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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
  • 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
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

Fashions in golf courses, as in ladies’ clothes, seem to be so frequently hopelessly exaggerated. We have our latest Parisian styles, and they are adopted for every form and every contour, quite regardless of the land to be dealt with...the real test of a course: is it going to live?  H.S. COLT


    

Friday
Nov162007

Turfnet Print Edition Folds

Brad Klein reports that publication formerly known as Superintendent News will continue exclusively online.

 

Friday
Nov162007

“The classic model of houses ringing a golf course is dying"

16golf600.1.jpgSallie Brady of the New York Times looks at emerging trends in golf course housing development and lists some of the cutting edge communities of note.

Got to love the frank lede:

There's never been anything terribly sexy about living in a golf community. Imagine cookie-cutter spec homes dotting yet another dull par 4 in Myrtle Beach, and you get the picture. Even if you like the game and are in the market for a vacation home, you may never have considered buying in one of these old-style resorts.

Fast forward...

“The classic model of houses ringing a golf course is dying,” said John Kirk, an architect with the New York firm Cooper Robertson & Partners, who designed homes at WaterSound, a beachside golf community in the Florida panhandle. “Instead the golf course is like a big public green,” he said, adding that “people want to be able to walk to the post office or to get their morning coffee.”

Vacation home buyers continue to get younger — a median age of 47 in 2006, down from 52 in 2005, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors — as more families move in next to the retirees at golf communities. Developers have responded by offering more design options, holiday kids’ clubs and summer camps, and myriad recreational activities beyond the driving range.

But the question is whether there are enough buyers for these new golf retreats. “The long-term demographics are favorable,” said Walter Molony, a spokesman for the National Association of Realtors. “It would not be surprising if we saw the vacation market hold its own while the rest of the market declines.”


Thursday
Nov152007

"Somebody's built a better mousetrap already."

Okay, the George O'Grady line about testing Tiger first and if he's clean, why does it matter, was cute. One of those fun comments that seems so clever at the time, and upon further reflection, remarkably short-sighted.

Sadly, Jim Litke of AP (who normally gets it right) takes the bait again in wheeling out the tired argument that pro golfers are God's gift to integrity because they call penalties on themselves, therefore, they would never pop a pill or light up a joint. And furthermore, there really aren't that many benefits to using performance enhancing drugs in golf.

I'm going to get political for a moment, so you know where to send your hate mail.

Climate change. Let's assume cynics are right and it's all a bunch of malarkey. Yet, the only people against adopting cleaner energy to help with the problem and perhaps even make it harder for our friends in Dubai to build another mile long shopping center, are those who stand to benefit from the status quo. To a majority of folks, cleaner energy is both a common sense solution to the problem and simply the right thing to do.

Now, if the folks in professional golf love children as much as they claim, isn't drug testing the right thing to do if you want to deter kids from using potentially harmful performance enhancing drugs, even if everyone on the PGA Tour is clean as a whistle and always has been? 

I continue to be amazed that in debating this issue, the notion of discouraging the next generation from harming themselves consistently gets missed.  

Thursday
Nov152007

ADT Day One Casualties

Doug Ferguson's game story from day one of the ADT Championship illustrates all of the fantastic dynamics involved in this unique format. For those of you not familiar, Friday sees the field cut to 16, Saturday starts with a clean slate that cuts to 8 and Sunday is one more clean slate with $1 million on the line.

Thursday
Nov152007

Gulbis Never Intended To Be Anything But Totally Hot

Brian Hewitt reports that Natalie Gulbis' rebranding reps deny ever telling Jeffrey Smith that she was going to be turning in her G-strings for slacks.

It was reported in this space last week that Natalie Gulbis and her representatives were unhappy about a story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch saying, among other things, that Gulbis was changing her image. The newspaper based much of its story on quotes from a Gulbis marketing representative.
 
A spokesperson for Gulbis subsequently told GOLF CHANNEL that Gulbis was not re-branding and that the newspaper had gotten the story wrong.
 
For the record, the Times-Dispatch says it has a tape recording of the interview with the Gulbis marketing representative and stands by its original story.

Stay tuned! 

Thursday
Nov152007

Turnberry Up For Sale

This has to be the most tortured way of saying the 2009 Open site can be yours for £100m...

Yesterday, a spokeswoman said: "In line with Starwood's asset strategy, the Westin Turnberry Resort, Ayrshire, has taken the decision to source an investment partner to realise the development potential of the resort, where there are 300 acres of undeveloped land."

Thanks to reader Ed for this story. 

Thursday
Nov152007

“Maybe 20 million isn’t so much after all.”

Brian Hewitt scored an exclusive "one-on-one" with the PGA Tour Commish and as you can see by the breadth and length of the Finchem quotes, it probably occurred when they ran into each other at the World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony buffet line. One fun highlight pertaining to Lawrence Donegan's Dubai-$20-million-purse exclusive from last week:
Regardless, $20 million is a staggering sum to play for in one week. “The world of golf’s going to change massively in the next few years,” said one highly-placed European source with knowledge of the Dubai deal.
 
But maybe $20 million is not so staggering when you consider that the six gulf countries of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have made a reported $1.5 trillion from oil in the last four years. That’s $1.5 trillion as in a 15 followed by 11 zeroes.
 
PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem said he was “delighted” at the reported size of the purse because, he said, the compensation levels for the world’s top golfers still “trail” those of athletes in the major team sports.
 
As to the $1.5 trillion figure, Finchem cracked, “maybe 20 million isn’t so much after all.”

Thursday
Nov152007

"In order to have a genuine brand, you must consistently deliver a promise that is genuine and distinct in people's minds."

Annika is blogging now and kicked off her new media New Media agenda with a painful-to-follow online chat that included this vital exchange:
Posted by: Rachael McMillen | November 14, 2007 at 02:14 PM
Annika, I have heard you mention your "brand." What exactly do you mean by "build your brand?"

Posted by: Matt | November 14, 2007 at 02:18 PM
Jerry, great question!
In order to have a genuine brand, you must consistently deliver a promise that is genuine and distinct in people's minds. I try to deliver the promise of "inspirational experiences" through all of my businesses. I hope that makes sense.
I'm inspired just reading this.
Wednesday
Nov142007

"I thought hitting the fairway was part and parcel of golf. Silly me."

Lawrence Donegan talks to Andrew Coltart about his struggles with distance and the flogging approach to course setup.

"When I played with Tiger he was a brilliant player but he was also very physically imposing, so I went away and tried to work on hitting the ball further. That was 1999. We're now in 2007 and I'm still trying to get more distance," he said. "If I don't try and hit the ball further, the way technology is going I'm going to be left way behind."

The truth is that Coltart, now 37, whose trip to tour school comes after his failure to make the top 115 in the 2007 European tour order of merit, may already have been left behind. Last year he was 181st in driving distance, hitting the ball 268 yards on average - a full 40 yards behind the longest hitters. In the Italian Open in the summer he had to play a five-wood shot into the green on seven of the first nine holes.

"How the hell can I get a five-wood shot close to the hole consistently? If I'd shot two under par I would have done really well - the winning score was 16 under par," he said sarcastically. "I don't want this to come over as bitterness but I feel technology has allowed guys to prosper who 15 years ago wouldn't have been able to make a penny. But because of technology and the way the courses are set up they are going to do really well.

"A guy might be able to dunt the ball 260 yards down the middle but that guy is constantly being outdone because the bigger hitter - the animal, for the want of a better expression - hits it 330 yards and it doesn't matter if he is in the rough because he has only got a wedge in his hands for his next shot. And the greens are saturated, so whatever he can lob up on to the green is just going to plug and stop somewhere near the flag.

"There is one statistic that is very curious to me - you have guys who are 150th in driving accuracy yet are 10th in greens in regulation. How can that be right? I thought hitting the fairway was part and parcel of golf. Silly me."

Interesting to note that he doesn't seem optimistic that a change in grooves will help him reverse his fortunes. 

Wednesday
Nov142007

"Right now, we'll have to punt on that question"

Steve Elling weaves together an interesting contrast between the PGA Tour's announced drug testing policy and the LPGA's, which appears a bit more organized and a whole lot tougher. Check this out:
A player who tests positive after a tournament faces disqualification, having their results expunged and the revocation of their winnings -- not to mention a lengthy suspension. If a player fails a test administered during the week she won an event, the runner-up will be declared the victor. If two players tied for second behind a player who tests positive, the one who recorded the lowest score on Sunday is declared the winner. If multiple runner-ups posted the same score in the final round, officials will match scorecards to determine the default winner. Bizarre as that scenario sounds, the PGA Tour hasn't determined how it will solve a comparable issue and will wait until February to address the various hypotheticals of testing. "Right now, we'll have to punt on that question," spokesman Bob Combs said Wednesday. The men's tour won't start testing until July.
Wednesday
Nov142007

"Our people are our product."

bivensx.jpgThe Brand Lady got off to a great start in her lecture to the assembled scribblers who dared to show up for her pre-ADT Championship press conference. Paragraphs of dialogue without anything to make fun of? 

But she's still the Brand Lady...

They say that every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. So with that in mind, as we come to the end of our 2007 season, we deliberately chose the ADT Championship as the first tournament to exclusively display our brand new logo, the LPGA's first new logo in 15 years, and one that truly reflects and celebrates the diversity, the global strength and the evolution of our brand.

This tournament and our logo both epitomize our commitment to a bold new look and to bold business, especially when you look at the LPGA has taken ownership of the ADT Championship for the first time. This year everything you see, from beginning to end, the LPGA is calling the shots. Another first, we are actually producing all nine hours of television that you'll see.

I don't know a lot about golf and television, but in general is that really something to brag about? Isn't it better when someone pays you to do the production?

As we acquire more strategic assets, the LPGA brand will continue to flourish. Last month's launch of our first-ever on-line pro shop opened for business. For those of who have not visited, LPGAproshop.com is part of a merchandising program that we expect will grow to be a significant revenue stream for the LPGA.

 Is that definition of significant like the USGA's?

Also located very closely to the media tent, not by accident, is our first-ever pro shop and merchandise shop, so please visit. You have all week.

Please, slingers in attendance, tell me that last sentence was said with a wink and a laugh? Oh how would you know, you had already made your way to the door shop 'til you drop.

All of these are signs that point to the strength of our product, to our members and to our brand. I want to thank you all for recognizing the talents and the attributes of our players and for sharing their stories with your readers.

Outside the world of golf, coverage of the LPGA could be found in airline magazines, Business Week, Newsweek. In fact, in mid-October Lorena was actually the cover story on the Latin American edition of Newsweek. One of our greatest strengths is the fact that we don't separate our people from our product. Our people are our product. The LPGA is an organization, and our members as individuals are not afraid to assume greater responsibility and to hold us all to a higher standard.

I wonder how many times she practiced that mantra in front of the mirror? Try saying "our people are our product." It isn't easy (on many levels). That's why she gets the big bucks.

Q. I think, Carolyn, you said that the LPGA was producing the TV for this week. What exactly does that mean?

CAROLYN BIVENS: It means that we hired a production company, Castro Communications, somebody we've worked with before. We've worked with the Golf Channel, with ESPN to get our production crew, accepted as the ones who would be producing and calling the shots.

We've done profile pieces on just about every woman who's competing here. Those will run periodically during the telecast. We are doing the production of everything. That means we are covering the nine hours of this tournament.

We've worked in combination with the Golf Channel and with NBC, but for the first time the LPGA will be guiding what is seen on television.

Gee and I was looking forward to watching some of this.

Wednesday
Nov142007

Fresh Off Comeback Player Award, Stricker On Ballot Again!?

nov13_stricker_299x201.jpgI guess if you can reclaim your amateur status twice, why not have a comeback award worthy year after a comeback award worthy year?

Doug Ferguson says Stricker is on the player ballot again.

Tuesday
Nov132007

"That (report) got some attention" **

The first reactions are in on the PGA Tour's Tuesday announcement and it's apparent there are a few questions that need to be raised.

Gary Van Sickle analyzes the changes (or lack thereof) to the FedEx Cup and notes the inclusion of marijuana and cocaine on the banned list. He also isn't too wild about the Tour's decision not to deal with FedEx Cup points.

Steve Elling asks what took so long to rejig the schedule. Of course, with not even a cosmetic change in the points structure and no decision on tweaks to the playoff points structure, you have to wonder if the particulars of a drug testing program have overwhelmed the boys in Ponte Vedra.

I find it inexplicable that the playoff points volatility was not addressed. Now, Elling points out in his piece that this will be revisited in February, as does Doug Ferguson in his recap, but a major sports organization of the Tour's caliber should not be tinkering with a playoff format midseason.

Buried late in Elling's column is this little shocker regarding the change in FedEx Cup payout and Finchem's gabfest with writers following the PGA Tour's media summit:

Finchem said governmental pressures contributed to the tour's decision to back away from giving the FedEx winner's bonus out in deferred payment. Instead, next year, the winner will receive $9 million in cash and $1 million in deferred payment. Elected representatives in Washington, D.C., are taking a long, dim look at large deferred payment plans, Finchem said.

One publication reported that if Woods won six FedExs Cup titles, he would have a $1 billion nest egg by the time he retired, based on earnings projections.

"That (report) got some attention," Finchem laughed.

Should be interesting to see if anyone pursues this angle.

I wonder if this hits at some of the complaints players like Sean Murphy have had about the deferred compensation? 

Tuesday
Nov132007

"So I'm proud to be mentioned with Old Tom. If we played each other? Well, I'd have the edge, because of my fashion sense."

MORRISSETT_10_439x600.jpgI managed to put three minutes aside for my monthly power flip through Golf Magazine and actually stumbled upon  something worth reading in the form of Connell Barrett's look at innovators.

Granted, a couple of them I trust as far as I can throw them, but at least Ran Morrissett got some nice recognition.

"I think of GolfClubAtlas.com as a museum. Architecture is an art, and a course is like a 200-acre canvas. My Web site gives like-minded people a place to discuss and debate these works, to keep the discussion happening. People on the site are regular guys who want to protect great courses and preserve classic architecture. The dialogue can get pretty intense. Things got personal a few years back when Tom Fazio redid the bunkers at Merion. A lot of name-calling. Some thought that changing the bunkers was akin to drawing glasses on the Mona Lisa. It's funny — the nicest, kindest gentleman can become a pit bull online! But that's part of the passion. It's my passion, too. This is a nonprofit site. Since I started it in 1999, I've gotten a lot of offers to sell, but I never will. It's like those commercials. Annual cost of running a web site: a few thousand dollars. Helping to keep architecture debate alive: priceless."
Actually, priceless was Greg Norman fawning over himself in arguably the most nauseating paragraph of self promotion ever published in a major golf publication.

NORMAN2_9_600x532.jpgHere's Greg, on himself:
"This January, I'll be honored with the Old Tom Morris Award, for giving back to the game. For one, I feel that golf should be more compatible with the environment. Courses elevate property value and create jobs as well as provide green spaces, filter air, and create a wildlife habitat. Doonbeg, in Ireland, was built with shovels, not bulldozers. We moved just 26,000 cubic yards of soil and protected a microscopic snail species. In addition to that, my tournament, the Merrill Lynch Shootout, has raised more than $10 million for CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation. So I'm proud to be mentioned with Old Tom. If we played each other? Well, I'd have the edge, because of my fashion sense. I'd wear something from my Greg Norman Collection, which is comfortable and stylish. How can you make a full turn wearing a double-breasted three-piece wool suit?"

 

Tuesday
Nov132007

Yet Another Castle Stuart Video...

Tuesday
Nov132007

Finchem Memo On Policy Board Actions

No surprises here based on the calculated previous leaks. Just thought you might be out of Lunesta and in need of a sleep aid... 

TO:        PGA TOUR Membership
FROM:    Tim Finchem    
RE:        Policy Board Actions
DATE:    November, 13, 2007


The PGA TOUR Policy Board met on Monday, Nov. 12, and took action on several key items.

But before I share the results of the meeting, I want to take a moment to thank you for your support in helping to make the inaugural FedExCup such a great success. The FedExCup absolutely accomplished what we envisioned it would by “connecting” the season and providing a strong, compelling conclusion with our first-ever PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. It delivered significant value to our players, sponsors, television partners, and added something new and attractive to our fans.

Moreover, the four Playoff events delivered record television viewership at a time when sports fans historically have watched the start of the NCAA football season and NFL pre-season and opening games. We certainly saw a change in the tone of coverage as media and fan interest grew through the season and Playoffs, keeping the focus on our sport through mid-September, and ultimately delivering a fitting conclusion.

So again, thank you for helping to make this happen.

The Policy Board’s objective is always to provide the best possible experience for fans, tournaments, sponsors, and, of course, our membership, and to present our sport in the best possible manner. With that as our focus, the Policy Board has approved the following actions:

Policy Board Actions

1) Policy Board Structure
I am very pleased to inform you that Vic Ganzi, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hearst Corporation and a member of the TOUR Policy Board since 1994, has succeeded Dick Ferris as Chairman. As you know, Dick announced in August that he would be retiring at the end of 2007. He has been a tremendous leader in his 14 years as Chairman and has helped guide the PGA TOUR to unparalleled heights as a business. We all owe Dick our appreciation for his outstanding work on our behalf.

As we announced earlier, Edward E. Whitacre, Jr., Chairman Emeritus of AT&T Inc., will be joining the Policy Board as the fourth Independent Director effective January 1. Additionally, we welcome back Brad Faxon and David Toms to the Policy Board, replacing Davis Love III and Joe Durant. This will be Brad’s third term on the Policy Board and David’s second. We also want to thank Davis and Joe for their excellent service as Player Directors.

2) 2008 Schedule
The Policy Board has approved a schedule of 48 official events that will offer $278 million in official prize money. The 2008 schedule will offer 5,672 playing opportunities for members, up from 5,585 in 2007. The 2008 schedule is attached.

As you can see, no changes were made to the first three weeks of the Playoffs. In deference to the 2008 Ryder Cup, the Policy Board has approved THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola – the fourth and final PGA TOUR Playoff event – being moved back two weeks so that it will be played immediately following the Ryder Cup in 2008. This move provides a one-week gap between the third Playoff event, the BMW Championship, and the Ryder Cup, so as not to adversely affect either the Ryder Cup or THE TOUR Championship. We felt it was important to give those members of both the U.S. and European teams who will be competing in the Playoffs the ability to prepare for the Ryder Cup while also focusing on THE TOUR Championship the following week.

As a consequence of the move, all Fall Series events will be moved back one week. This situation is unique to next year and we do not anticipate the need to alter the Playoffs schedule beyond 2008. The tentative schedules for 2009-2012 have built-in gaps between THE TOUR Championship and the corresponding team event, either The Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup.

3) Potential Changes to the FedExCup
In evaluating the first year of the FedExCup, the Policy Board did not feel the need to make fundamental changes to the overall structure of the competition. Accordingly, no changes have been made in the points distribution in the PGA TOUR Regular Season.

The Policy Board will continue to assess the point structure as it relates to the reseeding and points distribution throughout the Playoffs, in order to consider ways we might create more volatility and keep more players in contention for the FedExCup at THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola.  We will be seeking more feedback from the PAC and the membership between now and making a final determination on these matters at the February meeting.

4) Tournament Cuts
The Policy Board also approved a change in the regulation pertaining to the 36-hole cut at tournaments.  Currently, the cut following the second round is to the low 70 professionals and ties.  Under the new regulation, the cut will continue to be to the low 70 professionals and ties, unless that results in a weekend field size of more than 78 players.  Under that circumstance, the cut would be made to the number closest to 70.

5) Retirement Plan/Deferred Compensation
The Board has approved a change to the distribution of the $35 million FedExCup bonus pool, whereby it no longer will be 100 percent deferred. Beginning in 2008, $16.5 million in cash will be paid to the top 10 finishers and the remaining $18.5 million will be paid on a tax-deferred basis into the Retirement Plans of the top 150 players. The maximum tax-deferred-payment amount will be $1 million to the winner of the FedExCup, who will also receive $9 million in cash, for a total first place payout of $10 million.

This decision was part of a comprehensive evaluation that was conducted in regard to the payout structure of the FedExCup. This new formula is consistent with the earning projections previously provided to our members under the Retirement Plan.  

6) PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Program
The Policy Board has approved the PGA TOUR’s Anti-Doping Program.  The TOUR’s primary objective is to have a credible program that will aggressively deter the use of any prohibited substance.  The key elements of the program include extensive player outreach and education; a comprehensive list of prohibited substances and methods; therapeutic use exemptions; a testing protocol and procedure; and guidelines governing sanctions and program administration.  A summary of each of these significant elements follows.

Player Outreach and Education
The TOUR’s Anti-Doping Program will be implemented on all three Tours, on a phased-in basis.   On the PGA TOUR, player education and outreach will begin in December 2007 and extend through June 2008, with testing beginning no sooner than July 2008.  The education phase will commence on the Nationwide Tour in mid-2008, with testing to begin in late 2008.  On the Champions Tour, education will begin in January 2009 and testing will be implemented in mid-2009.

PGA TOUR players will receive an Anti-Doping Program Manual in early December 2007.  The manual will contain significant detail about all aspects of the Program.  Additionally, players will have 24-hour-a-day confidential access to medical and program advisors who can respond to any questions relating to specific substances, medications or testing procedures.

The player education process will include weekly player education sessions at tournament sites, beginning in January at the Sony Open in Hawaii.  Medical experts will also be available on a weekly basis for one-on-one meetings with players.  You may also include family members and support staff (managers, trainers, nutritionists, physicians, etc.) in any of the educational sessions offered.  A mandatory player meeting will also be scheduled at the 2008 Buick Invitational, at which time the Program will be covered in comprehensive detail.

Prohibited Substances
As previously announced in September, the PGA TOUR and the other member organizations of the World Golf Foundation have collaborated to create a Model Prohibited Substances and Methods List.

The list includes:
•    Anabolic Agents (e.g., steroids)
•    Hormones and Related Substances (e.g., human growth hormone, testosterone, EPO)
•    Agents with Anti-Estrogenic Activity (to artificially increase testosterone level)
•    Diuretics and Other Masking Agents
•    Stimulants (e.g., Ritalin)
•    Narcotics
•    Cannabinoids
•    Beta Blockers
•    Enhancement of Oxygen Transfer (blood doping)
•    Chemical and Physical Manipulation (tampering with a sample)

The Anti-Doping Program Manuel that will be delivered to players on December 1 will contain a comprehensive list of prohibited substances that fall under the categories listed above, as well as a list of those substances that will not be prohibited under the Program.

Therapeutic Use Exemptions
The TOUR’s Anti-Doping Program includes a process for players to apply to receive a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) to use a banned substance if there is a legitimate medical need as determined by the PGA TOUR’s medical committee.

This TUE medical committee will be created and chaired by the TOUR’s anti-doping medical advisor, Tom Hospel, M.D.  Dr. Hospel is Board Certified in Sports Medicine, has served as the team physician for The Ohio State University, and shares a practice with the Medical Advisor for the NFL Anti-Doping Program.   The TUE medical committee will also include a number of other highly-regarded physicians from various medical disciplines.

Testing Protocol
As with the overall Anti-Doping Program, the PGA TOUR’s primary objective with its testing protocol is to have a credible process that will aggressively and effectively deter the use of any prohibited substance. Under the terms of the program, the TOUR has the authority to test players at any time or place.  All testing will be without prior notice. Testing done at tournament sites may be conducted both on practice/pro-am days and before or after competitive rounds. There are not a stated minimum or maximum number of times a year that an individual player may be tested.  

The TOUR is taking significant steps to ensure that the confidentiality, security and integrity of the entire process is preserved for the membership.  To implement the testing process, the TOUR has engaged the National Center for Drug Free Sport (Drug Free Sport).  Individuals employed by Drug Free Sport are specifically trained to ensure a confidential and secure testing experience for the player and the TOUR.  

Drug Free Sport will assist in the player education program in addition to conducting the actual testing.   Beyond its new relationship with the TOUR, Drug Free Sport also provides drug testing or education services for the NFL, MLB, NBA, NCAA and hundreds of colleges and universities.

Sanctions
Players who have been tested will be notified of the results by the PGA TOUR Program Administrator (see next section).  If it is determined that a player committed a violation of the Anti-Doping Program, the player will be notified of the violation and the sanction.  Players will have an opportunity to appeal a sanction at a hearing to be held by the Commissioner or his designee.

Under the program, the TOUR has the authority to impose a variety of sanctions, which may include: disqualification; ineligibility for up to one year for a first violation, up to five years for a second violation, and up to a lifetime ban for multiple violations; and fines up to $500,000.

In addition, for drugs of abuse (marijuana, certain narcotics, cocaine), the Commissioner will have the discretion to require treatment and rehabilitation in lieu of or in addition to other sanctions.

For any player who fails a test and is issued sanctions, the PGA TOUR will disclose that the player violated the TOUR’s Anti-Doping Program and will report the penalty.

Program Administration
The Program will be handled through the PGA TOUR’s Office of the General Counsel led by Rick Anderson, EVP and Chief Legal Officer.  Allison Keller, Assistant General Counsel—Anti-Doping, will be the Program Administrator.

The PGA TOUR has engaged outside policy and medical experts to assist in the development and implementation of the program, including player education programs and the testing process.  In developing the program, the TOUR has worked closely with Richard Young, one of the world’s foremost anti-doping experts, and the principal draftsman of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code.  Mr. Young has served on the WADA Board since 2004.

I realize this is a significant amount of information on several very important areas that impact you and your fellow members. We firmly believe that these actions will enhance the overall position of the PGA TOUR for years to come and we will continue to communicate frequently with you on these key topics.

Again, I want to thank you for all that you do as a member of the PGA TOUR and for helping to make the 2007 season such a great success. I also want to extend the Board’s appreciation for the diligent work and feedback by the PAC on the members’ behalf. Player input is a highly valued component to the overall process of making these significant decisions.

And finally, if you have any questions about this information, please do not hesitate to contact me or our management team.  


Sincerely,


Tim Finchem

Monday
Nov122007

Verdi: FedEx Cup Changes Finalized

I get the week off, but I don't get the possible change of heart on the deferred compensation...

If ratified, the playoffs will be held as follows: The Barclays in New York Aug. 18-24, Deutsche Bank in Boston Aug. 25-Sept. 1, and the BMW Championship in St. Louis Sept. 2-7. As first reported in the Sept. 21 issue of Golf World, the Tour Championship, originally scheduled for the following week, would then be contested later in Atlanta.

The board also will address the Fed Ex Cup payoff, which was $10 million deferred to the champion, Tiger Woods, in its initial year. One possibility is that a substantial amount--perhaps as much as $9 million--will be issued up front. In addition, the board will study a proposal to decrease the size of playoff fields to 120 at Barlcays, 90 at Deutsche Bank, and 60 at the BMW. The field for the Tour Championship is expected to remain at 30.

Monday
Nov122007

Lietzke May Get Return Trip To Site Of First U.S. Senior Open Win

I know, you forgot he actually won one didn't you? Shoot, he probably did too.

Either way, great to see Inverness back in the major mix, even if it's one of 7 they play on the Valiant Competitor's Tour.

Monday
Nov122007

Timberlake Becomes First Non Has-Been To Lend Name To PGA Tour Event

timberlake.jpgSinger, songwriter, producer, director, raconteur and singer again (because he's just that good) Justin Timberlake has already conquered every demographic of importance, so why not go after golf's aging "decision maker" demo.
The PGA TOUR today announced that four-time Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, record producer and actor Justin Timberlake will become the host of the TOUR's Las Vegas event, which will be renamed the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Timberlake becomes the 14th celebrity in PGA TOUR history to host an event, joining the likes of Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. The agreement, among Timberlake, title sponsor Shriners Hospitals for Children and the PGA TOUR, is for five years, beginning in 2008.

The Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, part of the TOUR's Fall Series, will be played October 13-19, 2008, at TPC Summerlin over 72 holes with an official Pro-Am on Wednesday. The event will be televised on GOLF CHANNEL. As part of his involvement, Timberlake will play in the Wednesday celebrity pro-am and host a concert during tournament week.

"I couldn't be more excited to host the upcoming 2008 Las Vegas tournament and to be involved with the Shriners Hospitals for Children," Timberlake said. "We will make sure to make this event unique and memorable, and we will raise money for charity while participating in the greatest game ever played. I thank the PGA TOUR and the Shriners Hospitals for Children this amazing opportunity. Raising money to better children's lives while playing golf? I can't think of a better way to pass the time."

Sunday
Nov112007

"It is nice to win a tournament that Tiger has tried to win the last couple of years unsuccessfully"

217338.jpgThis wire story reports on the wacky finish to the HSBC event, where Phil Mickelson

Lefty overcame six penalty strokes in the final round, blew a three-shot lead with seven to play, and still won Sunday's HSBC Champions tournament on the second hole of a three-way playoff with Englishmen Ross Fisher and Lee Westwood.
And James Corrigan explains Ross Fisher's Van de Veldeian finish.

But best of all, Nick Mulvenney reports on the latest stupid thing Phil has said:
"It is nice to win a tournament that Tiger has tried to win the last couple of years unsuccessfully," he added.
But at least has his priorities straight...

 

"Now that my family is older, my kids are older, eight, six and four, I will try to play more tournaments overseas and use those trips as educational weeks for my family," he said.