The golfer who does not take himself a caddie at St. Andrews denies himself the wine of the country. HERBERT WARREN WIND
"You hear someone say it's a great course, everything is out in front of you...already a game that does that. Bowling."
Bob Carney features some fun comments Brian Silva made to a recent gathering of Golf Digest panelists.
I believe Wednesday at The Players means Tim Finchem will come down from his new clubhouse patio and answer questions from the assembled inkslingers. Just a few contributions, naturally, please post yours in the comments section.
- With the PGA Tour looking at reducing field size at Tiger's mid-summer event and cut sizes possibly being reduced, have you considered stepping up efforts to deal with the pace of play problem?
- Do you see any connection between the pace of play issues and the distance explosion of recent years in the form of longer waits on par-5's and driveable par-4s, narrow fairways, more rough, tucked holes, etc... and if so, do you think an easier solution to this problem might be a slight rollback in the ball?
- In the current Sports Illustrated, 73% of players polled said the PGA Tour should get tough on performance enhancing drugs. Can you update us on where your efforts to develop a tougher policy?
- Do you or any of your senior vice presidents own significant shares of Comcast?
Whoa Nellie how did that get in there? Hey, just want to squelch that rumor before it spreads...eh, too late.
- Harding Park is going to be a future playoff venue in 2013 or 2014, can you see the Western Open returning to a summer date that year so that you can retain a tournament in the nation's third largest market and restore a full field to this one-time "major."
- Tom Pernice, Great American or The Greatest American?
“I think that would be a fantastic eighth hole, but not as the 71st hole of a tournament, or 17th hole of your round.’’
Thanks for all of the memory-jogging nominations for great greens in the game. The chapter got a whole lot easier to write.
Though I noticed no one really got too excited about my 17th at TPC Sawgrass nomination, and now I read in Doug Ferguson's piece that Tiger the architect thinks the 17th is poorly placed in the sequence of the course. Kinda spooky I know, but when you are going with the whole Fazio thing in your design business, the overriding theme is bound to be dull design.
“I’ve always thought that hole is too gimmicky for the 17th hole of a championship,’’ Woods said. “I think that would be a fantastic eighth hole, but not as the 71st hole of a tournament, or 17th hole of your round.’’
Thankfully Geoff Ogilvy was around to lend some more rational and thoughful perspective:
“If that was just a bunker around it and not water, you’d probably find more people would hit it on the grass,’’ Geoff Ogilvy said. “There’s something about water that does it to people. It’s a fun hole. I’m glad it’s here. You wouldn’t design an island hole on every course in the world, but it seems to work here. It’s cool.’’
And because this is my clipping archive, here's the lowdown on Tiger's Dubai design
partner associate, again from Doug Ferguson's notes:
Among those watching Tiger Woods at the Wachovia Championship last week was Beau Welling, who used to be the top designer for Tom Fazio and played a big role in the redesign of Quail Hollow.
But his presence had more to do with the future.
Woods has hired Welling to do the work on Al Ruwaya in Dubai, the first golf course for Tiger Woods Design. The golf course is supposed to be done by September 2009.
Woods said Bryon Bell, whom he hired as president of Tiger Woods Design, found Welling after looking at the philosophies of various design companies.
"Beau fit what we wanted to have happen," Woods said.
Dubai is the only course in which Woods is involved, and he did not say whether he would continue to use Welling for other projects.
Welling now has his own company, and golf course design is not his only interest. He recently was appointed president of the U.S. Curling Association.
Admittedly, I take some perverse pleasure in seeing how slow play is about to claim more victims, even though the problem is not entirely the fault of the players.
Still, as Doug Ferguson reports, the tepid pace of play on the PGA Tour may force a cut in the number of players teeing it up on the weekend check.
Now, the PGA Tour again is looking at changing the longtime policy that the top 70 and ties make the cut. Several alternatives were discussed last week by the Player Advisory Council, and it likely will come up at the tour policy board meeting at the end of the month.
Among the options:
-Top 60 players and ties.
-Top 65 players and ties.
-The nearest number to 70 players.
-Top 70 and ties, but if the number goes over 78, revert to nearest to 70.
-Top 70 and ties make the cut on Friday, and another cut on Saturday for top 70 and ties.
And your buried lede of the week...
One reason the cut policy is under review is to cope with pace of play. When a large number of players make the cut and bad weather is in the forecast, officials have little choice but to play in threesomes off both tees. That can really become a problem on the West Coast, where tournaments typically end at 3 p.m. for network television.
I wish Tiger had taken a slightly different stand...
Tiger Woods said he would favour top 60 and ties, no exceptions.
"Play better," he said. "Either you play better or you don't."
Or play faster? Or setup courses with a little less rough, fewer 2-paces-from-the-edge-holes and maybe the players stand a chance of picking up the pace?
Oh and do something with the ball so that the entire field can't reach every par-5 in two.
Tim Rosaforte has the TPC clubhouse at $60 million, which sounds possible.
And he offers this stunning stat, courtesy of Hank Haney:
I called Haney a day earlier to get educated on Tiger's latest conquest, and he made several enlightening points. No. 1, in Tiger's last 15 stroke-play tournaments, he has finished first or second 14 times. That didn't sound right, but we went back to last year's British Open, included a couple of second-place finishes in Asia, special events like The Target World Challenge and PGA Grand Slam, a runner-up at The Masters, and other than a T-22 at Bay Hill, Woods has indeed finished no worse than second only once in his last 15 medal-play events. His lead over Jim Furyk in the World Rankings is more than Furyk's gap on the No. 1,000-ranked player in the world.
The rest of the piece includes quotes from Haney with this "I don't know what more he can do" tone, implying that the quality of Tiger's play has been questioned?
Anyone know what he's referring to, or is this just typical neurotic star golf instructor paranoia?
"Most of the time, all you could do was hack it back onto the fairway. But in 2-to-3 inch rough, you maybe have a shot at the green."
It'll be interesting to see how this concept for the TPC rough plays out. Personally, I think we'll see shorter rough allow for some dynamic recoveries and some really, really stupid decision making. Both good things for us fans.
Garry Smits reporting:
Bermuda rough: Since the 1995 Players, 4-to-6-inch overseeded bentgrass rough was the norm. The course had to be overseeded with the hardier strain of grass to get through the winter because freezes could occur within days of the tournament when it was in March. The Bermuda grass will be cut to about 2 to 3 inches.
The result, from a competitive standpoint, is that players have a better chance of reaching the greens. However, balls sitting down in Bermuda rough are called "flier" lies because they have a tendency to come out hot. Upon contact, grass is caught between the club and the ball, reducing spin and increasing distance. Players must adjust their club selection accordingly, and it's a guessing game that two-time Players winner and Tour Policy Board member Davis Love III of St. Simons Island, Ga., said will create more drama.
"It was boring," he said of past Players Championships with higher bentgrass rough. "Most of the time, all you could do was hack it back onto the fairway. But in 2-to-3 inch rough, you maybe have a shot at the green. The issue is whether you picked the right club."
Tim Hacker, who runs a golf academy based in Alpharetta, Ga., has led an effort to assist GHS golfers. Hacker graduated from Greensburg in 1983 and has followed media reports about the tornado and its aftermath.
Working with his friend and fellow teaching pro Stan Utley, he secured the donation of golf equipment to the school from Titleist chairman and chief executive Wally Uihlein.
Hacker, who is affiliated with Callaway Golf, was also working with that company on a possible donation.
Golf was well represented at last night's State Dinner for Queen Elizabeth II:
Herbert V. Kohler, Jr., chairman and president, Kohler Co., and Natalie B. Kohler.
James W. Nantz III, CBS sportscaster, and Ann-Lorraine Nantz.
Arnold Palmer, professional golfer, and Kathleen Palmer.
I'm in the midst of writing something and need your help. (Hey just remember, no pop-up ads, no animation junk...I'm allowed to take advantage of the brilliant minds who check in here).
So, I'm trying to write this chapter on my ideal greens and in thinking about it today, the 17th at TPC Sawgrass is one of my favorites. The green contours here are as much a part of the drama as the water.
Most of all I love the "compartments" that make what appears to be a one-dimensional hole so different from day to day. And I love how the key features of the green are memorable, a trait that encourages creativity and shotmaking. Because memorability of features on a green makes it more likely that players will be suckered into playing at tempting hole locations, moreso than they might otherwise try if a green before them were simply a sea of meaningless bumps.
Therefore, I'd love to know what you think are some of the best greens in golf?
Or to put it another, name a green (or a few) where the design supremacy of the hole is mostly dependent on the contours, size, shape and angle of the putting surface.
Don't be shy. There are no right or wrong answers. Just help for a lowly writer.
It's Monday of fifth major week, which means no one has much to write about. So Jason Sobel and Bob Harig try their best to be like Brittle and Gorse over at GolfDigest.com by doing their alternate shot shtick. Let the fifth major debate begin!
Sobel: Well, I've always disliked the notion of The Players Championship as the "fifth major" and I hated those snarky comments we heard throughout the week about the Wachovia Championship becoming the "sixth major," according to some of the pundits.
Oh I don't think Andrew Magee was being snarky! You did mean Andrew, right? Lord knows, the word snarky has never been uttered in the same sentence as moi!
That said, it was an enjoyable, memorable weekend of golf from Quail Hollow, culminating in Tiger Woods' 57th career victory.
It's one they'll talk about for weeks. I know I enjoyed thinking about not watching it at while I lounged at the beach.
Of course, it's the same old story: Did Tiger outplay the field in Sunday's final round or did his fellow contenders simply wave the white towel and get out of his way?
Harig: First things first. The idea of a fifth major is ridiculous, no matter how good The Players Championship was, is, or might be. So a sixth is even sillier. A Grand Slam in baseball does not consist of five runs scoring on a home run, and one in golf does not include five (or six) tournaments. And it never will. Too much history would have to be rewritten. And then there is this: When was the last time you saw 19 of the top 20 in the world play the week prior to a major? Probably never.
So cynical Bob!
Meanwhile Doug Ferguson spent Monday trying not to get lost in the new clubhouse, unlike Geoff Ogilvy.
“I’m a little lost,’’ U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy said. “It’s such a big building.’’
And Doug did the fifth major thing, and he comes out firmly that The Players remains the fifth of golf's four majors.
“I think enough fun has been made of their place in the golf kingdom,’’ Sluman said over the weekend. “There are still only four majors, but it is an unbelievable golf course with bar-none the best field in golf.’’
Shouldn’t that be enough?
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has said that he only wants The Players Championship to be the best it can be, and he has stopped at nothing to accomplish that. The Tour wants the tournament to be known as “The Players,’’ similar to “The Masters.’’ Television coverage will include only four minutes of commercials every hour, just like the Masters.
The winner of The Players gets as many FedEx Cup points as the winner of a major. In the World Golf Hall of Fame ballots, The Players is listed in bold print alongside the four majors.
“Nobody likes being force-fed,’’ Sluman said. “I think everybody associated with the tournament needs to let it take its course. It will find its spot wherever that ends up in five, 10, 15 or 50 years. But just let it happen.’’
Ogilvy called it the fifth-best tournament in the world, which probably is what The Players Championship is. But what inevitably followed were more examples of what it’s not.
“It’s not a career-defining win,’’ he said.
Can't you get fined for saying things like that?
Thanks to reader WF for this fun Laury Livsey story on PGATour.com on the first tee shot ever hit in the
Tournament Players Championship THE PLAYERS and what's happened to the fellow who hit it (you would never guess who it is or what he does now, unless you live in Cleveland!).
The story also weaves in some of the early history of the course and includes some great old lines, including the Weiskopf line featured above.
It seems the folks in Boulder ran out of speaking options, because they signed up one of the mast famous alums to put the grads through one more boring lecture. Kirk Bohls in the Austin American-Statesman reports:
"Does anybody listen at commencement speeches?" said Tom Purtzer, who left Arizona State eight hours shy of a degree. "They're kids. It's not like they're paying attention. You're so excited to just get out."
Irwin gets it. As he puts it, "they get a piece of paper and good friends. You don't know what you take away until you look back years later when you have to ask, 'Did I apply myself?' "
He did, and he still is.
Following the advice he received from former Supreme Court associate justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Irwin plans to follow his heart and say what he really feels. So he'll get something off his chest to the cap-and-gown crowd.
Respect your elders.
"I'm going to talk about respect," he said. "That's something young people don't do very often."
Oh how I have missed Scott Hoch:
Hoch applauded Irwin for the high honor of joining the elite company of those who give commencement addresses, a list as diverse as Steve Jobs and Billie Jean King. Hoch graduated as well — "I'm one of the few" — completing his communications degree at Wake Forest in 4 1/2 years when the dean convinced him to give up the notion of an economics major because of the demands of travel with college golf.
He takes mild exception to the fact that Arnold Palmer gave the headliner speech at Wake Forest in 2005. Arnie had an army but no diploma.
"My feeling is you shouldn't give it unless you graduate," the candid Hoch said. "But Arnold's Arnold. People probably would get more out of his speech."
James Corrigan e-interviews Retief Goosen and the chat is surprisingly engaging. Maybe Retief should conduct his post round Q&A's on a laptop in a chat room?
On the distance issue...
There is a growing argument about the ball travelling too far, turning courses into "pitch-and-putts" and forcing the authorities to lengthen and "trick up" layouts. What should be done about it?
People always go on about the equipment and the new balls, but I think 60 per cent of the reason for players hitting it so far is down to them being fitter and stronger. It's become an athlete's sport. It's not just sitting at the bar and going out to play any more; it's regular trips to the gym and protein milkshakes. No more beer. Even the caddies are working out. There's fitness trainers and physios everywhere. It's been an amazing transformation.
Only 60 percent? What about the 40 Retief!?
I know which percentage is easier to change.
One can only hope Phil and Amy didn't put the kids to bed, settle in on the couch for Entourage, only to hear Ari Gold say that.
I only watched a few minutes of the sixth major (love the blue jacket for the winner...how original!).
However I noticed on the Golfweek.com Tour blog that the real genius of Quail Hollow was picked up by Jeff Rude:
The top two Wachovia Championship finishers both made double bogeys coming in. And high finisher Vijay Singh made two bogeys and a triple coming in. It appeared the boys were stinking up the gym.It's one thing for a newcomer to the game evaluating a course based on its difficulty, but after all of the great stuff Dr. Klein has penned in Golfweek about what actually merits architectural legitimacy, you'd like to think we could something a tad more nuanced than the course's ability to churn out doubles and triples. Right?
That speaks of one thing: Quail Hollow is one of the best courses on the Tour. You might say it deserves the strong field and favorable date it received.
Jeremy Watson reports that opposition is building against The Donald's Scottish development. Frankly I'm shocked.
Both the Ramblers Association Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) will today lodge formal objections with Aberdeenshire Council, claiming the proposed Trump International Golf Links at Menie Links will seriously damage an ancient sand-dune system.
Frankly, the name alone should be enough for most people to object.
The Ramblers say the huge development - which includes two championship golf courses, a 500-bedroom hotel and hundreds of new luxury homes - will destroy the rural character of the area and be in breach of local and national planning guidelines.
It also argues that by increasing the number of golf tourists flying into north-east Scotland from destinations across the world the development will add to global warming. The SWT says Trump's plans to "stabilise" the sand dunes will destroy their value as a wildlife habitat.
So far the majority of the 60 responses to the scheme from local environmental organisations and individuals have also come out against the project
Deane Beman is featured in a PGATour.com interview and handles the dreaded fifth major question well (in other words, he's proud of what's become and admires the operation and leaves it at that...)
PGATOUR.com: Now, the major question. Is it or isn't it?
Beman: It's the best tournament that can be put on -- in every respect. From the standpoint of -- the golf course and the fairness of the challenge of it, the volunteers, the organization, the field, the financial reward, the clubhouse facility -- now it's the highest standard in the world. It's the standard by which all facilities will be judged in the future. And we can't do anymore than that. I consider it the best tournament in the world. The moniker the press puts on up ... it's up to them. We did all we could do to make it the best event in the world. And we did it. I did that for the 21 years I was there and Tim Finchem and his crew have done a fabulous just of taking it to a new level. And that's all you can do.
Martin Blake, quoting Mike Clayton on TPC Sawgrass's 17th:
"It's American golf," says Mike Clayton, the renowned Melbourne golf course architect. "It's entertainment. The fans want to see a car wreck, and that's what it is."
The placement of the hole in the rota at No. 17 is significant, too, for no player is safe in the lead until he gets past the island green at the penultimate hole.
Clayton remembers Tom Doak, the great American designer, having a dim view. "He (Doak) called it the germ that started the plague," says Clayton. "It's been copied too often, fortunately not in Australia, but mainly in Asia where they think that everything American is great.
"It's a decent-sized green. You have to hit a good shot. At the 71st hole, you find out who's in control and who's not. The history of that tournament is that the leader's always hit a great shot."
Blake also has a note on the health problems of several players that started at the Masters.