your wrist does heal?

MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, you know it felt good when was practicing but, you know, I kind of like tweaked it in the middle of round a little bit.  So just taking caution measures, and I know what to work on. The only way to go up from here is up, so I'm feeling pretty good about it.

DANA GROSS-RHODE: And it was the wrist injury, the wrist injury and is what forced the WD?

MICHELLE WIE: Yes. 

Love the follow up after you've told her why she withdrew!

Now why is all of this important?

Adults lied because they have a lot riding on Michelle Wie's shoulders and they need her eligible for play the rest of 2007. People lie about much worse things every day that impact lives.

For me, the LPGA Tour is on the cusp of emerging as a strong and exciting tour, but questions are all too often emerging about the Commissioner's office and a disregard for rules, integrity, tradition and basic decency.

It's one thing for the Wie family to have taken the measures they did and disappointing that they would put their daughter up to lying. They will have to live with themselves and the consequences of mismanaging their daughter's career, and Michelle will have her millions to comfort her should this golf thing not work out.

No, I find the LPGA Tour's complicity in the whole affair much more disturbing and potentially damaging to the Tour's future well being to be the real story here.

Your thoughts? 

 

Sunday
Jun032007

Emailing With Levet

headshot-135x95.jpgJames Corrigan follows up his revealing Retief Goosen e-interview with another online interesting conversation, this time with Thomas Levet, who is recovering from a bout with vertigo and teeing it up at Walton Heath today in hopes of qualifying for the U.S. Open.

Just in case you think your golf swing is giving you problems, just consider this:
Are golfers particularly susceptible to vertigo?

I'm not sure about that, although there have been a few others who have suffered, such as David Duval, Peter Hanson. It's a condition that can hit anybody at any time. The golf swing did trigger my vertigo, though, and they had to find out why. When they did, that was when I could work towards a cure.
Sunday
Jun032007

I Hate To Be The Bearer Of Bad News...

...but if the FedEx Cup Playoffs started today (and oh how I know you can't wait), Chris Stroud would miss the final 144 by one spot.

The tension is building. 

Sunday
Jun032007

The Heart Of The (88) Matter

right-01.gifIn the wake of the unseemly Michelle Wie WD at the Ginn Open, the entire idea of quitting to avoid the wrath of the LPGA's Rule of 88 was put into perspective by MacKinzie Kline, who posted a second round 89, making her (as a non-LPGA member) ineligible for the rest of the year.

And it didn't even cross her mind. Or anyone else's. Tod Leonard writes:

Mac Kline, who was born with a congenital heart defect, was the first player to use a golf cart and oxygen during an LPGA Tour event. With favorable temperatures in the low 80s yesterday, she said she didn't start using oxygen until the fifth hole.

“It was better than I thought it would be,” she said.

A significant part of Kline's appearance in the Ginn was to raise awareness for the Children's Heart Foundation. Kline makes national appearances for CHF and has made it her goal to raise $1 million for research that may one day save her own life. She has already raised more than $750,000.

“My gosh, I talked to (Ginn representative) Ryan Julison today, and he said we've reached millions of people because of what Mac did this week,” John Kline said. “There's going to be so much more awareness of the Children's Heart Foundation. I think the money is going to pour in from all over the world.

“There were a few LPGA players who came by to talk to Mac today. And they said, 'You're awesome. Go out and play. Have fun.' ”

Mac Kline insisted she took that advice.

“It was really, really fun,” she said. “It was all very exciting.”

Quite the contrast. For more on Kline, check out her website.

Saturday
Jun022007

"She seemed intent on finishing her round"

june2_wiestar_600x600.jpgNice notice (and photo) by golf.com of Ron Green Jr.'s blog post that adds another dimension to the Michelle Wie WD saga.

When she withdrew Thursday, she was 14-over par with two watery holes to play. Two pars would get her in at 86. In other words, there was little margin for error.

Wie seemed surprised when her manager, Greg Nared, stopped her as she walked to the eighth tee (her 17th) Thursday. She seemed intent on finishing her round, but Nared and Wie’s parents had been talking for a couple of holes and Nared had been on the phone with LPGA officials.